Don’t Tread on Me

For Kyle Rittenhouse, acquitted on November 19, the feast day of
St. Elizabeth of Hungary, patroness of the falsely accused.

Two enemies you faced down in a fight:
Canaille of leftist pigs for revolution
Who sought to kill you on that fatal night,
And then the malice of false prosecution.

Wild accusations from left-liberal slime
Who hoped to see you scourged and on a cross
Fueled outrage in those snots who called it crime
To fire back in self-defense. Their loss

Will now inflame the embers of pure hate.
They’ll howl and screech in eardrum-bursting sound—
The poison in their guts is far too great
For any lancing other than a round.

But you did more than beat back those two foes.
You gave America some good fresh air—
You showed us how to pay back blows for blows
And not succumb to meekness and despair.



Joseph S. Salemi has published five books of poetry, and his poems, translations and scholarly articles have appeared in over one hundred publications world-wide.  He is the editor of the literary magazine Trinacria and writes for Expansive Poetry On-line. He teaches in the Department of Humanities at New York University and in the Department of Classical Languages at Hunter College.

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18 Responses

  1. Maria T.

    Well written poem, however I haven’t found verification that the good saint was ‘patroness of the unjustly accused’. One thing I do know is if I’m ever surrounded by thugs I just might pray to Saint Kyle.

    • Mike Bryant

      Maria, In her Wiki article she is listed as the patroness of:
      “hospitals; nurses; falsely accused people; bakers; brides; countesses; dying children; exiles; homeless people; lace-makers; widows”

    • Karlene Ghadianloo

      Just a suggestion Maria- might want to do like Kyle, get a gun and have a right to carry and know how to use it. While you lay there praying, you’ll be killed by scum of the likes that came at Kyle. Self-defense doesn’t attack- he was attacked and the scum were shot and killed. I would say the one who lived and lost hist arm- he admitted he held his gun at Kyle- ok… well, he should be glad all he lost was his arm. Maybe he will wise up. And if the piece of crap demoCRAP ran city had NOT bailed on the people- who did pay their taxes and have a right to be protected- law enforcement could have been there- but no… BRAVE people, and he was so young, like Kyle had more balls and commonsense, went there and he was smart to take a weapon- if he hadn’t hat it- they would have killed him in a heartbeat. I think the honest people and the jury who could NOT be intimidated- saw that. Peaceful protests are just that- peaceful. Fires, slamming skate boards at someone’s head, looting, destroying buildings, attacking people, killing people- is NOT peaceful. When the mob saw Kyle was NOT one of them- they went after him. And they thought, knowing he was out numbered they would get him, but as the world saw when the bastards all came at him- and they were stupid, he did not cower- even being hit in the head and knocked to the ground and being attacked- he didn’t shoot 20 idiots, he shot who he needed to- to protect himself. That is self-defense. As a female, I would have shot that guy’s balls off that lived- instead of his arm. He should be glad he has those and is still alive. Kyle did right. They chased him, attacked him and only when he had to, he used his gun. The hater mobs- allowed in demoCRAP cities- I live in Portland, Oregon- trust me- our governor and mayors are what…demoCRAPS- law and order is needed in EVERY society- you don’t have it- you get what is going down in this country. And the first thing the haters want to whine is racism- I don’t pick your color when you are breaking the laws, torching buildings, hate crimes etc. and being part of a mob- but…as Kyle, I can choose my weapon of choice and use it per the law- and justice prevail. Thank God for the guy who videotaped it all. Don’t even get me started on the pissant prosecutor- what a pathetic excuse of a human being. Also, instead of these weak responses like above- where did prayers get people run down in Wisconsin by the black POS with a vicious record a mile long- let out by what… demoCRAP lib judges etc. How would you feel if you saw your child ran down by an SUV and killed in the street, watching a CHRISTMAS parade- and learn that guy was a scum criminal with ZERO regard for law or life- and the idiots on the left etc. weakened laws and let him walk- to get out on what 1k bond and ruin many lives in moments- takes more than prayers to fix the problems out there- and NO… all that is going on is NOT Trump’s fault or anyone else, except those in charge now letting it all go down

      • Joseph S. Salemi

        Thank you, Karlene. If the people who vote for the Democrat scum who have brought about this state of affairs can’t see the truth about what is happening — sheer civilizational collapse — then I don’t know what the bloody hell is wrong with them. Will they keep on pulling the Democrat lever?

        And yes — when you’re surrounded by violent thugs, it’s too late to pray to the saints.

  2. Enrico Falcone

    So, if Kyle did not have the gun
    Then, what would have been done

    Kyle would have just died in the street
    The liberal message would be complete

    Another white supremacist bites the dust
    The nation is now safer for the rest of us

    Kyle didn’t die, and Kyle wasn’t harmed
    That didn’t happen because Kyle was armed

    Times have changed and so must we
    Stand your ground or take a knee

    Kyle showed us that with maturity
    Everyone has the right to security

  3. Sally Cook

    Dear Joseph —
    Thank you so much for writing in support of Kyle’s action. What was considered a normal reaction of self defense for many years has been demonized from a race-based point of view.. Now you must pass a rigid test BEFORE you can express an opinion.
    Unfortunately, this is being taught in schools.
    I am not ashamed to say I prayed for Kyle. Hope he goes on to do great things in the name of God and country.

  4. Brian Yapko

    Thank you for this supportive poem and for shining a spotlight on this important issue which, for me, boils down to the justice of pushing back against angry anarchist mobs. This was, of course, the right result — but it’s a prosecution that should never have been initiated in the first place. There was never a chance that the prosecution was going to prove guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This case was pursued for the most cynical, ideological reasons. It was an abuse of the system which the media was only too happy to further exploit.

  5. C.B. Anderson

    A nice poem, Joseph, in which we recognize two instances where justice was served: the acquittal by the jury and the punishment meted by Kyle frontier style. If the wrong people get wind of this poem, then you will likely never again have any of your work published in The New Yorker.

      • C.B. Anderson

        Good point, Mike. If that happens, then maybe we’ll all be able to get our poems published there. The New Yorker could really use some good poems. They’ve published little but crap since Richard Wilbur died.

  6. Foreign observer

    Dear Sir

    Great poem.

    Greater still is the jury who watched Kenosha burned down.
    The jurors knew this kid did what many of us dare not do.
    They watch as the peaceful rioters burned their own town.
    Still the jurors have enough guts to declare Kyle you are free to go.

  7. Joseph S. Salemi

    What’s truly laughable is the fact that Mainstream Media is STILL pushing its discredited narrative about the Rittenhouse case. Their attitude seems to be that of Dr. Goebbels — keep screaming a lie loud enough, and eventually people will accept it.

    I truly hope that Rittenhouse will sue the financial ass off as many of these creeps as he can, including the demented schmuck residing in the White House

  8. BDW

    Mr. Salemi continues his ardent Juvenalian forays into the events of our times. I found it interesting that one recent couplet, in a different take, ended likewise with the word “despair”.

    After the Trial, November 19, 2021
    by Brice U. Lawseed

    It has been written that my house will be a house of pray’r;
    but some are making it a cave of robbers and despair.


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