31 October 2007

a father so cold (day 3)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Homelessness is the condition and societal category of people who lack fixed housing, usually because they cannot afford a regular, safe, and adequate shelter. The term "homelessness" may also include people whose primary nighttime residence is in a homeless shelter, in an institution that provides a temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized, or in a public or private place not designed for use as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings. [1][2] A small number of people choose to be homeless. An estimated 100 million people worldwide are homeless.

a father so cold (a man on a sidewalk outside a shelter with his family in the richest country in the world)

the car rolls
down a trash-hewn street

we slowly drift by
empty storefronts
the remnants of prosperity

the air is brisk
heavy wih the cold
heavy with the past

the curb reaches out
draws the car close
the tires begin to express their weight
on cups and cans
and needles and bags

before the passenger door can be opened
the horde appears
the wretched approach
flashing tired eyes
outstretched hands

fighting through the maze
to the back of the line
we find a mother and her children
and her husband

we find her husband
and he will not make eye contact
as he accepts the food i bring

he is shame
he is anger
under blankets
so cold
outside a shelter
he is failure
no home
so cold
he is hurt
you can tell
he is pain
so cold
deep inside
his daughter
so young
so cold
on streets
his seed
his son
so cold
his own
no home
his pain
so cold
still fresh
still raw
his wife
so cold
his children
they shiver
and cry
so cold

under the bridge
in the shadows
he lays
huddles with his family
they cry
he prays

where is this love
this savior
this life
who knows the prayer
to feed his children
his wife

this is all
no less
no more
this is his home
the sidewalk
so cold

(happy birthday dad - i love you.)


  1. Good insight here man.

    Anyone who struggles to provide for his family can, at least in part, relate to this. Some get close to this point and "check out" of life. I sense a courage in the man you describe. He continues in the face of apparent hopelessness.

    That creates a spirit of hope in me...

  2. "as he accepts the food i bring"

    Even through the shame and anger, his pride is in check. For the moment he is grateful. For the moment he is able to 'provide' for his family. I can only imagine that this must be the most painful and humilating experience for a husband and father, not to be able to provide.

    We are all called to be this mans savior, their life...