M’aidez.

Hey, it’s May Day. So gather ’round the phallus and weave the ribbons ’round it. I’m talking about the May Pole. They had one on the town green today in the midst of the May Day festivities. All the little kids and some women each grabbed the end of a ribbon and took directions from the guy wearing a crown of forsythia in his hair. I love forsythia. It’s the first bright thing I saw this spring. A whole bush full of those little yellow flowers. This guy, the one wearing the halo of forsythia, smelled like pot. I liked him.

“Everybody grab a ribbon! Okay, now pair up. You, you. You, you. Okay, if you’re facing this way,” he announced, pointing, “you are Sun. If you’re facing the other way, you are Moon.”

Things didn’t go exactly to spec, because of all the little kids, but by everybody weaving in and out, “saying hello to the Maypole”, and walking in circles, the phallus got wrapped up. I interpreted the ribbons to be the enveloping force that is female.

Ten feet away, a couple hundred people were forming a gigantic peace sign. A plane overhead was circling, taking pictures of the peace sign. Whoever was organizing the sign was shouting, “Everybody look to the sky!” There was something protruding from the bottom of the plane. I almost choked up as a morbid image came into my mind. What if a bomb dropped out of that plane? The protruding shape was obviously a camera or something.

Through all this, a musician was singing “Freedom!” onstage.

I picked up a dozen different flyers and pamphlets, including:

“Protest Bush, U.S. Out of Iraq Now! Wednesday May 23rd, 9 am, Williams Street and Mohegan Avenue, New London”

A flyer promoting a $45 dinner featuring Anthony Arnove, author of Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal

“The Economics of Capital Punishment” by the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

A 19-page story called Ending a War: Inventing a Movement: May Day 1971 by L.A. Kauffman

“Building a Mass Movement to Confront the Climate Crisis, Thursday May 10th, 7:30 pm, Marcus White Living Room, Central Connecticut State University, 1615 Stanley Street, New Britain

“A Friendly Note from Your Muslim Neighbor…”

“Where Your Income Tax Money Really Goes”, an extensively notated tract with a pie chart showing that 51% of the U.S. Federal Budget 2008 Fiscal Year is spent on current and past military bills, released by the War Resistors League

A flyer promoting a talk by Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times Correspondent Chris Hedges, who wrote a book called American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America.

A booklet featuring all of the participating organizations and individuals for the 2007 New Haven International Workers’ Day events

Howard Zinn, the noted historian and icon of the political Left, spoke on the Green as well. I showed up just as he was ending his speech with something about a vision of “freedom and respect for all people, everywhere.” I’m just reporting the facts here, people.

I spoke to someone who evangelized at me about voting. It was more accusatory and oratorical than any Jehovah’s Witness I’ve ever met. I smiled and told her that voting is a form of prayer, that America is a religion, and that I’m an atheist in that respect. She lectured some more. I said nice to meet you and smiled. She smiled, we shook hands, I left. Phew!

Zinn spoke again at 6:30 pm at Center Church, at the same time as the International Workers’ Day parade was touring through the streets, chanting in Spanish, “The people! United! Will never be defeated!”

Have a good month. Come back tomorrow.

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