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Twelve Dollars, Eighty Six Cents

American dream incarnate
Supermarket check out line
One box cake mix, chocolate fudge
One plastic tub of frosting, chocolate
One package of Oreo cookies, original
Twelve dollars and eighty six cents
Roughly half an hour’s pay
Such a nominal fee to exchange
For the sweet taste of freedom
With prophetic undertones of destitution

Style / type: 
Free verse
Review Request (Intensity): 
I want the raw truth, feel free to knock me on my back
Review Request (Direction): 
What did you think of my title?
How does this theme appeal to you?
Last few words: 
Things are getting awfully expensive; no, the dollar is becoming increasingly worthless.
Editing stage: 
Content level: 
Not Explicit Content

Comments

Hi, Tim,
I can see the items come down the checkout conveyor belt, being rung up one by one. The grocery items in the poem tie in with the "sweet taste of freedom" but also give me the sense of a birthday cake for a family celebration - not cake already made and decorated, but a mix to make yourself at home, probably with the children. I'm wondering if "Roughly" may be an alternative for "Approximately." Might give a little more edge to the raw reality in the poem. I find this to be very tender as well as candid. Great title. Happy Birthday! (Just is case.)
L

Hi, Tim,
I can see the items come down the checkout conveyor belt, being rung up one by one. The grocery items in the poem tie in with the "sweet taste of freedom" but also give me the sense of a birthday cake for a family celebration - not cake already made and decorated, but a mix to make yourself at home, probably with the children. I'm wondering if "Roughly" may be an alternative for "Approximately." Might give a little more edge to the raw reality in the poem. I find this to be very tender as well as candid. Great title. Happy Birthday! (Just is case.)
L

the title, you had me wondering right away! I knew that it had importance. Twelve dollars and eighty-six cents! The cost of a
DIY celebratory chocolate cake! You could probably buy one already made for the same price, but... making it yourself has
special connotations! Somehow, the last line bothers me. Maybe the cake is made to help ease the pain of losing a job?
"Prophetic undertones of destitution." I agree about the word [roughly], it gives it a tougher edge. ~ Geez.
.

Writing purely for oneself, is the ultimate in defensive posture.

No I haven’t lost a job. But I’ve been in the $21-$25 per hour take home range since I was 23 years old. I’m 44 now. Everything has doubled in cost including the homes I build but we basically still get the same money to frame them. I tried the union jobs for the pay and benefits, the entire union was addicted to pills and cocaine and if you weren’t comfortable with it they’d leave you at the union hall. I’m an addict of every drug I ever tried so that was a bad fit for me.

I love writing, painting, music. It’s who I am as an artist and my carpentry skills are an extension of that. I frame my paintings all from recycled lumber and pallets and skids I pull from the dumpster (the waste is disgusting on these job sites). I’m really trying to break away from it. I’ve got three books on the way (two of poetry and one novella. I have 3 singles I’m working on with members here and I’m currently in the final stages on post production of my second full length album which I think is my best sounding recording work to date.

Right now my self care is high priority and work is starting to seem ridiculous. However groceries are costly as hell and I’m finding extremely difficult to “self care” the boot of the ruling class from off my goddamn neck. And why the fuck does everyone in this country think Karl Marx was Russian? Is this a flaw in our history books or do we automatically attach anything remotely Marxist to Russia?

When your in pre school and they teach you to share, that is the first step in your conditioning. That way you’ll grow up and feel bad about not paying your share, you’ll be angry and vilify people wo don’t like single moms on welfare while Exxon Mobil and Blue Cross have their hands in your pockets. The wealth and power of the oligarchy will always be dependent on the toil of a working class but they need us to feel bad about ourselves for not working hard enough and pulling ourselves up by the boot straps but they stole the fucking bootstraps.

Corporations paid 70-90% income tax during the 40’s-50’s. That’s when “America was great”. That’s what most people don’t understand.

I used to get really upset.I’ve got no fight left against greed. It’s a losing battle.

Tim

author comment

Well, Happy Fkin' Birthday, Old dude! LoL Yes, the masses support the whole thing! I've been on the lower end of the scale in some instances, because I was excited to do some kinds of work that interested me and the pay-scale not so great. I've been a Carney, a brush cutter, an auto-detailer, used micrometers and measuring tools and been a roofer; like they say, "Jack of all trades", [master of some]. What we need to do, is keep big money out of politics, and keep the shareholders and the workers happy, the rest will take care of itself. Stay on the sunny side, keep writing and publishing, you will get there. Love these conversations! ~ Geez.
.

Writing purely for oneself, is the ultimate in defensive posture.

Happy Belated! There is much that I agree with in both your poem and your response. I used to judge my success based on what society and our culture told me I should be. With that goal in mind - I was never good enough and never had enough. I failed, in my mind, over and over. I finally realized I was doing my best, had a clear conscience about my work and personal life, gave my family 200%, and accepted my talents as gifts. I stated your poem was both tender as well as candid. The candor is obvious, but I wonder if you see the tenderness? It is a simple poem, to me, full of honest, hard work and dedication. It seems to me you are making all the right choices for yourself and your family. Your integrity and character are everything. Greed will never stop trying to kick us all down. But I sleep much better knowing I try very hard not to play a part in it. Your talents are appreciated by so many, and your future looks so bright! So honored to be your poetry friend.
L

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