Dee Allen

Not a native, but a resident
Of my corner of East Oakland

Where poverty dominates,
Where broke-on-broke crime
Is as natural as drawing
Breath into lungs, there’s more
Cars and SUVs broken into
By unknown parties than not, more
Fenced-off pieces of land and
Liquor stores than there are
Community centres and decent
Food shops, the homeless sleep
Against boarded-up buildings
Empty inside as the price of
Housing continues to soar past the clouds, Drugs and black market guns
Are always available, have been available, Five decades of strung-out
Black bodies and Black bodies shot
From petty disputes write that history,
Where the criminal image, the thug agenda is praised, Where I fear the enemy & the enemy is my own—
Believe me, I didn’t design this madness. I’m
Not a native, but a resident
Of my corner of East Oakland

Where poverty dominates,
But its effects are being relieved,
Mutual aid is not a theory here,
It’s hitting the street running,
Seeing to a long queue of people, families in need, Alleviating hunger, thirst, human health, Mutual aid for the block
Takes several forms:
Black Cultural Zone,
East Oakland Collective,
Homies Empowerment,
POOR Magazine,
These days, the working class
Around here are supporting themselves, Since the city won’t—

Downtown City Hall
Sees my place of residence
As a blemish on the east side
In need of change,
Just remove
The poor
From homes,
Re-name the block,
Welcome richer
Residents in—

Like I said, I didn’t design this madness. But as long as I’m here, from my little house, I’ll document it. I’m

Not a native, but a resident
Of my corner of the changing Bay Area,
Eastmont, Oakland, California, U.S.A.

Where I’m from.

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Dee Allen.

African-Italian performance poet based in Oakland, California. Active on creative writing & the Spoken Word scene since the early 1990s. Author of 7 books--"Boneyard", "Unwritten Law", "Stormwater" and "Skeletal Black" [ all from POOR Press ], "Elohi Unitsi" [ Conviction 2 Change Publishing ] and coming in February 2022, "Rusty Gallows" [ Vagabond Books ] and "Plans" [ Nomadic Press ]--and 40 anthology appearances under his figurative belt so far.