In Praise of the Seattle Coalition


They came from around the globe to change the shape of the globe
They formed a human chain and sidewalks declared their support
They led labor down unpaved roads and mountain ranges from all sides
    tipped their peaks in salute
They wore turtle caps and the Pacific roared its approval
They chanted “This is what democracy looks like” so that we who could
    not be in Seattle could watch TV & see what democracy looks like
They called for human rights and were gassed with inhuman chemicals
They insisted the food be kept clean of genetic experiment and were shot
    with rubber bullet pellet red meat welts
They demanded an end to worldwide sweatshops and were treated
    to the best nightsticks multinational business could buy
It was a coalition for the ages, of all ages, of all stages, of varying degrees
    of calm and rages
After curfew, the skies lit up & birds flew across continents to celebrate
Ancient redwood trees shook their leaves to prevent WTO delegates
    from being received
The town salmon agreed to wear union windbreakers for the week
When the mayor outlawed public gasmasks, the air sucked up to help out
It was the audible applause of the quantum that drove the police chief mad
A dog ran across the road to dispose of pepper spray containers
Stampeding cops were stopped by dolphins swimming in mid-street
    I saw this every hour on the hour behind the CNN lens
In a thousand tongues, even the internet logged on the side of the young
O friends, you have jumpstarted this nation and revealed an America
    with a million human faces
Of course the corporations were defeated, any objective observer
    could see they were outmatched from the opening bell
Now come the subtle somersaults and the internationalist flips
Now the courageous maneuvers that follow a win
Now the flexible glue to keep a coalition together
Now spreading the fun so that more can participate
Now there will be more democracy and then even more democracy
Now you are welcomed heroic at the dawn of a century

December 1999