being poor is never just about not having money

there’s a whole other pile of bullshit to deal with too

I come from a long line of country folk

peasants if you will who recognize each other

& intermarry just to keep the whole ragged thing

going in perpetual penury

my old man had been pushed out young to work the railway

& my mother was a town kid who loved his rough ways

they met they fucked & fucked the whole lineage thing up

she was a dancing girl out on the town drinking fun seeker

& he only ever wanted to work then come home to sit to stew

she upped ran away they divorced & he had to find anew

picking this time a proper peasant kid who understood some

if not all of his old-fashioned ways

she was of the know your place curtsy twice working girl

expecting a good man leave her home raise the kids

keep the place spick & span to impress other snob people

& I thought I loved her until I got to my teens

finding out then how out of the real world she really was

understanding quick whatever these hicks had

I wanted no part of ever felt no passion to be

we’d be out places & she’d open that peasant mouth

say the most crass idiotic stuff to pretend she had her grasp

in a put-on voice of politics the ways of the whole wide world

& I’d cringe hiding behind the door nearest potted plant

because rich people know instinctively from bad experience

who the fool in the room is

whereas my old man had learned early to keep schtum

nod & duck his head as & when required in the green fields

being born poor you can’t pretend to be rich it’s the accent

the way of holding the room dress sense silent codes of conduct

that can be learned & if aped only make the ape look stupid

this I learned early

but could not help my folks to understand how this all worked

she’d put on a new dress put him in a suit wanting deep to fit in nice

& all they did was stand out from the people they wanted to be with

because the other far worse grievous heinous crime part of this

they knew they were peasants hated that & where they came from

for not being good enough

for nothing ever can be

if you hate

who you are

the place you come from

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