Not Shocking Enough

Saturday morning
I’m sitting in
my comfy chair
with coffee, computer
cat and dog,
sun shining
through the cold.
I turn up the heat
then settle back down
to write
a bleary woman
wakes in a stairwell.
It smells of piss
but where else
was she supposed to go?
She starts to gather
bag and blanket.
It’s colder on the street
but she needs to move
before the cops
come round


Is this shocking to you, or commonplace?  I think it can be easy to just sort of let it slide right by our consciousness.  I live in the middle of nowhere, but in the small city closest to me, homelessness is increasingly becoming a problem.  Unfortunately, it seems to be most problematic when homeless folks choose inconvenient places to stay.

Thanks to Mama Zen who made me think about it when she asked us to write about something shocking, in 77 words or less, over at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads.


19 thoughts on “Not Shocking Enough

  1. You are very right, and the poem describes the dichotomies well, even though the enjoyment of the first woman is modest enough–I mean–there are far crazier discrepancies in the culture–but this makes your points well–thanks. k.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The contrast makes the homeless woman’s situation show up starkly – the distance between their two worlds. Makes one think of the back stories that must have happened, to have each woman end up in such different circumstances. Well done.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Nice, Mary. Yes, I think we are accustomed to seeing similar sights to what you write of, even in the smaller towns. There are tricks to the trade of being homeless that one must learn.
    We visited three Caribbean Islands, St. Lucia, Barbados, and Martinique. Of the three Martinique, French, was the one without the look of poverty. But then France is very Socialist, Martinique is well taken care of (we haven’t seen people sleeping on the subway stairs there either). B Sanders may have what modern society needs?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Mary thank you for writing this and at least starting a conversation among some of us, lucky enough to have a home- in the place I live, I don’t see homeless people but in my home country, there is plenty of it. AS a child I used to think, they liked to live outdoors and enjoyed the outdoor life but when I visited the US, a couple of times, the stark reality of homelessness struck me. People had all their worldly belongings in one trolley bag and they moved in and out of the railroad stations depending on when the police came on their rounds.

    Liked by 1 person

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