Love the Ones You're With

In the 60s and the 70s

The economy was booming

Guns and butter

Better times were looming

 

But not for everyone

 

Sit-ins and marches

Riots and rebellions too

Trying to level the playing field

Tired of not making do

 

The blacks insisted

The whites resisted

The browns were two-fisted

 

So the door opened a crack

Room for a few who were new

What did people do?

 

Two by two

They entered America’s ark, a new place

Equally unequal

They came color by color to state their case

Black Brown Yellow Red

Separately they made their bed

 

The idea took hold:

Love the ones you’re with

Black Brown Yellow Red

Separately they made their bed

 

A few got through

And moved on up

A few more got through

And moved on up

But then came the 80s

And the economy moved on down

 

It was morning in America

Time for Reaganomics

Worldwide competition

The race to the bottom had begun

 

Today

A generation later

Seems like everyone’s sliding down

 

From redneck to Rastafarian

And everyone in between

No health care

No wealth share

 

Does poverty still have a color?

Yes!

Look at any prison

It’s not just the rich who are missing

Once the book of exodus said

There’s a job in Chicago for anyone from anywhere

Now it’s ninety per cent black teen unemployment there

 

Does poverty still have a color?

No!

There are counties in Kentucky and West Virginia

Where over half the kids are poor

And Rust Belt towns are now the outer ring of inner cities

The factories have left

The gravy days are no more

 

Does poverty still have a color?

Let’s just say the situation is fluid

And that fluid is building up

And the dam’s about to break

When the stock market crashes

And the real estate bubble bursts

Your house note

You won’t be able to pay it

If you got a prayer you better pray it

The sheriff will come and he will say it:

“Get out! You cannot stay!”

 

There will be a rainbow of repossessions

Two by two and ten by ten

When this will happen nobody knows

But our economy cannot last

Its only foundation is credit card flows

 

The middle class of every color

Will be pushed out into the street

Sharing what space they can find

With the new folks that they’ll meet

Those others without a roof or a floor

Those others who never got through the door

The homeless

The gangs

The welfare moms, the Gulf war vets

The immigrants who gambled on America as the land to place their bets

 

This will give new meaning to

Love the ones you’re with

 

Love the ones you’re with

A change of thinking so profound

Makes you wonder if we’ll hear that sound

So we have to ask the poets to get us ready

 

From redneck to Rastafarian

And everyone in between

No health care

No wealth share

We have to ask the poets to get us ready

To love the ones we’re with

 

 

Poem / 2007