Tuesday, August 1, 2017

It is always something

I am participating in the
Tuesday Slice of Life.
All participants are writing about one moment, one part of their day.
A big thank you to Two Writing Teachers for providing this unique opportunity
for teacher-writers to share and reflect.

Wrinkled, worn, weathered, looking older than his years,
Thin body, sunken eyes, missing teeth.
Everyday norm is achey, heady, tired.
Much neglect of health, and, now, diabetes.
It is always something.
Money, money, money. Always needing money.
How to pay rent? Buy groceries? Get insulin?
Mistakes made, hints of jail time served.
Marriage lost.
It is always something.
Wages garnished for childcare,
Full-time work is beyond his grasp.
No experience, no education, no training.
Odd jobs only, clearing trash, pulling weeds, handyman tasks.
It is always something.
Do you have any work for me?
Cellphone is a luxury. Just cannot afford.
How to get in touch with him?
No affordable housing nearby.
Long commutes from remote suburbs.
It is always something.
Tiny setbacks have big consequences.
Missing the bus.
Too much rain, can't work outside.
Someone steals his wallet -
His little cash is gone, as is driver's license
It is always something.
Need replacement ID for food stamps...
Red tape, bureaucracy, slow lines, paperwork
(Precious time spent not earning money.)
Begging landlord to give him a couple more days -
He'll get that money for rent, yes, he will.
Please, could you spare a little?
It is always something.
Life is hard when you are down and out.
It seems impossible to crawl out from under the burden that is your life.
What does trying look like, when everything is hard?
He wears a big smile of hope.
It is truly something.


  1. I love how you put yourself in someone else's shoes...imagining what someone might be going through. Love the empathy that is in every line of this poem.

    1. Thank you! I find myself thinking about him a lot; how small things can make life so hard - and, conversely, so much better.

  2. I am reading the book Evicted by Matthew Desmond, and this post made me think about all of the people highlighted in that book. It doesn't seem to matter what they do to try to get ahead, there is always "something" that takes them back. I feel like you captured that sentiment well in this poem.

    1. Yes! Thank you. I have not read this book - yet. I will look for it! Life is hard for so many.

  3. Maureen, what a sad image, but then when you get to the end and see the lingering hope that really is something. It is a good job writing from someone else's perspective.

    1. Thank you! I was trying to walk a moment in his shoes. Life is hard.