Poetry

This Ain’t Livin’

sadness-in-the-city

I.
They all live for cigarette breaks
and half hour lunches
where the sound of change
clinging
and empty bags
rustling
fill the spaces
between sighs
and hopeless musings
about cars they’ll never buy
and places they can’t go
while they check the time
and hold their breath
this ain’t livin’, God. This ain’t livin’

II.
Parents with full-time jobs
they take up for their kids
who they never get to see
because they’re chasing clocks
and coming home
with pockets full of overtime
and broken backs and dreams
coming home to sleeping lovers
who forgot the taste
of good morning and goodnight
staring at bills plastered
on an empty fridge
they know they can’t fill this week
this ain’t livin’, God. This ain’t livin’

III.
They try ignoring the old man
under the construction tent
with the broken smile
whose greetings are all laced with honey
his hand is never outstretched and he never holds a sign
but they know enough to feel a sense of shame
crawling up and down their skin
so they hide away behind fake phone calls
just until he’s out of view
so they can go back to work
where they’re a pay check away
from living under construction tents
watching strangers make phone calls
this ain’t livin’, God. This ain’t livin’

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