Monday, March 21, 2011

Have You Ever Noticed?

Have you ever noticed
How you can
Always tell
Who has a job
From those that do not?
The ones who do have steady work
Are fat and sleek
And their skin is polished
And shiny
No doubt from all
The pig fat that they consume
They have nice clothes
And are usually dressed
Appropriately for the season
The ones with solid jobs
Also have nice teeth
Paid for with dental insurance
And the ones with good jobs
Get to take vacations
And go on holidays
And take pictures
Of their exciting experiences
With their spanking new digital cameras
That one of them may have received
As a gift
For Christmas or Chanukah
Or some such other gift giving event

And the working ones
Have good shoes
And some of them
Even have walking shoes
And running shoes
And shoes for evening wear
To go with their basic black
Dresses and pearls
For when they go out
In the evenings
All primped up
To paint the town red
All dressed up
In all their fancy finery
While grandma and grampa
Stay home and watch the grand kids

But the ones without work
Only have some dirty old clothes
That have been passed down
And around so many times
That you can hardly tell
The colors apart
And the ones without work
Do not go gallivanting
Around the town
To show off their finery
For all to gawk at and see
Instead they hunker down
In shanty towns
And up the side alleys
And behind the store fronts
And in between the dumpster bins
Where they try to stay invisible
Especially at night
While trying to snatch
A few hours of fitful sleep
On some old dirty pee stained
If they are lucky enough
To even have a mattress
And their idea of a night on the town
Is hoping to escape the ever watchful
Eyes of the police
Who otherwise find it necessary
To keep the peace
By chasing all the neighborhood bums
Who may very well
Have once been their next door
Neighbors in better times
But these are not better times
So the bums get chased
From park bench
To park bench
While being told
To keep on moving along,
To keep on shuffling along
Because there are laws
Against vagrancy
And loitering
Don’t you know

And if the bums
Become bull headed or
Are just too drunk
Or too sick
Or just too bone weary tired to obey
They risk finding out
For themselves
What those long night sticks
That the cops carry around
On their hips
Can do
And trust me
That mace bomb
That they also wear?
Well, I’m here to tell you
It ain’t just for show

I have been rich
And I have been poor
And you can take it from me
That when other folks say
That being rich is better
much, much better
Than being poor
You can believe it
And you should take their words to heart

So, if anyone ever offers you the choice
Between having a job
And being unemployed
You go ahead and grab that job with both hands
And do not let go

That is unless you like being poor
And want the chance to go on living
The life of riley
While your pockets are as empty
As your stomach
In that case just tell the boss man
No thanks
You’ll be passing on the kind offer of paid work
Because you like the vagrant life
And the accommodations on skid row
Suit you just fine

For hadn’t the boss man heard
The good news that’s written down
In the Good Book
Where it clearly says
That a man does not live
By bread alone
But by every word
That procedeth
Out of the mouth of God?

Philadelphia, Pa. 2011

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