“Littered Dreams” is a politically-geared poem that was inspired by my witnessing dozens and dozens of used, losing lottery scratch tickets blowing in the wind in South Boston, Massachusetts, at the height of the Great Recession in 2009 when insecurity and fear gripped an uncertain American nation.
Grey clouds reflect the sidewalk pavement.
A scratch lottery ticket, weathered and worn, scuffs along with the windgust passed my feet. I’ve seen so many of late, just like this. A dollar’s worth of hopes and dreams now broken and turned to litter.
These days are hard on everyone, but no harder on those who struggle just to survive.
And yet, in such times we’d expect our elected leaders to step forth and offer their helping hands. To encourage fiscal responsibility, to lower the burdens of over-taxation. Instead, taxes soar by their hands. And they invite the impoverished to gamble what little they have on the possibility of riches.
What moral leader would beckon those who struggle mightily to spend short dollars on lottery tickets rather than milk? Such an irony that gambling’s only winner is the state, who triumphs by way of robbing its citizenry. A crime justified by the peoples’ supposed benefit.
How could such a leader refute accusations of immorality? The so-called leader would argue the robbery as benefiting “the greater good” — some elusive destination, one that is never reached. And by claiming their deeds are on behalf of this “greater good,” it is one that the mighty must alone believe they can guide us toward. If they didn’t, they would encourage us to save our dollars and cents, to invest wisely and responsibly in ourselves and others around us.
Instead they beckon poor dreamers to gamble their hopes away. By the State’s heavy hand, dreams become crumpled and discarded; they walk away with nothing, on nothing more than a littered sidewalk.