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Poem by Corrine Jasmin

Photo by Sheryland Neal

Gentrification! Gentrification! 

Are you listening? 

Why is East Liberty starting to look like the city off The Jetsons? 

Where will you be when reality sets in? 

Does it not bother you that there are children being kicked out of their playpens… 

…for a new Starbucks and a loft with a balcony! 

Only available to Google workers 

In the distance somebody’s young mother’s crying 

She’s gotta send her son to school with stains on his shirt 

Her washer don’t work 

Access card snapped in half and she’s running out of tape 

On the phone with work because again she’s running late 

When she comes back home she’ll be even more hurt 

She’s gonna see that bright pink letter that’ll kick em to the dirt, kick em to the dirt 

Eviction! Eviction! 

Do these words ring louder? 

Mother booted out of her home so she turns to the powder 

Loses her power! 

Loses her dignity! 

Runs back to her mother! 

Covers her son in her baby covers she used to sleep with 

Sparks up that square that she bummed 

From that bum 

…outside bakery square! 

All the buildings look nice… 

But is it all fair? 

They say life’s not fair! 

So we do we turn the other cheek? 

I heard somebody call it Redeveloped East Liberty! 

I see no kids playing in the streets… 

I often walk by that torn down building over by Capri 

I wonder what that’ll be 

Nationwide…beyond state lines… 

If those in poverty can’t even have affordable homes 

Where are they to sleep? 

Or do they all become Black Sheep? 

Or does she become the bum outside Bakery Square begging for squares 

Or is that not something that should concern you and me? 

Corrine Jasmin is a writer, artist, and filmmaker currently based in Pittsburgh, PA performing and making work in reaction to the world around her no matter how chaotic. She read this poem at the 2019 Thomas Merton Award.

NewPeople Newspaper VOL. 40 No. 10. December/January, 2019/2020. All rights reserved.

Categories: News

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