Notes On Zuccotti Park

Photographs from Zuccotti Park

Notes on Zuccotti Park One: Mic Check! A Pay Check Away From You. DSC00539

Mic check!

They are just a pay check away from being you. Take strength

Keep your courage, for yourself

And for them, they need you.

They who are today up there

Imprisoned– parked in concrete shelves—scraping the skies.

In these towers rising all around you

Surrounded by walls

Clinging to a useless fantasy that these streets are meant to lead them

To those paved with gold

But no! Yours is the golden path.

You who sit here in the park, enclosed by police barricades-

Liberated by thoughts, your dialogue.

Under an October night sky without stars

Sounds of your drums beat the police sirens

And rise above the din of ongoing construction

Called Freedom at the crossroads

Of Trinity and Liberty.

And there, a surveillance—NYPD tower

And a sign that says no skateboarders allowed in the Park.

Winter’s mist begins to rise off the damp pavements.

You see the lit windows high above

And you think they shine like places light years distance from you

Here in the park in the darkness below,

As though signaling–a passing, to you.

Silhouettes framed in the windows high up above you

In amber light, they appear caught in an eternity of fear, petrified.

And you sympathize

For rents have to be paid, mortgages met

What happens if there is no pay check?

They know they are just a paycheck away from you.

As you Mic check, in your attempt to reach them,

They know this too: it is not light that distances them from you—

They are just a pay check away from you.

Notes at Zuccotti Park Two: Truth Parked

You park those questions of yours

Whose words you sense form truths

In the margins

Of your note book and note taking

In the in between spaces.

Here, where you’ve parked those questions

Truth arrives, resides fleetingly

As if an encampment of nomads

And refugees—who know that sooner or later

Concerns for hygiene will erase them.

Outside the windows of your places

From where you dare not look out

Frightened by the prospect of something new-

In these in between spaces

From the margins you know have spilled out

Whole articulate manifestos in these between spaces.

In these margins you’ve parked the truth.

As you sit around your conference tables

Frowning with purpose into your blackberries

Avoiding looking outside your windows at all costs

Trying to ignore the sound from the streets below you

Taking notes diligently, religiously, faithfully

You know half in dread half exhilarated that

You have heard this sound these words all before

Its time you know:

It is possible, not just inside your head

To change the score.

Where does it breath?

This truth—so fleetingly

So where does it breath before it goes?

In those spaces, it lies amongst the lies.

In the margins,

Of note books, like yours

In the deviations from

Dutiful and diligent copious

Official note taking.

In the pauses

And cracks.

In the whys?

In the : Oh really?

In the opposite

In the opposition.

In the pauses and halts

Before, during and after

The Whys?

That’s where it tries to breath,

Move,

Dance.

March—and skateboard and bike.

It tries.

That’s the space:

In between the in between places.

You say you’ve heard it all before and

You say that

Truth does not bear repetition.

But Repetition can bare truth.

Notes on Zuccotti Park Three: Prophets of a New Age.Protesterwithheadcamera

You are the transforming sages

Of an advancing age bringing a way forward that is new–

This autumn new flowers bloom

Here in the park

You are the prophets

Talking of new human relationships

Built on friendships and cooperatives

Of Commons.

You are the wealth of nations

You are the

Prophets of a new age

In a world

Where profits are made for a few

On speculation and nothing produced

Where citizens are reduced

To statistics of foreclosure and homelessness

And joblessness grows

And people are laid off every day

And factories and farms are closed.

And freedom of speech becomes undisclosed.

You are the wealth of nations

You are the

Prophets of a new age.

Out here shivering and staying out in the cold

Trying to cure

Your country —the world

Of an unchecked epidemic of greed.

Here in the park you are the transforming sages

You are the wealth of nations

You are the

Prophets of a new age.

Notes on Zuccotti Park Four: Mic-Check-Mic-Check

Mic-check-Mic Check

Fingers shivering, quivering, fluttering in approval

Every single sentence, words, repeated, amplified, expanded

By people

Standing

Side by side.

The ones in front say and hear

What the ones in the back say and hear

There is no front there is no back

Everyone speaks and repeats

Everyone a leader here.

Everyone a reporter here

Everyone a historian and the documenter here.

Mic-check Mic Check

There is another way

Mic-check Mic check

Rampant greed is not the way

Mic check, Mic check

Stop the wars and killings

Wonder why the media aren’t embedded here.

Mic check, mic check

Create jobs instead of wars

Mic Check—mic check

Time to check if basic needs are being met

Mic check mic check

Wasteful wants cannot go on.

Mic check Mic Check

Food, shelter, jobs for all!

Mic Check, mic check

Tax the wealthy commensurate to their wealth

Mic check Mic Check

Question how they made their wealth

Question how to society they pay this debt.

Mic check Mic Check

Make them payback taxpayers wealth

Mic Check Mic Check

Philanthropists my ass!

Mic Check mic check

To adjust for all the years

In which the rich have not been taxed—

Erase all students' debts—

Oh Yes!

Mic Check mic check

Refinance and infuse cash to homeowners

Remove a portion of their debt

Fingers shivering, quivering, fluttering in approval

Each single sentence, words, repeated, amplified, expanded

By people

Standing,

Side by side.

The ones in front say and hear

What the ones in the back say and hear

There is no front there is no back

Everyone speaks and repeats

Everyone a leader here.

Everyone a reporter here

Everyone a historian and the documenter here.

Notes on Zuccotti Park Five: Rapt in Decency

Wrapped in shimmering autumn leaves, the city

Steps softly on her toes amongst a citadel

Of refugees, rapt in decency’s grace at her feet.

Gestures to the breeze go gently here

Stays the rain for another night

For these children in quiet hours

Just now, only have, fallen asleep.

Cradling in her arms

Warm sheltering blankets

Stitched and woven with her million stories

Of desires and dignities

Sewn words from every language

Voices of the world in her streets

With these, the city covers, each,

Claiming them, all her, children.

The city tip toes tucking them in—

Embraces each rapt in decency’s grace at her feet

Tired, worn out—determined and free, caring.

Out in the open, naked to the elements

Yet, this, the only sanctuary.

There rests a boy not yet shaving-

Chin propped by a fist,

A desire still for thumb to lips–

And over there a girl just a wisp in army boots

No less, too big for her—tough

a pet dog napping at her feet.

There slumbers the child white hair—

Thinning—beard grey—

No harm shall come to hers so dear.

Wrapped in shimmering autumn leaves, the city

Steps softly on her toes amongst a citadel of refugees,

Embraces each rapt in decency’s grace at her feet

Gestures to the breeze go gently here

Stays the rain for another night

For these children in quiet hours

Just now, only have, fallen asleep.

The city watches as the attendant breeze tidies up

Picks up a cardboard sign here,

Props it up next to the satchel there—

Unfurled stripes turn checkered as the breeze curls

The banner to cover a sleeper there—no fear,

The city watches her children through the night—

And look now dawn too is near.

By Maniza Naqvi

Also by Maniza Naqvi:

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Battle Songs: These Children Can’t Be Bought

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The Great Land Grab: Beyla

The Kiss

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The Leftist And The Leader (A Play)

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