An Ideal & Fantastical Poem, Brought to You by the Human Rights Law Firm of Garland, Mills & Ross

If home sweet home

is where the heart is

then thousands of tin

men, women & children

are experiencing heartlessness;

they need open home surgery

someplace to implant their heart

because it needs to be guarded

and it wouldn’t hurt to also have

a garden–growing your own whole foods is a step in the self-sufficiency direction.

Look, directly in my eyes

and tell the truth:

Do I look like a know-it-all?

All I know is, people always

ask ME for directions:


Brooklyn is at the place

where you’ll find Harlem

and seven (soon to die) neighborhoods–targeted by urban developers, head-quartered down at the Golden Shovel–racking up houses, corner to corner

in the pocket

there’s a poem

looking for housing; it speaks for those who went under, overcome by the overhead;

for strong-willed individuals with an Achilles heel known as “needing a place to stay”–putting out, to avoid getting put out–during a code blue;

for silver couch surfers, coasting from family to friends, relying on a helping hand–under

their roof, seeking to give

your head a resting place

hoping, they won’t throw it in

your face.

It’s easy to get caught up

in wordplay that belies the seriousness of the matter–a heart

is a house…..with Five Heartbeats

living upstairs in a one-room apartment

because it still beats

being out on the street

these streets will have you out here looking crazy, into a mirror, asking yourself: How did I get here?

They’ll have you swallowing pride and cleaning up after others: picking up their bottles & cans off the ground; don’t let litter hang around where you live–especially the kind that gives a shot at redemption–you can’t complain about not having a dime, if you’re walking past nickels

found on these streets of gold

that turn out to be nothing

but a yellow brick road.

No one knows when the tornado of Life will strike–

not the AccuWeatherman,

not the Doppler 4000,

not the HAL 9000.

No one knew 2001 would knock us down

deluxe high-rises in the sky

apply to only one percent of Death’s lottery process

the remaining 99% depends on your zip code

factor in the 8,000,000 ways to die

and you can easily see why, it’s imperative for a human being to have someplace safe,

decent, affordable

(and it wouldn’t kill anyone to add a garden)

I wish we all had a garden,

our own central park;

I’d call mine Seneca Village…

Passersby would admire,

me relaxing in a hammock,

listening to “Africa” by Toto,

watching firmly-rooted dande-

lion resist the tumultuous gentle breeze; if it blows over the scare-

crow, I don’t mind

because once fear gets planted,

it rots everything it touches;

the perfect finishing touch

for my own lil’ slice of Eden

(watered by an aunthentic Civil Rights-era fountain)

would be, next to the China White gardenias:

a classic 1958 sit-in lunch counter from Kansas.

An O.G. named O.Z. told me Emerald City is segregated,

based on income, forcing him to drink from

paycheck to paycheck

Payday means tough decisions:

groceries or RENT?

Today ain’t the last day somebody went to bed with a candy bar for dinner

“I bless the rains down in”

soup kitchens;

there’s no shame in going to The Bowery Mission


because every low point


when you’re traveling

from rock-bottom


Things get rocky: maybe

a wicked witch who works for an evil corporation

earns commission on the demise of Black & Brown stones

casting mathematical spells:

Foreclosed Home + Abandoned Building = Trap House

There’s only one way out,

which is: having your own keys

to the front door

that has your name on the lease, title, deed

Yes, indeed

“There’s no place like home”


“There’s no place like home”

because for most of the movie

“There’s no place like home”

because for most of the movie, Dorothy

was homeless.

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