Category Archives: gentrification

Rhyming Review: •The Gargoyle Hunters•


New York’s mood during metamorphosis
The “now” seems particularly cruel
Thus •The Gargoyle Hunters• will begin us
(This is today’s true literary jewel)

The meditations on what New York means
Complete with adolescent adventures
Of a free-range private school nerdy teen
All of which brought back my teen-aged culture

The relegated and crazy mother:
In an informal commune of borders
& the dashing obsessive father
Scavenging & barking out orders

A family painted on black velvet
Of private middle school dilemmas
Puberty and thievery’s strange couplet
Trapping our young Griffin in its clutches

Seeking approval & confederates
A scandalous collaboration’s made
Of two romantic thieving delegates
Who predate architecture’s colonnade

The father’s long term goal, disrupt the son’s
Immature middle school romances though
(But they do infect all the grown up ones)
It turns out we become the man we know

Iconoclastic rev’rence for icons
Is their spiral staircase of DNA
Though their collections give New York lesions
Their compulsions they cannot deny
Personalities’ personal suburbs
Those individuals on the outskirts
Of the mover’s & the shaker’s worlds
Are unfortunately too often hurt

The workers became shock troop of dreams
Marching right across convention’s front lines
To achieve the goals that the dreamer schemes
Little men enabling grand designs

In the end the dream is the loyalty
An all encompassing fidelity
That will become middle-aged pleasantries
Wrapped in older people’s sweet vagaries

HP Lovecraft Revisited Sonnet

Liv Rainey-Smith

I want to write a Lovecraft styled story
Of unmentionable devil worship
With gothic purple prose so hoary
That readers will follow my judgeship

But instead of casting shade on “mongrel
Cults of 3rd world brown associations”
It will track the horrors of Brown and Yale
(& those bourgeois white affiliations)

I’ll show how Zuckerberg, Gates & Buffet
Worship the tentacle faced deity
& the invisible hand men suffers
To perform ghoulish impropriety

The racist cruelty of H.P. Lovecraft
Describes the 1%’s bloodthirsty laugh

Dear Manhattan



Your convenience comes from Queens

From the humble neighborhoods

Where workers know what life means

Remember this, if you would

Out of modest houses trudge

Men and women who do things

Some think this work a mere drudge

To us this whole life just sings

Unremarkable borough

Where people just go to live

Find thrills? You must be thorough

More than a shit you must give!

We rob you of exper’ence

By bringing your convenience

Garbage Sonnet



Garbage Sonnet 2

 

My curiosity embellishes

All the detritus of modern living

Seeing waste & litter replenishes

My connection to this great world’s giving

 

Soberly I realize that life’s junk

Isn’t made for my edification

But In productions’ full caves I spelunk

I’m mesmerized by litter’s invention

 

Thank you god for these moments with garbage

Your detritus sings me a secret song

Though litter’s capitalism’s carnage

It’s also the charged tea leaves divining

 

The litter we stream behind us in space

Is the comet’s tail: our visible trace 

Spatial Mass Production of Oppression Sonnet

20140618-093744-34664696.jpgGleaming galvanized mass-produced fences/
Looping concertina wire, chain-linked checks/
Assembled minimum wage defenses/
Adorns buildings old & new: the hex/

The architecture of oppression has become/
Leitmotif of modern society/
Protection of pecuniary sums/
From unwashed masses of the laity/

Grand spaces of former democracy/
Grows the mold of Guantanamo’s new style/
Easily assembled theocracy/
Detritus of oppression by the mile/

Freedom will be stolen by production/
Not some foreign uniformed invasion*/

*Not some swarthy brown person invasion/

Black Comic Book Festival (2014)

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I went to the Black Comic Book Festival at the Schomburg Center yesterday. That was pretty fun and interesting. I think I’d like to get the experimental self-published book by the author Keith Miller (Sigmund’s Friend) suggested. He recommended Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond but I want to read Koontown Killing Kaper, which the author described as a parodic look into hip-hop-risy ala Ishmael Reed’s Flight to Canada. If this is the new stripe of self-publication I think I want to note and celebrate it.

The comic that most interested me in theory was (H)afrocentric. I Saw Juliana “Jewels” Smith in the “Black Women in Comics” Panel at the Black Comic Festival at the Schomburg Center.  I had a really good time going there and I see in what Ms. Smith has done as something akin to what I want to do, which is create a student led, written and illustrated
 of a composition course. I read her book and I found it inspired and simultaneously hard to follow. I think that the problem is that her scripts were not complete. Perhaps Jewels could write a better script so that more of the inside insight (& jokes) were clearer. Of course the last thing I want to do is hit her with a critique, before I’ve established a good relationships.

(h)Afrocentric (in issue 3) raises all of the issues I have been thinking about vis-a-vis gentrification, race and education in the East Bay. It is a fine wish fulfilment book, not unlike the Mickey Rooney Judy Garland confections of old. (The protagonist Ally [allie?], an inveterate do-gooder wants to put on a show to save her neighbor from a rapacious clean-streets policy that will steal property for perceived blight.) It reminds me of a less developed IncogNegro. It is a progressive wish fulfilment centered on my old East Bay home (Before student housing in Albany I lived on 45th St between MLK and West St in Oakland).

I really like her cast of characters (well drawn by the artist Ronnie Nelson who brings them to (2D) life). The characters are like a smart group of friends I had while I was working on my Ph.D in the East Bay, with a quip a minute and a collective ADHD because of our lack of a leader like Ally.

The panels are full of witty asides like the Rosetta Stone Language system that the homeowner facing foreclosure is selling to keep the wolf from the door in an AmWay-like capitalist self help scheme that includes “Geraldo Rivera” and a cruel joke about his thin-masculinity. Ronald Reagan College was a perfect slice at Prop-13 California. I wish these were better developed in the script with more explanation about how they fit in with the meta-narrative that hints at “Winter in America.”

I look forward to more and more of this interesting title.

 

*Man Gone Down* by Michael Thomas Haiku Review

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*Man Gone Down*
by Michael Thomas
Haiku Review

1. Starting *Man Gone Down*/
Gently riveting to me/
(I “Identify”)/
#haiku

2. Confronted by youth/
The youth that hides in novels/
With happy sadness/
#haiku

3. Fiction converges/
With readers’ realities/
History revised/
#haiku

4. “Strange… to go through life/
A social experiment/
Understanding… Gone”/
#haiku (Thomas 99)

5. “You can tell when someone’s been loved; they don’t question its presence, nor do they despair when it seems to be gone” (Thomas 165).

6. Three hundred pages/
Of fearing his decisions/
Vicariously/
#haiku

7. Protagonist’s life/
Both Virtuous & sinful/
Flirts with disaster/
#haiku

8. Faithful to his wife/
Staying sober, kind & fair/
When cheating is rife/
#haiku

9. Crazy decisions/
Like evading a mistress/
Are perfectly right/
#haiku

10. “I was born a poor/
Black boy of above av[‘]rage/
Intelligence[: CURSE]” /
#haiku (Thomas 216)

11. The Expectations/
Placed upon Smart Black People/
Prove to be unfair/
#haiku

12. “Representing” Blacks/
Burdens folk who need to live/
Simply for themselves/
#haiku

13. “Representative/
Man” must undo and fulfill/
All stereotypes/
#haiku

14. Protagonist can’t/
Simply exist for himself/
He lugs history/
#haiku

15. Meditative run/
Through the Brooklyn Bridge’s ribs/
Explored though nicely/
#haiku

16. Digressions of thought:/
Thinking man in thoughtless world/
Explored New York well/
#haiku

17. Manual labor/
Suspends thinking men in toil/
This book explores that/
#haiku

18. Texture of labor/
The Psychology of work/
Is rarely explored/
#haiku

19. The isolation/
Of immigrants languages/
Exposed in this book/
#haiku

20. Job sites’ loyalties/
Along and across language/
Was a nice detail/
#haiku

21. Surrendering job/
With a violent outburst/
To keep pride was nice/
#haiku

22. Swimming under the bridge/
Like a weird aquatic troll/
Strange symbolism/
#haiku

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23. Impossible acts/
Of the damaged superman/
Kept me reading on/
#haiku

24. When he cheats golfers/
He falls to earth a human/
Though they needed it/
#haiku

25. Boston backstory:/
Old Friends on the edge expose/
Promise’s burden/
#haiku

26. He survives for friends/
Not the noble ideas/
Placed upon his skin/
#haiku

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