Posted by dwallace on May 4, 2011 in Kiryas Joel, Oblivious, poem, Poems, Poetry |

I had to write a juxtaposition poem for class. To juxtapose something is to place two things close together or side by side, for comparison or contrast. You will see some examples of juxtaposition written within the sentences, but more importantly, within the story itself.


Today I saw a
rich photograph of
Kiryas Joel, NY,
the country’s poorest town.

Hasidic Jews with
long black robes
and wigs lined
the streets.

A mega synagogue for
the 13,000 residents had
a small sign that read
Visitors Please Dress Modestly,

While a girl slid out of
her black SUV wearing
white Daisy-Dukes and
a red tank top—no bra.

When I was assigned this poem, I wanted to find out where the poorest city in the U.S. was. I figured I could contrast how the poor live and find something beautiful in that squalor. I would have never guessed what I actually found out about the nation’s poorest town.

I found out the poorest city in the U.S. is Kiryas Joel, NY. The town’s average per capita income is just over $4000 a year. The reason for this is because the town is mainly made up of Hasidic Jews who follow the Torah and its commandments strictly. Money is not the main focus in life.

One interesting side note is this town has had a population boom. The average age of a resident there is fifteen. Most of the residents get married young, have kids, and stay in the town. The population has grown from 4000 to almost 14000 in less than two decades. This might not seem like much to some, but you have to remember that most of this growth is from people who already live there, not new people moving in.

This poem was based on a real photo.

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