“Where you live determines where you work, where you go to school …. EVERYTHING.”

Poet tells a contrasting story of Onondaga County as he performs his poem ‘Room for Improvement’


Michael A. Gaut — aka “MicThaPoet” — was born in Cazenovia, New York, and developed a love for poetry early. He wrote his first poem when he was just 7 years old on the back of gift-wrap paper his mother was using to wrap his baby sister’s presents. He memorized classics like “The Raven.”

Gaut said he aspired to be a classical poet, like William Blake or William Wordsworth, but soon realized his natural rhythm to poetry was more influenced by contemporary music and hip-hop culture. He began to read his poetry at open mic sessions for musicians, where he got the name “MicThaPoet.” With other poets he developed a spoken-word project called “The Underground Poetry Spot.”

He has won four Syracuse Poetry Awards for his performance pieces.

My Housing Matters asked Gaut if he would be willing to write a poem and perform it. He was. And he did.

Michael Gaut performs in this provided photo

Room For Improvement

In our little neck of the woods

Country roads are lined with

“Fresh Corn” and “Maple Syrup”


Chopped wood for sale,

Narrow shoulders

And wide ditches

A little closer to town

And a little nearer to November

Yards become political battlegrounds

Of freedom-of-speech proportion,

Where promotional posters

Are propped against picturesque

Backgrounds complete with a white picket-fence

And a well behaved dog


Future frat-boys are

As abundant and wild as

The apple orchards which roll

Carelessly over the hills

Because the apple, as they say,

May fall in line with its father

Here, Legacy is the aim

Opportunity is the arrow

For others, opportunity

Is an arrowless bow

A promise of “tell”

But lacking the “show”

They say kids

Are innocent

But they are not blind

They say children

Aren’t prejudiced

But they see the divide

What they lack in years

Is only compounded

By our fear of their unknown

In cookie-cut constructs

And hard-earned homes

We play “Chutes and Ladders”

While our urban peers

Shoot to the distant sound

Of sub-urban laughter

(Read the YouTube comments

Or go to the movies—

Life in the projects is too often

A punchline for the privileged)

It’s just life to those living it.

There is no struggle

Less beautiful than another

There are no dull objects here

Only potential sharp as

Syracuse road salt

Cutting through the

Blanket white

To leave behind a tarnished truth:

Where there is human life

Nothing is pure

But where nothing is perfect

There is room for improvement.

                                                       — By Michael A. Gaut  (“MicThaPoet”)

Ashley KangPoet tells a contrasting story of Onondaga County as he performs his poem ‘Room for Improvement’
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