This Stupid Poem I Wrote

“Life Isn’t Fair” by Ben Zalisko

“I don’t understand”, said the boy to his mom
Why I’m not allowed to go skating with Tom
“Life isn’t fair”, she said squatting in place
and thumbed away dirt from his obstinate face

Far away, dad left work for the very last time
After decades of outstanding work on the line
“It’s out of my hands, Jim, the math is the math
I can’t pay your wages when others take half.”

The manager, Steve, got a call from his boss,
“It is what it is, Steve, a loss is a loss”
The owner’s son, barely a month out of Penn
said, “I’ll want to be fair, Steve, my door’s always open.”

The businessman said to his staff, “It’s not fair,
But we can’t allow this sort of unruly flair
As professionals, we all must dress to impress
We can’t cause our customers any distress.”

The assistant left work to find her car in the lot
With a ticket for parking in an unauthorized spot
“The law is the law”, said the meter maid in her coat.
Sam took the ticket and drove off to go vote.

She looked at the names, at the lessers of evils
Of candidates chosen by very few peoples
That is the system we’ve always endorsed
A poverty numbed by the thought of what’s worse

José couldn’t vote because in the land of the free
Your birthplace means more than your allegiance since three
Without an ID, the same fate for his wife,
And Frank’s short jail term debars him for life.

The law is the law, and life isn’t fair
We can’t create money from the thickest of air
We have little control on the choices of others
Least of all mothers and much older brothers

With fairness presumed, questions abound
We all want to understand why our world isn’t sound
What frustrates me most, from birth to the grave,
Is that so many people consider tautologies satisfying

…as if a simple statement of what is, “is”, somehow justifies a shirking of responsibility, absolves us of guilt, or is even an explanation at all. “Life isn’t fair”, “That’s the way it is”, or “those are the rules” should give no one comfort, but serve as prompts to make change. Basking in our inability to articulate a problem or an explanation leaves us prey to the few, giving them license to make our lives for us, Gus.


Food for thought during party primaries and conventions…