A poem and a story, neither are made to make you smile, but they will probably make you somewhat uncomfortable which honestly is what leads to change. I keep hoping that more people every day are a bit more uncomfortable, so they’ll look outside their comfort zone to help and affect change.
Hello, my name is Anna and I’m six years old
I live with my mama and papa They can’t always afford to feed me as often as they would like They can’t afford to buy me clothing very often We don’t have a house, but we have shelter sometimes I used to have a brother but he died I love my parents, and I know that love me too They try so very hard We are part of your society a part you either don’t see or won’t see I probably won’t be here very much longer I just wanted to say hello Hello my name is Anna and I’m ten years old My daddy died, Mama says someone shot him Mama has lots of friends, she says that’s how she pays the rent I used to have a brother but he died too, Mama said we couldn’t feed him anymore I worry about my Mama she puts needles in herself But she says” don’t worry baby God is coming for us all” I know that I’m supposed to believe in God and I guess I do I just haven’t seen him in my neighborhood Mama’s calling for me now I have to go make her lunch anyway I just wanted to say hello Hello, my name’s Anna and I’m fifteen. I know what my mama did to raise me, I understand now because I have a daughter now and I call her Anna… I’d do anything to make sure that she has enough food and clothes, but things keep getting in the way. it’s so expensive, and they want so much from me. I love my little girl but sometimes when she cries when she’s hungry I just want to get away… so I do… Hello, My name is Ella or so I’m told, they told me that my Mama named me after my grandma, but I never knew her They tell they she loved me very much but I never knew I should have had a daddy but they never knew
They are closing the home tomorrow because they have no money
I ask where will I go but n body knows
Hello, My name is Ella and I’m 12 years old,
for as long as I can remember I’ve been sold from pimp to pimp for cigarettes or pool wagers or on a whim,
I am chattel, I am worthless. I don’t even care enough to despair
Hello, My name is Ella I’m a corpse under a bridge, I’ve been here for weeks and no one seemed to notice,
I wonder why that is
There was a woman I lived with, in the shelter. Her husband (who at first everyone thought was her father) had a stroke, confined to a wheelchair, had to be fed and changed, unintelligible speak to those unfamiliar. She didn’t know enough to apply for social security then, they had a young daughter…8 maybe, who would come “home” after school and be her dad’s caretaker until Mom got “home” around midnight, walking both ways because the car they had been living in had been repossessed.
On the way “home” one night she encountered 3 thugs, one of which had been kicked out of the shelter for being an asshole. She was the one who got him bounced out because she asked him to watch his mouth around her daughter and he wouldn’t, got puffy with a guard and he was out for good. Not a good thing in Colorado in the winter. So here she was, alone, walking “home” and a thug with a vendetta and two buddies decided to drive train on her.
I couldn’t sleep at night back then either so I was awake when she came in late, hair messed up, her uniform was a mess. We all knew something was wrong. A couple of us, asked her, helped her get cleaned up, we tried telling her to go to the hospital to get checked out and she said she couldn’t because if they admitted her she couldn’t leave her 8-year-old daughter there to take care of her father. We all offered to help, I even told her that I’d drive her so that everyone wouldn’t be nosy if an ambulance showed up. No, she said, I just need to be with my family right now. She climbed into her bunk between her daughter and her husband and she cried all night. She told him what happened, we could see it in his face when she told him. He sobbed for 3 days straight
We all chipped in to buy her a new pair of work pants so she could still go to work. They were ripped pretty badly when she was attacked. By dinner time the next day, the entire shelter knew what happened. The guards let a couple of the guys out so they could walk her home. Lockdown was at 10, lights out at 10:30. And if you didn’t have a pre-authorized pass signed by your employer, you could have had Jesus himself with you for backup, and you *still* weren’t getting in, but the guards let the guys would go every night to go get her and bring her back. And the guys all took turns, this way if anyone was watching they’d know that there were more than two guys backing her up.
Sunday night was special. We all went to Church in Manitou Springs, where they served dinner… real food, not the crap we were used to. I had a Chevette so I would earn gas money from people to take them places. On Sunday nights it was good because I could get three guys in the backseat plus my boyfriend up front with me. They all gave me $5 each and gas was 99¢ a gallon (I did it for the ones who went to the plasma center too because they were not up to walking back.)
Anyway, we all were sitting down with our plates…it was loud, happy talk because of a real mean and a change of scenery, dishes, silverware, and glasses all clanking and banging. The pastor of the church would have everyone bow their heads and he’d say grace then we could eat. Well he said grace, we dug in and a few minutes later you could hear a pin drop.
Those three guys that raped her made the mistake of coming into the Church basement for. The two guys behind him new their world was going to change when they turned around to leave and there were two guys barring the door. The leader, I don’t remember his name from 31 years ago, but I remember his face. He was the blackest person I’d ever seen. Skin the color of espresso, the only thing that gave him away in the dark was his teeth and his eyes. He was wearing a black leather jack and on his shoulder a heavy chain with a metal padlock on it.
The pastor came out and asked what was going on and one of the guys told him. He looked at those three, grossly outnumbered and said, sorry we’re full and there’s no more to eat, boys will you help him find the way to his car. The guy spoke up telling the Pastor that he didn’t have a car. So the pastor said God doesn’t care if you have a car or not, he cares about other things. Boys if you’d see them out to their car, I have to go check on dessert.
They weren’t even out of the basement (double glass doors leading out to the parking lot) when it all took off. He rolled his shoulder to dropped that chain to put it in his hand it got snatched away from him while his face stopped someone’s fist. The guy who grabbed the chain from him swung it…
I’d never seen a cheekbone and was surprised at just how white it was but that was of course in contrast with the espresso colored skin and the bright red blood that was now going everywhere. The next blast was a right hook that cold-cocked him. So then he was dragged out into the parking lot and when he came to a couple of minutes later, he was freaking out about how he got there and the amount of blood ( a bit dazed don’t you know) and he got his ass kicked again. They took off as quickly as they could and our guys came back in just as the pastor came out, took one look at them and said “boys, it was very Christian-like for you to help those gentlemen with their car trouble, but you’ve all gotten so dirty, you need to all come in the kitchen and wash up all of you, you need to be presentable for dinner. I didn’t leave there for another couple of months but that guy was never seen around town ever again to my brief knowledge.
My fibro doesn’t allow me to remember their names, but I really do hope that the couple and their daughter were able to move on and move up. I hope they were given access to the service they needed to survive and with any luck, they were able to get help for all that they had endured. So why did I offer this tome that rivals War and Peace?
The problem is that these people and me at the time and even now as a disabled person, is that we are/were invisible. I swear, I would love 10 acres of land, cover it with tiny houses, solar panels on every roof, mandatory recycling, a place in the middle with a laundry room and hot showers (just in case you’re too tall or just fluffy like me), wifi for the community, since nowadays places will only take applications online.
A community center with a couple of computers for kids to do homework, gather up books for a take a book/leave a book library, the same goes for DVD’s and we would have weekend gatherings so you could get to know your neighbors and know that you’re not alone, you’re not the only person that this has happened to and you have people at your side, on your side, to give you the strength to get up, dust yourself off, and do what it is that will get you moving forward again. Everyone would be required to pitch in taking care of the community…. emptying trash, raking leaves or cutting grass or shoveling snow, helping someone with a handyman project, etc and with the premise that this is temporary, to give you what you need to get your life back together or create a new one and you move up and onward, and let that tiny house help out the next person or couple in need.
Well if anyone has $150K and can’t think of what to do with it, give me a call.
In the meantime, thanks for listening and please, don’t have invisible people surround you. Look for them and you’ll see. Click on one of the links to find out how you can help.
“Art and Giving are Food for the Soul”