Ends Meet

Our apartment must hold
enough people to work off
the cost of living. We lower

our shoulders to a brick each, backs
huddled like linemen, anchor
our hips, push and repeat,

our thrusts incremental
and abraising against
the coarse exposure,

our outward scrum aiming
at studs shelled by sparse
décor. After

our exhaust, husks folding
and crumbling, a new roommate
wedges in to work toward further expansion

of our space.
The neighbors geyser through the walls,
piling and mingling in a passive mosh pit,
and everyone fits.


Click here to read Alex Shapiro on the origin of the poem.


Image: UnitSketch25 by Alex Wells Shapiro

Alex Shapiro: Gentrification is playing a shifting role in my life.

I grew up in Beacon, NY, a typical upstate factory town husk nestled along the Hudson River just north of Westchester. Dia: Beacon arrived when I was a child, the largest contemporary art museum within some arbitrary radius. It brought some dope Lawrence Weiner and Louise Bourgeois sculptures into my sightline, along with a lot of wealth trailing behind. It’s caused my family and friends a good deal of uncertainty.

In both Chicago and Boston I lived in neighborhoods labeled during my stay as ‘on the rise’ or something to that end. Though I’m still figuring my role out in my newest Chicago neighborhood, Uptown, the empty storefronts and shiny new condos make me feel both guilt and dread.

Having been both the lodged and dislodged, I’ve sat with certain questions.

How can I create space for myself without taking it from others?

How can I create space for others without space for myself?

Alex Wells Shapiro
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