A Lesson on Poverty

Flowers 3

By Christian Lozada

I went to elementary school in Compton.
If my parents placed bets on my survival,
they both lost

We were so poor
the thing that kept us going was my dad’s job.
Boiler room: Skippy Dog food
(because we ate dogs or we ate dog food.
Choose how stereotypical do you want me to be.)
The thing that kept us going was each other
(because we hated each other or we loved each other.
Decide how much like you I am.)

We were so poor we couldn’t have good pets.
Home was like the elephant exhibit at the LA Zoo:
animals everywhere with no one taking care of them
pigs, chickens, rabbits, dogs.
It was awful
I know what you’re thinking, those are excellent pets.Not when you have to eat themWe were so poor,
my racist mom said I turned brown
because soap and water were too expensive

What I learned about race is that when you’re poor,
life is all about hate:
you hate the person you are
the place you came from
and the thing you just ate.


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