Three things about Zuccotti Park today:
1. Everything that counts was still there, after last night’s extreme weather ordeal of snow, sleet, and floods of icy water. There were throngs, with drumming, Halloween costumes, a woman on stilts, the usual cast of entrepreneurs selling buttons and what-have-you. I ran into a friend who told me he’d been talking with one of the librarians, a guy who’s Occupying while on sabbatical from an academic job. “He said that they have these librarian patrols, and around 5 o’clock this morning they found some people trying to steal books!” I was greatly cheered to hear that books have become such a valuable commodity in lower Manhattan that people take advantage of weather emergencies to try to make off with them.
2. A sign I liked, typed on 8-1/2 x 11 paper and affixed to a lamp post (text is paraphrased from memory, as I did not write it down on the spot):
We do not carry guns
We do not carry pepper spray
We do not carry nightsticks
We do not carry handcuffs
We do not obey orders
We are peaceful people
3. Just as I was about to head off towards the Brooklyn Bridge in the crystal clear, frosty weather, a lively march made up of mostly people of color was approaching the park, chanting “Ain’t no power like the power of the people, ’cause the power of the people don’t stop!” I wondered if this could be a re-scheduling of a march that had originally been advertised for Saturday, sponsored by the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, the A. Philip Randolph Institute, and several other people of color-led labor organizations. One participant handed me a flier for a “Stop Stop & Frisk” rally in Brooklyn at 4 p.m. this coming Tuesday. It begins at Tilden Projects in Brownsville (corner of Livonia and Rockaway Ave.) and will feature a march and civil disobedience at the 73rd precinct.
I read from The Puerto Rican Poets/Los Poetas Puertorriqueños, edited by Alfredo Matilla and Iván Silén (Bantam Books, 1972). I began with “Democracy” by Francisco Matos Paoli (“A total silence of the free world,/governed by plutocrats/where everything is sold:/shame, dew, entrails” ) and several poems by Julia de Burgos; her “Poem for My Death” was the big revelation here. (What a good idea for a writing prompt: assignment for tomorrow–let us all write poems for our own deaths.) I also read work by Hugo Margenat, Jorge María Ruscalleda Bercedóniz, Alfredo Matilla, and a wonderful urban vernacular poem called “TheTrial of Víctor Campolo” by Luis A. Rosario Quiles, which was great fun to read with its impressionistic snippets of teen aggression, boasting, and pinball-player lingo: “Little ball of fortune, make me a winner,/325, no chance, silver ball, ball of numbers,/rich ball, you’re all I got…” (115).