The Money Makes Me Upper Middle Class

Never wanted to be that way – that way which demands café latte
drinking and late afternoon cocktails at a local yuppie screw joint
where the only discussion is politics, and men in flamboyance drink $12 martinis.

Never wanted a million dollar home in a ritzy, organic neighborhood
where I feel completely out of place in the tattered comfort of faded jeans
and a worn Garth Brooks tour cap, while prettied mannequins push designer
babies in obscene strollers down a crack-free sidewalk.

Never wanted an upscale gym membership (which won’t be used)
as I drive my bloated SUV through disapproving cities, blue tooth
plugged in to the cigarette lighter; satellite receiver playing 186 channels
of choice – half of them talk radio.

Never wanted phony, pretentious “friends” who judge from the doorbell
ping until the discount coffee (purchased on double coupon day)
turns tepid, then cold, in their cut-rate coffee mugs.

Never wanted to force clearance cosmetics onto my fresh, sun-starved
face just for a trip to the supermarket where, God forbid, someone
may see the naked me as I buy generic catsup and off-brand toilet paper.

Never wanted a pin-striped financial advisor who blanches at our non-existent
portfolio while running manicured fingers through over-gelled hair, or uptight acquaintances who blanche at my lack of Reeboks and Ralph Lauren
while constantly checking their plastic reflections in vain looking-glass.

Always wanted a comfortable home in a suburb, no more than a hundred grand,
and a crunchy lawn my husband can tend with a push mower and smallish
weed-whacker purchased off-season and paid for in cash.

Always wanted a two-car garage and fenced-in yard where a daughter
can slip-n-slide during humid, summer afternoons while I listen
to my old cassette player croak out “Achy Breaky Heart” and dance
in bare feet to mixing lemonade, under sky lights, in a ponytail, and absent lipstick.

Always wanted to have Christmas in my basement, surrounded by family,
who have traveled to me for a change, with a plastic pine covered in child-made ornaments, tinny, drug-store lights, and underneath, a passel of markdown
offerings and dollar store extravagances wrapped in grocery sacks painted
with Jesus by my six-year-old daughter.

And here I am, where I always wanted to be. The money makes me upper
middle class, but I spit genuine imitation hillbilly eclectic in bared feet
and thready denim, like a frog tongues fragrant cattails.




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