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Category: homelessness

Good Morning

Whenever someone audibly says “good morning” to me in public, I get the feeling of being in church.  And I say “good morning” back in the strangest of voices.


It feels formally spiritual, randomly intimate.


I think we did not say “good morning” to each other where I came from.  I think mornings were not good.  Just a continuation of the sore body work day before.  And weekends the space of second and third jobs.


A man sleeping and eating at one of the United States’ many homeless shelters said to me on Thursday: “Your hands are too soft for someone who works 3 jobs.”  And then we played an intense game of Scrabble with another man who sleeps and eats there.  College students made us bad grilled cheese and tomato soup.  We laughed and hoped they were not studying to be culinary artists.  I was thankful for the bad food, too.  My soft hands a marker of my educational, but not class privilege.


Later, over the board of letter possibilities, which became increasingly limited and increasingly expanded, as our moves were interconnected, we played sounds we had learned as children in place of words.  We challenged each other with a copyrighted authority in the form of a Scrabble dictionary published in 1996.  And we offered the insults we learned in place of love, too.  We laughed.  We slid and slapped our hands together and here, the contrast of my white privilege met my soft, educated hands. We left fingerprints of food pantry pistachio dust on each other’s skin.  A treat.  Because I could go in the kitchen and bring out whatever I wanted to.


I wanted to lose that game, but respect and competition had me playing to win.  Or maybe it was my lack of gender privilege and the echo of questionable demands of my sex, of me.

Respected and sexualized me?


I came in second place.


They went to bed on the floor.


I went home to where I have a bed, but chose not to sleep in it.


And much too early, we all got up and went back to work.

The News: November 5th, 2014

Midterm Elections 2014

Midterm elections and all the media

has forgot that we are so afraid of EBOLA.

Funny that politicians, or the other

party are the only things we fear more—steal our

stare at the sick, shake our rallying to quarantine.

Forget our voice, our demand to ban all flights from Africa,

as if it were one big, black, festering infection.

What were the names of those small countries?

The G.O.P. takes the senate and we forget to tremble.

The G.O.P. didn’t take the senate, we gave it to them.

Here, one vote and another seat. For you sir.

Just like campaign funds. Now what can I do for you, sir?

Midterm elections and we forget that U.S. police are killing

black boys daily. What were their names?

Those who were in the news? I remember Scott Walker,

Mary Burke for Wisconsin. Martin? Brown? Or was it Till?

Fill up those prisons with gangbangers before the majority votes-

the legalization of (medical) marijuana, print it on a hemp ballot.

Native Americans eliminating racist mascots,

but we forgot them long ago, didn’t they disappear, like the last of the mohicans?

Midterm elections and the Democrats cannot even remember

their elected president. Obama? Never heard of him.

Forty-percent, but the odds were never in his favor.

November 4th, 2014.

Ignore all of the falling color, look forward to that white, white snow.

In the dead of winter, G.O.P. snug in the senate.

In Detroit, no water in the house.

Midterm elections, should we increase the minimum wage?

Midterm elections? And the consensus at the homeless shelter is:

“Fool, I am too busy working too much for too little to vote.”

Midterm election and we forget the warmth of Florida:

Arrest after arrest for feeding the homeless

This, after all, is a democracy, show some

voter ID, prove you’re American,

respect the majority, by vote or by contribution,

we wont tolerate socialism: pastors facing jail-time

for feeding the homeless, I almost forgot, humanity

overlooked, this midterm election.