A Poem for the Unemployed

A Poem for the Unemployed

To all those who are unemployed and did no wrong,
To those who worked hard and even saved–
To those who lost homes and no longer belong–
Be brave.

Don’t condescend. Don’t devolve into the cynical.
Help those in the same predicament.
Donate a single can of soup to pantries to keep them full.
In numbers, there’s acknowledgment

And grace! The path to heaven is narrow,
Not broad. Anger is the easy way out.
Bank accounts and investments approaching zero,
Fill your life with hope, not doubt.

To all those who are unemployed and did no wrong–
To those who worked for generations–
Only to see jobs shipped to Hong Kong–
Don’t give up. Don’t give in.

With less, yes, there can be more!
Five fishes and two loaves of bread
Fed a multitude.
Blessed are the unemployed!

America has always been the miracle.
But now we find ourselves on uncharted ground,
Refugees in our own land screaming the hysterical.
Stock markets less up than down.

We, the unemployed, will redefine a country of neglect and greed
That turned its back on us, the middle class.
We will succeed.
We, the people, are the real stimulus,

Not bailouts to bankers or Ponzi schemes,
A financial sector unregulated.
Don’t abandon your own true dreams.
Hold accountable those we’ve elected.

Stay involved. Communicate.
Disenfranchisement is not an option.
Don’t alienate. Motivate:
Anyone. Someone. Everyone.

For over thirty years
Washington dismantled social safety nets.
Were these our better angels?
CEO’s cutting jobs while buying personal jets?

To those who have lost health and car insurance,
Utilities disconnected—friends and whole neighborhoods–
Don’t be ashamed. Walk tall. Battle fear with confidence.
A paycheck isn’t your only identity and livelihood.

Seek alternative organizations. People, biographies, entertainment of worth
That will raise you up and inspire.
Choose optimism no matter your dearth.
Turn your back on the negative tongue. Turn you back on liars.

“Teach your children well.” Be their savior.
In times of need, even the adult can become the child.
Teach them the temerity never to waiver.
In times of hostility, be mild.

To all those who have lost employment,
“Dust yourself off. Pick yourself up.”
Remember, we are the country of fulfillment.
Possibility has always been our worship.

America, mother of exiles,
We, the unemployed, are the beautiful,
The refuse,
The tempest born by you.

We are the homeless
Not welcomed by your lamp,
The sea-washed
Forgotten in our own land.

In the greed of your storied pomp
And conquering limbs,
Where is your beacon-hand and mild eyes,
The yearning shore,

Those sunset-gates that dawn the gold?
Where is that torch of liberty
That once dared to stream so gallantly
But now flickers so timidly?

America,
Your lightning flame
Once blinded the despot,
The unjust, the ignorant.

Why have you forgotten us, the unemployed,
The huddled and rejected mass
Who yearn to breathe freely
With dignity and worth?

Blessed are the unemployed.
We will redefine a country that’s lost control.
Uncivilized.
For America, we’ve always been its soul.

“I hear America singing,” Whitman rejoiced.
A song of honest work and toil that spread across our continent.
Become that tune. Don’t lose your voice.
Remain competent.

We are still the nation of destiny.
We are still the nation of innovation.
We are still the nation of possibility.
We are still the nation of transformation.

Blessed are the unemployed. You’re not forgotten.
It’s not a time to drag your feet.
You’re still a valued, voting citizen.
In these perilous times, never, ever admit defeat.

The old guard and ruling class slowly disappear,
Revealing an historical arrogance never seen.
As they leave, one-by-one, our way becomes clear.

Ignore all red lights of impossibility. Seek the blinking light of green!
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~ by adhna on January 7, 2011.

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