Friday, December 3, 2010

A Plaintive Note From A Homeless Beggar

Get a job? Who has the time?
I spend my life standing in line,
waiting to be clothed or fed,
not knowing tonight where I'll lay my head.
What was that? What did you say?
Nothing to spare and I'm in the way?
i'm begging as humbly as I possibly can.
It's been a long day. Please understand.

A million times my feet slap the ground.
No reason to stop, no place to slow down.
I pound the pavement from morning to night,
easily spotting those with my flight.
Sleeping bags are a sure way to know
what they haven't any real place to go.
Backpacks are always a dead giveaway,
that they'll be standing in some line today.
Give them a nod, a laugh or a smile
because if they're standing in line,
they'll be there a while.

I just need a voucher or dollar to two,
to wash my clothes so I won't offend you.
Three hours spent standing in line
for 5 minutes to wash off the filth and the grime.
I look to strangers for kindness each day.
I need your help please don't walk away.
If you must keep walking, just pass me by,
but don't try to peek from the side of your eye.
I search all day to find a safe place.
Any hovel will do even the smallest of space.
Where I won't be told to "get up and go,"
where I won't be frozen and wet head to toe.

With the curb as my pillow and the street as my home.
I'm surrounded by people, but i'm always alone.
I know that sometimes I may not seem "right,"
please don't be rude, it's been a long night.

If I bum a smoke or ask for your name,
please don't ignore me, my needs aren't a game.

Poverty kills all hope and dreams
and being homeless is worse than I make it seem.
No hope for a mate, a family or life,
just me and the streets paved with heartache and strife.
I keep on moving while tragically knowing,
I'm headed nowhere with no place to go.

I can escape to the mall or the airport sometimes
and pretend for a minute this nightmare is not mine.
Sheltered for a night, a moment not more,
knowing the morning has nothing in store.

I'm not ungrateful, don't get me wrong,
it's just been a long month, it keeps dragging on.
Trying to search my way out of this hell
and forgetting that once my life was well.
All my efforts came crashing down.
I lost my house and my life without a sound.
If my house had burned down or a tornado had hit,
it would've been easier than my notice to quit.

All I want is a place of my own,
nothing great just a spot to call home.
I don't mean to sound trite when you have to say no,
it's just been along life and I've nowhere to go.
So please be kind it's been a long year,
one of these days it could be you standing here.
I pray to the lord it'll all end in time,
and I will finally reach the end of this line.

ALTHEA DRAKE
Portland

1 comment:

andy said...

powerful, sad, moving. may the grace of God through the touch of his children create home for the homeless and shelter for the poor. To say, "Be warmed and filled" is not enough.