The Geography of Poverty: Greyhound / by Kaley Sweeney

Matt Black is back on the road. On the heels of his cross-country road trip across the four corners of the United States, Matt is now halfway through his journey by Greyhound bus across the center of the country. Since 2000, the number of communities of “concentrated poverty” has doubled. More than 45 million Americans fall below the poverty line, and the widening gap between the rich and poor continues to cripple communities across the nation. The new installment of the Geography of Poverty puts a face and voice to these communities based on the conversations he has with fellow passengers from Bangor, Maine to Calexico, California.

Blythe, CA. Corner store. “Garbage Bags Are Not Luggage and Are Not Allowed Under The Bus,” says the bus station sign. Blue Backpack: “One and done. I get back to Tennessee, and that’s it.” Nike Ball Cap: “I was there last week, getting fired.” (at Blythe, California)

Blythe, CA. Corner store. “Garbage Bags Are Not Luggage and Are Not Allowed Under The Bus,” says the bus station sign. Blue Backpack: “One and done. I get back to Tennessee, and that’s it.” Nike Ball Cap: “I was there last week, getting fired.” (at Blythe, California)

Leaving at night. Out the dirty sheet windows of the bus, the neon bail bond signs and orange street lamps and blinking stoplights take on a muted, gauzy hue. Streets shimmer like a reverse aquarium, liquid light blurring and bending in the passing diorama, twisting the hard angles of a gritty downtown. Inside our envelope of air, we’re in motion, diving again.

Leaving at night. Out the dirty sheet windows of the bus, the neon bail bond signs and orange street lamps and blinking stoplights take on a muted, gauzy hue. Streets shimmer like a reverse aquarium, liquid light blurring and bending in the passing diorama, twisting the hard angles of a gritty downtown. Inside our envelope of air, we’re in motion, diving again.

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