I had never wanted to be subversive. Breaking the law was never a goal. But the times they are a changing and here I am writing my notes from the underground, unsure of the legality of my words and thoughts. In 2004 I took to the streets of New York City to protest the Republican National Convention being held there. My nation was controlled by the Bush family aristocracy and we were waging a false war in Iraq and Afghanistan... people were dying daily on every side of the battles. As a direct result of the government and corporate policies of the U.S.A., the World Trade Towers had been destroyed in protest. So now the Republicans were using Manhattan as political theater to justify furthering fascism. For one week Republican supporters were being hosted by Manahachtanienk, which in the Delaware language, means, "the island where we all became intoxicated." They came in planes and limos with fashionable clothes and spotless cowboy hats. They ate in expensive restaurants and even got to auction the personal belongings of the late Johnny Cash. They were given free tickets to Broadway shows by the Disney corporation... who now owns the majority of Times Square.
I was surrounded by officers of the N.Y.P.D. and arrested for standing on the sidewalk with a sign that said "Bring Our Troops Home Now" on one side...on the other was taped a newspaper with a picture of Bush giving the middle finger and the headline, "Bush to US: Up Yours". That moment was the death of my country, for me. "We the People" had become "We the Fascists" and i looked oppression eyeball to eyeball... my eye to their thousand yard stares... and their mute refusal of my movement. I couldn't leave their security net until i was handcuffed and everything i had except the clothes i wore were put into a clear plastic bag. I was then locked in a stiflingly hot prisoner transport bus. We the people included i the citizen, born under the protection and guidance of our American Constitution. Words written on parchment 230 years ago to assert that all people residing within 50 separate States would unite through a federal government to "form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity." Two centuries later it seems that in the very act of scribing this intent and these words on parchment... the opposite has become institutional.
So now the federal government is using the N.Y.P.D. to suppress dissent in the streets while a national political organization that rules all 50 states holds a strategic convention to prepare for the next Presidential election. Every President for 230 years has believed that Jesus of Nazereth walked the earth as God 2,008 years ago. President Bush is a born-again Christian. They believe that Jesus prophecied a return from death that would bring those faithful to his rule into heaven. Bush either believes that Jesus has been born again... or he will be. Our Constitution divides the Federal Government into three sections. The President, Congress and Supreme Court are supposed to be able to control each other by a 2/3 majority. This breaks down the Union of the People into three separate methods of making decisions for We the People's Union. There is supposed to be checks, and balances.
But now there is just incarceration, fines and legal procedures. And war.
...i remember walking into Times Square with nothing on me but a scrap of paper with some poetry on it. In these days of wars and terrorists and security culture and hopeful anticipation of the return of the Messiah this was the spot on the planet he was sure to visit... or judge. One of the most heavily monitored intersections on earth. It seemed almost as though the walls themselves were made of liquid, digital light. So many messages were being transmitted here all day and night that they defined the entire area. Pedestrians were audience to the advertisements that courted them. I remember praying to Jesus Christ that He would return and fulfill so many hopes and dreams. Make the world right again. I remember a voice that filled the insides of me, but it came from above and all around, "Is It All Your Fault?" the voice asked me. "Is what my fault?" i wondered. "EVERYTHING" the voice replied. I didnt know what force was behind the voice but i found myself weeping, and it started to rain. I realized it didn't matter where the voice came from. If my blame was necessary for my prayer to be answered then so be it. Everything was my fault. My tears came from the deep sorrow that then overcame me. No shame, no regret or remorse...only a sorrow that brought me to my knees and brought sobs from deep within me. Dazed, I walked along the sidewalk until I saw a black man dressed like Conan the Barbarian who was preaching on the sidewalk. "Jesus Christ was a black man" he was saying loud and proudly. A woman walking by told him he was wrong. "Shut up white devil", the man replied to her and the small crowd, "You're probably a lesbian." Offended, I said to him, " You don't have to attack her because she doesn't agree with you."
"Step back white devil!" he replied. "You ain't nuthin but a dog" he told me. Pointing at me now he repeated, "He ain't nuthin but a dog. That is what we are all scared of. That is what controls the world. Nuthin but a dog." There was an awkward silence and it needed to be filled. I nodded at him and spread my arms wide, slowly turning and eyeing the onlookers. Unbidden, some lines by Peter Gabriel popped into my head, "and the Lamb lies down on Broadway." The album was made the year I was born. I realized then that I was no lamb, I was a dog just like he was saying. I took off my shirt and dropped my pants, naked I got down on all fours, barking and advancing on the black man. He backed up in surprise and shouted "See! Nuthin but a dog!". I stood back up and spread my arms again, nodding at the crowd that now was filming me, nodding in agreement, or just staring. Nude and at a loss what to do next, I began walking down the sidewalk. Someone came up to me and put a long sleeve t-shirt over my back. They led me to a police car on the edge of the street. The driver took one look at me and asked, "So who the hell do you think you are, buddy?"
I turned to walk away then whipped around , bending down to face him. Meeting his aggressive tone I snapped, "I'm King Arthur, motherfucker." At the time, I suppose I thought I really was. He and his partner got out of the car, slammed me down face first onto the hood and held me there until an ambulance came and I was put into a straightjacket. I was taken to Belleview Hospital where i was heavily medicated for 3 weeks and diagnosed Bipolar I, manic. I am a maniac.
"Early morning Manhattan,
Ocean winds blow on the land.
The Movie-Palace is now undone,
The all-night watchmen have had their fun.
Sleeping cheaply on the midnight show,
Its the same old ending-time to go.
It seems they cannot leave their dream.
Theres something moving in the sidewalk steam,
And the lamb lies down on Broadway...
Something inside me has just begun,
Lord knows what I have done,
And the lamb lies down on Broadway.
They say the lights are always bright on Broadway.
They say theres always magic in the air." ~ Peter Gabriel