Jonathan B. Tucker

Two Poems

Volume 17:4, Fall 2016
Slam Issue


Gentrification: Part 1

from my third floor roof
without moving my feet
i can turn my body around
and count over eight cranes
poking their long beaks
over the DC skyline

this, with an obstructed view
on two sides

eight cranes
birds of prey
in the morning
twisting and turning
metal and earth

to make and remake
this district
this seat of power
with a footrest and a recliner’s lever
kicking the bottom half out
to lift up rich feet

this capital city
this diamond district
this east coast beast

this occupied territory
split by rivers with indigenous
names and a native population
that speaks another language

go go anacostia
go go potomac
go go red skin
go go black skin
here come them cranes
birds of prey

i can see them

twisting metal
turning earth
twisting lies
like returning worth
twisting stories
turning back
are these birds feeding
or on attack?



the white stomach is fragile
scared of hot sauce and beans
the white ego is fragile­er
scared of almost everything
white skin is so sensitive
reacting wildly to commonplace things
as does white fear
a rash on all continents


Jonathan B. Tucker (JBT) is a writer, performer, educator, DJ, and dreamer who is passionate about poetry, youth empowerment, racial and social justice, and finding purpose through service to others. He has received numerous awards and artist fellowships, and has performed and taught at schools, libraries, detention centers, museums, and conferences around the world, as well as at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the South African State Theatre. His poems have appeared in Etan Thomas’s anthology Voices of the Future (Haymarket Books, 2012), Amistad Journal (Howard University, 2011), and two self-published chapbooks, i got the matches (2012) and jonathan b. tucker (2010). JBT was a member of DC's 11th Hour Slam team in 2009 and 2010, competing at the National Poetry Slam. Born in Washington, DC and raised in Crofton, MD, he has helped coordinate and coach the DC Youth Slam Team with Split This Rock since 2011.