Invisible

Driving through a downpour
I saw a woman, hair streaked grey,
Lain out under a blanket
Head cupped in her hands
And no police or ambulance.

And I looked away, and drove faster.
On, out of town, to meet my unknown destiny.
Along the dual carriageway,
Sped past signposts to turn back

And as I overtook the hearse,
The wreaths around the coffin seemed to be calling,
Calling towards me,

Begging, beseeching, beckoning
Below the tick—tock of windscreen wipers.
Beneath the rain’s dull chatter
Behind the whine of engines

And chimes of breath and blood pulse
A drone, like that of bees.
Or the long drawn murmur of waters
down a distant gorge.

Some message I could not comprehend
In a code I could not decipher.
And that sound, hardly half heard,
Settled in my brain, like migraine

Like a screech of brakes and tyres
And I stopped the car in a layby
Sweating, shivering, shaking
flooded by the naked ordinary horror
Pain of just living

Matter—of—factness of cruelty
Humdrumness of suffering
Watering life like rain
Repeating, again and again

And the ways death seeps, random,
Through hair cracks in the cup of now,
Eroding them into craters
And in an unstoppable tide of feeling,

I penetrated through
the thick crust of custom
and turned back

Laughing Penguins

The homeless are invisible, part and parcel of the concrete in a city. The homeless may have nothing – no material possessions, no bank accounts, no postal zip codes, not even a birthday they can now remember (or maybe, they do) … but surely, they have dreams as they sleep, same as you and me.

I have taken the title for this post from Karen Elaine Spencer’s project on the homeless in Montreal, Canada.

Visit https://67paintings.com/2013/01/ to follow through on this piece.

See Karen’s work here:

http://likewritingwithwater.wordpress.com; http://dreamlistener.wordpress.com

 

Driving through the city

You never see them.

The homeless, they are the faceless.

They apportion the invisible

Between the street and themselves.

 

But today, as I drive in and out of humming

web of streets I know well, they become visible.

The homeless:

rising greyly from a sidewalk that has

always been there,

resurrecting at a shrub-hid corner…

View original post 111 more words

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8 Replies to “Invisible”

  1. I am humbled by these thoughts…thank you!

    “If you’re in trouble, or hurt or need – go to the poor people. They’re the only ones that’ll help – the only ones.”
    ― John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

  2. Thank you for the reblog. I feel a gratitude I have no words to describe… just like I fell short of words in the poem above.
    Perhaps, read together with your mind-bending piece, it is more complete and closer to the streets we all could be invisible with, if life willed it so.

  3. MJ was most generous to allow me to draw from with her work, as she had from Karen’s. I’ve come to the not-so radical conclusion that poetry is about making or forming a conversation between people, and that conversation is embedded somewhere in-between the lines.

  4. I feel that there maybe a correlation in communities that maintain the invisibility of the homeless, the suffering and those that have a strong denial when dealing with death – as a cultural sanctioned phenomenom. Both dying and homelessness seem to have similar taboos

    Anyway I’m indebted to you, it feels more full circle now in my heart. Thank you so much.

  5. Where I am is not who I am is a thought I will take with me today. . .
    We are most often defined by what we wear, where we sleep and what we do. So rarely are we known for who we are at heart. Perhaps in our lives only a handful of people know who we truly are.
    Scratching behind the surface takes bravery under any circumstances.

  6. Thank you Andrea, its actually quite rare to find a person who defines themselves simply as: ‘I am’. We naturally cloak ourselves with superficial identities that society approves, condones and accepts to be important and desirable. And this is how we lose sight of our uniqueness (I’m pre-empting an essay… later)

    Unfortunately it took a several bouts of homelessness to force me to face myself as ‘I am’, even then it was coupled with the cold sense of suddenly being alone, maybe because I was alone. The state of isolation is like death, in that no one can face it for you and the emotion you experience is genuine grief. Arguably, the situation is harder than dealing with a death (initially at any rate) in that there is a sense of it doesn’t “have to be”, and of course one’s sense of grief is compounded by a sense of rejection, disapproval and despair.
    This is hard to put into words but I believe we have nearly all felt it at some point in our lives. Do you know what mean?

  7. Yes I do get what you mean. Loneliness is something we can all feel even when we are warm and safe and surrounded by people. The grief and rejection you talk of must surely be compounded by homelessness. All the feelings you express are so valid.

    As to the ‘I am’ …. There are times when we will feel the need to fit in and wear that cloak, but I find as I get older I am me more, though I hope I have never been too far from my essence .

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