We Declare The Home of an African American Elder in San Francisco an Eviction Free Zone

It smells like home

It smells like butterscotch candy

It smells like a kitchen that breathes

It smells like warm gravy on thanksgiving

It smells like my grandma’s hug

It smells like my grandfather’s rug

It smells like the blooming flower of a garden’s dream

This is an eviction free zone

The ceiling is stucco that

Sparkles like stars

There is a dusty chandelier with light bulbs

Shaped like candle flames

All the flames are out except one, and it

Flickers

This is an eviction free zone

On the mantel are pictures of black

Faces, of grandmas, grandpas, grandchildren

Watercolor pictures of mountains and oceans

That melts the eyes in warm light

This is an eviction free zone

This is a maple syrup zone

This is a gumbo, black eyed pea zone

This is a Western Addition, Bayview zone

This is a down home black folk zone

This is the heart of San Francisco zone

This is an honor your elders zone

This is a house of memory

This is a house of no evictions

This is a house of songs

And a house above all houses

With songs above all

Songs

This is a down home home

With down home songs,

Down home voices

The eviction notice has been sent

The notice of intent has been sent

It has been received

Papers covered in dead verse

Sealed with a lead tongue

And the letter is addressed

To Mrs. Smith

43 year resident of her flat

In San Francisco

This is an eviction free zone

(c) Tony Robles 2014

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