Showing posts with label homeless. Show all posts
Showing posts with label homeless. Show all posts

17 July, 2019

Letters from Trumplandia: Born of the River -- Louisville, Kentucky

Yesterday, 50 homeless people were displaced in the #compassionatecity. Contemporary urban living means dueling with the cognitive dissonance created by political reality chaffing against the marketing. Bourbon and BBQ for the tourists, for whom the mayor stands, while human beings are treated like the dirty laundry no one wants to deal with.

But this is, I suppose, just one more day in Trumplandia, one more day in the Mayor Greg Fischer's shiny mirage -- the photo op he lives in as he attempts, poorly, to salvage his political legacy.

This wasn't the Louisville blog I wanted to write. I wanted to write in response to a recent call for Belt Publishing -- a publisher I respect, by the way -- for writing for about Louisville for an upcoming anthology. In their call, they refer to Lousiville as a southern city... a mistake that many people make. The local Chamber of Commerce -- otherwise know as Greater Louisville, Inc. -- bills us as a southern city. Local liberals, progressives, and some of the radical left call Louisville a "blue island in a sea of red." All the people whining about the removal of Confederate statues and brandishing the stars and bars as if Kentucky was part of the Confederacy embrace this southern niche with the same vigor that the majority of the country also embraces it.
Mayor Greg Fischer (WDRB)


The truth, with all due respect, is this: Louisville is not a southern city. But it is a river city.
Unfortunately being a river city along the Ohio River means owning the muck that comes with it. Louisville's history of exploiting and isolating populations. The West End and the black community with a botched bussing plan, redlining, and imminent domain. The city's unofficial war against The Russell Neighborhood. Shanty boats. Nativist Know-Nothings and the Bloody Monday Riots. The slave trade. Gentrification. Keep going back. There's more to find. Too much more.

We are not a southern city, with all due respect to southern cities who have the actual geopolitical and culture underpinning to make that claim. The mistake people keep making about Louisville is that they keep trying to insist it's a southern city. It's not. Louisville is born of the river, and the river pre-dates any geopolitical classification.

Unfortunately, we are responsible for the muck that comes with it: Economic piracy. Greed. Exploitation. Dehumanization. Because just like the river flows west and into the Mississipi, so does the muck. Inhumanity spreads like a disease, whether it's the city's policy of dehumanizing the homeless or Trumplandia's policy to dehumanize people at the border and put children in concentration camps.

And no, I'm not suggesting all the evil starts here. But some does wash up on shore on it's way.

Thanks for reading! If you like what I'm doing, please consider leaving a tip. It helps keep the lights on. Thanks again! 

03 April, 2019

Field Notes, from March 29 2019: Oh, The Humanities


Air palpable with earnest outcries
read to the appropriate audience
words spent on prayers to gods
too busy to grant wishes

(From my last day at AWP:)

The folks I saw yesterday (Friday) were not out today. I want to believe that the old guy flying a sign on the corner of Halliday and MLK -- who, up close, doesn't look much older than me -- got what he needed and was able to sleep in doors last night. I want to believe that Tanya J. McDonald -- who told me her name 5 times and who was clearly released from a hospital with no sense of where she might end up -- was able to find peace and safety and some comfort in mourning her mother's death.

I saw them. I looked them in the eye and took their hands and helped in some small, temporary way. I want to believe it made a difference.

But I don't feel that optimistic today.

There's something about all the appropriate mourning and moaning here that's just so far-sighted in all the wrong ways. People see injustice at a distance and want to engage it. But when it's up close, they overlook. Or worse, they look through it like it's air.

Of course there's talk about Trump and  the peril to democracy -- mostly by white academics. When I hear work by writers of color, or by immigrant writers, or by people recounting stories of assault and the abuse of power, there is no presumption that democracy is in peril.

There is no presumption that democracy exists at all.


Beauty is abandoned
in the course of natural process --
the fragrance lingers,
a memory seized
right in the moment breath freezes.








Please check out my work for sale on Amazon.

 You can also throw a little in the tip jar: