Occupy Poetry

Oh they’ve foreclosed the home of the free/ They mortgaged and sold/ for a little Wall Street gold/ this land of equality/ Oh they’ve foreclosed the home of the free/ Now we are the brave/ Occupy and save the country/ that’s home to you and me/ the country that’s our democracy.


by Dee Allen

“Why don’t you be more like us & conform?

Why don’t you get a job & join the norm?”

Because you simply won’t let us exist

Stand together!  Resist!  Resist!


“Why won’t you let us do business? Let us be!

Why do you see us as the enemy?”

Because your coprorate decisions led us to this

Stand together!  Resist!  Resist!


“Why do you protest & make us grieve?

Why don’t you pack up your tents & leave?”

Because our lives are wrecked by you & your syst

Stand together!  Resist!  Resist!


“Do we have to fight & take issue?

Why don’t you stop &

take your sleeping bags with you?”

Because we’re houseless & broke!

Don’t you get the gist?

Stand together!  Resist!  Resist!


“What do you think your protest will bring?

How much longer do we have to hear you sing?

A long time — until you cease & desist

Stand together!  Resist!  Resist!


“If you’re gonna stay, you’ll be moved, of course.

Don’t make us call in the police force!”

That means war!  People raise your fists!

Stand together!  Resist!  Resist!


Stand together!  Resist!  Resist!

Stand together!  Resist!  Resist!

Stand together!  Resist!  Resist!


There’s only 1% of them

We must unify

Hold onto that piece of  ground

Hella occupy


In the city streets

At the city banks

This is our night

We are alive!


“God Hates Money” Occupy poster art by Marc Saviano


The Street Singer

by Mary Rudge

Oh they’ve foreclosed the home of the free.

They mortgaged and sold

for a little Wall Street gold

this land of equality.


Oh they’ve foreclosed the home

of the free.

Now we are the brave

to Occupy and save the country

that’s home to you and me

the country that’s our democracy.


Nothing Left But Magic

by Julia Vinograd

The Occupy tents spring up like mushrooms in an invisible forest.

Circles of mushrooms with sleeping-bag lovers inside

and winged fairies perching outside. The 99 percent excluded,

lost jobs, lost schools, nothing left but magic. Drummers, fiddlers,

costumes, tents set up in a building empty for 10 years.

The police empty them out again, tear gas, arrests.

A pink dinosaur made of papier-mache. The cops trash it,

it fills several garbage cans. Advertisements for real estate

that no one can afford on walls and benches now covered with graffiti.

Prophets versus profit. Once in the desert water came from a struck rock.

A miracle. In this desert the same rock goes thru a window.

A rock aimed like a grenade to go thru the sky.

“Spring Has Arrived” Occupy poster art created by Heather Kern. See more poster art from the Occupy movement at Occuprint: http://occuprint.org


An 11-Year-Old Occupy Revolutionary

with Purple Hair

 by Julia Vinograd

I was selling my poetry books at the crafts fair

and a lady came up to me with her daughter about 11

long purple hair, cute and shiny.

The lady said she wanted one of my books but would have to go

to the Bank of America to get money, she’d catch up with me.

I didn’t expect her to come back and didn’t see her

for an hour and a half.  She was laughing.

“You know what happened?” she said. “My daughter protested

‘But mommy, we can’t go to Bank of America, we have to go to

a credit union, that’s what all the Occupy people say.’

It took a while to find a credit union but here we are.”

I signed her book and smiled

at the 11-year-old revolutionary with purple hair.


RECUERDO [memory]

by Mary Rudge

It’s the same faces I saw in the demonstrations

against the Vietnam War still here —

Oh, wait, it’s  look-alikes,

these are their children.

Yet that seems the sign I carried

“A child in Iraq died for my car”

painted over with today’s slogan.


I thought I was still young, still in the

same march, still in the same sit-in, still in

front of the military fence

chanting with others “Illegal to Kill”

as they took us off to jail for our words,

Father Vitale praying all the way. I thought I was

again outside the prison calling  out

“Capital  punishment should be a crime.”

At the school saying “don’t cut the programs!”

At the college saying, “cut tuition.”

I have been here before,

I have never left the demonstration.

See where that sidewalk is crumbled and broken

from the weight of so many demonstrations.

See where my shadow stays permanently

like a tattoo where that cement is broken with age,

stained with the pain from the impress of

so many efforts to change things,

our faces forever here

occupying the spaces before your eyes.


shock of freedom

by Randy Fingland

long walk

in compassion’s shoes


mother theresa’s eyes

really saw

the need

that equality

of all born

be enforced


gandhi championed

the untouchables’ place

on humanity’s equality ladder

even against hindu precepts


mlk jr called for

elimination of poverty

no matter color

religion or neighborhood


the plight of the many

is blight upon

the governing few

whose pleasures

prevail to bring shame

if examined under

the principles this nation

was founded upon


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A Life Consecrated to Compassion and Justice

On the bleak streets of the Tenderloin, a sister took a stand against inhumanity. Her solidarity was inspired by the beatitudes and consecrated to the poor.

The Invisible Natural Cathedral of People’s Park

Builders, please go away. Allow the beauty of an Invisible Natural Cathedral to remain, a living shrine of open space that gives refuge to all people.

Street Spirit Interview with Sister Bernie Galvin

This atrocity was happening in a very wealthy city. It was happening right under our noses. It was very visible. And there was not the united voice of the faith community speaking out. That was the spark of Religious Witness. From that moment, I knew what I had to do.

Interview with Sister Bernie Galvin, Part Two

“What’s forming in my mind is Jesus in the temple when he became angry at the unjust and very exclusive systems of society. That is the very reason that there are the poor and the marginalized. It is not enough just to provide food, clothing and housing.”

‘Such Is the Magic and Spirit of People’s Park’

The mayor has no understanding of the awful defeat the loss of People’s Park would be. No comprehension of the cost in lives and the sacrifices people have made for the Park’s ideals. So many still find it a refuge in a country needing a political and spiritual overhaul.

I Remember Who I Am

“And Now Where?” Lithograph by Rockwell Kent

By and by, I calm down. I meditate. I pray. It is a beautiful day. The sun is setting. I weave my way toward the spot where I sleep, where nobody knows where to find me. I look to the stars, and say my prayers to the God who believes in Me.