the first time i choked on tear-gas,
we were standing in the heart of the Empire.
the scent of capsaicin still smarted
as we fished our medic bags for water-bottles
to flush our comrades’ eyes. we did not weep
for the revolt. we were at peace even as we knew,
beyond a shadow of a doubt,
we were ******.
the black bloc, three thousand strong,
had raged through the streets of D.C.
overturning dumpsters, torching limos,
taking hammers and crowbars
to Bank of America windows
with gleeful abandon, a sense of endless,
militant joy. it would be
anarchy or annihilation.
the spontaneous insurrection
of the antifascist demonstration
was an inferno hotter than the dumpster-fires
we’d left like signal-flares in our wake.
for a moment, there, we could feel
the ******* quaking as our feet
shook the Earth, stepping
in-and-out of Lovecraftian shadows,
eldritch horrors of doom gloating over us.
but we’d been kettled,
cordoned by cops in riot gear,
cut-off from all possible routes of escape.
faceless phantoms clutching cudgels
to bludgeon our conflagration
into submission. and then
the call came. “this way! this way!
we found an exit!”
immediately, the cops swarmed in,
their momentarily vindictive arrogance
shattered by the freedom that rang
like church-bells in a half-a-hundred voices.
“this way! this way! we found an exit!”
motorcycles turned down the alleyway,
sirens screaming, echoing off the tenement halls
and only one of us possessed the sense to intervene.
for a moment, she stood alone.
a single figure, holding up her hands
and shaking her head, refusing to let
the ******* advance. but courage
is infectious. a moment later,
another joined her, then another,
until all of a sudden a half-a-dozen
of us stood shoulder-to-shoulder, shouting,
“no pasaran! you shall not pass!”
we waited for the billy-clubs to rain
hell upon our shoulders, but still
we remained steadfast, anchored
by the weight of our conviction
and the hope that even if we fell
the rest of the bloc would escape
to wreak havoc another day.