Joey Sweeney has been writing songs and prose since he was a teenager in the 1980s. Over the years, he has fronted the groups The Barnabys and The Trouble With Sweeney, as well as recording and performing as a solo artist. He’s also won the AAN Award for Music Criticism and appeared in Da Capo’s Best Music Writing. Sweeney is also the co-curator of the 215 Festival, Philly’s longstanding literary festival, and a creative director at Quaker City Mercantile. He is currently at work on several new writing projects.
WHEREAS, knowing full well that the wealthy have blocked our way to beaches,
even going so far as to employ in our stead
Irish and Belarusians and Albanians in the toss game where you can win an iPad,
here is where we remain.
INDIGNITY, lurking like barometric pressure,
a force field against breathing,
so that you’d rip out your stitches and scream just to break the webbed funk,
just to say this is just not who we are.
BECAUSE SOMEWHERE ON THIS HOT NIGHT, we still have this river.
And on that water floats a lovely dream,
Look, girl: I’m Sonny Crockett on this houseboat with my pet alligator,
And so long as we live I dock in Philadelphia Beach.
*The author wishes to thank the rock group Dry Feet for bringing the phrase “Philadelphia Beach” into his mind and, eventually, his entire lifestyle.