The dog lunged at me and choked on its chain
guarding a house on the street of broken dreams.
What does it take to be safe? A sun-porch window
barred shut with a wood-spooled bed frame. Fradon
lock store down the block, a giant curlicue key
advertising sleep all night, sweet dreams. A bumble-
bee in the clover fumbling to find its damp-dirt home.
No way to tell who owns my neighborhood homes
until the for-sale-by-bank signs grow overnight,
and of course there's the bank at James and Lodi
with the blue light, CHASE, that stays on 24/7.
On my street some people harrow a vacant lot,
green turned under into small rows, they harvest
weathered rocks and pile those up in the corner.
In another city, some foreclosed people got so angry
the big finance company had to hide its sign, AIG.
The people were so angry. That makes me feel more
safe, the people come out of their houses to shout:
We demand. Not rabble and rabid, not shadow, not terror,
the neighbors stand and say:The world is ours, ours, ours.
Added: Thursday, July 3, 2014 / From "Inside the Money Machine" (Carolina Wren Press, 2011). Used with permission.
Minnie Bruce Pratt's most recent book is Inside the Money Machine, described by one reviewer as "anti-capitalist poetics." Her previous book, The Dirt She Ate: Selected and New Poems, received a Lambda Literary Award. Her poems about her relationship to her sons as a lesbian mother, Crime Against Nature, were chosen as the Lamont Poetry Selection of the Academy of American Poets. A member of the National Writers Union, Pratt does anti-racist and anti-imperialist organizing with the International Action Center and its Women's Fightback Network. After 30 years of adjunct teaching, she is a part-time Professor of Writing & Rhetoric and Women's & Gender Studies at Syracuse University.