Remember these guys?! I do! They really made the poetry readings in Zuccotti Park happen. Enjoy.
Tag Archives: Occupy Wall Street
As I recently posted, we’re going to be putting on an OWS Poetry Anthology reading at the Jefferson Market Library on April 14th, from 2-5pm. As part of the reading, we’re going to be giving the library a copy of the OWS Poetry Anthology for them to keep as part of their special collections. If you’d like to be in the anthology that will be available at the New York Public Library, be sure to send me your poem by the evening of April 8th, a Sunday. As you probably know, the anthology is ever growing, but we’re going to give them an edition of it, so whatever has been sent to me by April 8th will go into the version of the anthology they’ll have on file. I hope to include your poem in it! Send work to stephenjboyer(AT)gmail.com. Also, if you want to help with some “fixing up” work on the anthology, get in touch with me! As I am trying to clean it up, fix formatting and typo’s. But no changes to any poems will be made! And only want help from people, that will respect all the differing work that has been sent into the anthology.
For those of you that need a prompt or some sort of push toward a poetic starting place… I suggest you go to Occupy Union Square and show solidarity with all the beautiful people currently living and occupying there… DISCOURSE DISCOURSE DISCOURSE and then go home and weave the conversations into an epic poem! For the more adventurous… I’ve been thinking it might be interesting to have people watch the documentary “Dark Secrets: Inside Bohemian Grove” by Alex Jones and then write a poem from the eyes of the owl god Moloch. Shoot forth from the eyes Moloch and unleash verse upon the robed men gathered to worship you!
Remember reality: PEOPLE HAVE THE POWER. ALL PEOPLE. HAVE THE POWER. The people gathered in the documentary may have accumulated “wealth” but it’s actually THE PEOPLE, you know, EVERYBODY that has THE POWER. I don’t mean to get all Star Wars on you, but it’s true… The elites NEED us. We do not need them. Spring forth, GOD/DESS, (the elites worship you) and fill their souls with verse! Moloch! You are the center of a weird, bizarre ancient Canaanite, Lucifarian, Babylonian ceremony, please make sure I get a spot on the guest list…
“What sphinx of cement and aluminium bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination?
Moloch! Solitude! Filth! Ugliness! Ashcans and unobtainable dollars! Children screaming under the stairways! Boys sobbing in armies! Old men weeping in the parks!
Moloch! Moloch! Nightmare of Moloch! Moloch the loveless! Mental Moloch! Moloch the heavy judger of men!
Moloch the incomprehensible prison! Moloch the crossbone soulless jailhouse and Congress of sorrows! Moloch whose buildings are judgement! Moloch the vast stone of war! Moloch the stunned governments!
Moloch whose mind is pure machinery! Moloch whose blood is running money! Moloch whose fingers are ten armies! Moloch whose breast is a cannibal dynamo! Moloch whose ear is a smoking tomb!
Moloch whose eyes are a thousand blind windows! Moloch whose skyscrapers stand in the long streets like endless Jehovas! Moloch whose factories dream and choke in the fog! Moloch whose smokestacks and antennae crown the cities!
Moloch whose love is endless oil and stone! Moloch whose soul is electricity and banks! Moloch whose poverty is the specter of genius! Moloch whose fate is a cloud of sexless hydrogen! Moloch whose name is the Mind!
Moloch in whom I sit lonely! Moloch in whom I dream angels! Crazy in Moloch! Cocksucker in Moloch! Lacklove and manless in Moloch!
Moloch who entered my soul early! Moloch in whom I am a consciousness without a body! Moloch who frightened me out of my natural ecstasy! Moloch whom I abandon! Wake up in Moloch! Light streaming out of the sky!
Moloch! Moloch! Robot apartments! invisible suburbs! skeleton treasuries! blind capitals! demonic industries! spectral nations! invincible madhouses! granite cocks! monstrous bombs!
They broke their backs lifting Moloch to Heaven! Pavements, trees, radios, tons! lifting the city to Heaven which exists and is everywhere about us!
Visions! omens! hallucinations! miracles! ecstasies! gone down the American river!”
excerpt from HOWL
On February 20th, 2012, WBAI had me on their Occupy Broadcast to talk about the OWS Poetry Anthology.
Here’s the show in its entirety (I come on at 8:40 and continue for about 20 minutes):
For more progressive talk, go to WBAI.org! Or for the anthology, go to the People’s Library wordpress page! I wanted to read more poems on the show, but ran out of time. Alas, I was able to read work by CA Conrad, Lara Weibgen, Sparrow and Ras Osagyefo. Just a handful of poets but hopefully representative of the vast diversity the anthology has compiled.
Continuing Laurie Charnigo’s essay on Protest History, here is part 3 of 4 from Occupy the OccuPAST: Echoes of Dissidence in the UPS Underground Newspaper Collection.
Although newspapers, as shown in the previous examples, varied on issues so widely that any attempt to include them all would be impossible for this piece, they all bonded loosely as a movement through their unified opposition to the war in Vietnam. Many of the issues most widely shared focused on American imperialism, ecological awareness, dismantling the military industrial complex, and the erosion of constitutional rights such as free speech, expression and the right to peacefully protest. Corporate greed, growing commercialism, inequality, distrust of mass media and “The Establishment” were issues all papers had in common. The writings in this collection are echoes of concerns people are now raising in OWS.
Despite their differences, nearly all underground newspapers became the target of censorship and police harassment. We have the Patriot Act. They had J. Edgar Hoover and the Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO). In “Dirty Tricks on the Underground Press,” Geoffrey Rips cites a report from the UPS which indicated that at least 60% of their members experienced “interference” from the authorities. (47) According to Rips, this “interference” included “prosecutions in the courts, official interruption of distribution, bomb threats and bombs by groups with links to the authorities, harassment of customers and printers, wiretaps, and infiltration by police agents.” Trying to publish an underground paper in a place like Jackson, Mississippi left David Doggett, editor of the Kudzu, financially and psychologically crushed. Rips also reports on how the Black Panther Party (BPP), considered to be a terrorist organization by the FBI, was a constant target of harassment. According to Rips, in a particularly absurd memorandum to the FBI, authorities in Newark suggested spraying bundles of the BPP newspaper with a “chemical known as Skatole” which “disburses a most offensive odor on the object sprayed.” (Rips, 48). The object was to spray as many papers with this stinky substance in order to disrupt distribution of the paper. Authorities also harassed underground newspapers by arresting street vendors for such things as “vagrancy” or distributing obscenity. Streitmatter wrote that:
“On the very day that Richard Nixon was elected President, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover sent a memo to his offices coast to coast. The subject of the communiqué was a plan Hoover had developed to halt what his lieutenants were characterizing, with considerable panic, as the ‘vast growth’ of counterculture papers.” (Steitmatter, 214).
It is unnerving to realize that surveillance and erosion of free speech continues under the Patriot Act.
Lest I be accused of over-romanticizing the Sixties Era underground press, I would be remiss not to point out some of its flaws…and there are many. The sixties counterculture papers are often dismissed by scholars as unprofessional, naïve, “hippie,” drivel. It’s certainly true that a forage through the underground papers does turn up its fair share of poorly written news filled with typos, bad artwork, and misinformation. And, heck yeah, there’s a lot of sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll. So what? One might even argue that liberating sex and legitimizing rock n’ roll were monumental feats in our cultural history.
Even though many of the issues expressed by the counterculture movement were extremely serious there is an ever-present element of humor which runs throughout the underground press. That zany mixture of silliness and seriousness is what is also fun and charming about the writers and artists of the underground press. As Harvey Wasserman (Liberation News Service) wrote in Sean Stewart’s recently-published book On the Ground: an Illustrated Anecdotal History of the Sixties Underground Press in the U. S., “we were not only political activists but comedians…”(Stewart, 180).
All silliness aside, one should not forget that the underground newspaper collection also documents one of the greatest youth movements in U.S. history. The papers are filled with serious and thoughtful discourse concerning the Vietnam War, civil rights, ecology, to the evils of over-consumerism. With gusto and cleverness, articles of sheer brilliance and beauty were published in the underground press. It’s also important to remember that the underground press often broke news on issues before it was deemed appropriate or fitting for mainstream papers. As Rodger Streitmatter suggests in Voices of Revolution: The Dissident Press in America, the underground press was the first to bring forth the truth about what was really happening in Vietnam and why our involvement in it was doomed. Prior to the Tet Offfensive in 1968, Streitmatter reports that all major newspapers supported U.S. involvement in Vietnam, even claiming that the U.S. had almost won. Following the Tet Offensive, mainstream news sentiment quickly flip-flopped to opposition against continued military action. (Streitmatter, 197). Photographs and stories began to expose the extent of the horrors of Vietnam. In their news coverage of the conflict in Vietnam, the newspaper giants were years behind the underground newspapers. (Streitmatter, 199).
The 11th update of the OWS Poetry Anthology is officially online, here. The latest update has about a hundred pages of poems and some poetic oil paintings that cartoonist/artist, Sharon Rosenzweig, shared with us. One of her works is the above image.
All poems are welcome to be added to the anthology. If you would be so kind as to send poems in the following format (size 12, TIMES font):
by, Author (normal)
for JOE JOHN (italics)
SOMEWHERE, FARAWAY (italics)
BODY OF POEM (your unique vision!)
The OWS Poetry Anthology is open to all languages! Every week more and more languages are added to the anthology as more and more poets from around the world are joining in to make this text more nuanced. I’m very sorry, I’m limited to English so please pass this on in other languages if you possess such magickal abilities. No poem will be translated as that creates a heirachy of language. However, if the poet who sends in a poems wishes to include the poem in more than one language, all the versions will be added.
Everyone is also welcome to contribute to the “POETIC INTRODUCTIONS” section of the anthology. The introduction section is a place for “essays/writings/stories” about what the Anthology means to you. It’s a space for you to write an introduction for the anthology.
On February 17th, at St. Marks Church, the Poetry Project is honoring the OWS Poetry Anthology with a celebratory reading. It’s free! The reading will be held in the same fashion as the OWS Poetry Assemblies, Poets will put their names in a “hat” and every reader will call the next reader at random. You can see this style of reading in action by watching the recent OWS Poetry Assembly that was held at the Bowery Poetry Club here.
Because the event is taking place at St. Mark’s Church we are going to be able to offer poets more time to represent their work. Depending on the size of the crowd, poets will have 6-10minutes to read their work. All are welcome to join.
And remember, Feel free to print and distribute the anthology as you envision the anthology should look, however, I encourage you to spread it as its intended to represent all that have contributed.
On Tuesday, January 24th about 20 people met at the Red Cube down by Liberty Plaza to march in solidarity with the People’s Library to One Police Plaza to retrieve five children’s books (a few of which were Spanish-English language books) the NYPD took from librarians back in the beginning of December. Many of us thought the trek would probably take a while due to police bureaucracy but none of us for once thought we’d walk away empty handed. After all we had the receipts. And we had one of the “unidentified white male” librarians (me) that were in the park that evening and are in the park on a regular basis. Long story short, we went to One Police Plaza, I was the only person allowed into the building as I was the one with the receipt. My fellow occupier cohorts were lucky to have stayed behind, as the NYPD took my photo using facial recognition software upon entering the building, they made copies of my ID, they radioed to officers throughout the building, “WARNING: THERE IS AN OCCUPIER ENTERING THE BUILDING.” At every turn officers commanded me to stop, then allowed me to continue on my journey, an eerie continual reminder that I was being watched and I was in the heart of the police state.
Finally I made it to the bottom of One Police Plaza and waited to meet the clerk working the Reclaim Property desk. Once I finally presented my papers, the clerk explained the computer was slow as molasses and I should expect to wait awhile. Eight minutes later the clerk looked up and asked me who the books belonged to.
“They’re everybody’s… I mean they’re mine,” I replied…. the clerk explained that the cases information had popped up! Then glared as she told me I couldn’t take the books, “since you have the invoice receipts, it suggests the books probably do belong to you, but because the officer wrote on the paperwork ‘unidentified white male’ we can’t give them to you. We just want to make sure the books go to the right person.” –Oh I understood!
“But”, I retorted, “I’ve been heavily involved with the People’s Library. It’s really easy to prove this fact…”
The clerk looked up and gave me a long stern look before further explaining, “We just want to make sure the books get to the rightful owner. This invoice suggests the books were left on the bench and that they don’t necessarily belong to anybody. Let me tell you what I’m going to do… I’m going to contact the officer that collected the books and we will send him a copy of your ID and if he indeed validates your claim, you can collect the books, okay.”
From behind the clerk I heard a loud cackle, and then a detective appeared and exclaimed in a heavy Brooklyn accent, “Like an NYPD Officer is going to remember someone’s face!”
As oddly and quickly as the detective appeared, they disappeared. The clerk acted like nothing happened, smiled and asked for my ID. I presented my ID, realizing this was the third time during the trip NYPD recorded my information. Once my information was AGAIN collected, the clerk gave me the officers contact information, suggested I too try to contact the officer, she explained the officer was from the Bron, the NYPD has been deploying officers from every Borough to watch the park, then again she gave me a long cold look as she handed me back the paperwork.
On 12/05/2011 at 10:44pm The NYPD gave a librarian the invoice for the five children’s books seized:
“AT TPO UNK MALE WHITE DID PLACE THESE BOOKS ON A PARK BENCH I/O OF ZUCOTTI PARK AND REFUSED TO PICK THEM UP. THE ABOVE ITEMS ARE BEING VOUCHERED FOR SAFEKEEPING.”
What actually happened?
A few of our librarians were in the park that evening with a handful of books with them. By the beginning of December, the People’s Library librarians understood loud and clear that NYPD and Brookfield Security did not want to see books in the park. Two days after the park was violently raided and everything was cleared out, fifteen officers came and took away around 200 copies of books that people had brought into the park in solidarity. Every day after that, Brookfield Security and NYPD changed their story, one day they’d let us bring in carts of books, the next day they’d let us set up on the bench, the next day no books would be permitted, the next day we could put books on the tables, a vicious continuum of police state brutality. Instead of NYPD officers ever acting supportive of our attempts to give out free books, they continually used fear tactics and changed their story making it impossible for us to ever feel safe (when that is supposed to be the reason our tax payer dollars ensure they’re able to support their families). So on December 5th, a few of the OWS librarians were in the park with a small collection of books, 5 children books were on the bench that used to house The People’s Library. Officers approached a librarian and threatened arrest and the removal of the books. When the librarian backed off, the officer took the books. An hour later officers approached librarians that were in the park and delivered us the invoice to retrieve the books.
Currently I’m working on validating myself to the NYPD so I can get these books back. Either I will be validated and they’ll give me back the books or we’re going to need to gather a large crowd and go cause a big scene in front of One Police Plaza.
This is America. Books must never be imprisoned! You can watch the action on Jan. 24th, 2012 to get the books back on this livestream link.