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URBAN FORTRESSES II (more sonnets on gentrification)


The truth is that somebody used to live here.

This hipster coffee house was once a home.

The espresso bar sits where dad drank beer.

Black coffee’s now soy lattes with no foam.

That Starbucks used to be a laundromat,

And that real-estate office was a bar.

That Air B & Bs used to be three flats.

Boston’s Beef levelled for a lot for cars.

Artists’ lofts reuse long-closed factories,

And suburbanites claim urban zip codes.

While caged birds sing in penitentiaries,

Family homes are bought for taxes owed.

Gentrifiers re-imagine places

In their own image- but they’re not racist.


Middle class supplanted working class

Residents and their impoverished ilk.

Planned obsolescence of the “ghetto pass”

Is like a blunt object wrapped up in silk:

You see it coming, but it’s so pretty,

You’re mesmerized… until that fatal thump!

That’s the “circle of life” in the city:

Up-and-coming neighborhoods rise from slums.

Mixed-income neighborhoods… act as “buffers.”

The “golden rule” is often mis-stated.

The point is not “doing unto others”

As much as how one’s credit is rated.

For poor folk, “housing choice” is not a choice

Because power only hears money’s voice.


UNTITLED (on the state of the union)

Ever-increasing ev’ryday bullshit

Momentarily overwhelms logic.

From the white house, from their bully pulpits

They spew verbal chum that would make dogs sick!

The free mind finds no solace in this truth.

They are just wise enough… not to partake.

The emperor wears only his false tooth.

Sociopaths don’t get, “for goodness’ sake.”

Empathy and civility are lost

When administrations become regimes.

The first family thinks they’re above the law.

Cast away former “allies” reveal schemes.

Turn state’s evidence, as they make plea deals.

Facts so outrageous they just don’t seem… real.