Poverty, Despair, and Hopelessness

When it has comes to such a point -
when you don't care much about anything,
you are as much dead as alive.
(are you waiting for some cholo to shoot you?)
...even as you knew you were doing good -
that students did learn in your classes,
most would graduate high school,
some even college -
how come at the end of the day
you never felt nourished
(it is a strange thing to live in fear),
just one person against all the
problems in the world.

How this concrete barrio of
broken-down buildings, homeless, buena gente
prostitutes and drugs,
tough guys on every corner,
came for you to have
the smell of death;
how it hung heavy and ubiquitous
around your nostrils;
how with time
you would begin to smell it
on yourself.

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