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The Commons

The revenge I wanted to take was not an eye for an eye

but for an eye, a mind.

The opposite of property is theft, but so is property.

Property requires the occupation of space by matter.

I regret all the property I trespassed

and having curtsied ask for an apology from the law and an apologia for it.

Trespass to person, no, or only incidentally.

Trespass to chattel when I am the chattel myself, no,

for working in the place gives possession of the place, or should.

Trespass to land and the chattel of the building that stands upon it.

There was nothing in anyone's house I wanted to steal,

no sleeping body I wanted to see,

for it is perverse to want such things and of all

with such wants are none who should have them met.

This property was public

and I thought it was dumb luck that I was never caught or killed

in the act of walking in and out and over and under and around.

It was not luck but status and it was dumb to ever believe otherwise.

But it is an old right, to wander, and should be everyone's.

In compensation for abiding the rules of this building from the hours of
        8 until 5

we should claim it with the sunset.

The cooling tar on the roof,

the infolding plants of the botanical gardens,

the whir of the machine that cleans the pool,

and the time stolen to keep it all standing.

Raymond McDaniel

The Cataracts
Coffee House Press

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