Poem: Food For Free


School Lunch Lines

with hair net lunch ladies

and cement paste potatoes

and spit filled ketchup

But today the book said:

159

(160 if you count 5-year-old Luciana)

Lining up outside

long before the prison-bolt door is let loose

drawn like a vortex

walking and sweating with bags and backpacks

or stopping in front from the city bus

and the cars stuffed full as they hope they will be too

“Sign the book”: is the weary demand

it is the Payment

The Price

for all you will get

Fill your bags and your belly

“I have no teeth, so no corn on the cob”

“No dessert because I am diabetic”

“I am homeless and live in the streets”

Gracias

Thank you

I am now the lunch lady

I give food for free

 

 

Is Anybody Out There?


bridge

While we may be introverts, most of us eventually need human contact. Sometimes we don’t even realize we miss it until we have it again.

I’ve had many months now to be by myself and it has been very restorative. I needed it really to heal and figure out some deep emotional things. It’s easy to get caught in a trap of never wanting to be around too many people.

But I have noticed symptoms not unlike depression also during these months. And when I compare myself on a day when I come back from helping at the soup kitchen, I noticed a marked change in how I felt.

I’m still tired, but it’s from getting up early and working, not from sadness. And there’s an energized feeling from just being around other humans, even when the interactions aren’t always wonderful.

It just reminded me what social creatures we ultimately are and being isolated day after day can play poorly on our psyche. We simply need a little juice from our fellow beings now and again.

That’s not to say I prefer constant bombardment, but I can plainly see that utter solitude can do a number too, unless maybe you were somewhere tremendously beautiful.

I’m glad I will be picking up more volunteer hours so I can keep getting my fix of human contact. Hopefully it will keep me a part of this crazy species a bit longer.

Just Right


“In the right place, under the right conditions, you can finally stretch out into what you are supposed to be. ” — Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

 

How long do we wait for the right place and the right conditions? It may seem to some of us that we take a long time to stretch out; that we spend much of our lives contorted and bursting apart just to come together again. I have.

The right conditions seem to involve some sort of special magic; a particular brew that mixes together to concoct the spell where the microcosm in which we move feels easy and the skin that we wear no longer needs tailoring.

Some folks that we meet seem to have been born with this magic as they whirl around with the twinkling Universe hovering nearby. But most of us aren’t so lucky. Some of us seek it, but I see now this maybe isn’t how it works. It may be more like how a seed turns into a tree. It’s just dumb luck. It just waits encased in its shell until all the conditions are perfect and then bursts forth into the world.

But most don’t get this far.

Maybe I’ve just tried too hard to make everything happen. Can I be more like that seed? Just quietly sitting on the forest floor gathering the magic conditions to crack me open. Will I be one of the lucky ones?

And once I am that wonderful entity, crawling with life and fluttering with each breath of wind, my roots firmly reaching in all directions: then I will know I am who I am supposed to be.