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¡GENTROMANCER!

¡GENTROMANCER!

drawing_speech_mastheadGentrification, and its effects are hard

to articulate –– for many reasons.

It’s challenging to see a place you love change, to witness pieces of it being abruptly removed day by day. The experiences of erasure, displacement and homelessness are complex. If gentrification were personified, it would be a monster. Towering. Mutilating.

Poets are in  a  unique position to speak and confront this monster, as the versatility of their craft contains the symbolic qualities of the smooth stone launched into the air, reminding Goliath of his vulnerability.

It is with gratitude to Acción Latina,

El Tecolote, and to the brilliant poets who answered the call, that I present this “¡Gentromancer!” Broadside.

-Josué Rojas –– Artist

    ***

drawing_niner_mission3_web

Nicole Henares (Aurelia Lorca)

“22nd And Mission”

A halo of mist hovers over the skyline,

a gentle blessing.

I cannot hear the wind

but the statue of an owl stands alert,

its head turning circles to keep away the pigeons.

On the corner is a hollow square,

the ghost of an old building

that has burned down.  No longer any trace, just a gaping death hole

next to the smug and unscarred walls

of new condominiums.

***

drawing_volcano_popcorn9_web

Mary Mendoza

“The Righting on La Wall 1.2”

(Excerpt)

I awaken to the cries

of the mourning dove.

Coo-AHH-roo coo coo

I draw my bedroom curtain open

hoping to see the sky,

to feel the sun,

to dance with the trees.

Looking upwards,

my view & mind remain clouded

by fog. Pa’ abajo, the mirage

of a mural appears.

The vibrant colors

begin to dance

the dead back to life,

Day by day, spray by spray.

Drama unfolds, righting the wrongs, with images of

the past, those ¡Presente! y el futuro.

***

Alejandro Murguia

“Silicon City”

They evicted Mia

from her storefront on Valencia

Then they burned down

the apartments on 22nd Street

The good die young and isn’t it a pity

But the beat goes on in Silicon City

You’re a stranger now in your home town

With strange faces on once familiar streets

And strange shadows at four o’clock

And cops strangers on a strange beat

The days and nights are mostly gritty

But hey, it’s ok, you’re hanging in Silicon City

So I’ve been told that

everything that rises must fall

And that the wicked shall be denied

But now a days you don’t know

who to trust

And watch out you don’t get run over by a google bus

It be’s that way all down and dirty

In the heartless heart of Silicon City

Now everybody knows

the center cannot hold

But prophecy is cheat

and politicians are slippery

So baby get your high-heeled sneakers and your black beret on

Because tonight we face the music in Silicon City

***

drawing_broadside_veritccal5_web

Lubna Morrar

I won’t ever STOP Loving Part 3

(Excerpt)

Big earrings, Big hair, and eyeliner that extends to Ancestry. Goddess love. Queen. Reyna. Fuck the metro card, hop on from the back, and tag your name on the railing,

cuz  why not?

Moms texts to pick up some Pan,

but she found a place to bomb.

its hers tonight.

Church is on Sunday, but the can is both her bible and religion.

She misses her brothers.

We all miss all her brothers.

Swine pulls up as she is writing ‘RIP ALEX’. There was a brief exchange of violence.

And she had Bacon in the morning.

***

Stephen Williams

“Where are

we to live?”

When you have bought up all the homes

When you have bought up all the businesses

When the water bill goes up

When the light bill goes up

Where are we to live?

When the family

has all moved away

When our friends

are scattered

When boyfriends and

girlfriends are no more

When parents

    can’t stay

   Where are

         we to

         live?

 ***

  

Melissa Lozano

      “Horizon”

    If you stay longer

work until your knuckles bleed.

Roots, dreaming

of when.

The skyline shows me–

upside down,   

   papalote

Fire, ash,

goodbye.

Paint me

a picture

Of resilience dancing,

show us

waking up.

           ***    

Anthony Cody

Displaced fragments

Heavy

how you do not

use the word

home.

       ***  

     

   Stephanie Payés

“Now You’re Just Somebody

That I Used To Know”

I loved exploring every

corner of you,

marveling at your beauty.

It moved me to know you were all mine.

You were a beauty for whom

my love I proclaimed to any audience

     that would listen.

               Others have seen you

and now want to make you theirs.

They’ve romanced you

and you’ve become what

they want you to be.

They’ve taken you

away from me,

not allowing our love an appropriate end. My heart smiles

at memories of our love.

I grew up with you and

wouldn’t be who I am

had it not been for you.

But my heart breaks when I realize that

now you’re just somebody that I used to know.

***

Vianney Casas

‘El Fuego Mágico Gabriel García Márquez Never Wrote About.”

(Excerpt)

En Guanajuato, las casitas son de colores

rojo, amarillo, orange.

En Guanajuato, Chavela canta,

en San Francisco Chavela llora.

En San Francisco, las casitas queman, rojo, amarillo, orange.

***

Leticia Hernandez

“How to Evict a Family

The building owner pins his title

“land-lord” as a badge.  Declares he

has rights, too. His entitlement, to park

his antique car collection on your face, use your hair to dust the mirrors, let loose

his foaming hound of a mouth within ear shot and in plain sight of your six-year-old

but not his adult son.

The land-lord gets to open doors

and piss in the unoccupied apartment

bathroom, under renovation, despite

unfortunate echos, because two or three

golden toilets in the Victorian, can’t hold his incontinent need for more vats

to place all of his deposits.

***

Sandra

Garcia Rivera

“La Tekería”

Bodies line the

inside perimeter of

La Taqueria,

coil around and spill onto

Mission towards 25th.

We approach

holding hands.

SF Giants boast boldly

from his chest, he scowls under his breath, then outloud,

“WTF! Can’t even get a burrito

in my own fucking neighborhood.

Fucking techies. Fucking buses”

burn his throat like acid reflux.

I tug on his arm, coax him towards

the train. “C’mon baby,

let’s go hit up the taco truck by the lake, or pupusas at Platanos,no wait.”

His shoulders slump under his hoodie.

It’s an odd year in the Bay.

***

Paul S. Flores

“FOR ALEX NIETO”

Are we gonna bundle up in plastic garbage bags and hoodies,

put up tents with the

homeless of San Francisco,

camp out in front of every

gentro fuck techie coffee shop,

restaurant, food truck lot, start up,

yuppie loft, police station

and interrupt this

white privilege oblivion

till we provoke the chaos

we are living in to spill

into the cash registers and siphon out

the legacy of our

grandparents who built this city

till they all come chasing us

in the streets while we march

for Alex Nieto?

***

Paul S. Flores

“WE STILL BE”

My homie’s house burned down

and we read poetry in the ashes

We raised some cash and his spirits

With bottles of tequila and coronas

Salted tears to quench harsh throats

We told jokes and Marcus played hard be-bop

My homie wailed for his dog

lost in the smoke of a broken

pilot light induced inferno

Poetry heals, the be-bop revives

Poetry heals and the be-bop revives

We never, we never, we never go softly

into that dark night

***

Tongo Eisen-Martin

“Fish With Ambition

to Become the River”

I looked in my bank account

It said, “you have five toilets to your name.”

It said, “don’t just sit there. Return fire.”

Talking head says, “go to sleep children.

You will all be police tomorrow.”

We say: No. We will be the poor.

Talking head says, “ok scumbags,

I talked to you like children; now you will be dogs”

***

Norman Zelaya

“About the bus station at 7th Street”

A scruffy man in corduroy coat

   And oversized beanie

His tattered cuffs quivered as he laughed

At the small TV set attached to

the arm of the chair

He laughed, cracked up

Even after his time was up

And he was out of quarters

The others rested

Meandered

Shuffled along the linoleum floor, hands out

It was like that until

The station was closed

The benches are still here

You can sit down and wait

As long as you like

That Greyhound bus

   is not coming

No where is home

Everywhere is

the end of the line

              ***

Prishni Murillo

“FORCED OUT.

for a generation with a fleeting home.”

As we unite the world,

we lose our homes.

As we build up villages,

our structures collapse.

As we keep the fire of life ablaze,

their fine print

and signatures create a hell

dressed as heaven.

When it feels like each step we stake

is on quicksand, the earth shakes open

to catch our fall.

In our heartbreak and with broken backs,

we hold on to the light.

Written off but alive with

survival encoded in our genes.

Imprinted generations ago,

alive in all our seeds.

The promise of life renewed each day.

Our survival intergenerationally intact.

Affirmed by the fact that despite their laws,

borders and titles,

our people carry our homes on our back.

Arturo Martínez Cáceres

“ESCUPIENDO AL CIELO”

Alrededor del mundo, con tus botas en el lodo

Mientras en el fuego del hogar,

a tí mismo tu hijo estás mirando

Que las barras y las estrellas

valgan siempre la pena

Y en cualquier parte del globo

se reconozca tu nombre

Son los Sánchez y los Hernández,

los Moreno y los Gonzáles

Los latinos a los que Trump desprecia

Y que son en verdad fortaleza

En una nación de migrantes,

músicos, poetas, héroes,

Constructores, jardineros y mártires soldados

***

Camila Osorio

“Untitled”

I like organic horchata And Mexican street fruit w a light side of DEET I like my Factory 2 U come ups and supporting handmade homie wares.

***

The following two poems come to us from

The Beat Within: A publication of

writing and art from inside juvenile hall.

www.thebeatwithin.org

Comas

“Avalanche in the San Francisco Bay Area”

Gentrification has affected me badly. My family was forced to move out of state because of the gentrification in my neighborhood. We lived in the same place for 15 years and now since we couldn’t pay what the higher class pays (for rent) we were forced to move.

Sadly, it is not just me, but a lot of my friends and their families were forced to move out of the city, out of the Bay Area too!

Screw this gentrification!

I pray one day

everything will go back

to the way it was.

The upper class need to

relax and stay in the hills.

***

Reggs

“Gentrification”

This is very wrong.

They are trying to push Blacks out of their homes,

where they have lived for years, maybe generations. In order to make a better place for whites, they are trying to raise rents and change the neighborhood to things we don’t like so we’ll stay out. The neighborhood might not be the best, but when they force people out, those people lose connection to their memories, like where they first

learned to drive or where they lit a candle for a friend or family member who passed away. Greedy people don’t understand the things people really lose when they’re forced to leave their homes.

Story by: Josue Rojas