Shhh (A Lyric Essay)

Shhh (A Lyric Essay)

by M. A. Dennis

Did she just…?

It wasn’t loud, but I think I heard it directed to me:

“Shhh,” at a protest against homelessness in NYC,

A rally for housing on the steps of City Hall.

I repeat, a PROTEST, a rally for HOUSING.

So, if the fifth politician to come to the podium

Talks about how Park Slope, Brooklyn is doing their part

By building a new 450-bed homeless shelter

I’m going to let him hear it:

“Homes! Not Shelters!”

“If you can build 450 beds, you can build 450 apartments!”

“No New Shelters!”

“C’mon, no more shelters, stop playing games!”

And it was around that time, I strongly feel

She shushed me out the side of her mouth.

I know I’m there to represent

An organization that advocates for the homeless,

On official business if you will,

Calling for the passage of Intro “Twelve-Eleven”

(A housing bill introduced by Council Member Salamanca, Jr.)

And as such, I should maintain some level of decorum.

But this is a rally—a HOUSING rally


If an elected official starts touting a plan

To build a new homeless shelter

Decorum be damned!

I wanted to tell her right then and there

What she could do with that “Shhh.”

But I didn’t,

Because we were in public

And I wanted to watch my mouth.

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