10/17/20: Money and Dignity #poetry

10/17/20: Money and Dignity #poetry

Straight Outta Compton

The Rap Entrepreneur found his way


and in

“It’s a capitalist country …

they treat you better when you have money …

money gives you dignity … “

Straight Outta Scranton

The Democratic Presidential Candidate

tells stories of his struggling father

“A job gives you dignity … it means you can sit at the table and tell your children, ‘honey it’s gonna be OK’ … “

Which is it?

The money or the job …

The candidate loves the working person

the train conductor

the camera operator

the teacher

the cop

the bagger at the grocery store

The candidate’s love is his innovation

labor unions

health, education and welfare …

the dignity is not in work

in a capitalist country

it’s in the money

bosses humiliate their workers

the ones who need the jobs

bosses could care less about those who don’t make them money

or worse

potentially cost them money

for their schools

and hospitals

and old folks’ homes




health, education and welfare

and God forbid

a few dollars for diversion

and entertainment

Which is it?

Does anyone ever really get to be the boss?

Or to really work?

Does anyone get to feel any dignity at all?

The nominee for the Supreme Court is so brittle

and defensive

and condescending

She is irritated

for reasons that she can’t understand

She keeps proving herself

with her work that the bosses value

yet that final dignity is eternally elusive

she can’t stop fighting

her goal is the bench in the clouds

above it all

detached in a sacred solitude

valued by the world

but she will have to keep fighting up there too

and she knows it

Why are the wealthy so resentful?

They are always irritated

always pissed off


in bad moods

their faces freeze into sneers of disdain

Work is all struggle

and wealth is post-coital disappointment

Rich lost matrons wander the Upper East Side

Trust fund babies get drunk on St. Bart’s

Oh, fuck capitalism

Freud said that life was love and work

and isn’t that true?

The only happy place is to have nothing to do with it

Capitalist work is undignified

Nothing but humiliation and insults

The accumulation of wealth is boring …

an endless shopping trip ring of hell …

most people at heart aren’t capitalists …

they want to sustain themselves

have the basics

and enjoy


the people and activities that they care for in their lives …

there is another way to live …

creation is abundant

the job

the money

the chance

the person

the word of encouragement

the opportunity

always arrives

for those with patience

for those who love …

Dignity is not bestowed upon you by some rich guy

and working for a boss will never bring you a sense of honor

but the service of others

and labor to get not what you want but what you need

and the honor of honoring the dictates of your own soul

fulfilling the potential that you were created to achieve

that is what is dignified

The bosses

and the competitors who fight and struggle for crumbs off the table

and misname it work

the capitalists

may walk silently around you

as ghosts

but you skate on rollers in a parallel universe

Being with who you love

doing what you love

for your own needs

the greater glory of God

and feasting guests

is where dignity resides

The ultimate liberation

occurs in your mind

I can’t even remember when I worked jobs looking for dignity

or had brief moments of respect and honor from others because they saw me as rich in some way

or even the times when I was humiliated

lacking work and money

and feeling myself to be the object of the ridicule of the world

I remember that feeling

but can’t access the specifics

they are like a dream that I can’t remember

I only retain a feeling of unidentified origin when I wake up

Where the wounds were

are now pockets of wonderful anxiety




freedom from want

freedom from the co-dependent recognitions of dignity

free of jobs and bosses and competitors for

food on the table

supported by God

to fulfill his purposes

God gives me money

and dignity …

One more case study …

the comedian is happy and fulfilled in his success

blissfully unaware of how unnecessarily limited his world has become

He has won the poker game

and will rake in his winnings at the table

on a repetitive video loop

just one moment now

and then he’ll die …

money and good treatment

not abundance and real dignity

The Presidential candidate is the best version of himself that he has ever been

His generosity is the source of his abundance

He knows from jobs and bosses

and knows there is so much more …

ambition has transformed to the fire of creation

putting food on the table and questing for recognition

has turned into needs satisfied and inner peace

Money and dignity are just byproducts

of work and love.

Copyright 2020 Richard Thomas

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