For @OccupyOakland: A Response to A Premature Dismantling

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For @OccupyOakland: A Response to A Premature Dismantling

A Poem for Oakland

(to y.k.)

 

“I’m very pleased with how things went,”

Interim Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan said after the raid.

 

I know you.

Your state.

Your status.

I see you something

like Israel

like Sudan.

Something like Somalia

like Greece like gross

like Tehran like terrified.

I feel the lightning in your veins.

On your tongue.

I hold the ice in your heart.

I, too,

am wanting

watching

awaiting the meltdown.

I too am holding on

fingers cracked

quaking

under pressure.

 

That woman

over there- wild and your way

walking-

could have been my wife.

Her brain jumbled

like tossed rocks and dust

and babies with bottles ;

her skull holding bursting tents holding

broken memories of what

she once thought her future could touch

could taste like.

She imagined warm molasses

or maple.

Or more than melancholy.

 

Oakland you smell

like my sons.

Kings I have not held yet

May never speak.

I see them scattered

among you spying.

Wearing their masks

we’ve made them.

You know them:

CRAZY HOMELESS
THUG
MURDERER
BRUTE.

I know they are

BROKEN-HEARTED.

BEWILDERED.

BRUISED.

BATTERED

Like playing the field for keeps.

Fighting back

and forth.

Forcing survival

with something other than the masters’

crooked ragged rusting tools.

They remember

what we’ve taught them (

money cannot buy happiness) and as such

are overjoyed because

they have none.

They are working with

Nothing

but

beautiful minds to hide.

Dodging head hunters

they seem to hover something like

what some, misinformed, call hopelessly.

But all they have is hope.

It’s gypsy food for survival and

Oakland, you are home to a host of

angry nymphs and nomads

clawing at all forms

of sparkling black instability.

They shimmy swift under

Silver blue star linings panting

gasping gulping

goals and

need

and bullshit

on ground they cannot trust

to keep still

cannot trust not to crumble

beneath them.

They are creeping quickly

Quietly under cover.

 

Oakland you are like an

almost

kissing cousin,

a middle school throwback,

you are thrill of chase,

are spin the bottle with

3 girls I’d never touch

and only one I long for.

You are anxious,

Are anticipation.

Walled up.

In spine.

You are knots

in throats

and fists.

You are dreams screaming

Breaking free

You are

A toss up in time

This time

Oakland

You are becoming

You are a becoming

You are

A well of wishing mothers

And fathers

And daughters and terrorists

And frightened visionaries and soul squatters.

You are survivors.

You are breath.

You are just now breathing.

Take yourself in strong,

Now,

Oakland.

We need you for this.

We need you

For believing.