TALK TO THE DADDY

Hello. Come on in. The daddy writes about current events, literature, music and, once in a while, drops something on you from back in the day to make you pause and ponder, stop and stare, and begin to wonder. Who knows? You may start to pace the floor, shake your head from side to side, then fall down on bended knees in a praying position and cry, "Lawd, have mercy! What is this world coming to?" Check yourself! But this blog is NOT about the daddy. It's about you: your boos, your fam, your hood, your country...our hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow. So let's make a pact: the daddy will put it on the track if you'll chase it down and hit him back. Together, we can definitely take it to another level. Shall we?"

Thursday, July 9, 2009

where i live: a poem from The Daddy

Eric Sheptock

“My next blog [post] is going to be about the challenges that homeless people have when it comes to employment because oftentimes they can’t get money to ride the bus to the job and they can’t get lunch money. So for your first week or two, you have a lot of difficulty maintaining that job.”
--Eric Sheptock, a homeless black man who uses twitter, facebook and other online networks to educate about poverty and homelessness.

Listen up. The Daddy grew up in the South. He lived in projects and old houses in essentially black neighborhoods in the inner-cities. When he was about ten, he lived about a block from a hospital. Blacks in the neighborhood didn't trust the doctors, nurses and staff who worked there and only went there in the event of an emergency. The women said they were "fixed;" their "tubes were tied" so they couldn't have children again. The men said they weren't given proper care, and they treated rudely. However, the older men, drunks, and addicts would sit on benches just off the front entrance, drinking cheap liquor, nodding, or sleeping.

The Daddy thought about this hospital which was in his neighborhood but was no part of the neighborhood-- this hospital which, except for a few janitors and cleaning ladies, was staffed totally by white people at the time. He thought about the older black men occupying benches below administrative offices peopled by young white males (No blacks, no females) who were literally climbing up escalators of success. Then he wrote this poem entitled "where i live."

where i live

1
where i live
vicious dogs bark loudly at
smiling couples strolling past then
crawl meekly back under the house when
alpha owner buses home at the end of day.

2
where i live
homeless men with stomachs empty and coats rain-soaked
medicate aching backs, stained teeth and tired bones
with swigs of red Gallos straight from a dirt-stained box while
averting eyes from Gradys, which won't help unless
they drink themselves a minute closer to death.

3
where i live
phrases like "quality care" and "community health" flow like
red Gallos from empty suits high up escalators as
neighbors just below sit on weather-beaten
benches
averting their eyes from Gradys, retreating into
Gallo boxes, lifting
their heads to an ever darkening sky but
seeing nothing in particular.

9 comments:

MacDaddy said...

HBFG: Thanks for becoming a follower of daddyBstrong. Come back again and feel free to make a comment or two.

Anonymous said...

Now that's a nice one.

MacDaddy said...

Peter: Thanks for joining up as a follower of daddyBstrong. Looking forward to you coming back and checking us out and making a comment or two. Blessings.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Mac,

Whether in narrative form or poetic phrases, it is still sad to hear this truth….and you know just how to say it. Thanks for sharing.



Always, Evelyn

brownsugatou said...

Being a social service worker and also a former student who took computer (A+ Certification) classes a few years ago along side the homeless and poor (Urban Voice and the Cypress Mandela Training Center in Oakland, CA was THAT type of school and I loved it) I certainly sympathize with the brother's plight about trying to brush the dirt off your shoulders and maintaining with essentials like transportation, interview clothing etc. I enjoyed your poem MacDaddy, great observations - your neighborhood vs. THEM. And still rings true in disadvantaged neighborhoods today... and some of us still don't know what we don't know. ;-)
-brown

MacDaddy said...

Brownsuguatou: Thanks. This may sound strange. But, as a writer, I think you'll understand. It seems easier for me to write about my neighborhood, now that I no longer live in it-- now that I've gotten some distance from it. So it was with the poem "where i live." Distance allowed me to see my neighborhood more clearly.

I'm coming to see you on your blog.

rainywalker said...

daddyBstrong,
Your poem shows a caption in time. An image of feelings and events that were and still are because you recorded what others passed by. Not due to indifference but a choice brought on by years of repression.

Nun in the Hood said...

MacDaddy, As the others have said, you know how to say it......Several years back, when the Republicans were doing a 'make over' on Welfare, one of our next door (sober house) neighbors (who had slept in card board boxes for years) prophetically said, "If things go the way they are, we will be like the homeless in Guatemala....sleeping with little more shelter than a cardboard box or a garbage heap."
I must say that the homeless people I have met often have an uncanny ability for relationship & and have taught me a lot about same.....I suppose because they have little else....Did you know that a group of homeless folks who are associated with St.Stephen's in South Minneapolis actually got legislation passed through that homeless people can get 50% off on their bus passes....Groups serving the homeless can apply...We did...and so did Turning Point....Pilot program will begin in September...
So perhaps we should look to the homeless for some of our solutions......St.Stephen's runs a program called DAY IN THE LIFE and our students have gotten so much out of it! (Please write a more hopeful poem on the homeless...I wish I had that gift...)

nicki nicki tembo said...

I had to come back to this many times and reread and pause on it, not sure why. All that I can say is "heavy".