no deep assignments

Kingston has a poverty problem but it also has a proud-of-poverty problem. Which is confounding to me. Because whenever my own fortunes have been empty (and a mockery of that very word), whenever I've been forced to inhale poverty myself, my desires (I won't even glorify them as ambitions) were mostly about not taking it in too deeply, certainly not accepting it as normal, or as some sort of decision, as the settled state of affairs, and mostly hiding it, and wanting, desperately, to move away from it. Like a toxic cloud. To just be able to pay the rent, and bills, and buy groceries, and shoes, with some predictability -- that was the equivalent of being able to breathe. Properly. But what I see around me these days is a kind of poverty tribalism, where these guys who don't work (and won't work, and have some kind of story why they can't) all wear this borrowed gang/jail look, and put it out there, on the street, like they're proud of it. With a toddler-afflicted pregnant live-in trailing two steps behind, looking like a wet police sketch of wretchedness. I don't get it. Of course I *do* get all sorts of fuck-you's to the system, and have all kinds of sympathy for that, but these guys have landed at least a dozen levels below that. Squatting there. Not even looking up. I guess my final thought would be that yes, it *is* terrible to be poor, you needn't tell me, but I'll never understand why you'd get a tattoo on your face to celebrate that fact.

(And none of this is good for the rest of us, either.)

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