Tag Archives: poverty

Single digit blues

I hope that I shall never see
the poor in our democracy
convinced to vote Republican
believing they’ll become the one
percent. I hope, but feel, alas,
that both the elephant and ass
are run by callous millionaires
who each say they’re the ones who care.

I hope before that tragic day
the poor man’s eye scales fall away
and see that God is nowhere in it.
We all lose the very minute
we stop doing our own thinking,
and pretend our Kool-Aid drinking
is the cure for our malaise
and will return the good old days.

I hope that I shall never see
the end to our democracy:
when in the din, all reason’s lost,
and none speak out against the cost
of trusting those with profit shares
from selling guns and signal flares,
who win no matter who will lose
and dance while poor men sing the blues.

30 SEP 2014

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A Drop in the Bucket

His Holiness came
to visit the Big Easy:
a mixed race culture.

He spoke to thousands:
they lined up for hours to hear
his message of peace.

His smiling face shone
on all those who assembled;
what great energy!

Practice compassion,
be kind and giving to all:
we are all the same.

After it was done,
the throng of rich, white faces
sought the French Quarter.

While poor, black people
(still the large part of New Orleans)
went about their day.

Five hundred thousand:
the dollars raised for this trip.
That’s a chunk of change.

20 MAY 2013

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The Good Old Days: a bucolic

I mourn the past, the “good old days”; the world was simpler then;
how much I wish we could return to life like “way back when”.
When everyone was real down home, and said thank you and please;
more decent jobs and pretty girls than Carters’ remedies.

When you just knew your neighbors prayed to your God, in your way;
and good sense thinking never strayed from black or white to gray.
When truth was simple, plain and strong and always on your side;
and young folk never messed with drugs, or acted strange, or snide.

When men were men, and women kept their doubts between themselves;
and cleaned, and cooked, and birthed, and swept, and filled up knick-knack shelves.
When nothing new was ever good, when old ways still survived,
when people acted like they should: feared God and multiplied.

Exactly when were these “good days”? Who conjures up this shit?
How can someone with half a brain believe a word of it?
The times are no less simple now than they have ever been:
the rich keep getting richer, and the poor keep getting thin.

The politicians, country singers and rich preachers say
that “coming home” back to our roots is surely the best way
to save our selves, our world, our souls from falling into sin;
they talk and smile, and all the while they keep raking it in.

22 NOV 2010

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Such Times Are These

Such times are these that rich men gloat
to turn great woods to creosote
and laugh to see the world take note
as style takes substance by the throat.

Such times are these that poor men work
their fingers fleshless for these jerks
who waiting in the shadows lurk
to claim as theirs both purse and perk.

Such times are these that men and boys
forgo their fortunes and love’s joys
to strut about and make loud noise,
their goal to other men destroy.

Such times are these that pious words
are used to pardon the absurd:
that war brings peace, that freedom’s bird
would choose to nest in such a turd.

Such times are these that there should be
cult worship of celebrity
where children want as destiny
a fleeting moment on TV.

Such times are these when young and old
accept as truth what they’ve been told
and do not mind that they’ve been sold
a fire that brings not heat, but cold.

Such times are these that perpetrate
the myth that might is right and great,
that the one path to truth is straight,
and those who rule control the gate.

Such times are these when poets must
regard their words a sacred trust
to speak against their culture’s lust
to turn what’s left of gold, to dust.

08 MAY 2005

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