(2) The Corners (2/7)

“Find an independence where action becomes action that supports the whole action that includes everything and does everything that is needed.” (Presence, by C. Otto Scharmer, Peter M. Senge, Joseph Jaworski, Betty Sue Flowers)

There was a time when Kensington was something,
Now it’s something else.
Along the tracks there is an open air shooting gallery,
An encampment that would make Bubbles cringe.
Trains rush by, bodies pile up, and no one took responsibility
Or even seemed to care,
Until the free press got involved and began exposing the Hell
That was just out of eyesight, but in plain view for all.

The cops came, the social workers came, sanitation workers came, and
The addicts began to leave.
They caught the number whatever bus to McPherson Square.
Before long the librarians were dosing Narcan
Instead of helping kids find books for summer reading.
The reporters reported.
The cops, social workers, and sanitation workers came, and
The addicts left.

Kensington is bipolar, part run down, part prime gentrification property.
The developers and hipsters are working together to drive up rents,
Clean up dilapidated buildings, and leave fewer places for the addicts
To mismanage their uncontrollable cravings, there isn’t any help to them
For fighting their disease, but the users are resourceful.
Kensington still provides the resources to those who look,
To those with no other options.

Ascension of Our Lord, the Cathedral of Kensington, had fallen out of favor
After being deconsecrated in 2012, the massive stone house of worship
Became a refuge for those parlaying with the demons of addiction.
Mattresses took over any space,
Confessionals became toilets or private spaces for the most intimate of acts,
Drugs flowed and misery embraced the once holy walls.

Once again, reporters, cops, social workers, and sanitation workers did their jobs.
Again the addicts are out looking, but
The Mayor is involved…
So is Licenses and Inspections…
They will punish the owner of the building,
Who was supposed to be doing something with it.
I wonder what God thinks of the way his old building has been treated.

How about his children?

Driving By…

Years ago, I looked over a scum covered pond
At a green nearly two hundred yards away.
It seemed to me that a five iron
Might be enough to get the ball there.

I drew back slowly
Firing hard into the ball.
My follow through was right
And the ball held a perfect line.

The swing left me with little more than three feet
To get a birdie on this beautiful hole.
I steadied my nerves,
But still pushed the ball right of the cup. Par.

A gallery was standing on the balcony
Of the old dinner theater.
They smoked cigarettes and
Jeered me all the way to the next tee.

I thought the old place was a hotel or apartments.
My instincts were kind of right.
The place for acting and gluttony
Had become a temple for honesty and detox.

Twenty-five years ago the old building was tired.
In many rounds of golf, I wondered what went on there.
There were plenty of people shuffling about with despair
And there was a ropes course that was falling into disrepair.

The parking lot was open, although cracked and weedy,
But through the years there were always people.
Sometimes they yelled at me, sometimes they complimented me,
Always they had a look of desperation.

Two nights ago I drove by the old place.
It had been a couple of years.
The weeds were gone, the tired old building covered in youthful siding
The ropes course replaced by a new dormitory.

Still, though, there were people
Lined up at the guard gate.
They stood with clear plastic bags
Holding all of their possessions.

I thought it looked like camp
Or move in day for college
Except for the inspection of items
And the haste with which people checked in.

One family worked to empty their SUV.
Their faces sent me back a quarter of a century
When I saw their look of desperation
Like those on the day I missed my putt…

Each time I go past
The old dinner theater,
I hope all is going well for those there,
No one deserves those demons.

Rehab Drive-by

Worship Prayer Thought Devotion Christ

Passing rehab, just
Enough time to see sadness
Due to tough choices.
Family pain at drop off,
Hopeful prayers to them all.

Photo Credit: Google Images

Special Delivery

Dolores worked in the Postal Service
She was barely holding it together
Her test score was high,
But not like her brain
With drugs making a first class run
Towards desperation.
She had not yet resorted
To using her curves or licking stamps,
Although her position let her make special deliveries
To better paying patrons.
Dolores took the package
Right to the door
Where she would knock
Announcing that she had that special delivery,
The recipient always saying, “Just a minute,”
Which was the code that let Dolores know
This was the junkie looking for a hook up.
She took the money, left the heroin, and
Made the next delivery.
None of the natural roadblocks or even daylight, would interrupt
Her special deliveries,
But it was the police who ended her career.

New York Times: May 17, 1926

I.

All they wanted was
A cost of living increase,
But the barons of public school finance
Sought to study the worth
Of those in the classroom,
Who claimed they were not afraid of the facts,
Only looking for a respect
That was adequate and equitable.

II.

They were the men in charge
Prohibition Directors who developed a thirst
For a little whisky
To wash down the blandness of temperance
But for them it was not to be
Since alcohol was illegal
In these parts and these corrupted men of power
Seemed to have been tempted by the sweet tasting Devil’s water.

III.

Those Southern Baptists,
Believers in all that is good
And that which is not
Will be struck down by flood or fire,
Got together in Texas banning
Beauty contests and bathing revues.
While they were at it, they also poured conservative concrete
On joy riding and mixed gender bathing.

IV.

Just to bring it all back to the start
The American Federation of Labor
Claimed industry was promoting
The right conditions
For class warfare, class antagonism, and social unrest.
They held up a letter from Pope Leo
Where the Pontiff said industry used
“Unanswerable logic” to baffle the working man

V.

Maybe this is the trinity
That makes the world
Go around;
Money,
Drugs, and
Sex,
Things never change, do they?
They don’t seem to.

Better Ways??

Mr. Nixon was really no different
Than the current crop of politicians
And celebrity seekers of office
When he thought making a deal with Turkey and France
To slow the flow of drugs,
In this instance opium,
Into the United States.

He dealt a blow to sobriety
By making the product rampant
And causing the establishment
To make punishment the focus
Of drug prevention.
He promised an eighty percent reduction
In the amount of opium entering the country.

Starting the war
Brought a blizzard of drugs
To the American crack pipe,
Prisons full of addicts
Who one day would be free with nothing
To do, and
Plenty of drugs from doctors
To inspire the chronic users to
Search for cheaper alternatives, opium’s derivatives…

We’re all to blame,
We put Nixon in office.
We will vote
Putting the candidate we think
Least likely to make things worse in office
Instead of electing
Smart leaders who will govern morally,
Practically, and
With a sense that there is more to the world
Than domination or letting the rich
Keep their money.

How about jobs instead of jail?
How about corporate consciousness?
How about personal responsibility?

How about it?

Because the drugs will always be around
And our strategy for helping those struggling
Has not worked,
Why not try something different?
Why not think outside of prison cells
Or thinking there will ever be
A way to totally drugs drugs at the boarder?

Is there too much money involved?
Not enough for the dealers…?
Not enough for the government organizations…?
Not enough for the insurance companies…?
Not enough for the pharmaceutical companies…?

This drug mess is not only Nixon’s doing,
But his addiction to power play
Was as sad as a puffy junkie puffy who missed a blast.
November will bring
Another in a long line
Of leaders too scared to make a meaningful change.

The blizzard continues.

The Time Has Come

I’m watching Drugs, Inc.
The drama is intense and
I’m totally into the code words and
The hype creating the buzz

Today I finished reading High Price
A book just as intense
But more like a code breaker
Putting the drug world hype to the test

The machine of pushers,
Politicians, and publishers
Is a ready made money maker
For anyone on the non-using end

Is it coincidence that the marketing
Comes as cheap product,
More unsubstantiated political shock talk,
And a bunch more money for protection?

What’s left to pasture are the unappreciated users
Often locked up for nothing more than possession,
Lashed by a whip of hysteria,
And shackled to the dead end of prison

So many of these men and women should get a reprieve
Sentenced to beneficial treatment programs
Instead of mandatory incarceration
Where the opportunities amount to just another bad blast

So many would be free of the harshest consequences
Had they lived within a different zip code,
Been afforded high powered representation,
Or had real opportunities to help manage their lives

The time has come for real solutions
Including thought that is progressive beyond just drugs and
Instead of only proposing we get tougher to win the war
Or making all of Manhattan a prison

Crack Poverty

Equating Crack’s effects on babies
To myths or lore
Makes one wonder
How much more revisionist living
Is in store

It seems Science is learning
That babies born to crack huffing moms
Compete without much
Of a disadvantage
Due to the poison pipe

Instead Poverty has more significance
On limiting learning
Predicting institutionalization
Or living life under the stigma
Of being labeled a crack baby

Now it’s time for Social Science
To get its due
And for those engineers of public policy
To create conditions where
Poverty is not a crack for people to fall into

Now it’s time for Business
To bring jobs back
So people have jobs
To earn money
And pave their way out

How about Commerce helping
With the middle men
Seeing that they can’t have it all
For escalating profits make escalating prices
And sinking possibilities for consumers

And what of People who have given up
Living without stamina and endurance
To move out of deplorable conditions
Or share the wealth they enjoy
Because of some “I got mine” folly

Babies should not be born high
Nor poor
Forget not the American Dream
Where personal responsibility extends
To us all, “One nation…”