November 21, 2014

food stamps

This is us going to church
In our black Mercedes Benz Kompressor
The beautiful, elegant C230 Sports Coupe

We're not here to pray
Nor attending the service
We're just here for the food stamps

On the basement of that awful church
We become officially poor
The subject of scorn

This wasn’t supposed to happen
To people like us
Yet we do the paperwork and stand in line

This wasn’t supposed to happen
To white, educated, affluent people like us
Yet here we are, scraping the bottom of the barrel

We get the weird looks
The pitiful gazes
And passive aggresive stares

How come you crawl out of that car
The black, beautiful Mercedes Benz Kompressor C230 Sports Coupe
And dive into this hole, they ask

For the food
It's all about the food
We all need it, don't we?

They tell you to sell the car
They tell you you don't fit in their statistics
They tell you so many things

So we get about our business with whatever dignity we've got left
Feel the scorn from the comfort of the soft beige leather seats
Driving back home

And we hold on to it
Because that Mercedes
Is the one reliable trustworthy thing in our lives

Thank you for your hard-earned wisdom
But we don't need anybody's pity
We're just here for the food stamps

emily thompson (New York, NY, 1990)