Occupy Nothing

Occupy Nothing

We got drunk with homeless people

in tents outside city hall

in the frigid air last fall.

The movement fell apart,

and the city would rather tear up the pavement

around the half-abandoned administrative center

for an indefinite amount of time

than have the wrong people transparently living

out there in the middle of the city

for everyone to see.

At least now the vagrants and troublemakers are scattered

about so no one can pay attention once again.

Someone got shot there during fourth of July;

thousands of people were herded through the gates of hell,

“to celebrate fascism” as a nice old man commented to me

as I walked by, I didn’t know what to respond.

We left as soon as we got there because it was beyond suffocating.

There is a lack of understanding in everyone, and it is exhausting not being naive.

Philadelphia will remain static on the outside.

About Sean William Lynch
Sean Lynch is a writer and editor who lives in South Philly. Lynch's first book of poems, the city of your mind, was published in 2013 by Whirlwind Press. His second chapbook, Broad Street Line, focusing on politics and public transportation, was published by Moonstone Press in 2016. 100 Haiku is his latest release, also published by Moonstone Press in 2018. Lynch's writing has been featured in numerous publications online and in print, including (parenthetical), Poetry Quarterly, and Tincture Journal.

14 Responses to Occupy Nothing

  1. It’s the same in Atlanta.

  2. Ms. Nine says:

    Homelessness is ugly, but shouldn’t be ignored or swept under the rug.

    • Sean Lynch says:

      The city of Philadelphia is sweeping this issue under the rug because the local government just recently passed a law saying that it is illegal to feed more than 3 homeless people at a time out in public. They say it is for health concerns that homeless people should get their charity indoors, but it isn’t realistic because the city has no fucking money to support feeding people indoors.

      • dizzy says:

        There is a campaign locally to discourage ‘agressive’ (I’ve never been accosted) panhandlers. The gentry are encouraged to give to charities that help the homeless — which is GREAT!

        But… Money=Freedom on this continent. Freedom is not a given. It is bought. I am not adverse to giving them what little freedom they can buy for a little cash. It’s a fleeting freedom, but theirs non-the-less. They can decide how they want to spend their ‘freedom’. Many of the most die-hard will never access resources made available to them by charities. They just don’t trust the mainstream establishment. Why should they? There are always strings…

        I feel it’s just another excuse for them to walk on by: “‘They’ told me not to give you anything. I am absolved of all responsibility to my fellow man…”

        There are many rewards to be reaped from small acts of human kindness. I feel this new policy is robbing us all of the joys of human exchange, eye contact, conversation… Understanding? Although, the policy means well (?) it is driving a larger wedge between the haves and have-nots…

        Here we find ourselves, yet again, teetering on the edge of the chasm staring into the dark abyss that separates us… When we should rush to embrace and lift each other out of dispair…

  3. dizzy says:

    It would seem the planet is dripping in apathy.

  4. Sadly, your next to last sentence says it all.

  5. smilingtoad says:

    Dreary, but oh so redolent of reality. “There is a lack of understanding in everyone, and it is exhausting not being naive.” Powerful line. Very good reflective write on the frustration of the whole thing. Lovely write.

  6. Sean Lynch says:

    Smells like reality, I like. Thanks for the lovely comment.

  7. dizzy says:

    I apologise if I came across as flip. 😊

  8. northwindseeker says:

    “…it is exhausting not being naive.”

    The most hazardous part of knowing, is the unwitting commitment. You can never unknow.

    Very well put.

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