Truth to Self by M. Taggart

Image: the author’s son

Truth to Self
by M. Taggart
[author’s site]

Get a job, you bum!
Daddy, why did you say that to that man?
He’s a bum. There’s a help wanted sign right over there.
But why did you say that to that man?
Because he’s a bum and needs a job.
Why though?
Because he needs a job.
Why? What if he’s sick?
I don’t care! I work when I’m sick and you’ll work when you’re sick!
The boy sat in his jumper seat looking out the window from the back seat.
Cars and trucks and stores flashed by.
I don’t want to work when I’m sick.
No? Do you want to be a bum like him,
sticking his hand out for money on the side of the road?
More cars flashed by and more trucks. More stores.
Cement and cement and people and more people.
Why did you say that to that man, Dad?
Because he’s a bum!
That’s not what I’m asking, Dad.
Don’t talk back to me!
The boy felt a strength growing
in the pit of his stomach and into his heart
and somewhere else that he couldn’t understand.
I’m not you, Dad.

@M. Taggart


Welcome to MasticadoresUSA.

MasticadoresUSA was founded by Juan Re Crivello as part of Gobblers/Masticadores in 2021. Its current editor is Gabriela Marie Milton.

MasticadoresUSA features talented writers of poetry and short prose. We primarily publish writers who write in English, and are based in the USA. However, while the publication language remains English, we also welcome the work of our fellow writers from all over the world.

What do we want to bring to our readers? Edgar Allan Poe once wrote: Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words. This is what we are committed to bringing to you. And that’s not an easy endeavor. 


If you want to submit, please send your work – poetry and/or short prose – to In addition to the piece(s), you want to have published, we need your name, and the address of your site. Submit your work as a docx attachment – not in the body of the email. Limit your submission to two pieces.  We do not accept pieces longer than 300 words.

What are the themes that we are looking for? Surprise us!

However, MasticadoresUSA does not publish any work that contains racist, homophobic, sexist, and hate talk of any kind.

Looking forward to your submissions. 

13 Comentarios Agrega el tuyo

  1. Quick note: This was not a conversation between Gavin and I. Gavin is full of empathy and I felt his facial expression helped to bring this poem ‘home’- I hope everyone is doing as well as possible. Matt.

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  2. jonicaggiano dice:

    I believe young children can and are able to determine at a very young age that they may love their parents but not agree with their values or their rules for that matter. We can be different and even much better. In this case, a person filled with empathy for his fellowman or woman even with the father did not possess this quality. A profound statement in this lovely piece. Joni

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    1. I agree and I think often times what children ‘see’ is verbally beaten and sometimes physically beaten out of fit into the box of what was. Of course I’ve met (as I’m sure you have also) all kinds and I’ve also seen the flip side with beautifully well rounded parents who help bring along their children with love and light. It’s always nice to ‘chat’ with you, Joni.

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      1. jonicaggiano dice:

        Thank you and the feeling is mutual. Yes I agree with this as well. I am grateful to have a daughter in which I broke the ACOA mold. She was raised, respectfully and given a voice. In fact I encouraged her to embrace her creative side. Children are such a blessing. I hope you have an awesome day filled with love. Joni

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  3. Terveen Gill dice:

    Powerful story exhibiting individualistic differences between a young son and father. Each has a right to their own opinion. Age sometimes isn’t a criteria.
    And he’s such a cutie pie! 😊

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    1. 🙂 he’s a cutie pie, thank you,…I just took him on a nice walk near the ocean (coast of Maine) was a bit cold so he now owns a new hoodie lol. I wasn’t as prepared as I thought I was ha…

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      1. Terveen Gill dice:

        A parent is a constant worrier. Can’t help it. 🙂

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  4. Your dialog sucked me in from the first line. How sad but true..How many «lessons» like this are being taught to the innocent,,,every day? Children are so forgiving, and yet, he knew in his heart, his dad was wrong. Really wonderful , captivating writing!

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    1. How kind- thank you for taking a moment to stop in and read this. I agree, children are forgiving. I read this poem to my son, Gavin (the boy in the photo) and he said, «Why did that man say that?»..when I wrote the piece I had Gavin’s mindset ‘speaking’ and coming to life via the content. Gavin went through his progression of questions much like the poem played out. It’s amazing to listen to children, not hear them, but truly listen to them. They are amazing. Anyway I hope you have a great day and week!

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  5. Amazing and profound, M…that sudden realization that we are neither our our parents nor our children!

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