Unhoused Dreams

1 minute read

There is an inspiring and curiosity-provoking book about our attitudes towards and misunderstandings about homelessness in the United States. In this book, When We Walk By, by Miracle Messages founder Kevin Adler and Don Burnes, there is a quote from Don Burnes’s previous book, Journeys Out of Homelessness. The rhyme in this quote inspired the below poem, but first, here is the quote attributed to Barb, a person experiencing homelessness:

My deep, deep shame, and need for hiding … came from the fact that I was unworthy. I was a ‘nothing and a nobody’ and didn’t deserve to be cared for. I had to hide out so no one else would find that out. … Many of these societal trappings of acceptability —like having a job, or being able to pay your bills, or having a house, or having a spouse, or having kids, or having friends, or having whatever — are at the root of so much of our shame … Yet they rob us of our dignity when they are missing, or we lose them.

Unhoused Dreams

All I wanted
Having a house
Having a spouse
Not being treated
Like I was having a louse.
Having to creep around like a mouse
Wanting to be invisible in my shame
Being invisible, being ignored always
    Except when I am asked to move
    Except when I am followed in the store
    Except when the energy intensifies
        Upon entering a coffee shop,
            a restaurant,
            a place of relaxation
For others.

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