Journalism In Verse


En Route

in Politics by

The cab driver asked me
If I’d ever seen a city burn

Wait ‘til summer, he said
Sun’s out guns out, he said
You weren’t around in the 70s
You haven’t seen
What I’ve seen

New York

On the T.V.
He counted
28 palm trees
On fire

On the T.V.
A cop in a blue helmet
Hit an old woman
One time
With a baseball bat

In New York, he said
Where I’m from, he said
You couldn’t see for the smoke
Couldn’t hear for the sirens
Any one could be coming for you

I caught his eyes
In the rearview mirror

They were brown
And old
And by then
I knew his father was dying
And his sister never finished college
But she hadn’t let that
Get in her way

I told him
If this city’s gonna burn
I’ll be holding
The torch


Poet’s Note: As of Friday March 2nd, 232 people in Northern California have been detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the last five days. At the protest in front of the SF ICE facility, I saw a legion of Pro Bono lawyers banned from representing those detained, I saw undocumented and unafraid immigrants speaking on the microphone, I heard the story of a mother taken as she was dropping her child off at school. Then I got in a taxi and the only thought in my head was, burn it down. 


The Latest: Hundreds protest at San Francisco ICE office [ABC]
San Francisco pouring more money to defend detained undocumented immigrants [ABC 7]

Zoe Young is a writer and journalist living in San Francisco. In May of 2017, she completed her writing MFA at California College of the Arts. Before her MFA, Zoe chose the word of the day for, wrote live jazz reviews for Downbeat Magazine as the California state correspondent, acted as contributing dramaturge for the California Shakespeare Theater, and scripted plays for production at Berkeley Rep through playground SF (she still does that). Zoe is the founder and a proud member of the Finishing School Writer’s Workshop.

Photo by Peg Hunter, taken at the 2/28/18 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) protest in SF.

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