Friday, April 15, 2011

I Live In Jonestown

I live in Jonestown
Cabrini Green Housing Project
Gravesend Bay Housing Project
The ghetto
The hood
The inner city
Ground zero
I was born on skid row
I am working class poor
I am under-water in debt
My neighbors are equally poor
And their mutual poverty
Is the only thing
In which they are equal
I live in a food desert
There are no
fresh fruit or vegetables
To be had for miles around
I buy most of what I need
At the corner Bodega
I pay with cash or credit card
Most pay with Access Cards
Or Food Stamps or WIC
The prices at the Bodega
Are inflated
The store is always full of children
Buying candy and soda pop
And cigars for blunts
My home is fifty years old
And badly in need of repairs
That I cannot afford to make
I do not own a car
I am 64 and still paying for student loans
I am grateful for public transportation
But it ain’t cheap either
I vote for the Democrats
Because I’ve been told since childhood
That the Dems are for the little guy
And the GOP is only for the rich
I take these home spun truths
To be gospel
I have no official religion
I am a hyphenated Jew
Go ahead and convert me
Everyone else already has
I am an easy convert
But I never stay converted for long
I may change from time to time
But before long
I am back to being
my old self once again
I watch too much TV
I am a couch potato
I am a diabetic
I take at least a dozen different medications
Every day
I have leg ulcers
The refuse to heal
And that bleed profusely
When scratched or picked at
My doctor yells at me
To be a better patient
To lose weight
To stop developing more symptoms
To basically just leave him alone
I am divorced
I have a daughter
And two grand sons
Whom I seldom get to see
Times being what they are
Circumstances being what they are
Me being who I am
And who I have always been
I can’t find a woman
Willing to date me
Let alone marry me
I am difficult to live with
Unless you happen to be a cat
Or a dog
Or a gold fish
I have PTSD
From years of
Working in the trenches
As a child welfare case worker
Working with abused and neglected children
I have had many different careers
None of them have been successful
I am nearing the age of retirement
I will hopefully have a small pension
And social security
And a few dollars saved in the bank
To tide me over
Come what may
I am near the end of my rope
I write poems
To keep from going insane
I have no illusions
As to the longevity of my work
Surviving beyond the grave
I cannot afford a grave
I have been trying for years
To pre-arrange
My funeral arrangements
But can never seem
To bring the elements together
I have many projects
That are up in the air
I procrastinate about everything
I am losing my hair
I am losing my memory
I have erectile dysfunction issues
That purple pills cannot overcome
I have not asked my doctor
If I am healthy enough
To have sexual relations
I have never had an erection
Lasting more than four hours
I watch too many car commercials
For a man who cannot afford to own a car
I like old movies
That I do not have to watch
If I want to take a nap
I do not want
To be kept alive artificially
With tubes and catheters
Sticking out of my veins
I am not afraid of dying
I am terrified
Of no longer being able to live
I live alone
But not by choice
I hate being abandoned
By the people I have tried so hard
To love the most
I have too many memories
I have lived my allotted
Three score and ten
And despite all that I have
Just written in this poem
I really have no complaints

Philadelphia, Pa. 2011


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