I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Bless This House, the trailer park project I worked on with my friend and writer Nicole Bower. We’ll have more details soon, but a quantity of 200 of the POD version of this book is being purchased to benefit a non-profit that works with folks who are struggling to find affordable housing. I am very excited that this book and the social problems this book takes on will get some more attention. In the meantime, below is the poem that I wrote for the handmade artist book version of this book. As I’ve said here before I am a reluctant writer, but this one gets me in my heart every time I revisit the book.
Bless This House.
Bless This House.
Bless this neighborhood, safe, quiet, peaceful.
Bless these kids, riding their bikes as birds chirp and dogs walk on a warm summer night.
Bless the young, the old, the frail.
Bless Sheila whose fear of bees is well known by her neighbors who watch out for her every day.
Bless Maria with a new coat of paint and new windows on her pretty white trailer.
Bless Nancy who babysits so many of the kids while their parents work to pay rent on the land that holds the trailer they own.
Bless Jeanette in shock as the letters arrive. Move out. Six months. Start now.
Bless Cindy and Janice, neighbors who just sit there and cry as their world falls apart.
Bless Joe who has a $19,000 mortgage, who will be paid $5,250 for his double wide that is too old to move.
Bless Virginia who has lived here 52 years and who will probably die here.
Bless Big John who visits his wife in a nursing home every day, who promises only to leave his home to go to heaven.
Bless Sharless, whose adopted sister was fed alcohol in her sippy cup.
Bless Jeff who isn’t afraid because, after all, he’s lived on the streets before.
Bless Gabby, the Korean war vet who prays for a tornado to just take it all away.
Bless Lorna who is not able to comprehend what is happening to her and probably never will.
Bless Debbie, who helped move 13 seniors, who stayed up at night stalking the thieves who strip the metal, the pipes or anything of value from trailers vacant or not.
Bless Joe Cole, who drives the truck that moves the trailers, who says, “it ain’t Park Place, but it ain’t Baltic Avenue either.”
Bless them all. 247 families. Forced to move. No options but bulldozers for their homes. The homes they own.
God Bless the American Dream.