homeless family L

 
21 April 2013

Today is Sunday, which means that I won’t be seeing my friends until tomorrow. Following  are some word portraits, so you can get to know them:
 

Joy and Me

Love is amazing —
when we give it freely
it doesn’t diminish,
it enriches our souls.

Joy, is a panhandler
(incapable of anything else),
she is also my friend.
Each morning
(on my way to work)
I eagerly anticipate
her greeting and warm smile.

I sit with her
on the sidewalk,
as witness
to her blackened eyes.
I listen to her stories
of beatings and abuse,
give comfort
when she cries.
“Tears are a sign of weakness”
her father used to say.

I bring her tea
(cream and three sugars),
a bagel with cream cheese,
on mornings when frost
is on the ground,
and on the hearts,
of most passers by.

She gives to me
her hand to hold,
an attentive ear
to my daily problems,
and a hug
(when a hug is needed).

With her love,
Joy has enriched my soul
and filled my heart with tenderness.
She has given me so much
that I didn’t know existed —
I am deeply in her debt.
 

Antonio

My friend, Antonio,
greets me
with a salute and a bow
(it’s his way).
I am very glad to see him
and very honored.

I don’t see him very often,
he has his own schedule,
not necessarily
corresponding with mine.
He is a free spirit.

Through dark glasses
he sees the world
(so not to offend).
He is very conscious
that his appearance
may cause concern.
He wears a beard,
his clothes are ragged,
all his belongings
follow him
in a shopping cart.

He feels uncomfortable
in enclosed spaces,
so he sleeps outdoors,
summer and winter,
on a park bench
(with his friends
the squirrels),
when temperatures
are well below freezing.

He is not immune
from assault,
beatings
(having his teeth kicked out),
not because of what he does,
but what he is,
how he appears.

I usually see him
in front of the library,
one of his favorite places.
He likes to look at books
and see pictures
of kings and other people
he has studied
in school.

Occasionally,
he joins me for coffee.
He tells me
the most wondrous stories.
Sometimes,
I think he makes them up
for my benefit.
In any case
I am honored.

 

Through Shaded Eyes

A breathless beauty,
enchanting and fanciful,
where castles of ice abound —
if we didn’t know just where to look
they never would be found.

A wonderland of mystery
in a public park downtown.
The squirrels know what life’s about —
in Antonio’s sleeping bag
they tunnel in and out.

They scamper
over drifts of snow,
no boots upon their feet.
When he awakes, he’ll feed them
the little he has to eat.

Through shaded eyes
he views, the world passing by.
With gentleness and thoughts of kings
he tells me of his precious dreams.
A shopping cart, holds all his worldly things.

 

Andre

So, I’m panning
in my usual spot.
This suit walks by —
in passing he says,
“Get a job!”
“Hire me!” I say.
“Take a shower,” he says.
“I may sleep outside,
that doesn’t mean
I don’t wash —
I wash all over.”

“Hey,” I say,
“if you’re so successful,
why do you look
so unhappy?

“I’ve made the price
of my bottle.
I’ve got some smokes,
a little pot.

“Me, I’m the happiest guy alive.”

 

Shakes

it’s nice
waking up
in the morning.

If I don’t,
I know
something’s
wrong.

I don’t know
where I am,
or how I got here,
but, I’m here.

I got some wine,
some cigarettes
and some ‘mary jane’ —
I start walking,

ain’t looking
for trouble, but
it finds me.

How am I?
I’ll be doing fine
soon as I get
this drunk on.

 

Alphonse

I look into your eyes,
grey with tears and sorrow
from the Arctic Ocean.

I feel your hurt deep inside,
hear your thunder,
see your rain.

With your fist at your chest
you open your heart,
tell me of hardship,
betrayal and pain.

I listen
with my heart
as one who has been there.

With my arm around your shoulder,
as a brother,
I urge you, to act with patience
and with love —
to be Love.
 

A Lost Brave

a lost brave
leans against a building
(tho he is unwelcome)
beside a busy walk.
everything he owns
fills a pack
upon his back

he is far
from his fishing boat,
an ocean teeming with fish,
from the majestic forest,
from his children,
his clan

his eyes reveal
a story of hurt and pain –
the uncertainty of the city.
a sidewalk for a bed,
charity of strangers
his only grace

a challenge
every day –
a new beginning.
beyond the fire
that tames his demons
the only plan that matters
is to survive

far from home
he can scarce remember.
a lost brave, fighting back tears,
pride in the knowledge
of his ancestry,
his place –
his blood
 

Since this writing Joy and Shakes died peacefully. Ambrose hung himself. The others I have lost contact with.

Read about my friends here  http://buff.ly/1wyjiKS

 

Comments
  1. 4t4m4t4 says:

    less hypocrisy and more reality

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.