The inner core of the big city

Air heavy with the combination of dirty fog and smoke

Where people are packed in so dense, so compact,

That each one feels tight and on the verge of choke.

The metal monoliths to human excess riddle the sky

Shadowing and disguising the less ideal side of the urban swell

Where junkies, pimps, whores, gangs, pushers and those just trying to survive

Live, sleep, screw, fight, cry and die dwell.

It’s a darker part of the city,

Most look up not to the strength of character and what’s right

But romanticize the parasitic selfishness of thugs

That feed off and profit from hopeless plight.

Tension tangos around merrily in the negativity

Yet amongst the plethora of voices seething in their situate,

On a concrete slab in a pink and white party dress

Sit laughing a little girl named Kate.

How dare she be happy in such dourness!

Why she’s never seen a horse or cow up close, alive

Or rode in the teacups at Disneyland;

Yet with brown eyes bright she continues to thrive.

Doesn’t she realize her life isn’t that great?

Her clothes aren’t brands but bought at a store known for thrift;

Why she doesn’t even have a DS or Gameboy

Or toys upon toys for hours tumble through and sift.

She doesn’t have a daddy who comes home every day

To give her a tuck in, a kiss, and to tell her everything’s all right

In fact, her mom often has to work long hours

So she doesn’t see Kate often except in the hue of the child’s night light.

So how can a smile be upon her face?

It’s the second Sunday and her dad has come to be with her all day

When even her mom takes the day off

So all three together sit, talk, eat and play.

Kate doesn’t see the regret in her father’s eyes;

Working for minimum wage at a fast food joint

Doesn’t give him much to give to support his daughter

But his ex knows he tries his best and that’s the point.

Kate laughs, claps and sings

As her dad acts silly not caring if to everyone around thinks he’s an ass

While her mom shakes her head but soon joins in –

She and the ex are there for Kate and to hell with the world – it can temporarily pass.

Maybe Kate will grow up and be bitter…

After all, she’s only seven

She’ll learn to covet what she doesn’t have

And realize the concrete isn’t the fields of Heaven.

Perhaps Kate will come to despise her folks,

But for now,

Sitting on that concrete slab –

She’s enjoying all that time and childhood will allow.


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