Ode to George Floyd, a poverty skola in amerikkklan

“In the end, George Floyd is a poverty skola, just like Luis Demetrio Gongora Pat and Steven Taylor [murdered by police in the Bay Area]. Their struggles and ongoing profiling and harassment were linked with not only deep, sickkk Amerikkklan racism and wite supremacy, but in the ways poverty is seen and not seen in this stolen land.”

Wit a message for abolitionists everywhere

by Tiny Gray-Garcia

There are so many moments in that murderous day 

Has this poverty skola mama feeling all types of ways

Which must be spoken – 

Not silenced for the simple kkkort and CorpRape media take-away

The corner sto –

The Blood-stained 20 dollar

The worker poverty skola behind the counter 

Just covering it cuz that’s how we skolaz take care

of each other 

And the unspoken recognition that George Floyd 

Like so many of us poLice terror victims 

Was a poverty skola 

The call to the kkkillers – the poLice

The lice on the Po

Who arrive with guns –

Cuz thats what krapitalism demands 

So blood-stained dollar can CONtinue to flow

From human to human – 

Without hesitancy 

Without thinking 

Without questioning 

So life itself has a price – 

Locked in wit so many PoLice kkkulture Lies 

So evil can lurk inside 

Ghosts with names like Chauvin and Mellone

Called to “take care of” Houseless, Disabled and Poor Humans’ lives with murdering tools: guns and tasers and chokeholds 

Black, Brown, Indigenous Disabled Fathers and Suns and Brothers and Uncles – humans colonized behind so many lies about poverty, trouble and other 

Poverty scholarship is the over-standing that we poor people aren’t always ok – that our trauma bleeds into conversations, cement streets – corner stores, shopping carts, substance use and our own colonial destroyed roots

That goals and dreams were long ago lost to so many of us – and now there is a killer around every corner called a kkkop dropping a dime on us – for not living into that fake success model called the amerikkklan dream 

None of these are mistakes – they are krapitalist dreams, nightmares and warnings – we r all loaded up with from an early age – 

That no matter how many times we poverty skolaz try 

we just can’t make 

This poemCast from a poverty skola is an ode to a poverty skola, and their names are Luis and Steven and George Floyd – and your lives are in every young man of color lied to in this krapitalist void, every young man who is just doing his best to keep on keeping on no matter the noise.

This mama heard you, cries for you and so many more poverty skolaz and thanks you for all the fierce spirit medicine you bring every day to us from the other side.

This poemCast from a poverty skola focuses on poLice murder and poverty – rarely spoken in the same breath – mostly due to the fact that poverty, like disability, is rarely spoken about, period, much less as it informs poLice harassment, profiling and murder. 

This mama heard you, cries for you and so many more poverty skolaz and thanks you for all the fierce spirit medicine you bring every day to us from the other side.

Most of the time it isn’t mentioned because of the inherent shame us poverty skolaz have about poverty itself. Issues like homelessness, poor people housing, incarceration, intentionally blighted and destroyed neighborhoods, joblessness and welfare – aka hell-fare – are whispered about. We are all supposed to make it, to be successful. To own mama earth – property – and have a good car and good job, and if we don’t, we have “failed.” No matter how conscious folks are, this reality lurks in the back of our collective minds. 

“I don’t want to grow up. I’m a Cuney Homes kid. They got so many rats and roaches I can play with.” A song made up by youth who lived in housing projects in Houston that George Floyd spent most of his early life in to deflect the teasing children received growing up in the projects of Houston.

In Luis Demetrio Gongora Pat’s case, he crossed false amerikkklan borders just to get here to work for rich gentrifiers in San Francisco’s kitchens so he could send money back home only to get gentriFUKEd out of his home and end up houseless. 

In George Floyd’s case, he tried all the amerikkklan success models, but ancestral trauma and the amerikkklan poverty traps are real.

Failure and success in United Snakes narratives are cloaked in a thick dose of shame so they can never be rebuked and resisted. And then they are “protected,” aka enforced, by civil military killers, aka poLice, so more money can be made with our arrests and incarceration for not making it, and in all of that our death is intentional and collateral damage. 

These pieces are important lifts up for everyone, even the revolutionaries who are re-thinking poLice calls and culture.

Not everyone is ok just because we don’t want them to be sick. And poverty scholarship-informed caregiving, love-work and support recognizes the necessity of not only empathy but a kinship and connectedness as well as a deeper ask for stolen equity, land, reparations, liberation and a move toward un-shaming and un-gentriFUKing. 

The trauma from poverty and disability shame and fake so-called failure from success narratives are absolutely related to mental health crisis and violence in a krapitalist system.

I am worried by some of the facile ways that people happily talk about abolition without ever recognizing its deep connections to abolition from krapitalism itself. From the deep ways that profit is made off of everything, even our problems – and they are all connected. 

In addition, that trauma from poverty and disability shame and fake so-called failure from success narratives are absolutely related to mental health crisis and violence in a krapitalist system.

In the end, George Floyd is a poverty skola, just like Luis Demetrio Gongora Pat and Steven Taylor. Their struggles and ongoing profiling and harassment were linked with not only deep, sickkk Amerikkklan racism and wite supremacy, but in the ways poverty is seen and not seen in this stolen land.

These are some of the many things we struggle so hard as poor people to manifest in the Homefulness vision and why we teach in the “How to Not Call PoLice Ever” handbook, but it is also something we struggle with unprepared, unclear and in an ongoing struggle with our own internal messages and colonized minds. 

Liberation is complicated and unclean and manifestation is a mofo. 

Endless gratitude for your lessons: George, Luis, Steven, Jessica and so many more.

April 7 is the fifth year commemoration of the murder by poLice of Luis Demetrio Gongora Pat in San Francisco. Stay tuned to www.Justice4Luis.org website for more information about how they will celebrate his life. 

Lisa “Tiny” Gray-Garcia, aka “povertyskola,” is a poet, teacher and the formerly houseless, incarcerated daughter of Dee and mama of Tiburcio and author of “Criminal of Poverty: Growing Up Homeless in America” and “Poverty Scholarship: Poor People-led Theory, Art, Words and Tears Across Mama Earth” and co-founder of Homefulness, a homeless people’s solution to homelessness. Reach her at www.lisatinygraygarcia.com or @povertyskola on Twitter.