This is a piece written by our friend Brando Chemtrails, inspired by his stay at the Wingnut and based on his observations of the neighborhood and food issues. Brando opened for the Blackbird Raum show on April 12th, and blew us away with his spoken word.
More by Brando at his website below, buy a book or zine or cd of his if you can!
Here it is:
When a Dollar’s Too Much to Spare
by Brando Chemtrails
I woke up this morning in Richmond, in a part of town called “food desert” by people that do not live there. This doesn’t mean there’s no food there, it means there is no food those people would want to buy. Truth is there’s more edibles on sale per square block here than in a mile of most neighborhoods built on liberal guilt built on what used to be neighborhoods like these, and sold by the small family owned businesses they nondenominationally pray for every night. True, the shelves might not look like the ingredients to a long and healthy life, but if I was given the money to buy all I wanted from the co-op, I’d buy most of the same food I buy in stores like these, and the only difference would be the receipt, not the nutrition facts.
I have a rule when it comes to buying anything. Don’t call it morals, I’m not looking for friends when I’m paying the ransom for the things that I need, call it loyalty. I won’t buy shit from any store that’s ever had anyone I know arrested. Since food is pretty much the only thing I spend money on and it’s available most places, this rule doesn’t change much for me. When one place gets crossed off my list there’s always another store not far from there that hasn’t had a chance yet to prove itself the same as all the others yet, and I buy canned beans there until I’ve been proven wrong.
Anyways. On the door of one cornershop, they got a hoodie in a circle with a line through it, orders to take your hats off coming in or they’ll call 911, a dumpster with ALL CAPS demands not to pee there because we’re watching you. At the Dollar General, they got so many hanging cameras on the ceiling that the shadows look like black circle tiles on the floor. Every time I’ve gone to the North Avenue Deli and Market after sundown, the same cop stands between the registers and the people in line and watches the procession of best behavior, of the respect that comes from a hand resting on a holstered gun and the costume that makes it all OK. At the Family Dollar, they don’t play songs on the radio, they play warnings on a thirty second loop about how you’re being monitored from some office in Charlotte right now for your own safety, so don’t try to pull anything the next time you’re in here and hungry and a dollar’s too much to spare. I am angry, but it’s not the kind of story made for those whose business is outrage from the safety of their keyboard or sofa, no brave main street mom and pops trying to say “no” to a Wal Mart in town, and it’s not lone assholes speaking their mind too honestly, never expecting the world to watch and make them suffer till they say sorry like they mean it. No, this is the nature of holding the title to dinner in a place where a dollar can be too much to spare, and free help is always a phone call away. If I knew more people, I’d never buy a thing.