because i’m doing all i can.
but i still feel like a dust-bowl farmer,
just trying to hold on to my land.
the fact of my country is fading;
the ethic i grew up with has faltered.
i’m trying to ‘roll with the punches,’
but the scenario just keeps getting altered.
i no sooner find my balance again
when another hit comes to the gut.
it’s a wonder i can walk in this terror
of not coming up with enough.
i no longer have anything ‘set aside,’
not for rain, nor a sunny day.
i lost the one job i finally found,
but still have the same amounts to pay.
i was so happy to finally afford a place,
one i could call my own.
but it’s different now that i’ve retired,
and not even by a choice of my own.
so i work little moonlights and side jobs,
i sell off my family’s treasures.
and i always remember to say thank you
to Mom and Dad for all their endeavors.
for i inherited all the things of my lifetime;
and the love in them was what was bequeathed.
but i’ve had to let them go, one by one,
to stay up from being underneath.
i bought my home when i was solvent,
successful, and in my own domain;
without grants or loans, i had made it,
but that was not to remain.
they razed and rebuilt my area,
but in the meantime my business fell;
i wanted to save my little empire,
i made mistakes, and bad ones.
put my personal assets on the line.
for i believed in my country and that old ethic:
that good work will reward you in time.
but my time ran out, and abruptly;
i did not want to retire so young.
my dream had lasted for 20 years,
and it was my fond wish to keep going on.
but urban sprawl and new condos
weighed in heavier than the Mom & Pops.
little thriving businesses like mine was
so slick, shiny chrome and metal veneers
replaced old marble, frescoes, stained glass.
the old neighborhood that had seen a revival
and now those new storefronts sit empty,
because no one can afford the rent.
and we can’t get back what had been there before,
because all that money's been spent.
even corporations are folding and closing,
empty shells, like teeth missing from a mouth.
and the mouth is open and gaping,
the new dream, derailed on it’s route.
i paid my taxes in full and on time,
monthly, quarterly, and yearly.
i never missed a single rent payment,
and i treated my co-workers dearly.
and people still stop me on the street,
to say they miss me, and miss my place.
that there’ll never be anything like it again,
so i smile my thanks and keep a brave face.
but now i don’t go out much any more,
tsch! - besides, i don’t have the means.
i don’t even own a car now,
and my home is all that’s left of my dream.
so i pick, and i parse, and economize,
i shop the discounts and sales;
i’ve been relegated to being near indigent,
and worrying that the government will fail.
and i think back on my family’s dinnertimes,
when all of us pitched in
to have our sweet time together,
and to review how our days had been.
each and every one of us had a say,
our family was a big, loving crowd.
we were blue collar Democrats and Catholics,
with faith and convictions of which we were proud.
and the country backed us up all the way;
it was the foundation of all i knew.
work was rewarded, and votes were heard,
We the People was lived in truth.
but the Melting Pot is boiling over,
and everyone wants a slice of the pie,
but there isn’t enough pie to go around now,
so those who built it are shunted aside.
so i try not to look at tomorrow,
besides, it’s futile - by then it will change.
and stay calm, keep working and praying,
that where i am is where i can remain.