Author Archives: Stephen Boyer

About Stephen Boyer

I am a writer, visual artist and performance artist. My work has shown in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York City. The goal of creating this website is to be able to access artists and creative minds that I find stimulating. Whenever I post an interview with an artist I give the artist the final word in regards to the result of the interview because I am tired of media companies misrepresenting artists. My goal is to primarily post content that I find interesting, I try to avoid posting about things that aren't worth my time or the viewers time. If you have a story that you'd like to post or any sort of proposal you'd like to run by me, by all means, email!

EMOTIONAL NIGHT IN LIBERTY SQUARE

As you probably know, Liberty Plaza was raided last night. An hour before the park was raided my friend Jack Nemo, an older man, let me know a Community Affairs Officer of the same age had told him and an older woman, Kathie, that they should take notice of all the cops, press, and sanitation trucks that had taken to the nearby area. Before leaving, the cop ominously warned, “Normandy”. Jack Nemo then relayed the information to me and I relayed the warning, but was met with much skepticism as we’ve heard the cops would raid us just about every night. And then the lights came on, the cops paraded to the edge of the steps in full riot gear and a sound canon fired, announcing our peaceful time protesting in the park for nearly two months had come to a screeching halt. Campers across the park quickly climbed out of their tents screaming, “WAKE UP THE POLICE ARE HERE!” I ran into the library and let the handful of people sleeping in there know what was happening, then unlocked and pulled the OWS POETRY ANTHOLOGY from the shelves and strapped them to my body, then climbed atop a table in the park and read poems from the anthology. Immediately, the people of Liberty Plaza launched into action, a group of about a hundred protesters took to the kitchen and U-Locked/tied themselves down. After reading the third poem, the cops began to enter the park and I realized that I would most likely lose all of my possessions so I quickly grabbed a bag of my personal stuff, ran into the library and dumped a bunch of boxes of books onto the floor to make the cleaning up more difficult for the cops then ran my personal stuff and a few amazing books to a friends house around the corner. I naively thought I could get my stuff to my friends house and then re-enter the park but could only get to the corner of Liberty and Broadway after prepping myself for a long night.

Once on the corner I immediately launched into action and again started reading from the OWS POETRY ANTHOLOGY. Someone in the crowd said the cops wouldn’t respond to the poems but I countered, it’s not about the cops, it’s about making the voices of all those that have sent poems to the anthology heard. A few cops then got in my face and began pushing the crowd I was in up Broadway. I kept reading poems as the waved batons in our faces, and fellow protesters cried as we realized they were forcing all witnesses away from the park. The further we were pushed away, it seemed the louder the park became as the police became increasingly brutal. We watched in horror as the police entered the park swinging billy-clubs and slashing tents, similar to how police in Oakland brutally assaulted the protesters that had taken Oscar Grant Plaza.

A few moments later a man that had been tear gassed on the sidewalk ran in our direction and the group I was with took him to our friends place on Maiden Lane. I looked on in horror as his bloodshot eyes/face/body was directed into her apartment then into her shower. It reminded me of something that would happen in war-torn Eastern European country in the early nineties… I couldn’t believe this was happening in New York City. Simultaneously, we realized the library was being destroyed. Helplessly we watched the news as it showed clips of the entire park being scooped up and thrown into trash trucks. It’s appalling to think that a city with over 40,000 homeless, would allow for a park full of great resources, such as tents, tarps, sleeping bags, clothing, food, electronics, etc. to be thrown into the garbage. And I must reiterate, the police explained upon entering the park that all materials in the park would be available to be picked up later at a police location and the park was being evacuated because it was unsanitary and unsafe for humans to inhabit. The NYPD lied again!

Again I hit the streets, this time more librarians and fellow protesters had made it to the area and I went to CVS and picked up anti-acid to aid people that had been teargassed. I ran through the streets reading poems and looking out for wounded. Along the way, a main figure from the finance working group tapped me on the shoulder and demanded I join him on a secret mission, basically he told me that he had a very very large sum of cash in his backpack and needed to safely transport it several blocks away to get it into the hands of OWS lawyers. Michael, a fellow OWS occupier and poet joined us! We were given a number to call in case he was taken and he explained he would pass off the backpack to us so we could continue to run it to the lawyers. Luckily we were able to run it there undeterred. After safely moving the money, Michael and I landed in front of Trinity Church where I read poems to the 40 or so cops present for a half hour, finally screaming at them, “STAND ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF HISTORY! GO INTO THE PARK AND ARREST YOUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN BLUE THAT ARE TEAR GASSING AND BRUTALLY ASSAULTING PEACEFUL PROTESTERS. WAKE UP! STAND ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF HISTORY. DO NOT STAND FOR THIS BRUTALITY! BE REVOLUTIONARY!” Surprisingly, a few of the cops seemed to really respond and their eyes twinkled as they crept up closer to me… then Victoria, a key figure in the OWS movement, approached us and explained that the entire park had been tear gassed and that nothing was left. With this, I ran back around and down side streets to look for possibly wounded people. Surprisingly, everyone seemed okay. Later I learned that everyone that had been tear gassed had been arrested. We still do not know in what condition they are as they haven’t been heard from.

I then made my way to Foley square to hear the G.A. that had formed, hung out there for an hour, ate some food, discussed the craziness that was the night with folks and then went back to Zuccotti Park around 8am to see what it looked like. I heard rumors that bulldozers had run over the entire park, trees and all, luckily they were just rumors… HOWEVER, everything we brought to the park is gone. The beautiful library is gone. Our collection of 5,000 books is gone. Our tent that was donated is gone. All the work we’ve put into making it is gone. I’ve spent the last month and a half there. Currently I’m homeless so I’ve been completely dependent on the community that has sprung up there. I don’t know what is next and I don’t know how these next few steps will play out, however, I know that the one thing no amount of cleaning and bullying and policing can destroy is the tenacity of the human spirit. WE WILL OVERCOME!

I am so incredibly tired. I hope this account reads somewhat okay. I love you and will hopefully be getting you more books soon! Please send love poems to the OWS Poetry Anthology! We need your spirits to keep our spirits ablaze!

Love,
Stephen Boyer

56 Comments

Filed under Announcements

Solidarity with Oakland!

The Oscar Grant Plaza Gazette

Tuesday, October 25, 2011   Day 16

THIS IS WHAT A POLICE STATE LOOKS LIKE

Starting at about 4:45am this morning, Tuesday, October 25, approximately 500 police in riot gear attacked and destroyed the Occupy Oakland encampment at Oscar Grant Plaza.  Eyewitness reports as well as coverage from the San Jose Mercury News confirm the presence of officers from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department, Oakland, Berkeley, UC Berkeley, Pleasanton, Hayward, Fremont, Walnut Creek, Union City Newark, Santa Clara, San Francisco, and San Jose, as well as the California Highway Patrol.

In other words, it takes the better part of the police force of central California in order to violently repress the legitimate political will of the people.

Police attacked the peaceful protest with flash grenades, tear gas, and rubber bullets after moving in with armored vehicles.  Police established barricades as far apart as 11th and 17th. Over 70 people were arrested and the camp gear was destroyed and/or stolen by the riot police.

The LA Times confirms eyewitness reports to the Gazette that the police assaulted the peaceful protest with tear gas, rubber bullets, and flash-bang grenades after moving in with military-style armored vehicles.  (A military veteran mentioned concerning this type of grenade : “They use them in Iraq.  And also in parks in downtown Oakland.”)  Barricades were established as far apart as 11th and 17th Streets.  Between 70 and 90 arrests are reported. Continue reading

8 Comments

Filed under #OccupyOakland, Announcements, Solidarity, Stephen

All Languages are Needed for the Poetry Anthology


The Occupy Wall St. Poetry Anthology is blossoming!

Yesterday Patti Smith came to the People’s Library. She dropped off about ten copies of Just Kids and signed them and I showed her the poetry anthology and she liked it and we talked about Allen Ginsberg and the occupations in Spain and she told me she has been recovering from bronchitis but wants to get better and do more and I couldn’t stop glowing!! And then Patti left to walk around the park and some woman came up to me and was like, “HEY, CAN I TAKE A PICTURE OF YOU, YOU HAVE THE BIGGEST SMILE!” And I was like, “SURE, PATTI SMITH WAS JUST HERE! SHE’S ONE OF MY GREATEST LOVES!!” And then Patti came back! I was stocking books and noticed Patti had taken off her boots and gave her wool socks to an elderly woman sleeping in the park. It was so incredibly real and so incredibly altruistic/humble and I ran back up to her and we talked some more about her recent trip to Madrid, the marches she’s been going and the incredible spirit sweeping the globe. I told her I gave her poems after her performance/reading celebrating her anniversary of her first reading at St. Marks and she said she still has them. Then we exchanged info so we can try to set up a time for her to read/talk at the peoples library, so hopefully she’ll come down to the library! And hopefully she’ll send poems for the anthology!

Today the Wall St. Journal published an article on the anthology! And the anthology seems to continually get better! And it’s imperative we get someone that is a master of many languages to join the anthology so that the anthology isn’t English-centric. We need someone that can wrangle in poets from many languages so the poetic spirit of the anthology transcends language barriers. I feel the poems shouldn’t be translated as that would create a hierarchy of language. Instead, poets from all languages should contribute their poems and it’s up to the readership to evolve so they can appreciate the vastness of language! So please, please help me spread the word so the many poetic voices of all the languages of the world can contribute to this massive text of dissidence, a testament to the infinite beauty of the human spirit.

And if your language is an oral language then by all means come to the library, grab a copy of the anthology and repeat your poems continuously!!

5 Comments

Filed under Announcements, Poetry, Stephen

Occupy Wall St. Poetry Update

My name is Stephen Boyer! I’m a librarian at the People’s Library, I moved in full-time a couple weeks ago. I’ve been insanely busy getting the Occupy Wall St. Poetry Anthology off the ground and the WiFi here has been down, but now the WiFi is up and the anthology has reached a stable place so hopefully I’ll be able to start updating the blog regularly to fill in the readership as to the going-ons of what I’m doing at The People’s Library.

The OWS Poetry Anthology is currently only available at The People’s Library. Eventually it’ll be mass produced and probably online but for now I feel it’s imperative that it lives solely in the library. This way it maintains a power and an aura that will be lost once it is more widely available. And the feedback has been immense! If you haven’t had the chance to come down and read it, just imagine reading pages and pages and pages of voices of dissent as thousands occupy the space surrounding you. The anthology was born out of the poetry assembly. Every Friday night around 9:30pm poets of all walks of life and ages come in and read/perform their poetry. Folks that have been around the NYC poetry scene for a long time have been saying the poetry assembly is one of the greatest open mic reading series NYC has ever fostered and NYC has a great legacy of poetry. With that validation, I highly suggest you join us. Poetry illuminates the soul of Occupy Wall St. A lot of people are asking, “What are the demands” and the poets voices show just how nuanced the human spirit and impossible a set of demands truly is. This occupation is about transforming consciousness and the poetry community is a major part of that process. So please join us!

The anthology is open to all people and all poems. Obviously there are a lot of political poems landing in the anthology but its imperative we include all aspects of the human experience. Famous poets have included their work (Anne Waldman, Adrienne Rich, Michael McClure, and more), the Allen Ginsberg Society has sent us a poem on behalf of Allen, children have included their work, people of all walks of life have included your work. Again, all work is accepted and you can send your own poems to STEPHENJBOYER@GMAIL dot COM. Please include “Occupy Poetry” in the subject as my inbox has been flooded! But I love it! I want the anthology to get so large that it fills the entirety of Wall St.

Besides living in the library I’ve also helped start the Queer Caucus and I also blog at minorprogression where you can learn a lot more about me.

Here’s video of the Poetry Assembly:

22 Comments

Filed under Announcements, OccupyLibraries, Poetry, Stephen, Video