A poem “Poverty is…..”

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Poverty is dangerous it puts you in places you should not be living with people who do not love you or like you or want you there who hurt you and choke you or only want to fuck you poverty takes your dignity kicks you out on the street with your wants desire jealousy poverty is filthy it doesn’t have closets a toothbrush it is losing everything again it’s even losing when you win failing before you begin poverty hurts it is separate but equal healthcare it is standing in the food bank line with the flu when the Dr said you must rest poverty is stress constant movement instability a dark vortex a sinking hole chaos is hell disconnection poverty doesn’t have a cosigner doesn’t care give a shit or a fuck about your rights needs or ability to pay for them your age or education who you know affiliations  activism how many miles you have marched or fought poverty is vets and their widows children and puppies everybodyPoverty is a starving artist who needs a publisher an agent has 5$ chapbooks but doesn’t have change for your 20. Poverty knows where everything free is resourcefuless not lack of skills just money poverty needs help is preventable by those who are very sorry they don’t accept section 8 although they feel for you , apologize because you don’t qualify , doesn’t want to be a hero but will pray for you and wishes they could help  Poverty lies to your face tells you to have positive thoughts to change your vibration think abundance life advice right now is apathetic indifferent poverty is discrimination won’t hire you or include you smiles and nods at you it is rude and condescending it is watched on the street corner poverty is pulled over for nothing,  trapped in fishing nets poverty watches videos of people freeing hopelessly trapped animals every day.  Poverty will take your car, put you in jail, foreclose on your house  This is a setup the system is working stuck here living in fear  poverty is a minimum wage hoax that charges 1000 dollars a month rent and 700 dollars taxes before you even anything  it is fining you for doing nothing nothing poverty cant participate can’t make it won’t show up doesn’t have enough can’t pay poverty is sick broke mentally ill has PTSD depression anxiety and a kid with add poverty causes conditions for  mental illness trauma and vulnerability poverty ran out of gas twice this month so far driving on 4 thread bare tires  1 almost flat on the freeway in the heat in front of your Lexus reckless poverty is not your problem poverty is dangerous and puts us all in places we should not be it is billions of people in this world  millions in america it is thousands in my town it is family that are tired of lead in their water and friends with no opportunity poverty is single disabled moms losing their license it’s dad’s with two jobs and expired tabs, grandma can’t afford her medicine again, gramps is hopeless  is nothing to anyone is forgotten and unimportant just like me. 
About the author

Lennée Reid is a geeky veganish universalist QPOC witch doctor mama bear poet activist survivor goddess on the spectrum who doesnt like labels that uses punctuation when she d@mn well pleases smile emoticon period Lennée has appeared in the UPS DIRT! project, Creative Colloquy, The Girl God, Tattoosday, and is forthcoming from Lost Tower. Her poems and photos are often in “Works In Progress”. Lennée repped Olympia Peoples Mic in NYC for WOWPS 2016, has featured and slammed across the country, and was heard on the KAOS 89.3 lit show “Tell It Slant”.
Find her @lenneereid mamamystic.wordpress.com
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I’m serious and my PayPal is lennee.r@hotmail.com

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For Pops

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For Pops

 

He tells me stories 

Tales from the deep south 

Bout how a raccoon 

Can whip a dog in the water 

I learn how to fell a tree 

So it lands just right 

 

I listen to his mama 

Cook 3 meals a day for 8 

May be that’s why he feels so special 

When you make him something little 

Like a sandwich 

 

I hear the sound of sitting on the porch 

With a rifle 

I hear his heartbeat 

And a drop of sweat trickle off his brow 

 

I hear a murder of Jim Crows 

Pass over the family home 

Sisters in the house 

Threshold blessed with his own 

Blood toil and prayers 

 

He leads me to a field of memories 

Plowing behind a mule at 8 

We go to cane mills 

Remove the slag of the top as 

Millstone rolls with the clop of a work horse 

Juicing sweetness 

I hear how to keep my fingers 

 

I listen to the weight of a 65 pound 

Basket of cotton on the back of a child 

Who counts pennies for  bullets and shot 

To hunt some rabbits or quail for supper 

Not a deer 

He never could bring himself to kill one 

 

I listen to these stories 

From the one person who gave me safety  

When I was with child 

And needed protection from the world 

A world whose cruelty he knows too well 

 

He was good at security with his 

Strong black 6 foot who knows what body 

That escaped the draft  

But has fought battles of his own 

 

I know where his boys raised  

Sent to college 

Seen on TV in athletics 

I know from whence they came 

Great grand children of 

Two preachers children 

Who raised a family 

On 40 acres and a mule 

In Mississippi 

 

For a few that tale is true 

Walnut and peach trees 

Cornbread and collard greens 

BBQ and fish fries 

Ham hocks and poke salad 

Runs in their veins 

Just like dominoes and spades 

 

He is the great migration 

From southern farm to northern factory 

I’ve learned a person passes out 

When their arm is mangled in a meat grinder 

Up to here 

 

I’ve heard the pain of living a long life 

Filled to the brim with dead loved ones 

He knows more hurt and dead people  

Than friends I could name 

He speaks to me of people he names 

 

HIs cousin at 80 stabbed 13 times 

By her grandson 

And how she’s still living 

People drowned in the Mississippi 

Killed in the war 

 

Nephews in and out of prison  

For no good reason 

People who died 

On his watch at work 

Died in his home 

His own brother 

 

He says ” I worked every day 

Before work there was work 

And after work there was work” 

 

Pops tells me stories 

Tales from the deep south 

Scenes of raccoons 

Whipping dogs in the water 

And trees felled just right