The Bottom Rung

Nobody talks about the bottom rung

They’ll tell you all day how to climb that ladder

There’s tips and tricks ready for the reading

All over the internet

Buy now

Self help


Well I’m standing here

Staring at the bottom rung

I know its chips and dents

Where the paint came off

Worn from so many trying to get up it


I can see them up there


Striving like there’s no tomorrow

Smiling about how great they’re all doing

out of breath


Well I climbed that ladder too

and I fell

And now I know what they don’t want me to know

That it’s all a big fat farce

That there is no road to somewhere

And there sure as hell

isn’t some prince charming

waiting for me with a handsome grin

and a fist full of dollars

best I got is food stamps

applications to the nearest superstore

and no damn pot

at the end of no damn rainbow


But y’all keep your merry striving

climb that ladder

Hope you don’t get disenfranchised

or bought out

Sold to the highest bidder


I climbed that ladder

Bold faced and brazen

Determined that nobody was gonna keep me back

from conquering MY American dream

Just like they taught me in school

I could be anybody.

Just say no

Toe to toe

Stay in line,

But I struggled with the status quo

I saw through the gate to the gatekeeper

And realized

Wait. . .

there’s a gatekeeper


I’m not in charge of my own destiny

He is

With his suit and tie and billion dollar smile

He wants me to work to fill his coffers

He owns the politicians and offers

his leavings to the court

He puts out just enough bread to keep us satisfied

And lots of distraction to be sure

Telephones to iPhone’s

Television to netflix

Watch, collaborate, and listen

The American dream is your vision!

Grab that ladder and climb!

Separation, preparation for the slaughter

They’re after our sons and daughters


But I’m disillusioned

I turned off the TV

after they all starting sounding like each other

Left, right, black, white

It doesn’t matter anymore

because it’s all the same rhetoric

Blue collar workers picked off

by a money funnel headed straight to the top

But they tell us to climb

Like little hamsters in a wheel

Lubed up and waiting for a next paycheck

to get the next new big truck



I turned off the phone

when I forgot how to look into someone’s eyes

And see their smile

And realized

This American dream is killing me

Taking little bits at a time until I’m too tired to climb

Complain, or protest

Eyes too glazed over to see the gatekeeper anymore

Or how he’s keeping me from being me

And when I boldly make a new path

Different from the rest

away from the ladder

and out in the scrubby pine woods

I’m medicated



Locked up and forgotten

Because there is no room for truth

when you’re climbing


They don’t tell you

that when you get all the way up

There’s not enough room for everyone

And lots of people are

Climbed over, shoved off, trodden

And the Earth is so far down there

They can’t see the mess they’re making

And there’s so much money coming in

that they

can just pay to make it go away

donate to ease their conscience

but I’m sick of the farce

fast cars and big houses

being the help

treated like the help

that the help even exists

let me help you

my job is to help you

I’m a cog and you’re a wheel

so feel free to drive over me

my complaining days

and punk rock rage

have almost been sucked out of me




but I stand here and stare at this bottom foothold

and realize

there’s a lot more people like me

than them

and we can grab this

damn ladder and shake it

If we weren’t all so tired

and mislead

No one talks about the bottom rung

but it might just be the most important one









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