The cops have boarded up the demonstration’s

            central planning space

                                       & roped off

            entire downtown Sunday DC

yet, after Seattle, they and we believe

                           there is magic enough

            to shut

                                       today’s IMF meeting

like when three decades ago

                           protesters announced

they would levitate the Pentagon

                                       to end America’s Vietnamese slaughter

and whether such heavy concrete block lifting

                           was possible

                                       all sides knew odds were high

            it would happen

the U.S. would soon pull out

                           & seeds

                                       of grassroots democratic experiment

            would implant forever in American soil

I’m standing 7am mid-intersection

                                                I Street and 19th

            next to huge pink paper mache World Piggy Bank

                           gripping rubber globe in slender jaws

& shitting long silver pipe turds

                           staring me between the eyes

                                       while blocking

            DC’s Sunday morning paper route

a dozen video cameras focus on line of young people

                                       linked arm-in-arm

            some with hi-tech yellow metal sleeves

                           their pictures being sent in present time

by independent internet sources

                           through as-yet-unbought air waves    

            around a pulsing planet

                                       of overflowing river wires  

Tactics built for the forests of the Western Redwood

                                       are being tested

            in the capital’s tarred & feathery streets

                           face-to-face afront a line of Helmeted Police

the young are rapping a slow hiphop cadence:

             “No one in


                                       no one out

                           that’s what the line is all about”

200 more milling about, drumming, dancing

            chanting Seattle’s now infamous

                                       21st century rally mantra

                            “This is what democracy looks like”

The clouds that earlier looked ready

                           to keep this event enveloped

            are moving to make way for a sun

                                       that’s decided to reveal this day to all

The police on other side of ropes & chains       

            wear million-dollar Star Wars gas masks & knee pads

                           so are clearly no match for the morning’s

                                       idealistic wizardry of youth


Do these three thousand people working

                                       in small groups

            mostly still in their twenties

                           know what actions this weekend will cost?

How it will endanger/enrich their lives?

            tattoo their bodies

                                       electrify their brains

                                    for what part the century remains?

Do they comprehend this weekend’s heavy vows?

                                    Know the DC jails

            have a long scratchy memory?

                                       That the World Piggy Bank never forgets?

There is a sense of boldness & empowerment in the air

            that tastes as potent

                                       as ginger breakfast tea

                           inhaled even through hayfevered nostrils

The sidewalk knows it will soon be doused

                                       w/ pepper spray

            the store window knows tear gas is on its way

                           the fire hydrant leaves space

between parked cars

                           for police nightsticks to crash

            upon innocent heads

                                       the prison door hinges are oiled and ready

With no apparent help from pedestrians

            the street writes

                                       its own graffiti

                           to honor the courage on display


In Saturday’s Washington Post,

                           Police Chief Ramsey remarked:

             “I think we’re going to make a lot of arrests

                                       and ... have a lot of problems”

Last night 670 were surprise-arrested

            marching peacefully

                                       against the prison-industrial complex

                           as if the DC police wanted to do folks the favor

of an up-close-and-personal look

                           at the 2-million strong phenomena

            they’d been criticizing

                                       only abstractly before

Police said those arrested ignored

                                       an order to disperse

            but the Post reported: “even tourists

                           who witnessed the event

said not only did police fail

            to order people to disperse

                                       but they also prevented those

                           who wanted to leave from doing so”

A Post photographer & other journalists were arrested

                                       about which police told press:

                            “To the extent we arrested

            a person that shouldn’t have been, I apologize.”


Near George Washington University campus,

            21st and H,

                           a guy in blue suit

                                       tries to push through the line.

The line closes, a mixed group of young people

                                       long hair, short hair,

            shaved heads

                           lots of ear, nose, and lip rings

yell “delegate” & create a dense wall

            of arms & torsos

                            “No one in, no one out,

                                       that’s what the line is all about”

The perhaps-delegate tries pushing with palms

                           to no success

            then shoulder first a human battering ram

                                       at vulnerable knees, yet line holds

He starts yelling phrases I can’t quite hear

            & more young people move

                                       in behind him

                           some wearing shark caps or turtle jackets

they start calm-chanting “OM OM OM,”

                           I think Allen would be touched

            to know his Grant Park mantra

                                       has filtered thru generational divides

With the help of cops pulling from the other side

            this perhaps-delegate finally

                                       smashes his way thru

                           most perhaps-delegates don’t


The NY Times Monday headline

                                       would read:

             “I.M.F. Points to a Big Accomplishment:

                           It Met on Schedule.”

Turns out cops have chauffeured

            most delegates

                           through DC’s deserted streets

                                       into the meeting at 5am

an hour before activists due on streets

                           but these young protestors

                                       were blockading

            DC intersections by 6am

a sure sign this new movement

                                       can succeed

            when new millennium coffee

                           can brew itself before the sun rises!

A group of cops head-to-toe’d in riot gear

            march single-file

                                       up a street center

                           too goose-steppy for my tastes

About 3 dozen young anarchists

                                       march unblinking

                           toward the approaching police

            they are clad in black pants, shirts, boots,

black bandanas covering faces

                                       so cameras won’t recognize

            they spread across road in few columns

                           putting bodies in way of police advance

The cops stop & form a single file


            20 feet away from these courageous

                           crazily provocative kids

The 1/2 hour stand-off is unnerving

                           violence seems inevitable

                                       yet moving in concert

            bandana’d anarchists take 10 steps even closer

a dozen video cameras from news groups large and small

            stand between cops and kids

                           awaiting direct footage

                                       of bloody confrontation

as another line of riot-geared cops

                           drive up on motorcycles

            to add one more layer

                                       of intimidation & rogue support

Young drummers have come around

                                       to beat beat beat,

            the big bass drum beat beat beat,

                           the chant: “This is what democracy looks like”

“This is what democracy feels like”

                                    then a protection-mantra from the protesters

                to media:

                                       “Film them, not us,” “Film them, not us”

with whole world watching via World Wide Web

                           the mantra works

            & after 40 or 50 minutes

                                       the cops on motorcycles

turn their bikes

            & lead a procession of retreat

                           amid a several column thick

                                       communal deep sigh


A utopian garden party is spreading downtown

                           groups of young women & men

                                       block car & foot traffic

            with huge puppets & silver metal sleeves

street theater & dance mocks

            the IMF, WTO, and World Bank

                                       there goes a big tooth’d munching

                           Structural Adjustment Pulverizer

There a guy in a Clinton costume,

                                       there someone walking on stilts

                                    passing out fake dollar bills.

            Signs read “Spank the Bank,”

“Get Corporations Off Welfare,”

                                        “The Debt Kills”

             “Yacyreta Dam Argentina/Paraguay

                           75,000 people displaced.”

The teach-ins, alternative papers,

            new internet sites

                                       Noam Chomsky lectures & books

                           have taught protesters well enough to know

that IMF & World Bank structural adjustment agreements

            demand poverty-inducing

                                       ecologically destructive

                           capitalist economic policies in exchange

for emergency room million dollar loans

            to Developing Countries in need

                           of both band-aids

                                       and long term medical plans

The Washington Post patronizingly describes protesters

            eating from a “chow line

                                       for the revolution”

                           with trays “piled with cruelty-free rice.”

What’s wrong with cruelty-free rice?

                           The IMF ministers are forced

            to publicly acknowledge

                                        “a widespread fear”

that benefits of world economy

                                        “are not reaching everyone,”

                                    and Monday’s NY Times front page

            sums up our concerns pretty well:

demonstrators accuse “financial institutions

                           of burdening

            poor Third World countries

                                       with crushing debts,

impoverishing peasants, destroying rain forests,

            supporting sweatshops &other policies

                                       that, as one sign put it,

                            ‘saps the poor to fatten the rich’”     

Munch Munch Munch Skin Neck Back

                           Munch Munch Munch Brain Fingers Genitals

            this is what democracy’s

                                       devouring teeth look like.


At about noon, a legal rally begins in the Ellipse

                           buses from around the nation roll in

            to a field overseen

                                       by nation’s largest phallus

10,000 on lawn hear Roger & Me’s Michael Moore,

                           reps from Students

                                       Against Sweatshops,

                                    the Steelworker Union’s George Becker––

to demand more humane international economic

            & environmental policies,

                                       to shut

                           the Great Muncher’s Bullying Jaw

to march through streets of world’s

                                       lone remaining superpower

                           with signs that read “more world, less bank”

            “make global economy work for working families”

By afternoon, a rainy morning has turned 84 sunny degrees

                shut that jaw––

                           through DC side streets

                                       the roving blockades continue

and there are enough www.indymedia.org cameras

                           to record police responding

            with tear gas & pepper spray

                                       arbitrary batons and purposeful bootkicks.

Near the end of the legal rally, one end of the Park,

                           I saunter to watch 500 protesters

                                       sit peacefully

            while U.S. Park Police sit in steel gear atop scared horses

lined up in a row across one end of the protesters

            A few empty plastic bottles

                                       fly from unseen hands

                           toward the police

until peace-promoting voices from the crowd go up

                           “we’re against the World Bank

            not against the cops”

                                       & things calm for 15 minutes

Then police start looking restless       

                           & horses begin to shuffle

            the Washington Monument in the background

                                       swallows its Viagra

and SWAT troops begin running thru crowd

            pushing nonviolent protesters aside viciously

                                       one guy swiped by forearm off bicycle

                           face first onto the pavement

a few yards before my eyewitnessing eyes

                           a SWAT cop with name Zarger

                                       on his uniform badge

            smashes a woman’s head with nightstick

There is no need for that!

                                       She was trying to move!

            Still cameras start clicking, but there are no news

                           video or film teams around

so young and old alike

            here for the legal rally

                                       are pushed and punched

                           & a single file aisle is cleared

so the park police on horseback

                                       can walk that aisle

            to get to the other side

                           as purposeless as the old chicken joke

only an instinctual urge to smash

                                       a few protesters’ heads

                           in one of today’s rare in-the-shade moments

            away from CNN MSNBC WEB the Sun’s gaze

In next day’s NY Times, a front page photo

            will show a similar scene elsewhere:

                                       a young man fallen immobile

                           under a horse, beaten by a police baton

The caption reads: “Police officers scuffled

                                       with a protester

                           who fell under horse

            on Constitution Avenue yesterday.”

Munch Munch Brains Belly this is what the teeth

            of corporate-waxed

                           & glazed

                                       globalization looks like

5:32 pm, Sunday, April 16th, I walk back to metro

                                       as helicopters roar lionlike overhead,

            while protesters in small park 20th & I

                           soak tired feet in a small yellow-green fountain


Monday is the World Bank meeting

            Eric, Ben, & I drive to protest late morning

                                       directed by local pirate radio station

                           amid heavy rains which today don’t cease

1,000 people are sitting intersection

                                       while police wearing padded boots

            helmets, gas masks, plastic shields

                           stand semi-circle from one end of block

to other, where snapshot will show

                                       them guarding

            a Gap dungaree’d manikin store window display

                           cops are holding tear gas rifles

& pepper spray containers

                           while activist drums are banging         

                                       the tension is high

            there are nonstop negotiations at the line’s front

after an hour the cops remove gas masks

                           & a huge applause leaps out

            activists stand up slowly

                                       & begin to cross police lines  

in an arranged arrest, about 10 at a time

                           looks like about 600 placed

                                       into waiting blue vans

            the deal enabling civil disobedience

move forward without smashed heads

                           or bashed elbows & knees

            he rain is crashing in dense sheets

                                       protesters are chanting”

We’re here! We’re wet!

                                       Cancel the debt”

            They are steadfast & brave

                           while the Gap mannikins tremble


In Wednesday’s NY Times, John Kifner would write:

            “In the end, Washington was not Seattle.”

                                       David Frum op-eds:

                            “So Round Two of the great mobilization

against globalization ended in a squelch

                           rather than the photogenic violence

                                       of Seattle.”

            The paper of record tries so hard to be negative

that any reader

                           with between-the-lines reading glasses

            knows something historic

                                       has taken place

that although the World Bank met,

            the lobbyist corridor was closed,

                                       banks shut,

                           world attention focused on issues

of international trade and finance previously hidden

                                       behind back stage corporate curtains

                           just one week earlier--

            even the Times front page April 18th admits

“The world’s top financial officials,

            trying to show sensitivity to poverty

                           as protesters braved a chilling rain ...

                                       pledged to pay more attention

to globalization’s victims and to commit ‘unlimited money’

                           to fight AIDS in poor countries.”


            In an unusual moment,

                                       The Times put our general analysis

succinctly on its front page:

            “The protesters accuse the World Bank and the I.M.F.

                                       of spreading the gospel

                           of free-market capitalism

to benefit corporations

            while ignoring the environmental impact

                                       of their policies

                           and worsening poverty in many countries.”

This was not Seattle, but the continuation

                                       of Seattle’s legacy fulfilled,

            successful, theatrical,

                           inventive, fun,

empowering for a new generation of activists

                           growing smarter,

            all the while with video cameras

                                       & poetic notebooks rolling

out on the streets no longer letting

                                       the mainstream media

            monopolize the whole story

                           the historic lessons are being learned––

one sidewalk curb at a time—

                                    a new magic spell has been cast––

            A person walks down 21st Street wearing

                                       a red box over her or his head––

in magic marker is writ

                                        “Light of Possibilities”

            a yellow bumper sticker across the box says

                            “accountable governance”

a nearby sign reads: “We’re not going away”

                           another: “Dissent cannot be shot down or arrested”

                                       I was there to witness

            the ground beneath the bank begin to shiver