I never meant to call for hunger,
but it calls for me,
endlessly faithfull and accursedly hones,
it leads me,
like any given day,
into the soup kitchen of the darkest street in the world.
Everything around me is so unreal,
the smiling faces of those who pass by,
the full restaurants spreading the scent of food,
and the rustle of money bills, so unknown to me.
To many people, this is the brightest street in the world,
but it is so painfully cold and dark ti me.
I feel like a wingless fly in the silky home
of the biggest spider of the world when I walk it.
Outside, the sun is gildening the leaden faces of those who pass by,
those who headlessly chase after their own bright dreams,
and it is so dark inside,
yes, Lord, how could a soup kitchen be bright,
when its most frequent visitor is poverty.
The breath of hopelessness spreads around me,
and of horrible apathy,
as if I entered a coffin
that even death does not want to enter,
but I am not afraid that their hopelessness might kill my hope,
because it died long ago.
It's all the same in this coffin of human hopes,
the same poverty, the same food, the same nuns,
the same thick opaque glass
that keeps gazes from mixing,
there's only less homeless people,
because the long cold nights do not forgive poverty,
and while I drag my heavy leaden legs
towards the altar of my shame,
I can hear an unusually lively young voice,
a straying child singing a lullaby to its teddy bear.
Oh, Lord, can poverty be so hungry
as to even take away dignity from such a young being?
I am looking into these big, bright turquoise eyes of a child,
so dignifiedly spreading hope around him.
Nothing about him or within him
reveals that he is a victim of recession,
that he has lost his father and mother early.
Even though a big pearly tear
slid into his empty plate, spreading the echo of endless pain,
he is still patiently waiting for his piece of bread
hard as flintstone.
I am hiding from his gaze,
fearing that my apathy and hopelessness
might kill his hope.
You know, Lord, that I would give everything
to help this dear little being,
but how can a hopeless man help him?
If my help is the escape
and the hiding of my own inability and hopelessness,
I agree to remain hungry,
because there is no desire left in me to fight dilemmas,
because I have long since been without hope,
and so it is time for me to return
to my little home without light and hope,
into my little cardboard home
at the bottom of the old 134th street cemetery.
©Walter William Safar