“Now I see: I recall better what I felt the other day at the seashore when I held the pebble. It was a sort of sweetish sickness. How unpleasant it was! It came from the stone, I’m sure of it, it passed from the stone to my hand. Yes, that’s it, that’s just it-a sort of nausea in the hands.”-Sartre
Two years after the Walker protests, I was invited to Madison for a poetry reading.
I arrived early and disposed of my time by walking around the Capitol.
It was Fall, everything was yellow including my fingernails.
And I looked at my hands, for nostalgia purposes, remembered how last time
They were pale, gripped tight around a sign. There was snow on the ground,
But the sidewalks required no shoveling. For thousands of footsteps
Marched away the white flakes. Inside our (not his) Capitol, chanting
Roared like the Seven Trumpets of the Apocalypse. Echoing out the doors,
Down the neighboring streets. Smacking the windows of parked cars.
Slapping the faces of the stone faced citizens.
Guarding the entryways were police officers, union workers,
But it felt as if they stood with us…not against us. There was comradery among the people,
as we endured
Under Walker’s abuse of power.
Two years later
The streets were bare. Anyone who desired to protest
Was required by law to obtain a permit. I stopped at a traffic light,
Across the street was a homeless man laid on a park bench,
Nestled in a trash-bag and newspapers. He was all there was,
That and my memories.
For I haven’t forgotten.
We haven’t forgotten.
And our smiles will reflect in Walker’s bald spot.
As he turns his head and walks out the doors,