Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Zuccotti Park & Occupy into week 4

There's an excellent energy down at occupy wall street and finally demonstrators and occupying citizens are being taken seriously. No one goes hungry and even the homeless have joined them.

The first time I was there, I'd just lost my health insurance because my ex dropped me when he lost his job. We'd both signed our divorce stipulation where he'd agreed to cover me until the divorce. Without telling me anything then, he dropped me when he was fired from his job. I went down to the employee benefits board on Rector Street and explained my dilemma as a retiree. They agreed to reinstate me from the first of the month when I explained my concerns that I had seen several doctors that month already without realizing that I wasn't covered. After finishing I decided to walk about since I am rarely in that part of the city. I looked at the world trade center and decided to get a salad. After finishing my salad I looked out the window and saw there was a crowd in the square facing me.

Entering the square I looked around me and it seemed the park had been overtaken by homeless. I found myself standing next to a young lady with blond hair who appeared very business like. I started a conversation. "Are there a lot of homeless people who have moved into this park?" I asked, this only being day two of the occupy movement and not knowing anything.

The young woman who was dressed in a plain gray skirt and blouse with a jacket looked at me and laughed at my question. "We are demonstrating here," she said. "We're the 99 percent who have nothing because the 1 percent have it all. What better place to protest than here where it starts? I guess though to answer your question, there are many young people who can't get work and since they can't get work they figure they may as well get a head start with claiming a spot since pretty soon there's going to be a lot more of us homeless than before with degrees and all. So many have moved here so they have a place to be."

We discussed the possibility of a performance space since I always think about poetry and performance. I promised to research their since I liked what I heard. I hung out for several hours walking around and checking out the boobs which were nice to see and wrote down the website,, intending to google it when I got home. Over the next few days I kept expecting to hear something on the news but it never happened. I decided to revisit and bring my poetry hoping there would be a performance space. And it just so happened that The People Staged was on when I got there. I signed my name and performed. The audience was great and there was no one drink minimum or entrance fee and they all screamed "encore!" For the first time in years I felt hopeful about our political state of mind. The country has turned into us the worker bees, being peons, and the big folk take everything we earn except leaving us enough to be strong enough to work for them.

Below are pics taken today.

Below is G. Wagner who displays his sign along with his art and support. Occupy Wall Street is inspiring artists.
David Everitt-Carlson 
a homeless blogger getting his point across.
Good writing graffiti by homeless blogger.

We asked for change, we prayed for change, we looked for change but there's been very little.
Don't box us in. We need space and freedom to grow.
Don't give to the greedy, give to the needy - yes indeedy! We will overcome!

Jamming the day and night, to bring about peace and change. Occupy all day all week!

This man works as a home health aide but still has to live at a shelter. He works so doesn't qualify for health care or food stamps. When I told him about the "medicaid spend down" he had no clue what  I was speaking of.

The smell of people, incense and pot permeated the air along with hopes and dreams.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Yom Kipper and Russian Bluetry

 Oh my father - please rest in peace - you never had any while you lived. A musically gifted prodigy forced to leave school behind to go to work everyday - forced to help support his family and still to this day, it irks me when I hear people say Jews are rich.

A musician who loved learning, a cruel joke in life - your entire life lived in fear - the world a dangerous place. Eleven years old - forced to leave school and work; you looked for places to recluse yourself inside your head you hid from the world by living in dreams where you played your violin instead.

Father I feel for you, a young boy told, "Son, we’re sorry but you have to help support your family. There are six of us,” his Dad said, “so you have to work to help pay the rent and buy the food we eat.”

Forced everyday to work in a drug store in Harlem and of your own device going to school at night so you could finish your Latin and math and be a real pharmacist not just an apprentice. You figured you’d get a pharmaceutical license if you finished your physics and math so you did it. By the time I was born you'd lost your focus trying to stay alive and support a wife and four children. Your temperament led to arguments with bosses. Then you gave up and stayed with the apprentice license even though you performed all the same tasks. You said you made medicines from scratch using Latin formulas.

One night you were forced to work late –ordered to close up all alone. That night there was a violent riot in Harlem- forced to work late. Climbing up high to a small hidden window near to the ceiling saved your life you said. Otherwise you would have been dead. A man outside the store lay dead while you waited inside until the noise in the street died. You waited over 10 hours you said, hidden behind a heavy black curtain in the storage room, wondering if you’d get out alive.

Terror and frustration created a monster inside who ate his way out of the hive and proved he was in charge. My Dad beat his first wife. The second was my mother who suffered greatly. She kept trying to stay alive to help her children survive.  Her cancer ate her alive. Poor Dad gambled our money away and came home mean and exhausted. If got worse if she fought.

My two sisters, my brother, my Dad and my mother all crammed into a one-bedroom apartment. It wasn’t too pleasant but I have a few good memories. Uncle Leo visited Dad every Sunday and they played their violins, sang tunes and lyrics they created and accompanied each other all day, showing each other what they'd learned and created.

Then Uncle Leo’s wife went off her rocker and was never the same again. Day after day, she chanted the same words, “They go to Argentina and they think they’re great!” referring to Jews who had escaped and Nazi's escaping the holocaust. Uncle Leo died when I was ten. Poor Dad went crazy too. His sisters and mother got him out of Bellevue by paying a fine of two and a half thousand. My father chased the doctor around with a knife, the doctor who’d removed my mother’s breast – my dad chasing him wielding a big butcher knife. He claimed the doctor was having an affair with my mom. Dad flipped out and never recovered either.

Poor Dad –never easy for you- your mother kvetching in Yiddish bragging about her dancing on the Russian Stage but how she gave it all up and left it behind so you could be born in America. Lucky for you – she had the foresight to see forty years ahead.

Poor Dad, working all day when all you wanted to do was be like your Dad who had accompanied your mom with his violin – the violin became yours. No one ever taught you to play but you played like a pro. Rest in peace Day - may you finally have the security and peace you longed for in life.