Tuesday, June 03, 2008

where the streets have no name

Sometimes it catches me off guard. I walk in and it's loud, someone's screaming and I can't quite figure out why. A woman, she's in the corner and she's rocking back and forth. There's a guy over there in a wheelchair, he's nodding off and I think he might fall over, his cap says something about being a vet on it. The line for the clinic is long, folks are coughing and no one is smiling. My eyes, they meet hers and her pain is so palpable I look away, I look away and I keep walking and I feel the sting. Everyone looks so tired. I see an old timer and his eyes light up. We momentarily embrace probably harder than necessary but in that moment I am hugging all of it, the pain and the sorrow and the fucking desperation that wraps around my head like a thick winter fog. Words are futile, sometimes this shit just sucks.

As much as I try and spin it the erosion is clear. The warehousing of human beings is wrong at best and things aren't getting better and really it's worse. Folks are sicker and older and sometimes the weight of the endless suffering and bags of belongings and the limping and the crying kids and the vacant stares and the weathered fingers and the old shoes and I could go on and on and it's simply too much. The beauty is there, it always is if you look hard enough but the suffering has it's own flavor, strong like a red chile or a head of raw garlic, it's there and you taste it and no amount of water can soften it's bite.

It's time to send us your May Just Posts. The Just Post Roundtable is coming up on June 10th so between now and the 7th we invite you to send us links to posts on social issues and justice, ones you've written or ones you've read. You can send them to me at girlplustwo(at)yahoo(dot)com and everyone is welcome and it's free and we don't rely on animal testing or kill any trees in the process so there are no more excuses. Join us.

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18 comments:

Fran said...

My friend. There's just nothing to say. Love to you.

Yvie said...

The situation is the same in the Philippines. A lot of people are getting poorer, they have no place to go and worse, some even resort to prostitution, robbery (and a lot of things that you can imagine) just to get through for a day.

How I deal with this is not really putting the blame into anyone. I believe that the best way to help this people is to show how they can help themselves. :)

There is hope in every situation. On top of it all, love always prevails.

cce said...

Yes, words are not sufficient to describe that worse than bad situation...the warehousing of human beings. I'm so, so sad for all of us that our society cannot, will not find a better way.

Family Adventure said...

How do we make it better now? Not later, not in abstract. Now?

Sometimes, it just seems so hopeless, pointless. You know?

wheelsonthebus said...

And yet you keep going.

Kyla said...

Last night, my sister in law and I were having coffee and she mentioned that she was assigned a speech about homelessness in one of her courses. She said she was going to discuss healthcare for the homeless, but she didn't know what she thought about it all. So I gave her the right, not a privelege talk and said how the hell can people get on their feet if they can't even have their basic needs taken care of. We pay for a public education why should this be any different, the need is even more basic. And I watched the light bulb go off in her mind and it was something. Hopefully she'll go and set off some more light bulbs in her classroom, too.

It is small, isn't it? Too small in the face of something so overwhelming. But every little bit is something.

jennifer said...

You're amazing. I melt and whither in front of scenes like that.

Gwen said...

You make it better one person at a time, to answer the commenter above. I just finished this book about a doctor who works mostly with the poorest of the poor in Haiti and he described his life's mission in a way that made me think of you, jen: "We want to be on the winning team, but at the risk of turning our backs on the losers, no, it's not worth it. So you fight the long defeat .... I don't care if we lose, I'm gonna try to do the right thing."

bgirl said...

all you do, all you see...
i cannot imagine how you don't just SCREAM. hugs to you.

alejna said...

It's so hard to see or hear other people in pain.

It can be so overwhelming to think of the scale of the problems. How can we make things better for so many? But reading about the work you do reminds me how much it matters to help even the few.

liv said...

it's overwhelming--life being so beautiful and so grotesque.

(hugs)

meno said...

Trickle down economics just isn't working out for most people (she said cynically.)

That was beautiful (she said sincerely.)

QT said...

The warehousing of human beings IS wrong. So wrong.

flutter said...

You are a brave and beautiful soul

Janet said...

Raw, indeed.

Beck said...

I know. It's awful.

mamatulip said...

Honestly Jen, sometimes I don't know how you do it. I mean, I know, but...I don't know.

KC said...

It's fitting that your words are just so beautiful and powerful.