In Case of Fire, Break Glass

Dan Boucher

Jim points to the tent
city sprouting up along
the sidewalk in front
of the housing department.
it’s a strike. homeless people
have set up camp
to protest city housing
policies & laws
& civil engineering
designs which keep them
from sleeping on benches
& sidewalks.

Jim says
“see, that's terrible,
they oughta to clean that up.”

“no”, says Rich,
“they should give those
people homes. or at least
bigger tents.”

“yeah,” I say, “bigger tents,
and why not just piss on them
while yer at it?”

it’s hard to tell the
truth anymore without
losing my cool.
I try not to think
about it too much—
the fact that I can’t
keep my cool anymore, that is,
not the part about the truth.
the truth burns my brain
& my heart & my
tongue, and now I breathe in
fire instead of air,
so what can anyone expect
me to breath out?