Extract from "Love, War, Fire, Wind: Looking Out from North America's Skull" by Eliot Katz (poems) and William T. Ayton (artwork)
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Human Column
"Human Column" by William T. Ayton, 2008

In Praise of the Seattle Coalition

They came from around the globe to change the shape of the globe
They formed a human chain and sidewalks declared their support
They led labor down unpaved roads and mountain ranges from all sides
           tipped their peaks in salute
They wore turtle caps and the Pacific roared its approval
They chanted “This is what democracy looks like” so that we who could
           not be in Seattle could watch TV & see what democracy looks like
They called for human rights and were gassed with inhuman chemicals
They insisted the food be kept clean of genetic experiment and were shot
           with rubber bullet pellet red meat welts
They demanded an end to worldwide sweatshops and were treated
           to the best nightsticks multinational business could buy
It was a coalition for the ages, of all ages, of all stages, of varying degrees
           of calm and rages
After curfew, the skies lit up & birds flew across continents to celebrate
Ancient redwood trees shook their leaves to prevent WTO delegates
           from being received
The town salmon agreed to wear union windbreakers for the week
When the mayor outlawed public gasmasks, the air sucked up to help out
It was the audible applause of the quantum that drove the police chief mad
A dog ran across the road to dispose of pepper spray containers
Stampeding cops were stopped by dolphins swimming in mid-street
           I saw this every hour on the hour behind the CNN lens
In a thousand tongues, even the internet logged on the side of the young
O friends, you have jumpstarted this nation and revealed an America
           with a million human faces
Of course the corporations were defeated, any objective observer
           could see they were outmatched from the opening bell
Now come the subtle somersaults and the internationalist flips
Now the courageous maneuvers that follow a win
Now the flexible glue to keep a coalition together
Now spreading the fun so that more can participate
Now there will be more democracy and then even more democracy
Now you are welcomed heroic at the dawn of a century

Eliot Katz 12/99  NYC

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images & content copyright © William T. Ayton, 1991-2014