Beautiful Disaster

A Snagged Mind

When a head finally hits the feathery, soft pillow
And those eyes that have been active and alert all day long,
Finally get a chance to rest, abandoning the world for
The blackness of nothing and sleep.
It is then that the mind decides to go for a walk down memory lane
Recalling the discussion in class about homelessness.
The mind turns down a side street as it starts to jog
As it sees an image of an older gentleman
Asleep in his wheelchair, drooling on himself.
The mind stops, hugging close to the wall, peering around the corner
Watching an irritated restaurant owner
Whose restaurant the man has chosen to fall asleep by
Lightly touch the man's shoulder before going back inside
But returns a moment later with a phone to his ear
“Yes, Hello Officer! There is a man passed out
In front of my restaurant…yes…on Patton Avenue.
You'll send someone?  Okay….thank you!”
People pass by with the look of disgust
Turning to their peers and offering up smug commentary
“What a pathetic man! Why doesn't he go get a job?
And what a slob!  Look at him, drooling on himself
And his clothes are so dirty. He looks like he needs a shower
Disgusting!” As they sigh and walk past him they continue
“The terrible epidemic of homelessness in Asheville,”
And “They are lazy addicts abusing the welfare system.”  
The sirens whine from a blocks away;
Blue lights reflecting off of the glass windows of a nearby store
Two officers step out of the car, one gripping his belt,
With a “What do we have here?” look.
The other with his hands on his hips, shaking his head
As if to say, “Not him again.”
The approach the man and eventually they rouse him.
He is completely incoherent, barely babbling
As the officers ask him questions helping him stand up
As they help him over to the car, one of the officers glances back
To see the puddle of urine in his wheelchair
The mind has stopped completely now, staring at this image
“Sure, they'll keep him in detox for maybe a day or two,
And then what happens? They toss him back on the streets
It's November and it must get pretty cold out here at night.
I'd want to be numb too, trying to sleep in the freezing cold
With the wind blowing through a thin cotton shirt
If I had to endure that, I think I would drink myself into oblivion too.
The mind shivers, itching to leave the terrible scene
But it stands and stares, paralyzed as it watches the scene
Burning with anger and frustration, it sprints through the possibilities
Trying to figure out what she can do to make a difference, to change the way things are
As she finally slips into sleep.

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