Sunday, November 20, 2011



In the time that God took to make the world
I have not accomplished much of anything.
This thing called poetry does not heed beck & call
but then, the police are beating our poets with batons
to teach them a thing or two about punctuation.
The poetry prompts, dry as sawdust in the imagination
but then, we are feeding our children wood pulp
calling it food, when it's fodder not fit for swine.
Reminds me of our actor-governor-president
proclaiming catsup in school lunches to be a vegetable.
Soon Congress will be proclaiming pepper spray
a vegetable too. Cops indiscriminately hosing
students and octogenarians alike with their MDR
of OC, or oleoresin capsicum.
That's 2 million Scoville Heat Units.
I can't eat hot food. Fried habañeros send me
into respiratory distress. Breathing is not an option.
Pepper spray, banned for use in war, or in prisons,
is OK to use on civilians. Especially students.
The 'choppers hovering overhead remind me
that I live in Oakghanistan. Occupied territories.
The scent of mace in the morning makes me nauseous.
PreOccupied. PostOccupied. Where will it all end?
My grandmother said that One day, mark my words,
They would go too far. It was always capital They.
No names. Maybe she was channeling the Anti-Christ.
She was citing Tammany Hall, events of another era.
She said that the people would rise up. Never too late.
The bankers, the oligarchy. Wall Street itself.
I feel like I'm stuck in a 21st century ebook
reliving the French Revolution where
the cobra of time is flashing back on itself.
Is it because we've discovered a neutrino
faster than the speed of light,
that we've somehow upset the balance
of space itself, setting time on its ear?
It's come to this. We are rising up
with our pikes upon our shoulders
stuffing our soles with straw and cardboard
insulation against the coming winter.
Saying sabot, sabot, sabotage.
It didn't end well for the peasants.
Let them eat straw.


NB California prison regulations "prohibit the use of pepper spray on inmates in all circumstances other than the immediate threat of violence. If a prisoner is seated, by definition the use of pepper spray is prohibited. Any prison guard who used pepper spray on a seated prisoner would face immediate disciplinary review for the use of excessive force.

write an “it’s too late” poem. Nobody likes a quitter, but sometimes you have to “know when to hold them, know when to fold them…” There are times when it’s just too late, and today is the day to write that poem–before it’s too late, of course.

The scent of ____________ makes me ___________

This poem will appear in the Occupy Wall Street anthology, which will be posted up on the walls of the New York Public Library for April is Poetry Month, thanks to editor Stephen Boyer, who is seeking funding to publish it for libraries. Please consider donating to the cause.

Help Print The Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology YouTube

"The OWS Poetry Anthology was born the second week of the Occupy Wall Street Poetry Assembly. I was so overwhelmed by the diversity and greatness of the poems presented during the first week of the Assembly, that I knew the assembly must be archived. So at the second Poetry Assembly I asked the poets gathered if I could archive it, then I gave out my email, expecting only a few poems to show up in my inbox. The response was overwhelming, and in the weeks that followed, I received a steady stream of poems from people all over the world. It seemed everyone that had been struck by the Occupy Movement had something to say, and an open Poetry Anthology, that was open to all voices and all types of "poetry" seemed like the appropriate way of archiving the inclusive spirit of Occupy Wall Street.
Many names have contributed to the anthology, some of which you may know: the visual artist Molly Crabapple did the cover art and some of the more prominent poets that contributed are Adrienne Rich, Eileen Myles, Ngoma Hill, the Allen Ginsberg Society on behalf of Allen, Wanda Coleman, CA Conrad, Dodie Bellamy, Kevin Killian, Charles Bernstein, Eliot Katz, Michael McClure, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Bob Holman, Lee Ann Brown, Anne Waldman, Puma Pearl, Danny Schechter, Stuart Leonard, Filip Marinovich, Ariana Reines, Frank Sherlock, and many many more...

This campaign offers contributors the chance to take part in a historic publishing venture, as this project is open to you to contribute a poem or help print. And by raising funds to print the anthology, we will be able to distribute it freely. So we are creating a book open to all for all. All poems should be sent to stephenjboyer(AT) Hear the rumbling in the street? Be the noise! Thank you!"