Outside the Circle

Cindy Milstein

Vacant SF


Your landlord uses words like “transition” and “vacate.”

Your house doesn’t fit neatly into the Ellis Act box. It doesn’t make it on to the maps of evictions.

There are many such houses, such small businesses, such cultural or political spaces, that fall outside the box of legalistic niceties. That are easier to disappear.

You read the words of a housing rights organizer, who says that people like you are lucky. They have the luxury to live elsewhere.

“Luxury” is a word you see daily, on boxy-new complexes with one-bedroom apartments for $4,000 a month. Make that $6,000. The sky is the limit.

On the ground, a lot of people, including you, aren’t lucky.

You can’t squeeze chosen family and social fabric into a suitcase.

Neighborhoods don’t travel well.

Neighborhoods also, it seems, don’t hold up against a capitalism that wants to eat its cities, sugarcoating the unpleasant truths of such deaths.

“Adapt, baby, adapt,” a rich white male tech guy smirks in your face. “Transition,” smiles your landlord.

You’ve heard that tears make good soup.

Comfort, perhaps, for when you sign away your home.

*  *  *

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(Photo by Cindy Milstein, Day of the Dead sugar skulls, 24th Street panaderia, October 26, 2014.)

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This entry was posted on October 28, 2014 by in Dispatches from Gentrifying San Francisco, Dispatches from Life.
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