The New Poor


Fluttering scarves with brand names
are the flags of the new poor;
the flags of a conquered race,
standing in line for milk, cheese, eggs.
No supply and new demand -
the desire for acquisition unquenched,
floating down the line
from sad, lined face,
to tear-streaked face.

A low-wattage sun rises
over bleak cityscapes,
puts down a urine colored carpet
for the newly poor
to enter
their house of shame.

The voices of the dismal choir
rise over an uncaring audience.
Their cheap shoes, unclean shadows
and their hungers for what they do not have
give off a smog of discontent
that sticks to the skin
like whore's sweat.

And so they must join the throng;
the faceless nomads of these city streets
glimpsed from the corner of your eye.
There but for the grace of your employer,
three paychecks away,
you hope it is not catching
as you hurry back to the office with your latte.

©2008, ©2016 Christopher Reilley
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