kicked out ball

i went by lee park friday night for the first time since the eviction.  i went to sit and to meditate on what that space now means to me.  and it was really hard.  hard to see it emptied of the community we’d built.  i walked around and imagined it as it was: making note of where the info tent had been, where tom’s tent, where the women’s tent, the kitchen tent.  i wondered where so many of the homeless folks who’d been part of the occupation were now; i wondered where everyone was now.  losing our space made me realize i’d been putting down roots with a community for the first time here.  and now i feel like i am drifting.

someone came up with the clever idea to host a “kicked out ball” game for saturday and i was anxious for it.  i needed a powerful way to re-enter the park, to come back into the space with the people i’d grown to love and honor in ways i don’t often get to in the rest of society.  our home had been disassembled and criminalized and i needed something fun and tongue and cheek and joyful to counteract my sadness and pain.

and kicked out ball was all of that.  we scrambled a little waiting for a ball, but once we had one we formed two teams: the occupiers vs. the police.  i was on team police and we started off kicking.  as soon as we’d gotten our first out, the occupiers wanted to change the rules.  they proposed we switch teams at one out, instead of three.  in the spirit of unhealthy competition and fun, team police shouted back that that was just like occupiers, trying to change the rules to suit their ends, regardless of other interests.  team police tried to use our power of law to override the complaints of occupiers.  we had a playful little dispute and then negotiated a middle ground.  instead of the normal, three outs per inning, we would do two.  a nice little compromise, the occupiers weren’t getting everything they wanted, but the cops were playing along.

later in the game, i was running to first base.  it was close, but as i ran right into one of the occupiers, i was clearly out.  i tried to throw my weight around a little and claim that my truth was the truth and that i was not out at all.  they were my rules after all, and i should be able to interpret them however i wanted.

and of course the satire was not quite clean.  really team police should have been some amalgamation of local government and the police could have been the referees.  even still, we laughed and made digs at each other in fun and healing ways.  and all of a sudden our eviction seemed a little less painful, a little more absurd.  the act of violence held a little less power over me.  and i could begin to heal, if only a little.

and yes, it still feels like passing a graveyard.  or a crime scene.  or a ghost town.  it still hurts when i walk through and remember everyone who lived there together, and what it meant to have a physical space to build and create in together.  i still get mad as hell when i pass by and notice that no one is actually using the park now.  but occupy charlottesville is not dead and we are not going away.  and i take a bit of vengeful joy in laughing at the institutions that think they can stop us.  that they can evict an idea.  nice try, y’all, but we are still going to dismantle this shit.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. paxus
    Dec 08, 2011 @ 04:53:34

    it is certainly not over. And the form that many evicted Occupy groups will take is up for grabs. In Atlanta when the police thru them out of Woodruff park, they ended up getting a homeless shelter which had been vacant before Occupy. Occupy makes things possible which were impossible before.

    Reply

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