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An Occupy Wall Street Idea: Poems For Police

Occupiers Should Have Two Poems In Their Pockets

I have been watching LiveStream video of Occupy Wall Street and other occupations fairly obsessively. I aspire to be an eye witness, who will discourage the government from doing bad things to protesters. I try to e-mail my friends when important things are happening, like the fairly surprise Pete Seeger concert, or a conflict with police.

While watching the brave souls who are marching in the street, I have noticed an interesting pattern. Demonstrators have things they need to communicate. Though, in the heat of the moment, it is difficult to find words. What if occupiers sat down before marching, and wrote two poems: One poem for the police behind the barricades and one poem for a possible arresting officer?

Many people, standing on the peaceful side of police barricades, feel the need to engage the police with shouts and implications. There have been veterans, imploring the police to respect freedom and show honor. There have been African American men, begging police to see how this moment is like the Civil Rights movement, and the police should let the protesters be.

Sometimes, the people shouting say things that make other people nervous. (Sometimes, wound up words, inadvertently sound like threats.) Sometimes, the people shouting have a powerful point, but it gets lost in their anger and confusion. Sometimes the people shouting start to curse a lot. Cursing to me, shows that they probably have more to articulate than their thoughts can keep up with. Sometimes the people shouting start to lose their voice. That to me, means that the people shouting are probably rising to a level of power, wisdom, and authority, that their vocal chords cannot keep up with.

For all these reasons, I think it might be useful if, in preparation for marching, if some people wrote their own “Poem To Police Behind The Barricades”. It would be great if the poem was created when someone was calm, and could remember all the wisdom they wanted to share. It would be great if the poem had amazing insights, and words that might replay over and over again later in the policemen’s minds. I am going to write some short and long poems for the policemen behind the barricades. But, truly, everyone’s poem would be from a different perspective.

What I have written, is my own poem for a potential arresting officer. I do not believe that I am up to a civil disobedience arrest for this round of the revolution. But, in case I am, here is what I will try to recite, as I am carried away…

Poem To My Arresting Officer

A poem for you, because everyone deserves a good poem.
And, right now, I have a lot to express.

Who am I?
This person in the clutches of your arms?
I am a child.
My parents, still living, are waiting
for my phone call to say I am okay.
I am an aunt, a friend, a neighbor.

I live on the second floor.
The woman across the hall will miss
the sound of my teapot whistling
tomorrow morning, if you keep me overnight.

I wonder who you are?
Who are your family and friends?
Do they miss you when you are at work?
Will they ask you what you did tonight?

Not sure you truly know what brought me here.
I needed to express my disgust
with billionaires who take money and protection
and bailouts from our government
and then give little or nothing back.

I felt I had to come here to catch the attention of an otherwise
distant and aloof government.
This seems like the only way to make them listen and care
that my neighbors are losing their jobs, and losing their houses,
and worrying over their children’s future.

So, that is why I am here.
It is little old me verses the billionaires.

I do wonder how you got into the middle of it.
I imagine that some of it is your need for money and a job.
And, maybe you have some wish, from childhood, or adolescence,
or still now, to do well for your community.

May I tell you what I wish for you tonight?

I hope that you will see the humanity in my eyes and treat me gently.
I hope that you will always be paid fairly and treated fairly.
I hope that your pension is not stolen by the collusion of
the billionaires and the government.
I hope that some day you will be released from this horrible, corrupt
and unjust system of billionaires and their schemes of repression,
either by quitting this job,
or because the work that my friends and I are doing here
actually creates a better world some day.

And, I hope that whatever happens tonight,
and whatever happens to me later in the system
you are about to throw me into,
that your family and friends will be proud
of how you handled things and how did your job.

And, I hope that I can call my parents very soon,
and tell them that I am alright.

What do you think?


If you write some poems to police that you want to share, you can join the folks at Poetry@OccupyWallStreet on FaceBook. I am going to post this over there now. – KW

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