Poverty skola goes to college….
Poverty Skola Goes to College
Not cuz its gonna solve my poverty problems
Not cuz akkkademia will save me
Or make me
Not cuz life will be somehow better
With a little piece of embossed paper
Not cuz institutional knowledge
is better than Poverty Scholars
Not cuz then I will be able to teach
As the school continues to preach
I do that now
With lived knowledge from ancestors and the streets
To bring to the CONfused and hurting elite
with a demand to house us all and stop wealth-hoarding what you don’t need
My sun says mama-
U never know who u might meet
Maybe it will bring u access to more people
Who need to hear what only you can see-
Maybe this is true
And maybe its a serious waste of time & blud-stained dollars too
But im going
And if u have a few coins to support this po mama
That you can throw-in
Cuz u know for me
And all of us they incarcerate, silence
and never see
Its just a hope that
I can infiltrate
Education never legitimized in those institutions
Poor people silenced
before we can MamaFest our Solutions
against that poor people violence
Maybe for the first time EVER
HERstories will b liberated
from the elitist archival jail cels where they are hoarded
Theatre dedicated to all my broken, disabled,sterilized and destroyed aunties, and mamas can be heard in their own voices -
Not incarcerated and fetishized for their Bad choices -
where LANDback and culture for 1st peoples must be broke open
Yes its a dream to create something I have never been able to do
While fighting for shelter, anti-social work crumbs
A roof and enuf food
Cuz I was barely able to think
Cuz philanthro-pimps call me too radical
And want me to give up or sink
Institutions give me a food card
politricksters silence me and say Im going too far
And scam lords block me
And land-stealers knock me
Im going -
Cuz his povertyskola survived cancer and Covid
And if a global pandemic and wite science cant kill me
Whats a few akkkademiks versus all of we…
“Nooooooo- weeeeeee,” “I’m it” “Im gonna Tell..” the sounds of children in a school across the alley pounded into my head every morning as i ran the squeegeee over rhe silk screen for the 45th time in the closet of the Single Room Occupancy hotel me and mama were hiding in. We were almost out. The scamlord had already pounded on the door multiple times and paper threats with red letters were taped on the front of our room. “3 day notice” they always said. To Pay Rent or Quit….
Mamá was always screaming then but all I could seem to hear was those children.
I wanted to be back there in that school playground - where the location of a dodge ball was my biggest concern-where I didn’t have to learn about how to represent myself in court -where I didn’t have to “leverage my skin privilege” to lie to scamlords jus to get me and mamá housed for a few months or weeks or days…. Where I didn’t know the strange ache of depression , hunger and impossibility….
-Some of you might know that I had to drop out of skoo in the 6th grade to take care of my disabled, Afro-Boriken, poverty skola mama -some of you may know that at 11 I had to enroll full-time in the school of hard knocks, teaching myself adult survival skills or we wouldn’t eat including jailhouse (Tenant) lawyering to fight scam-lords evictions in kkkort as a strategy to stay housed for a few more weeks between shelter beds, back seats of cars park benches and tents on the street.
Some of you might also know that me and mama started a street based art business and were vendors for years throughout my childhood- working and selling art we made- long hard labor just to survive and we were criminalized for not having a license and arrested multiple times and then at 18 after being off and on the streets for years with mama I was arrested and put in county jail for three months for the settler created “poverty crime” of sleeping in our vehicle and the illegal “act” of sleeping outside on occupied land.
Many of you also might know that even though these multiple crises almost killed us many times, we stayed together like all indigenous poor families do, ended up through many more struggles launching the poor people led movement we call POOR Magazine/Prensa POBRE
— which birthed PeopleSKool , POORPress
, ( and over 36 publications ) The WelfareQueens, Poverty Scholarship Theory and Textbook, Po Peoples Radio, RoofLESS radio, Theatre of the POOR, Sliding Scale Cafe, Deecolonize Academy
to name a few of our many liberation media, art and education projects and solutions dedicated to making sure poor, houseless, indigenous, disabled, migrant, incarcerated youth and elders are heard, listened to and activated in our own voices, our own dreams, our prayer, art and visions.
As a poet, teacher, revolutionary journalist, author and survivor I have created multiple versions of my persona I call the “povertyskola” this isn’t to “perform” poverty - poverty isn’t a theory, a study or a story, its settler colonial violence created by wealth-hoarders to keep us silenced, in our place and purely a product for non-profiteers and academics to study and talk about us without us. This is why my mama and myself created/wrote and lived Poverty Scholarship Poor Peopleled Theory Art
in collaboration with literally millions of fellow poverty skolaz all across mama earth. It is to lift up, dream up and Love up the struggle and knowledge gained outside of the institution, The knowledge that also has a price and the price is often your life.
Poverty skola - the persona wears her jail suit into places and spaces of power, privilege and access. Povertyskola launched the Stolen Land/Hoarded Resources UnTours Across Mama Earth where we walk peacefully, prayerfully into all the wealth-hoarding neighborhoods poor, houseless, Black and Brown people are kept from by armed agents of the state. All the places that are intentionally protected by PoLice while our bodies, communities, stories and struggles are continually predated, poLiced, incarcerated, studied, saviored and demolished, for profit, for opting, for culture, for hate.
Poverty skola has traveled into institutions like Columbia and UC Berkeley and Stanford - all places that study “Poverty” about us without us. Stanford even has an endowment on poverty, but the teacher there had a major struggle just raising a 200 stipend to get me in to teach. Other revolutionary teachers almost lost their jobs including me in a semester class as an actual teacher. And yes, beautiful friends have tried to get me :Credit for time served aka a waiver of a BA requirement so i could go directly into a Masters program based on the immense work i have done for years in the community for and with fellow poverty skolaz like me in those institutions to no avail.
In the depths of deep depression from Cancer and Covid, Evictions and Sweeps in 2020 a family member reached out to me with this offer to try this program and i did and... So now i am walking slowly, ambivalently into this school called Goddard College and I have no false hopes as i say in my poem about what this will bring - only know that i have a dream- to bring my work of Poverty Scholarship deeper into these institutions that all of us poverty skolaz have been kept on the margins of. And to bring the concept i created of Theatre of the POOR onto a larger stage, that i want to create what i am calling MamaLogues a series of monologues speaking in the voice of all the ancestor poverty skolaz that i come from, intentionally broken, tortured, sterilized and destroyed women, like my Aunti Carol, forcibly sterilized, labeled “feeble-minded” , incarcerated and endlessly 5150’ed who ended up houseless, walking the streets of downtown LA , California and all across this stolen land, screaming, unable to quiet the insides of her head .
All the women you dont see,
who walk into the sky from the streets
I wont be “leaving” the area or my work or people, except for 10 days 4 times a year. it is a low-residency program that allows me to do all the work i do with fellow povertyskolaz, liberators and warriors at POOR Magazine
Deecolonize Academy and Homefulness.
This institution gave me credit for time served, aka a BA waiver so at the end i will have an MFA for whatever thats worth. This institution claims its affordable. My question is on what planet is $40,000 “affordable” prolly the same kind that claims affordable housing is 1,500 per month.
I got one scholarship for 5,000 and got the money for the room and board covered and so for this semester i only need to raise 3,000 more for this first semester-( and then there is the other 3 semesters :(- I am truly not sure i will be able to raise all that money, it but im going to try. Ancestors are calling out to me. They haunt me nightly. So if you can support me - please do. And if you cant no worries -
The First 10 day residency starts on Jan 5th. Pray for me. Ometeotl, Ase, Ahoooo
So much gratitude to Tony Robles, Paige Kirsten, Leroy Moore, Corrina Gould and Fuifuilupe Niumetolu,Susan Schweik, Cecilia Lucas, Kim Shuck, Jasmine Sydullah, Amanda Miller , my Sun and so many more for encouraging me - to all my ancestors but mostly my mama dee for without whom there would be no me and to all of you for your support and love which always feel new for this broken and healing poverty skola daughter.