By Rex Letoa-Paget
walk down the only / part of newtown / that hasn’t been gentrified / yet / boarded up / worship halls / line the street / rickety houses / that look like loose teeth / in the / rotten mouth of / white supremacy / graffitied concrete streets / decorated with stained / cotton thin / sleeping bags / and the same woman / asking for change / counsel flat luxury / housing the hustle / pick up a fifty to / get me through / my dealer makes me / avocado on toast / says they were going cheap / brews a cup of tea / i don’t have the heart / to tell her i don’t / like avocados / so / i eat her welcome / with a smile / ask her how job hunting is / she shakes her head / i didn’t get the last couple / i applied for / but / it keeps Winz off my back / yeah / it’s tough out there / these days but / something will come up / i reassure / wearing my kathmandu jacket / she laughs / at me / yeah, yeah, something will come up / her voice / a flatline of hope / on my way out / i share the elevator / with an older woman / with desert skies for eyes / a hijab / frames the history / canaled / deep into her cheeks / her face / a forgotten wreck / sinking in / rising tarpaulin seas / i hold the door / offer her a smile / she doesn’t say anything.
I wrote a draft of this last year while walking through what is considered the dangerous part of Newtown, because it still occupies a lot of POC families. I was just thinking about some of the effects capitalism and colonisation has had on immigrant/migrant communities. How easy it is to become desensitised/disconnected from people (even if they’re you’re own) most likely to get swallowed by this system.
It’s like when white people talk about living in Newtown they always have to specify what part of Newtown. They love to talk about the diversity, and the food, and the good vibes, but it seems they still want people to know they’re better than the people who built this place.