I Used to Feel Ashamed



scrubbed violently at the grime on my skin

filth dirt stain soot

struggled to cleanse the grease out of my hair

dirty oily unwashed

hemmed my clothes back together

pieces stitched whole again

clutched my stomach to ease the hunger cramps

spasms convulsions tremors shakes

made my own history



that is what my life

 used to

be like.

what i know other lives are like

dismissed disregarded ignored

as their struggles wear on

cold starving alone

poverty runs rampant

but this is America

but poverty runs rampant

a lush flourishing unbridled





it’s very hush-hush isn’t it

don’t talk about the money problems

don’t make eye contact with the people on the street

in their boxes

because it makes us


unpleasant uncomfortable embarrassed

we starved

they climbed into their Mercedes

we laid awake on a park bench

they dozed off to letterman on their king size mattress

we had nothing

and they had everything

and no one did anything

except make us




Additional Resources

Get AI Feedback on your poem

Interested in feedback on your poem? Try our AI Feedback tool.


If You Need Support

If you ever need help or support, we trust CrisisTextline.org for people dealing with depression. Text HOME to 741741