I wonder how/ as I look around/
this neighborhood could mine.
It’s torn apart/ it’s war at dark/
I’ll be out of here in no time.
They put up the fence/ we stood in defense/
we’ve no place left to go.
They tore it apart/ to force a restart/
and we’ve nothing left to show.
We shuffle along/ we hustle to belong/
anywhere like there
We can’t afford to believe/ there’s no more to deceive/
it’s truth we can no longer bear.
I live in public housing due to a financial setback resulting from a medical trauma, but I’ve always lived in poor neighborhoods. Of the 5 places I’ve lived in the last 12 years only two remain standing; but, one is empty, nearing a brightly colored condemned placard and the other had kicked out every last resident, remodeled and reopened. The first of those five gave me a skin infection that was so bad I moved out with no other place to go (it was that bad). The fourth of those five (this list does not include my current residence) is where this ballad stems from. They condemned the place while I was out-of-town visiting family. The place really had to go. I kept getting flu-like illnesses because of the mold in the walls and we were constantly sweeping up rat turds from the kitchen floor. We protested to no avail…me and some of the friendly neighborhood crack dealers. They fenced in the property while we were there and gave us one extra week to vacate.
No one wants to live in the ghetto or raise their kids in poor neighborhoods. I wanted to get out of that place. I thought I would be able to in a reasonable amount of time. But after two years I was in no better place in life than when I first moved in. I was a single white female, I worked hard at my full-time, minimum wage job and I rarely went out of budget on impulse buys. Yet there I was, on the corner by my building with the news reporter and Buddha (a crack dealer I bought my dimes of herbals from), asking the city to give us alternatives as if I loved the place. It’s a radiology center now.