Life On The Outside

 

Life On The Outside (Randyjw; August 11, 2018)

 

Birds of prey cry out,

born just the other day

Already circling the skies

they fly from tree to tree

Like the hawks, are men

casting a leering eye

through the walls

of my bedroom,

which should have been

I didn’t ask to be here

I didn’t expect that a lifetime

of working

Would land me curbside

on a stoop of brick pavers

A graffitied backdrop

replacing sheer curtains, instead

If you want, you can check

you can see my verifiable record

from when I started my labor, underage,

and how it continued mostly nonstop

And you can screen my drug-free blood

and wonder why these pincushion-like arms

all red and bumpy, and gnawed on by ants and mosquitoes

Have never experienced the wrong shot

Berate me all you want

through your zip-coded status

or your caste-creating lot

I’ve shunned that kind since childhood

having grown up in that spot

But, I will not forgive you your disrespect

your lack of manners, uncircumspect

inviting yourself bedside, beyond my front door

to wake me and grope me through invisible walls

My body isn’t yours for the taking

My head and heart already found a home within

Stop accosting me and assaulting me

And get your dog’s poop cleaned up from out of my yard

I might sleep near the sidewalk, in dark, outside

So I will pray to G-d I might live through this night


The stark realities of being a homeless woman, tired of shelters which warehouse people for the money, and instead now living on the street in order to have more freedom to look for work and attend to daily needs, means the presumptions of most people, whether homeless or otherwise, that:

 

1) You choose to be living “the homeless lifestyle”;

2) You don’t want to work;

3) That you’re a drug or alcohol abuser;

4) That homelessness automatically makes you a “lady of the night,” willing to do anything for a couple of dollars, if you’re a woman.

 

I can assure you that none of the above are true. I have been accosted by men more times than I can even begin to recall. There is a chauvinist power trip aspect by the homeless men over the homeless women, using a pretense of protecting the woman, when, instead, they try to take everything they can get from the women. The men will invade the privacy of a woman and baldly interrupt their private attendings. The men will also wake or keep a woman up, so as to deprive them of sleep. While I have worked for years to, while not negative, to at least keep my credit neutral, I now have several unexpected emergency room visits to out-of-network hospitals resulting in major unpaid medical bills to mar my credit, and which I cannot now pay due to homelessness and lack of employment. One such major bill is due to the lack of food and sleep deprivation I was experiencing, caused considerably by these circumstances. Yesterday morning, I woke up to two different men, both of whom had snuck up while I was sleeping and did G-d knows what – – some of which I became aware as I awoke and they were lying next to me. I was being groped. This happened TWICE, yesterday; and it’s not the first time this has happened. I’ve had it up to where three different men have come, basically in succession, to harass me by various means and methods. I am feeling very disgusted, ashamed, harassed, angry, sad, violated. Even surrounded by other people, they didn’t wake up when it was happening one time, and I was loud. Other people will not “get involved” because of the “snitch factor.” Too many people are being stabbed, shot, and killed. Believe me; I am not here by choice, but, unfortunately, through consequence.

 

I pour out my feelings online – – to people, about people, about who I love, or who or what types of behavior (terrorism, chauvinism, anti-Semitism, etc.) I don’t. If someone can love someone, without happening to have a consummation of a physical nature, but love them in heart and spirit, isn’t that enough? Who can decide that answer other than the parties involved? Certainly not by bullying from any outside peanut galleries, wouldn’t you agree?

 

Thank you, angel girl, for coming to my rescue in the midst of this difficult-to-say writing, just as I was beginning to cry. I appreciate the food and cold drinks you brought. It gives me a moment of sustenance and caring, away from danger. Thank you for sustaining me.

 

I thank those, as well, who are working to help stop just such abuses towards women: you know who you are. xoxo.

 

 

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6 Comments

Filed under Poetry

6 responses to “Life On The Outside

  1. Hi Randy, I wanted to make a couple of vaguely connected comments. Firstly, I do read the other comments on your blog, and I have always assumed that the name you give on the blog is the name you would like distant shadowy figures like me 🙂 to call you on the blog. (I wish I was mysterious, anyway.)

    Next, the poetry and prose make this an incredibly moving and powerful piece, even though it is set in a sphere that is largely outside my personal experience, in Australia and Latin America. It was a revelation for me to read it.

    Finally, I am glad you received a little caring assistance, and I’m hoping that it will continue in some form or other, I am wishing that for you. 💚

    Like

    • Thanks, Steve. The name my adoptive parents gave me is Randy; my Hebrew name, though, is Rachel. I segue between both, depending on my feelings at the time I am writing the piece, I guess. I really don’t use my Hebrew name, much — not even in Israel, when I was there. Those who use it, I’m happy when they do; you can kindof see my transition to using it more often in recent years, and over the course of the six years, so far, that I’ve been blogging. As long as it’s positive, you can call me whatever seems appropriate to you — I’m one of those nickname-receivers from way back. As they say, just don’t call me late to dinner! As for the annoying times in my life right now, that’s just what they are; I hope they won’t be still this annoying in the upcoming times ahead, and I hope I can find work or something so I can get a place and not have to be so exposed to this horrid life I am living presently. Ah, well. C’est la vie. I appreciate your sentiments, Steve; I really do. I might be writing a little more of these difficult poems; if there are other people who read it who might identify or relate or take something from it, then it was worth it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for the explanation, Randy, I really appreciate it. And being a commenter of habit, I will continue with the status quo. 🙂

        This piece was definitely very worthwhile for me. I know that the arts per se don’t really offer financial rewards for most of us, but, from afar, I see you as someone who is very talented and will achieve their goals. Sending you metta, Steve.

        Like

        • I know; that’s really not fair, is it, considering that art feeds another important area in our lives – – our souls? It’s like therapy for society. Well, that’s good, if it’s contributing to the common good of society, then – – I guess. But, still…. haha.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I agree completely, but most people do not care about the *common* good at all. Through the ages, I think the arts have basically only flourished because of wealthy patrons. I would love to find one haha.

            Like

            • Right; Art is not as superfluous as we think. The funny thing is, it sometimes takes the commercial touch of PR/Advertising/Marketing, etc. for the money to flow. Although, a nice word-of-mouth referral could also help.

              Liked by 1 person

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