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Wednesday, June 08, 2016

4 70

by Akua Lezli Hope
In a case that has drawn comparisons to “Les Misérables,” the Supreme Court of Cassation [Italy] threw out the conviction of a homeless man from Ukraine, Roman Ostriakov, who was caught trying to take 4.07 euros — about $4.70 — worth of cheese and sausage from a store in Genoa without paying for it. A trial court sentenced him in February 2015 to six months in jail and a fine of €100. NY Times, May 3, 2016

Not since JeanValjean have we understood
so clearly the wages of steal or starve
damned for either for both for most
punished for manifesting the system’s failure
our e-screens endless disgorgement
of unattainable nutrition  satisfaction  satiation
bloats many, maims more with fatty malnutrition
but this isn’t that, it is about lack  lack  lack
of will to see all sated, to even the baseline
start us all level, fed, when there is food right before us,
or stashed and rotting in shipholds still
why many go hungry and this time there will
be no jail for the body’s keening, there will be no
incarceration for hunger, this time there will be no
ravening relentless pursuit by a mad cop
this time someone listened and injustice stopped

Akua Lezli Hope is a creator who uses sound, words, fiber, glass, and metal, to create poems, patterns, stories, music, ornaments, wearables, jewelry, adornments and peace whenever possible. A third generation Caribbean American, New Yorker and firstborn, she has won fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts,  Ragdale, Hurston Wright writers, and the National Endowment for The Arts.  She is a Cave Canem fellow. Her manuscript, Them Gone, won Red Paint Hill Publishing’s Editor’s Prize and will be published in 2016.