What I Have to Say about Occupy Oakland


This growing number can’t yet imagine the tack that is worthy of it, but I want it to desperately.

I saw an immense, rumbling street party in a desolate industrial port.

At my least cynical, my most hyperbolic: the occupation alters my sense of time and space—capital’s hold on my body, my desires, my sense of possibility, a bit loosened, a bit of breathing room in the turtleneck.

A crowd flowed over the overpass, so many: it was the final shock of a totality perceptible only by bike.

Inverted gulls with gnats in their wings know somehow their inshore zone, their shallow shelf, at the port at the strike, and fly over students on the shipping carts—think, little behaviors, and fire will find you—students stood near our hearts where the horizon leaked; more humans moved without numbers, as they passed.

In this press, we don’t collide; we bump, chafe, rustle, stream alongside.

Limits to experience, conceptualization, and representation by temporal proximity and material massivity: inauguration of new conditions.

I believe in Occupy Oakland, but I also run a tiny little company, and that company keeps me and my four employees alive—so I stop listening when you say FUCK CAPITALISM.

I saw strangers looking out for kids.

Roaring human river, arched and spilling over steep horizon, pulsing with the blood-sound of ancient will.

I heard Free Speech Movement vets pulling themselves out of retirement to sing “We Shall Overcome.”

The elation in dance and tuba bolster a can’t-touch-this transgression and thus creating mental blocks to contribute for a new commons and to act purposefully and meaningfully in pursuit of one’s own and society’s (hopefully both without greed) substantive goals.

As the dull crimson of the sun sank behind the waves, figures danced on cast-iron scaffolds, drunk with the knowledge of their limbs.

I was there very late the night of the general strike and got tear-gassed twice and had many, many discussions and arguments with people in the following days re: tactics and violence and dividing, growing, and pushing the radical politics of the movement.

This growing number can’t yet imagine the task that is worthy of it, but I want it to desperately.

I just—I can’t really even begin to—it’s like everything is just so—ahhhh—it’s just so big and real and fuck, oh look, shit, Zuccotti Park getting raided—let’s watch the livestream—whoa—

Now I think we need something new from poetry.


Dillon Westbrook, Brian Edwards-Tiekert, Alli Warren, Chris Fan, Brenda Hillman, Lara Trale, Brian Ang, Jason Pontius, Mitch Trale, B. Ellis Williams, Kevin Seal, Dan Fisher, Gabe Johnson, Sophia Wang, Dillon Westbrook, Kate Schatz, and Charles Legere—11/3 to 11/17/2011