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Poetry | Occupied Stories

Tag Archive | "poetry"

Young Elders

Editor’s note: This poem was inspired by Apaches and Angels, a tumblr blog by Douglas Miles portraying native culture.


Thank you for reading.

I hope I get this one wrong.


Visual indoctrination, brain st@mping. It’s real.

Lovely, we need more human Natives, preferably angry but most importantly: living.

Those NDN identity politicians are paid by the feds using pork policy.

Number & package Native bodies, rationed fractured identity. Mass frugality.

How does a Native body look in 2013 A.D.?

The WASP’s poison hibernates your mother & throws away your father.


Land O’ Lakes butter sitting on the bare countertop.

Native hands made mashed potatoes.

Choose your toppings.

Those “young people” prefer Frito-Lay & phone apps versus the butter.


That kneeling pretty face, she’s staring at me; offering Paula’s flavorful federally protected wicked Wampum of take. One handed traitor. When your mother doesn’t match the cover, O’ Land of Fakes, it’s more lemon on the opened skin endured growing up Native in America.


Native role models.

Script readers.

Made in China.

Her name, Stereohype.


Those swag hand-me-downs, we still thrive proudly in them. #Green was Red before “cool.” This is Native youth culture, live streaming & no filter. This isn’t a victim Olympics, Mills will tell you that.


Sir, the youth aren’t getting any younger. Younger elders then.


Q: Why did the Dineh watch the Lone Ranger?

A: To see their backyard on the screen.


Q: Why did you take all the copies of the sports page?

A: To see my older sister’s championship mug. Shero.


Artist hands smelling salts. Wake up, folks.


“We gotta stop tryna look like someone else except ourselves.” – DM “8 hours ago”


It’s our present recorded, Real Time Native Narratives.


Native talent already rose long ago & it still smells fabulous. Here’s the truth that’s making boardrooms & Diane Sawyer uncomfortable since America thought it had a conscience.


America swallowed Native youth & now they are full grown Athenas, born & bread in the womb of revolutionaries, thanks to Sir Miles. Native Ego is dangerous. DM isn’t avant-garde; he’s just sifting through the bullshit. You better censor him while you still think you can. He’s busy having fun.


Mr. Miles captures (no lasso, better tools) real live Natives, neither cover charge nor 3-D Ray Bans needed. Feel free to pop out the lens when you are ready, thou Proud Indigenous. We haven’t found the “young person” that’s been giving us a bad name … and we are still looking.

Tristin Moone-

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I am a Refugee

I am already misunderstood before you even look at me,

Imagine being forced out of your own country,

I saw death and my relatives go away explicitly,

Imagine how it feels to miss your own homeland,

And have no other way of getting back without the idea of death in your head,

I live in a gated camp with limited accessibility,

To food water gas and even electricity,

Imagine how it feels not to see your old friends and most of your family,

I have no income or it may be limited,

Everything I have is internationally supported,

By organizations that I have never even heard of,

Everything I have is internationally supported,

By corrupt governments, politics, and diplomatic appointments,

I am a burden on the whole world,

I am pity to the eyes of the average human,

A favor that I have never asked for,

Inferior, in my mind, I have no power,

They took it away when they put me these tents,

They took it away when they threw the food in the caravan,

They took it away when they treated me like an animal,

Yelling for my cooperation, seeking information,

They took it away when they woke me up, one day and I realized I am a Refugee I am a burden on the whole world,

I am a refugee

-Belal Bahader-

Written during travels in Jordan and Palestine over the last few months. Photo taken by Belal at Zaatari Refugee Camp. His name is Abderahman.

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How I Occupied the Media

Editor’s Note: May Day is approaching quickly with just over two weeks left, injecting new enthusiasm throughout the movement. As we find new strategies to voice our concerns to the public, we revisit an old one: here, we present again occupier Bill Allyn’s use of creativity to extend his message over the Internet and ultimately the mainstream media.

This is the story of how, for 3 minutes, I occupied the mainstream media (well, sort of). First, I wrote a poem, and put out a graphic version on Facebook (it was Sept 28th, 2011—11 days after OWS began.)

By the time I woke up the next morning (ok, afternoon…), someone had done a spoken-word version on Youtube, which already had about 700 views. That version now has over 43,000 views, and there are scads of copycats and different versions, including Greek and Portuguese subtitled versions.

Then I turned it into a song in my little home “studio.” I had written the song at the same time in late September, but for some reason didn’t release it on Youtube until February 13th, 2012. Here is the song & video.

Within 12 hours of posting this song/video to Youtube, Iran’s Press TV contacted me for an interview (about 3 minutes), which was broadcast globally.

I don’t know if it’s inspiring to anyone else, but it is certainly inspiring to me to know that I can write a poem/song in order to make my voice more heard, and it actually worked, and got me (a nobody, trust me), on world news… It really can work! It did for me. I got good exposure for the Occupy Movement, and 3 minutes of my “15-minutes-of-fame”, so now I’m only owed 12 more minutes. ;-)

-Bill Allyn-

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New Grass Grows



I remember when the park was just a park

With no tents, no signs, no campfire, and no spark

Just a place dogs go to play and poop

As their owners try to hide

What they decide

Not to pick up

I remember eating lunch there

Sitting on a bench in my own solitaire

Friendless, helpless, but hopeful for change

Wondering when my life will cease to abide

Wanting to decide

For something more

I remember that cold rainy day it was said

To come support the 99% under a big white tent

There were cameras and umbrellas

A whisper of hope in the air

A defiant “we are still here”

A first meeting of radical strangers

Well, it took three hours of conversation

With much patience and most people’s undivided attention

It was decided to occupy the nearby park

So bring your tents,

Bring your signs and blankets

But most importantly

Bring your beating hearts

I remember when the park was filled to the brim

With tents, bright eyes, and an occasional hymn

The fire pit became the hearth of our self-made dens

A place I called home

Where strangers became lovers

And where I found my long lost friends

People were well fed with food and new friendships

Energized by lively discussions and beautiful mic checks

Meeting every night under the changing moon

People knew my name

As I claimed My Voice back

Not a moment too soon

After speaking our words of truth, hope, and love

We were abruptly evicted from our revolutionary abode

After eleven o’clock the police came

To take my friends away

A part of me died that fateful night

Along side any hope for my government

Since I was not allowed in the park

I cried tears on the sidewalk

And felt a familiar emptiness for days

Now when the sun is up

I still eat lunch in this graveyard park

With no tents, no signs, no voices, no campfire, and no spark

As I look around these pieces of earth

I remember all of those who stood with me

Like stepping on unmarked graves

It is like a ghost town to me today

As I eat no one talks to me now

Because no one knows my name

Next to that stupid statue

Dogs still poop and play

Their owners still don’t clean up

The messes they’ve made

Not much has changed to the untrained eye

But as I look down I see proof of what once was

What I see is new grass, growth, and rebirth

I see new grass growing where tents once stood

I see new green where the fire pit once burned

I see new life in those places once barren

With so much movement and many footprints

This park was filled with spark

And full of life each night

Truth be told,

The proof is in the soil

The earth remembers our presence

Even if no one else does

I see growth in the hearts of those who courageous stood

Up for equality, financial stability, and the right to be heard

I see progress in the connections we’ve made

Complete strangers turned into good friends

And the people we know now

Are the names we call out

When we are in need of help

Instead of reverting to old destructive habits

I see rebirth from the ashes of despair

People once isolated and alone

Prove their worth to themselves

Once dim candles find the fire within

The tears I cried on the sidewalk

Was a necessary part

Of universal transformation

True change is only birthed

When there is a release

A letting go

With a renewed sense of self

Such beauty comes from birth, death, and resurrection

How fitting to see the new grass grow as a sign of strength from within

Proving the cycle of life never dies, only changes form

And if you wait long enough

It will always come back

And better then before

As memories play their part and build on each other

My life is forever changed

By the experiences felt In this tent city

As we protested for change on a broad scale

We found a kinship of misfits

And started with the only thing you can truly change

And that is, very simply, yourself


-Flora Lark Baily-

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A Revolution Song

Look how pretty it is coming
Look how pretty it comes by
It’s the people’s revolution
Which is not stepping back

Look how fast we are uniting
Look how strong the rich fall down
It’s the Wall Street revolution
That is not stepping back

If you pass around my hood
And you see my mom pass by
Please go tell her
To not wait for me tonight
Cause this new movement
Is not stepping back
Please go tell her
To not wait for me tonight
Cause this new movement
Is not stepping back


-Ali Irizarry-

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I’m In Love With a 1%er


I should have been alarmed
When you started speaking in equations
Numerical manipulations
And your stories didn’t add up

Human expression cost too much
So you began sending me
Bank statements instead of love letters
The one I trusted with my parents’ retirement
And my children’s future
Promised to be there when I needed you
That we were in this together
And then bailed

Out with every red cent
I worked so hard for
To keep you in the black

I should have known
That you would bleed me for everything I own
When our conversations…
Became computations
Before you stopped speaking to me at all

You looked at me differently
I was the 1st customer of your mom and pop’s shop
You were dowered in store credit
Carded cause you looked too young to qualify
For your first small business loan
You LOVED government assistance then
And only love socialism for the rich now

Your eyes glinted like a castrated bull
And you began seeing me
Flush with rouge and sweat and stress
I was YOUR employee then
Did what was best for “the team”
Took the pay cuts
Gave the benefits up
Because what was good for you
Was good for “US”

You traveled
Left me home
With kids and student loans
To man your phones
While you said
“Baby, I’m only gon be gone for a few months
Once we get these factories stacked up, I’ll send for you…
I’m doing this for us.”

And soon
You had more employees there
Than here
They were younger and cheaper
Than me
Barely legal
You and your off shore whores

The last time I saw you
You did not see me
You crept into our apartment
At 18 Broad Street
To grab your account paperwork
Take it back to your island bank
Without so much as kissing me on the forehead
Son and daughter laying in bed beside me
And you didn’t even kiss your future goodbye

Because you didn’t want to wake them
But now they are awake
Screaming for you
…To leave

You look
At me differently
Like an obstacle
Like you could have been more
Without taking care of my freeloading ass
Like you could have HAD more
Without overpaying wages to my lazy ass
Like you could have made more
Without the rules
Without thinking about other people besides your self
Without me nagging you about human rights
Environmental protections
And genocide

But you did.
You made more SHIT
Than we could possibly need
More than we could possibly greed
And when you ran out of a middle class to feed
You were made paranoid by YOUR dogs eating each other
And made the competition

I should have seen it coming
When we began breaking dishes and bedroom doors
Over which Presidential Candidates we’d support
You wanted the ones you could buy
I wanted the ones I voted for
You began acquiring houses
By selling them to people you knew couldn’t afford them
You picked up a gambling problem
And kept lying about some shit that didn’t exist on the stock market
Then one day
You got drunk on your own stories
Told some may lies you forgot where they started
Almost got stung
Ended up buying your own junk
Bonded out of jail just in time to OD our economy
Put that stuff so deep in your vanity
That we all felt like our hopes and dreams had collapsed with your arteries

But there’s always a silver lining
Silver I’ll never put in your possession again
I used to be in an abusive relationship with a Bankster, before you
But I promised myself that never again
Will I believe anything a junkee says
Cause I seen you selling since
New car, new suit, new parachute, looking like a bonus
Yo ass could almost pass for a man, but I know…

If there’s one thing I learned by seeing the entire financial industry
On their knees begging for a piece of my tax dollars
like it would save their life
Flatlined on the floor of 11 Wall St.
Black three piece suit,
Not a drop of blood
After being shot in the head twice

Still alive
While my hands
Cup my insides
And the floor of my country floods
With all ten pints of me

I learned
That corporations aren’t people
Because people
In the streets.



Written on Day 26 of the Occupy Wall St. protest in New York City and Day12 of the Occupy Albuquerque protest. They’re making their move on NYC and Denver. Be prepared, my people. Love. – Hakim Bellamy-

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First, You Laughed


First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you.
Then you win. -Ghandi

We couldn’t even afford to protest
Until you gave up our jobs, America
You wanted us on the streets
And now we’re home

Built elaborate institutions of hired learning
Taught us nothing, except
How to go into debt

We’re right where you want us
Sleeping in the park
Next to garbage can
Erupting with diplomas
That will finally be worth
Their weight in paper and
Keep the heat on

The constitution will not be televised
Or brought to you by Citibank

Assembly is a right
Not a permit

Employed media and fear
To keep us in homes we don’t own
In these times
Where it takes more paperwork
To congregate
Than segregate

Welcome to you, America
Home of the Dollar Store
Where everything is 99 percent

Land of the Free…
For now…
And for the first six months

But after that
Interest is a bitch

Gave us banks
Instead of better standards of living
Where the average worker
Puts life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness
On lay-a-way
gave us credit
Instead of competitive wages
Cheapened our children’s education
Then said
If we want the good shit
We can pay for it

Said there’s too much overhead
To let us retire
Which is about as American
As McDonald’s apple pies

Made the Statue of Liberty a liar
Gave her our tired, our poor
As we’re here
Huddled en masse yearning to breathe free
In the name of freedom
We’re dying in the streets

Dying at our desks
Noose a life insurance policy around our
Just to pay the rent
Pays out better than health insurance
Cause when we’re dead there’s less risk
While our premiums are spent
On financial instruments that don’t
fuckin’ exist

Orphaned us to a system
That blames us when we die
Use the market to hide behind
Statements like
“Health care is not a human right”
Blame our death on our love of freedom
When the heart attack and hypertension



Come from being under attack
Every working day of our lives

The bottom line
Is not just to separate us from our money
It’s to separate us from one another
Cause when people get together ‘round some
They’ll organize the fcuk out of each other

So I won’t listen to you tell me that
Unions are the problem
And the WTO is here to help
Or that
“For quality purposes”
You gotta privatize the information
Cadillac plan the internet
While the bought and sold
Corporate media BEEN for sale

Tell me another one
Cause laughter is the only thing I can afford right now
Tell me that job creation
Isn’t the furthest thing from the minds
Of the 1%
Cause you ain’t gotta be noble prize winner in economics
To know that low wages and labor equal high profits

Tell me another one
Like being a patriot means being silent
Like Dr. King’s legacy wasn’t manufactured
Into a corporate icon
Like he didn’t get a bullet in his head
As soon as he started talking about poverty
Like he didn’t say
“There comes a time when silence is betrayal”

Tell me another one
Herman, fuckin’, Cain
To blame myself
For being 99 and not 1
For being on the losing end of a class war
Started by “people”

(In tax designation only)
With their hands so far up your ass
That you Muppet Marie Marionette phrases like
“Let them eat cake”

This is not a laughing matter
We’ve been out here for months
And winter is coming…

Our homes don’t have heat
And yours do

You’ve even banned us from the park benches
SO guess who coming for dinner

What used to be a problem of the poor
Is now a problem of yours…

There’s a Russian Proverb that goes:

The rich would have to eat money if the poor did not provide food

But what do we eat
When we have nothing else to lose…

To you.


© Hakim Bellamy 11.11.11


Full audio

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At Occupy Philadelphia I Have Met:

The old

The new

The well off

The poor

The houseless

The most rational

And the most metally ill

The Ron Paulers

The Marxists

The Atheists, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Quakers, Hare Krishnas and the Agnostics

The agressive

and The calm

The complainers

and The co-operaters

The complainers

and The motivators


and The innermost city residents

The black

and The white

The asian

and The native American

The latino

and the others

The disabled

and The able bodied

Those active in the movement

and Those who have simply come for comfort.

This is why we say we are the 99%

not because we represent the opinions of the 99%

but because we represent every slice and stripe

of the 99%

who are tired

who are angry

who are hopeful

who are hopeless

The poor

The still employed

and The unemployed

the “retched refuse”

of your and our teeming shores.

The 1% has shown by their actions that we are their retched refuse

We deny this ascribation

we are human beings

what you have done to the least of these

you have done to me.

We are one

no man is an island

if I fight for me

I fight for you

if we fight for our survival

we fight for yours.



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