Uncle, why only one slice of white bread?
Something is happening, what is it I dread?
Oh dear, don’t worry, it will all be just fine.
Just do as you’re told and toe the line.
But Uncle I see others have food on their plate.
And yours, above all, looks deliciously great.
Look, I need more sustenance than you.
Do you realize all the work that I do?
Now go to bed and do as you’re told.
Nothing will come from you being bold.
Uncle, what do those letters say?
I need to read if I am to stay.
Who says you’re staying, impertinent imp!
School is expensive, we just have to scrimp.
But Uncle I am working hard, too.
I pay for my clothes and give my extra to you.
Of course you do, that’s the only way.
How else can we live if you don’t slave away?
Now go to bed. That is not a choice.
I’m starting to get really annoyed at your voice.
Uncle, it just doesn’t seem fair.
I put in my time. You know that I care.
But it seems that I am the only one
These austerity measures will make me undone
Well, if that happens, it’s your own fault!
You’re not strong enough, clearly not worth your salt.
It’s because of you that we need these measures today
Always wanting to help others who have lost their way.
But Uncle, that was the right thing to do!
Shouldn’t we share with those who have few?
We have so much, but you’re saying we don’t.
Yet you still seem to be able to buy all you want.
Those are things that are my due.
I deserve more things than you.
Look at me! Why can’t you agree?
All you want are things for free.
And that’s why these cuts are your burden to bear.
Being in the middle, you should be aware.
Now go to bed, let these issues unfold.
Just be glad only a few things need sold.
Oh Uncle, why did you sell your soul?
For personal wealth, was that your goal?
I came to you with stars in my eyes.
I thought you were strong and honest and wise.
Together, we could have done so well!
But now I fear we will both go to hell.
Uncle Sam you ask so much of me.
I have so much less, yet you ask for more austerity.
What about healthcare, a decent wage and fair representation?
Or respect for my genders or religious affiliation?
On my back, you’ve created this fantasy,
And now you still just want to grab my pussy?
I’ve had enough. I won’t go to bed.
I deserve much more than one slice of bread.
This was a difficult poem to write for Jamie Dedes’ Wednesday prompt of “austerity measures”. She writes “The phrase “austerity measure” isn’t used as much now as it was when I wrote this poem, but that injustice by other name or unnamed is still an injustice and it’s one that is happening all over the world.”
I had never heard that term before reading Jamie’s poem. I had always associated austerity with something that saints did, something positive, like sacrificing or doing without for the greater good. The term “austerity measures” is actually a financial term to denote an action by government to decrease its debt by increasing taxes while cutting spending on wages and programs (usually for the poor). So it’s something government imposes on its populace with those who are most in need, shouldering the burden of these measures. I will add that the financial definition does note that the tax cuts should be for the wealthy, however, I have a “feeling” that those cuts would depend on who is in government.
Families also implement austerity measures. I know my family did – growing up and being immigrants here, however, I know my parents took the brunt of those measures and did without, so that us children would not need to know that we were financially struggling. Of course, as kids, we still knew that other people had more than we did, but it wasn’t a hardship, just what our family did to live within our means.
Money has so many different meanings for different people. Our attitudes towards money, saving/spending are shaped by our upbringing and experiences. I wonder if austerity measures would be less of an injustice if it wasn’t imposed, if we all agreed to tighten our belts a little for the good of all. Whether a family, a company or a country – could there be compassion in financial matters?
©️ iido 2018