Educated in Fine Arts;
witness to Berlin’s destruction;
immigrant to America in ’66;
glossy uptown job; yet lured
back to another war zone:
New York’s Lower East Side
Camera in hand, defenseless
against murder, rape and drug dealers,
she roamed Avenue A, B, and C amongst
the rubble, the poverty and pain.
For thirty years she clicked away,
the Frau of Loisaida.
She squatted there;
in the Umbrella House with
its leaky roof, rats and roaches.
Married, had a child, bonded with
the fabric of the neighborhood.
Saw her man shipped off to Vietnam and returned
a slave to the needle; he died.
His guns buried with him; her cameras remained
to shoot and shoot and shoot the people,
the empty shells, squalor and childhoods lost to
the rubble of empty lots until the day they
took a stand and declared the ruined ground sacred
and worthy of a fight. So they rallied and battled
got jailed and nailed by the police.
The squatters became owners by sheer will
and paid for properties with buckets of sweat and
all the while she clicked and enlarged and developed a
history of a place and a generation of people
who took a land of ash and trash and
turned it into a place they called home: Loisaida.