Cranes and tents

by Raymond Nat Turner

In two recent stories, homeless men in the 100 block of Hayes Street near San Francisco City Hall and at Santa Clara and Sixth Street across from San Jose City Hall were reported to have climbed huge construction cranes. In San Jose, the 39-year-old man spent 14 hours perched in the glass-paneled crane cab, nine stories above a new apartment building meant to be “affordable” for those making between $42,000 and $67,000 a year. “I don’t have a home,” he told police after coming down. “I just want to be heard.” If Blacks and other oppressed people were not locked out of the construction industry, those men might be working as crane operators. – Photo: Karl Mondon, Bay Area News Group

Lording over the landscape like giant
Insects sucking soul, blood, chocolate
into multi-colored mushrooms
Metastasizing citywide.
Officers ordering vacant storefronts,
lined up like soldiers, to make money,
while brothers with cupped hands
platoon on plastic crates at entrances to
$4-a-cup coffee shops with belligerent baristas.

Beneath fiery crimson skies,
afternoon freeways are fuming parking lots.
Capitalism’s poisoning water and air,
and ignorant exploiters don’t care!
Pyramids and huts; tuxes and tails,
unwashed butts – tents and jails.
First come the cranes – then the
Tents, skyrocketing mortgages – then the
Rents … money, money, money for military
Bases in far off places – but, it’s “Pie in the
sky” to demand affordable living spaces!

Basketball team’s outgrown The Town,
football team’s slipping off to Sin
City after slurping at the trough …
Capitalism’s poisoning water and air,
and ignorant exploiters don’t care!
Pyramids and huts; tuxes and tails,
unwashed butts – tents and jails.
First come the cranes – then the
Tents, skyrocketing mortgages – then the
Rents … money, money, money for military
Bases in far off places – but, it’s “Pie in the
sky,” to demand affordable living spaces!

And we play dress-up in grown folks’ clothes –
Tiny red, white and blue stickers – pretending
we’re fixing it in 20 minutes … every two-four years …

© 2018. Raymond Nat Turner, The Town Crier. All Rights Reserved. Raymond Nat Turner is an acclaimed poet and performing artist. You can find much more of his work at http://upsurgejazz.com .