Inspired by observations in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Over his shoulder, a black trash bag with all that he owns: an extra jacket, a lighter, and a solitary shoe with no partner to love,
“Please don’t beat me up! Don’t beat me up!” he pleads each day to those whose hearts wear gloves.
The streets he calls home are lined with other downtrodden souls, sucking junk through dirty needles laced,
Injecting poisonous remedies that offer a momentary escape from the cold reality they face.
Faces blur together, the soundscape consumed by incessant murmurings of junkies fiending,
Willing to risk an untimely end if it means finding the next fix.
An empty Starbucks cup next to a sign that reads “Smile, we all woke up today☺,”
Vapid greetings that do nothing to stem the pain, suffering, and shame.
Silver linings marked by music in the parks, accompanied by smoking, drinking, and dancing
Joy in retaliation to an endless situation that keeps shooting up.
He passes his friend standing on the corner, her resume and infant in hand,
A cry for help, a desperate plea, aching for an inkling of hope.
Back in the tent city he calls home, another old woman dying next to a disabled man,
Surrounded by hungry children and the resilient damned.
He works for clean water and he prays for a roof,
To no avail in a system he knows deep down is rigged against him.
Body and mind shattered, clothes in tatters,
Shopping cart in tow, like waste through the street he endlessly flows.
Hoping one day that someone will know his soul matters.