Two Poems by Amy Uyematsu

 Found Poem: Echoes from Zuccotti Park

– after “Revolution Number 99,” Vanity Fair, February, 2012

it started in Egypt / a bunch of young people using social media / inspired us

and the Indignados in Madrid’s Puerto del Sol / quickly spread throughout Spain

don’t be so sure this can’t happen here / “Are you ready for a Tahrir moment?”

we just thought it would take a little longer / this thing started having a life of its own

the poster / a ballerina on top of this dynamic bull / we were going to take the bull / but

the bull was already occupied / by the police / there was an insane number of cops

horse cops / scooter cops / platoons of foot soldiers looking for something to do

we didn’t know we were going to end up in Zuccotti Park / you had to jockey for space, find

your spot, lay down your cardboard and your sleeping bag / there was this incredible energy

it rained like hell / the mood shifted/ from fear to a lot of hope / I’ve never felt more right

she was old enough to receive a senior-citizen discount / she wore a Guy Fawkes mask

17th century insurrectionist / the V for Vendetta mask was cheap and available / in every city

of the world / it was cool to be a lefty again / “Go cause trouble” / you could see

people being arrested and thrown into buses / young people realize their future

was mortgaged / “hacktivists” had brought down the websites of Visa and MasterCard

a cop came and slammed us down on the ground / it took a few seconds to feel tear gas

hurts to open your eyes / you can’t really breathe / this horrible burning all over your face

“Who are the men who really run this land?” / there are these long waves of American history

and we’re due for one / “And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand?”

by October 15, Day 29 of the occupation, rallies had spread / Tokyo, Chicago, London, Manila

I’d seen it everywhere / wake people up / the park is symbolic now

the protest is bigger than that / amazing that it worked / like the Arab spring

people felt like they had a voice again because we had that space / are you ready

note:  Italicized lines are from David Crosby’s 1971 song, “What Are Their Names?”



Insolent beauty

next to these bruised swollen feet

a wild daffodil

~ ~ ~

Bound together

madmen, mothers, monks

whose mantra to choose

~ ~ ~

A tempest sky

stirred up by too much human

the blue still of fear


Amy Uyematsu is a Los Angeles-based poet and former teacher (mathematics, creative writing, Asian American Studies).  She is Sansei (3rd-generation Japanese American).  Her published works include 30 Miles from J-Town (1992), Nights of Fire, Nights of Rain (1997), and Stone Bow Prayer (2005).  Her poetry has also been featured in various anthologies, including The Misread City: New Literary Los Angeles (2003, eds. by Scott Timberg and Dana Gioia) and Bear Flag Republic: Prose Poems and Poetics from California (2008, eds. Christopher Buckley and Gary Young).  You can read more of Uyematsu’s poetry online at the Poetry Foundation website.

  1. sesshu said:

    Great! Limber motility! Thanks for these!

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