Posts Tagged ‘poverty’

Baseball Cap Tiara

November 13, 2017

Semiotics of poverty
worn by the wealthy
self-adorned signals
issued desperately to connect
in contempt to the underlings
plaid flannel for the garden
one-thousand-three-hundred-eighty dollars
even the dress-down
must be beyond
the peasant’s financial call
except the red ball caps
to be taken up
by one and all
in allegiance, in tribute, in salute
a less repellent sign
than the stiff arm raised high
the symbols of impoverishment
become indicators of shared hatred
and thus a billionaire
and the working poor
are united


Finally, Bloodless

March 25, 2016

The sweet best
there is in me
that I strive to be
is a damnable horror
duplicitous and delusive
it once was I thought
a goodness – empathy
for men who suffer
women who grieve
all who toil
those whose labors go unrewarded
society’s scuttled, squashed, discarded
toward them
I feel a generosity of spirit
not a day passes
in which I do not weep
at least one tear
one gasping painful cry
for the losers
the disenfranchised and diseased
the impoverished and imprisoned
all the people up against it
all their struggles and despair
this was supposed to be
the best in me – that part of me
that anguishes at their hurt
but now I know otherwise
the sick and injured
are not to be cared for
the poor, homeless and hungry
are to be mocked and scolded
for their failings
both morally and financially
all along in all of this
my compassion for others
was better to be contempt
charity I discovered
is no noble virtue
at best I am told
it enables leeches
and at worst
is no less than slavery
in that it cripples those who receive it
so they become helpless dependents
who take and never contribute
rats in traps
lured by the call of free stuff
I did not know
human kindness
was in fact
monstrous cruelty
I am so happy
to now know better
to have seen the light
as shown to me
by upright followers of Christ
soon, my heart, you will bleed
no more
for no one


December 10, 2015

Poverty is great in its manufacture of fear
a consequence of material deprivation
is pride in it
to proudly proclaim the lowly status
as superior: rural, redneck, ignorant
the poor band together
against elitist, college educated, urban
coastal dwellers
with their fancy degrees
uppity attitudes
and open mockery of God
in the absence of affluence
guns and bibles
contempt for dark skin
foreigners, non-protestant Christians
a concentrate of hate
distillation of repulsion
that leads them to support policies
of oppression and exclusion
laws to limit access and intimidate
in America has it always been thus
from the debates between
federalists and anti-federalists
to modern arguments between
progressives and conservatives
our inability to break free
from this dichotomy
rests in our disparity of wealth
from a tiered public educational system
to the nutritional value of the foods
prepared and eaten
by the differing social classes

In the beginning
the founding federalist fathers
put us on a noble course
but perhaps their blindness
to the poisonous inequality
already corrupting the corpus of their fledgling nation
is why remain unable to move beyond it
and continue to rip out our hair and scream bloody faced
over these very same and very old attitudes today

…And Rich White Health

May 21, 2015

As long as the corpses of the poor
are allowed to act as just ballast
to balance the scales of wealth
the rich white men
never need fret
the coming of equality

Wish Snap

April 27, 2015

A wishbone is pliant only to a point
when without warning
it snaps
unceremoniously waking the sleepers
from their collective naps
they rub their eyes
shake the haze from their heads
and find it there in pieces
pushed past its breaking point

Dreams evaporate
as slumber succumbs to wakefulness
to clarity, to clear vision
to clairvoyance
for now that the wish
is exposed as meatless bone
the future is seen
and it offers no sustenance
formerly once sustaining lies
lose their powers
people can no longer be kept
obedient to the lever
workers can’t be counted on
to pick the lettuce
or exterminate the pests
to police the streets
or teach children right from wrong
hunger and rats set in
crime and ignorance overcome
in such desperation
at any moment
the gun
or a set of lock-picks

There’s more than one way
to make a simple wish come true
and when we wake up
they’ll wish they never knew


April 16, 2015

fear motivates them
to want you to fear
for your health
for your home
for your security
of which they want you to have none
kept uninsured
you are always a breath away from bankruptcy
one bad bug or break
and you are out
they move in
fangs dripping blood, claws drawn
ready to seize all assets
and throw you on the street
sick, poor and credit-ruined
now they own your old home
and rent it out to you
for more than the mortgage
you paid before
it’s a simple game they play
rules torn from the pages of the good book
they’re God
you’re Job
and the devil’s got their ears
making it all possible

Republican Love Song #38

November 4, 2014

Singer croons his western tune
“I got friends in low places,”
he repeats anthemically
impoverishment and powerlessness
they are medals of distinction
proud of the hard life
and judging by most of his fans
the country music crowd
their politics
who they vote for
and those they condemn
I must assume their philosophy
when it comes to poverty
is the more the merrier
and perhaps some dream
of grand futures
fattened, enriched, mighty
they could be the next
Duck Dynasty
one never knows
any old asshole could come along
with a jazzier way to fool a fowl
and then
if and when they get theirs
for all those friends
those of station’s lowly
it’s, fuck you buddy
but me and mine are doing fine
I’ll shit on you before giving a dime

Your Place

August 11, 2014

Consumption of the hours
waiting on benches
in rooms, for the machine
shielded eyes against the glare
sunbaked concrete
burns scalp and skin
sweating impatiently for the bus
to work
the time of life erodes
in the Laundromat baby cries
washer, dryer; hum and thump
nothing to do
nowhere to go
tick, tick, tick
goes the clock
goes the clothes
goes you
to be poor
takes so much time and money
nothing free
nothing given
filling forms
navigating bureaucracy
the waiting room becomes a home
more than the apartment
roaches, clogged drains
and landlord’s management’s voice mail
three miles to the market for liquid plumber
for bug spray
cavities on the credit card
19.9% interest on the amalgam
coin counters shaving 10% off the change jar
check cashing service
takes their share
pay day advance loan for rent
on a place you rarely are
storage space for rats
poverty is expensive, relentless
always crushing
keeping down
like politicians talking down
they call you lazy, parasite, mooch
one infection
one broken bone
one misstep, bum bounce, missed call or ride
your soul is forfeit, you are owned
temporary is your new designation
you are a limited time offer
waiting again for a placement
somewhere, anywhere, needing so bad
hungry desperation
gnawing loneliness
a night of indulgence
free love to numb the pain
expensive pills
popped only in lucky expectation
you’re not though – you know it
lucky with child
lucky with time bomb
ground down
so far down
you just can’t know
there is no way back up… back up
back up… what went wrong
look back, look ahead
stuck in the middle
the days are a vice
holding you to your place

White License

March 14, 2014

days are blades
honed ribbons
an atoms breadth
unseen by the eye bare
but made visible, magnified
by the mirror
reflecting aged white skin
worn, eroded, falling
Behold! its bearer
the standard-bearer
leader of the status quo
desperate to maintain and hold
he has opinions
and his complexion
grants him license to speak
what’s best
the white man knows
and his wallet knows better
what’s best for black, woman and poor
what they should be doing
how they should be living
if only they’d listen
to his words
compassionately inspired
direct from a genteel heart
they could all be so happy
and stop worrying
their pretty little heads so nappy
if only they would truly hear
how hard labor is its own reward
how money can’t buy happiness
how a sunny disposition
softens the hardest of circumstances
it is not chains and laws that enslave
but the mind
so cheer up, be merry
leave your troubles behind
life is short
don’t sweat the small stuff
it’s always been this way
always will be
Rome wasn’t built in a day
so stop building why don’tchya?
relax, and have a cold one
hey, look! football!!

2 Broke Girls

February 3, 2014

I’ve never seen the show
I don’t know what it’s about
but I don’t need to
by the commercials I can tell
it’s about poverty
they put it front and center in the title
2 Broke Girls they call it
and the two girls who are broke
and living in New York City
are young and pretty and quick witted
they are healthy and fit and their skin is white
but what if they weren’t
what if their impoverishment wasn’t sexy
if they were crippled, fat, ugly
emanated a noxious odor
coughed in violent fits
lived on welfare
were ridiculed for not having money
what if these 2 broke girls
or women, as they’re generally called
after reaching the age majority,
were written to have to cope with real pain
were made to suffer and not laugh
what if they were bled to ruin
by an uncaring and indifferent society
who would watch these girls then
what producer would have given the green light
nobody, no one
it never would happen
we don’t live in that world