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Forum Post: "May Day" -- Spoken Word Project About OWS's General Strike on 1 May 2012

Posted 11 months ago on May 13, 2013, 5:01 a.m. EST by orwellian (1)
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If you're interested, you can find it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7zhwQA0utM

I'm an undergrad at Princeton University. I'm a writer and my roommate is a musician.

This started out as a project for a class of ours but sort of took a life of its own. It's a longform prose-poem accompanied by music, called "May Day." It takes place on May 1st 2012, when OWS held its big General Strike (which was way bigger in NYC than most media reported). The rallies are an important focal point for a story that has to do with the emotional journey of an unnamed protagonist as he walks from Hell's Kitchen to Chinatown over the course of the day.

A bit of context: I went to the rally myself and was surprised and moved at how massive it all was, particularly compared to NYC's usual May Day festivities. But I was also disappointed in a lot of ways. Part of it was the fact that the rally and march were hardly covered in national media; our own college newspaper, which sent me to cover it, only published my observations in greatly truncated form. Another part of it, though, was how different things seemed from Zuccotti Park and the "good old days," whatever those may have been. And while the piece isn't just about the rallies I think I've tried to do a good job -- a better job than any journalism I've read, at least -- of conveying the sense of what it was like to see New York lit red for a while, in all its emotional ambiguity. And of course my freaking genius roommate's music helps -- you should take a listen if only to feast your ears on that.

Anyway it is a work of poetry, which is to say fiction, so it's not narrowly autobiographical or limited to what I did and saw. But art is about lying to convey a submerged truth, a truth that lurks beneath mere facts. So I can only hope that to that extent it's true to all of your experience.

It's a bit (!) long, so obviously it's not for light listening. But if any of you have some time to kill and like pretty words and pretty music, I'd be interested to get your feedback! And anyway it'd be a pleasant change of pace from the often grim conversation around here.

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