Working Class Poem

by    /  January 13, 2021  / Comments Off on Working Class Poem

by Gemma DeMeo

I come downstairs
Saturday morning
and my mom is crying
in her bedroom.

Her voice hoarse
from yelling over
the drunken men and women
asking for free drinks.

“What’s wrong, mama?”
And she flashes a weak smile.
“Rough night, that’s all.”

I didn’t need to ask.
I already knew
what a rough night at the bar
was like for her.

I hear her on the phone
talking about her shitty boss,
the assholes that don’t tip,
and her long island bonus-
30 extra dollars
for every 30 she sells.

One time I asked her
why she stayed somewhere
that made her feel
so weak and powerless.

She told me:

“I wish I could find a job
that paid as much as bartending
that didn’t mean
being surrounded by alcohol.”

Gemma DeMeo recently graduated from Westinghouse Arts Academy Charter School. Her love for poetry began at a young age, and thanks to her friends, family, and teachers she has continued that passion throughout the years. She has been published in multiple literary magazines and assists in publishing her own school’s literary magazine. She also loves animals, drawing, painting, and nature.


City of Asylum believes that All Pittsburghers are Poets. With the Poem of the Week series, we seek to increase the readership and appreciation of poetry locally by publishing poems written by residents of Allegheny County of all ages and levels of experience. In partnership with the Poetry Editors at Sampsonia Way Magazine, City of Asylum advances our mission to defend, celebrate, and build on creative freedom of expression. This project received a RADical ImPAct Grant from the Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD).

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