Last Night in Zuccotti Park

The police outnumber the people two to one. Not that police aren’t people, but when they put on that uniform and stand there, shoulder to shoulder, full arsenal on their cocked hips, arms crossed, eyes gleaming, well…they seem closer to cyborgs. If cyborgs had a rudimentary grasp of sarcasm. The condescension found between their brows would be alarming, if it weren’t for the presence of a secondary emotion: excitement. Yep, excitement, simmering just below the surface, observable in the quick twitch of the head and the way they are just a touch too eager to make eye contact.  “Please” they seem to be begging. The best you can do is ignore them.

The people occupy the square. They’re wrapped in cellophane “space blankets”, sparkling in the dim lights implanted in the concrete at their feet. Smiles, everywhere.  People sitting in huddles, standing alone, staring into space, selling neon star wars swords and funny flashing goggles. A band of musicians- three buckets, an air horn, and a euphonium- march past. It may as well be Disneyland. Here the excitement is external. Not brewing in some American macho fantasy behind the police façade, but buzz buzz buzzing around Zucotti Park, picking up energy from the hundreds of bodies that mill around with soft smiles and troubled eyes. It’s obvious a lot of people here don’t know what to do with themselves. They may not even know why they’re there. Who knows why I’m here. But the compulsion was enough that all kinds of people have stopped what they were doing to come down and mill about. Buzz Buzz. Occupying space.  This space and this time and a man wearing goggles paces the square with a sign held high over his head. “If not now, when?” “If not us, who?”

At the front of the park, “direct democracy” sweeps across the crowd in waves. The people hear the message to their right, turn their heads to the right, and repeat it with militant precision.

 

“NEXT ON THE BLOCK IS KAREN”

“Next on the block is Karen”

“next on the block is karen”

 

“HI, MY NAME IS KAREN”

“Hi, my name is Karen”

“hi, my name is karen”

 

“THERE HAVE BEEN SOME CONCERNS”

“There have been some concerns”

“there have been some concerns”

 

“ABOUT HOUSING FOR WOMEN, AND TRANSGENDERED”

“About housing for women and transgendered”

“about housing for woman and transgendered”

 

“GO ACROSS THE STREET”

“Go across the street”

“go across the street”

 

“TO THE RED LANTERN”

“To the red lantern”

“to the red lantern”

 

“AND ASK FOR LUKE”

“And ask for Luke”

“and ask for luke”

 

“SO YOU HAVE A PLACE TO SLEEP TONIGHT”

“So you have a place to sleep tonight”

“so you have a place to sleep tonight”

 

It matters, where you put your body.

 

I sit.

 

On my way out of the park, I overhear an officer complaining to his colleagues, ”this is so boring. I kinda wish something would happen.” A tall man in a long wool coat walks past with a blond, smiling woman on his arm. She waves to the officer. “Thank you officers!” she says. “You are America.” And then, turns in the direction of the protestors. “OCCUPY A JOB!” she manages to say without feeling shame.

We are the 99%.

Join the people this week: http://occupywallst.org/action/november-17th/

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~ by Vy on November 16, 2011.

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