Free and broken

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with Shannon

I was a slave to my family
when I ran away
I felt free like a bird
I wanted to soar

at five years old
I chose that life
that’s when I found
my homelessness

I had love for these people
I met on the street
all I knew was how to survive
and help the others

I learned a lot of things
things I don’t want to talk about
things I’m not proud of
but that’s how it was

the street was home back then
but it broke a lot in me
I am broken
by my homelessness

my emotions and my life
are not the fault of others
but the homelessness inside me
is very, very deep

whoever hears these things
open your heart to see
what is needed
and what can be changed


Poem mined by Rachel McAlpine from the pages of Te Ha Tangata: the breath of the people, a human library on homelessness. Editor Elspeth Tilley, published 2018 in Aotearoa New Zealand by Te Puaroha Compassion Soup Kitchen and Massey University School of English & Media Studies.
https://www.facebook.com/tehatangata/

photo by nate on Flickr cc by-nc-nd 2.0

Te Ha Tangata. A human library on homelessness
Te Ha Tangata. A human library on homelessness

Set in concrete

Homeless people's belongings, Croatia. Photo Kornelijle Sajler
Homeless people’s belongings, Croatia

with Verne

just because I’m scruffy
and smell sometimes
doesn’t mean my DNA
is not human

I ran away from boarding school
mattress on the floor
cockroaches and mice
a huge gambling problem

lots of drugs
lots of alcohol
I am apprehensive
about smiling

people yell at me
assumptions set in concrete
there’s very little future
unless magic happens


The poems in Voices with no home were mined by Rachel McAlpine from the pages of Te Ha Tangata: the breath of the people, a human library on homelessness. Editor Elspeth Tilley, published 2018 in Aotearoa New Zealand by Te Puaroha Compassion Soup Kitchen and Massey University School of English & Media Studies.
https://www.facebook.com/tehatangata/
Photograph Kornelijle Sajler cc by-sa 2.0

Te Ha Tangata. A human library on homelessness
Te Ha Tangata. A human library on homelessness

 

Part of the universe now

Homeless person sleeping in a doorway. Photo by Dan Dickinson
Homeless person sleeping in a doorway, Talahassee. Photo by Dan Dickinson, Flickr

with Robert

Nobody was at home
I was very, very hungry
I became very quiet
I was an angry, quiet kid

The pound is a concrete cell
I used to think, I’m here forever
I was frightened, really frightened
I became a little puppet

I’ve been sober eighteen years
I’ve been clean twelve years
From that, I get a life
I’m part of the universe now


Voices with no home: poems mined by Rachel McAlpine from the pages of Te Ha Tangata: the breath of the people, a human library on homelessness. Editor Elspeth Tilley, published 2018 in Aotearoa New Zealand by Te Puaroha Compassion Soup Kitchen and Massey University School of English & Media Studies.

Photograph Dan Dickinson cc by 2.0

Te Ha Tangata. A human library on homelessness
Te Ha Tangata. A human library on homelessness

Occupy

fire-escape.jpg

At night, a giant
stretched and sketched
pointed and colonial
an X, a wave across the bed.

Awake, I pleat my civic limbs
to meditate
now vertical, a particle
on a pillow, an origami cat.

Six could fit into this space
and do
outside this cave of privilege
and peace.

poem and pic by rachel mcalpine cc by 2.0