one way ticket

i stood there at that bus stop

on the hill,

waiting:

book in hand,

reading about the galapagos islands

and a sailor turned poet

who almost crashed into them.

next to me a tree bloomed into a fence;

i didn’t know its name.

i stood there at that crossroads,

wanting:

a purpose,

a heading,

a sign,

a job.

it feels so long ago now.

but i felt the most alive then:

deep in that despair—with an edge of hope.

i knew somehow it would all work out.

i knew we would be ok.

but the desperation sharpened something in me

that will never be the same.

 

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just dignity

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the days of finding quarters in the

couch cushion corners are long gone.

 

the couch is long gone, along

with the house. have you ever

 

slept in your car? not because

you happened to, but because

 

you had to? well, the car is

long gone now, too. i find

 

the term food insecure

cowardly; it’s just another way

 

for people to not think the words:

     hungrystarving

 

to not look me in the face when

i sit beside them in the library,

 

stand at the corners of their

commute and ask them to

 

see themselves in me, their

past, present, future selves;

 

their children; their long-lost

job, nest egg, golden retriever.

 

listen: i know we’re not going

to solve the problems of

 

the world, or even of the

day — me standing here with

 

my cardboard sign; you driving

around in circles in your prius.

 

i just need something warm to

eat, and yes — to drink;

 

to seek and find a human set of

soul-eyes to look at me — not with pity,

 

or condescension, or even compassion:

just dignity.

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