Monday, December 6, 2010



I never had to go without a bath
Even for one day, if I didn't want to

I always had a place to relieve myself
A place that didn't say "For Customers Only."

Yes, I have had accidents in my cloths
But I have always had a place to clean up

I have never had to sleep in a
cold, hard, uncomforable, dirty doorway

Or make myself a hidden spot behind trees or bushes
under a freeway, at the zoo, roadside or park

I have always had quilts, warm clothes or a coat
to cover me from the cold or rain

I have never looked through a window at food
And not had the money to eat

I have never gone through the embarassment
Of asking strangers for money

I have always had a place or money to wash clothes
I have always had clothes to wash

I've never had people staring at me asleep on the sidewalk
Wondering if I am dead, drugged or passed out

I have always had shoes without holes
and stocking to warm my feet

I have never had to trade my body for money or food
I have never stolen because I was hungry

How can anyone get a job when they are not clean?
When they are not fed? When they are homeless?

I have never lost a leg, an arm or other body parts in war
And had to realized I might have to depend on others

I have never been displaced with bombs or missiles
My home and land taken because oil was underground

I have never been displaced by war, earthquake or flood
Or suffered disease from unclean conditions and no medical care

We need to rethink all society, jobs, wages, restrooms, showers,
food, a place for our stuff, places to sleep, a place to call home

A place for the drunks, the addicts, the displaced, the insane
A place in a compassionate society that sees and acts

We need to stop shooting, bombing, and making weapons
We must embrace construction not destruction. We must!!
...Linda King 11/27/10

Linda King is my sister, now living in San Francisco and hanging out with SF poets like Jack Hirshman who holds rallies for poets to read poems for the cause of the homeless, in SF and everywhere. Street poets, a special breed of lonely.


Cheryl said...

This is a great poem and the photos were perfect. Does give each of so many reasons to be thankful.

Anonymous said...

I went to a rally for the homeless in San Francisco where the homeless number 7,000 to 10,000. I was told there are 10,000 on the list for low income housing. I felt uncomfortable, knowing that my circumstance was not too far from homeless. My $5 thriftstore coat seems too nice. I came home and wrote this poem.
Linda King

Gerry said...

This information you gave, Linda, kind of made me uncomfortable, too. I don't even think there is a waiting list for the WHo. But you get to live in historic storied SF. Are you on the list? I will never forget you giving that beautiful quilt to a homeless guy just out of the hospital sleeping on the street in his wheel chair. I looked out the next morning and saw him under a guilt that looked like yours. I thought I bet that is Linda's quilt, and it was. said...

I loved the pictures and the poem.
Somehow the one with the dog caught my breath (knowing how Linda loves dogs)...also knowing dogs love who love them. Too many are homeless. We are also too selfish.


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