This cold night is warm with camaraderie.
Every window and every person on the street
is screaming of victory.
Somewhere in the unseen distance a firework goes off,
and everyone knows it is time.
Small groups slowly trickle down the road,
shouting and cheering, stumbling; some drunk
and others not. The road bottoms out into a mass of people,
a man-made lake of solidarity,
a large group of round dark bulbs
milling together, growing
and expanding on all sides.
Finally, a single brave youth in red motions
the crowd into the street
they begin to rock the asphalt dance floor,
jumping and tearing signposts from the ground.
In the midst of the zeal one climbs a traffic light,
throwing a middle finger to the waning gibbous moon.
On the sidelines,
men in black watch the festivities as they escalate,
waiting for their turn to join the wild rumpus.
Within half of an hour they are ready,
their charge is prepared. The sound,
(so different from the unregulated hoots of the boiling crowd)
wood pounding against plastic,
a drumbeat in two four time.
It is the clarion call for order
it is not intended to be ignored.
Unannounced and unrepentant
the line of shields march up the road
flanked and preceded by men on horseback.
Their aim, is
"to reclaim, the street in the name of order and law."
High above, it seems the moon has called its reinforcements,
a helicopter spotlight zeroes in on the unruly crowd.
The rowdy rabble rousers, stand unafraid,
these men hold no power over them.--
But then, the boiling crowd begins to seethe,
and from nowhere and everywhere
a new scream is heard.
Like a drop of Dawn® on a greasy plate
gas canisters fall
and instantly the celebration has been tainted,
fear and tears radiate
from the center
people begin running
from the trampling hooves,
becoming what they fear most.
The men of order must attempt to mitigate the chaos,
but they can only do so
by perpetuating the problem,
offering a solution of wood and gas and commands to people who want none.
Cars swerve, trying to make sense
of what was once a road, but is now a battlefield,
a massacre of unarmed joy versus the strong arm of decorum.
Watching it is worse than living it,
they have an experience to tell, and
all I will have are these words.