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By Dee Allen

PROMPT—I am grateful for ...

The arched roof above my head

The twin rafters with

The twin lights, holding it in place

The four walls surrounding me

The two windows with

The two Venetian blinds, down & shut at all times The red brick floor below my feet

The wooden shelves full of books & movies The VHS by themselves & DVDs in clear totes The Keetsa© mattress I sleep on

The melatonin that helps me sleep

The vegan food in the fridge, a meat-free zone The fruit & vegetable juices I savour

The filtered water I drink more than tap shit The hardcover journal notebooks and

The rollerpoint pens I use to express myself The shower I use, even though I'm a bathtub man The Hewlett Packard laptop computer aiding creation of The once and future poetry volumes

The Samsung© TV & VCR/DVD player combo The little house in East Oakland I call home The vast collection of political slogan t-shirts I wear the convictions of my heart

On my chest

SOMETIMES ANTI-SOCIAL ALWAYS ANTI-RACIST Remains a personal favourite but


Gets me the most love on the street

But most of all

I am grateful for...

The bus drivers

The firefighters

The restaurant

Delivery drivers

The subway train conductors

The launderette clerks

The grocery store workers

The farmer's market workers

Which I happen to be one

The doctors

The nurses

The paramedics

The pharmacy workers

The protestors for the rights of all Black lives The dead and the living

The mutual aid collectives

Giving food, water, medicine and household Items to the people living hand to mouth

During this goddamn pandemic

And long before

All the heroes

Out front

In our service

Seeing to our immediate

Survival needs

They could use the praise

And you don't need

Super powers

To be a hero

Just be there

Out front

For us—


Dee Allen is an African-Italian performance poet based in Oakland, California. He has been active on creative writing & Spoken Word since the early 1990s. Dee is the author of 7 books—Boneyard, Unwritten Law, Stormwater and Skeletal Black (all from POOR Press), Elohi Unitsi (Conviction 2 Change Publishing) and his 2 newest, Rusty Gallows (Vagabond Books) and Plans (Nomadic Press)—and 52 anthology appearances under his figurative belt so far.


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