Private

There is a place where noone else can go except me

Unless I let one in, no other can be

This space is reserved for those who identify

With me when I laugh, when I shout, when I cry

Not many are invited, this place is private you see

I guess you could think of it as a symbolic VIP

Invitation only

Eliminates being lonely

Sign in and hang your coat

Main rule – don’t come to gloat

About what I have or what I don’t

Your visit will not go well, no it won’t

My bouncer is my soul and will throw you out

Our meeting is not about class, certainly not clout

I am willing to share with all walks of life

But non-mutual competition begets envy and strife

You are who you are just as I am – let it be

Should it be so easy to ruin your acquaintance with me?

I think not, just have some coffee, beer, even tea

Where it goes from here, who knows – we’ll see

Otherwise I can simply sit here by myself

Not contemplating on status or wealth

This is not what life should be geared towards

Rather happiness, satisfaction, and peace – moving forward

If you’d like to join me, you’re welcome to

When you arrive, let right be what you will do

Make the best of your day as well as mine

After all, what is better than spending quality time?

It has to be living as you are and not fretting the rest

Where is your private place? When you find it, don’t settle for less

 

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Aside

The Wayfarers Foundation – A Hopeful Amendment

I came up with this title around a week or more before I was actually able to get my thoughts together for it today. It was inspired by one of Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday prompts, also ckisler’s Braking Points blog – post – Homelessness in Galilee and USA Luke 8:26-39.

In Memphis, the homeless situation is profound, but it seems to be ignored which really bothers me in a big way.

While my father was in the VA working very hard to recover from his first stroke. Several years later with the second stroke, he wound up in the same facility, but things were worse than the first time. I was faced with riding to and fro (with my husband, mom, and very young daughter) for visits that hurt my heart.

What hurt even more was knowing that I had survived these visits only to be more hurt by the man at the corner of the intersection, accompanied by a sign that read, ‘Help me, I am a veteran.’

Every day on the way and back from visits with my dad, I would see this man in the same spot with the same sign and wearing the same coat. Unshaven, hot, and uncomfortable in the worst way, and apparently unrecognized as important, because traffic – as if in a recurring dream, constantly passed by with no stops for me to witness or take part in any sort of grand attempt to take this man from where he was to where he needed to be.

Somehow I knew he was surviving somehow, but my mind could not fathom this possibility in a realistic way because – he was still there…every day, just as my father was in that hospital bed…every day with hopes of coming home to put finishing touches on his recovery which did  happen with the first stroke, not so much with the second, but a recovery non-the-less.

The fact is that my dad had somewhere to go, which was the house that he had and was still dearly paying for. But the veteran on the corner who had also served his country was left outside to abide the elements, traffic, and who knows what else for twenty-four hours a day – each day of his life.

Is he still there today, or has he gone on to a place where he need not worry about an ideal place for him to live in? I know not as this man and his unfortunate lifestyle is considered a negatively superfluous extension of our city and it was several years ago when I was visiting my ailing father in the VA.

What struck me more than the question of why I never saw anyone stop (including myself although I thought about it with no real helpful scenario to follow up with) was why the man couldn’t simply walk that one block to the VA for help. We eventually passed the veteran by one last time on the day we brought my father home, and I was overwhelmed with an undying sense of chagrin. With reluctant acceptance, I knew that while that building stood where and as it was, it – just as well as I had miserably failed that man.

Despite understanding that the VA was a hospital and not a shelter, I still viewed the homeless hero’s sidewalk station as an undeniable display of the actual ‘aide’ that any given veteran may receive following his/her signed and sealed service.

Years later, this man is still on my mind.

 

Several years later…

 

My family (husband and now 3 kids) and I were on our way home from church (which I no longer attend now but also question on the same level as organized facilities such as the VA etc.) and we saw a family of about seven crossing the street at the old end of Bellevue Blvd which becomes Elvis Presley Blvd once you pass the intersection.

The mom, dad, and about five small children were making their way across this very busy area…the mother making sure her children held hands tightly while in step with each other as they carefully made their trek from one side of the street to the other. Holding a smaller child’s hand and carrying a bag of snacks in the other with the smallest child on her hip, I could plainly see caution and fear on their faces. The father, protector, and head of his unfortunate family walked in front, playing the role of shield. His defensive attitude was obvious as he valiantly led his family from point A to B, and they made it. I had no idea where they were going, but I did know that the small bag of snacks they had just purchased with what little they had would not be enough to fill either of their bellies.

I saw them again last week in the same area, but this time they were washing cars in the lot of a restaurant that has been closed down for some 3-5 odd years, but the father looked as if he were on a cell phone (probably borrowing from the client), hopefully talking to a new customer. Maybe he was speaking to someone about finding somewhere to live, but his body language showed that the conversation was not going well. I saw nothing but desperation, frustration, and hopelessness.

No one asks for this.

That family has been on my mind since the first day that I saw them crossing the street that day. Seeing them as well as the homeless veteran and so many others that we pass by every day reminded me of  a dream (a hope for the future) that my mother and I had in common. Today, this hope has become quite urgent in my thoughts since her passing. She often talked about starting some type of self-organized foundation for feeding/helping the homeless as she was an excellent cook and all of her daughters would use what we learned from her to make her dream come true.  Although my parents participated in several charitable organizations that were big on feeding and helping homeless people, she still had the urge to do something on a personal level, but her dream was unfortunately not lived out as she succumbed to an inherited family history of silent killers.

This dream that my mother had still lives with me today and I am determined to act on it.  Although I am limited in what I really want to do later, I still give when I can, haphazardly and random as it may be. For now, I will simply have to settle for what works in the now. But if by some miracle, sudden stroke of luck, perseverance, or whatever it is that will make it happen, I know what I want to do with my life. If I am able to make another life better, my living will not have been in vain.

In the meantime, I come from the heart (as usual) with this poem called:

The Wayfarers Foundation

Many scores lasting forever and many years to date

We the ‘eyesore’ have been forced to patiently suffer and wait

For some action to be taken…shall more of you awaken

To the fact that our living quarters called ‘homes’ have been taken

In the midst of a dwindling and eroding economy

Do we seriously need to question the severe lack of money

Despite being a member of the land of the free and home of the brave

It should matter not my choice of which service I gave

The potential to lose my comfort or ability – namely my very life

Yet my bedroom is a cardboard box regardless of the weather every night

What about those of us who were simply dealt a bad hand

Booted from common livelihoods, now unable to lease a piece of land

Higher authorities casually ignore us

While inaction and self-piety beget more of us

Is there no law written

For the ones who have been smitten

By the force of abiding at the lowest grade

Possessing the need to find elms for mere shade

Are we not deserving of hand-built roofs also

Shall it be called justice as we travel to and fro

On pavement and gravel alike, even dirt roads to nowhere

Our destinations far beyond us just as our very welfare

As we the wayfarers are deemed non-contributers of supply and demand

Our miniscule supply is depleted while the latter still stands

It is unfortunate that holiday charities do not very long last

In order to satiate our hunger and lack once that time has passed

We set up quarters of blankets,various leftovers and if lucky – tents

In places that are public –  where privacy is not meant

To be obtained in weather such as heat, snow and rain

Our candles go out just as we do much the same

But we the ‘eyesore’ come strongly together as one

As a whole people working endlessly to get something done

For the betterment of The States which is sadly and sorely due

If nothing changes, this could happen even to the most wealthy of you

As a union we stand yet divided according to place

We ask to be rationed daily resources with which to wipe dirt from our children’s face

In order to be presentable as we stand before the great panels of our nation

To plead our God-given rights in the name of The Wayfarers Foundation!

Poem #25 – Transformer

Soothing nature      -     Gueret, France, 2013

Soothing nature – Gueret, France, 2013 (Photo credit: romainverneuil.com)

 

The trends that beset us are only for a time

 

Slowly, gradually, growing

 

So widely that it is uncontrolled

 

After a time…where is the knowing

 

That once beheld us safely

 

Teaching, grasping, staid

 

The days are now moving hastily

 

Seemingly without a care

 

For what has ultimately been made

 

Straying, aloof, not there

 

Long is the summer full of rampage

 

Violent, hot, lascivious

 

Artificial air is my cage

 

Soothing, wanted, superfluous

 

A calming peace drives in through the night

 

Softly, straight, throughout

 

White becomes black and black becomes white

 

The addiction inevitably brings on the drought

 

Riches are worthless in an impoverished land

 

Selfishly, possessive, ungracious

 

Where none make the exchange from one to the other hand

 

Aiding, abetting, abolishing

 

The days are upon us

 

For the trends that beset us

 

To be malnourished, negated, done

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poem #6 – Spring Break

Oh joy! Warm breeze blows through trees;

Hummingbirds, flowers, pollen, bees;

Rain finally falls – I am so relieved;

Lettuce, tomatoes, peppers in their own row – seeds, grow now please!

 

Windows opened, cool air flows in on a cloudy day;

Muddy, dark, sleepy, – comfy in the house we stay;

Napping, lounging, wet – can’t go out to play;

The best weather I could ever ask for – wouldn’t have it any other way!

 

Flowers and plants are fed, the sun brightly shines again;

In the park kids play, at picnic tables sit women and men;

Slabs cook away on the grill while relatives ask how you’ve been;

Old uncle bangs the stakes down for horseshoes, hope my team wins!

 

Laid back in my lawn chair under the shade when my cell phone vibrates;

Well, what do ya know, it just happens to be a call from one of the kids’ schoolmates;

“Hi, just asking for permission for us to go out and skate.”

“Oh sure that’s fine as long as you remember to be back home at eight.”

 

It’s the weekend baby, the sky is clear, this is as good as it gets;

The bills are paid, the house is clean, all our needs are met;

Call up some friends, make some lemonade and set up the volleyball net;

What a day it was, what a day it was, I wonder what will happen next!

 

Spring Break is over,the fun is done, time to go back to school;

Gotta get these weeds from around my veggies, got my gardening tools;

Bedtime at nine, and back up at six, that’s the golden rule;

Can’t wait til summer when it’s really hot, but man, will it be cool!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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