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“You are moving today,
just one room away—
and now you cannot
win damage awards in court,
secure your rights as a tenant
on my ship;
in this chaos
your voice will leave
in this circle of
the home-less weave”

I felt like a butterfly
with one short-life migration:
twenty-eight days.

I’ll go back
to my hotel to pack,
where the showers
are oddly safe,
on this day when
I have to move—
again.

I feel like a bad machine
in a factory for
the criminals
and the insane.

I’ll unravel all that
I have woven
when I move.
I am in the insanity of
“Keep them spun”
in the circle of undone,
never good enough
to have a home.

Sweaty-palmed,
the administrator’s face,
jaw angled in angst,
is set differently today;
a jarring force, this threat,
from his simple, chipped front desk.
His hand shakes and trembles
in his reach for my unwanted
and unfamiliar new key.

Today, every item in my home
will change—again.

I am sure,
as he leans over me,
rushing me in some imagined haste,
that I will lose at least ONE
of my FAVORITE pens,

and whatever else his sticky fingers
decide to pluck;
I’ll be too slow
(this is a given)
as he calls his gang of hands,
his “hired men”.

Today he doesn’t just take money;
today he has changed:
he is a blurred form.
He wields a whip.

He knows I cannot stay
beyond the twenty-eighth day
in this disaster prone ghetto
with tenants of time,
like numbers,
turning the clock
of uncertainty.
This would mean I had earned my stripe:
a dream for a home
that I would wear
like a long blonde braid
down my back;
that I had earned my tenancy:
San Francisco born and bred,
no longer charged
the tourist price.

As my door opens,
so does one more
for the new poor;
the rent is readdressed
in the interest
of business;
we—those kept homeless—
cannot win.

Revolving rooms
around a simple front desk:
the reinstated
constant threat
of that last step.

Musical chairs:
shake,
rattle
flow
drumbeats of fear,
removing our only bargaining chip:

We can be evicted,
within the space of
one to five seconds.

—Chrissy Moore
It is unlawful to SIT
On statues
On hydrants
On curbs
On stone fences
Near fountains
City government declares public property.

It is illegal to LIE
Down on stairs
On sidewalks
On park lawns
On bus stop benches
In doorways after business hours
City government considers such public acts
blight.

But where else can a world-weary
Body searching for a warm spot
Free from harassment go to
Liberate their feet? Momentarily
Liberate their shoulders & back
From the bearing weight of
Only possessions? What else can
They do when even
Prison-like shelters won’t let them
Inside?

New police chief
Wants natural reflexes, habits
To be punitive crimes.

SIT & LIE?
NO-----SIT & SPIN-----

—Dee Allen, 2/21/10

Editor’s Note: San Francisco is attempting
to pass an anti-homeless ‘sit/lie’ law
that would criminalize sitting or lying on
a public sidewalk in certain parts of the
City; further criminalizing and harassing
people who have nowhere else to be, a
violation of constitutional, civic and human
rights. San Francisco had a similar law
from 1968-1979, which was found unconstitutional
and repealed in 1979. (The city
of Berkeley put a similar law on its books,
but the ‘sit’ portion of that law was overturned.)
The Civil Rights work group of the
San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness,
along with other groups, is organizing
against this latest attack.

 

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PO Box 3524, Chicago, IL 60654, 773-486-3551, info@peoplestribune.org.
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