Unemployment Line

He impressed me–
the way he kept a smile
As he stood with the other hungry faces
With vacant downcast eyes
Wearing their defeated shoes with no laces
Shoes two sizes bigger than their feet

His smile, a sunbeam, spread
across his broad whiskered face
His determination gleamed through his faded blue work shirt
All the way down to his large muscular hands
That weren’t afraid of a sweat-stained shovel handle
Or to grip the sour-smelling rags, used
to clean the public toilets at 55th Street Station

I counted them–
One hundred and thirty-three men and forty-one women, waiting
to be chosen for work, any job
that would put a dime, hopefully a quarter in their pockets
Enough for a loaf of day-old bread, maybe some beans
If lucky, a can of oily sardines

I was glad they picked him
His smile set him apart from the others
I shouldn’t play favorites
Each one of them deserved a job
Some food for their families
A pair of shoes that fits

Rain When You Want Sunshine

It rained this weekend, again
I wanted sunshine
In the yard, in my life

I didn’t curse God
I just felt sorry for myself
Too much rain in my life
Too many days without sunshine
Too many things slipping through my fingers
Lost and wasted chances
Spilling on the floor
Cluttering my life
Like the dump where we shot rats
When I was a boy with hope, and dreams

It’s not the rain that bothers me
It’s the dreariness, the gloom
The heavy gray clouds pinning me to the muddy earth
Covering up the dream I hoped could be my life

Taking Us Home

This time we’re going back
To move forward
This time less will be more
Not more and more

This move will simplify
Clarify us inside out
Bring us into focus
Help us back home

We were getting painfully close
To losing what’s most important
Not money, what it buys
But what’s deep in our hearts

Hard times remind us
With some pain, what’s most precious
Certainly life itself
All it dreams

Hard Times

hard times, here again
harder than we’ve seen in some time
people losin’ their jobs, their homes
no healthcare, no pension
no relaxin’ in their retirement

been a long time comin’
eventually all those lies add up
they catch up, pull us over
especially those whoppers we tell
’bout always bein’ number one

economy’s come unraveled
in ways we never imagined
some say the banks took our money
others blame the government…
lettin’ the war of greed take all we have

experts say it’s a recession
like when you’re really sick…
doesn’t matter what they call it, just so you get better
not as bad as 1929
but everybody’s worried, only liars say they’re not

don’t give up, even for a minute
no matter how much you got or lose
reach out, help your neighbor
reassure your elderly mother she’ll be ok

forget what you had or lost
give a little more than you think you can
pay attention to the birds and flowers
find growth and beauty in ’em
they’re special gifts, especially in hard times