Recessionary Measures in Support of Occupy Seattle

By Ed SkoogOctober 21, 2011

Recessionary Measures in Support of Occupy Seattle

MONEY IS HORRIBLE, a bandage where

there should be a hand, and heart's engine

runs beat to daybreak. Money

and hands call to each other like

children at a pool; like this money

gathering noon into meadow.

It rains and rains. What is sleeping,

the mayor asks and asks.

What is a structure? The mayor

is named Mayor Mike McGinn

and he has made mistakes, asking

the people in the street the wrong

questions about their umbrellas:

is that your house? Where is your house?

What does it mean "to camp?"

Is sleeping political speech?

If money is political speech,

what isn't political speech?

Currencies: the arrival of their shadows

is the movement of obsession

navigating the aerial and the snag

persistent as grief or brief as crush

they hop forward or gleam rat-sleek

through territory they only sort and take.

What is and isn't money?

Many have been sleeping in money.

The money is congregating in the street.

Mayor Mike McGinn asks the money

what it wants and it says more money

and for the street to fall

back into its sleep. When police

shoot woodcarvers, sleep gets harder.

When protesters smash storefronts,

money wakes up more mayors.

Debate is the heart of this body

we make. But there is also the pleasure

getting in a cop's face gives you, or

conversely, just arresting everybody

self-destructive and nobody's better.

But also the pleasure of mere expression:

the sign, the theater, the symbols, the singing,

the paint that drips down from the letter.

If money is speech and a corporation is

a person, what is a person who is speaking?

Westlake Park is a cobblestone triangle

with a few blocky fountains, and a pool,

and planters that function as bollards

abridged by the Bank of America.

You can catch the Monorail nearby.

You can catch heroin nearby, catch

Bill and Mary Gates Foundation,

catch Mariners and Sounders, catch

a salmon at the Pike Place Market.

You can drive by and not know anything.

Money is a bandage where, above the oak,

blue absences arrive with gun-orange range.

It soars tightly near the real subject;

money is erotica that keeps its promises,

where it is always wings, like inheritance

teaching survival along the bark's fissures.

On Sunday I hunkered down too

beside the cardboard box of clean socks

someone dropped by, and was among

strange friends whose eyes I recognized

as more or less mine, their signs the same

black and white as the See's Candy sign.

To locate the point of friction between

the large forces of capital, speech, justice

etc on a coffee cup, or whether an umbrella

is a structure is why Portland is the new

Seattle. What are we looking for at Westlake

Center all night, after the park closes?

The injustice that proves corruption

pleasure of confirmation and the fantasy

that justice will follow, but this has not

been our lesson. I've halfway died

if it all falls apart in some abandoned gesture

of infinite alphabet. Dollars step into the yard

fat as gas cans. America crumples into a new form

and badgers sleep beneath their throats

and whales fall disused into their trench.

What is a human, then, the human mic

in the shadow of Washington Mutual

asks the mayor while it becomes the mayor.


LARB Contributor

Ed Skoog is the author of Mister Skylight (Copper Canyon Press, 2009), and the forthcoming collection Rough Day. He lives in Seattle.


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