Friday, November 18, 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
What is next for this movement, and for my own involvement in it?
Occupy Wall Street is a global movement. All of the sudden, people everywhere (and I mean everywhere) have found that they have a voice, and regardless of the physical space they occupy, they have woken the minds of the masses. We are shaking the foundations of this corrupt system- and what's really amazing- people are paying attention. ("We are unstoppable, another world is possible.")
The local face of this movement has certainly been it's own live stream saga. For my own small part in that, it is like nothing I have ever seen, or been a part of before. I went there that first day, just to see for myself what would happen. I ended up spending the night beneath the starry sky, and every night after that for over two weeks. In that time, I met and talked with so many people. I marched and made signs. I shared my poetry (well suited to this crowd). I made a lot of friends. It's a different place, down there at the people's plaza. I can't say that enough. I struggle to convey.
But-I'm not trying to start from the top and cover everything right now. It is November 15th, and there is a chill in the air tonight that reminds me that, like it or not, winter is coming. Sleeping at the Plaza, tents or no, is not sustainable for a Minnesota winter. I'm not saying it can't be done, I'm saying that I'm not up to doing it. This whole time, we have been putting all our energy into basic survival out there. The tents for shelter, the generators to keep in touch with the world, to heat the food we eat. We are looking to replicate some of the comforts of home in an environment that is increasingly more difficult and inhospitable. Do we accept defeat? Do we just walk away? Of course not! But, as the winter sets in, and the strong arm of the law comes down, I think it's time (for me at least) to reconsider the nature of my own participation in the occupy wall street scheme.
And what I think this movement needs now, is to go home.
Here me out.
We keep talking about how we need to get the message into the neighborhoods, we need to do out reach to our own communities, more than just hanging up flyers. Well, your neighborhood starts at your own front door, doesn't it? I think it's time we bring the movement home with us, and have these conversations in our own living rooms. Start talking to the people who consider themselves supportive of the movement but who would never participate in something like the plaza, or the foreclosed homes. What might they do?
Wouldn't it be wonderful? if over the next few months we planned and plotted for a revolution of our own come spring? Think about it, we're all going to be homebodies anyway. Why not spend the time organizing? This is the perfect time of year for friendly gatherings, indoor activities, and taking on long term projects.
So, that is what I am suggesting. A series of potlucks, parties and discussions that address the needs of the community and develops these new connections we have made. These gains are amazing, no one can take that. The world will never be the same. But to start again, we need begin with ourselves and our friends. Turn off the miserable news and start the conversations.
In that spirit, my roommates and I have decided to dedicate our housewarming party to the Occupy Wall Street movement. We're calling it "occupy our livingroom" and we're having it the day after thanksgiving, to detract from the frenzied, nasty consumerism of black friday and the kick-off of the holiday shopping season. Wait, did I just make a sports reference? (ugh, I think I did).
Anyway, that's my big idea. Take the movement home with you. Have a party.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Starting with New York city, and spreading to more than a thousand cities in the US and across the globe, the Occupy Wall Street movement has given voice to the majority of people, who are suffering from an ever-deepening economic crisis here at home, and endless war abroad. Minnesota has joined this movement in saying it’s time to put people over profits, and several occupations have started here, including one in downtown Minneapolis.
Since October 7, thousands of Minnesotans have occupied the People’s Plaza, outside the Hennepin County Government Center, maintaining a presence day and night to demonstrate against corporate greed and political corruption.
The Anti-War Committee has been a part of Occupy Minneapolis since the beginning, because we too are a part of the 99%. We understand that corporate control of resources in other countries is one of the driving reasons that the U.S. goes to war, and we will not pay with our tax dollars or our lives to further the profits of a few while so many suffer. At the occupation, we have rallied and marched, attended teach-ins, shared meals, participated in general assembly meetings and slept out on the plaza with no shelter.
County officials have restricted the rights of Occupy Minneapolis from the very first day. Claiming that it is for the safety of the protesters, we were denied the right to set up tents, or any kind of structure, to provide shelter from the cold and rain (even though many other occupations have tents). Yesterday, Hennepin County Commissioners voted for a plan to shut down the People’s Plaza on November 14th: All protest signs must be taken down and no one will be allowed to sleep at the Plaza.
Commissioners have cited the cold weather, but if they were concerned about the health and well being of the protesters they would lift the restrictions on shelter, not evict us. We know that this is an attempt to end the occupation they wish had never begun, and we condemn all threats to evict Occupy Minneapolis!
In the name of the 99%, we support the rights of the occupiers, and demand the right to continue a round-the-clock presence at the People’s Plaza. We call on all people of conscience to take concrete actions to defend Occupy Minneapolis. This includes contacting County Commissioners to demand they allow the occupation to continue without interruption. If the county moves to evict us from the People’s Plaza on Monday, November 14th, we call on all people of conscience to mobilize to the Plaza, and stand in solidarity with the 99%.
Please call the Hennepin County Commissioners and let them know this is an unacceptable denial of our constitutional right to assemble!
Mike Opat, chair: 612-348-7881
Mark Stenglein: 612-348-7882
Gail Dorfman: 612-348-7883
Peter McLaughlin: 612-348-7884
Randy Johnson: 612-348-7885
Jan Callison: 612-348-7886
Jeff Johnson: 612-348-7887
General information: 612-348-3000
Sunday, October 30, 2011
But here's me, taking a sick day and a step back point of view
proves what you already knew- it's crazy.
I went there today, looking for him
there to give our medics cough drops & socks
there to the food table- hot cocoa & cold season teas
I was looking for him, though
and waiting for the train
hoping he would come running up and find me
Haven't I left behind enough clues?
Buttoned to your jacket and plastered all over the news?
I'm starting to think the whole thing was a dream.
I seem to remember this one
The war was on for real and I was busy, busy
trying to change the world.
You got sick and I took care of you,
hiding out at the very edges of the city
in the quiet, we kept moving and took shelter
in the old buildings.
We took care of each other.
I don't know what to make of reality anymore. It seems
we've broken through right there in downtown and now
every time I leave I'm scared. What if it was
just a dream? Everybody tells me it's all online,
they saw it for themselves.
I walk along side the train tracks and imagine
what it will look like when I get there.
I will go back again tomorrow, and the next day.
This isn't over by a long shot.
In fact, it is just the beginning
Friday, October 21, 2011
I have gotten a lot of pats on the back. Thanks. I do what I can and I try to have fun. I feel like this will be a good weekend for new folks AND tomorrow is a spoken word open mic! I'm really excited for this. I have sort of done some poetry down here but its hard with only a bullhorn and in the middle of a protest. I'm excited to see some of the other poets too. To see what people bring. I feel like I wish I had something new, but its been a lot of input and not a lot of time to write it out. Too many conversations with people. Too many other things to do. This experience is like nothing else I've ever done. It is its own world down at the peoples plaza.
so, I guess I just wanted to check in and say I'm having a great time out here in the cold, in the community. Hopefully, more of this to come.
Saturday, September 24, 2011
An Open Letter to the FBI
Fuck you guys.
Fuck you for Fred Hampton, I just read that they got to Hemmingway. Hell, they’ve still got Leonard Peltier. And now they’re here in the mid-west, looking for anti-war and then all the rest.
Fuck you for the 14 (wait now) 23 - no, one more 24 that you are after right now. I just wanna know how many times you have directly interfered with peace and justice in this country. I wanna know how many lives…
And I wanna talk about it. I want out stuff back- fuck- I want our spy back. She did the grunt work around here and I’ve never seen my tax dollars so well spent. I want to talk about your budget, FBI, gone unchecked since 9/11. Ten years later, and you’re tailing peace activists just to bill the time and tapping phones and raiding homes…
Looking for what? Proof that we disapprove of this government? Well, we haven’t been at all shy about that, have we? We show up. On your Capitol lawns with our signs, and our banners, and our bullhorns and we SCREAM at your buildings, from behind your police lines, I- I guess I should feel honored to have this much of your attention.
Tear gas in my eyes and all. Those plastic zip-tie handcuffs as they round us up like cattle, and now the heat is really coming down because it was never a fair battle and the Grand Jury inquisition has begun. It’s some of that good ol’fashioned McCarthyism, except now the red tag term is terrorism. Meanwhile, the real war criminals are accepting awards. Those torturers and wire tappers, patting each other’s backs at the podium.
Anyway, Fuck them.
I came here to talk to you. To ask what the hell we’re ganna do now that they’re kicking in doors in Dinkytown looking for dissenters. They’re taking down posters off the walls, calling it evidence to be used against us and you’re next if you don’t think so. Anybody left with an opinion. Anybody here consider themselves out spoken? I am talking to you.
So, here’s a quick history lesson in FBI repression.
John Lennon. They tried to deport him-did you know that?- for speaking out against the war. It was right before the Republican National Convention of 1972 and Nixon was afraid it was going to cost him re-election, so they tried to kick him out of the country for having a concert. You see? They were afraid of a concert.
Dr. Martin Luther King’s home was raided by the FBI (now we’re on to something). He received threats and harassment from them for half his Nobel Peace Prize deserving career and was in the end assassinated. I read that he was under surveillance when it happened. That under cover police watched from across the street as King was shot. But they couldn’t kill the dream he started dreaming and we are still coming, ready or not. And I do mean ready or not.
So don’t forget about the RNC of 08. You know, we’ve got a real movement in this state and in case you haven’t noticed it’s going on right now. And hold your breath for the peaceful 23 whose grand jury subpoenas are hanging over all our heads. Don’t be silent! Tell everyone you know about this! Go to stopFBI.net and get involved! Call the president. And tell him to call it off. We said end the war, AND the witch hunt, Defend the first amendment. Enough is enough. No more attacks on them and no more attacks on us.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Friday, September 2, 2011
Saturday, June 18, 2011
To back up, and give this some context, Butter was robbed in May and the event was a fundraiser to help the bakery raise some dough. I had actually never been to Butter before this evening. But I had heard of them, because they donate desserts to Anti-War Committee dinners all the time. And even though I had never met the staff of this small shop, I felt that they had helped me -without even knowing me- to raise money for my cause, and my work. Because they have great politics. And for me to be able to give back (and to do it with art) was an incredible thing. It is mostly, a personal sort of sense of "proud to be of service".
Thursday, May 26, 2011
about how Barbie's not
Women don't have nipple-less breasts
their legs aren't two-fold their torso
her eyes aren't the size of her fists
But we all played her as kids.
We grew up with complexes that beg the question
"why are we still pretending?" I mean,
hairless legs is one thing
what about the silicone?
Botox for that expressionless smile
The matching bra and pantie ensembles and the shoes
(ah, the shoes)
Cause everyone wants to feel pretty
So you brush her perfect platinum blond
nylon for hair and never wonder
if Barbies feels it
or about the power she has over you
You think it too, in the back round somewhere
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Friday, May 13, 2011
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Hurray for Spring!
Today was the spring work day at my community garden, and it is the first time i have been by there since last fall! I love my garden (Look! Meet my little green friend!). How I have missed that small plot of dirt. And of course the yard that surrounds it. It was a pot luck and it so much fun. It was good to see everybody and meet the new folks. With the plot comes the community, and honestly, I am happy to be part of that. Most of them I see at the co-op, or elsewhere in the hood because, well, we're all from around here. Its nice to share food with like-minded people and talk about neighborhood events and such. I had a lot of fun.
I am really excited that our garden is going to become a non-profit this year, and we are going to really make an effort to build a community among the gardeners. There's going to be a weekly social hour, and i cant wait to see how that grows.
Oh, indeed, how does your garden grow?
As for my little plot, I am happy to see the return of my bleeding hearts bush!!! I transplanted it last year, and it didn't do so hot. So, I was hoping for a comeback this year and the little guy is doing it! I am inexpressibly happy to have bleeding hearts in my garden. Of all the beautiful things (and it is definitely on that list) they are my favorite flower. And what better place for them then in a community garden? For everyone to enjoy?
I want to grow other flowers too, this year, and some herbs and some dino kale, and then I don't know what else. I want to get better at gardening too, but I'm not sweating that.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
How true. A person's life's work is usually a combination of everything else they have done, but also it is something they have been slowly putting together over the course of their whole life, shaping and perfecting it with their years of experience. I want to begin that process. I want to start drafting the work I will write and rewrite until it is my legacy.
And I want it to be beautiful.
Recently, my painter friend and I were discussing our art (specifically, the why's and how's of its creation) and we both agreed that making beautiful things is its own end. What is important in this life, is what we love. And appreciation for the things we love, is what gives us energy.
That is what I want this poem to be about. That is "what I make art for". I write poems for all sorts of reasons, and on all subject matter- not all of which are pleasant- but my best work is in this vein. If there is a single motivator for creating art (for me) it is beauty.
So, I shall begin by creating a list of the most beautiful things I can think of. The most beautiful thoughts I can articulate, the most beautiful emotions I can express, the most beautiful experiences that i can possibly convey... this will take time. But the idea is to start somewhere, and see where it leads. It is important to always be envisioning the future the way you want it to go. So, I'm putting this out there...
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Instead, I got a letter, a syllable, an unidentifiable shape of a thing
and then nothing
but a wanting
a deep ache, a frustrated inability to communicate.
It was a lump in my throat for days.
Every time I tried to say something- something else- it was there
stuttering. Every time someone would ask me how I was,
it was suffocating me,
flicking at the back of my neck with its finger.
I was considerably distracted.
The poem did not ask to be written.
It was unsympathetic to my struggling with it,
and it would not be treated like a hassle.
For something that must be- for the sake of my own life-
it would not go easy on me.
I thought 'if I can just give it time, wait it out' but no.
Pushing it away like that only made it worse.
Like a plaster cast left on too long
that itch that drives the wearer to the brink of madness
this poem would not wait for me.
So, I got shit faced and staged a break up.
I said "I've had enough!
When push comes to shove, you only want more!"
"Yes!" the poem said to me "And you will give it!"
And that was all.
I sobered up and found a pen.
I fumbled through a first draft
and then I laughed at what I'd written.
I decided to get back at it by giving the poem a silly name.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Sunday, March 27, 2011
but then, we were never in love.
It's a funny thing- to be sleeping with someone
or anyway, it was fun.
I never sent that last email
the one that went "yeah, I'm just ganna
hold my breath"
(but you get the idea).
I never told you the truth
though I was incredibly honest.
You praised me once for this
and it was the one compliment
I could accept.
Right up until I jumped ship
swam to shore- or better yet
swam to the depths again to remain
nameless among those other
fish in the sea.
It wasn't a proper goodbye but then,
it wasn't a proper introduction.
Friday, March 18, 2011
you were some vital organ
gone missing in those early
developmental stages and I
grew and grew accustomed to
unaware that the damage was to me
just a part of living
so that now I throw my worth down this hole
my whole life and my love
with no intentions of filling it
instead I stumble forward limbless
always looking behind me and wondering
how different things would be
if I had been complete
yes, still waiting to grow out of this
waiting for some correction of its injustice
while all the blame I could rightfully place
echoes all the way to the bottom
(it's the absence of you in me repeating)
Monday, March 7, 2011
those insane joggers
that you’ll see at
around the lakes
and no matter the weather
(which is what makes them seem crazy)
but then there’s me- on the same streets
and for similar reasons
All of the seasons
the regulars, the riff-raff
and the street bums
are a walking meditation
I have come to know them well
I circle back and start over
like this is the only way I know
how to think sometimes
My block is where the sidewalk ends
My head is where I’ve kept these things
I remember, I travel the distance
over and over
I have claimed it
It is my way home
I walk this block
like the back of my hand
with my headphones in
I like it
I live here
I love it here
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
How it comes across.
So, I just got Band of Horses, and i really dig this album. They sound a lot like The Shins (with some Sea Wolf mixed in). I really like it, cover art and all. I just wish it were longer. Unlike February.
I wish it was April already. Until then, good music and warm tea.
At least March has some interesting holidays.
The only date that is also a sentence (March fourth)
8 year anniversary of the War.
Monday, February 7, 2011
If I were to punch you, as hard as I could, I would sprain my wrist. You would maybe notice as I reduced myself to tears, so instead I use my words and I'll tell you one thing: this mouth? never got me in a fight it didn't right-and-the-fuck get me back out of. You see, I said I use my words instead and it's been working (so far).
But, they're bailing out the banks. Those leeches and their fees, so the question then becomes how much is your money worth? Depends. How much have ya got? Not a lot? oh, that's okay baby girl. You too could still be president. Just get in line and we'll call you. And in the meantime, try and find a job worth a damn to do, because the rent is due, and you're not getting any younger. And these cards aren't exactly stacked in your favor. I said get a clue, and pay attention. Because the under current is ever changing in it's direction.
And you wanna stay ahead of that game, you want that spot on top of the food chain, don't ya? Everybody's so busy looking out for #1 and then they wonder why they feel so all alone. So many skin and bones while the top 1% clench their law enforcement fist so tight that you have the right to work until you die in this country, and that's about it. Now pay your bills and buy some shit. Check your credit score.
And it gets harder to ignore when they're coming right for ya, but these folks they just don't care anymore. You can change the channel if it bores ya. Me, I threw out my TV. People gotta tell me when I'm on it. People gotta explain the whole commercial, cause I never catch the reference. Man, I got better things to see. And I understand that time is precious. Mine is spent in reverence of this life, because I am in love with it, I am in love with it.
(Deep breath) I need to learn how to slow down and appreciate this moment. This one, cause it's all there is. And then I'm off again, forgetting. And I'm looking up again, and I'm searching for the lines that I had memorized, so that I, so that, well, so that I could think about something else.
Sometimes I feel helpless. Like I have a needle but no thread, so it's no good. I can only manage the damage. Sometimes I am the subject of this charade and sometimes I am just the contents, that is displayed as a series of statistics, and yes I am sometimes Y.
So what of it? And what difference does it make when you die?
Well, I want a government that practices something like the "take a penny, leave a penny" system. And there will come a day, but either way I'm for that rain or shine type of activism. The committed, who don't shed their tears but collect them, weaving them into meaningful tales. We tell each other stories of bravery and compassion to keep ourselves warm. To keep our hearts burning.
I'll tell you another thing: it's you, me and everybody. So don't go making eneimes, cause you can't win. Instead it's time to start talking to these strangers, our neighbors, it's time to start caring for each other again. Call it community, call it an occupation, call it the revolution if you wanna- just get on it! Ten years ago woulda been a good place to start
now will do.
Or, at least I think we can all agree that now is the very best we can do.
So come with me and take heart. I got some new year's resolutions and a good idea of where to start. I got some friends on the outside, the inside, the flipside and the best part is that you decide your place in this world. You decide. So let's start.
Because to build a better world, all you really gotta do... is your part.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
I was MCing the demo, and I got to do my poem An Open Letter to the FBI, which was awesome. We used a real sound system, so it was very clear (and very loud). Political theater. Soap boxing at it's finest! I really enjoyed the oppertunity to tell "the man" my bit, and the crowd loved it, and I am a happy activist. On the steps of the federal building I told the FBI to fuck off. It was pretty sweet.
It was also really good to see so many people there with us, and to have their support. There were a lot of faces I haven't seen at a protest in a while, and people I've never seen before. The original 9 "honor role" activists were all present and at one point they gathered for a picture. I thought about how far that picture would go. It's important to remember in all of this that standing in solidarity with the Palestinian people is what got us here in the first place. And as we consider our friends in Chicago we also consider our friends in Gaza and Colombia and Afghanistan and Iraq (I could go on). For our part, I think we did a good job of keeping the focus of this protest on the bigger picture and our role in that. End the war AND the witch hunt.
So, I don't know. Go team. If Minnesota can turn out a crowd of 200+ people in below freezing weather it's because we give a damn. We give a damn all year long. And I can't wait to start organzing summertime fun. I think a few out door concerts and ice cream socials are just what this campaign needs (you know what I mean?).