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The Transkid Explains Gentrification, Explains Themselves

By Taylor Johnson

When I again take out more than I have available in my bank
account and I know I shouldn’t to make the rent
I am grateful and lucky to pay there is
a woman on the bus who is the mother or aunt or some loved one of
two younger women on the bus who the day before thanksgiving ask
what she will do now that she’s out by which they mean prison
or jail and she says she will just walk now that she has her own shoes on
just walk around Minnesota ave. to see her people she says
so much has shifted I can imagine since she’s not been able to catch the bus
uptown where we are now it is disorienting this whole labor of change
which I heard explained best once on a radio show about New Orleans
how after the storm it was hard to return even now
because in small ways home is a mirror
and how crazy it must feel to look into a mirror
and not see yourself how close I know
this particular distortion and how much money I’ve spent
trying to look right in the mirror and can’t
we say that the body is a city
this cellular heft this compendium of skin that I’ve come to
hate and love as it’s hard to do either
in isolation in my experience I’ve stared down
hard into many a mirror as if a well looking for myself without
knowing what really to look for or how to feel
if I’ve found it or seen it already
what to do then what if I don’t welcome
to my house of anxieties I’m trying to say something
about my body and home and not being home in my body or
my city the goddamn city where I eat the smoked whitefish sandwiches
knowing well I am not a white woman knowing well
I am not a woman I let people call me ‘she’ or ‘her’ and
I wonder what they want to say really
the boys around my way me making
a parody of them disappearing as
the city does want so much from
me and I can’t show up

Added: Friday, May 20, 2016  /  Used with permission.
Taylor Johnson

Taylor Johnson is a poet from Washington, DC. They've received fellowships and scholarships from the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop, Cave Canem, Lambda Literary foundation, VONA, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Fine Arts Work Center. Their work appears in the minnesota review, and Callaloo. They are currently working on their first collection of poems.

Other poems by this author