notions of wealth

by | Apr 5, 2022 | Fiction, Issue Twenty Six

The light from the sun is obstructed at whatever angle we sit or stand. I’ve laid flat on my stomach to catch a glimpse of some form here below. A cracked door sliver.

To avoid being swallowed by the inside, we make a point to get out of the apartment and take daily walks. There’s a river, steelhead, ponderosa, red-tailed hawk. The western sky.

$24,000 dollars per year to rent a one-bedroom apartment. Incredible. I may be mistaken, but isn’t that about how much a public school teacher makes in a year? Stop complaining they say, not like they put a gun to your head, you didn’t have to teach 6th graders that yes reading some books could make you cry.

I’ve learned it’s best to not share the small miseries with your loved ones. Gripes are best generated and subsequently unloaded online to collective strangers who live far, far away. Poor wretches.

My dad called the other day to ask how the big move went, how the new spot was shaping up. I modified the subject to sportstalk instead. Sports fanaticism is damn good for the masses. I gladly eat it up in full.

After the call ended and the dial tone went silent, I said into the phone that money is psychological warfare for those who have a lot of it and for those who don’t.

The middle-class would be nice, it’s the sweet spot. That’s what we put on our vision board. We cut out pictures from magazines of a house and the numbers $60,000 and tacked them to a corkboard. A dream salary. Look at it every day to conjure up its existence.

I felt better after saying my thoughts out loud. It’s important to hear your thoughts said in sound. That’s why I sometimes drive out to the middle of nowhere to scream. I laugh at myself afterward for being ridiculous and turn up the music to soundtrack the horizon mountains.

On this side of the apartment building, it’s a perpetual winter city sky pledging its allegiance to the color gray. Nothing wrong with the winter sky, every season serves its divine purpose. I stand and salute the sky and get on my knees to pray for the season’s poem.

Across the parking lot is a heavily built hundred-story investment bank building. There are 8000 cars in the parking lot yet I’ve never seen a human being go in or out. They make lots and lots of money there to keep the economy afloat. God save their good deeds for the rest of us lazy idlers.

Sometimes I think how easy it would be for all of us to make a million bucks. Painless just like they do. ABC123. Make some phone calls, casually get handed a $25,000 no strings attached check to getcha started, then bam it’s doubling by money movement with no further effort needed besides exercising commonsense restraint. Stocks only go up. Easy money never bet against the US of A.

Possessing a great deal of undesirable human characteristics that do not align with that mode of salesmanship, I settle in by giving myself a week off of lounge time before seeking work in this new city.

You only have one life, what should I go do.

Yesterday’s coffee sits abandoned on the counter. Yeah right, I always drink all the coffee.

I write another poem not about the moon. Poetry is easy when you all at once don’t take it too seriously and extremely seriously.

Read the morning paper it’s easy to assume it’s all tragic. It’s not. Turn on the television, it’s trash. I find something great to watch. Pay em the big bucks for making good movies. I laugh, cry, cheer, think on life. Life is great, I just want to win together.

Back to business, but first, let’s watch another one. Later on, after applying for more jobs, I’ll take a walk in the park. Walk, walk, walking it’s free to do. Head home, make another cup of coffee.

All the while life continues on. More months pass, still no job. They ask what I can do and what is my worth. My replies are deficient. They hang up the phone. Next day the same. It’s my own personal Groundhog Day Vacation. I sigh and smile then dial my bookie to place a bet. I always lose and always win. The team doesn’t pull off the upset this time. Maybe tomorrow. I’m going to win.

I know this is me trying to convey some meaning. Better this than at a dinner party that’s later agonized over. Some people like me, a few love me, the majority don’t care for me. Excuse the commentary it can be exhausting, but sometimes so are you.

What does it mean. Popular tv is of idolized, insufferable rich families. Don’t we have enough examples of what this looks and sounds like? We are even lonelier than we thought times ten.

This is an ongoing psychological tragedy. Hello.

What can I do about it. I stare at the ceiling fan. The practice of cynicism is being acutely aware of our mortality by turning the norms inside out. Freedom.

With no job prospects and no money, I need a lifestyle change. I go back to school. So that’s what I do. I’m thinking, I’m learning. I’m reading. I’m doing a little bit of writing.

Bingo. I land a job working at a public library by the sea. This will be good. I like where I work and where we live. We finally get our first house. We are moving up. There’s original wood flooring and a magnificent large window. The view is incredible with plenty of natural sunlight. My new job pays $1 dollar more than my previous job. Now I am making the big bucks. Yes.

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