Music: vernacular of the soul


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Forgotten

As i sat on that subway car flipping thru the pages of Maya Angelou's Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'Fore I Die,
it flooded my senses.
That odor of misery,
I smelled her before i saw her.
Watched as she took in the grimaces,
the steps to the side,
the laughter,
as one by one they moved to the opposite end of the train.
Observed as she stood,
back to the doors, as my eyes took her in.
The evidence of how unfair life, at times, can be.
I'm not gonna lie.
I, like so many others,
forget the unseen,
the invisible,
but on that day (and i still am not sure why)
but that particular day, she made herself seen to me.
Appeared like a ghost before my vision
back rigid,
head high,
eyes staring forward

Two years ago I was on the 2 train headed for class at BMCC when this homeless lady stepped on. I'm tellin you i never seen grown folk act so dumb. Okay she smells, are you surprised? Well apparently some people were. Now you ain't gotta stand there if the odor is too foul for you to stand. watever. just move and leave it at that. But no. Grown folk wanna act like thay reverted back to the third grade. Snickering, laughing, making snide comments. Now i wanted to straight up smack somebody up in that bitch. While all this is happening, she just stands there staring straight ahead as if she can't hear what they're saying. On the real. I felt so bad for her (like on a whole nother level type shit cuz i always feel sympathetic for the homeless). Anyway my stop is coming up soon and i'm thinking i gotta do something like i wanna redeem her faith in people type shit. I'm broke as hell and only have a twenty on me (mind you i didnt eat anything yet and i was gon be in classes all day) so i struggled with if i should give it to her or not (that may sound wrong, but fuck it i was hungry and tired and about to spend the better part of my day up in that school building stomache growling and shit). while im having this conversation with myself she sits down in an empty space near some folk and man their faces. smdh. So i looked at her one last time and thought " u dumb motherfucker here you sit thinkin bout a 20 and a few hours without food. bitch please. that ain't shit compared to what she's going thru". Stop is coming up so i stand up go to where she's seated lean over and ask her : "what's your name?"
Sherrie she whispers. Man that shit broke my heart. I say "God Bless Sherrie" and slip the twenty into her hand while i shake it. Man. She she started tearing up. That "Thank You" i got was the most meaningful thank you of my life. i didn't even think just hugged her and said take care and rushed my ass out that train before i broke down. Just barely made it through the doors before the tears fell. What really struck me was the air of dignity she had despite her circumstances. So i'm sending out a prayer that wherever Sherrie is, she's okay.

What got me thinking bout this was an e-mail i got from CUNY to participate in a homeless strret survey where volunteers get assigned to an area and make a record of the number of homeless.

so this is what the email says:
On January 28th, 2008, the New York City Department of Homeless Services (DHS) will be performing a survey of unsheltered homeless individuals to produce a point-in-time citywide estimate of the population, the Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE). Teams of volunteers will canvass streets, parks, and subways to count the number of people living on city streets. This important information will be used to help homeless people leave the streets for a better life. To that end, The City University of New York is assisting the NYC Department of Homeless Services in their search for CUNY Student volunteers. To register or for further information, visit or simply call 311 and ask for "The Homeless Street Survey".

3 public opinion:

Thic Flair said...

Great entry! I have had several situations that mirror yours on the train. I have done the same. I feel it in my spirit, when I have to give. I posted about one of the ladies on my myspace...I still think about her...I hope I helped.

mp1 said...

Wow...that really was a humanitarian act. I feel bad because I know that i would've been debating with myself if I'd give up the dollar. That really says a lot about your character. Kudos.

And the city's gathering in essence, a homeless census? I'm kind of curious to see/hear what exactly they're going to do with that info to improve the outlook for the homeless

Bougie said...

I think a tear (a few tears) just fell out my eyeballs