Please note that the poems and essays on this site are copyright and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.


Tuesday, 12 January 2010

We Can Take This Moment and Freeze It


.

File:Cleveland night homeless.jpg





When X reached out, earnest, intense, bewildered,
To extend a helping if trembling hand
To Y, lost in the reified nightstreet void,
Prefiguring the data thicket plunge

Of everything into Total Recall
Where nothing that's living is remembered
Because in the instant life turns into
Information it dies, stays forever dead --

Eyes red and burning with radiation shimmer,
One's failing sense of self in wigged out trade winds
Shifting minute by minute to a sense of everyone
As blind automata, compelled by need and drive --

The street preachers argue among themselves
About the Rapture, the when and how, not the why.





Homeless person sleeping on street: photo by Pineapple XVI, 2007

7 comments:

~otto~ said...

oh the why

always the crucial question, most difficult to answer

TC said...

Ah yes, the why.

These guys congregate in small clusters under downtown storefront arcades, wrapped in blankets mostly. There will be a preacher, a small crowd will congregate. As the hours of darkness encroach more guys will bounce back in and out of the group, spinning off new subsets of tirade, rant and argument. Some of them seem to be wanderers and travelers. The faces change but the discourse remains pretty much the same, if one could call nonlinear raving a discourse.

Of course these guys assert everything with a sort of paralogical finality, as though certain truths were self evident. The End is at Hand: Quod Erat Demonstrandum.

I am dumb enough to loiter at the edge of a group sometimes, drinking in my divinely allotted share of Apocalypse. The content pretty much escapes me, it's the demented certainty and ferocious seriousness that are of interest.

Tonight a guy was ranting on into a Nothing Space of black rain and passing cars and cops and crackheads and panhandlers and heads-down pedestrian normals hurrying nervously past. The weather was apparently lousy enough to discourage grouping. The lack of an audience does not seem to inhibit these orators.

Generally speaking, the "why" seems to be agreed upon, therefore not discussed. The "why" seems to be that God is pissed off.

If what God sees when S/He looks down upon the earth is these guys, then I don't blame Him, or should I say Her, for being pissed.Or at least a bit impatient.

Lucy in the Sky said...

Very, very sad.

TC said...

And that's putting a good face on it.

Elmo St. Rose said...

beneficence vs autonomy

the law usually falls on the
side of autonomy

there is the residential group
home

there is the court order

the homeless are a complex group
it's not just the economy

drugs, organic brain syndromes,
schizophrenia, borderline mental
functioning without a caring social
support system

"the poet, the priest, the soldier"
Beaudelaire?

anyway....of all, the poets are
the least able to intervene
successfully here....I vote for the
priests

TC said...

I see this as a class issue.

It is always convenient to categorize from a safe distance. Sociologists make a living out of doing this.

In India there the untouchables. At least the description is honest.

"Homeless" means virtually nothing.

I know the people of these urban streets. Many of them do indeed have homes of a sort. Perhaps not such happy homes, however. A crawlspace under a porch or a nest in some bushes may be a home to some. Jail also may be a home of a sort.

I have moved on these streets on the great celebration days of this Society. Election Day, New Years Eve, Super Bowl Sunday. These are the celebration days of Death in Babylon. To the people of the street, they are not days or nights of celebration. Just times to take special pains to keep out of the way, for fear of offending the ruling normals.

The fact that people of the streets are frequently to all appearances drunk, crazy or both is of course undeniable. But what is the cause/effect relation here.

If you, Elmo, or indeed anyone, landed on the streets of an American city, whether you landed there through some fault of your own or through the great systematic fault which is this failed society, it is not unlikely that you or indeed anyone might before very long take on the appearance of being drunk, crazy or both.

My experience tells me that the people of the streets are human. They have lives. Those lives are terrible.

Elmo St. Rose said...

not so safe distance for me.
I've taken care of a lot of
these people on call out of
emergency rooms....
though it is true, there but for
fortune, go you and I,
actually managing these situations
in real life, ie what do we actually do next to help is not
all that obvious.
the safety net in this country
is vast but our freedoms limit
our actions...what if we said all
homeless people had to live in
a home....that's why I mentioned
the court order....that would also
engender some terrible life