Tag Archives: poverty

“First Impressions”

or “Judging Books by their Covers”

A cup in hand, he seemed to beg for change.

I thought him dirty and a little strange

Until he pressed the cup against his lips,

unlocked his car, and took a couple sips.

by Paul “Whitberg” Burgess


From The New House of Fame

The House is found on Paradise’s shore
Away from nations called “Reality”.
You’ll never look upon the puny poor
Whose days are filled with bleak banality–
Including picking dimes up off the floor
To pay the trains or buses’ trifling fee
And working sev’ral dreary daily jobs
To buy oneself some frozen corn on cobs.

Impoverished people, honest stars believe,
Have sunken low ’cause low they’ve always aimed.
The wisest stars, who never would deceive,
Insist the lowly lice should be ashamed
For envying what famous folks receive.
Who’d not agree with all they’ve sagely claimed?
They’ve worked so hard to earn their billion bucks
By playing chance and giving secret sucks .


“Further Woes of Being Famous”

from Part II of The New House of Fame–by Paul Burgess

Some days you’ll feel the bar is set too high,
For Fame requires such grueling daily steps:
…mascara put by pros above each eye…
…reclining while a stylist gently preps
Your hair. And who’d not rather ail or die
Than talk to teams of image-shaping reps?
To these, I’d add the pain of staying fit—
A torture even if you’re paid for it.

In ways, it’s best to be among the poor,
It’s said by stars who envy woes they* lack,
Along with, “Who critiques the clothes they wore
Or how they decorate a humble shack?
They have some peace when walking through the door.
But it’s reported when I eat a snack.
They also have such painless, easy jobs
And liberty to always look like slobs.

*The poor. [Poetic license is my poor excuse for ambiguity;]

Oh, double-edged and schizophrenic Fate,
You mixed up mess I call both “charm” and “curse”!
This house contains so many things I hate,
Yet, well I know I’d rather have the hearse—
If not a deathly catatonic state—
Than leave behind my plat’num-plated purse.
Sometimes I wish I’d not been born
Or that I’d never leaked my private porn. *”

*See I.2

The stanza is likely more enjoyable in context:


“Amor Vincit Omnia”

“Amor Vincit Omnia” [An Elizabethan Sonnet by Paul Burgess]

If rags I had to wear upon my back,
And bags of brownish paper were my shoes,
Complaints you’d never hear of what I lack,
Nor ever would you catch me singing blues.
If boxes stacked I were to call my house,
And shopping carts be all I had to drive,
I’d still in gasoline myself not douse
Nor off a mountain would I choose to dive.
If meals of mine contained no salt or meat,
Be baths in icy rivers what I took,
I’d think not ill of what I had to eat,
Nor would I gripe as cold and soaked I shook.
For long as stays her heart with mine entwined,
I ever shall my fate appraise as kind.