I’m still Poor…

I’m still Poor, Eating like a Yuppie who shops at the Boise Co-op
by Brandon Follett
I went to a food drive at a ski resort.
The big poster at the entrance read,
“Only canned goods, Please.”
I donated a can of Spam.
It’s odd that poor people
all seem to enjoy
canned food,
boxed food,
water, and butter.
Another time
I went to a food drive at a bar.
Once again the big poster read,
“Only canned goods, Please.”
This time I donated an ear of corn.
Corn tastes good
with butter and water.
The social worker at the door
said, “Poor people only eat
canned food,
boxed food,
water, and butter.”
I’m in Thailand
now broke.
Spent all my money
on restaurants and guest houses,
I’m looking forward
to being a poor and hungry person.
It’s been months since I’ve eaten
processed food.
At the market,
I ask where to find a food bank
or how to get free food.
A farmer and I start talking.
He doesn’t know where to get free food
but he too is poor.
He said, “We can eat poor together.”
I agree to free room and board
in exchange
for several hours of farming and an hour English lesson
per day.
I sit down for my first poor persons meal.
Oh, I can’t wait to dig into a big
plate of Kraft boxed macaroni and
a hot bowl of canned peas.
Yum! Yum!
Instead, the farmer wrecks
my appetite with organic:
duck eggs,
rice, tomatoes, catfish, coconut,
and bananas.
Day after day
to my disdain
I eat yuppie co-op food.
One day I tell the farmer,
“Man, you talk about how much you like America.
You’ve got a cell phone with a Britney Spears ring tone,
a computer with the latest pirated Microsoft software,
and a TV that shows Sponge Bob dubbed in Thai.
Don’t you want to eat poor like an American?
Don’t you want to eat food that’s bright orange?”
The farmer replies,
“I hear what you’re saying.
I too am getting tired of the same old fresh food.
Good news!
The lettuce should be ready in about a week,
the mangos are almost in season,
and this year an avocado might appear.”
I start to become passive aggressive through farm suggestions.
I mention, “Let’s give the farm a make over:
chop down the fruit trees,
till under the vegetable garden,
fill in the fish pond,
burn down the duck house,
eat the water buffalo parents and babies.
Then buy a new shiny tractor
and a 5th of Johnny Walker black label
on credit.
We’ll take turns trying to drive straight.
We’ll tear up the ground till we run out of gas
or run out of Johnny Walker.
Then we’ll plant row after row
of corn.”
The farmer asks, “Why?”
“So we can eat boxed macaroni!
The great farm state of Iowa
has to import 80% of their food.
Stop diversifying.
Put all your time, money, labor,
and belly into a single cash crop.
With the money you make,
think of all the processed food you can buy.”
The farmer didn’t let me burn the duck house,
chop down the fruit trees
or eat all his water buffalo.
I’m still poor, eating like a yuppie who shops at the Boise Co-op.

0 thoughts on “I’m still Poor…

  1. my mother died. we cleaned her cupboards and took the canned goods (ummm. vienna sausages) to the foodshelf in Vallejo. everyone was happy. why? because most of their donations came from grocery stores looking to unload rotted produce. its a well-know fact poor people really dig spoiled veggies. incidentally, we kept the liquor.
    by the way, good poem. I enjoyed it.

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