Tag Archives: poverty

A Broken Man

i’m a broken man, not all there in the head
sometimes i feel free only to discover the valise i bought
was the spine of another man’s pants —
purchased with love, out of his very first paycheck

and i should have felt something,
i should have mourned
for my greed and my cheap reasoning
that i deserved a shroud on my back
more than he deserved to walk
but i am a broken man
i can not get my own legs back
i can not recognize where i am at
i am a broken man like teeth pulled apart
maybe no gaps in my smile,
but —
in my heart.

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At Least One of Us is Crazy

One of us is beginning to rapid cycle, one of us going down or up or in between some metal bench that presses against your sternum where the humiliation of diarrhea at 2AM and not being able to shit in your own toilet emerges as you can explain why you can’t afford to pay an increase in rent, having to defend your dignity while being poor (yes, say it, “poor”) and trying your best not to feel ashamed as you try to remember if you took your medication or if you have medication or if you even believe in medication…The landlady caught me creeping up the stairs to the apartment we share with two guys named Jeff. She asked me about rent, I told her I’d pay it by end of the week.  In cash.  Then I asked her, even though I wasn’t sure why I did, about the other two apartments she had in the building.  “No, forget those”, she quipped. “Aren’t they available?” “You don’t make enough money,” she said.  “Well, yes, I know,” I said. “That’s cause I’m paying for a war I can’t afford.  Do you know how much it’s costing us?”  She looked at us, not getting the gist, not accepting my simple indignation.  “And,” I whispered, “we don’t even believe in it.

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