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If He Is The Homeless

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Then we are the heartless
His eyes, cimmerian pools
Conscious waters we dare not tread
His words, rendered null and void
And so he holds the sign
Of failure, defined
As if guilty of existence
Beaten by this steel wool system
Of surface scratchers
Mirrored and jagged
Buffing them up
To send them back out

Dead people live on this street
Like the gray of pigeons, pecking
For rations of sweet sanity
Between dagger eyes
And swift kicks
Tears siphoned back from the edge
Hold more truth than sorrow
Tiny little diamonds
Of the highest clarity

Squinting, scanning for prospects
The sun exposes his lines
A tally of  tragedies
His glance, as empty as pockets
Races past the la-de-da
Seeking one heart, unbiased
One heart that drops the dollar
Without assuming it’s next exchange
And as it free falls to the pavement
He struggles to remember
How it felt to not be treated
Like a modern day leper





Sharing a previously written piece that seems to resonate even stronger during these times.

Today you are invited to be LIVE via video for the first hour of OPEN LINK NIGHT at dVerse Poets Pub.

After Thursday ’s OLN, we will have our two-week summer break.

The dVerse bar will reopen on July 13th.

14 responses »

  1. I can really feel this. and I can really feel this and I reflect over the fact how often we pass someone like that.

  2. Tragic. Just tragic.

  3. This seems to be an ongoing issue! Overwhelming at times when one sees the sadness and hopelessness. Very tragic indeed!

  4. Glenn A. Buttkus

    So very powerful; the homeless, beggars, disabled, and buskers, their open guitar cases and old coffee cans beckoning, it always creates empathy over apathy, but too often, I, too just walk by.You had me at “dead people live on this street like the gray of pigeons, pecking for rations of sweet sanity”.

  5. Very moving and makes me think about those we easily pass by. In the UK all were given places to stay and wonder now what will happen. So many lives with complex backstories. your poem gives dignity to this.

  6. Unfortunately, a sad reality in life. They have put many homeless people up in motels here due to Covid. They are vulnerable with no place for shelter.

  7. A tally of tragedies and counting. A searing and sad write Mish.

  8. “His words, rendered null and void
    And so he holds the sign
    Of failure, defined”
    This is the silent scream.
    All he wishes is to be treated like a human being 😦
    There have always been poor, but at no other time has our species been better equipped to end poverty.
    Your poem is like a gut punch for anyone who is not this person.

  9. I’m glad you linked this poem up again, Mish, and I enjoyed the reading at the Google Meet – it never ceases to resonate. I really feel the lines:
    ‘His eyes, cimmerian pools
    Conscious waters we dare not tread’,
    which makes me think of the phrase ‘There but for the grace…’ That could have been me back in the early eighties when my first husband walked out on us and the landlord evicted me and my four-year-old daughter. I was lucky to find a housing association that offered me somewhere to live. I also like the abrasive tone of the lines:
    ‘Beaten by this steel wool system
    Of surface scratchers
    Mirrored and jagged
    Buffing them up
    To send them back out’
    and the phrase ‘A tally of tragedies’.

  10. We have sadly learned to tune the homeless out. I am guilty of it too, (k)

  11. this is humbling and true, Mish, my reliegion teaches that if we are not one, then we are not Christ’s. How far we are from that and how deep we are buried in the la-de-da. This evoked the mural by Minerva Teichert from the Mormon Manti Temple from early Mormon Pioneer Settler era. this is just a small corner of an entire room, but it teaches so many lessons, and I wish I had found an excerpt that channels her brilliant impressionist coloring, but I am haunted by this row of nobles, moving through the world impervious to suffering poor, one of the has his hand stretched out giving alms, but his nose is still in the air and he won’t even acknowlege the presence let alone the humanity of the people stretching out their arms in need. you have seen in your poem. humbling, shattering, true.

    Shoot! I am tech idiot, I can’t find a way to post the image here. I will try to find another way to show it to you later somehow.

  12. so powerful, as said before, these people become invisible but their mere existence is a blight on us and our system that we are barely trying to erase!

    Thanks for speaking to them

  13. This really got to me…so tragic


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