We are starving
The food ran out yesterday
But it’s not our day to get food
My siblings and I cry out,
Our stomachs grumble in pain,
Nothing but dry cereal,
to curve the appetite of the hunger pang
We start buggin . . . “What’s to eat, we’re hungry?”
Mama says “Come on, yall know what day we get food!
Food Stamps ain’t till the 9th.”
My head drops low
That’s two more days
My siblings can’t count,
they don’t know how hungry we’ll go
Month after month
The same ole story
Binge eating and hunger, our life, our glory
Cupboards rolling deep in food on the 9th
And bare as hell come the 1st
And straight up empty on the 6th or 7th
When we come from the store
Steaks, shrimp, and chicken too
Our first meal on the night of the 9th
We live like kings and queens
With no limits too high
But later down the road
Our food is stretched thin
And dinners are gross
Hot dogs and chips,
Top Ramen too,
Nobody wanting to eat that day after day
Will force even bad food into our mouths
To fill the need, to stop the pain
One day I finally got nerve . . .
I asked my Mama why we ate like kings on the 9th
and the poor days later?
She shook her head and said “listen here
I feed ya right, and make your food
Don’t question me, I’m not in the mood.”
Still puzzled I couldn’t help but chime,
But why the 9th
Why do we starve and wait for that date?
Less than pleased, that I dare speak
She snapped “my Mama did it, and her granny too
Don’t worry, you’ll get food stamps too!”
I grew up on the system
And vowed to leave
I broke the circle and learned to survive
Food Stamps . . .
I got to much pride
I can hold my own,
I don’t need a free ride
I eat like a king every day of the week
I pay my way,
I need not receive!
© Paige Turner
Excerpt form the book “Divided Lines – A Poet’s Stance”
Foreword . . .
In a world of ever increasing advances seemingly created to make our lives easier to manage, envisioned to bring us together, to draw us closer, we are still in many instances isolated and at odds and validly apart. Something is missing, there is a snag, a rip, a hole in the spiritual fabric that we all see; yet we continue to fail to address.
It has been said by self-proclaimed philosophers, theologians, scholars’ and politicians that the abuse of words can be a danger, there are those that believe words are a leading factor in what ills our society. Of this we do not deny in full, there have been abuses, history is but a melody to that fact, yet it is also true that words have the innate capacity to bridge, to heal that which divides.
Opinions, views, religions, nations, people, even love divides. The focus of this book and the poets here in, is to give breath to a wide range of issues both small and controversial that lie beneath the surface. Things that we are often hesitant to discuss. In saying that, I will offer that the role of a poet is not to persuade or to add more rhetoric to the static we hear. A poet’s responsibility is to shine the light of awareness, to create a platform for dialogue, for healing, to gather up the images in an attempt to understand what we see.
Demitri Tyler, Author
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