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The Needle's Eye

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The Needle's Eye

Those who can never
have enough, who have
more, most, a superabundance
insist that receiving a pittance
of governmental assistance
to bring living conditions
up to subsistence
creates lingering dependence
and a sense of entitlement
to a living wage.

And in spite of the
humiliation this nation
makes of application
for benefits, the recipients
still possess a shred of
dignity and self-worthiness.

The "problem" for those who
favor privatization is not
the dependence but
what it's based on -
a brotherhood of all
taxpaying men instead of
an authoritarian religion

or the conditional whims
of those with an agenda other
than stemming destitution,
so they offer another, more
"acceptable" solution.

In return for playing the starring role as savior
they'll control the recipient's behavior
and wring from them the desired admission
of responsibility for their own economic condition,
hear them take the blame for being jobless or working poor
rather then lay underemployment at the corporate door,
see them down on their knees as they confess
their utter degradation and worthlessness.
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The current method doesn't make the
poor feel abjectly grateful enough
to make their "betters" feel better
about having too much.
Using charity to feel big
while making another feel small
does not absolve the pride or
greed of having it all.

And though "He ain't heavy, he's my
brother" is just a Boys' Town fable,
Americans shouldn't have to beg for
scraps from anybody's table.


- Vi Ransel
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Vi's works appear widely both in print and online. She conducts Poetry Workshops and gives readings in Central New York. Her latest chapbook is "Sine Qua Non Antiques (an Arcanum of History, Geography and Treachery).

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