Tim, a co-founding Villager and
eight-year resident talked.
I wrote.

ZA CAT


Throw-away kids
living under the west end of the Fremont Bridge
on dirt owned by the state.
2 September 2001
The state demanded the city evict.
The Village was a necessity.
“We could build scratch from recycle.
We needn’t worry about cops or thrown stones.
We were privileged.


“Eight people had gone out
and set up tents that first night.
Days, now historic, became nights
became fights became arguments
became sixty unwanted people,
unwanted even by ourselves,
working together to make us what we are:

I, I, I, and me, me, me
became
us, us, us and we, we, we.

“Our concept of the Village
was to make people interact every day.
Every rule was based upon the golden rule.
The bylaws were done under the Fremont bridge
each on a roll call vote of the 150 people:

change our mind set
relearn work ethics
reacquaint with education
distinguish wants from needs
share kindness, fun
trust only ourselves.



“The Village became a way big part of me
extending my father’s: ’tis better to help than accumulate;
’tis better to enhance than insult;
’tis better to kindle loving kindness.

 

“A roar from the bushes
and I yell ‘za cat.’
And since he comes,
he is ‘Za Cat.’
He ups a tree, three dogs beneath:
Zam Zam, Zeldaway and Zag.

“Next morning Zag joins him in the branches.
Day three ends with three friendly dogs,
and a cat by craft and cunning
gifting my sleeping bag
with a nearly-fresh mouse.

“Za Cat and dogs and nearly-fresh mice,
hopes and helps and hungers;
the joys and sadness of life
offer the choice of being saint or rascal.”


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