A Cold Fever

By Graham L. Wilson

Written in gedit 3.0.6 on Fedora 15.

Copyright (c) 2012 Graham Wilson.

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included at this link: see my profile page.

Staring down at the dirt,
The newly freed dirt.
Winter's freezing embrace;
Has released you at last.
I put my finger down,
And run it through.
Perhaps I too may thaw.

The feel on my finger,
The tiny cold grains,
Smudging on my finger.
Reminds me of past times,
Playing in the dirt,
A carefree child.
Before the winter of life,
Drifted upon me.

Inside, the cupboards are empty,
There are no treats,
There are no snacks.
I live off bread and water.
There is no money in our wallets,
There is no cash at the bank.
Grab what we can and hope,
Eternally hope,
That we can stay afloat.

So I remember the perfect past,
Carefree summer days,
Running, joyously running,
Not a trouble in the world.
I knew where my next meal was,
My parents knew too.
Times were good.

It was not to last,
The furor died down,
A millennial tremor.
The dot com bubble,
It crashed and fell,
And the money dried up.

The greedy executives,
Cleaned up their lot,
And left the innovators,
The researchers, the technicians,
They left them all out to dry.

At first I had no idea,
How my world would change.
The colour of the boxes shifted,
Brand names erased,
All replaced by yellow, and plain,
Unencumbered black lines.
No name for you, budget food.

Do not despair,
Little child,
There is hope yet.
He can get another job,
Paradise on Earth,
Is possible for all,
All who seek it.

The years flew by,
And things slowly decayed,
Machines broke down,
There are no replacements,
Not for those who can not pay.
Do without, do without,
And sit down and shut up.

Not a little child anymore,
Life no longer happy and charmed.
Focus on your studies,
Make a man out of the boy.
Look ahead, do not look back,
And do not look down.
Everything will be alright.

Thus I did focus,
I did try and make do.
I learned many things,
I tweaked, I experimented,
And kept myself occupied.
My work made me happy.
It is my entire life.

Part time gig,
A little pay here,
A little more there,
Do not count on it,
There is no security.
Still, fill the cupboards,
Whenever you can.

Year end by year end,
Christmas comes and goes.
Each year, the tree grows sparser.
Gifts decrease and vanish.
But keep your festive cheer.
And get ready to face another year.

End of the line,
Graduation looms.
A bridge between two lifetimes,
Stretches out before me.
But my ledge shakes,
And I find myself collapsing.

The gigs dry up,
Invesetments dim.
My father works and works,
But money never finds itself,
Coming our way.
Maybe next week,
Or the one after that,
We've got the VCs on call.

Am I just as happy?
Am I in anyway carefree?
Would that young child,
Even recognize me?
Still, I work, and I learn.
It is my endeveours,
That fill the holes,
In my soul,
And in my gut.

I yearn for flavour,
Bland consumables,
Base diet, no variety.
Still, at least,
I shall not starve.
Take heart,
You are not dead yet,
And others are far worse.

No! That is no reconciliation!
Why should it matter if others,
Are even less fortunate?
It is not them I think off,
Beyond our joint solidarity.
My mind wanders upon those,
Who do so well,
The ones who eat all,
And have so much.
They are the parasites.

Go to the food-bank,
Grab a few boxes,
Go up and say thanks,
And check the expiry dates.
We eat this week,
To stop us getting weak.

The washing machine has died,
The sewer is over-flowing,
The truck is spluttering,
The roof is leaking.
Stand up, get to attention,
Impromptu fixes, panicked efforts.
Patches, hacks and tweaks.
Please last just a little longer.

They say the economy is in crisis,
Fallen from grace in 2008.
Ha, I say to them,
Where were you in 2002?
You smirked and grinned:
The province is booming!

Ha, I laugh at you,
As you join the working poor.
Welcome class compatriot!
Enjoy the cold fever.
The financial winter.

See you at the food bank,
Tell me when your tools fail,
And your implements shatter.

We must all make sacrifices,
This is an age of peril.
The economy must come first,
Accept the dock in pay,
Smile at the lack of pensions,
Grin at the lack of security.
After all, you did not give a damn,
When it was not happening to you!

Such bitter thoughts,
Do bring a smile to my lips,
Cruel and spiteful.
But this is not true joy,
It is not that of childhood self.
I am hollow now, a shallow being.
No comforts beyond those I hold,
And cherish and fight for.

Struggle on,
Get a bite to eat,
Keep a roof over your head,
Forward comrades,
Welcolme to my world,
Let us tear it down.
A new dawn,
A better era,
If we stand as one.

Perhaps when the war is won,
And we all have what we need,
When they do not have our right,
When we are all fullfilled,
Will the cold fever pass,
And all winters will end,
And spring will finally come.

Let us go then,
I am young, I am strong,
I will do my bit.
All I ask is that you do yours,
Take up your keyboad, pen, letter,
And bring on the battle.
No more poverty,
No more austerity,
No more inequality!

The snow shall melt,
The sun shall shine,
Rise up, my friends,
The winter shall pass!
No more cabin fever,
No more financial fever!
And we can all be children,
Happy and carefree,
We can be fulfilled.

April 4, 2012