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Tuesday, January 24, 2012


by Martin Willitts Jr

After 110 days of peaceful demonstration, Occupy Syracuse was forced out of “Perseverance Park.”

110 days to break us down,
dismantle us, like words
are deconstructed or misused
or misheard, bent
by politicians by their belief
in co-opting or shouting against us
how wasteful and destructive we are,
when all we wanted
was a chance to say something,
like kindling fire,
to make people restless
at the possibility we will disturb their dream
of what we should be and are not,
a consumer of lies, like they are, tents
folded into origami memories,
protest signs sighing,
and the things we stand for
are portrayed as destructive,
even though peaceful and supposedly our rights,
stampeded by the right,
so what we are is 110 words of loss,
what is the length of an eviction notice,
how long did it take you to notice me,
where are 110 justifications
for the wrong things we see,
the 110 things you think we are doing wrong,
taking a 110 minutes to sign
a proclamation declaring us illegal,
antlers growing and steam in your sentences
to sentence us,
110 gavels by the judge,
110 steps pacing a cell door,
110 watt light bulb flicking out on liberty’s lamp,
110 minutes for me to make one phone call
and my time was up and I am crap out of luck,
110 stars visible in the night
or is that 110 snowflakes or is it 110 degrees,
or does it matter when my freedom is withheld,
kept in check and balances,
the scales of justice tilting like a smirk,
as I count backwards from 110 to keep busy
and focus, as you wonder if I used 110 words.

Martin Willitts Jr was nominated for two Best of The Net awards and his 5th Pushcart award. He has had nine poetry chapbooks accepted in 2011 including True Simplicity (Poets Wear Prada Press, 2011), My Heart Is Seven Wild Swans Lifting (Slow Trains, 2011), Why Women Are A Ribbon Around A Bomb (Last Automat, 2011), Art Is Always an Impression of What an Artist Sees (Muse Café, 2011), Protest, Petition, Write, Speak: Matilda Joslyn Gage Poems (Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation, 2011), How To Find Peace (Kattywumpus Press, 2011), Playing The Pauses In The Absence Of Stars (Main Street Rag, 2012), No Special Favors (Green Fuse Press, 2012),  and Secrets No One Wants To Talk About (Dos Madres Press, 2011).