Brooklyn In a Hurry


Flatbush, Brooklyn in 1873.


Some call it Flatbush

some say Ditmas Park

or Prospect Park South.

Whatever you call it,

it’s changing.


When I walk down the street, I carry with me

The high-rise developments

built by those with eyes on the prize

of park views, subway access,

bougie bars, groceries and cafes.

The things that push old renters out

for new renters like me

who have their eyes on them too.


The Punjabi man who paves the sidewalk

outside my three-bedroom apartment

so he can pay for the one-bedroom he shares

with his wife and children

and maybe a stranger or two.


The absence of white people on the street

until six o clock, when they leave the subway station in droves

to reach their apartment

and become absent from the street once more.


The black boy watches the Q train go by,

missing his shift at Bed Bath and Beyond,

because a white policeman does not believe he paid his fare

and called for a back-up of five to watch

while he takes the boy’s wallet.


I’m not white, but I’m new

I bring change, but I shop local

I moved here for the rent,

but don’t want anyone else to lose their apartment

so somebody like me can move in.


But somebody like me did move in.

And in a few years, I might move

because I lost my apartment

to somebody like me.


When I walk out the door,

I give my neighbors a hello

chat about the weather

help them carry bags up the stairs

give flowers when a loved one passes.

The exchanges make us closer

but as the neighbor, comfortable on the street

chatting all day with those who walk by,

recently told me, when I’m out on the street,

I look like I’m in a hurry.


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