We live just three doors down
from the sea of inhumanity,
always close to the possibility
that we are sixty days away
from the dreaded rent increase
we can’t possibly pay.
There’s always hanging over our heads
that sword of Damocles,
where the day is coming
when we won’t have enough
to meet even our meager needs.
Clinging to that sliver of luck
that separates us from calamity,
a fire, or quake, or any catastrophe
could send us crashing
into that sea of inhumanity.
There’s no discretionary slush for us,
just one serious illness could await us,
and we’ve already weathered our rainy day funds
so it’s downhill from here,
where we’re only one major car repair
from going nowhere.
We played the game by your rules,
but it was a game of roulette,
where for some people to win,
others must lose.
We live like so many others,
with only the kindness of strangers,
the generosity of friends,
the luck of the draw, month to month,
that we still have a place to place our heads.
It isn’t that we didn’t try,
we placed our chips wisely, we thought.
So it’s simply arrogance
for you to deny that it’s only just happenstance
that you are there,
basking in your near-perfect FICO score,
while others who worked for nothing more
are paddling in the sea of inhumanity.
You might feel snug in the nicer part of town,
but a firestorm looms just around the bend,
undaunted by status or fame,
ready to turn everything upside down.
In a moment your Paradise
could all go to hell.
A terminal diagnosis
could upend your long-term plans,
and that custom-designer kitchen
won’t get you one more day.
But haven’t you always secretly known,
we’re all gonna die anyway,
and in the end,
it’s not so much your own doing
what actually came your way.
A toss of the dice,
it’s just the way the wind blows today,
that some deal with dying
surrounded with comfort and care,
while others face cancer on a concrete bed,
and dying is so much harder that way.
Maybe, deep down,
you live under the spell
that good fortune is earned,
and folks living under the tarps of uncertainty,
having failed to grab the golden ring,
are justly burned.
Having a home is a reward that’s earned,
not a right, not owed, you say.
Making poor choices
condemns one to worry
about where to poop,
and where to bed,
and that’s just the way it is.
But if you knew that tomorrow
you could be one of them,
those poor souls you send your henchmen
to rouse and arrest,
what different decisions would you make today?
What would be your priorities if you knew
it could just as easily be you,
ling in such close proximity
to your own sea of inhumanity?