Oppression 101

By Mary Getlein


Welcome to California:

Where we spend 2 million dollars on a

skate park

Where we spend 6 million dollars on

twenty new police

where we spend untold million dollars

on brand-new privatized prisons,

made of stainless steel and glass,

to make the prisoners feel even more like 

a rat in a cage,

than a human being…

Welcome to the new Disneyland.

Venice California

Where the police attack 6 homeless sitting on

a piece of grass, smoking a joint

Six undercovers and six uniforms

harassment and intimidation

And they throw the kids around,Throw their stuff around,

Fuck with them, let two go, arrest two,

keep fucking with the last two.Hey, I was just sitting there —

Watching the sun go down

It’s still free to watch the sun go down

They haven’t started charging for that at least

We were singing songs out there

I got really mad–

My friend starts telling me some shit about

how everything happens for a reason:

like: These kids getting harassed by the cops=

someday they will stop doing drugs + turn to

the Lord (I kid you not)

I’m like: right.

But I start singing louder songs I learned from my Church–

The Church of Latter-Day-Hippies-

The ones who still believe in the happy horseshit

They were all singing in the 60’s–

You know, that “Love is All” stuff,

that goes so well with disenchantment with

your government–

You know, your bomb-building government–

You know, that government that is still in the 

business of making prisoners out of citizens

You know,

That government that decided it’s more

profitable to kill people’s minds and bodies,

than to educate them?

You know,

That government that cannot recognize that 

a large percentage of the homeless 

population is composed of veterans from 

different wars?

So sitting there watching the sun go down

and three cops cars swoop on a group

of basically innocent bystanders did make

me mad–

And I’m still mad.

These are American citizens.

So now we treat our citizens like undocumented 

aliens, right?

The people living in houses are doing lots of drugs.

The people living outside are smoking a couple 

of joints and drinking a couple of beers,

and the cops swooped in on them like it

was a bank robbery. And when it was all 

over, it was so heartwarming to see the 

cops laughing together and congratulating themselves on

a job well-done.

My friend is like:

“Mary, you sound like a criminal!”


And I’m like:

“Yeah, I am a criminal

Once a criminal, always a criminal”

My favorite plea in court was always:

“Guilty with an Explanation”

An Ex-Catholic, I’ve always been guilty,

even before I was born–

This society we’re living in assumes guilt-

We’re all guilty–

We’re guilty of letting these people in power

basically FUCK UP our economy, our lives

our world, our oceans, our skies–

anything we touch, we RUIN-

2008-Extinction Report

It’s no longer a question of if you’ll get cancer,

it’s only a question of when–And the things we dreamed of in the 60’s–

Did we really think it would end like this?

Do you really think homeless people are having fun living in a van?

Do you think it’s fun raising their kids 

to be afraid of the police?

Do you think it’s fun to be a kid +

have no place to live?

Do you think it’s fun to be a kid 

and have parents who are poor?

Do you think it’s fun for a kid to have

+ go to jail to go visit a family member?

Do you think it’s fun to be homeless

And crazy and have no family because

Your family is ashamed of you and afraid of you?

Do you think it’s fun to be crazy and

hearing voices and you think everybody

else is hearing voices and when you

discover they don’t, you decide not to 

talk about it any more?

You are different–

You are different

You are different–and you are



They’ve got a movie out about a genius-crazy

homeless musician who Steve Lopez got 

interested in and rescued and pulled off

the streets and got into a place.

One guy helping another guy–

Guy wrote a book about it, now they’re

making a movie, the guy playing the homeless

musician with mental problems is

Jamie Fox.–

It’s a movie–

I have known a lot of homeless musicians

with mental problems–

people tried to help them — didn’t get too far

Life is not a movie.

Some people are helped off the street.

Many more stay out on the streets and die.

Some slow, some fast.

Jesus is a friend of mind, (I call him by his 1st name)

but somehow I don’t think police beating

on you is a good way to find Jesus.

I’m still mad.

Categories: Poetry