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Riches to Rags

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Below is the poem entitled Riches to Rags which was written by poet Christine Phillips. Please feel free to comment on this poem. However, please remember, PoetrySoup is a place of encouragement and growth.

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Riches to Rags

I have heard of it,
I was in it,
I have imagined it,
But I am yet to experience it.

What is this dream?
Who is this dream for?
Is it a dream for the wealthy and the powerful?
The politicians and the Gangs?
The Cartels and the Mafia?
Drugs and substance abuse?

Is it a dream for organized crime? 
Child molestation,
Sabotage, and hopeless?
What is this dream?

Is it a dream for big cars?
Credit card debts?
 Foreclosed home? 
And joblessness?
Is it a dream for freedom and justice?
Inequality and racisms?
Or is it a dream for peace, unity, love and compassion?

Some people have been dreaming too long,
 And it’s time to wake up to reality?
Everyday hundreds of people are killed in the streets of America,
Children are murdered in the schools
Businesses are robbed,
And illegal schools, and colleges are established on a daily basis,
Innocent people get hurt every second
And the security system is tainted with bribery and corruption
What is this dream?
Rags to riches or riches to rag?

Aunt Mary is a successful doctor;
She left her beautiful home by the beach;
She resigned a good paying job; 
She leaves her husband, and children
 behind in search of the American dream 
But she ended up in a rat infested brown stone, 
apartment in lower Manhattan. 
She works three jobs,
 flipping burger and scrubbing floors to make ends meet,
 And at the end of the month she can barely pay the rent,
 She cannot eat a proper meal
 she has to pay it back to the American dream.

My ink has been dried up for many years,
The weather was perhaps too cold for my ink to flow,
I have resorted to the computer 
but the keys were frozen too.
What on earth had gone wrong?
I might have been in America too long
My creativity was put on hold 
 because I was too busy trying to achieve my dreamless goals

Everyday thousands of people from across the globe
 landed on the shores of America;
Thousands of people have lost their lives
 in sunken boats, and extended journey across desserts
 some people have spent months travelling from country to country
 with the hope of reaching America 
only to be subjected to the materialistic dream.
A dream that will one day reduce them to nothing,
A dream that will make them work night and day,
A dream that will cause them earn their bread the hardest way.

Somewhere along the road
 the real essence of this dream has been destroyed
 And new meaning has been added to i.,
What happen to the ideals of America?
Where is the success and upward mobility?
Where is the fuller,
 and better life that everyone anticipated?

Can we still achieve prosperity and success?
Does this dream exist at all?
Is it a dream for some?
 Or is it a dream for all?
Open your eyes and recapture the American dream.

               ©2013 Christine Phillips

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  1. Date: 3/17/2013 8:08:00 AM
    Sorry I have more to say. When people come here to make a life many of them prosper because they are willing to take on the work that many people feel is beneath them. From this work they progress and build lives. Opportunities are realized through hard work and perserverance. The desire to want more for there family is a powerful motivator. I do understand there is a dark side as well.

    Phillips Avatar Christine Phillips
    Date: 3/17/2013 9:26:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    I strongly believe in earning my bread the honest way. I believe in hard work, I am not afraid of working; I have been working since I was 18 years, and I always do whatever I can find to do. But the reality still exist that life in America is currently for some people. Greed and materialism, hatred and envy have taken over the heart of many people. Unless individual return to the real essence of that “Dream” the road ahead will continue to be rocky because those that who been wearing “Rags” for a long time will soon be wear “Fur coats”.
  1. Date: 3/17/2013 8:02:00 AM
    Very powerful piece. My wife came to Canada with her family from Hong Kong as a child. Her parents worked 7 days a week bought and paid for a home and put 4 kids through University. All of them have made a good life here and are contributing to society in meaningful ways. So I would say the dream still lives and Canada plus the USA are the best places to realize these dreams.

    Phillips Avatar Christine Phillips
    Date: 3/17/2013 9:25:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Thank you for your valuable comments. Yes, in the past the “Dream” was alive, there was honesty, and love and brotherhood among the people, besides many jobs were available. What has happen to this dream now? Many people, who have made it in the past, have lost most of their possessions today because there are no jobs available to pay their debts. Jobs that are available are hard to come by because “Native Americans” are now doing the jobs that they have once rejected. Furthermore, many people use to work illegally in the USA, and now all of those avenues have been closed. The Chinese are exceptional people (they work in groups) and there is hardly a Chinese person that suffers in a foreign country. All of them will rent one room, and live in the same place and eat the same food until each can make it on his or her own. That is how they live anywhere they go, which is why they are so successful. Then one day when they make enough money the business is closed and they disappear.
  1. Date: 3/13/2013 10:46:00 PM
    A great read and unique view.

    Phillips Avatar Christine Phillips
    Date: 3/14/2013 10:14:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Thank you