Tag Archives: poverty

The Thing About Wal-Mart Is…

Walking across its grimy parking lot I always question
The morality of my decision in shopping in this mega
Store of undervalued everything and everyone too
Although every sign states in royal blue, Great Value
Born as the doors slide open is my experience in awkward
Pulling my cart free from behind the plastic vertical blinds
Always being welcomed by the sadness of a stranger who
Sits and stares through and past me while greeting in rote

This place where the poor look over-fed and the well off
Read the labels and check their iPhones for a possible
Better deal down the road at Target, cleaner and no
Host or hostess whose good afternoon fuels the guilt of
Always looking for the best deal in town, the blue light
Special no longer a strategy but an existence in bulk
And prices so low making jobs scarce everywhere but
China, where freedom, fairness, choice are shackled in red

Rushing through the aisles, looking the other way, as
The smell of poverty approaches and in an ear piercing
Hiss, Shut-Up! words from a woman punch into a boy,
Five, maybe six, who chirps, pointing at Skippy, a giant jar of
Peanut butter, and the words from his mother momentarily
Halting his joy, his bouncing, his excitement in these aisles
Abundantly lined, the hole in her thin white skirt evidence
Of stress no Walton or their shareholders will ever know

The check outs magically congestion free, there she is
Linda, the cashier who does not start a conversation and bags
My purchases in mechanized perfection her strategy fast
Unflawed and appreciated as the man behind me jokes
In familiarity with her, You must work every Sunday
Yep, I go to church then here, unless I’m dead which I
Was three weeks ago, my first Sunday off in months, she
States, frustrated stubbornness appealing to my democratic nature

Uninvited into the jocular exchange, I inquire did they recognize
Your voice when you called in dead? Oh yeah, she says, I got
Written up and told I’d better not do that again or I’d be canned!
We can’t call in sick or we are fired, so I called in that I was dead
They said you can’t do that again until July 28th to which she replied
Well, count on me calling in dead again then, the man and I laugh
I specifically look for you, and they would be stupid to fire you, I state
They will lose their best cashier and I plan to call and tell someone

All the Sunday employees, all the Sunday shoppers, and the rich
And powerful take it easy, freedom to enjoy choices in luxury
Not eating from oversized jars of anything to save pennies
Their need and greed for more and more, God only knows!
How much more poverty must they create pretending to be
Its benefactor when a cashier can’t even call in sick
“1-800-Walmart, honey. Give em a call!” But it is Sunday, the
Offices are closed. The Great Value only extends so far I suppose

The Petitions

This poem symbolizes for me the painful battle that human beings absolutely need to resolve within our own hearts and as a world community if girls are to have the opportunity to be considered equal partners in every culture. I don’t think equality will ever happen for any of us if we are viewed through a sexual prism used to dominate. This poem was written to honor the girls and women written about in a startling book titled, Half the Sky which was also a documentary on PBS. The gang rape in India, and its necessary newsworthiness will hopefully be a tipping point to help in this movement for equality. That girl riding a bus…it should break everyone’s heart to action when they hear that story. It would be lovely if the only struggle remaining for all women was how to break the glass ceiling.

The petition read
Worst place to be a woman
Funny, my mind cannot
Narrow down one place
Where that would be

Raped by six men
On a bus no less
As if private rape
Isn’t awful enough
Hate violated this girl to death

No doctor would treat her
While Hippocrates absent
At the unsuccessful labor
Of her third baby at 23
Poverty dictated this girl to death

A dirty unskilled scalpel
To mutilate her desire
For what she had never known
Her mother holding her hand
Ignorance bled this girl to death

The hands of her father
In fervent obedience to
One dogma which veiled
Her to a silence she couldn’t keep
Religion beat this girl to death

Strangers, one by one
Getting what they paid
To have, the look of virginity
Her blood carrying a virus
Desire giving this girl to death

So many places, too many girls
Never to be women
Our silence puts another
To death every minute
And all I do is sign
Another petition