Forgive this very impressionistic post; it's all I've got to offer today, but I wanted to set down something. I should have better research. I should have an impassioned missive written from one of the poorest states in the US. Instead I just have hazy imagery and a sketch of my family, hanging on.
So I've been staring at an empty text window for long minutes waiting for a spark of insight to fill me with Obama-esque eloquence and a clear, intelligent theme for an action post about poverty. It's not coming. There is no dramatic black and white photo of soup kitchen lines adjacent in my mind to a precise definition of poverty. The stark portraits of a long-ago student show profiling some people living on the streets of my hometown are no longer icons in a young artist's mind; the concept has blurred and overlapped with another iconic idea:
the middle class. The lines are fuzzy and numbers are sinking.
The "starving artist" who lived comfortably numb, stoned, and fat on her mama's couch is a mother now myself, living on a wavy wavering budget: One month in the middle class struggle of having to choose cheaper chemically processed foods over organic produce, the next month the in-laws buy our groceries. I'm not ungrateful, I'm not unaware of privilege and class- it's just where I live, in a gray area under the middle income. I am seeing the category swell in numbers, and I think about those families who are dangling in the spaces just below us, about what happens to them, if things get just a tiny bit worse. Everyone doesn't have family with just enough wiggle room for little bail-outs.
My writing is as amorphous today as my concept of poverty. It's bigger and blurrier than it used to be. I don't know where the line is- there's no definition of middle class- but I'm exhausted from worry and I'm enraged when I hear the constant worrying about main street. The hollows of trailers and boxy housing projects on the neglected half of town are invisible in the rhetoric about the economy right now. I feel bitter and edgy and overlooked.
I don't even know what questions I'm asking. I'm just looking for footing, finding the place from which I can form questions. All I can think about is the election. Vote for change. Vote for small, local businesses which are an endangered entity. Vote for the underrepresented and for families and candidates who seem to have a grasp on the realities for the working class and those who scramble to be working class.