A legion of scooter-mounted police flanks the bizarre exodus creeping north along Broadway, indolently, with momentum like ten thousand demented tortoises.
“Show me what democracy looks like!”
“This is… looks like…”
Frantic organizers sprint feverishly through the crowd, trying to pace the rally and achieve some cohesion. But the basic absence of purpose or any sort of goal was a complicated setback.
“Show me what—”
“We are all Troy Davis!”
“See this fuckin’ Movement, cop?”
There were some concerns about the clarity of the messaging. But the Brave Poet speaks from someplace unknowable and solicits no input.
The words belong to no one, born in the aether, forever anonymous.
“Whose streets?” the Poet beckons.
“I said whose streets?” he calls again, louder this time.
The words resonate at just the right pitch.
A perfect note, the Poet knows, is all you need to tantalize a few tuning forks. Following several failed efforts to channel the proper ethos, token chanting is able to commence in earnest around noon, somewhere near Fulton Street.
In fact, the police armada occupied the lion’s share of the road and a small strip was left open for motorists. The protestors were kettled to the sidewalk. The scooters formed a tight phalanx formation and yielded only to the lunch crowd.
A small contingent of Maoists with a miniature beagle attempted to be let through at one point, claiming to be “seriously done with the marching band bullshit,” but they were thoroughly vetted and taken into custody.
Donnie wasn’t sure what the opposite of righteousness was called, but he’d become adept at discerning the noise that it makes.
“Not to be the naysayer, comrades, but–“
A girl’s voice. It was nearby.
Getting closer. Anxious, angry. Not the proper ethos.
Tripping over feet in the motley procession, Donnie was already struggling to keep balance when the girl in purple sweat pants shoved past, nearly knocking him over, then barreling ahead into a contingent of marching percussionists, who were beating to the rhythm of true conviction.
Donnie spots the face of some stoic and resigned black man cheaply screen-printed to the front of her t-shirt, soaked in perspiration. A caption reads: “Troy Davis. 1968-2011.”
“This is a silent march!” the girl shouts to no one in particular.
But the words don’t resonate.
“I’m getting Halal,” Donnie said to a cop, and crossed the street.