Sunday, October 23, 2011

Someone Else’s Dime

I was always a hard-working man--
I had a family, I had a plan;
then economy crashed,
and I felt the backlash
life as I knew it got tossed in the can.

Now I feel like I’m living on borrowed time,
moment-to-moment, on someone else’s dime.
My family wants nothin’ to do with me,
praying the Lord will see this through for me.
All I want for them to see
is the man I know that I can be...
I may be down on my luck
but I’m not looking for a handout,
I’m just lookin’ for
a hand up.

Old “friends” relieved they'd been by-passed,
point and whisper that I was just an ass;
Out job huntin’ every day
till the good jobs seemed to go away--
finally hit rock bottom in the bottom of a glass.

With no one to believe in me, I let my life go down...
then stumbled on this building while wandering through town.
Now I work with other broken men
each one starting all over again.
They feed my body and soul,
give me hope; pull me out of that hole.
No longer feeling down on my luck...
They didn’t just give just a hand out,
they gave me
a hand up.

© Ginny Brannan October 2011

(A work-in-progress that I've been working on since last spring. I thought it fit the theme for "the other" so am posting to share at d'Verse. Not exactly in a true poetry format, but this is how the words came to me, so this is how I wrote it. This was inspired from volunteering at our local Rescue Mission, and working alongside some really wonderful guys who were trying to get their lives together.)


  1. What a touching story of the grim reality of losing more than a job; for most it is also losing your dignity and pride. I admire the group of people giving a hand to these poor and displaced members of our community. Sometimes, all they need is just a hand to bring them up.

  2. Works as poetry for me, Ginny. There's always a story, a tale, a drama, to the lives of even the most downtrodden and sick. Even if they only tell it to themselves. Seems like the people I tend to write about.


  3. Ginny! A song way too many hard working men are singing these days. Great take on the prompt, and getting us into the head of a person going through this.

  4. nice...i think you capture this well...ugh on the slippery slope he found himself on...and when family turns their back as well...and this is def telling of the times...nicely played...

  5. It's a complex and realistic voice you've drawn here, and I admire how, in his situation, moving up comes from helping others.

    (not sure what you mean by a "true poetry format" - this works as poetry for me)

  6. interesting. the 'other' on yet another's dime.
    idea of the 'broken man' in desperate need of help -- not asking for charity. Dramatic Monologue in a good persona piece.

  7. Thanks everyone, am glad you understood this for what it is. Truly a reality for many today.

    Mark, what I meant by not a true poetry format, is that it is not a known structured format such as quatrain, triolet, or villanelle. This has "rhyme" and a bit of meter, but the meter and syllable count is not even consistent from line to line. Those are the specifics of why I say not a true poetry format, as I know just rhyme does not a poem make. Sometimes I just have to write what's in my head, but feel that if it is not a true format, it cannot be called poetry, and could easily be critically picked apart as such.
    Am so glad you all appreciated it "as is."

  8. I love the wonderful message of this 'work in progress' piece. Thank you. Many of us struggle with what the recent economic pressures have brought us. I like how you crept into this man's skin and saw the world that he feels discarded by. Great job.

  9. how playful om him.
    some homely issues stated, well done.

  10. Very appropriate and very true write about people in this sort of situation. I have a friend who has been out of a job for months and she has had the worst time in particular with her family, and endure those kind of words and being seen as lazy or not making the effort. They just need people to believe in them, to be patient, help them out by looking out for them; definitely not looking for a handout.

    - Ravenblack


Thank you for reading my poetry and sharing your thoughts.