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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2218957-Poverty
Rated: E · Poetry · Family · #2218957
My childhood, in brief.
Cockroaches everywhere,
even in our food.
mac and cheese,
chicken because it's cheap,
pancakes because they're easy,
cornflakes and milk for breakfast,
no lunch at school
because those cost MONEY.
Old cast off bicycles
or our feet
our only transportation
save for the rare car ride
from my mother's
friend of the moment.
Beaten up old houses,
another move
every couple of years or so.
No TV for years at a time
because cable's EXPENSIVE.
Cheap sneakers,
white socks,
second hand jeans
and shirts
on our skinny bodies.
Don't EVER get sick
because there' NO way
we can see a doctor,
much less dental care.
Secondhand or cheap toys
twice a year
at our birthdays
or Christmas.
Dogs from the humane society
because they were free,
a different one every year or so
because they ALWAYS ran away.
Transistor radios,
AM only
our sole music.
Library books
or secondhand paperbacks
devoured as we got them.
Mom worked two
sometimes three jobs
trying hard to supplement
my father's meagre support checks;
you're on your own when you turn eighteen!
Dating was forbidden,
social life nonexistent
save for church activities. . . .
and a different congregation
every few years.
Friends came and went,
none hanging around very long
for one reason or the other.
No male role models
for us boys
except the occasional
masculine teacher.
Movies cost money young man!
Living in a cheap trailerhouse
some barber conned my mother
into buying from him
for long years
until the floor fell out
when I was in Germany.
Mom's allergic
to cats,
small animals,
and tropical fish cost money,
so salvage used aquariums from the curb
make nets from broom handles
and discarded pantyhose
to go to the creek
and catch your own fish
to stock the tanks.
Never show fear,
never dare to love
because pain would follow;
self-reliance over all!

;;My childhood in a nutshell.
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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2218957-Poverty