The Undeserving Poor

For Stacey & for Stephen

I, for one,
would rather be homeless in the city than the suburbs.
The city streets themselves are damn abusive
but caves for building fires aren’t so elusive
and folks with faces tend to be intrusive.

I think I’d rather
hold a sign near walking legs than stalling cars,
manufactured with their built-in moats and gates.
Red lights passing fast–a rush–and no one waits,
on their way to better things and chosen fates.

At least in cities,
enough people have come close to where you’re at.
Some have given up the dream of stable reign:
plenty of sleep, us and them, and pills for pain,
spotless counters and bedsheets without a stain.

And I’d rather be
a servant in the slums than in the slick and shiny places.
The undeserving poor at least will face it,
that nothing they could do would ever change it,
that Someone from outside must recreate it.


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