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Rusty Fulcrum

No one laughs
watching a homeless lady
agonize to cross the street
at a snailís pace
except for a lone dude
in the park
 
He shifts his weight from the bench,
stands on both legs
and decides to use humor
to cover whatever triggered
the uncomfortable knot
curling its fist in his chest.
 
He makes a joke
about homelessness
and laughs.
Riddles the poor
lazy leeches sucking taxes
from the working class
and laughs.
 
My compassion uncoils itself
as an aching frondó
becomes a sharp thorn
piercing my heart.
 
Each time a person loses
everything they own
and are standing on a ledge
of a window or bridge
because they have nowhere to go,
 
No one laughs.
 
I canít say I take pride
in wearing a badge of honor
for the destitute
living on skid row,
 
I could do more.
 
Families dropping hope
in distress, their children
taken by the state.
 
Every day, every week
I hear the news:
the inflation of food
and rent skyrocketing,
the aimless wondering
between seasons of hot and cold
not knowing what to do.
 
I pray for it to be over,
that by some miracle
or genie in a bottle-billionaire
endowed with financial support
would sweep in with tiny homes
that cost mere pennies
on his tax return.
 
Showers and laundry trucks
a community phone and medicine
as a clean break from hopelessness
so that healing could take root.
 
Sometimes I feel
like I have blood on my hands
each time I purchase
something I donít need,
but want.
 
As though those dollars
contain the tragedy
of every woman and man
who arenít safe on the street.
 
Itís not a weight
I am honored to carry,
so I do what I can.
 
To watch the shame
of a homeless person
ridiculed
over
and
over
again
the jammed wheel on her cart
screaming with each push
of everything she owns
against the curb
is just too much.
 
The thorn has punctured a hole
in a hesitation staining my heart
with the scent of panic.
 
It releases pent-up emotion
into bold, merciful anger
coupled with the awareness
of ignorance.
 
Enough that Iím willing to walk
right into the face of danger
my throat open
without thinking.
 
Because you see,
to operate on your beliefs
till love is the only thing
keeping blood pumping
through your veins
is to believe by faith
that grace isnít a promise
but a gift already received.
 
That all we have to do
is the right thing,
because no one is laughing
at a person's lifeline.
 
For me
itís refusing to listen
to things that should never be spoken
about broken spirits,
rather than what broke them,
just so he could rip open
the sutures of their wounds
with cruel words.
 
Words that can bury a soul,
lock away its potential
and dredge up every lash of doubt
and abuse it suffered.
 
No one is laughing
in the face of this.
 
So I shift my weight
from the park bench,
stand on both legs
and decide to question
whatever triggered
the uncomfortable knot
curling its fist in his chest
by looking him in the eye
to ask:
 
ďWhatís so funny?Ē
 
As he turns
his defense cracks
beneath the uncomfortable weight
of so many stoic faces
staring back with compassion.
 
Because no one was laughing.
 
In the distance
the screaming wheel of the cart diminished,
the silence replaced
by the old merry-go-round,
its rusty fulcrum slowly whispering:
 
We only make fun
of what we don't understand.
~
Written by Ahavati
Published | Edited 8th Jul 2023
All writing remains the property of the author. Don't use it for any purpose without their permission.
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