We met on Village tarmac.
Dave S, “upper-class homeless”,
Village resident, Village ex-CEO,
articulate and street experienced.
Three years have passed since that meeting
and it’s time for a catch-up.

RESPONSIBILITY
AND THE BURDEN OF COURAGE

 

Dave is an optimist.
”…my mom, books I read,
grains of truth from the joyous innocence of children.”

A realism-tempered optimist:
“…alcohol, divorce,
no home, no money,
five years no one cared,
not even me.

“Did anything for better short-term comfort,
no concern for long-term consequences.
Mind gone.
Rights taken away at any moment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“When I got to the Village
life was bigger.
I wanted to belong.
My life wanted more than a blip.

“If I could be something,
something society can’t provide.
If not, I’m failing along with people who feel:
‘more-than-my-share-is-my-share.’
‘profit-tops-humanity’.
‘keep‘em-so-busy-surviving-I-get-it-all-my-way,’
‘divisive-language-rules’.
Loud voices we hear,
the gentle we ignore.

“Do we invigorate hope,
impart kindness and generosity
for kid’s growing up in dad’s or mom’s car?
For street kids? For homeless families?
With a jail system that’s a college for criminality?
When organized into We the People and
We the Profiteers?
… with corporate and social encouragement
to feel like a failure if not striving
for the big house, the big TV, the big car?

“Don’t ask where angry, bitter,
hormone-driven people come from.
And the longer on the street
the longer the recovery.
A third of the homeless
are physically or psychologically damaged.
Another third need some help to recover
and the last third can do it on their own;
the self-corrective mechanism
for digging out of personal pits
of serious grief.

“We treat people like trash.
Perpetrators and terrorists
are grown-up victims.

Put crayons in their hands and food in their bellies.
Education doesn’t need to give unneeded expectations,
doesn’t need to define what success is..

“Living homeless
I learned what I don’t need.
I needed ‘future’.
Dignity Village became my ‘future’
and I sheltered Its various founding legalities:
its accepting ‘‘campground’ zoning,
its accepting the responsibilities of self-governance;
its eliminating background checks, though that
forever denies children and families membership,
for residents may include ex-predators.
I inhabited the Village with all the perplexity
and complexities.”

 

In the co-op garden where we are standing
six raucous crows swoop to glean the harvest.
Our sunny morning has turned to late afternoon gold.
Dave assembles responsibility and the burden of courage:

…build Villages for families,
for women,
for children.
…‘minimized-for-profit’ organizations,
not a non-profit.
…no more than a hundred people each,
more is chaos.
…the honor system,
if dishonest, someone knows.
…a charismatic leader
CEO,
…an enforcing, but caring
assistant CEO,
…an attentive organizing
Secretary,
…a trustworthy, trustworthy, trustworthy
Treasurer,
with continuing education required for board members.

…build Villages for families,
for women,
for children.
…with contributions of opportunity from supporting ‘help’.
…and cooperation within and without.
…without poverty and the burden of guilt.”

 




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