We Once had a Dream Called Occupy Wall Street. 04/09/13 #2



I said yes… and here’s where I’m going to do this rewind and catch up on who I am, or was, or thought I was at this time. My name is Lorenzo Serna, and on July 19th 2011, I was politically deceased.  I had spent years organizing around issue after issue, tar sands, war, and war, and war, and immigration, and sexism, and racism. I saw the whole world just writhing in front of me and I wanted it to stop. I organized rallies and marches, I organized terrible events that flopped on their faces, but I kept at it, until graduate school. Where I decided that all i really wanted to do was tell stories. Tell the story of this and that, tell the story of an older brother much smarter than I locked away in prison, of a family struggling to keep what they’d gained, of a brother so in love… of a childhood spent working fields, and of  distant memories of adventure.

I’d reach New York as a man who’d watched thousands of people march endless circles waving flags, and banners, flanked by riot police and every march indiscernible of message. I remember watching waves of riot police fire tear gas into a crowd and the crowd just melt away into a poor neighborhood where folks offered water to the mixture of people who tried once again to defy direction. That’s all it ever was, just one more moment of defiance, one more time saying, no, I will not listen to you. I will not follow your command. I tasted tear gas, and panicked in coffee shops recounting sprinting from police who started dropping their batons into journalists. I reached New York no longer an activist, but just dead. Because, after all the pain and suffering I’d witnessed, the countless acts of defiance and belief that the world could be better, might be better. I still reached New York, with 2 wars I’d rallied and marched against continuing, the tar sands still being developed, immigrants being treated as some sort of cattle and all conversations everywhere muted of meaning. I reached New York, tired, and spent, and just wanting to share what I’d seen. That was the person who said “Yes” that day.

So it’s important that you realize that as we go through this journey together… I won’t be sharing anyone’s real name. Unless they allow me too, and also it’s all based on memory. For all the talk of being a writer, I never wrote anything down. I lived it, i breathed it, I fought it and wept it, but rarely did I take the time to reflect on Occupy Wall Street.  Even as I write this it seems somehow new and foreign to me, I can recall the subway line over my head, my friend hugging me and laughing at my TMNT suitcase….I never wrote anything down to the extent that when I saw someone all cushy in their sleeping bags, a journal on their laps and them reflecting on this or that thing that happened earlier. I would get pissed. “How the fuck does that person have anytime.” I know now that my strange work ethic caused that, and that maybe I should have taken some time, but who cares. Everything is watery and uncertain… This is my recalling.

I said yes, and we went to his place where I dropped my bags into the room he’d let me stay in. It was this tiny little offshoot from his apartment that fit a small futon I’d sleep in. I told him it was perfect, because I didn’t really want anything but to live, and that tiny amount of space was enough for me to do it at that time.

            We jumped on the subway to head to a union hall. I’d never been on a subway or in a city like New York, but it also always took a lot to impress me. Well, I guess I remember being impressed. We strolled down the G line and a gentlemen was sitting under some stairs playing a cello. It was beautiful and something so strange, just to have anyone playing music so openingly.. I guess that was new, and I didn’t drop him any money, but I remember writing him a note. Which I never left either.  It said something like, “I’m sorry I don’t have any money to leave you, but I figured I’d share this poem with you because it’s all I can give…” I can’t remember the poem I wrote, but didn’t give it to him, because I felt so nerdy. We got off the train  eventually, A train near the Patriot bar. We went to a meeting called by the coalition “New Yorkers Against Budget Cuts.”

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1 Comment

  1. Jose

     /  April 10, 2013

    Thanks Lorenzo for sharing your experiences in that crazy wild world that was OWS for space in so many of our lives. I look forward to seeing you in the trees, fields, streets and bridges soon enough.


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