Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Born On Skid Row

Just because I was born on Skid Row
Doesn’t necessarily mean
That I want to die there
I have spent my whole life
To keep a roof
Over my head
Praying to not have to share the same fate
As so many who end up homeless
So many other Americans
Who find themselves
Sleeping on the hard concrete
Pavement sidewalks
Of every American city
Despite their best efforts
And all their hopes and dreams
For a better life

I see them every day
Huddled over steam vents
In the bus terminals
At subway stations
Sleeping on trains
Park benches and alleyways
In the madhouses and homeless shelters
Behind the churches and fast food joints
Snuggled up against the trash dumpsters
And each other

Not for me I say
Praying every day
That it doesn’t happen to me
Knowing all the while
That there but for the grace of God
Go I and just about everyone else I know
Who is living paycheck to paycheck
If they are lucky enough to be able
To find any work at all
And what’s that you say
They’re shipping all of our jobs to China
Does the President know what’s happening
Does anyone in government really care
Or are they too busy sucking
On the great big Federal Tit
Taking all of the government benefits that they can
While denying the same right to all others
Weaker than they
Less powerful than they
Less able than they
Less worthy than they
Sicker than they
While they justify stealing all that they can
And feeling superior about it
Superior to all of us
who were born on Skid Row
And who despite a lifetime
of back breaking struggle
have never been allowed to leave.

j.h. markowitz
Philadelphia, Pa., 2011

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