ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Longest Line

Updated on November 15, 2013

From my ongoing autobiography

Bakersfield Blood/ A wine squeezed from the Grapes of Wrath

Source



Standing in line;

like the people I saw at the gate to the fair; like the ones we saw outside the circus.

We huddle close, waiting our turn.

Standing in line;

like the people at the ticket window of the movie theater; like the kids waiting to see Santa;

grandma holding my hand, momma holding little sisters.

Standing in line;

in the baking sun, in the drizzling rain, in the numbing cold;

waiting our turn:

Commodity day.

We've finally rounded the corner, and from far back in the line,

a line longer than any other,

I see the other families carrying their boxes:

beans, cheese, oily peanut butter in plain tin cans.

As far as quality; it was the lowest of the low,

but it wasn't the flavor that mattered then;

it was the anticipation of a full belly.

Standing in line;

I watch as cars drive past,

and children's faces press against the windows...staring.

Their expressions a mirror image of those at the zoo

that I saw staring at the wolf in his cage.



"What a weary time those years were-- to have the desire and the need to live but not the ability."

~Charles Bukowski~

Source

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Just plain fantastic. Great Pic. I had to vote funny also. Kind of in a head shaking way. I has been seen as that animal. And that is just fine by me. Because we was looking at them too.

      I certainly hope just hitting every positive button does not make me look like a shill.

    • markdarmafall profile image

      Mark 3 years ago from Moundsville,WV

      Very Powerful and creative with a message that says-WOW! great job my friend as always

      Mark

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 3 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      I have stood in that line, with my children. It was good food mainly. We really enjoyed it too.

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Eric, when the wolves escape their cages, I think they can hit every damn button they so choose! :)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Been there and done that and boy oh boy did you capture it perfectly. I suspect, Wayne, that we are going to see more of these lines....I wonder when the wolves will have had enough? I wonder when good people will have had enough? Very nice work my friend.

    • Nikkij504gurl profile image

      Nikkij504gurl 3 years ago from Louisiana

      The times of true hardship.

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Mark, thank you for the kind words.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Wow,' powerful' (as Mark already called it) is a strong word, but it does apply here. Your comparison between the "Commodity Day" line and the circus, so true. Love this type of poetry. Voted up.

    • cleaner3 profile image

      cleaner3 3 years ago from Pueblo, Colorado

      wow... !!!!!!!

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

      This paints a vivid picture of a division in society and of the real need of those in line. Great poem well penned. Ann

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Wow. We learn so much about each other in our posts. I consider myself very fortunate never having had the experience of standing in line for food. That is except for the school cafeteria.

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Becky, thanks for stopping by. you are one of those who understands the feeling. I also thought the food was pretty good, but I think that is mostly due to that old saying, "hunger is the best seasoning."

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you Billy. This is one wolf that escaped, but not everyone is able. And it will become most dangerous when the wolves outnumber their captors.

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Nikki, reflecting on those times does help us better appreciate what we have. It is worse at different periods of history, but it has always been there. For me it was the 60's and 70's. I always try to encourage people with my own example that it is possible to change your stars, but it sure aint easy, and having fellow brothers and sisters in this human race who will help hold you up makes a ton of difference.

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Jodah, Thank you for the 'Wow' :)

    • ocfireflies profile image

      ocfireflies 3 years ago from North Carolina

      Wayne,

      Your eye for the human condition expressed so poetically is what makes you one of the masters. V+ as always.

      KIm

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Hi, Michael. I'll take that as a fine compliment! :)

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Ann, thank you very much.

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you Sha. It is good to get to know others, even on a social network level. You were on of the first contacts I made when I started here 10 months ago.

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you Kim, you are a darling!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      A wonderful story Wayne.

      Voted up for sure and here's wishing you a great weekend.

      Eddy.

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you again Eddy. I like your new profile pic!

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 3 years ago

      Humbling, without question..

      Your beautifully poetic words drip with with deep concern for human suffering..

      i LOVE that!

      On the other hand, i'm thinking how badly some need a little humbling nowadays

      sadly - they're usually the ones with all the 'dough' (depression reference..sorry)

      sharing/caring

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Leslie, thank you so much my friend. It is always a pleasure to see you. I have just begun reading your book, and when I am finished, I will be sure to leave you a review. I am such a slow reader, not because I read slow (if that makes any sense) but because I am one of those that reads about six books at a time. Hey, what can I say, I love to read!

    • profile image

      Vincent Moore 3 years ago

      How sadly woven, your words shed light on a time when human suffering was at it's all time high, many starved, while the Rippled faces stuffed theirs on delicacies from the Orient. I felt like you were writing as a bystander, feeling their souls. I remember days as a boy, ragged, holes in my shoes, dirty face, stealing from others who had more. It was called survival, mom had a tough time feeding us. I don't envy any country, man woman and child who goes to bed hungry. Great write my talented friend. Write on.

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you Vincent. Having stood in these lines as a kid, I know all too well the feeling.

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 3 years ago from Reno NV

      Excellent work, your poems keep getting better and better each read. Thank you. Jamie

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you Jamie. I appreciate your compliments.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 3 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Just fantastic you had me there and I saw it all and it was just some journey.

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you very much Rasma.

    • Romeos Quill profile image

      Romeos Quill 3 years ago from Lincolnshire, England

      Felt this one Wayne; spent childhood in that line with you. I guess it's everyday scenes like this which inspired John Lennon to write ' Working-Class Hero.'

      All the Best,

      R.Q.

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you Romeo. I admired John Lennon very much because even though he was about as famous as you can get, he seemed like the kind who did not forget where he came from.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Yes, you sure have THAT right…the zoo…now we know exactly how the animals feel, don't we? I was there, too, and everybody knew.

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thanks for stopping by Deb.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 3 years ago

      Nice observations. Alas, we're all in the zoo.

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you for the visit, Micky Dee

    • Ryem profile image

      Ryem 3 years ago from Maryland

      Wayne your stories are great! Thanks for sharing.

    • wayne barrett profile image
      Author

      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Thank you very much, Ryem. I appreciate your compliments.

    Click to Rate This Article