Peace Camp


They are in Kanehsatá:ke,
Surrounded by the Army,
Surrounded by the police in Oka
We are outside this last perimeter

Persistent thorns
Sleeping in a car
Everyone has to know
We are the Mohawks' witnesses

We wanted to be
Between Mohawks and police
So no one would get shot,
But we were pushed out

Our few options
A phone booth to alert the media,
And freedom to leave and return
Sometimes I call Joe's mother and trade news

A canteen truck serves the cops
We buy food there
Police think supporters don't speak French
So I eavesdrop as I buy coffee

I can't go home, for fear
Something bad will happen here
When there are no witnesses.
At home, I am told, our phone is tapped

A stranger called
Tried to find out who we were
Sounded like he'd gone through
Joe's things

A radio host comes to spew.
Russell Means, Elijah Harper,
Jessie Jackson, and Buddhist Monks
With long thin flags come to give support

One night, a few of us are invited by
Seminole people. They perform
A ceremony in the forest
The Elder woman sits at the fire and chants

Her son runs past our fire,
In a circuit through the trees around us
And back, for a very long time
Endurance describing courage creating protection

Weeks pass and, by increments,
Authorities remove all our means.
We may be witnesses,
But we have been silenced.

And so I leave
To see how else I can help,
And each night in the city
I dream the circle