“Poverty is like punishment for a crime you didn’t commit.” Eli Khamarov, Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality

Doña Rosa sits at the window
of her tired red-brick house
on a block of tired houses
where street lamps cast a jaundiced pall
and the contours of hope dissolve
like the remains of a senescent god

© 2012, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; Photo credit ~ Tom Leeds, Public Domain Pictures.net


Based on your experience or observation, tell us about poverty.

Share your poem/s on theme or a link to it/them in the comments section below.

All poems on theme will be published next Tuesday. Please do NOT email your poem to me or leave it on Facebook. If you do it’s likely I’ll miss it or not see it in time.

IF this is your first time joining us for The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt, please send a brief bio and photo to me at thepoetbyday@gmail.com to introduce yourself to the community … and to me :-). These will be partnered with your poem/s on first publication.

PLEASE send the bio ONLY if you are with us on this for the first time AND only if you have posted a poem (or a link to one of yours) on theme in the comments section below.  

Deadline:  Monday, September 24 by 8 p.m. Pacific.

Anyone may take part Wednesday Writing Prompt, no matter the status of your career: novice, emerging or pro.  It’s about exercising the poetic muscle, showcasing your work, and getting to know other poets who might be new to you. This is a discerning nonjudgemental place to connect.

Note: Stanford University offers a free online self-paced course on American’s Poverty and Inequality. Details HERE.


Poet and writer, I was once columnist and associate editor of a regional employment publication. Currently I run this site, The Poet by Day, an information hub for poets and writers. I am the managing editor of The BeZine published by The Bardo Group Beguines (originally The Bardo Group), a virtual arts collective I founded.  I am a weekly contributor to Beguine Again, a site showcasing spiritual writers.

My work is featured in a variety of publications and on sites, including: Levure littéraure, Ramingo’s PorchVita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation PressThe Bar None GroupSalamander CoveSecond LightI Am Not a Silent PoetMeta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman.


  1. Hi Jamie: This is my first visit to ‘The Poet by Day’ so – fingers crossed – I’m going about hooking up with, what looks to be an awesome poet community, according to hoyle. I will touch base by email with bio/photo, asap.

    souls and human beings

    she walked down the street median … passed the row
    of idling cars that would have raced by her,
    but for, the bright red orb that signalled: stop

    she held a cardboard sign ‘pregnant – need money for food’ …
    I could not tell, if the gloom upon her old young face
    reflected anger or hate or sadness or pain or all of it

    it is impossible to move around this manic city without anguish …
    without words like ‘souls’ and ‘human beings’ tumbling
    across your mind, like tosses of dice in a game of craps

    she caught me … staring at her through the window …
    and I sheepishly cast my eyes down – for I knew the look I wore
    expressed my shock and frightened thoughts of the fate
    that awaited the unborn child … if there was an unborn child

    she came up to my car door, as if she’d been summoned
    and, rolling down the window, I pressed a blue five bucks
    into a limp and grimy hand … wondering … if I’d just been played …
    as if such speculations have a place … where human beings beg

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Jamie,

    My first response:

    A Penny Drop

    must never happen.
    We must always be misunderstood

    to communicate clearly and cogently.
    Wrong end of the stick grasped firmly.

    Vagueness is clarity.

    If you let the penny drop confusion
    and disillusion will result.

    Please misunderstand me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. .green road.

    green road is where I was born; in winton.

    green grocer delivered each tuesday and thursday.

    green front doors and hedges line the road, repetitive.

    green shooting brake denotes uncle’s arrival, posh we thought,truth came later.

    green our neighbour’s face as bombs fell/were pushed; she hid in the outside toilet.

    green school knickers; janet next door under her gymslip.

    greens up the garden, with spuds & rhubard, runners & plums.

    greens for dinner, liver & gravy; poor food, i guess there was rationing.

    green her coat with big buttons,darted & half belt she wore while shopping.

    green my mittens, shetland hand knitted; a souvenir.

    green the scarf that matched, richer now.

    green the sky; the storm passes.


    Liked by 3 people

  4. .four boils

    the planing office is up the road, by the old hospital

    that was once a work house for the poor & suffering

    to suffer more.


    pass by regular on the way to somewhere else.

    it is listed so any changes are scrutinised.


    there have been a few.


    i do apologise

    did you say planet?


    Liked by 3 people

  5. I don’t think I’ve ever participated before, but this poem wanted to come out of me this morning:

    Bloated Bellies

    I wasn’t poor for long,
    At least that’s what I chose to believe
    My grandmother tells me the story of our return
    From the Hare Krishnas
    Faces the color of ashes, bellies bloated
    Over skinny legs
    I was too young to remember
    But the ache has become
    A troublesome cyst
    I refuse to extract
    Inside a place to dark and deep
    For life. Like the hole in our outhouse
    I don’t remember walking in the night
    But I remember shame folded
    Into second-hand clothes
    And the pink satin nightgown
    Never worn by another child
    All that was missing was a crown

    Liked by 4 people

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