Civic marches

By Edward Caruso
Protest march Right Now poem
Santiago del Chile, October 2009. A rally organised by medical personnel just before the arrival of water canons and police reinforcements. Photo by Edward Caruso.


Animal rights placards in wave formations.

Youth as mass tribe, post-punk anarchists.

To run into the crowd for that one opening,

protesters, banners aloft,

acquiescing to my need to merge with them.



Doctors. Nurses.

Opposite, carabinieros [1] in khaki;

the closest to me, hand on pistol.

An ambulance behind hospital workers;

combat police on motorcycles invade from Moneda,

a water cannon managing a U turn in its narrow lane.

Demonstrators, victims of an encounter with no violence;

it was there, could not be seen, but it was there.

Heavy vehicles linger, as if the marchers

melting away furthers the chants that follow.

A block away, ‘Todo Cambia’ [2] rises above the crowd.

Maybe this was the message,

across thoroughfares; dissent

in streets of relentless shadow.



[1] National police, considered part of the military.

[2] ‘Everything Changes’, Mercedes Sosa’s version.