The Road Away From Rome

I am from The Empire State,

Western ideals made incarnate.

Paragon of the American Dream,

Epicenter of celebrated empire

A place where appearances are everything,

and everything is gold

or gilded.

 

I am from a place of contradiction,

there is no inhibition in the streets, just let it out.

There are so many of us, after all,

our lives are public

 

I am from a place where suffering is hidden.

Tucked away,

in ideal suburban homes,

neat little rows of conformity.

Where behind every picket fence,

there is a void.

An tinge to consumerism,

an emptiness where things should be most full.

 

I am from a place of invisible lines.

Ghettos,

always out of sight.

Oppression so invisible,

that it’s obvious.

 

I am from a place famous for hard streets and harder faces.

A place with lives on top of lives.

Clawing our way up,

relishing in the savagery.

A place with no shortage of neighbors.

Sometimes people lay dead for days in their apartments,

nobody notices.

 

Who can believe that the youth could struggle here?

Drug addiction? Violent crime? Not in our community.

They come from such good families.

How could anyone take suburban kids seriously?

They are spoiled,

they have everything.

 

I am from filling the void.

I am from hostility and neglect.

I am from the celebration,

reverence of bad intentions.

I am from overcoming.

I am from opting out,

making my own way.

How you doin’?

Photo credit- Lengele Photography, New York City link

Photo credit- Adam Moss, Oceanside Station link

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