Vox Populi

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Arlene Weiner: Poverty Festival

It probably shows a poverty

of imagination that when I misread

New York Poetry Festival as

New York Poverty Festival

I couldn’t imagine how to celebrate poverty,

even though I’ve been to a Beckett Festival,

which is similar, and have seen

a banner beside the roadway

advertising North American Martyrs

Summer Festival, but that’s just the name

of a Catholic church bazaar and Catholics

are good at marrying suffering

to a good time or at least

to junk food and games of chance.


At a poverty festival you could display

color photographs of cracked sidewalks, weedy yards,

you could sing songs about sickness,

about waiting, about eating the same thing

day after day, and every day less and less,

you could make dances about being too tired

to get up but getting up anyway and working,

and falling down working and getting up again,

but celebrations of hardscrabble lives and places

celebrate despite, except, escape


Does suffering enable or ennoble

or is it just a field where nobility

flares out like poppies in wheat

and the field is leveled and owned

and now I think about it

a poorer person might think, Poppies?

You can’t grind poppies into bread.


Copyright 2017 Arlene Weiner

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This entry was posted on September 1, 2017 by in Health and Nutrition, Poetry, Social Justice and tagged , , , .

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