I learn that since 1967 six people are a riot.  I tell this to my friend, and, she says, of this Kansas City, “We’re chill until we’re not.”

 

A hundred people shout the word “Hopefully.”  A hundred people shout “Um.”  A hundred people shout “No one has ever repeated my words before,” and a hundred people shout “I will take care of you if you need help.”   Ten people shout “Point of procedure!” Five hundred people shout “What we are for?/ Class war.”  Three hundred people shout “Let them go!” and at the sound of the shouting people, the police let the people go.

*

The police are bringing some green tea.  The police are promising a blind eye.  The police are posing for pictures.  The police are fist pumping the air.   The police are saying, “Take down your tents.”  The police are saying, “Stay on the sidewalk.” The police are saying they haven’t had a raise in three years.  The police are hugging Guy Fawkes.  The police are turning on their sirens. The police are showing off their tattoos. The police are bragging they’d run over old ladies. The police are saying, “You’ll be arrested.”  The police won’t take off their badges. The police won’t give up their guns. The police want to talk to us.  The police are telling us the names of their wives.  

*

I’m working through the city ordinances and doing a lot of copying and pasting and analyzing.  I am spending my night reconstructing a civic history by staring at some codes.  This city is made of two states. The river holds the bodies of slaves escaping to freedom: the old city boss Pendergast’s ready-mixed-concrete makes up the hard surface of the city and is said to be full of bones. People occupying Kansas City ask each other “What side you from?”  There’s a lot of quiet evidence, too, of the city’s extra-legal legality—that’s a local strategy of inefficiency in the shards of civic databases.  What is Kansas City is how to occupy a split and barely-functioning thing, how to occupy a city made from the wild west, racial injustice, emancipatory urges, and off-hand under-hand anti-rule.  When I am occupying Kansas City, I am occupying “suspect nostalgia and equally suspect admiration for decay.”  

I learn that since 1967 six people are a riot.  I tell this to my friend, and, she says, of this Kansas City, “We’re chill until we’re not.”

*

There is one guy here wearing 90’s goth pants and a gas mask and dirty dreads. He likes to run around in the streets screaming FUCK AMERICA and BOMB THE FED.  People worry about him.  They sometimes stand up to condemn him, call him a provocateur. Whatever he is he is also like an avatar of the natural man, an animated Rousseau-like incivility, all embodied rage-quit and totally regular, like an eternal flame.  

Parents with infants stroll with their infants, also some women cook dinner. A small child sometimes paces the encampment practicing her protest chants on a megaphone.  A “media team” of people in black plastic glasses watch YouTube videos. There is a collie here whose only countenance is the business-like countenance of a herder.  He is unleashed, and he is unwavering in the anti-personal way he circles the gathered crowd.  He has no time to be petted as he weaves through the people’s herd.

I google “How do I put on for my city?” and the answer, from a person named “Lil-E Ima get a job at 11,” is “Whatever your city needs, you give it to them.”

*

When I ask some people “Why?” one person says it is God and another says it is the Buddha and another says it is the great feminine force of the earth and another says it is Ron Paul and another says it is human reason and another says it is the greedy thieves and bullshit and some guys talk about being in NYC and some other guys go talk to unions and one person tells me it was the tear-gassing of the young women and another person says it is so parents can have more time with their kids.  A guy says he’s there because he hates it when people tell other people to leave the premises. A homeless guy says it’s because he was told there would be food. A guy standing near me says that his mom says if he keeps coming back she will no longer put a roof over his head.  A couple of guys who act like leaderless-leaders just act like I am not there.   One guy says he’s been there since the beginning thirteen days ago, and it’s all the new people who keep coming who mess things up.  Another guy lost his home.

*

Everyone says nothing is generalizable. The people come and go, and no one night is like the other.  People take up: they leave. They are satisfied until they are dissatisfied.  The process is horizontal until it’s not. The occupation splits and joins, assembles and dissembles, attracts and repels.  It’s a crowd always gathering and falling apart, clustering and scattered and, in its off-hand under-hand anti-rule, inefficient and in this inefficiency as lovely as the under-handed anti-rule of the occupied city itself.

Some days I would swear to you that nothing but occupation exists. When I leave the occupied space of the city into the ordinary space of the city, the ordinary space has ceased to feel real.  The unoccupied world is a theme park now, faux-hygienic, grating, insincere.  My feeling for the occupation is almost exactly like erotic love, vulnerable and half-mad, but I am handing my heart not to one other human but to an unfixed, circulating crowd.  The stakes are high, and I interrogate my desire, my attachment, tell myself it is just a cold park, some strangers, the same sad world.  But I’m pretty sure I’ve been waiting my whole life for this, how we have made a tear in the everything.  From the cut—this cold place—we shout.


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