Poverty can rock or suck. Either way it's not the end.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Spirit Blowing Softly

Sitting here with my heart in my hands wondering why it still beats, solidly, soundly, like a rhythmic thunder of a distant time from the lost world that once was.  Sometimes I think I can remember being a part of the earth, somewhere  wildly peaceful like a wide open plain with my Native American grandmother whose spirit departed before I was born.  We are together, wrapped in a colorful drapery of blankets before a small fire with the wind as spirit blowing softly upon our faces.  Hers is wrinkled and wise, mine is young and pure, together I see us sitting upon the earth that is solid below us. There are no thoughts between us, no words spoken, and yet knowing each other perfectly, we are one, solid and transparent at one with everything, a family in the deepest sense knowing neither will ever part.

I could say it never happened but how do I know it wasn't just another time or perhaps it's just as real now because I brought it up in form on this page.  I might be dreaming or mad but what does that matter to anyone if it brings up in me a feeling that makes the present moment less hostile?  Anything, even a memory whether  real or not, becomes welcome when it brings a little comfort to an unacceptable reality.  That someone I never even met but who is connected to me by being my grandmother, to think that I was once cared for by her, that I was treasured is surely worth a little imagining.

Now that I am in limbo, ultimately alone, with no one to belong to anymore except my children who depend on me to figure this out, it is a lonely world.  The sense of being a part of disappeared years ago when I had to deal with the fact that I was homeless and nobody cared enough to help.  I could walk around all day in the city watching people shopping for the most useless and inane items, gulping down fat laden Big Macs and over-sized Cola's and they walk right by the homeless man sitting alone in the cold.  Even I with nothing,  barely still surviving at that point would toss him something.

Once not long ago, my children having received just a dollar each from a friend and knowing that we too were homeless gave it all away to the homeless man in front of the Walgreen's I had taken them to so they could spend their money on a chocolate bar or whatever other treat you could get for a dollar.  A passerby who had just gotten out of his fancy car applauded them in all his gall.  He couldn't spare the man even a dime while he sat on a cold pavement in the freezing drizzle of the day.  People are such hypocrites.  They sit in their comfy homes and bemoan such atrocities but what do they do to ease the suffering when they could easily spare a $5, a $10, $20, or even more?  

Oh, I know what they think, they think there are government programs to take care of those people but worse than that they are thinking that poor people are just stupid and they should suffer the consequences of their obviously poor choices that landed them in poverty to begin with.  Yes, that's what they are really thinking.  We are a country that loves punishment in all it's forms.  We love victims and suffering as long as it's not happening to us.  As outraged as we claim to be as a nation, when we see the suffering of others on T.V. it makes us feel that we are a nation better than never realizing that we are the worst kind of hypocrite imaginable.

If anything the poor are an embarrassment to self-righteous Americans who would not have their name smeared by the truth of what they really are.  No, of course not, nobody likes to be exposed to the quick like that, a country that actually is responsible for plunging millions of people all over the world into starvation and if that wasn't bad enough raping them through cheap labor practices of every last bit of dignity they might have had.  Nobody wants to see that staring them in the face right here at home so for years we tried to hide it by giving the poor in this country just enough to keep them from being seen above the radar.

The game is finally up though.  We poor are realizing that far from being a social blight on the country, we are actually the backbone of it after all, if we weren't here just think how many of you would actually be out of a job and joining us?  Let's see, just how many welfare workers does the government employ to take care of all us losers?  How many illnesses does living in a prolonged state of lack produce that will need to be treated by tens upon thousands of psychologists, counselors, employment and unemployment centers, medical personnel, and lets not forget the police force who now arrest thousands of us because living on the street is now a crime?

We need to realize our true worth and stop participating in our own oppression by working for a wage that hasn't increased in more than thirty years, by no longer seeking an answer to our poverty in ourselves (What do you mean working at McDonalds isn't satisfying you?  Are you sure you don't have some form of depression?) and by forming alliances so huge that no police force can capture us, then many more will be joining us unashamed at last in the bread line.

Until then, I'll occasionally remember a time when things were different.


  1. I am a single mom with 3 kids....we have just recently agreed to take state aid...I have worked hard very hard all my life.. it's now time to take back...if it wasn't for my therapist who insisted and took me down there and stayed with me through the process..I would never have gone...they don't give you a lot.. but I know my kids are eating healthy food and have medical coverage to see a doctor when they need one..oh yeh I can buy toilet paper....As always...XOXOXOXOXOX

  2. I have been homeless on a few different occasions, several of my grown children have been too at different times in their lives. I never understood the thinking that being poor mad a person stupid. Now I don't care what they think of me. I am a loving caring mother and grandmother who does what she can to contribute to the messed up world we live in, I take pride in who I am. I spent many years working with "the undesirables", of course there were a few who made a choice to be idiots and just pain mean, but the majority of the people I knew were loving caring people. A lot of the "haves" out there are just lucky they are not "have nots". I feel that people such as Bongo and myself too have much more than people will ever know. I am grateful everyday for what I do have and strangely I sometimes I have too much and have to give some away....Wonderful post, I know the angst I hear in it...Loves to you and Hugs as well. <3<3<3

  3. "They don't give you a lot". No they don't. I worked hard my entire life too until I had the problem of childcare and wanting to be the one to raise my children but before that I paid in thousands of dollars in taxes. I used to make $300 a day and then some, until the economy ruined my job and tips and business just vanished into the poverty line. I worked hard for my money too. I worked all holidays, and countless 10 even 12 hour days and 6 days a week and I was on my feet the entire time. I think I took maybe two one week paid vacations during twenty years. I traded an entire fourth of my life for my job and what did I get for that? Nothing! Now I face discrimination for the decent jobs left in my field because I'm too old and it isn't even a secret, everyone knows it and they will tell you, "oh, they only hire young people." So I'm left wondering what else there is to do and sometimes I hope it will be all over sooner than I think it will.

  4. an incredibly difficult and complex issue, it does seem from afar - here in australia, america's handling of their poor and the obscene minimum wage is a disgrace. the unjustified reluctance to offer any reasonable social security support programmes is wrapped in the screaming rants against socialism. look at the rest of the world, uk, australia, france or indeed just watch the michael moore film "capitalism a love story" and you'll be saddened by america's pitiful response. ;)