Good morning everyone! It’s a rainy grey Thursday over here but inside of me shines a bright sun. Thank you to the 11 folks that have bought my little book of poetry so far! I hope you enjoyed it and would love to see some reviews! After looking at the Amazon.com page I saw that this book can also be downloaded to a pc and the Kindle download appears to be free!

I also would like to say thank you to everyone who tweeted about me. I was so surprised to see all those RT’s! I guess I’m still in awe….Social media is still an avenue I seem to be constantly learning about and I do appreciate all the tips I’ve gotten so far. Now it’s just a matter of my brain retaining it all!

As I’m writing this I am thinking about my homeless brothers and sisters who slept out in the cold last night. I am thinking about the kids that went hungry yesterday and who may go hungry today. I am thinking about the parents out there who although are looking for work, have to make that pride breaking decision to fly a sign just to get through the day. Then there are the young people left with nowhere to go and no one to care.

If I could change the world, I would. But all I can do is change one day at a time because we all have to live day-to-day. So today I say…Good Morning Homeless Nation! May you get through another day and another step closer to a better way!

On another note, I posted on my Facebook page to Mr. Horvath that there are only so many “39th” birthdays he can have so I am seriously considering going to Costco’s to get an industrial size box of candles to celebrate his real age, ha ha ha ha! I bet all that candlelight will be seen from outer space! Three more days, Mark, three more days till the big 5-0! Oh and happy 16 years sobriety this year! Yay ! (applause)

I’d like to extend and invitation to come visit us on We Are Visible to say hello and share your stories with us. It’s always good to hear what you have to say and hear about where you’ve been.

I look forward to hearing from you!

New day dawning….

Well it seems like quite a few friends are out looking for a transmission and affordable mechanic for me. I thank everyone for all their well wishes and willingness to help me out! But for those of you who know me, you know I am also trying to support myself through my writing, regardless of the things that happen that seem to weigh me down. Hence the reason for self-publishing my poetry on Kindle.

See, for those of us “out here”, we don’t have the money to pay for hard copy books or set up sites with all the fancy bells and whistles on them. So I put a small collection of some of the poems I wrote on Kindle because I want folks to see that even when things seem hopeless, they aren’t. As long as you don’t give up and don’t lose hope, you’re never really lost. Take your experiences and share them with others. How do you know who you will reach or affect? You won’t unless you’re willing to try.

I come from a warrior society so I was raised to keep on fighting even if it means fighting alone. I want to reach out to all you single mothers and fathers out there who know exactly what it’s like to be homeless with kids. You know what it is to feel abandoned, to feel like you aren’t doing what a good parent should because of homelessness. Our kids know what’s it like to feel ashamed of our “homeless secret”. It’s time to come out into the open!

Losing my jobs (I had two) and having no family support is the reason my kids and I are homeless but….I won’t let my girls see me giving up, there’s just too much at stake. My teen has felt like our living situation has to be hidden because of what other kids might think at school. When 60 minutes aired their piece on homeless kids, I made them watch it. A faint smile crawled across my teen’s face in recognition of what homelessness felt like to her. She finally got to see that she’s not alone and that there are far more homeless kids in this country than she thought. She even told me that she has decided to start some kind of charity effort with her classmates to help other homeless kids. Can’t put into words how I felt after she said that.

There are just too many of you out there that have no clue about what’s happening out here. I saw it through the driver’s side of my rv everyday and this is the very reason I will never stop fighting to help my homeless brethren. That is why my little book of poems is titled “Writings from the driver’s side.”

Here’s a poem from that collection:

Angst “I” at ease

Anxieties, worries, stresses, strain, unknown futures calling me

Nothing guaranteed, knowing that I won’t be free

Silent tears, hidden pain, when a new day will I see?

 

I saw my reflection the other day, past a window on display but….

The woman I saw, who looked like me, couldn’t remember what she used to be

Thinking back to childhood days, soft green grass and summer days, I never thought

I’d see a different reality, a different me

 

Blue, green, yellow, black, wish I could get my life back, but wishing on a star

That’s just fantasy. I’ve got to find a way back to me. I once met a girl, she was nineteen

She sat nearby, watching me. Somehow she guessed, somehow knew, guess she’s seen a few

“Be careful,” she said quietly, “you’ll lose your mind out here.” I watched her then, sitting there

Wondering how long she wandered through nowhere.

 

Sun gone down, the night is black, looking up I see its tracks

The Great Bear, it shines the way, sometimes the only one who hears me pray

No matter what I do or what I say, how come things are still this way?

 

I think about the people who, when asked to help, didn’t come through.

Excuses plenty, yes I’ve heard every, and even though with that mindset

They should know I won’t forget

 

I’ve learned a lot on the way, when to run and where to stay and stranger still

I can’t give up, never will. Eyes are watching, young and new, watching everything I do

When you see me walk on by, when I see you I won’t cry. You had your chance and you failed

 

Now I have a story to tell. Won’t be fun, not what you want to hear

Won’t be about people you have near. So while at home, snug in bed

Knowing you have nothing to dread, someone on the street,

dies tonight in their sleep.

 

“If they can’t feed their kids don’t breed them!” “It’s their fault they’re there”

“I don’t feel sorry for addicts and drunks” “Don’t give them money, they’ll just buy junk”

“I’m not paying for their welfare” “Not my problem so I don’t care”

 

This is the message society gives, this is the attitude they want to live

I find such attitudes to be odd, when did they become God? Christian charity, hah, not likely!

Conversion before giving to help the living, Forcing beliefs or no relief, they have forgotten!

One man came, one man said, “Give us now our daily bread”. There was no inclusion

No list of exclusions, apathy and indifference feeds the delusion

 

My mind is set, the goal is clear. With perseverance a new day is near

The system is broken, has been awhile. Sold our children down the Nile

Inadequacies are built-in addictions, that’s why you see so much affliction

It’s up to us, call it intuit, stop the excuses, just do it!

 

This isn’t what we’re supposed to be, stresses, strains and angst “I” at ease.

No matter what happens in life just remember that tomorrow is a new day dawning.

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

I don’t know what’s worse…the waiting around for a mechanic to call with a quote or the anxiety that comes with the wait. Add to this the frustration of never hearing back on all the jobs you applied for and the constant worrying about a better future and you have the perfect recipe for an ulcer. To my surprise I haven’t gotten one yet.

Maybe it’s because when things start to pile up in my mind, the only way to vent is to write it out in poetic form. That’s what happened late last night while reading about my favorite poet, the great Maya Angelou. Her words always take me to that place inside me that keeps me from caving in.

Thank you Maya, for all your “singing” words!

 

I know why the great lady sings

 

I know why the great lady sings

Of freedoms we all dream of

It’s because she sees as only she can

The obvious in everyone’s wingspan

 

The first time I read her poetry

I thought she was talking straight at me

About a woman’s work taken for granted

The kind many of us call our own

 

When the great lady sings through spoken word

I feel as though she understands what it’s like to be alone

Because like her I find that my soul is still seeking

That place to call home

 

All this time I thought I was making it on my own

But then that couldn’t be true since

I have been traveling with souls equaling two

My girls are the eyes I must measure up to

 

And I think this time around, while I’m down in the dirt

The perspective has changed from here

If I look up into the sky, to greet the dawning sun’s light

Then maybe too like she says, still I will rise

 

Across this land like a red ocean, my ancestors bled

Because greed came to visit and take

What did not belong to it

I have become the dreams they hope

Will bring us all back

 

Child within the woman I am sees a little clearer now

How love frees pleasure from the pains

And memories drawn from deep inner springs

Made me a little wiser and now I know

 

Why the great lady sings

As soon as the kids were off at school, I called around to some auto junkyards to see if they had a decent automatic transmission for a 92 Ford Aerostar. I didn’t have much luck and I called a few garages just to see what would be involved in getting a rebuilt one. To my horror, a rebuilt tranny costs over $1900.00, plus tax, plus almost $100.00 an hour to install it, plus a knot growing in my throat and the feeling of air being squeezed out of my lungs while listening to the mechanics quote prices for money I don’t even have.

Out here, not having a car is a nightmare as there are only two bus routes, the one that runs in the morning and the one that comes back during the dinner hour. That’s it. I had to cancel my teen’s doctor’s appointment tomorrow morning because we have no way to be there by 9 am. Even if the buses out here ran earlier than they do, we’d have to leave here by 4:30 – 5:00 am to be there on time. Add to this the fact that I got the van for free so spending close to $2,000.00, (possibly more as I don’t know what else might be wrong) is beginning to feel like the vehicle isn’t worth saving. For that much money, I could get another used car without a transmission problem.

Then there’s Caly calling her mechanic to see if he can find a transmission. I basically told her what’s the difference if he finds one less than what I was quoted since I still don’t have the money to pay for anything? He can call all around if he wants to but that doesn’t mean money is gonna fall from the sky!

I couldn’t eat yesterday and the day before I was just too stressed out to care. Maybe by tomorrow, Caly’s friend/mechanic will tell us how much he would charge but again, if I can’t afford to have him fix the van, it’s a wasted effort. Right now it’s about 6 pm and he hasn’t called so maybe by tomorrow I’ll know for sure.

Ahhhh….another day in paradise.

On the way to picking up my eldest, the mini-van started acting funny. It dragged when I stepped on the gas pedal and while driving down the highway, it wanted to slow down then speed up. When the high-pitched whining sound started, I pulled into a Firestone Mastercare garage I was familiar with. Thank goodness my mother and sister lived only a few blocks away. I left the car at the garage thinking by the time my sister drove us to Bellevue and back, they would at least have gotten on diagnostic done but after waiting a couple of hours after getting back from Bellevue, no one had called.

It was getting dark and the shop closed at 6 pm. They aren’t open on Sundays and I had no way of getting back here to pick up the van let alone the funds to pay for more than a diagnostic. I got to the garage at 4:30 and told the mechanics that I might as well just take a chance at driving the van back to Caly’s place, 70 miles away. One mechanic said that he suspects that the transmission on the Aerostar is going out from what he could tell (they were nice enough not to charge me anything for taking a look after all!).

I went online to see what a rebuilt transmission would cost and most of the prices listed say $1500.00! Then my instincts kicked in. Maybe I can find a used transmission at a junkyard that has less mileage on it than mine does. The only thing after that is to see how much a shop would charge to install it.

Since today is Sunday, I can’t call any places until tomorrow. I am hoping with any luck, it won’t cost that much but since I don’t have any money, I am thinking the van may not be worth saving since it was given to me for free.

So today is another adventure in homelessness and tomorrow will determine what I do in the very near future.

Stay tuned!

Dear Abby:.

In regards to your advice to a homeless family to go to a shelter indicates a lack of understanding on the homelessness issue. For one thing, if this family is able to get into a shelter (many are full and have to turn people away), they may not want to. Have you personally talked to any homeless individuals or to anyone who works at a shelter? If not, allow me to “educate” you on what many experience at shelters.

For women, being out on the streets is dangerous enough and you would think that a shelter would be safer. I invite you to read a post by Eric Jonathan Sheptock regarding the treatment of women at a local shelter.

Need more? Then check out what Carey Roberts has to say about shelters for women.

Splitting up families is nothing new in the world of homelessness since many shelters are for men only, women only or women with children. If folks can’t get into a shelter guess what? They have the privelege of living out of their vehicles. Telling Scared from Texas that going into shelters isn’t breaking up the family is far from the truth. Families living out of their cars will tell you that in many cases, living out of their cars IS safer than going to shelters.

I suggest before giving any more advice to the homeless, it would be a good idea to do some research before handing out a convenient suggestion to just “go to a shelter”. Yes, there are some good ones out there but like I just mentioned, they may already be full.

To Scared of Lubbock, Texas, I have this to say. Please, please visit us at We Are Visible on Facebook if you can get access to the internet. We would love to talk to you about your concerns. Many of us, including myself have been and are in your family’s situation.  

We look forward to hearing from you!

 

Looking back on what I would call a strange reality, being homeless while at the same time being busier than I’ve ever been in my life, is a paradox I am still struggling with.

To think it all started with one letter to an editor of change.org still boggles my mind. I would never have met Mark Horvath if it hadn’t been for change.org, nor would I have run across Eric Sheptock. Thanks to Mark I have met several grand souls that I am extremely grateful to count as friends (You all know who you are!).

Do you find it odd that the more you go out of your way to serve your community, the more you run into people with negative attitudes about what you’re doing? I love it! What better way is there of gauging attitudes among the masses about what homelessness is and who the homeless are? We are people and yes…some have addiction and mental issues but hey, so are people who aren’t homeless!

I look at it like this, taking the path of least resistance sure does look like conformity to me and from the looks of things, conformity doesn’t seem to be working so well. I strongly suspect that the service providers who take a different approach are the ones with the most success rates. Let’s be real here, although shelters can provide an immediate place to be on any given night, they were not intended to be permanent housing. Not only that, many people have to be turned away when the shelters are full and shelters are seeing unprecedented numbers right now. Tent cities are mushrooming as an alternative to the shelter system and yet…in a country that is supposedly wealthy….people are still dying in the cold because they had nowhere else to go but under a bridge or the nearest sidewalk.

Why do families have to experience homelessness when it could’ve been avoided if relatives in a position to help actually did so? How do soup kitchens help folks by putting limits on how many times the needy can eat there? Why is it a crime to sleep in your own car but not considered inhumane to penalize and jail folks for simply having no where to go?

Here’s one that has always bothered me: Why is the state willing to pay a stranger to raise your kids but won’t lift a finger to guarantee housing for the parents? If you don’t think this is true, look up foster parenting.

But what do I know about what it’s like to be a homeless mother………

Yes indeed, we humans and the way we think is a strange paradox.