Monday, October 4, 2010


                            She knows dumpster food
                            and dying from two stories up.
                            Everyday she sees death
                            in homeless people's faces and in the trees.

                            She’s haunted by love and death
                            by slow disease.
                            Every lost case, kitten and child
                            makes her fear she’s dying --
                            sleepily with drugs,
                            like granny wasting away,
                            or quick
                            blood running down her neck.

                            She’d like to use drugs
                            to remember or forget.
                            She’d like to use
                            sex like a drug to keep
                            fear at a distance.
                            But there’s disease in blood heat.
                            It’s safer to ache.
                            It’s a war and there’s
                            only so much pain she will
                            bear on the street.

                            At last, she sleeps.
                            Again her brother falls
                            to his death. She sees him
                            wrapped and waiting for the morgue
                            in white sheets.
                            She cries, pleads, wakes, shaking.
                            How much goodness is required,
                            how much magic
                            can she manage to
                            survive this ordeal—
                            another day?

                            © Gay Reiser Cannon - All Rights Reserved


  1. This poem is beautifully written.
    I loved every second of it.
    It made me want more and more as I read.


  2. Thank you Bradley and Gwei for your comments. It is a sad commentary that too many young women and their families are living on the streets of the world. Hope her courage shines through.

  3. yes - their courage sines through every word Gay - fantastic write!!

  4. Hey Gay,
    A gritty tale of survival--hits you in the heart.

  5. Thank you for the affirmation all. I appreciate your comments and your coming by to read! Gay

  6. There is something haunting in the way you get across your description through the poem. It was enjoyable to read your poem from the standpoint of observing your method of dealing with more complex thematic matter. Excellent poem, thanks for posting!


  7. Wow, that is intense and all too real. Thanks for writing this reminder of the grim life and gritty reality for many.

  8. I can feel her pain thorugh your words.

  9. wow. this one has some punch...lots of emotions stirred...i like the grit...great one shot!

  10. Efficacious lament, with its wide-blanket-o'-causes and smartly ignored cop-outs (to avoid the awful reality of the situation/s). Emotional, without being excessive - a finer line than most people think.

  11. To use an old 70's phrase - This is heavy. So much weight and emotion to this poem.

    Here is my contribution to One Shot this week - The Touch.

  12. Sex like drug to keep fear away... a very powerful thought...and I enjoyed reading the verse.. the imagery is so powerful and the image that you have chosen is so arresting too...

    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    Om Namah Shivaya
    Twitter: @VerseEveryDay

  13. Gay....
    This was so good and so powerful.

  14. Sadly interesting...Life is precious and should be valued while it still exist. Nicely done.


  15. greatly written Bea, and you touched a hard topic with sensitive lines..nice one shot :)

  16. Hello Gay!

    You display a talent for transporting the souls, hearts, and minds of others to another place, in this case to somewhere many of us have not been...yet!

    GOOD one Shot. Thank you for sharing this....

    BTW, I have looked EVERYWHERE for the email. Any chance of a repost?
    (That's FIDDLEMN--no "a" in word 'man' OK?-grin!

  17. Gritty and beautifully written. The writing enjoyable, the subject very sad.

  18. Your One Shot can be taken on many levels, Gay.

    Let's hope 'she' finds a salvation somewhere.

  19. This really hurt to read - not because of the writing (which is beautiful) but because of the subject matter. So many live like's hard to even begin to imagine.

  20. haunting and true much we do not see that goes on - how much magic will it take? that is a good question...bkm

  21. This is a powerful, gritty scene of reality, and raises awareness about the kind of pain this woman endures trying to survive. The feeling is palpable. Highly effective poem. I especially love the lines "there's only so much pain she will bear on the streets." Good work.

  22. Thank you all for your vivid and complimentary comments. This was a true story.

    This young woman was put on the streets with her younger brother and her grandmother. The brother and grandmother died before a shelter saved her. I was so moved by her story I decided to try to capture it in this form. Initially I had a second part putting it in contrast to the lives my friends and I live. However, her story stood alone.

    I hope she has found the life she deserved. She was indeed a brave and noble young woman.

  23. survival is at times haunting for sure! the last verse was esp. well written I felt!

    My One Shot Is HERE:

  24. PattiKen and the Muses.

    (I'm logged in as Anonymous because Blogger's being wonky today.)

    This is such a powerful and sad poem. To read in your comment that it is true is just heartbreaking. Beautifully written, Gay.

  25. Patti and Others - I know that these hard economic times and natural disasters have put many on the streets and out of their homes. I am concerned for so many struggling at this time. I thought this young woman stood as a symbol for the struggle of trying to get back on one's feet.

  26. sweet the sound?

    Haunting. When put to the song as well, it gives one shudders. Powerful, tragic, but powerful. You have looked into the gritty reality of the world, gay, and done a fine job exposing it. A sad subject, but one more people need to realize.

  27. There are so many good lines here, but My vafovirite is seeing "death in the faces of the poeple and in the trees." Very fine.

  28. You write from such a beautiful place of compassion. May we never become immune to their pain.

  29. so very, very sad, but so very, very well written...a great share for one shot..cheers pete

  30. Touched me very deeply this one my have crafted such a powerful poem here...and I thank you!! Hugs xx

  31. Sad truths, extremely emotional and very well written.... ~April

  32. Thanks to all of you for coming by and reading this. I always feel so sorry for the things and people that I can't help. But I know raising consciousness is a first step and maybe through our work, we can do that. You are all fine writers and I appreciate being in your company.

  33. Tomorrow is always another day. And our lives can change in a New York Minute. Nice write. Love and Light, Sender

  34. oh, this has made em cry... reminded me of my late brother and all his suffering before he left us with all this suffering

    The poem is amazing and so is the image
    Thanks for sahring
    thanks for visiting