Spring Mobilization April 19th, 1985 San Francisco

The grey sky
is opening
patches of blue appear
and the sun seeps
onto the cool streets
while a light drizzle falls.

The street car shudders
thru the dark tunnel
heading toward the spring mobilization
to struggle against everything bad.

That showing of bodies that says
to a hardly noticing world,
" the world needs peace and justice
and we bring our separate bodies
our individual minds here into
a marching and pressing hoard
to cheer our sublime hopes
and vent our buried angers together
and feel that much less alone".

The smells of Polish.sausage,
pizza, burgers and burritos fill the air.
The marchers with their flags and placards
enter Civic Center Plaza.

Labor, peace, anti apartheid, socialist, communist,
women, and gay groups and every mixture thereof,
all have tables selling and giving away
their buttons, pamphlets, newsletters and T shirts.

The speakers and organizers and musicians
reason with, scream and cajole the crowds
for solidarity and strength against
the injustices that bind us,
while old friends meet and
search out the pathways
toward their thwarted dreams.

Buckets are passed out for donations
to pay for the rally costs
that rarely get fully paid.
Six months or more of organizing
But at 5 o'clock, the words dying in the air,

The coalition to stop homeporting.
brings a miniature Battleship Missouri
built into the hollow of a canoe
and launches it into the city hall fountain
it is all over. The dwindling crowds
disappear into the buses and subway;
and the issues and groups separate
into their separate offices.
But maybe two strangers have met and
will never be alone again, or
perhaps in the friction of insight
some great idea was born
that never lived before.

© Allen Cohen. All rights reserved.

This poem is included in Allen Cohen's newest book, "Like A Radiant Dove".