Stuart Leonard Gives A Powerful Reading of "Taking Brooklyn Bridge"

ZUCCOTTI PARK PRESS P.O. Box 2726 Westfield, NJ 07090 occupy@adelantealliance.org

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Taking Brooklyn Bridge
By Stuart Leonard

Taking Brooklyn Bridge is a poem about the struggle for liberty and the search for true democracy and redemption.
Addressed
to Walt Whitman and composed in the cadence and style of “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry,” the poem tells the story
of the personal and political awakening experienced while participating in a march across the Brooklyn Bridge.

“Brilliant…its beauty, power, flow and deep truth knocked me on my ass… I got chills.” -Mumia Abu Jamal

Leonard has been in the NYC poetry scene for decades. He is very involved in the Occupy movement.

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(Excerpt)

Taking Brooklyn Bridge

I apologize Walt Whitman,
when I was young you spoke to me,
I would sit in the old church cemetery
surrounded by the tombstones of patriots
reading you out loud to the stray cats
and you came to me, you sang to me,
showed me myself in everyone and everything,
taught me a democracy of the soul, to live
in the rough and tumble world with dignity,
to grant that same dignity to the people around me.

I apologize Walt Whitman,
I let the song fade into the din
of everyday life, there are excuses
I could make, I will not make them,
I did not carry your song through the streets,
I worried about the strange looks and awkward postures
I might see in those who needed to hear it.
I got complacent, I was informed,
yes, informed, I read the papers, watched the news,
debated over dinners, knew full well since the days of Reagan
what was happening to the common people like me
that you taught me to love, watched as we were turned
from citizens to consumers to the dispossessed,
and I did not rise up, I did not take to the streets,
did not risk or struggle, did not sing your song
that you so generously gave me.