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“Homeless in Sacramento”

harpers-march-2011

This is a poem I wrote based on the March 2011 feature article in Harper’s Magazine. The poem and the article go by the same name.

“Homeless in Sacramento”

I wander the streets, looking for pieces of copper and silver;
I can eat as long as change remains the only constant.
Although,
There’s often more change in my life than in my pocket,
Because the currency of change is predetermined by possessions.

And have very little.

No abode with a basement…
No permanent placement…
Consequently my circumstances change constantly.

Even the constellations, which I myself will arrange
Into figures I’ve fashioned – some normal, some strange –
That broaden my roof to an infinite range
Change:
Perceivably one degree west every night.

There is but one quality I envy in such physical laws:
Stability.
Unfortunately,
State laws imitate the inconsistent chaos of homelessness;
Their similarity in polarity causes forces between them to repel.
– The forces of a place to sleep –
– The forces of helpful humanitarians –
– The forces of a decent meal –
All are repelled by laws administered by a force known as ‘police’.

Until their law coincides with physical law
I will always be a victim of change.

 

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