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Inauguration Day 2005


I'm not sure why I went to DC and wandered the bloody streets in torn socks except

I felt the need to test myself and see if I could avoid the stray nails, wearing my anti-Bush

buttons and letting loose a few chants from deepest vocal chords to help a few tens of

thousands nudge the new century's trials along their awkwardly chosen path.


What would one extra body mean amidst a dense crowd of war protest signs juxtaposed

surreally against men in bowler hats & hundreds of women in furs? But, having been to

the 2001 protests after this president stole his way into the White House, I wasn't going 

to miss the fun this year,


wasn't going to miss the sidewalk cracks let loose their most heat-filled eco-poisoned winter

steam, I thought we owed it to the world and to our own reputations and safety to see how

many hours we could survive the frigid cold with just a short-sleeve shirt and two dozen

snipers atop every office building aiming their postmodern firing squad.


It was perfect context for Bush's speech on freedom: "We are going to spread liberty

and depleted uranium all across the planet these next four years. For the sake of

patriotism and your own children's survival, please avert your eyes from the filled

corridors of Basra's cancer specialty hospital."


The signs in D.C. were a hodgepodge of pretty valid complaints: "Starve the War / Feed

the Poor," "Bush Kills," "The President is a Liar," "Save social Security, Dump Bush,"

"In Nuremburg, they put war criminals on trial, here they are putting one back into the

oval office," "not my president" if only....


About 15 people staged a die-in at 16th & H, a few covering themselves with the United

for Peace and Justice banner "We the People Say No to the Bush Agenda," as police cars

approached and parked watching them for an hour or two, while many a passerby tried

ignoring or inventing new insults,


a high school class walked by in yellow uniform rows of two with teacher and several

assistants barking orders "keep moving!", "don't look!"  A guy in grey suit asks his

friend "what are they doing?" "Lying down." "Good, run them over!" "We are going to

spread liberty and depleted uranium these next four years."


On 14th Street between F & Pennsylvania, the cops form a triangle like the start of a

billiard game then charge young protesters with batons up, then retreat and let the energetic

pack back into the street. It smells a bit like teargas may have been used here, and a guy

with long hair & white Jesus robes walks thru wearing a sign:


"Not my chosen one." A woman with grey hair stands alone next to Department of Veteran

Affairs holding sign "Bring Them Home." One woman mid-twenties short hair & tatoo

carries a "No mandate" poster. I wonder whether it would be possible to develop a positive

platform based on the signs being carried here?


What's going to happen these next 4 years? Where goes the environment? How would we

prevent global warming given that Batman's arch nemesis Mr. Freeze has been given the

Industrial Regulation Keys? For how long will the New Deal social security checks continue

to arrive?


When will the "Salvador-option" death squads written about in Newsweek and in

Seymour Hersh's New Yorker article begin to appear on Baghdad or DC streets? Soon,

we are going to have freedom and depleted uranium knocking door to door across

the planet's most crowded cities, is this what Jefferson envisioned?


On train back home to NYC I hear we're going to get a big snowstorm in next few days.

All the planet has heard today's weather report. Two-thirds of the listeners feel sure the

weather anchor has lost his mind, the other third believe he is relaying blizzard reports

directly from god. The passengers on my train car are holding our collective breaths.



[Originally published in NHS 2005, http://www.poetspath.com/napalm/nhs05/eliot_katz.html.]