Mentally Homeless: Or Which comes First, Mental Illness or Homelessness?

Mentally Homeless
Which comes First, Mental Illness or Homelessness?

We’re out on the streets fighting the cold
Wondering what tomorrow will hold
When what to our bloodshot eyes should appear:
Ten more policemen, 20 more fears.

So this is democracy, American style
Some make it rich, some stand to file
For a type of relief that never shows
‘Cause there’s no place for the check to go.

So, until you can afford a place of your own,
You can’t get help, one mind blown.

Copyright, Doug Stuber, 2000. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given, and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

2 thoughts on “Mentally Homeless: Or Which comes First, Mental Illness or Homelessness?

  1. Moving beyond belief Doug! Exquisite! In 2000, when you wrote this poem, 31.1 million people were considered impoverished…and I’m sure that number pales in comparison to the individuals who were unreported. Here in Asheville, oh sure, the sun comes barreling down from the iconic Blue Ridge mountains to shine upon such a glorious town, full of commerce. And here come the crowds of hustling and bustling tourists and sightseers to enjoy one of the nation’s most lavish cities! Welcome one and all! Yet …on the other side of town, poverty looms largely forgotten in the shadows. West vs. East Asheville is one eye-opening experience. You see just how things are becoming in this country… Haves vs Have-nots.

    “So this is democracy”? You and I both would like to know the answer to that one.

    • And so many of the homeless are war veterans. What a country! I was part of a project that help homeless write journals once a week. More than a few chronicled exactly how they became homeless. One enterprising volunteer in New York got homeless African American women some instamatic cameras and they shot very good photos of life in New York. Another publishes the poetry of homeless people in Rochester. Let’s start an anthology for Asheville’s homeless or destitute. What do you think?

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