Novice Journal

A little this – a little that!


on January 26, 2012

When asked to write about my perspective on homelessness, I found myself in a real pickle. Here’s what I came up with. This poem has absolutely no form, which I think might work well with the subject at hand.  It’s got a few tweaks to go until I’m satisfied, but enjoy it nonetheless!


She can taste the city smoke

And smell her burning feet

Icy fingers wear against sickly pockets

Time runs her over

Branding her with grey

Her heart belongs to cinderblocks

Worn out jeans and a lighter box

Something about the hiding holes

And the taste of rain provide her home

The hard life won’t let her go

It’s all she knows


28 responses to “Homelessness

  1. michael says:

    Beautiful, beautiful imagery.

    Definitely not an easy topic to write about.

  2. Fergiemoto says:

    Sad…yet a powerful poem.

  3. bipolarmuse says:

    I like it… very good. Truth and depth.
    My Dad was homeless… he called it “living under Gods roof”. When he died he had a food card, a dime, and headphones to no cassette player.
    He would say you weren’t a vagrant if you carried a dime on you… lol

  4. Inga says:

    Sad and beautiful.

  5. Wow… your words are so colorful! I feel the years, wear and tear in this person.
    And… thanks for stopping by my blog today. I appreciate it.

  6. I agree with Eric! Well written!

  7. Eric Alagan says:

    “Time runs her over…Branding her with grey…”

    Love this take on growing old. Well done Ray.

  8. HT Sundance says:

    No form? Naughty naughty. 🙂

  9. 90dphillips says:

    This is certainly thought provoking. A different sort if work, I like that there’s no real form… I’ve never been homeless or anything, so I have no testimony to offer, but it was still able to open my eyes in a new way to the ever increasing number of impoverished conditions in America.

    • mjray926 says:

      Thanks, 90dphillips. Since I’ve never actually lived this life, you can tell it’s written from a bystander’s perspective. There truly are a rising number of people going homeless…

  10. Caerlynn Nash says:

    Some people never know when they’re one pay check a way, one bet away, or one drink away, or one of many other reasons away. They all have a story. Here are my thoughts: This is a poem I wrote a while back

  11. L. says:

    I work with the homeless, serving lunch and dinner to a crowd of 350 per meal three times per day, 7 days per week. There are many like the homeless woman you describe, but there are also many who don’t appear to be downtrodden as this one in your poem. In fact, most don’t want the pity, they just want justice, relief and better public policy. they just want food in their stomachs and a place they can call home each night, safe and sound.

    I think this poem definitely grabs at the ones we all imagine homelessness to appear as, but it doesn’t depict the reality of families who are making a living out of their cars, who are clean and well-dressed.

    I think there is hope for this poem though, if it is expanded to include the reality of many who exist, even in my small town. Great work!

    • mjray926 says:

      First off, God bless you for working with the homeless. I know there is a big need for volunteers, and it sounds like you give so much. While I’m not quite as involved, I have served at soup kitchens a few times, and from the little time I spent there, it seems like there is so much work that gets done on a daily basis. I can see what you mean with extending the poem. That’s a really great idea, and I hope to find some time to do that soon! This first part that I’ve written is most definitely from an outsider’s perspective.
      Thanks for reading, L!

  12. granbee says:

    I think this poem expresses very effectively the weird and unexpected sort of comfort level the homeless get with their living conditions. I have known of “bridge people” who did work frequently at day jobs who actually preferred to sleep under a bridge every night, even after they could buy their own clothes and food and even bus or train tickets occasionally. The reason: “it is all I know now.” They seemed to feel much more “in control” this way.

    • mjray926 says:

      It’s hard to let go of something (such as a style of living) once you’ve grown accustomed to it. It is almost like an entirely new way to look at the world, when you look at it through a “bridge person’s” eyes. Thanks, granbee.

  13. thomag1 says:

    what sad scenes in many a city

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