Power-Washed

— Barbara Saxton

A magical sight
in the Berkeley dusk hour: two backpacking tents
stuffed full of balloons, suspended
in strange helium-induced stasis, and floating below,
a hand-lettered sign ostentatiously claiming
the whole evening sky as Our Space.

After viewing this splendid display, I googled
my first born son, and quickly discovered him,
clad in his uniform of newly resurrected
revolution&mdashfaded jeans, rumpled sweatshirt,
unkempt beard&mdashnewly accessorized
by bulging knapsack and a muddy
half-collapsed tent slung casually
over one shoulder. Looking tired but determined,
armed with only convictions, he stared down
two cops in full riot regalia.

The look in his eyes reminded me
of his two-hours-old self, a newborn gazing in disbelief
at doctors who tore him from his mother’s
soft arms, and then wheeled her away.
How dare you? For shame . . .

Like the millions of poor,
old, homeless or sick, I was hemorrhaging,
lifeblood pouring out, organs one by one
shutting down, Yet, unlike today’s victims
of greed and malfeasance, my torrent
could be cauterized; no such luck
for those warned to disperse or be clubbed.
How dare you? For shame . . .

The other day, when I typed in Occupy Cal
I was routed to a surreal ABC news clip.
After a fifteen-second pop-up
about Cunard “Disney” Cruises, a bulldozer appeared
that cruelly consigned Regentosaurus Rex
to an early dumpster grave. After that, cameras focussed
on a lone UC employee powerwashing all evidence of protest
from the pristine white steps of Sproul Hall.

One thought on “Power-Washed

  1. This poem takes a fantastic turn with the "first born son" line. I was wondering if that was just a metaphor–this first born son, this Adam, this every man–but the poem turns out to be a greater metaphor itself, the blood loss and physical trauma of giving birth a fitting imagery of what is happening to us all, us 99%! Brava!

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