My Great Depression”
This is how I think it happened, sir. How I lost
Everything. it’s hard to remember, even though it should be Easy to remember how everything is lost. Coins. Company.
Country. First quickly, then slowly, then suddenly again. Dust bowl.
Crash. It won’t happen to me. More crashing. Dollars, gold.
Dust. I think it was when , it happened.
Loss, losses. So I stopped selling. So much.
So I let people go. So they lost their jobs. So?
Then the lost jobs stopped buying.
More. So more was lost. I cut. I still lost. Lost my business.
The bank said, no, no more loans. Then all closed.
All businesses. All the doors. Creditors. Banks. My family.
Their hearts, their minds, their purses closed. And gone.
Who can love a man who can’t keep a family,
Can’t keep what he owns, only owe?
No, maybe it was the other way around.
Who stopped buying? Who stopped selling? First?
It’s hard to remember. What I do remember
Is cutting, cutting away. The people. The faces
At the doors. Then my own face at the door.
No work, man. The pavement beneath my feet.
I can feel the cardboard in my shoes and once Only the finest of leather would do. From living
It up putting on the Ritz in the Big Apple
To selling Apples and
In charity stews. FDR says
Big government will
And once again I will spend, and America
Will spend, and all will be well again.
But it’s hard to believe,
What you read,
On paper, in the papers
After losing your money, your shirt, and everything
You are and own on paper — paper lies, paper money
Paper words, are cruel.
So sir, that’s how my .
That’s why I learned not to spend. To save string.
To hoard, like a rat, what I earn, burning with anger at Hoover,
And full of fire at the misspent world of my own life, as if it could warm
My belly like wine or gruel.