GENTRIFICATION

BY HUGH BLANTON

How many craft breweries do you really need?

Is it necessary to have a gluten-free cafe
on every block?

The ramshackle residential hotel
provided perfect shelter.
I guess the high rise condos
that replaced it do too – but then
you complain that the
former residents of the hotel who now sleep in the alley
behind your condos
look and smell bad
as they ask for spare change.

“GOOD RIDDANCE!” you say to the
crack houses and saloons.
The deli-grocers with moldy burritos in mildewy refrigerators
are long gone.
“THE CITY HAS BEEN REVITALIZED!” exclaim
the councilman’s staffers.

If I mention that my minimum wage job
is not keeping up with my rent increases –
I’m told I should have gotten a better education.

I liked it the way it was. There’s a certain
romance to a stryofoam cup
tumbling down the sidewalk – driven by a late summer breeze.
The shine and glisten of broken glass where
a car was once parked contains beauty.

I looked forward to getting dressed in my
Salvation Army best and heading to the bar.
You haven’t lived until you’ve discussed philosophy
with a schizophrenic over a three-dollar pitcher of beer
at ten in the morning.

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