It is the reason we lose sleep at night,
the hourly paid, the soon to be laid off,
the single mother who cannot feed her baby,
the pissed off, the raging, the ones who've had enough
the systems broke, it's tough to find time in the day
to keep the lights on with minimum wage
It is the hospital bills because your kid was sick
and now they're going to take your house,
for failure to comply with words like "delocated," "poor" and "down"
"Checks in the mail" and "We don't care that you're already overdrawn"
"We're sorry but you earn too much," you make enough
to pay the bills for medicine, but not enough to keep him fed, it's in
being made to feel like receiving aid will infect you
and all they ask is to tie you to "lazy" and "deadbeat"
because "human" and "fellowship" no longer require
the need to help.
It is what you see cannot be unseen,
the obscene, the cut scenes
of American Idol to keep us docile, rhetoric and hollow
hopes and dreams, some idyllic existence not our own.
When every fiber of your being wants to scream,
but you think you're alone.
You're not alone.
Eric Hagen is in his fourth year at the University of Cincinnati, majoring in English and Middle Grades Education. His works have appeared in Eastfork Literary Journal and Prairie Margins. In his off-time he enjoys hiking and cycling with his wife and two children.