"We must trust, though we seem alone, there are others walking with us."

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Day 228: Poverty 101

with radical thanksgiving for The Community Table
and my dear friends, Tom and Shanthi


I hate poverty
and I blame the poor
with their unclean bodies
their stale sweat smell
their tobacco breath
their rotting teeth
their unkempt clothes
their self inflicted tattoos
their unshaved chins
their lack of manners
their constant need

I hate poverty
and I blame my mom
with her tapes in my head
saying, "Go anyway
Do what is right
Put on the mask
Smile and engage
Start conversation
Control your thoughts
Sit at their table
'til it comes naturally"

I hate poverty
and I blame myself
as I judge on the inside
and feign interest
as I secretly mock
and puff up my righteousness
as I believe deep down
I'm above, they're below
as I look at the clock
and hope this encounter will end soon
as I lie, lie, lie

I hate poverty
and now I blame her
the one across the table
who claims she recognizes me
"Aren't you your mother's daughter?
Isn't she my cousin?"
How can I sit here
at the table of judgment
when the woman sharing bread
is my kin
offering me hospitality?

I hate poverty
and I blame you, Jesus
as you bless the poor
and invite me in
and wash my feet
and offer me bread
and look at me
when I deny you
"No, I don't know him."
or ask
"Am I my brother's keeper?"

I hate poverty

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