the change in my pocket [rooming house, basement floor]

08 Feb

“…if you do not know yourselves

then you are in poverty,

and you are the poverty.”

                                                                 logion 3, The Gospel of Thomas


i emptied my pockets with rattling and scattered coins on the dresser.

facing me, an obtrusive un-welcomed ever-present mirror.    

i could not look away; i was centered within its paint chipped borders.

off to the edge, a stack of black-and-white old family photos;

mixed in with a bunch of sticky colored Polaroid’s

of a motorcycle weekend and penny arcades at Weirs Beach.

and, blurry ones of a start-up rock and roll band

“jamming” at the Beanstalk variety store.

(it’s still at the junction of route 106 and Canterbury road).

i can hear the screeching tires on the curves of Gunstock

and the giggling, lovemaking, in a pup tent between laps.

the racers often change the lead before the lovers

pressed themselves, arm and arm, against the fence again.

i can see in their Polaroid eyes, nothing cared except to be there.

it was a black and white transition for me then.



pushed up against the mirror, an old mason jar

half full with silver coins. nickels, dimes, quarters,

and one unspent Kennedy half-dollar. a permanent resident.

i found that faded earth smeared mason jar digging in an old bottle dump;

carried it in my backpack, hitchhiking down many promising roads.

never did fill it. always dipped into it. emergency funds, you know.



on the floor beside the dresser, getting harder to push aside,

squats a fading bluish plastic water cooler jug, three-quarters full of pennies.

my retirement, i suppose.


i begin to sort copper from silver and silver from copper.

jar vs. jug.

i smile at myself trying to find something

that i may have forgotten in my pockets.

something, with at least one or two digits to fold.

the mirror returns my smile. we stare at the lines on our faces

listening to each distinctive clink, clunk, and thud

fade into its equally appropriated space.


Posted by on February 8, 2020 in Existential, Poetry, Poverty


Tags: , , ,

7 responses to “the change in my pocket [rooming house, basement floor]

  1. oldegg

    February 10, 2020 at 7:04 pm

    I’m not fond of coins in my pocket so every evening these are placed in any charity boxes that I have.


  2. Cressida

    February 10, 2020 at 6:32 pm

    I loved this poem.Not looking forward to a cashless society. Always throw my coins in a tin.


  3. magicalmysticalteacher

    February 9, 2020 at 7:15 pm

    There’s something comforting about the clinks and thuds of coins dropped into a jar, a comfort that, no matter how much more valuable, paper money never affords.


  4. Beverly Crawford

    February 9, 2020 at 6:23 pm

    This made me smile. Just last week I finally disposed of my mother’s treasure trove of pennies to an interested coin-o-holic. She’d saved them in empty pill bottles, jam jars, and anonymous containers, sorted who knows how in her waning years of Alzheimer’s. (That said, I have a small metal box on the corner of my desk where I empty my coin purse when it gets heavy).


  5. Rosemary Nissen-Wade

    February 9, 2020 at 4:54 pm

    The wealth (sic) of details makes this vignette enthralling.


  6. Stranded Tree

    February 9, 2020 at 2:06 pm

    This is conjuring thoughts of days past where I also picked that change jar clean more than once. Dry times, indeed.


  7. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)

    February 9, 2020 at 12:44 pm

    It must have been years since last I had a coin to spare… most of the old ones were made invalid a few years ago and we used them up before it was too late.

    Now I only use cards for all my shopping.



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