Poetry

The Map – poem

 

Survey it. I’ve got one plush chair. Stacked with books and bills, costume pearls          dangle over dice and magazines.                  Sit on the carpet, the bed      if it’s a problem. Outside     the slanted bay windows           thousands   of reflections burn light from dawns       that pop without fog.       This city is not       the map, I am the map.               My roads must cry       bulldoze! Under Embarcadero       buried Clipper ships arc     around BART rails.         Under this rented room      is a sham   (which is far from a sham-wow) of worth.                      Excavation in the guise                       of purity.              The first known maps charted skies, not land. Seems we like to look up      to avoid our truth. Look, here’s a truth: I remember the taste of eviction—   I’ve been in its smoke and fermentation.        I will not make room     for hole-punch dollars, the myth of cleaning up the neighborhood. I dare you, trump what matters            like class (money) vs. class (refinement)                           vs. class (learn it).      Okay, sure, clean it up, but don’t bullshit.   I’m adjusting the landmarks, the waterlines. But that matters less. I need people to keep having kids here. I need to call someplace home.   What is a teacher without pupils?       What is a city without youth? These days community                            is a show on Nextflix.   A code for campouts         in the places I once lived daily.          You are living              with the fun(ds) of your own late night infomercial—           You are scribbling on the walls like a toddler.      Are these the new intersections? I’ve got an artist who could mural that. There’s a road we need to rename. Count the cranes, what’s rising here? I’ve got a friend who lives in his camper van on Guerrero.              How many times  can you reflip a coin         and still call heads?             Parades                   and pop-ups       do not replace blood.                 I want to stay for the parrots in Washington Square,       for the clubhouse where my parents married,         and the courthouse                 where they divorced.                 Do you want an empty pretty thing?                       Be my guest.    Leave.    If you want something real, I will not kick (sell) you out.   I will give you an address, but I need to pay less.    We both know what a teacher makes:     Change.       This spot on my motley carpet is offered            whole hearted.                 A city is it’s people, not the homes they buy.

 

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