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Peace Train

Peace Train
3/22/03

An artist's report on the peace demonstration on Saturday 3/22 in Portland OR (article 1)
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The Peace Train Demonstrates
3/22/03

park at lloyd center
and catch the max train back to
pioneer courthouse

bump into my ex,
with her fellow peacemaker,
they borrow my truck
to run some errands

i merge with the crowd
as they, and sometimes we, chant:
drop bush, not bombs
not my president, not my war
bring home the troops
george bush we know your daddy was a killer too
what do we want, peace. when do we want it, now
bombs drop while you shop
1 2 3 4 we don't want your bloody war

helicopters are up
(most of them media)
chopper 2 is closest

check with the cops
how are they doing, are they
getting food and water?
is the overtime helping?

i don't perambulate
with the marchers as they
circumnavigate nordstrom's

the protestors keep
to the sidewalks & obey
the crosswalks signals

on one corner,
a line of motorcycles
on the other horses

duck into nordstrom's
to use the men's room but have
to get its door code

buy $2 water and
get the code (4000)
but when i come out
everyone's gone

friendly news person
says she heard they went to
2nd & alder

3rd & alder
i spot them (actually
the bicycle cops)
many blocks down 3rd
heading for burnside?!

a fellow straggler
says they've headed for
saturday market
(under the burnside bridge)

i spot the mounties
turning column left at
pine and 2nd

finally get to
ankeny and front street, they're
heading up river

followed by a
confused trail of police, it's
almost comical

i end up playing
leapfrog with the cavalry
every few blocks

one of the mounties
gets off his horse to scrape its
(shit) under a hedge

lovely irony:
a steamboat heads upstream and
closes the bridges
one by one as they march
up the riverfront

i finally catch
the marchers at the world trade
center (of portland)

the marchers are on
the sidewalks separated
by cops filling the street
on bikes, motorcycles,
horses, cars and suv's

one marcher gets
arrested for "jaywalking"
thru the police in a crosswalk

as it gets dark, we
march on sidewalks, obey
crosswalk signals and
head for a candlelight vigil at
terry schrunk plaza

turn on the l-wire
on my hat and backpack
everyone loves it

we are handing out
candles but run out of cups
to put them in

i stroll down to the
corner bar and buy 50
cups for $5

dozens of candles
in a peace symbol of light
as night and rain falls

someone with a good
voice and a preference for
reggae gets the mike
we all start jammin'

poetry, too,
"America 2003
Dr. Seuss-Style"

announcements and a
plea to support the campers
by the courthouse

we head back up to
pioneer square, it takes a
few blocks for the cops
to catch up with us (they are
just not paying attention)

halfway to the square
we turn up yamhill and four
motorcycle cops
ride up the opposite
sidewalk, we give them shit for it

back in the square more
poetry and i hand out
my last candles

a street preacher, who
doesn't need a bullhorn, shares
his gospel with us

we counter with the
beatitudes, but they don't
slow him down at all

red line train pulls up,
a wild idea is hatched,
the peace train is born

only a single
car, we lose some marchers
but head for skidmore
(saturday market)

at each stop our
conductor bullhorns out the door
"hop on the peace train"

chants of "peace now"
"whose max our max" fill the train
by-sitters come and go

bicycle cops have
to hump to keep up with us
we laugh and stay on
we want to see if they will
follow us over the river

a gaggle of sweet
young things get on and get their
picture taken with us

lloyd center, end of
the "fareless square," we get off and
greet the waiting cops

don't jump the railing!
we are lawful protesters
we chastise the offender

as we wait for the
next train (3 minutes early)
we laugh, the cops smile

flashing peace signs as
the peace train pulls out
the cops grin back at us

at the rose center
we wave to the cops cars and
they wave back at us

finally off at
skidmore, what now? after some
discussion, march to
the next station then
back on the max to
pioneer square

the next train is
"out of service" so the front
of the column turns
right on pine and off we go

we stop at corners
cops put on their lights, "thank you
officer" he scowls back

a bright idea
walk against one way traffic
and ditch the cops

marching 10 blocks to
pioneer square we show good
unit cohesion
no stragglers and
no one arrested

at the square we lose
our police escort
"thank you, officer, for being peaceful"
"thank you for being good," he replies

we make a human
peace sign, but the media
stay in their trucks

as we all decide
to meet back in the square
tomorrow at five,

up by the trains, some
dude hides behind a blue bandana
and rants about genocide

blue boy argues with
a man with his two girls
dad says "the war is a war crime"

blue boy head butts him!
in front of his children
the crowd pulls blue boy off of the dad
then runs away up morrison

i find out about
all this first from an upset
marcher who states our ethos
we don't fight
we don't call the police pigs
we don't engage with upset people (mostly)

i talk with the man
his nose has stopped bleeding
but his girls are scared

a cop arrives and
interviews him, we take notes
dad could identify blue boy
but just wants to
take his girls home

i, too, head home
and to find my ex, the lawyer,
and my truck

she takes me to dinner
and tells me something
i will never forget
she doesn't protest Against war,
she demonstrates For peace

so,
demonstrate peace
everyone



Copyright 2003 by Andrew Hunter Seaton. This material may be distributed only subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the Open Publication License, v1.0 or later (the latest version is presently available at  http://www.opencontent.org/openpub/). Distribution of substantively modified versions of this document is prohibited without the explicit permission of the copyright holder. Distribution of the work or derivative of the work in any standard (paper) book form is prohibited unless prior permission is obtained from the copyright holder.