Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Liberty, and Justice, For All

When sunset hits the square, a discordant violin begins to play, and cheers from the sports bars down any alley, and shouts and tumbles fill the park.

What does that fiddle player here, so far from Harvard Square, the hobo capital of the world? Is there any change in his bag from human hand, or is it all bait? And what made him pick this, he, who could be of age to dishwash or cull the field or herd or school, as the most appropriate of careers?

He pauses, and looks up, and I follow his gaze - the mighty Leftist Marching Band approaches! (We both, I think, share the amused look that says: "Isn't that a redundancy? What else ought the Leftists do, but parade?") The hula hoop woman, the ringleader Lenin standing tall, shouts to me: "We're going to interrupt your reading, we're going to interfere!" and somehow it seems like she's saying more than just now, immediately, in this time and space; somehow it's a battle cry.

Some of the band members are crunchy college girls, the rest old citizens, their hair frizzled or gnarled or dyed unnaturally. The ringleader, the hula hoop woman, has a mace now, and she doggedly twirls it in the steps she remembers from the old propaganda footage of Red Square. Her combat boots strike the brick earth, the band begins a funk rendition of "This Land is My Land," and they gyrate at the hip, the feathers in the hair twitch, and the only missing bit is an acrobat to whip the crowd into a frenzy, else a pied piper to milk the people and spirit the rats and children out of Portsmouth.

The drummers' cymbal is cracked all down the middle, the crack in time and space that brought them here via 1969, and as the sun makes its last desperate pleas to the square's rooftops, they begin to lose their grip on this reality, their gyrations turned deadly, their May 1st circle dance into a black hole.

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