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Poetry Prompts

Monday Poetry Prompt: Poverty


Let’s write a poem about poverty this week. It could be about a poverty of ideas or morals or, of course, the obvious: a lack of wealth. Below is a poem I wrote while I was in Brazil for a month during the 2014 World Cup.

Salvador da Bahia

Without much effort
I chose not to see
I stayed behind walls
Topped with razor wire
Guarded by uniforms
Traveled by taxi
Focused on my phone
Shopped safely in malls
Ate in restaurants
Air conditioned

Then a dog of the street
Soaked and skinny
Matted and mangy
Looked into my eyes
This dog did not play the free market game
He made no bad choices
Neither crazy nor lazy
Merely unfortunate
To have been born
Of a bitch in heat
Just as I was lucky to be born
In America
White male and straight

This stray dog
These stray men
Are not my problem
I am just a traveler
But I fear for my home
I fear this problem
Will be mine to solve

~ Bartholomew Barker



About Bartholomew Barker

Bartholomew Barker is one of the organizers of Living Poetry, a collection of poets and poetry lovers in the Triangle region of North Carolina. Born and raised in Ohio, studied in Chicago, he worked in Connecticut for nearly twenty years before moving to Hillsborough where he makes money as a computer programmer to fund his poetry habit.


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