Late Night Life
By Joseph Wade
At 2:00am, the Occupy the Wall (OW) encampment was silent with most of the die-hard protesters asleep in the park. A fine mist sprayed sporadically, pushed by random gusts of wind, but a few people were toiling into the night.
Protesters on the kitchen crew were putting away food, another was sweeping trash. In the center of the encampment was the white glow of a projection screen. The media pit was across from it where a dull roar from a generator competed with clicking keyboards and quiet conversations for dominance of the sound waves.
Walking to the front of the encampment, I approached the information booth where several gentlemen were speaking with each other next an American Flag that flapped in the wind, falling lazily when it stopped.
I asked the gentlemen to pose for a picture, which they agreed to with warm smiles, and at just the right the time, when I snapped the photo—the flag had burst open in a jolting display of her colors—something I’d pledged to die for at one time.
Beneath the flag was 45 year old Michael Riley—a poet. He said he didn’t normally work the information booth, but that he was there to help to his friend, who was in his late 20’s and a writer. Riley said that he helps with outreach within the protest and that he also educates people on the history of protesting. “It’s what I have to give,” he said.
Riley told me he would be leading a walking tour of the city tomorrow. I told him that if I could make it to the protest in time—an hour from where I live in Brooklyn— I would be there.
Turning to leave, my eyes caught something strange as the American flag was snapped open by another breeze. Above the sharp red and crisp white stripes—in the blue field—were 50 corporate logos that had replaced the 50 stars.