now we beat poets

At Occupy Berke­ley, Beat Poets Has New Mean­ing —

I should have writ­ten about this long ago—its gone now with the rest of 2011 into the fetid swamp of past regrets. Robert Haas, sev­enty years old at the time, is roughed up by the Oak­land police and sur­vives to write about it.

the poet Robert Hass

photo: Bar­bara Hall

Hass served as Poet Lau­re­ate of the United States from 1995 to 1997 and as a Chan­cel­lor of The Acad­emy of Amer­i­can Poets from 2001 to 2007. He lives in Cal­i­for­nia with his wife, poet Brenda Hill­man, and teaches at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley.  ~

Much has been writ­ten about the banal­ity of evil. We swal­low it in small daily doses, don’t we? Water board­ing isn’t really tor­ture. Pep­per spray is good for the ten-year-old child and the eighty-four-year old woman—its fun to hose down young women with their arms bound behind their backs. It must feel good to crack some hippie’s head open with a baton.

If you wade into an unarmed crowd of pro­tes­tors, it must be hard to spare the poets—hard to see that mys­tic sparkle in the eyes through your face mask. We could start out small. Maybe agree to not punch any­one over sixty or under six­teen, ever?

One thought on “now we beat poets

  1. Susan Bentley

    Good grief. That protest does sound like the 60’s. I did not real­ize that the police had got­ten so vio­lent. You would think the press would have had more to say abouto­lice brutality.


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