fatalities & poverty pimps

January 23, 2012

government induced fatalities.

there is no mortal
who can win this kombat,
when a lifeline
starts in the red.

blame the victim,
those who “abuse the system.”

the-ebt-card-swiping-medicaid-using
-cash-assistance-spending-heat-voucher-
processing-section-8-housing-people-
who never had shit to start with.

they are the reason our economy is falling apart.

the government cuts services
and then blames us for the deterioration
of our communities.

joana earns $622.04 per month.
she works part-time. her and her 8-year-old
son are on state health insurance.
if she goes to work full-time, they cut her assistance.
after rent, utilities, hospital bills,
and groceries she is left with $64.30.

she ain’t lazy you sonvabitch’,
she is trying to survive
on a system that doesn’t even give her
a fair chance at the starting line
because the day she was born
she inherited poverty.

and then she’s upset…
because she believes
what they handout in pantry lines.
as the poor gather to grab a few bags
of near-expired food.
she says, “is some people in the community
who abuse the system, who mess it up for us.”

and all i can think is
“they fucking got to her.”

joana, the system has been abusing us for years.
it’s been committing crimes against us. creating
laws in our name as if they even know what it is like
to wake up with last weeks hunger in your stomach.

then they incarcerate us in our own fucking
neighborhoods. you can turn projects into prisons
in two seconds.

all the while we just tryina’
find a way to make a way for ours.

they got us fighting each other
for crumbs they toss our way.

but according to them, it is us.
we are the fall. we are the reason
for this winter season.

Shang Tsung has a way to make the images change.
he the shapeshifter, soul absorber.
has a people seeing his words as truth.
forget enron. delete wall street.
“get over here!”
our ASSets are theirs.

then along comes a “savior.”

some philanthropic-poverty-pimp
trying to “do good” in our name.
who tries to romanticize our hoods
and create change without even asking
us to be part of the process.

we are so fucking exhausted,
we have no fight left. so we take
whatever little shit they’d like to throw
our way.

“fuck you very much!”

we started in the red. we can’t combo our way
out of it because we’re always on the defense.

this game is over
before it even starts.

finish them!

B, F, B, D, 3(jump)

[rip off]

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El Barrio (Spanish Harlem)

January 15, 2012

218 e. 122nd street
105 e. 107th street
123 e. 112th street
is Home.

my DominiRican blood diluted
by the salted waters of the atlantic.
abuela left her Puerto Rico:
from el caserio to the projects.

(like moving from hell’s first floor to the second)

a government “project”
called HOPE VI
revitalized ghettos for the pictures.
while section 8 has been subsidizing
our communities will to fight
since 1973.

still, here…
there is Love, and laughter and strength.

i’ve walked these streets
my streets
el barrio… mi barrio.
mis calles.

all of it my childhood playground.
i ran up and down third ave,
our shopping mall strip.
stopping at a hunded’ sixteen for that sanguich’ cubano
walking up to lo’ cuchifritos for my orchata.
the scents watering my mouth
-i salivate spanglish lyrics.

that’s the spoken word here in el barrio.
at first, a struggling tongue-twister
that with time became the last romance language.

a language of love that dances in my mouf
like a smooth socially conscious ruben blades salsa.

turning corners. hopping trains.
breaking into night pool. sitting on stoops.
chillin’ on park benches. talkin’ mierda.

i. was. home.

those streets call me by my middle name.
they speak to my soul. the music of
hector lavoe. ray barreto.
the barrio boyz.
like TKA we were “louder than love.”
blasting from cars.

the sounds orchestrated
a latin symphony.
horns, percussions, and strings
attached to our souls.
sweet music of esperanza.

on 110th and 2nd ave.
doña clara sold limbel de coco
for .25 cents from the 5th floor of her building.
you’d put your change in a bucket
she’d pull it up. put your limbel
in the bucket and lower it.
you sucked it all the way to
wagner housing.

our parents worked
and worked. and worked.
“tryina’ make a dollah’ outta’ .15cents.”
they worked magia
like Chuito the Santero.

we were a commUNITY.

the lady on the third floor
who was always watching
out the window, (the one we
called Carmen la bochinchera)
she would tell your parents on you
if you were outta’ line.

and your Tio had as much right
to whoop your ass con la correa
as your moms’.

it was only called the ghetto
because they labeled it so
but we knew this was paradise.

yeah, it wasn’t the places we saw on TV
but it wasn’t the mortar and brick that made
it what it was… it was our Love that sustained
an entire community.

now i go back… heard something
about calling it “Spa Ha.” i thought
it was a new business they were opening
that offered massages and shit like that…
pero no, they want to sell it like SoHo
to the yuppies…

you can’t gentrify a pastelillo, or an alcapurria.

what the fuck do you want to revitalize?
this place has been alive for years.

you want to create change in our communities?
go into the projects and fix my aunt’s bathroom walls
you can see the old plumbing as clear as your deceitful
intentions to “make it better” for us.

she’s been living there for more than 30 years.

change the tired kitchen cabinets
that have been storing your expired
generic canned goods that have been feeding
us poverty dressed in “good deeds.”

these roach-infested-asthma-trigerring
-drug-ridden-violence-beaten-poverty-
stricken-hunger-growling-projects
are a direct result of your “projected” outcome.
when instead of providing resources to a people
you gave them temporary assistance
in the form of block cheese
(we have been your lab mice for decades).

i would’ve preferred a block grant
that offered real solutions not temporary ones.

carajo!

the images of mi barrio
will change drastically.

’cause starbucks coffee smells stronger
than capri’s bustelo.

but i swear…
te lo juro por mi madre,
if my fucking cuchifrito place
closes… i will round up
every botanica from 125th to 103rd
and ask the gods to burn this mutha’ fucka’ down.

this. is. my. home.

you can’t keep coming
into people’s communities
and displacing their dreams.
you delay their achievement.
you deplete them of drive.
you keep them in ghetto mentalities.

pero coño, you’ve been doing this shit since 1492…
and you do it so fucking well.

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