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  • Karlton Laster

Priced Out By Karlton A. Laster

Wake up each mornin’
And I can feel the tax of opening my eyes and breath in my body —
Joints achin’, back pain, gray hairs, & high blood pressure
That’s a price worth paying though
Because the dividends left behind outweigh the costs —
A better generation emerging, community impacts, and a six-figure life insurance policy
All things that can make life better for those you love, or invested in.

But, it’s the cost of society, some say the cost of living,
That continues to price me out
Gas over $4 a gallon, chicken higher than a giraffe’s ass, and the rent is still too damn high
On top of that, “essentials” like cars and technology ain’t got computer chips
Our logistics have gone to shit and ain’t nobody got enough folks to make things or ship ‘em
Yet, I’m still unemployed, 8 months now and benefits dried up like a raisin in the sun
Chapter 13 is one piece of the puzzle, but attorney fees leavin’ me in a heap of rubble
Cha-ching says my mind
Psalms 34:19 is what I say to my wallet.

They used to say COVID is to blame
Or, now they say the inflation and war in Ukraine
And, tomorrow they will say the Earth itself due to climate change
But, I know that there will always be a new boogeyman to distract us
From the real problem – capitalism – and by extension ourselves & America
Us, America, and capitalism a Trinity, of sorts
Wholly interdependent and wholly parasitic at the same time
Gorging itself on stuff and rising costs and prices
While decaying from the inside out.

But, what I grieve the most
Is the sense of being priced out of a future —
Priced out of marriage, homeownership, investments, retirement, happiness
Priced out of a life worth living, or at least one to support my family
Yet, each mornin’ I wake up
Paying the toll of having two feet firmly planted on the ground
Hoping, praying that I can hit a lick and eventually win life’s lottery
… or the Powerball would be nice too.

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