$10

17 Apr

This morning $10 bought exactly 2.61 gallons of medium grade petroleum
For a 15 year-old Volvo requiring premium unleaded.
Am I pessimistically nostalgic or
has the land of the free
forgotten this public school teacher,
who packs a lunch so she can
drive 12 miles to teach
21 year olds in the 12th grade?

This month’s check was short $888.00.
$603 of that went to medical insurance for
a family of five,
including barely dental and
vivid dreams of vision.
Am I democratically bitter
or has the home of the brave required the same
of me in the emergency room?

This afternoon $10 will have to morph into $15 to buy exactly
2.61 gallons of medium grade petroleum
for a 15 year-old Volvo requiring premium unleaded.
Am I a soured killjoy or
has Old Glory spread herself thin,
fraying her hems, leaving me to
question bread for lavish fumes?
This question is not rhetorical.

Tomorrow afternoon federal lunch will cost urban teens $1.25,
while 12 miles away, their semi-lower-middle-class-foreclosed cousins
will pay $2.15 for the same chicken fingers and Salisbury steak.
Both groups will forego federal preservatives for Frito Lay.
Both groups will throw it all away.
Both groups will walk past the streaked glass windows and
ignore hunger for fashion. Now am I hypersensitive or has Jim Crow found new life in
“Separate but Equal”?

This evening George Bush decided that playing golf during a war
“just sends the wrong signal.” This of course, is reported five years into
a labyrinth luring 4,072 and still growing into
permanent places of sleep. Am I antiestablishment or
is all established honor to the highest office
shattered and shriveled amongst monosyllabic synonyms for
“hard” “rough” and “tough” job? November is coming, right? Or
are we waylaying democracy to solve the economy problem?

I need a ride to take my mind off the blush and bashful
pieces of mail sent from people who require my attention
but I can’t because tomorrow morning’s wage is already spent on
the $20 buying exactly 2.61 gallons of medium grade petroleum
for a 15 year-old Volvo requiring premium unleaded.
At least the 21 year old in the 12th grade will still be voting age.

Copyright
Asani Charles
5/14/08

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