21 Days in May; an Occupy novella, part fourteen

 Cleveland won’t renew Occupy group’s permit

 By THOMAS J. SHEERAN, The Associated Press Updated 9:41 PM Wednesday, May 2, 2012

CLEVELAND — Occupy protesters must ask serious questions about their open-arms policy in light of charges brought against five members accused of trying to blow up an Ohio bridge, a top Cleveland official said Wednesday.

The city declined to renew the group’s downtown encampment permit on Wednesday, a denial planned before the bridge plot arrests were announced Monday, said Ken Silliman, chief of staff to Mayor Frank Jackson. The group, which remained by its encampment tent Wednesday night despite a 5 p.m. deadline to leave, can still gather at a spot across the street day or night. Police are monitoring, but no arrests have been made.

The decision was made with the allegations as a backdrop…Bill Dobbs, a spokesman for Occupy in New York, also said the arrests have nothing to do with the Occupy movement that began last fall.

“This incident has nothing to do with Occupy Wall Street, which explicitly stands for non-violence,” he said. “Before there’s a rush to judgment, facts need to come out. Those charged are entitled to a fair trial and due process.”

The five were charged Tuesday with plotting to bomb a bridge linking two wealthy Cleveland suburbs by placing what they thought were real explosives at the site and repeatedly trying to detonate them using text messages from cellphones, according to the FBI affidavit.

On Wednesday, an attorney representing one of the defendants questioned the role of an undercover informant, saying the ex-con hired by the FBI appeared to have played an active role in the plot…


“Jesus, Eva, what the hell is Jack into?” Dan Holman leaned from the window of his blue and white police cruiser. Twenty-five years on the force he’d lived a lifetime on the streets of Chicago, where it was a simple thing to feel besieged by crime and tragedy Holman was a strict law and order cop, but he knew the value of judiciousness and mercy. The law was a guide rather than immovable bars, a fact to working the job and surviving on the streets for a good cop with soul and sanity intact. Politicians and the media often made that fact of life impossible to apply.

“Uncle Dan, I am just asking that you give him the benefit of the doubt. I think he is being set up.”

“Why would someone do that to Jack?” With  a new, almost severe haircut, the hair now silver, and behind dark sunglasses Dan appeared far more immovable than he truly was. The fact was, Eva had always been his favorite niece,  and Jack, despite his “hippie” politics had always been a good and faithful husband and good father.

“I don’t know, but when the police searched the how, they didn’t tear it apart, but they went directly to the three places where they found those things?”

“So, maybe they had a good criminal informant,” said Dan. “It happens. I’ve seen it.”

“They didn’t search anything else in the house. Nothing.”

Dan nodded and thought a minute. A call came in over the radio. Dan hit the key on his shoulder radio. “10-4,” He turned back to Eva, holding up the paper she’d handed him. “And you think this is going to prove all that?”

Eva shrugged, and thought of Jack somewhere lost and hiding in the city. “It’s all I got, Uncle Dan.”

“How did you get all this?”

Eva reached over and rubbed Dan’s arm, gripping it to make the point. “Tomorrow is mother’s day. If someone is messing with my family, I want justice.”

Dan nodded and laid a hand over hers. “To be honest, I found it hard to believe that Jack would be that stupid to put you and Jeffrey at risk like that, and I hear these weird little things coming out of the Cleveland investigation-not that those guys didn’t let themselves get led down a dead end lane…” He took a deep breath. “I’ll see what I can find out.”  

 The world was moving to something. It was moving at the speed of light, for Jack and Eva, for Chicago and the Occupy movement. The summit loomed and the fear grew by exponential bounds, like dogs unleashed against the innocent by the corporate media cage masters, who played at “fair and balanced,” but were anything but.

The rain returned by midday, thrown lightly against the city, dampening streets and quickening steps. There were a hand full of protesters at the corner of La Salle and Jackson. Most attended a day long event at the warehouse Lofts on West Cermak, drawing better than eight hundred people. There was fresh news about a video showing Chicago Police officers intimidating Occupy supporters ahead of the summit, threatening 1968 style reprisals, a reference to the brutal use of batons and tear gas against protesters during the Vietnam war. The video, titled: Police intimidating NATO / Occupy protestors in chicago http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TudIyxxAboA, succeeded in doing nothing to intimidate those gathered, but merely reaffirmed that in protecting the wealthy and powerful, the application of force against the protesters underscored how it had become fully at odds with the constitution.

The rain came heavier by evening. On the seventh floor Occupy Chicago lofts an arts event capped what had been a productive and successful day. Organized by the Occupy Chicago Rebel Arts Coalition, or OCRAC, it drew an eager audience, among them several activists who walked all the way from Albuquerque, New Mexico to lend their voices to the summit protest.  There was music(folk, rap and Punk), poetry and theater. But the  audience was riveted when Matt Sedillo, the national poetry slam champion stood up. Audacious and powerful, Sedillo took over the room as if he owned it, when in fact the audience gave themselves fully to him.

“I travel around doing this for a living,” said Sedillo, broad-shouldered, curly black hair and a beard. He chuckled wryly. “This country has no value for poets. I’m a little worried about my future. But art is more than about selling shit, like Alex said…this poem is called Racism and capitalism…”

If you find the confederate flag offensive

So should you find the nickel

If you find the confederate flag offensive

So should you find the name on this nation’s capital

If you find the confederate flag offensive

So should you find the American flag

They both stand for the same fucking things…racism and capitalism

The poets voice rose, thundering, filled with emotion, setting fire to the room, seeping them into the inferno of unfettered and unrestrained passions…

Like history books that teach our children

To hallow hollow preambles

That include phrases such as

We the people! We the people?

As drafted by slave owners and land barons

Invaders and treaty breakers

Backstabbers and bastards

Enshrined as our founding fathers

But I am told we  are making progress

But to be honest I don’t feel any change

Between gentrification

And trails of tears, Chavez Ravine

Or post-Katrina New Orleans…


Eva was exhausted as she sought out several people  she knew from the movement. Teresa Veramendi recited a series of original activist poems at the front of the room. They all related to her about the fight that got him kicked out of the movement. None of them had actually witnessed it. No one that night had really seen what had happened, only that Jack was standing over Angelo. She didn’t let on too much, only that the true story would come out soon, even if she died trying. All she needed to know was that she could count on them when the time came. Eva was setting up a twitter account called “Patsy chronicle123” so they could stay connected. The reply was unanimous and unequivocal; she could rely upon each of them without question.

Eva  started to leave. Miss Veramendi was well into a new poem, assailing, in a way only art could, greed, and the way the national soul have been corrupted and turned by that greed. Eva noted that several in the audience had there phones held out, live feeing the moment to the digital, virtual world in real time. It was a curious note, one that would return to her soon enough, and with the most profound consequences, but for whom was still an open question.

Her uncle was waiting when she arrived home. He looked bothered, and unusually anxious. He led her up the walk, past the house and out back to the garage. She let them in, but he stopped her from turning on the light. Dan closed the door tightly and drew a breath. His face was nearly lost to shadow. A murky light from the alley deepened the tension she discovered in his expression.

“What is it?”

He held up the paper between them. “Who is this?’

“I think he’s the person trying to set up Jack.”

“Well he’s something, what exactly I don’t know, and I’m not sure I want to. I ran the license plates and within an hour I was sitting in the Captain’s office with two guys in a suit and tie.”

“Who were they?”

“They were scary. I didn’t ask, but they wanted to know my interest in your friend here.”

“What did you tell them?” asked Eva, her heart thundering.

“I just said the plate had come up in relation to jack’s case and I was just following all leads to bring Jack in. They told me it was a dead-end and not to pursue it another second, and if did I could kiss my life, career and pension goodbye. Honey, Jack is into something serious. We have to be very careful about this.”

“We?” she asked.

“Sweetheart,” he touched her cool cheek, “I’ve been a cop a quarter century, and you are family. I’m not saying Jack is innocent of anything, and if I see I’m bound to arrest him, but something is going on that raises some serious questions. These people are smart and connected, so we just have to be smarter.”

She hugged him and felt tears threatening, but she didn’t dare concede to them. Uncle Dan left, and she remained in the garage for a time. Eva thought of Jack, and of Jeffrey safely at her parents. Happy Mother’s Day, she said to herself. Eva started to laugh, and this time the tears came.

“oh Jack,” she brushed the tears from her cheeks, “hold on, my love. Hold on.”

About 900poundgorilla

W.C. Turck is a Chicago playwright and the author of four widely acclaimed books.His latest is "The Last Man," a prophetic novel of a world ruled by a single corporation. His first novel, "Broken: One Soldier's Unexpected Journey Home," was reccommended by the National Association of Mental Health Institutes. His 2009 Memoir, "Everything for Love" chronicled the genocide in Bosnia and the siege of Sarajevo. His third book "Burn Down the Sky" is published exclusively on Amazon Kindle. It was in Sarajevo at the height of the siege where he met and married his wife, writer and Artist Ana Turck. FOX NEWS, ABC, CBS News, the Chicago Tribune and The Joliet Herald covered their reunion after the war. He helped organized relief into Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. Turck has been a guest on WMAQ-TV, WLS in Chicago, WCPT, WBBM radio, National Public Radio, Best Of the Left and the Thom Hartmann show. He has spoken frequently on Human Rights, Genocide and Nationalism. In 2011, his play in support of the Occupy Movement, "Occupy My Heart-a revolutionary Christmas Carol" recieved national media attention and filled theaters to capacity across Chicago. He remains an activist to the cause of human rights and international peace. View all posts by 900poundgorilla

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