Having recently given $5.00 to a homeless man near my office, I was shocked to see him today sitting in the same spot. How much money does a homeless person need? He’s homeless.
As I got closer I realized this was a different man. He just wore the same filthy clothes as the other guy. No one was around so I ignored him.
I got my iced coffee and headed back to the office. The homeless man was still there, but this time an attractive woman was walking towards me. I was prepared. I stopped in front of the homeless man and held out $2.00 (I had change this time). When he looked up, I saw a nasty gash on the bridge of his nose. It was still bleeding. Why was he getting into fights? He looked frail as a sparrow. He shouldn’t be starting fights.
He blinked in surprise but said, “thank you, brother.” I laughed because I don’t have a brother. “I’m Michael,” he rasped. “What’s your name?” I told him, “Joe.”
I was stunned. I couldn’t believe he had a name. I was so distracted the young woman walked by before I could waylay her and let her know how much I enjoy helping the wretched. The whole thing was a disaster.
Knowgood Carp, Owner of All the Hotels on Block Island and Some in Connecticut.
Every afternoon I get my iced coffee from Little Green Hive in Roanoke http://littlegreenhive.com. They have the best iced coffee in town. Usually I pass the same homeless man on my route, and sometimes he asks for money. He implies he may be hungry. I always say no, so he’ll learn to be self-sufficient.
Today, however, something was gnawing at my brain. An indecent proposal. What if I did give him money? What would happen? I had no idea.
On my way back, I passed him again. This time I handed him a $5.00 bill, because I didn’t have anything smaller. He looked up at me and said “Hey, bud, thanks a lot.” His voice was raspy as if the winter had been rough on him, but he sounded sincere. He also seemed to smile. I couldn’t see his mouth under his unkempt beard, but that powderpuff of gray hair did seem to shift upwards. His wrinkled blue eyes were twinkling as he took the money from my hand. His fingers were surprisingly warm.
I got back to my office, and I couldn’t get his smiling eyes out of my head. Still can’t. They were almost human. Of course, I washed my hands thoroughly.
Knowgood Carp, Owner of all the hotels on Block Island (and some in Connecticut).
Now this is progress.
The trash trucks are new
crisp and clean.
I can see my silver reflection
deep inside the battleship gray panel
protecting the womb where the waste is crushed.
This speaks well of my city -
removing the rust belt that trapped it
inside grungy jeans covered with coal dust.
The city can now put on a nice pair of chinos
and reasonably hope the beige stays clean.
The trucks glide to a tuneful stop
and the refuse managers emerge from the cranium
in crisp clean battleship gray uniforms.
They tenderly lift the comatose
larva-like addicts and homeless
and gently place them in the womb.
Luvgood Carp, Editor-in-Chief
First Published in BOMBFIRE