I have wondered often and over many years what we do for and how we respond to the homeless in our midst.
Here is a poem I wrote last year on that topic.
Broadway Avenue Panhandler
Misery gazed through beer-stained blur-
Despair in faded jeans
Enslaved by his habit; his outstretched claw
Beseeched me donate to his cause.
Desolation isn’t exclusive to North Minneapolis.
Hungry & wanting lurk despondent along South Lyndale.
Homeless stand shivering on freeway ramps
And cruise the sordid streets of St. Paul
A ghost begged another ride on his addiction
His wretchedness reached out and slapped me lonely
The squalid secrets of his torment
Advertised like a porno movie.
An apparition of journey’s end -
The destination of a road not taken.
His shabby figure beckons me consider -
Where is my port of call?
By Annette Gagliardi
To be honest, I've helped a lot of people on the street. Even in my yuppie-ridden enclave there's one or two young adults that are already homeless to some degree.
But just as I used to feed people through a Salvation Army soup kitchen, you quickly learn that it's usually a tragic downfall of the person themselves.
This is not to say I don't have pity or empathy, because I assure you, I do. But I think having so much and losing it all really can make a better person in the end.
Because...I almost lost myself to all of my demons.
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