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Homeless in Atlanta – you can understand even if I can’t April 17, 2007

Posted by vsap in Blogroll, Poetry.
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I haven’t had a bath in days
Don’t remember last I ate
But I pray everyday and I believe this ground
Where I stand, where I breathe
Is sacred ground.

It may rain, it may snow
It doesn’t matter because I somehow stay warm
And when the southern heat oppresses
I’m cool under a viaduct, near an old rail trace
And I can’t seem to remember all I could never forget.

So I will lift my paper cup to the police,
I pray for the welfare workers
They do me no malice, mean me no harm
Though the offices are inconvenient
How could they be otherwise as things are?

If I had a daughter I think she would be here
If I had a son I think he would have found me by now
If I had a wife wouldn’t she had asked after me?
Maybe and maybe not so I don’t rely on someone else’s feelings
I can go the distance on my own, I reckon.

What you learn out here is how to defend yourself
Without a weapon, with words and menace
If it comes to that and it sometimes does
But I don’t fret over it cause St Pete will call me when he’s ready
Not a moment sooner, not a moment later.

I’m not the bum that hangs in a hobo jungle out by a freight yard
I’m not looking to get out, thinking its better
In Birmingham, Savannah or Augusta

Cause it ain’t and we both know it
Best to figure it out where I am and leave the travel alone.

I pray everyday and probably more if I was to count
But I lost my desire to keep track like the Bible says
It’s a chase after the wind, old Solomon said
And I’m no scholar so I bet he was right or close enough
I can’t toil that field anymore so I don’t.

You can’t help but notice the traffic here, I’m told
Seems like them beyond the perimeter don’t want people like me
Riding the public transport to their neighborhood
But they don’t know I don’t want to be there
And they just keep burning up gas in their ignorance.
I can’t say I pay heed to politics
Politics down here is based on the emotion of the moment
Some think I’m edgy, maybe violent
Others think I’m St Christopher
And they’d rather walk with me than others.

So sinner and saint I am
I admit there is a flaw that keeps me here
Though I can’t say what it is since
If you put me in a suit and sat me in front of Starbucks
You’d mistake me for a prince of prosperity.

And I laugh at the thought that I carried those worries
That at some point I worked downtown
Maybe real estate, maybe radio ad sales,
Maybe an old hand at G-P making paper somewhere
I can remember the smell but I can’t remember the work.

You may not like what went down with me
If you could ever know
Going day-to-day as a sort of nomad
Yet I know enough to know it could be different
But I don’t have the balls to change.

It’s easy to blame your mother and father
But they don’t deserve it
Too many have risen passed their childhood
Out from under the clouds they had
And I made my own decisions and forgot them long ago.

Having skinned my knees often
They are heavy with scar tissue
And I don’t think I’ve hurt myself when I fall anymore
But God is okay with that kind of numb
It’s when I forget to be grateful that gets Him mad.

Yes, I heard about the war but I can’t say I know
It doesn’t come up much down here
But I am grateful to the troops
I’m grateful I didn’t have to serve in Vietnam
Or I wouldn’t be in such a place at such a time.

So when I sit down to think of this stuff to tell you
I do get a headache from letting stuff invade
And I just don’t bother usually
But I think you can understand
Even if I can’t.

March 30, 2006 

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