These Bodies

The Occupy movement has got me thinking a lot about bodies. Bodies that occupy. Occupied bodies. Gendered bodies. Broken bodies. Some bodies. Any bodies. These bodies.

There is power in our bodies present. Sometimes I think the state just wants us to be records in their databases. Serial numbers, demographics. It is easier to catalog us when we are data entries. Absent. In our designated houses, our shopping malls, our rock concerts. Our bodies are only welcome when they’ve bought a ticket, crossed a checkpoint, or created a username. The state doesn’t want our bodies gathered randomly in public spheres. Only controlled in privatized venues. Organized bodies, civilized bodies. Bodies with IDs. Bodies on CCTV. Individual bodies. Shaved bodies, clothed bodies, starved bodies, branded bodies.

The power of our bodies is unleashed in occupying a space. Bodies that dance, bodies that squat. Tents and dirt: our bodies will sleep here. Blood and asphalt: our bodies will ache here. Vomit and cement: our bodies will leak here. Scars and skin: our bodies will strip here. Our bodies will sing here. Our bodies will scream here.

Our bodies on the street. The most real part of us. Not bar codes or credit card statements or social security numbers or avatars or profiles. But bodies. Bodies with hearts and lungs and people inside them. Feminine bodies, masculine bodies. Bodies that are in the wrong bodies. Colored bodies. Tired bodies. Bodies that take up space. Bodies that contaminate space. Space the state wants empty and clean and pure. Space that was never meant for too many bodies. Bodies they have no choice but to beat and trample and jail. Bodies they want to hurt just enough to make them go away. Not enough to kill. Just enough to drive back into houses and stores and classes and cubicles.

Such power in bodies coming out into the open. A sea of bodies. A mass of bodies. Bodies that bring chaos, bodies that won’t budge. This body. Some body. Every body. Your body. Occupy.


Sawt al' Niswa



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