The Swan

•December 15, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I saw an elegant,white swan

floating gracefully

on the pond

but then

I watched,


as the swan

followed the ducks

waddling onto land,

head stooped,



is the glass half full or half empty?

•November 30, 2009 • Leave a Comment

is the glass half full or half empty?

that is not the issue, the issue is why is your glass so much bigger than mine?

also, are we talking about water or whisky?

Quick Test: Are You Poor?

•July 13, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Think fast:  What does NSF mean?




If you said National Science Foundation, you’re not poor…

If you said Nonsufficient Funds, congratulations!  You’re poor.

Being Poor: another blog with amazing comments

•July 12, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I just happened upon a blog that I read years ago that inspired me to list what being poor means to me.  So many, many people added comments that reveal just how many people have a history of being poor or are still poor.

To The Powers That Be: One Simple Thing To Reduce Poverty

•July 4, 2009 • Leave a Comment

One simple thing you can do to reduce poverty would be a revolutionary act: let us work! Increase the amount of earned income allowed to those on welfare and SSI. You don’t have to increase it by much, maybe $400 a month but that would go a long way toward 1) drastically reducing the number of poor people prosecuted for fraud and theft simply for working for pay or receiving child support and not handing it over to the government 2) increase self esteem and personal empowerment by being allowed to work and keep the income 3) give a lot of poor people some hope.


•June 13, 2009 • Leave a Comment

The Dhammapada, 137-140, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu says
Whoever, with a rod,
harasses an innocent man, unarmed,
quickly falls into any of ten things:
harsh pains, devastation, a broken body, grave illness, mental derangement, trouble with the government, violent slander, relatives lost, property dissolved, houses burned down.
At the break-up of the body
this one with no disconcernment,
reappears in

I thought to myself, I wonder if this was me.  I wonder if earlier in this life or in a previous life or maybe even later in this one if this was me: a person who mercilessly harassed the innocent.  That would explain my suffering.  Perhaps all I’ve suffered is a kind of purgatory, a natural consequence to giving out negative energy and taking positive energy from the defenseless. That would bring meaning to the senseless injustice and would help me define what is more readily explained as abuse.  Irregardless, the fact is that hell is right here among us.  and maybe that is the worst kind.  hell in the midst of heaven. 

people think poor people are automatically in hell, that poverty is a kind of punishment for not doing right.  really, it’s just a consequence of not being born right.  if you look more closely at the poor you will see that they are not unlike the rich.  for one thing, they were both born that way.  for another, there are variations among them. some are in hell and some are in heaven and they live right next door to each other, even inside the same home.  it’s easy to see the difference.  hell is a state of mind.  in hell, people eat each other.  in heaven, people feed each other.  when someone pointed out the poor to Jesus he responded “the poor you will always have with you, take up your cross and follow me.”  how come he knew so much about crosses?  and please tell me this was a metaphor.  i’d hate to see a cult of drones staggering around, going about life carrying hundred pound planks of wood nailed to their back.  oh, yes, we do see that.  Puritans.  in America. Today.  If that’s you then do what Barnabas, the thief on the cross next do Jesus did.  Look Jesus in the eye and say “I’m not carrying this cross around anymore.”  wait for Jesus to look you in the eyes and hear him say “I forgive you” then after you accept that deep into your soul, ponder whether the people whom you’ve harmed would forgive you.  Come to terms with that then look deep inside yourself and say to yourself “I forgive you”.  Then transition.  Take the deepest part of you and come on down off that cross and leave it behind you for good.  Become someone you’ve never been before.  You.

this is the middle world.  so here on earth we have heaven in the midst of hell, and hell in the midst of heaven.  in each of us the two battle it out. having heaven all around us gives us something to strive for.

Affirming the Positive About the Poor…

•January 21, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Ya know, my intentions are good.  I want people to look at social class differences as cultural differences and the variations being equally valid ways of being rather than constantly trying to make the poor be middle or upper class and hating them for failing or intentionally or unintentionally deviating.   I want people to see all that there is to love about the poor.  The courage, the strength, the generosity, the goodness of the people.  But I hate the rich.  I can’t help it.  They hated me first.  I’m like a fat woman who becomes thin and is trying not to turn my back on my fat friends, or worse, try to conver them and blame them for their fatness.  Actually, I’m just more like a fat woman insisting the world love me as I am and consider me a legitimate variation from the norm that is incessantly projected at us 24/7.

I want middle and upper class people to admit that the “war on poverty” that has supposedly been this huge, expensive failure is in reality an ongoing war on the poor and they have no intention of ever getting any of us out of poverty because they NEED us to be poor so that they can be middle and upper class.  They champion the anomalies among us to show that their “programs” they get paid to invent and administer in the great “poverty industry” so they can continue getting funding to finance their social welfare professions.

Americans are descendants of the English and the English have always had the hierarchy of social classes only they don’t bother denying it like we do.  The rest of Europe is more egalitarian and just in the equitable distribution in their shared resources.

So where was I?  Obama got inaugurated today and nobody got shot.  So far.  I have been through so much and given up faith in so much that I don’t want to be fooled again.  Deep down I want to believe that a historic event like a black, male president will somehow make my life more free sickens me with terror.  Just as white women fought for the abolition of blacks and through their efforts achieved an amendment to the US Constitution guaranteeing black men the right to vote long before realizing they themselves could not vote and thus organizing for suffrage, so Americans were more prepared for a black, male president than they were for a white, woman president.  I don’t have a whole lot in common with Hilary anyway and she does not represent my interests but then what president will?

I think we, the poor, are going to have to figure out that we are not terrible people, that we don’t deserve to be social pariahs, that we are not “parasites” on the so-called tax payers, and that women’s reproduction patterns are not a for-profit venture.  We have got to stop believing the “lies we live by”.  We have to come down off the cross and rise in a sea of righteous indignation and fight for the right to be who we are.  A lot of working poor that I know already feel good about themselves.  They take pride in working hard.  Most poor people I know blame themselves for their poverty.  They have internalized the lies.  The lies that we are poor because we are genetically inferior, of the wrong heredity, the wrong pedigree.  The lies that we are poor because we are wasteful or lazy or have the wrong priorities or are given to vices that make us poor and keep us down.  The truth is that poverty is not a moral issue and never has been.  It is a political issue.  The poor are mostly ethnic minorities, women, and children that are discriminated against and exploited by the dominant classes.  But to admit to being preyed on is harder than blaming one’s self.  Every abused child does it and that is why abuse is perpetuated rather than confronted so rarely.

So, who am I?  The self appointed moral outrage barometer?   Mrs. Moses leading her people not in circles but hopefully in upwardly mobile spirals?  Or just one candle flickering dangerously in the windy dark.  I don’t know.  I’m just a writer who wanted to be a scientist but mostly just wanted to be loved.  The choices I made in life that consistently led to my repeated downfall were all choices based on reaching out to be loved by those who cannot love because they are addicted, abusive or otherwise occupied.  So I am trying to love my self but I am finding it difficult because, god dammit, I’m poor.  And I’m scared.  I’m scared that our new president is going to take away the last vestiges of the shredded life boat I am desperately clinging to.  My mother tries to be optimistic.  She quotes the bible verse about God trying to give me “a future and a hope”.  Like Amy Grant sings, “I know it’s hard to see, the past and still believe, love will surely find a way…”

How can I ask a whole class of people to believe in their inherent goodness when I can’t even get the thorn out of my own aching, bleeding side? How can I ever tell the story of my strange and wonderful life if it is too depressing to acknowledge, much less reveal publicly?  Maybe I should just focus on the bus crash and the near-death experience and not talk about the horror of the politics of insurance and injustice and health care.

Yeah, right.