Sunday, November 20, 2011


Where are tasers now that pepper spray is the fascist rage?
Was Malcolm right to say nonviolence would become passe?
Does the cream rise to the top so it may be bullet-skimmed
like Malcolm, King, and Goodman, Chaney, Schwerner?
Cattle prods are as passe as high-pressure hoses in the streets?
Where did Sheriff Rainey, Bull Conner, George Wallace go?
Look wherever the word Occupy occurs: there heir ilk.

The cops go one at a time up and down the line of bodies
pumping the pepper spray in orange clouds covering those
whose right to redress grievances is contested by privilege
and its ready-made laws stacked on judges’ desks ready to pull
when the call comes from the mayor to rid the city of vermin.

At the beginning of the third month of Occupy Our America
the cops go up and down the line calmly in Davis, California,
and when canisters are empty they take another from the cop
charged to refill in readiness. Do they ask how much it takes
to pepper-spray a body to death? stack and burn the bodies?

My friend from our Seattle days, circa 1960, now in Berkeley,
asks, What would Mario Savio do? Bettina Aptheker? Bobby Seale?
In one held breath of years Jerry Rubin went to Wall Street,
Abbie Hoffman bought the farm. Angela Davis keeps the faith.
Let’s vindicate the octogenarian rebelle pepper-sprayed in Seattle!

(20 November 2011)

copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander

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