Victoria Johnson

East 93 RD

Southeast · Union / Miles · Essay

I live on the major thruway of East 93rd Street. A street that can take you from Miles to Lakeshore. Channing names and numbers along the way. From East 93rd to Woodhill, into East 105th until you reach The Lake.

We have lived here twenty years and seen the community change. Some people ask me why we stay here, with crime so high. I say because I have a piece of heaven on my corner. This is a special place, unique in its own way. I feel as though I’m in the country, even with the busy street. I have peace.

Yes, we have crime
Yes, people have lost their lives
Some were never solved.
And now buildings that stood built brick by brick are being torn down.
And I wonder what will take its place

I wish for affordable housing, a community center, with after school programs
to keep our kids from falling through the cracks. More businesses owned by the residents. We are unique for every race, lives and work here.
I want to be the change, by building my dream house on the side street behind mine.
This could be a start to bring Union-Miles back.
No more forgotten land.

For I know that a band-aid on broken pipes will not hold. In time the whole system will fold.
Let’s fix it right the first time
And we can have less crime
Ghetto is what they say, about where we live
I don’t care how nice it is.
Our house maybe in the ghetto but we don’t have a ghetto mindset
There’s a difference, between living for change
or contributing to our plight.

I’m watching as beautiful tree parks are being planted,
maintained and growing beautifully. I’m watching new elderly housing
and new schools coming alive. Nice big playgrounds with sprinklers during the summer, cooling off our youngest.
Does this neighborhood need work? My answer would be yes. Do we have to move?
That answer would be no.

For this is where I live, I work, I play
and sit in my yard freely and every day.
This is inner city living.
It comes with the good, the bad, and the ugly
But what makes this a place that I continue to live, so right?
We are all in this together.
We come together to right our wrongs.
We are not tearing each other down, but growing into caring neighbors,
looking out for each other, offering a helping hand when needed.
Helping to find and keep the peace we have found on East 93rd.

Victoria Johnson

Victoria Johnson is a published and award-winning poet. She published her first book in 2005, her work has been printed in over twelve anthologies, and she will release her second book early 2021. Living in the inner city of Cleveland, Ohio, she is a retired teacher and her husband is a retired inspector for the City of Cleveland. They raised their two children in the inner city. Both of their children went and graduated from Cleveland Public Schools. In November they will celebrate their fortieth wedding anniversary as high school sweethearts.


Neighborhood Voices is a city-wide creative writing project designed by Literary Cleveland and the Cleveland Public Library to engage writers across Cleveland, allowing residents to connect with neighbors, share stories of their community, and draft new writing about what makes their neighborhood unique.


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325 Superior Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44114

Project Created By Literary Cleveland

Literary Cleveland is a nonprofit organization and creative writing center that empowers people to explore other voices and discover their own. Through an expanding roster of multi-level classes, workshops and events, Literary Cleveland assists writers and readers at all stages of development, promotes new and existing literature of the highest quality, and advances Northeast Ohio as a vital center of diverse voices and visions.

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Founded in 1869, Cleveland Public Library serves the residents of Cleveland through its network of 27 neighborhood branches, the Main Library downtown, Public Administration Library at City Hall, homebound delivery services, and mobile services to daycare and senior centers. From a collection of 10.5 million items, the Library lends over 5 million items a year to its 330,000 registered borrowers and to 43 other CLEVNET-member libraries in 12 counties across Northeast Ohio. Cleveland Public Library is home to the Ohio Center for the Book and the Ohio Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled, serving all 88 counties in the state of Ohio. For more information, visit