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Poetry: homeless

Not much of anything here just passing time
Sitting and waiting with old cardboard sign
Deep in my head I’m not thinking or feeling
Yet I can hear music and for me it is healing
Cold in my fingers and wounds in my heart
And just maybe I’m an animal that could tear you apart

I’m sickly and coughing and though I am small
Fear finds you quite quickly falling under its spell
A deadly disease courses through my veins
Not shown on the outside yet I’m writhing in pain
My breath at your window can’t disguise what I drink
C’mon give me a break for I’m not what you think

Not much to do here if you don’t count surviving
With meager possessions that aren’t even worth hiding
I exist on this corner where I stay all day long
Choir voices came singing and told me in song
My face cracks a smile through my tangled long hair
As a window rolls down and stare matches stare

There’s no left turn, no right turn, and never a wrong
No fork in the road decides where we belong
Call it chance call it luck because it only depends
Where you are when the light goes from green to red
Should you come sit beside me you could trust me my friend
It might happen to you when your world suddenly ends

Not much going on here still I thank you for shouting
Just me and my pal parked at the streetlight beside me
Both waiting for change and change ought to be coming
For the heat’s rising up and the engines are gunning
To join the steel rivers on the freeway above us
Safely back in the fast lanes away from the street life

If time should matter I could tell you though vaguely
When sun punches through the fog in the morning
At times my mind strains in rare moments’ reflection
To ponder the change in my sad life’s direction
Yet I can hear music and for me it is healing
And makes hours spent wasting somehow quite freeing

Not much of anything here just biding my time
Going about the business of waiting to die
Could you spare some relief for this worn out old shell
What does it matter to you what I do in this hell
I’m harmless and alone owning nothing but a cart
And you think I’m an animal that could tear you apart


© 2014 deb davies thorkelson   | april 11th, 2014

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4 replies »

  1. I like how you are writing from the homeless person’s point of view. I went to college in Minneapolis, MN and I used to see homeless people on campus. Oftentimes they were also mentally ill and also, even sadder, veterans. I wrote a short memoir of student orientation at the University of Minnesota called The Birdman and the Boy in the Beret. The Birdman was a homeless man who hung around the U of M campus. It’s amazing the way that the homeless are also treated like outcasts, isn’t it? Good poem.


    • Thank you so much.
      Working in San Francisco inspired the “visual” behind this poem… so many poor homeless. People avert their eyes. I would often carry an extra bottled water or two to give out and cash if I could… and I usually carry healthy, wrapped dog biscuits if I’m on foot, as many homeless folks have dogs. (The dogs don’t know they’re poor and homeless, they usually seem pretty happy!). Is your memoir “The Birdman and the Boy in the Beret” on your site?
      Thanks again, debbiewritesstuff


      • deb, it’s so thoughtful of you to carry water for those you meet or treats for the dogs♥. I never saw any homeless with dogs in Minneapolis, but then we have some pretty brutal winters here. A colleague of mine actually worked directly with the homeless population in the Twin Cities (Mpls-St Paul). He took me around me one day and showed me where the camps were. In another piece of mine, The Beggar and the Baker, I have a character who is an angel but ministers to the homeless. That piece and both parts of my memoir are in my archives on WordPress. I swear to you, I’m not just writing to you to plug my stuff! Like you, I take a personal interest in the denizens of the city streets. Have a great night! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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