Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hey Mister (A poem)

Hey Mister!
©Louise Gallagher 2010

Hey mister
can you spare me
a dime
The cupboards
are bare
and my mama
she's working
and my baby sister
she's crying
and hunger
it's poundin'
like a freight train
into the west
where my daddy
done go
in search of work

to help us all
get by

I want
to go too
but mama done cry
and papa done
made me
to stay
but I'm not gettin'
helpin' out
and I don't know
no more
what to do

Hey mister
can you spare me
a dime?

Our bellies
are shrunken
and hope
is a tumblin'
with every passer-by
the other way
like they can't see
and hollow cheek bones
like they can't hear
and tears fallin'

you don't gotta
you don't gotta
I promise
you can drop a dime
without losin' a step
you can throw it from
over there
and I won't care
if you hit me
but please
can you spare me
a dime?

The good ladies
of the church
done bring us a basket
with cans and a chicken
but we ate it
'cause empty bellies
need fillin'
and mama
she didn't eat
but pick at the bones
we left behind

Hey mister
can you spare me
a dime?

It is another One Stop Poetry -- One Shot Sunday Poetry Contest.

Write a poem based on the theme and photo -- link in and .... fame and fortune await! Okay -- maybe not fame and fortune, but definitely a lot of fun and fascinating reads and the joy of being part of something bigger than just this page sitting here. The fun of stretching your creative muscles to encompass words that make pictures and a photo that brings words to life.

Click on over to One Stop Poetry and immerse yourself in wonder!

Thank you to Leslie Moon and Pete Marshall who shared their poems at One Stop today and to Adam Dustus for hosting today's event and for inspiring us all to poetic verse with his poem, Our Gang!


Claudia said...

oh this gave me shivers..think it must be horrible if you don't have enough food to feed your children...great take on the prompt

dustus said...

Love how you take the prompt and run with it! Could picture the perceptions described and the speaker wanting to help the family. Great work, Louise!

M.L. Gallagher said...

Thanks Claudia -- I love how we all take the same photo and 'see' different words appear.

And thanks Adam -- I love your one Shot Sunday prompts!

Glynn said...

Good one, Louise. Rapid-fire and haunting at the same time.

M.L. Gallagher said...

Thanks Glynn -- I found yours haunting too -- the juxtaposition from then and now. Brilliant.

Sandra Heska King said...

Oh, Louise. Such vivid images and emotions!

Kodjo Deynoo said...

Pappa done go, mama done what else need be to a paint a more vivid picture

Joyceann Wycoff said...

Wow! Very real and touching. Reminds me of something I did several years ago ... I'll post it at

Tis not the season for children to go hungry.

Maureen said...

This has a rap-like quality that we can "hear" as we read the poem. Great take on the prompt.

hedgewitch said...

Direct and pounding home the truth behind the picture. Hunger's never so real as when you see it in your own family.

Hope said...

wow! brilliantly done!
thank you

Melissa Campbell said...

Wow. I felt the heaviness of responsibility on skinny shoulders and the hopelessness of a child, a mother, a father who give all for nothing in return. And I wanted to dump my purse. Tears. And blessings.

Reflections said...

Shivers... I thought of writing from the child's perspective, but could not find the words. You definitely found them!

M.L. Gallagher said...

Thanks everyone for your words of encouragement!

Gigi Ann said...

I like the take on the old cliche, "Hey mister can you spare me a dime." I can just hear the boys saying that. Even dimes were hard to come-by in the Depression. I think they were happy to have a dime in their pocket in those days.

I wasn't born yet, but, I heard the old-timers talk about it sometimes. My parents lived in the country, therefore, they could grow a vegetable garden and preserve food for winter. So I don't think it hit them as bad as the people in the cities.

Aquarius63 said...

Great expression of how those children felt.


Anonymous said...

beautiful words from a beautiful heart.


nance marie said...

i can see that kid
he doesn't give up

he gets his dime.