Life Is a Selfie

During World War Two, common humanity
Caught on in America and united we stood,
And were still standing when I arrived in
1948, a 13-year-old immigrant from Austria
Via Switzerland, and experienced empathy
And understanding, from the girl at Public
School 84 in Manhattan, who showed this
Greenhorn how to hit a rubber ball with a stick,
From the owner of the corner candy store,
Who gave me my first job as a soda jerk,
75 cents an hour was the minimum wage then,
From classmates at college and then from
Fellow troopers sweating inside an M-48 tank
Under the Texas sun in basic training with
The 4th Armored Division in Fort Hood.
We were not just fellow citizens, but fellow
Humans, exposed to what humans learn
To endure, to enjoy, to allow or to
Oppose and overcome.
That’s mostly gone now, hearts no
Longer go out among the haves for
The have-nots, for those abandoned
And living on the streets or in poverty
In abandoned towns and villages, for
Whole counties like McDowell County in
West Virginia, where the only food a
Mother can buy for her children is
“Basically all processed food”1
Life for the rich, the powerful, the
Famous is a selfie, celebrated
Daily in our corporate media, while
The rest of the people are sacrifices
To enable and enrich their lifestyle.
And all we can say is “Common
Humanity: R.I.P. We hardly knew ya.”

  1. See “The Great Divide: Life in McDowell County,”  posted on Senator Bernie Sanders’ website. []
George Salamon has most recently contributed to One Sentence Poems, The Asses of Parnassus, The New Verse News and Dissident Voice from St. Louis, MO. Read other articles by George.