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Sunday, December 08, 2019


by George Salamon

“114,000 Students in N.Y.C. Are Homeless. These Two Let Us Into Their Lives.” —Written by Eliza Shapiro; Photographs by Brittainy Newman, The New York Times, November 19, 2019

There'll be no marches or protests.
The homeless are a dreary cause
With no identity to extol or protect.
The lives of two reveal dark spots
On America's soul, for they live like
The rest. in squalid, unsafe spaces.
Sandival shares a bed with her mother,
Studies on subway rides of an hour-
And-a half, her lunch a bag of cheese
Puffs, collapsing into bed for a few
Hours of sleep in the room where
Her brothers sleep on a mattress on
The floor, all for $700 a month.
Darnell and his mom live in a
Shelter, attends a school where
Half the students are homeless,
With one social worker to help
Them cope with their quest to
Get a decent education in the
Big Apple.
For both, school stands out as
The one stable oasis in their
Lives of running, moving, scraping
By with bodies malnourished and
Minds exhausted from the daily
Marathon to escape from a dark,
Life-long tunnel of poverty.
There's no time, there are no
Means available to engage the
Mind, to stir the imagination, to
Shape vision and place in life
In the light, on America's sunny
Side of the street and shake off
The grim yoke of poverty's cruel
Few escape and claw their way
Out and up, and we are lucky if
Few of those left behind will not
Do what we pretend not to
Understand: "Those to whom evil
Is Done/Do evil in return."

George Salamon lives and writes in St. Louis, MO.