And the day came when the risk it took to remain tightly closed in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to bloom. Anais Nin


People On The Street

Now that the weather has warmed - - and I drive around town - - I can't miss the sometimes blank and often pleading stares of our brothers and sisters standing on the the small concrete ridges that separate lanes of traffic. Most hold signs - - broke, hungry, can you help, god loves you....I'm not your standard believer, and most times I think god has little to do with the needs of folks on the street.

Still, I can't help but remember back to the Reagan era when thousands were released from hospitals with plastic bags that read, Patient's Belongings in big blue letters.

I've included the following poem for Arvy - who lived the good social work and helped others all she could during their darkest days.
when we cease to care
by toni

there are whispers
underneath clanging
when the lights go off and come on again

misery incubates
like rabies in
a different mammal each spring

it started in the 60’s
mental wards closed
by 2007
three hundred thousand poor souls
warehoused in US Prisons
no treatment and no hope

discarded souls
left behind
with hollow eyes
and thick tongues
filled up with starch
wait like prey for the vultures

they exist in the dullness
a grey zone
oblivious to
day or time

they are shapes
in a Thorazine haze
mornings fueled by nightmares
nights by fear

among thousands
some profound
left in purgatory

what happened to the
Calypso music and
overripe fruit
of their youth

left behind like the last day
of vacation
quick and unremembered