Begging (American Style)

In far flung countries begging is a custom, our developing, American definition, pieces of indigenous lands unless you have no land on which to live.

In the U.S., in the big cities and maybe in rural areas, too,  homeless folks beg for spare change, or barter their work for food, etc.—on street corners, under viaducts, wherever they can find empty space they occupy, squatters on public domains, their weapons are signs of begging, only we are a little embarrassed by the term, and sad faces, I feel so sad for them, knowing I could just as easily be there myself/entertaining the people in cars, now entertaining could equal begging, American-style.

Immigrant workers stand on curbs or at busy intersections, in clumps, they ain’t no chumps, they be just begging for a job today—survival worries—take it one day at a time—that’s all the energy any of us has, what we have now, not so fine, and furiously fine.

I’ve begged in Berkeley in the Mid-Sixties—easier then, because I was selling the Berkeley Barb, the daily news of dissent.

Now I’m begging for people to buy my poetry, or my leather products—cut off/cut off unemployment benefits due to a label given to me by the State—misconduct—it’s done, not filling a monthly quota is misconduct, rather hostile & abrupt, scheduling problems, targeted by the political system of an entity whose stated aim is to deal ethically, they hide beyond the wall, wrapped in gauze of serving the needs of the Mentally Ill/no surprise.

What about my needs for dignity and equity and justice?  I also have a Mental Health diagnosis, don’t I count?  Can’t learn anything when my boss threatened to kill me in her multiple-personality way, PTSD retriggered, I’m awash in symptoms.  Was this my fate or my Karma?

So, now, no coins jingling in my pockets, or bills in my wallet, unless I sell my poetry, you see, by begging, American-style, luckily as a poet I have my craft, my greatest earthly joy/my products are me.  It’s a trip when you’ve had a job all your life, or most of it—now this prop has split, gone.

Selling my poetic discourse under a tree.

But what’s up with me?  Lots of black crow feathers in my mouth—tastes like one sick bird, lots of bending & stooping and the humble pie is rancid vomit.

Everyone’s got to beg someday, so don’t be too proud to beg, OK?  Good to give away all you got, good to receive as well.

© Christopher Bear-Beam July 25, 2011

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