Poem
Memo to the Oppressed
In light of recent displays of uncivil disobedience
Guerry Hoddersen
volume:  
volume 23
issue 1
April 2002

The oppressed are reminded to be civil on all occasions –
birthdays, burials,
inquests,
city council hearings,
police interrogations,
border crossings,
and court appearances included.

Inappropriate displays
of anger or
exhaustion
are frowned upon.

It would be appreciated if the oppressed could be more grateful
to developers and ribbon cutters,
police on horseback and the gang unit,
to Bill Gates and Paul Allen,
to transit dictators, zoning authorities
and tax assessors,
to Starbucks and Century 21,
to all those who work hard every day to
improve their communities.

The oppressed are required to obtain permits to protest.
Insurance is advisable
and a clean police record is considered a plus.
Remember to stay within
the designated rally area.
Violators may be pepper-sprayed or shot.

The oppressed are cautioned
not to sit on sidewalks,
to panhandle or
to carry protest signs
on picket sticks.
Tent cities are strictly forbidden.

The oppressed are forewarned that the use of bullhorns
around those who are insensible may lead to prosecution.

The oppressed are asked not to form unions
to go on strike
or otherwise disturb the calm of our cities
and suburbs.

The oppressed are admonished to abstain from premarital sex
and having children they cannot support and may not abort.

The oppressed are asked not to march in drag.
It offends our President.

The oppressed are advised not to raise their voices
to wear baggy pants
or to speak with a tongue that is foreign.

The oppressed are urged to consider other people’s feelings,
to bury their bitterness so Seattle can heal.

To sum up
the oppressed are urged to behave quietly and respectfully,
on the sidelines,
while the rest of us play ball in our state-of-the-art stadium
with a retractable ceiling
and a fine level playing field.

Seattle, August 2001