Check out my poem on Cadence Collective, about my home city, Long Beach. I moved literally more than 20 times before I was ten and started my eighth school in 5th grade. I always felt out of place because we were really poor and pretty much homeless (not one of our own) for a few years. Then in 1984, we moved to Long Beach to a duplex in an alley off 7th and Junipero. It wasn’t a nicer place, but our tornado lives just blended in with the rest of my surroundings. (Which is what Child of the Alleyway is about.)
I moved to North Long Beach for middle school and high school. It felt more like a normal life than anything I’d know before then. After high school, I moved back to the South Bay area for a while, but it never felt like home. I returned to Long Beach in ’98 and have lived in almost each corner of it. It still makes sense to me. It’s diverse and messy and cultured and poor and familied and wealthy and gangster and ghetto and historic and avenued and civic and artsy and we all mix together in this beautiful stew.