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Social Security
by
Anita S. Pulier


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You pay in all your working life
till the day you comb your thinning hair
and head into the Claims Dept
birth certificate in hand
to retrieve your money, please.
 
They speak in loud voices
as if you are demented
they do not know how hard you worked
how weary you feel or understand
the labyrinth which brought you
face to face with this uncivil servant.
 
He asks if you have
committed heinous crimes
against your country,
you defend yourself
politely, as the only crime
you can recall is aging.
 
He tells you in a droning monotone
that you will get less money because you have
come too early, or arrived too late,
and very soon, when they run out
you will get nothing.
 
On the bus ride home,
you notice the strong putrid
smell of bureaucracy
being blown away
by gusts of exhaust you
no longer have to breathe
on someone else’s schedule.
 
© by Anita S. Pulier.
Used with the author’s permission.
 
Purchase a framed print of this poem.

Anita S. Pulier is a graduate of New York University and New York Law School. After many years of practicing law in New York and New Jersey, she has served for the past several years as a U.S. representative for the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom at the United Nations. Anita's poems have been published both online and in print; her chapbook, Perfect Diet, was recently released by Finishing Line Press. Anita lives between New York City and Los Angeles; learn more about her at http://www.psymeet.com/anitaspulier/.


Post New Comment:
PoetryFan:
Thank you for sharing such a powerful vision of passing through the bureaucratic machine after a lifetime of labor...I felt a strong sense of being liberated at the idea of not having to "breathe the gusts of exhaust"..."on someone else's schedule". Makes me want to retire :-). I can see that Nancy Scott (commented here) took this personally but I don't think one individuals experience with a government worker should be taken as an insult to all government workers...for instance, although it is the exception to the rule, I have had nice people help me at the DMV
Posted 09/05/2012 07:44 PM
69Dorcas:
SS has been fair with me; no more or less than I expected.
Posted 08/14/2012 06:45 PM
Larry Schug:
My experience with S.S. has been nothing but positive. I especially liked the last lines of this poem. There were times it felt like the boss told me when to inhale and exhale and I wanted him to cease doing both!
Posted 08/14/2012 11:19 AM
Glen Sorestad:
A great tongue-in-cheek poem.
Posted 08/14/2012 11:18 AM
Larry Schug:
My experience with S.S. has been nothing but positive. I especially liked the last lines of this poem. There were times it felt like the boss told me when to inhale and exhale and I wanted him to cease doing both!
Posted 08/14/2012 11:18 AM
Charly:
I find the poem indicative of the often non-spoken denigration of we seniors.
Posted 08/14/2012 07:58 AM
nancy scott:
Having worked in a state bureaucracy for most of my adult life, I don't recall ever treating anybody that way, quite the contrary. Frankly, I find the poem offensive to those who worked hard to make life better for those who needed help.
Posted 08/14/2012 06:03 AM


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