The Department of Free

The Department of Free

Years ago, a wiser man
than you or I devised a plan
to dole out goods at zero cost
to those of us whose jobs were lost.

It seemed benign, so nice and kind
the plan grew to include the blind,
the old the lame then you and me,
and they called this plan
The Department of Free.

It started as a helping hand
to needy folks across the land,
so those who could not make ends meet
would not be forced out on the street.

Unemployment benefits
were just a start, because now it’s
free food, free homes, free surgery,
rebates, bailouts, loans — all free.

Now half of us just stand in line
all day long and gripe and whine
about the stuff we feel we’re owed
the list of which has growed and growed.

The line wends hither, the line wends yon,
and by and by it comes upon
a door above which we can see
those magic words:
Department of Free.

Once inside: a shopping spree
of endless handouts: it’s all free!
Drunken on entitlement
we grab a meal, a house, a stent.

The other half? We’re all employed!
Hearing this, you’re overjoyed
to know that at least some of us
have jobs and never cause a fuss.

But one last thing you ought to know,
our economic Alamo:
The place where we all work, you see,
is in the accursed Department of Free!

I push papers,
while he counts beans.
She helps seniors
and they help teens.
It takes a village to raise a child;
it takes a nation to run hog-wild.

Paul pays Peter, and Peter pays Paul,
yet neither makes anything at all.
Round and round the money goes
but where it comes from no one knows.

It all runs out eventually,
can’t simulate prosperity.
The shopping spree was just a dream,
a baseless potlatch Ponzi scheme.

With nothing left to give away,
The Department of Free itself must say,
“We’re all laid off, the end is near.
There’s no point working, even here.”

The last employed man not offshore
has just one more remaining chore:
Switch off the lights
and turn the key
in the broke
Department of Free.

From Medicare and Medicaid
came Medicould and Medishould
now Medimust and we’ve gone bust
we’re trust-fund kids without a trust.

 
 


 
 

Now immortalized as a dramatic reading:

8 Responses to “The Department of Free”

  1. 1J.N. Kish on Oct 31, 2010 at 1:19 am:

    As I read this poem, I could not help but think of Ross Perot.
    http://kishtube.blogspot.com/2010/10/giant-sucking-sound-ross-perot-1992.html
    Every working class american should have a bumper sticker on their car that says: “He was right – Perot 1992″.

  2. 2Jim in St Louis on Oct 31, 2010 at 1:24 am:

    Long time reader…first time commenter. Zombie- I get more pleasure from one of your essays than most anything else I read on the internet. Your site is one that I never ‘surf’ thru, but instead really take time to digest. Best Wishes,

  3. 3zombie on Oct 31, 2010 at 2:32 am:

    Jim –

    Thanks! The only thing better than a silent admirer is a silent admirer who’s silent no more.

  4. 4Kevin on Oct 31, 2010 at 5:57 am:

    Did anyone else notice that this entire article rhymed? Neat!

  5. 5Joe on Oct 31, 2010 at 3:25 pm:

    ‘The Department of Free itself must say,
    “We’re all laid off, the end is near.
    There’s no point working, even here.” ‘

    Wait, what?? They don’t “work” for free at the Dept. of Free??

  6. 6common_sense on Oct 31, 2010 at 5:48 pm:

    wait, one flaw in the poem
    (which is really well done)

    no one “works” for the goverment.
    they are “employed” by the goverment….

  7. 7Guy Average on Nov 1, 2010 at 12:44 pm:

    common_sense: wait, one flaw in the poem
    (which is really well done)no one “works” for the goverment.
    they are “employed” by the goverment….

    That is not a flaw in the poem; it is an example of the use of Poetic License.

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