Free From Oppression Day

Commentary By Linda

Homeless Grapevine Vendor

Reminiscing warm times for the cold weather:

            The stars were bright

            The sky was light

            And heaven’s glitter

            Came shining thru

            All from thoughts of you!

            Do you see what I see

            Do you hear what I hear

            Said the homeless person

            To the gentle police

10 pm W. 25-Detorit Ave government parking lot surrounded by black metal fence standing in the grass protected by the fence’s thoughts…

The fireworks display in the Flats lasted 20 minutes and was impressive: the lights, the designs, the noise, the surroundings, and lastly, but most importantly, the people.

Police and the homeless have much in common-neither can be bought and both have hardships and all love freedom. The police motorcycle was parked in the middle of the road blocking the entrance to the Memorial Shoreway West- the W. 25th entrance. How brave to put themselves at such risk to prevent such accidents. The motorcycle lights were flashing red, white, and blue-across the street, St. Malachi Catholic Church’s illuminated green cross was even as colorful, while the noisy flashes were going on in the sky. The flashes appeared like rain, like lightning, like comets, and if one closed his ears to the noise, it could be imaginable that bits of metal were falling from the sky; after all consider the last of the fireworks, those at the end with the most display, is a sham battle. A homeless man walked by and when asked if he was going to watch the fireworks, he replied: “I can’t do it. I’m a Vietnam Veteran. I have to leave.”

Now Chinese used to-probably still do-make the best fireworks. And there is something to be said about Chinese culture: They respect people who are up in age, other than like our news media says. That they pay attention to detail so they get our jobs and we sometimes resent them. For overpopulation they use voluntary rewards, giving the people money each year who have just one child. That sounds kinder to me than artificial birth controls and abortions. And Confucius says many things but I like how Buddha rubs his tummy. Buddha is hungry.

This article was supposed to be on a favorite charitable meal site. The Catholic Center wins my favoritism because they are holistic with many facets to raise the indigent or anyone to more beneficial loving beings, and giving and receiving makes the world go around. Like they say, what goes around comes around.

There is the Good Samaritan parable and then the parable of God curing the leper. All major religions have helpful ways in them-why can’t we see that money isn’t everything. Instead of teaching so much history that causes strife, why not teach things we need to know, for example how to grow a garden or can foods or how to cook safely.

It’s not odd that Cleveland has the most poor in it when you consider that we used to be called the city of churches; that is, before we became the city of bars. It’s natural that people gravitate to the most cordial surroundings within their means and an ethical home is priceless be it a mansion or a tent. 

Those signs that went up on Public Square and other major business districts in Cleveland that say: “Give Where it helps” and “It’s Okay to Say No” (to a person). That was a misnomer, was not the position of this paper for the homeless. Public Square should be public and freedom of speech, or person, or appearance. Why, the poor little children used to get a good education in the flats warehouse district by the river. Now the low income and homeless are shuttled everywhere and anywhere where they are out of sight-how crude-how maddening.

That sign-are we to give to charities that pay their employees thirty thousand plus a year or give a dollar or change to a homeless person who wants to remain independent, even if it’s in a tent. The YMCA costs dollars a night-then the person could be clean and rested and go to work.

I want to thank Congressman and Mrs. Kucinich, Sister Ellen, and Dick Feagler for inspiration and all the people at the West side Market for true grit hospitality.

Maybe next time the fireworks will appear as colored specks of pollen falling to the ground or blowing in the air-Thanks to Judy for that one and for being my muse.

Letters to the editor related to homelessness would be appreciated.

Have a happy and warm holiday season.

Copyright Homeless Grapevine Issue #86 in November 2008 Cleveland Ohio.