"I am hearing poetry when awake, dreaming poetry when asleep, breathing poetry with each breath, I am living in a poem."

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I Got A Few Dollars

You’re starvin’
toes walked
out of your shoes,
and you already spent
the lint from your pockets.

I got a few dollars
to buy you a meal,
but you would rather
let your belly
eat through your shirt.

Hard times don’t recognize
 you have a degree.
It just slaps you to your knees
the same as the kid
flippin’ burgers down the street.

I hate seein’ you down,
eyes turned inside at
what you once had.
Yesterday packed its shit
leavin’ you with the price tag.
My sister stopped
by this corner yesterday
to give me a few bucks.
She always does it
the first of the month.

I got a few dollars
to buy you a meal,
but you would rather
let your belly
eat through your shirt.

©Susie Clevenger 2012
Real Toads


Brian Miller said...

ugh...this is def tough times...and you capture a sad moment as well...i is hard to accept help too at times when ou are down and out...a least until the true humbling comes and you realize you need it...been there....

yesterday packed its shit leaving you with the price tag...wicked good line susie

Herotomost said...

Ok I'll try again....hate commenting on my work computer, it only works half the time. This hits really hard, so many people in this predicament. I heard a deal on the radio that said we are all just 5 bad decisions form being in this situation. And in many peoples cases....they didn't make the bad decision. Great stuff Susie...wow.

Ellecee said...

This is a strong poem, Susie. I especially like the lines
"Hard times don’t recognize
you have a degree."
because I know people in this space. For some it's a choice but for a lot more - it isn't.

Kerry O'Connor said...

This reads like some of the best Harlem poetry I've read: the extremely personal portrayal of poverty and what it does to the human spirit. One of my favourite pieces of yours, Susie, packed with too many extra good lines to reproduce in this box.

Anonymous said...

This is fantastic! I just love what you did with the body parts, especially:

"toes walked
out of your shoes"


Margaret said...

Yesterday packed its shit
leavin’ you with the price tag.

Harlem poetry.. I will have to google that. I love the personal tone this has.

zongrik said...

...and now that i think aobut it, it's been going on since 2008!!! wow

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Daydreamertoo said...

As has been said, hard to hold out your hand too, until such time as your pride takes the fall and the hunger in your stomach forces us to.
It's not going to get any better for so many of us too.
Hard hitting and packs a punch for it's truths.

Jannie Funster said...

to live like that must be very sad, numbing probably. we've had our worst 2 years financially ever and to ask for money is humbling. not on the street corner, but it has been a passing thought.

chromapoesy.com said...

A hard time to swallow really; maybe we'll make sense of it once we've come through to the other side.

Heaven said...

This is so sad and yet its true...hard times don't recognize you have a degree..you scrape and take work because you must...nice one Susie ~

Ginny Brannan said...

"and you already spent
the lint from your pockets."

Pride can only carry a person so far. And that degree--just heard the story of a laid-off teacher, trying to get a job anywhere to make ends meet, and getting rejected at a convenience store for being "over-qualified." What is that 'over-qualified' bit when someone can do a job and just wants to work!
I could go on but won't. The state of our economy just irks the hell out of me. Suffice to say, Susie, you have really captured something here with your words.

hedgewitch said...

Sharp and cutting to the marrow--pride is sometimes all you have left, and all you can count on to be there for you when the crap hits the fan. Excellent writing here, Susie.

Ed Pilolla said...

pride can be a pain in the butt. pride can also break down quickly. it's so well written. i enjoyed reading it several times. the marquee line i want to transcribe: yesterday packed its shit leaving you with the price tag. yeah, that's shiny.

Arjan Tupan said...

Awesome poem. Great capturing of that pain. It reminded me a bit of one of my favorite song: Mr Wendall by Arrested Development. Especially that part of not recognizing degrees.

Charlie Parant said...

Great job on this, Susie. Well written and good observations or the times we are living in. I really like this one.

ayala said...

A great capture of hard times... Hard when you want to help and their pride won't let them accept the help offered.

Mihir Vatsa said...

Haha. So this was your poem. Brilliant! I voted for it in the challenge! Love it all the more here. :)

Semaphore said...

This has an immediacy to the world that multiplies its effectiveness. I'm really interested in your repeated stanza, like the chorus in a song, and the reasoning behind this. To be sure, it worked, made me think about that stanza twice. But a move like that is gutsy, as poetry goes, whih is a tribute to your intuition.

Laurie Kolp said...

I'm glad you repeated that stanza at the end... such a sad reflection of the times.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I could have sworn I commented here yesterday. Will try again. Susie, this is just so good. You have nailed the characterization, and the tone of the inner dialogue. Especially liked "you already spent the lint in your pockets" Good one, kiddo.

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