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9/21/2008

100 Word Challenge - Yearning

The following is in response to the 100 Word Challenge authored by the desirable Velvet Verbosity. The word ... is Yearning.

The little shopping cart holds all there is of him in the world; all that will be left behind when he is gone. He has his places, his secret places he goes ... to find warmth, when needed ... to find food, when hungry ... to find shelter when the world threatens him. But mostly he goes to the park. And he sits on a bench where he can see the children play. And he remembers. A time when he mattered. A lost and former life. And old blue eyes get teary. And it's hard to breathe through the yearning in his chest.

You know I write to music. It helps me set a mood and keeps me focused on my goal. I wrote this to 'Drifting' from Enya's Amarantine CD.

I see homeless people all the time. Living in the metroplex of a big city like Chicago, they are really hard to avoid. And that's what most people do. Avoid. But they are everywhere. Under bridges. In doorways. At freeway exits. Looking for food. Looking for work. But living on the outside looking in.

Every one of them is somebody's son or daughter. They were babies once. They've run out of money or they've run out of mind, but for some reason, they now live on the street. And we let them.

I suppose the greater question is how do we help them? Or maybe the question is, why have we not helped them. Why does this great country have millions of it's citizens thrown to beg?

15 comments:

Shadow said...

i know of someone like that. used to work with my dad (so it's a long time ago...) had a job, developed a drinking problem, lost his job, wife eventually left, couldn't get another job, lost his house, homeless. no home base, no way to build himself up, clean himself up, get a job. it's a terrible circle.

haunting words you wrote!

Lady Language said...

Yes, more should be done to help those on the streets. It seems the little things that are being done are not enough.

Shadow said...

you've been tagged dear louceel, check out my side and play along if you wish...

Patsy said...

So much food for thought these days. After Ike there may be many more added to the ranks of homeless --- many are right now, but will recover --- a few will drift unable to recover and become lost. Many of us could do more, but then we are busy just getting by day to day ourselves, or at least that is what we think. Nice tribute to the homeless who ended up there because of choice or circumstances----

warriorwoman said...

A lot of the money your country has, has been spent on wars and space exploration. They won't find Bin Laden any sooner than they will find little green men from mars.

You failed to mention that some of the homeless are mental cases that refuse to take their meds and refuse help in general. They prefer to be left alone to live on the streets where there aren't any rules as there aren't any walls or a roof.
There are the people who refuse to work, they enjoy the handouts instead.
I don't get up early early in the morning to work for people who annoy the crap out of me so that I have money to support the vagrants of this world.
There are shelters and homes and hospitals and other government run facilities that are set up to help the unfortunate. When they avail themselves of those services then I'll help them. I will pay taxes and a percentage of those taxes will go to feed, clothe and house the less fortunate of this world. When they refuse help and choose to live on the street then they can stay there. Don't look to me for further handout cause I've already paid for your care once.

Maybe not the lack of sympathy reply you were going for but there it is.

Damn straight I avoid them. Desperate situations lead to desperate measures. I have no desire to make friendly with a people whose survival dictate they slit my throat and take my bus fare.

Tara R. said...

In a small town while we still have homeless, they aren't as visible. It's still hard to imagine what happened in their lives to bring them to where they are, and why they don't have someone looking for them, helping them. It is very sad.

Hyphen Mama said...

During the Democratic National Convention here in Denver, the city handed out bus passes, movie passes, museum passes to the homeless... to get the homeless off the streets. What? Denver didn't want the Democrats to have to face our city's homeless? How sad is that? Swept under the rug.

Melissa said...

What a powerful piece! I love it!

Loraine said...

There was a project a few years back called "where do you hang your hat" that videographed the lives of homeless people. Turns out there's a whole anthropological aspect of homelessness that needs to be worked out- the people working with the homeless don't understand the world view of the homeless.

Unfortunately, these issues may never completely go away. The problem is huge, and there are far too many cracks to fall through.

Joyce-Anne said...

It's interesting that today's post is about the homeless. Just yesterday after packing 3 kids in the car a man asked me for money. He kept his distance and at first I said I didn't have any. But, then I checked my pockets for loose change--it was 61 cents. That's what I handed him. It's probably wrong of me, but I wasn't about to go in the car and pull out my wallet potentially leaving my children and me vulnerable to being harmed. Chances are he was not a threat. However, if I was wrong and he was, I wouldn't endanger my children for anyone.

LceeL said...

shadow: That's what it is for some - a viscious circle.

lady language: My point exactly.

patsy: Let's hope there's enough help - this time.

warriowoman: Yes, some refuse help. And some just take it and run. But resources are overburdened and underfunded.

tara r: They all have a story. And the largest majority of them don't want to be on the street.

hyphen mama: Those who have theirs don't want to deal with those who don't. Don't even want to be reminded that there ARE those who have not.

melissa: Thank you, ma'am.

loraine: Yes. There are cracks. And there really needn't be.

joyce-anne: I'm not advocating that people take this on oneat a time. In this world of dangerous people, you made the right choice. But our country's leadership has ignored this group of people, while this group grows larger by theday - for a variety of reasons. Our leadership needs to adjust some thinking - there is an approach to government called "Using the Common Wealth for the Common Good."

Sandy C. said...

This sounds incredibly strange, but I was thinking this same thing while in the city this weekend. While on the subway, we passed dozens of homeless individuals. And I too thought about them as someone's son or daughter, brother or sister.
How CAN we help them?

Such a poignant 100 words.

www.ayewonder.com said...

Lou, I see them all of the time also. Many I know by name. Many know me by name. I help as often as possible but winter is coming and it will get harder for them. I don't know how else to help. It's a very difficult situation.

conversemomma said...

When I was young, I used to make my father give spare change to every homeless person we saw on the streets of Manhattan. He said I was a true bleeding heart. I still am. I think that is why this post moved me so much. Thank you for writing it.

nicole said...

Thanks for this post. I love the writing.

I've talked to an American visiting Germany last Monday. He was surprised to barely see any homeless people here.
A few years back there were more a few years from now there will be more again, I bet.
Anyhow, I talked to few and my Dad talked to even more of them.
Many chose to stay outside, they were fed up with everything.
The ones that aren't should be helped, but our society doesn't work that way.
I had one homeless guy in Koblenz, I met him on my way to work and always gave him a bit of money. I knew he would spend it on Beer. And?
An old lady always got some from me too, don't think she was homeless, just poor. The system still works quite well, I just don't know for how much longer.