We interrupt your regularly scheduled program to bring you this Ellis Act Alert

We interrupt your regularly scheduled program to bring you this Ellis Act Alert

By Tony Robles

 

We interrupt your regularly

Scheduled program to bring

You this Ellis act alert

 

Mom and pop are missing,

Pry open your eyes

Let your ears hear

 

Mom is 79 and pop

Is 82 and have lived

In San Francisco all their lives

 

Mom and pop–unplugged,

Displaced in a city of wireless wires

Where friends that never were are

Flung into heaps of the unfriended,

Replaced by holograms that begat

Other holograms who slither behind

Tinted glass bus windows

 

In kitchen pot silence

In floorboard splinters

In the skin of torn rugs

We search for stains like

Maps for clues, traces

 

This is an Ellis alert

And mom and pop are gone

And with them the smell of

Adobo

Gumbo

Black eyed peas

Malunggay

Bitter melon

 

We looked for mom and pop

In the book of landlords

And that book, whose edges

Were a knife, whose pages were

Not stained by a single memory,

Read only one name:  Ellis

 

Ellis cover to cover

Ellis front to back

Ellis open and shut

Case closed

 

And we searched for

The book of the evicted

Whose pages and spines multiplied

And were strewn on street corners and

Garbage bins and the names of the

Evicted were written in the streets by

The shrill talon of the raven to be

Paved over by the machinery of

No memory

 

This is an Ellis alert

And mom and pop

Are out there somewhere

 

Pry open your eyes

Let your ears hear

 

With the click of the

Tongue, and not the mouse,

Pop made the birds come and bring

Together philosophies from every

Corner of the world

 

And

 

Mom is your mom,

Is my mom, is your skin,

Is my skin, is my memory

Is our memory

 

Pry open your eyes

Let your ears hear

 

Mom and pop

Are missing

 

We now return

To your regularly

Scheduled program

 

 

© Tony Robles 2013

 

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