The Neoliberal City

I crested a traffic-clogged slope onto the Hill of the Capitol
Dave Lewis on CD filled in for the corporate radio
Bouncing off the rainbow sidewalks and the cracker-box condos
I waved, but they stared coldly back through a hundred blind windows

It’s weird to see new homes where there were once “Slated for removal” signs
Weird to be in the place where I was born and know that none of it is mine

Took some selfies with the skyline as it stood aloof behind me
Humming with menace; the Olympic mountains watched silently
As the police swept encampments off stolen Duwamish grounds
And left them to sleep on the sidewalks of the city they helped found

The city that now wants them gone if they’re not an Amazon employee

Or if they can’t show a pass to get into the Darth Vader Building
To the top floor, where the Great Beast, in a recorded meeting
Lays out Its plans to build the dream of the neoliberal city

I want to know my fate
If I keep up this way
It’s hard to want to stay awake
When everyone you meet
They all seem to be asleep
And you wonder if you’re missing the dream

It started getting dark, so I walked to the car and set the controls
CD switched to Silvio; thousands of miles from his home
Sounding ancient and alone, his guitar formed clouds of notes
That swirled off down the neon roads of the whitewashed Hill of the Capitol
As I turned to head for home

Y sé
Que un beso muy frío será
El beso que no me darás
Las noches y los días después
Del día en que voy a partir


Contains passages from “Bixby Canyon Bridge” by Benjamin Gibbard and “El Día en que voy a partir” by Silvio Rodríguez.