About Michael Ceraolo

Michael Ceraolo is a retired firefighter/paramedic and active poet who has one full-length book published (Euclid Creek, from Deep Cleveland Press), and has another forthcoming later this year (Euclid Creek Book Two, from unbound content press).

Free Speech Cantos

Walt Whitman 2 - collage by D. Raphael

Walt Whitman 1 – collage by D. Raphael

Free Speech Canto XXVI
Banned in Boston
constitutes an epic of censorship
A few excerpts from that epic:


A private morality police was formed

(giving away its religious base
with the occasional use of the word crusade)
                                                                          "quietly,
unobtrusively working underground,
guarding us from the pestiferous evil,
which at any time may come up into our faces,
into our homes, into our children's lives"
And they targeted a Boston publisher
who wanted to bring out an edition
of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass
Whitman was willing to cut ten lines
and six other words and phrases,
                                                       but
that wasn't nearly enough to satisfy the
"narrow-minded tyranny and bigoted self-righteousness
of the censors,
                         so the book
was published in Philadelphia instead,
                                                               the publisher saying
"Those Boston fools have already made me
more than $2000"


A few decades later came the so-called
"gentlemen's agreement",
                                            where the so-called gentlemen,
the bookseller Richard F.
...{read more}