Thursday, July 23, 2009

Nowhere to Go

Home is the place where,
when you have to go there,
They have to take you in.

Robert Frost, in "Death of a Hired Hand"

An estimated 40,000 people live on the streets, in abandoned buildings or in temporary shelters throughout Los Angeles, more than 5,000 of them in Skid Row. Another 8,000 make their home in that area's short-term residential hotels, or flop houses as they were once called. [1]


He'd figured maybe after all this time
their hearts would have mellowed.
Like water wearing down rock,
scorn might lose its sharp edge,
become indifference.
No more passing judgment;
indifference doesn't care one way or the other
so maybe there's a chance,
the tiniest chance,
they'd let him stay,
just until ...

But he's too proud to ask.

They're arresting them in the park;
it's now a crime to sleep there
where people stoop to feed the pigeons
but won't share their donut with
the hungry vagrant
on the opposite bench.

Birds don't offend or embarrass us
the way other humans do.

-- Annie Wyndham

No comments: