Gina Myers


South Philly front
stoop social club
We share some beer
& laugh into the
night / Words
failing in our need
to express
our fears, or why
we’re sitting here
on the destruction
of everything
How much is a
concept of security
worth to you?
By which I mean
fuck the police
Existence legitimized
through buying power
Public space closing
in favor of commercial
The city calls
its citizens taxpayers
& installs dividers
in the middle of
park benches
to keep people
from lying down
& staying too long
We sit
on the stoop
& ask who said love
can save us?
Can love save us?
The day passes
before us
Shards of glass
& splintered wood
across the street
as the garbage truck
crushes an old mirror
& lets the refuse fall


my elementary school
was condemned & I grew
into my delinquency    the gun
shook in my hands
do you ever think twice
before taking a drink of water
it’s easy to forget
your own body            what it needs
to keep going
all day we roamed
the streets       broke
into construction sites
smoked cigarettes in the woods
behind K-Mart             dearest sister             
you have not been forgotten
tell me             how old you were
when the anger went away
please tell me it goes away

Because we were surrounded by emptiness, a lack tearing through everything, a lack
defining who we were

Because we carry the trauma of empty buildings, deserted streets, condemned schools, 
& shuttered factories

The weeds push through the pavement, reclaiming playgrounds & abandoned houses

Because leaving meant a chance at a future that might not end in early death

Because leaving meant straining relationships with those who stayed

You think you’re too good for us now?

Because the options were few or there were none at all

Because we didn’t choose this

Because I grew like a weed through broken pavement

& carry the trauma of empty buildings, deserted streets, condemned schools & shuttered 
factories no matter where I go

& into every relationship

Because I will never feel worthy enough or deserving

Because this life was not meant to be mine


Today at the store
I used my phone
to calculate equivalencies
how many ounces
in a cup
simple things I never
learned & I still managed
to make a mistake
came home with
16 more ounces
of chicken broth than
needed / M would have
a field day with this
making fun of my mistake
& I would feel embarrassed
dumb & unworthy of his love
And it would be true
I’d be dismissed
because he couldn’t
see a future with me
I don’t blame him
I can’t see my own future
never have tried to live
much beyond the present
Why was I with him
anyway? He didn’t even
like Nina Simone, which
should say everything
He said she’s too intense
As if intensity in a woman
is not to be admired
or perhaps a little is okay
but not too much
To be singularly focused
It’s not arguing
It’s just a conversation