Cardboard Castles and Gold Dreams
Don’t make eye contact. Just keep walking and don’t look at them.
They are strewn throughout the city. Covered in newspapers, cardboard boxes, garbage bags, littering the streets. A shower is never heard of. Food is from hand outs or the local soup kitchen with mandatory worship service. Signs held in their weathered hands show their status, a displacement in the world and what they need. The destitution, the despair once shown in their eyes are now placid, glazed over as pain no longer affects them. Some are seeking medication and don’t know it, while still others have been turned out by society, family disownment, societal outcasts. Loss of jobs, death of a spouse, mental illness, the list is as long as a train to nowhere.
Some are seeking their last fix on the streets, some are selling the only thing that they have left for money, their skin, and some won’t make it to see the awakening of their agony in the next morning. If only to be discovered by some lone stranger walking by who has never stared death in the face before. The lifeless no names, lying in a pool of their bodily functions that let go upon death. Their bodies are brought and tagged in the morgue as jane or john doe. No one desires to claim the remains of remorse and pain left in their lives and save the last bit of dignity they left behind, their soul, left on the streets.
The shopping carts are filled with belongings, the last of the goods they believed they owned, a shoe found in a dumpster, a torn stained blanket taken from a dead boy or from the homeless shelter, to a plastic toy when wound up emits a smile for brief second.
Lifting these items secretly looking around to make sure no one sees them, their finds are gold treasures. These trinkets and junk mean nothing to the people unlocking their front doors with heat and air conditioning. The comfort of leather and embossed silk sheets offer luxury to slink into from high heels and hundred thousand dollar jobs but anything to someone who has lost everything with nothing to be found or given to them, except taken when no one is looking is worth more. The cardboard box, wet from the dew in the morning is their refuge from the cruel animals that toss pennies their way.
Was their homelessness a request from society? Was it a gift from their higher power to teach a lesson? Or was it that the animals who toss pennies have no empathy for someone who truly suffers?
The helping hand extended for the weekly sermon in church is reverted when help is asked outside of the gothic emblem representing the Diety, the almighty.
Was it not Jesus who fed the poor and who died for the sin of the world so that you could have eternal life in a city of gold, happy and free? The splendours not found for many on this earthly plane. Again, the meek shall inherit the earth? He will come to judge the living and the dead. Should it be such justice as to consider that the meek are the homeless and you will be judged for not looking into their eyes.