if suffering builds character the voices in my head are literary gods

you don’t know
what is truly
until you have
nothing at all
i can scrape by
with a bag of rice
for weeks
a pack of ramen
every other day
no internet
the air turned up
to eighty-five
all day spent
growing desperate
knowing that it is
weeks until
it gets caught up
then the cycle
begins again
each time
left closer to empty
without hope
of ever truly
reaching even
feeling anxious
when satisfied
knowing it is
an illusion
a fever dream
in sleepless nights
i have three lights
that keep me
and as it gets worse
i flinch away
not wanting them
to see how bad
things really are
at the crossroads
where i have to
accept the fact
that my second job
doesn’t pay
but pennies a week
and maybe it isn’t
giving up
on a dream
but giving in
to reality

suffering builds
preach the ones
with full bellies
who need for naught
as a means to
pacify the poor
but those of us
swimming through
the sewers of poverty
unable to see
a light that isn’t
a train bearing down
know that suffering
breeds more suffering
it isn’t a lack
of character
but a lack of means
an inability to

my definition of
has been on a
sliding scale
since the pandemic
determined i was
an essential worker
that never caught up
from the hours cut
sacrificing all
to fill the bellies
of my loved ones
as my guts gnaw
at my ribs
keeping me awake
wide eyed
wondering what will
happen next
hoping against hope
for anything
to bring an end
to pointless
character building
in the form of
suffering while
the elite seek a way
off this rock of woe


5 thoughts on “if suffering builds character the voices in my head are literary gods

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