Hubby and I patronize various ethnic eateries in our area.  Many are hole-in-the-wall joints located in the shadiest parts of town.  One is a Mexican food truck set up in a Laundromat parking lot.  The lady can throw together an awesome Cubana torta in about twenty minutes.  Sometimes we call ahead; other times we just sit in the car and wait.  The houses are rundown — peeling paint, missing shingles, broken windows repaired with plywood.  Nearby businesses offer beer and wine, lottery tickets, payday loans, burner cells, and vaping supplies.  Lucky people drive rusted-out Chevys with loud mufflers and stereos; unlucky ones plod to the bus stop in dilapidated shoes, or push carts containing all their worldly possessions. Cardboard signs are rampant but no one gives them a second look unless they’re creative or funny.
Is this what “Making America Great Again” is supposed to look like?


Trade sex
Out by Fast-Cash, shame-faced homeless folks
beg, while jonesing addicts trade sex for dope

*This poem is a Try-burn; an earnest attempt at a Tyburn.  The extra syllables and oblique-ish rhymes make it imperfect, yet an accurate reflection of the flawed world we live in.

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11 thoughts on “BROTHER, CAN WE HITCH A RIDE?

  1. pranabaxom November 18, 2018 / 2:51 am

    Flawed world- yes, but that’s the only one we have. Can’t abandon it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan November 18, 2018 / 9:58 am

      I agree, PB. Ohio has been hard-hit by closures of steel and auto plants. Unemployment benefits have long since run out. Folks work minimum wage jobs for companies that cap their hours at 30 a week so they won’t qualify for health coverage. Our area has one of the highest rates in the country for opioid addiction, overdoses, and suicides. Not to mention poverty and crime. We need good-paying JOBS, not people in the government giving huge corporate tax breaks and promising the money will “trickle down” even as they undermine public schools, snatch free breakfasts, lunches, and Meals on Wheels out of the mouths of the poor, force people to live in their cars or on the streets, outlaw panhandling, and practice every kind of voter suppression to tie the hands of those who want to change things. I am encouraged by the democratic wins in the House, but don’t expect any big improvements any time soon. I do what I can to help from the bottom-up: patronize Mom-n-Pop restaurants, independent grocers, our farm market, and local (non-chain) retailers. I give needy people dollars, shoes, canned food, kind words, hugs, maybe hope. 🙂


      • pranabaxom November 18, 2018 / 4:03 pm

        Aware of everything you wrote. I am surprised that people can still be conned about trickle down BS.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Tippy Gnu November 18, 2018 / 9:26 am

    The imperfection of the poem definitely conveys to me the broken and dysfunctional spirit of a run-down neighborhood. When I’m in neighborhoods like that, I wonder how people survive. And then I remember that I grew up in such places. There’s a way out, but it often requires a lot of self-help, and sometimes help from the outside.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan November 18, 2018 / 10:21 am

      Thanks, Tippy. Desperate people survive any which way they can. When social programs and charity run out, they turn to begging, scamming, stealing, joining gangs, drinking and drugging, prostitution. Many die from overdose, AIDS, freezing to death under a highway bridge, shot by a cop for engaging in illegal activities or resisting arrest. When they lose their job, health care, home, etc, despite their best efforts to stay afloat, their pride is injured. They feel powerless and hopeless, and that hopelessness often keeps them from seeking outside help. Some make it–the strong, the lucky, the persistent–but many do not. It’s sad, and unconscionable in a country as rich as ours. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tippy Gnu November 18, 2018 / 11:19 am

        Our country may be rich in money, but we might be a little wanting in empathy. A little more empathy could go a long way toward easing the problems of poverty.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Just Joan November 18, 2018 / 2:21 pm

        Empathy in the higher ranks would be welcome, indeed, but what motivation do they have? They can exterminate a lot of poor people this way, which means less burden on the system. The ones that end up in jail (many of which are privatized) put money in their pockets–cha ching. As long as exploiting the poor remains legal and makes the rich richer, they will continue to do it. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      • Tippy Gnu November 18, 2018 / 7:23 pm

        Yes, but if they only knew how rich they’d become with a little empathy, they’d put an immediate stop to exploitation.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. L. T. Garvin, Author November 24, 2018 / 1:26 pm

    Oh Joan, this is so powerful! Yes, it’s a good question, Are we making America great again? The fat cats are ruling now, let’s hope it changes. How wonderful you patronize Mom and Pop establishments.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan November 24, 2018 / 4:15 pm

      Thanks, Lana. Funny how great minds were thinking alike this week, LOL. America will truly be great again when we again become a “melting pot” and EVERYONE can afford food, clothing, shelter, utilities, education, and health care. More Blue seats in the House of Reps is a good start. Eating at Mom-n-Pop restaurants is not a sacrifice… they’re cheaper and offer healthier food, ethnic flavors, and excellent service, some even know us by name and remember our usual order. One more way of “voting” for the little guys with our dollars. Hope your Thanksgiving was memorable. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • L. T. Garvin, Author November 27, 2018 / 11:32 am

        I agree. I love Mom and Pop stores. I have a guy who fixes my lawn mower and he is so talented and wonderful. I’ve put his business on Facebook many times trying to encourage folks to use him. The more Blue, the better, I say. Great minds truly do think alike. My Thanksgiving was great, on the road to see my kiddos. Hope yours was also fab, Joan. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

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