Scranton is Getting Bad

I.

Scranton is getting bad.
There’s so many house fires,
Most of them arson.
And drugs, and drug busts too.

I’m not unhappy here.
I love the place.
It’s cozy & nothing much to do.

The mayor put Scranton in a hole.
A couple of stores went out of business.
Some come in for a while, then they leave.

The people are really mad.
Scranton is getting bad.

 
II.

Thursday was an awful day.
It rained hard, and was very windy.

Danny went fishing.
I don’t tell him anything.
The way he yelled at me, I told him,
              “You yell at me again,
              forget you have a mother.
              If I was a bar fly, and drunk,
              and ran around,
              you’d have more respect for me.”
But, I just keep my cool.

I could write a book.

 
III.

Saturday was so hot here,
If I didn’t have the air conditioner
I’d really pass out.

Lorraine said her back and legs were hurting.
She works twice a week at the beauty shop.
I said, “How’s it feel, your legs and back in pain?
              Now the shoe’s on the other foot.”
I told her, “Lorraine, you think you know it all.
              You’re right, and everyone’s wrong.”
I said, “You should be a judge.”
I tell her like it is.

I won’t let her boss me,
So now she shuts up.

If could write a book,
I’d be a millionaire.

 
IV.

I don’t go nowhere,
only with my friends to the mall.
When Bernadine goes out she’ll call me.
We’ll go out, have something to eat,
And walk around the dollar stores.
There’s so many of them out here.

I’m dying to go to Atlantic City,
but the cab drivers boosted their prices.
I’m gonna pay my back bills.
I don’t spend money foolishly.
I’m gonna save money,
and come out to Brooklyn next summer.
With the help of God, I’ll get there.
Scranton is getting bad.

 
V.

Today it’s very dreary out,
showers off and on, and breezy.

I’m not unhappy here.
I know it will be nice and warm in winter.
I hope there’s something good on TV.

I feel pretty good but,
there’s some days I can’t stand the pain.

It’s raining out here like mad.
Scranton is getting bad.

 
 
 
EDITOR’S NOTE: This poem is a poetic transcription of handwritten letters the author received from his late grandmother, when she was in her final years and in ill health.

 
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kevin Healey is an Associate Professor of Media Studies at a public university in New England. His research on the ethics of digital culture appears in numerous book chapters and scholarly journals. He has published poetry in Meat for Tea and Typishly, and non-fiction essays in Huffington Post and Salon.

 

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