The Homeless

Systematic desensitization

Of the human race

Race relations

Makes no sense

Non-sense

Impotent

When ignorance is potent

What’s more, important

In poor tense

Poverty

People like, “What dad ever fathered me?”

Fathering

Furthering

Fathoming

What did life ever have on me?

We think we’re less crazy

Than the people who talk to themselves

When all the time, we tell ourselves

Reasons why they deserved to be underserved

Ignored

Like it’s the norm

Why?

It’s okay to keep doing the same things as before

Not anymore.

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Sitting outside Albertson’s

I think that life affords us these opportunities in disguise as trials. We’re so stuck sitting up in front of the TV that anything else allows us discomfort. Here I am sitting, draining about my problems. Work, relationships, school, life… And up walks this homeless lady, with her plastic bag of cans and a sign. Automatically I am taken aback. I want to pull my backpack a little closer and I even contemplate walking away. I don’t because it’s too obvious, and I care enough about people that I don’t know, not to make her feel bad.

I look up as she moves coolly across the parking lot to receive a whole cigarette. I scoff, “Is that what you’re worried about?” My prejudice and I… That thought is followed by, “Maybe she would do the same for food. Maybe she’s taking anything she can get.”

I think about the dance my sister performed that told the story of how the public makes the homeless population invisible. As she returns to the bench with her retrieval, I wonder if she’s the stereotypical “territorial” homeless person, who doesn’t like people touching their things. “Have I invaded her bench?” Then I realize I’m being prejudice again –labeling people and putting them into categories.

We have minimal eye contact, but I can tell she’s troubled. And by the phone conversation that I’m having with my co-worker about a CPS case, she can tell I’m troubled too. Her random chuckle drew my eyes up to her and she moved me out of her peripheral vision. I wonder does she need someone to talk to? Or am I pre-judging that a homeless person doesn’t have conversation?

I continue my work on my laptop, as I wait for my ex to pull up and make up with me. She doesn’t. My phone runs dead and my tummy rumbles.

The lady with curly, shoulder-length hair picks up her plastic bag and leaves, but not before apologizing for bothering me. Being the people-pleaser that I am, I mechanically reply, “ Oh no, it’s okay.” But what did I just communicate? That I didn’t mind her bothering me, or that she wasn’t bothering me?

That’s when I reach my epiphany.

This is a public table; she has just as much right as anyone else to sit here –homeless or not. Who beat it into her head that she didn’t have that privilege?

My tummy rumbles again, and then I feel bad because who knows when’s the last time that she ate? I could be just like her. She’s young, white and half-decent looking for a homeless person. I bet she came from a well brought up family, with some issues that led her down the wrong path. A path that led two totally different people, like she and I, to the same place at the same point in time. Sitting here right now. How easy would it be for us to get our paths crossed and we end up in each other’s place?

I think about how everything hangs in the balance for me right now. Work, relationships, school, life…. and she has nowhere to go but up. We’re not so different. And it doesn’t take much for us to switch places.

All this learned, by reluctantly sitting at a concrete table outside of Albertsons because I got into an argument with my now ex-girlfriend and I really have no place of my own to go.Homeless sign

Neighborhood

Just a little writing to go with my morning cup…

Christmas lights

It’s a shame

I can’t tell if the flashing lights down the street

 Are coming from the Christmas trees or police

At this time of year

Something different happens to the people over here

They’re not consumed by Christmas cheer

I see older people peeking out the windows in fear

Holding close to them those who they hold dear

Can you tell me why we fight?

Why we shoot people dead at night

Why we still kill in daylight

And how the murderers manage stay out of everyone’s sight

What are we fighting for?

Why we wage wars with people next door

Over colors

Or is it something more

But what do we gain when the poor rob the poor?

Is it a call for attention?

A cry for help

For remission of our current position

If only you would listen

Beyond words and behind things

You’d find a deeper meaning than what you think is lingering

I remember being taught history at school

And not imagining ever being able to live a day in their lives

I wonder how the Aztecs sufficed

Couldn’t imagine how the poor sacrificed

And then I realized

In a similar way

That still goes on today

The very torture I couldn’t imagine

I see people weave in and out of every day