“Austerity is theft, the greatest transfer of wealth from poor to the rich since the enclosures.” Fuad Alakbarov, Exodus
“Remember when nurses, carers, teachers and students crashed the stock market, wiped out banks, took billions in bonuses and paid no tax? No, me neither.”
A stellar response to the last Wednesday Writing prompt, Some Kind of Hell to Pay, November 7. Thank you to Gary W. Bowers, Irma Do, Jen E. Goldie, Sonja Benskin Mesher, and Anjum Wasim Dar for sharing their thoughts and talents. Special thanks to Irma and Anjum for including illustrations and to Irma for sharing further thoughts. Well done eveyone and welcome to Ursula Jacob with her aware and deeply felt poem.
In addition to their words, I’ve included links to blogs or websites where available. I hope you’ll visit these poets and get to know their work better. It is likely you can catch up with others via Facebook.
Enjoy! … and do come out to play tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt.
Licking wounds ain’t penicillin, No
It ain’t dinner cause you feed me a line.
Don’t lower the bar, gift me keys to a car
I swear ya’ll tryin to keep a girl blind!
I have seen poverty
Abuse and affliction
But I tell you, little sister,
We must start a fire
Burn it down
In the guise of assistance
Oh, I am talking revolution
Inner fire, explosive impact
Knowledge of your worth
© 2018, Ursula Jacobs
URSULA JACOBS has taught journaling for healing in shelters and jails. When not busking as a cellist and providing resources to the indigent, Ursula, her husband, and cat Tilly, call the Piney Woods of Texas their home. She is an emerging poet that has been published by The BeZine and is working on a chapbook of poetry.
in order for us to afford you
a chunk of you must go to war
a chunk will return
with some chunks gone and yearn
for the nonhellish sweettimes of yore
thus we make and deploy stocks of ordnance
and our colonels and sergeants show spine
for their new marching orders
defending the borders
and plumping that fine bottom line.
© 2018, Gary W. Bowers (One With Clay, Image and Text)
Once Slice of Bread
Uncle, why only one slice of white bread?
Something is happening, what is it I dread?
Oh dear, don’t worry, it will all be just fine.
Just do as you’re told and toe the line.
But Uncle I see others have food on their plate.
And yours, above all, looks deliciously great.
Look, I need more sustenance than you.
Do you realize all the work that I do?
Now go to bed and do as you’re told.
Nothing will come from you being bold.
Uncle, what do those letters say?
I need to read if I am to stay.
Who says you’re staying, impertinent imp!
School is expensive, we just have to scrimp.
But Uncle I am working hard, too.
I pay for my clothes and give my extra to you.
Of course you do, that’s the only way.
How else can we live if you don’t slave away?
Now go to bed. That is not a choice.
I’m starting to get really annoyed at your voice.
Uncle, it just doesn’t seem fair.
I put in my time. You know that I care.
But it seems that I am the only one
These austerity measures will make me undone
Well, if that happens, it’s your own fault!
You’re not strong enough, clearly not worth your salt.
It’s because of you that we need these measures today
Always wanting to help others who have lost their way.
But Uncle, that was the right thing to do!
Shouldn’t we share with those who have few?
We have so much, but you’re saying we don’t.
Yet you still seem to be able to buy all you want.
Those are things that are my due.
I deserve more things than you.
Look at me! Why can’t you agree?
All you want are things for free.
And that’s why these cuts are your burden to bear.
Being in the middle, you should be aware.
Now go to bed, let these issues unfold.
Just be glad only a few things need sold.
Oh Uncle, why did you sell your soul?
For personal wealth, was that your goal?
I came to you with stars in my eyes.
I thought you were strong and honest and wise.
Together, we could have done so well!
But now I fear we will both go to hell.
Uncle Sam you ask so much of me.
I have so much less, yet you ask for more austerity.
What about healthcare, a decent wage and fair representation?
Or respect for my genders or religious affiliation?
On my back, you’ve created this fantasy,
And now you still just want to grab my pussy?
I’ve had enough. I won’t go to bed.
I deserve much more than one slice of bread.
This was a difficult poem to write for Jamie Dedes’ Wednesday prompt of “austerity measures”. She writes “The phrase “austerity measure” isn’t used as much now as it was when I wrote this poem, but that injustice by other name or unnamed is still an injustice and it’s one that is happening all over the world.”
I had never heard that term before reading Jamie’s poem. I had always associated austerity with something that saints did, something positive, like sacrificing or doing without for the greater good. The term “austerity measures” is actually a financial term to denote an action by government to decrease its debt by increasing taxes while cutting spending on wages and programs (usually for the poor). So it’s something government imposes on its populace with those who are most in need, shouldering the burden of these measures. I will add that the financial definition does note that the tax cuts should be for the wealthy, however, I have a “feeling” that those cuts would depend on who is in government.
Families also implement austerity measures. I know my family did – growing up and being immigrants here, however, I know my parents took the brunt of those measures and did without, so that us children would not need to know that we were financially struggling. Of course, as kids, we still knew that other people had more than we did, but it wasn’t a hardship, just what our family did to live within our means.
Money has so many different meanings for different people. Our attitudes towards money, saving/spending are shaped by our upbringing and experiences. I wonder if austerity measures would be less of an injustice if it wasn’t imposed, if we all agreed to tighten our belts a little for the good of all. Whether a family, a company or a country – could there be compassion in financial matters?
©️ 2018, Irma Do (I Do Run, And I Do a Few Other Things Too)
The Bottomless Well
The rush of racing society,
The red, bloody riots,
The protesting children,
And teetering wars,
On an eternal
On the stretching streets,
Lonely, curious, needy,
Men, Women and Babies,
The need for survival.
See the inquiring eyes
Oh Run! Grasping
the veil of ignorance,
The hurt is stinging,
Stomachs are Pits of Hell!
Hide Society’s shame,
© 2018, Jen E. Goldie
Time Will Tell
You say you don’t
could take you there,
Like a whispered phrase
passed from one to another,
becomes a monster in the end.
Time will tell if perchance
we fall again
into another hell……..
With fear to guide them
instead of Peace….
© 2018, Jen E. Goldie
The Answer I Fear
Who are you
that seeks supremacy
by discarding your soul,
men, women and children
in aid of your success.
Is it your fear?
Your fear of threat,
That leads you to chance?
And your sons and daughters
to starvation and death?
The Answer I fear is YES………..
© 2018, Jen E. Goldie
. no comfort .
squirm with fear and emotion, at what is written.
freeze at the next sentence, it has nothing to
do with you.
laugh yet is it with nervousness?
these are new remarks, a new way to learn.
a group of friends here, it is the new laws
that cause discomfort.
the type of coffee is reduced,
all in lower case.
© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher
oddly rhymes with posterity
how can they make such rigid stuff
from soft wools
take the thing then
they say it will last a lifetime
hold its own
in the cold frozen
the code will not work,
nor will the counting with interruptions
© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher
Alas! Lost Is the Identity
Urdu and English
افسوس کسے رہی پہچان
جہاں سے بے خطر آتش نمرود میں کود پڑے عشق
افسوس کیسے رہی پہچان اس عقل ے لبے بام کی
نقش کییے چھوٹے سے پردے پر سبھی ،دل سے
نہیں ،کیمرے سے کی عزت اس عزت افزا مقام کی
جب رشوت سے ہی ہر کام پورا ہو جانے لگے تو
آرام ہی کر لو کیا ضرورت ہے سچے کام کی
الله کا وعدہ رزق و روزی زندگی و موت سبھی
پھر بے حساب خواہش کیوں کی رزق حرام کی
بے مقصد تعلیم سے کہیں بہتر خدمت خلق کرنا ہے
خوش رہو سادگی اپناؤ بد نامی نہ کرو نیک گمنام کی
بےحسی ظلم و تکبر لالچ و فریب کا راج ہے
غربت میں اموات طفلے کثیر امیری میں فکربس طعام کی
امن امن اور بس امن چاہے دنیا میں جنگ و جدل نہین
کیوں انسانیت کے دلوں کو دکھی کرے خبر قتل عام کیی
سنجیدگی سادگی خود انکاری کا راستہ اپناؤ اور چلے چلو
کسی سے نہ انصافی نہ ہو ،کرتے رہو فکر اپنے انجام کی
مسلو نہ کوئی گلاب نہ روندو پیروں تلے اک کیڑا بھی
یہ نازک سی جانیں تمہارے لیے جہنم نہ بن جایں کہیں
اک حسین دھوکہ ہے یہ ساری کائنات انجم جاگتے رہو
پنجرہ ے خاکی میں دعا ے خیر ہوتی رهے،گردشے ایام کی
unflinchingly faith plunged in Nimrod’s fire, alas
no one remembers the fringe of discerning wisdom
all sacred images captured on the mini screen,not
from the heart, but from the camera clicked respect
when bribery gets all work done , why not rest
and relax , is there a need for truthful honest work ?
God has promised food and sustenance, life and death
then why do human beings desire forbidden wealth ?
serving humanity is better than aimless education
be joyful in simplicity disrepute not unknown ones
apathy cruelty pride greed deception reign supreme
in poverty children perish, in richness nothing but food
peace peace and peace should prevail,not war and strife
why the hearts of humanity be hurt by mass killing of life
follow the path of solemnity self denial and simplicity
no injustice for any soul, just beware the consequences
do not crush an insect nor pluck a beautiful scented rose
in beauty and minuteness hell may visit unseen, asking for pay’
enlightened be anjum, counter delusive Barmecide’s feasts
with constant spiritual prayers for safety from the unforeseen
© 2018, Anjum Wasim Dar (Poetic Oceans)
Poet and writer, I was once columnist and associate editor of a regional employment publication. I currently 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 Porch, Vita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander Cove, Second Light, I Am Not a Silent Poet, Meta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman. My poetry was recently read by Northern California actor Richard Lingua for Poetry Woodshed, Belfast Community Radio. I was featured in a lengthy interview on the Creative Nexus Radio Show where I was dubbed “Poetry Champion.”
* The BeZine: Waging the Peace, An Interfaith Exploration featuring Fr. Daniel Sormani, Rev. Benjamin Meyers, and the Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi among others
“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.” Lucille Clifton