3 April 2k9
“Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.” ~George Washington
“What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless,
whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism
or the holy name of liberty and democracy?” ~’Mahatma’ Mohandas Gandhi
In London, the G20 Summit has ended for some, but for others the misery is just beginning. No protest occurs in a vacuum, and there are always consequences…an unknown number are still jailed, legally or not; people who need help soon, or they will be eaten by their system. And there are the walking wounded who need attending, some of whom can’t even walk, along with uncounted others whose wounds are invisible to the eye, yet catastrophic nonetheless; for PTSD is common on both sides, and a typically understated byproduct of any mass-demonstration. Often it is due to the fact that, despite prayers and pleas, not all have learned to embrace Non-Violence as the only real viable protest tactic. When you resort to the methods of despots, you allow that despotism inside your heart, and thereby become yet another tyrant.
By all accounts, including some first hand, this protest was no different. If you have not been to one before, and you’re at all interested, see my post entitled Dark Hours for a quick sketch of what it can be like, here in the Good Ol’ USA. Although, it appears the UK cops used less chemical weapons this time, and were more nightstick happy. (Actually, that sounds a lot like NYC cops, now that I consider it.)
If you’re up front on the Hassle Line, or get caught in a skirmish, this can really suck. One pair of badge-bearing sociopaths once fractured my jaw after kicking me repeatedly, just to get my gas-mask and helmet off…one of them then proceeded to pound me like a steak. Unfortunately, a little nightstick goes a long way. And yes, you do see stars, but not pretty ones…just asteroidal, flashy ones, that make you want to puke, again.
Not to fear Dear Reader, for the next day—while being detained for a few hours, roughed up and down, intimately searched (while the complete contents of my possessions were photographed) without a warrant or even probable cause, and rudely interrogated without the dubious benefit of a lawyer—I took my vengeance:
During the whole tiresome ordeal, I spent the time reciting my own most subversive and seditious poetry to them…which, needless to say, pissed them off mightily. I would have gotten my ass kicked for sure, except one of them was actually a decent Police Officer. (I do recognize a difference, and it comes down to the human being inside the uniform.) As you would guess, even though I was a bit worried, there was a high ratio of my fun to their anger, and I didn’t mind showing it either. By the time the thugs were done, and the Good Cop was just plain embarrassed, we’d all agreed to a mutual, abiding, disdain for one another; and I was told to “Get the fuck out of their city.” in exactly those words. As far as those korrupt keystone kops were concerned, the word Constitution apparently has something to do with bowel movements. But, as Arlo Guthrie once lamented, That’s America…Also, I’m pretty sure they hated my poetry.
Therefore, in my continuing contempt for sadistic riotcops, who just give good police officers a brutal name. And in gratitude to the thousands who non-violently marched in London for the marginalized millions, those kept poor in the name of profit, at the G20 this year, I’m just going to leave this growling mutt of a poem right here…
Serenade for a Riot Cop
Malo Periculosam Libertatem Quam Quietum Servitium
Admit it, you miss the heyday of the Black Maria,
righteously flailing us to our knees.
You see your duty, doubtless,
To create Law and Order.
Why can’t you see that it is our duty
to create Justice and Peace?
It is a noble oath you take, to Protect and Serve.
But exactly what is it that you are trying to preserve?
You know this is not how it is supposed to be.
What did you suppose would happen
to our nation, our daughters and our sons,
when you applied the law with your stinking guns?
You have nothing that can ultimately stop it now
it does not matter what you do to us,
remember—Sic Semper Tyrannis: To Tyrants Ever Thus
Our aims, our desires, are not much different:
Cast aside your bloody nightstick,
the riotgun, the filthy gas.
Throw down your body armor,
the tin badge, the black mask
and step up, step out into the street
vulnerable with us, before the Fist.
Stand before the fuming others
who once were your brothers
in unnecessary arms.
Free your voice, outraged, in a defiant cacophony,
tell them you will make no more mishumanity,
that you will no longer lock people in cages for money.
Their pepperspray will be a baptism burning in your lungs.
Discover how it is to stare down the other side of the guns,
with naught but your humanity for a weapon or a shield.
Take your beating with us, learn what it takes to wield
your body, with civil disobedience as your last defense.
With us, draw a line today, understand what it takes to disobey.
Join us now in a united stance, or soon enough we will all lose the chance.
If this is truly the promised Land of the Free
then c’mon Riot Cop, tell me if you can
—why aren’t we?
26 March 2k9
“There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls.” ~George Carlin
set them free
And there came a night when, at last, I could take no more:
It was act, or a coward I’d remain,
I had to do the deed demanded
in the face of our awful disdain.
Tools I packed, in a large canvas bag:
cutting torch, pickaxe, folding spade, bolt cutters,
a large pair of insulated dikes, 12″ catspaw,
5 lb short sledge, and a few other necessary odds & ends.
The walk was short, but the chill night seeped into bone and tendon alike
I looked about at all the other prisoners until my blood was up again.
And an ember of stoked rage blew aflame,
long since fired into a brittle glaze.
The hostage was waiting just as I knew he would.
Where, after all, was he going to go?
Certain that this was illegal,
although not exactly sure why it should be, I set to work.
First to go had to be the ten thousand little lights.
White and pretty yes, but tell me, would you wear them?
He hated them.
Clipped & taped, stripped & scraped off along with fistfuls of ragged fliers…
Into the street.
Then came the abandoned freakin’ bikes, only four of them today.
All bent to shit, and kicked by every asshole who passed that way.
He was shackled by these metal carcasses, yet nitrogen froze the p.o.s. locks,
then smashy smashy with the 5 lb. short sledge, and off came the mechanical stocks.
Into the street.
Warmed now, by my disgust, the adrenalin reality of my open rebellion—
which, after far too much turning of the cheek, was indeed, truly sweet.
Next was the cast-iron grill, the cell of his prison,
like something dreamt up for an Inquisition.
Prior inspection told me the locks were for show,
that the diabolical thing had been welded ages ago.
A welding blanket I wrapped ’round him tight
and lovely blue-white fire lit the winter night.
While watching through goggles black and thick,
a whisper warning floated through my brain,
“This is usually when everything kind of goes to shit,”
then shoved away the nagging thought double-quick.
“So what?…wouldn’t be the first time…” I sniffed in disdain.
One, two, dripping metal on my shoe, and there it was, an opening new…
Into the street.
Working hard, hurry now Scurry—tick-tock tick-tock, up against the running cop clock,
I yanked out the pair of ornate sidewalk grates,
you know, the ones that so many treat like ashtrays…a clattering they went.
Into the street.
Then I began on the cobblestones:
smashy smashy with pickaxe, then shovel shovel with spade.
Repeat. Gasping. Repeat.
Into the street.
An old-school handful of M-80s, saved for such a night:
deftly taped tight, and carefully placed just right,
(crossing fingers) blew a few goodish chunks out of the curb,
and made it easier to pickaxe-peel back some asphalt.
Into the street
Fight or Flight, mixed with fear and sweat, was trickling down my spine;
knowing well the cops were scant minutes from this place where I’ve scratched my line.
Running rolling a dumpster over to the pile, mostly for aesthetics to tell the truth,
I jammed up its wheels and stood back for a look.
It appeared as much like modern art, as it did a small blockade.
Breathing heavy, I lit a few magnesium flares and tossed them in
amongst the wreckage: candles to start the parade,
and to avoid any accidents…after all, this wasn’t that kind of cabaret.
When I fled back into the night,
savoring only a tight taste of glee,
there was an undeniable barricade
burning merrily in the street.
And when the cops finally did make the scene?
Standing tall in the red flicker-light,
what they found was a magnificent Tree—
one that could, at last, sort of breathe.
set them free