Brenda Hillman


a poetics essay from November 9, 2011

There is a space of uncertainty in every act, even standing before police in riot gear. Looking into their eyes, we think it’s possible to reach them. We reach out with my feelers. The crowd presses in. The night is exactly the age of our students. What will be called batons, nightsticks or truncheons, clubs— are certain in the angle of the hitting ()()()()()(). Looking into the eyes of the officers when they start moving to clear the bit of ground, we know the point is lost. The evening news reports resistance to officers but not to bad money. Looking into their eyes trained not to meet other eyes—amber spokes around each pupil—we think they are scared but not scared enough & some probably have children in public schools.

What should we do with the lost point? Euclid notes that geometry begins from a point that has no part. Peaceful protest—as they move forward. A student resists & is beaten. Our feet no longer touch earth but connect with other feet underground. Will defending the tents bring down bad money? i distrust moral certainty & even distrust the sentence i distrust moral certainty. i admire the anti-heroic line of ants. i admire the unknown. Looking the cops in the eye is not the point, nor is fighting about the state budget the point, nor is the point waking up in jail to pay for a decade that was asleep. The point moves with other points in beauty & justice because we cannot see the whole. A group can be mystical or a mob. The point moves during the hitting that moves where the body stands or lies, two feet make two points & that is how the line is drawn.