Poverty

After cult life I
Know what it’s like
Run across the road
In the dark night
Steal vegetables
From the neighboring farm

And it harm none
Mama formed the mission
Holding her Bible
A glory soaked misfit

Cold seeped doorways
On an old trailer
In lot Number seven
Piling up blankets
Summers fanning heat

There was no heaven
In our empty stomachs
Or a cruel mother who
Stood us in the welfare line

She was too ashamed
To carry the box
With the cheese blocks

Public Humiliation
Public Assistance
Poverty Resistance

There was no difference
Between dark and light skin
Not in the dusty neighborhood
I was a teenager in

We all knew the same sadness
The lonely, nights
Listening to the drunken fights
Echoing from Lot number six

The one road that divided us
We crossed it anyways
No moat could kill connection
Of like mind interaction

With them I found soul
First bi-level hair cut
I learned the shuffle
The southern hustle

Our skin color
Had no relevance
To each other
Because we had in common
The struggle of poverty

“What would you buy
If you won the lottery?”

“Back to life
Back to reality”

I didn’t know
What that meant to me

Life
Reality

I was just surviving

And memories of the after life
When things should’ve been better
Are sometimes harder
To remember because they’re

Clearer
Defined
Painful
Reminders

And my keys are more tired
Than my fingers
But the lingering remnants
Drop from their tips
As I tell the rest of it

There are stories
Filling seasons and I
Feel their festering
Where once I had to dive
Now they willingly rise

Exploding, bursting to tell
How one little girl
escaped human hell

Where comfort
Should have rang
I clanked my
Poverty bell

vennie kocsis
7/5/15

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