Academic journal article Social Alternatives

Being Poor

Academic journal article Social Alternatives

Being Poor

Article excerpt

is not having good clothes & walking everywhere

with the knee out of your jeans

when you can't afford a haircut

the police stop you to ask your name

they step from their cars

& stand up close then they breath on you

the smell of steak & onions

you are afraid they don't smile

& push their hips out to the side so you see their gun

& on the car seat papers & clipboard

a radio stuttering accusations

everybody with a job walks past you in a hurry

to go somewhere carrying sandwiches and a cup of yoghurt

with a plastic spoon & they look

with flat eyes

you go home to watch the black & white television

to ignore the fight next door

the slamming doors & the breaking glass

the dribbling sentimental poor

the worst is when your wife doesn't say get a job

because she tries to understand

the kids stare from the kitchen with snotty unwashed faces

the yellow grit of defeat

when you had a job you filled drums with bolts

& the boss was getting a government grant to train you

to put bolts in drums & you felt guilty you didn't like it

but he fired you the day the money ran out

& you felt guilty that you were relieved

in the ces the interviewer chews the end of his pen

you itch but don't scratch

he thinks you're another whingeing seedy dirty & boring person

& you agree

Rae Desmond Jones, Summer Hill, NSW

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