Five Occupy Poems by Mike Jurkovic

Hudson Valley poet Mike Jurkovic made repeated trips down to Occupy last autumn. Here’s his report in poems.


Following the dispossessed,
I never looked up at what blocked the sun
from warming the rebel camp,
The shadow of a country
that lost its spine that day,
Consumed by smoke and zealotry.

The commotion of perfect union
is a querulous debate
Of powdered wig lawyers and bankers
Devoted to starving the locals.

But we know the way to the trenches,
the underground maze of the city’s heart.
Rats one day, rebels the next
Against a free market engine
Eating its own

Using our knives and forks,
Our tables and chairs
Evicting us en masse to the street
Where every victory grows.

* * *


“Hey excuse me buddy
yer in the bike path!”

“Yea! Well how man times
you been in my lane,”

We barked by way of introduction
till we settled on common ground:

The Mets suck, the furious need.

* * *


It was a rainy period
And the rolling fog bred dark vigor.

There was a warning
But TV was much more fun,
Its denizens vain,
Intolerant of freedom.

This period of unspecified tint
held no moral character.

It was a time to roll out
Christmas in July.
So all the kids knew
What they were missing.
Except the rich who garnished gold.

It was a time of slavery
and a god who condoned,
Condemned the intellectual,
starved out the poor.

A junkie’s corpse,
a pile of dead crows at its feet.
An era defaced
By dissolute men
Who chose to bow, not stand.

* * *

Teach Your Children

To hell with that Graham Nash song
This is fuckin’ war!

So before we’re all soiling ourselves
We best take to the streets
And teach these kids
A thing or two
About anarchy and Molotov.

With nothing to lose
These kids need tutors,
mentors. Guidance from the franchise
that freed an entire people.

Our last stand isn’t a tourist event
but a force against common peril.

* * *


Only a god with binoculars
Could be so far removed
from these streets. Especially now,
with Americans on every corner
Marching through the world.

The goal is space. Take up the roads they ride on.
Don’t teach their kids. Don’t
fix their pipes or put out their fires.
Don’t drive their ransom home

Or they’ll buy us cheap
And say they created 64 million jobs.
Bullshit! We’re slaves! The republic
has been trending such and for quite a while now

We’ve known about the lords ‘n ladies
doubling down – buying both sides of the isle
until the three are now one under God.

When the money’s gone shit
and the food’s gone rotten
You never know when
Those Mad Max movies
will come true.

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