The G Word



Neighborhoods don't improve.

They get pushed out.


Like a dam with cracks

Crumbs of concrete fall

One family 

Then another

Mom and Pop Pizza or

The 99 cent store.


We tend to celebrate:

The park is clean,

Now the children can play-

But where are the children the park knows?


Their mothers can no longer afford to pay rent

Because Next-Door Neighbor came from West End

And Next-Door Neighbor wants to repaint

The building to look like the one from which he came

The rent goes up to pay the cost

Up 5% plus a family lost


They love the neighborhood, so intimate, so sweet

So rustic, so ethnic

So goddamn cheap.

It would be perfect, with just a few tweaks:

Duane Reade

A bank


A bank


Whole Foods

Planet Fitness

A bank.


A neighborhood 

Is not its buildings.

Nor its boarders.


It is the people who live in it,

Live with it.

Whose cooking have perfumed the air

Whose dollars have been spent at salons and bodegas

Whose children have slaved away at those same stores

To keep their children inside and off the corners.


Their lives do not "improve" -

They do not get to benefit from the safe streets

And renovated schools

It is not their businesses thriving from the new population


They are not "up and coming"

They are not "developing"

In fact - 


The only "transitioning" in the lives 

Of these unsuspecting Neighbors

Is losing what was once perfectly theirs.



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