When the sun came up this morning it meant the longest night of the year had passed. Last night, cities throughout the country held 'Homeless Persons' Memorial Day' to remember the individuals who passed away in 2017. Most individuals who are homeless end up unclaimed at the morgue after their passing. Their deaths go unnoticed. Because of that, this ceremony included a list of names and a short description of who they were. It is a dignified way to honor the individuals who are a part of communities throughout the country.
Here are a few snippets from a ceremony held in Chicago:
"Marcus Faleti, an alcoholic who froze to death at age 58 in Wicker Park in early January, will be remembered as someone who 'loved reading the Sun-Times and Wall Street Journal.'
"Moriah Ishmael will be honored as 'someone who was very respectful and a joy to be around. All Moriah wanted was a place to call his own.'
"Will Kelly 'was a good friend who helped many people.'
"Wesley Sharp 'was a kind, respectful and patient man' who will be 'missed dearly by friends.' "
Everyone has a story. Everyone is part of a community. Living in Southern California, I see homeless people all of the time. Sometimes you'll see them for a week or two and then *poof* they're gone. I wonder where they go. I wonder how they get by in the winter. It's not East Coast cold- but at night it's nowhere near warm. On top of that, there are not enough shelters to house the amount of homeless in California; however, not everyone wants to be housed for the night. Some would rather stick it out and live to see the sun rise as they wake up outside.
Now that winter is here, I'll be sharing stories from the people I've met on the streets and observations on poverty in the United States. All of this will be leading up to the release of my book of poetry and photography titled Not So Simple: Observations on Poverty and People. Below is a poem that hits the theme of how some homeless are constant travelers, shuffling around as a means to survive. It also hits on the theme of mental illness.
"Stuck in Time"
The sun hadn’t sucked the
nutrients from his face
this means he’s new to the avenues
he had the look in his eyes
Staring at the sidewalk
In a trance
His brain was working
Or maybe it was running faster
Than he could keep up
He was stuck in his mind
While the moments trickled by
I’ve seen him four of the past five days
Then never again
His body is on the move
But his mind is far