About the Author


I’m not Jean Valjean. I’ll precede a brief biography with a poem.

Activism Liberates

I am a total activist, or at least I try.
I am committed to activism, not just in my politics, 
   but in my response to my multiple sclerosis.
That's why I keep up my exercises, p.t.,
   with no promises they will help.
At least it's something I can DO about my MS.
There's no alternative to activism.

Because I am an activist, I am free to listen.  
   (Of course, I should listen more.)
Free and confident, I can be grateful for criticism.
free to be self-critical.
Free to improve my tactics;
free to change my strategies - 
   openly, with no apologies.

I want results, passionately.
But I am not dependent on results.

I am free because I am an activist.

jon_r_photoI was born in New York City in 1943, raised in upstate and Connecticut. I got a B.A in math from Wesleyan University. I came to Pittsburgh in 1968 and got a Master’s in urban planning. I settled in Oakland. I was head of planning for Community Action Pittsburgh, the anti-poverty program. Later I became a lawyer. I am now semi-retired. I have MS and rely on a power wheelchair. I am a reformist radical, dedicated to peace, public transportation, human rights, and a more equal distribution of wealth and power. I was arrested only twice. I ran several times for Pittsburgh City Council.

My poems, ‘City Perspectives’, has decades of my poetry. The poems are on the Internet at https://jonrobisonpoetry.wordpress.com You can also click on a categorwhich are listed on the right. If you have any technical difficulties using this website, please contact me. I probably won’t know the answer, but I’ll find someone who does.

My thanks to critics and others who helped me, especially my web master, Maria Lupinacci. Ms. Lupinacci also co-edits and publishes a blog on current politics, ‘http://www.2politicaljunkies.blogspot.com‘. It is knowledgeable and witty.

Because I am publishing on the Internet, I can and will add to this collection. ‘City Perspectives’ has been mostly posted during August of 2015. Any subsequent additions or major edits will be listed HERE.

Some of the poems should have music attached, with a note, MUSIC. If I have a link, it will be pasted after the title. I hope you can click on it. For some poems the music hasn’t been recorded, or even written. I’ll so note. (Any volunteer song smiths would be welcome.)

The poems are grouped in categories, for browsing, to make the collection more readable, and because I have to organize the poems somehow. The categories are Personal, Political, History. People, Jewish, Buddhism, the Environment, Humor, Meditation, haiku, and Graffiti Haiku. The categories are arbitrary and capricious as well as overlapping. I discuss what I mean by ‘haiku’ in that category, although there are also haiku scatted in other categories. A poem with just three lines is probably intended to be a haiku. You can find the categories listed on the right.

Grateful permission granted to anyone who wishes to share or even publish any poetry. I ask only credit, and that if you make any changes or cuts, tell me.

I may make changes, modifications, revisions. A poem, like a song, is alive. Once it is recited, published, or otherwise shared, it is like a child. It is my poem in that I created it, but I no longer control it and I don’t really own it. I have expressed that in a haiku:

A poem is like
a bird. Let go, let it
fly. Like a child …


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