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Broadway Panhandler

Updated on September 2, 2013

Broadway Avenue Panhandler

by A. Gagliardi

Misery gazed through beer-stained blur,
Despair in faded jeans;
enslaved by his habit,
his outstretched claw
beseeched me donate to his cause.

A ghost begged another ride
on his addiction.
His wretchedness reached out
and slapped me lonely;
the squalid secrets of his torment
displayed like a porno movie.

An apparition of journey’s end,
the destination of choices not chosen.
His shabby figure beckons me consider -
Where is my port of call?

He shuffled his approach
with eyes lurking despondent,
reached out shabby sleeves to accept my oblation,
then clutching the prize to his chest
two-stepped back to his prerogative.

Third Place Honors out of 12,000 entries

A happy day is when an award arrives unexpectedly.
A happy day is when an award arrives unexpectedly. | Source

Third place winner.

Well, imagine my surprise when this lovely 3rd place plaque arrived at my house.It would have been more fun to have first place, but at least I got placed. I think there were a large number of folks in the same category as me, but it is still nice to be noticed.

Discussion about our reaction to panhandlers

What is your reaction to the panhandlers that beg on the streets of your city? How do you as individuals, and citizens respond?

Post your comments below.

I have, for a long time now, been interested and disturbed by the people who stand on our street corners and panhandle. Many panhandlers are homeless, but not all.

Some days I am sympathetic and provide a dollar, an apple or some small word of support. Other days I am cynical and think, 'I work hard enough for my money. There is no need to give it away." and I drive by without looking at them. Still other days, I have nothing to give, but say a silent prayer and smile at them.

One of my daughters saves the last ride or two from her bus card and gives that to panhandlers.

A student in one of my classes said that many homeless people have few teeth, or have painful teeth, so we should give them bananas. -- something I had not thought of.

I wonder where they get the marker to create their signs -- perhaps it is just one marker and it is passed around from person to person.

What is our response to these people, as individuals and as citizens? Does our response change when we have our child riding in our car with us? Does our response change according to mood? Time of day? or circumstance?

This hub is a place for you to share your response to the panhandlers.

What is your stance on panhandling?

Do you think people should give something to panhandlers?

See results


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    • agaglia profile image

      agaglia 6 years ago

      whooo hoo! I got a prize for this one - no money, but some recognition, from the National Amateur Poetry Foundation. I guess that is something.

    • agaglia profile image

      agaglia 7 years ago

      Yes. I think it is a state of mind. What catches in the craw is the need to deliver some measure of offering. I wished that I didn't feel obligated to donate something.

      Other days I feel blessed to have much and I always, always 'share the wealth'.

    • profile image

      Betty Ann 8 years ago

      I totally agree with you. Sometimes, you just feel the person could do differently if so inclined. I also think that once a person who is naturally unmotivated gets used to living off the cuff of others, they can't do anything else. I've come in contact with so many who just accept, accept, accept, and never think they might be overdoing it and are becoming way TOO needy. It makes me sad because there are so many other deserving adults and children, who through circumstance have no other choice. Our society makes it too easy to live off public dole and not try to come up. A hand up is better than a cushion to lie there.

    • profile image

      mingzhe 8 years ago

      broadway panhandler

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