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Dear Friends

It’s my fate or fortune to be off work today,

and here are a few jumbled jottings:

It’s the end of May, a warm Wednesday,

my sister’s anniversary,

the morning after the evening

when we walked down our westside hill

and she took some striking photos

of the Stryker ship at the Port of Olympia.

It looked like something from Star Wars,

a big Death Star war boat

juxtaposed with a postcard image

of Rainier in its summer glory.

One of the cranes from that angle

resembled monstrous alligator jaws,

loading lethal equipment bound

for the oil fields of Armageddon.

I’d planned to rest my aching foot,

but I’ve got to go down there today.

I smile for at least a few moments

as I walk on West Bay Drive–

our redwood radical friend Remedy

has posted those photos on indymedia.

Hey Bonnie, we did good on that one.

The headlines adorn the downtown corners:


I limp along the creaking boardwalk

past dogwalkers and marina boaters.

A gray lawyer bustles by,

muttering to someone about suing someone.

The ship looks green and gray too,

the US Navy’s Pomeroy,

and when I take off my sunglasses

it’s even worse, a kind of corpse-like green.

A sign reads: Port Plaza, Waterfront Festival

and Community Gathering Place.

A crane is labeled Starport–

like I said, the Death Star!

Seagulls, sailboats, a KING-TV truck,

but the protesters and the officers

still seem to be catching up on sleep

after last nights “waterfront festival.”

A sudden chill as two cops pass by,

then put on a smiley PR routine

with some old folks and their ribboned poodle.

I see a guy in a wheelchair,

a grizzled patriot with a sad little flag

out at the end of the dock alone.

Now a Coast Guard patrol boat

with, my god, machine guns fore & aft,

drifts over and they talk to him,

and apparently order him away.

As I leave to go get too much coffee,

I pass by a chattering cellphone girl,

elbows on her purple chakra book,

picking up those cosmic vibes

in the last days of the empire.

Then I stand in Otto’s long line

and talk to an Earth First! guy.

His spirit soars on days like this.

I think of those poodle-playing cops–

they will not play with this young man,

and I can only say, hey, take care.

It starts to drizzle as I head back.

The holy mountain will not be out today,

and our spectacle will lack that surreal detail.

I walk by a statue called Motherhood,

and I realize I’ve never really seen it.

She cradles her tiny infant

with the death ship close behind,

and seems to say: Oh no, not this one,

you’ll never take this child.

Another sign: Welcome to Port Plaza,

with, you’ve got to be kidding me,

a picture of a curly-tailed pig!

I’m not making this up, folks,

I’m looking at an official Port of Oly

insignia of a pig–as more police arrive,

keeping an eye on the protest signs

that wait for their bearers to claim them.

The signs say Get Out of Iraq,

Get Out Of Our Town,

No More Lying & Spying.

It’s still early, so I go for lunch

at a place called the Dockside Deli.

I sip on a corporate cola

and think about the revolution.

It’s been a long time coming,

as the old song goes. Who sang that? Sigh.

Large people with small dogs go by,

they look like mortality is close behind,

but the draft-age boy at the next table–

may the gods grant that he outlives me.

He’s calling an ad for a motorcycle,

muscles filling his football t-shirt.

Maybe I should speak to him, but I don’t.

As I head back toward the killing machine,

I see playground kids laughing and crying

on their bright little swings and slides.

What will become of their lives,

as they cook in the filth of our abundance

in the ruins of the natural world?

That’s enough for now of humanity,

I need to find a big tree.

I’ll rest a while on a quiet trail,

and we’ll see what happens later.



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Craig Oare came to the close of his life at…