Haibun: Housing Insecurity

Here in Richmond, as in most cities, there are lines of cheap motels that become nominal homes to the almost homeless. At the foodbank where I volunteer time, the people with their children come in for their daily meal. They are always polite, the children often shy or charming. You learn a lot working among the poor. A quadrille from De today using the word box or forms of box at dVerse Poets Pub.  Will also be sharing at Real Toads Tuesday Platform. A quadrille is a form unique to dVerse with exactly 44 words excluding the title and using the prompted word.  Also today at Poets United, Sherry has an excellent feature about the grieving orca. I have a poem or two in it:  http://poetryblogroll.blogspot.com/2018/08/poems-of-week-whale-heard-around-world.html

Housing Insecurity
She and her brother from another father sleep in boxes on top of the dresser in the hotel room shared with her mother and four siblings. Roaches run over them at night.
hot summer days
they play behind the hotel –
toys from dumpsters

photo from the Richmond Times Dispatch

51 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. whimsygizmo
    Aug 13, 2018 @ 19:22:08

    Gah. Such a heart wrenching piece! THANK YOU for all you do to volunteer, Toni.

    Reply

  2. Grace
    Aug 13, 2018 @ 19:26:49

    Today I volunteered too – Meals on Wheels. An eye opener for me to see the disadvantaged living in the same city. Your haibun touched me. Thanks for all that you do.

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Aug 13, 2018 @ 19:28:42

      At our Foodbank, we provide the meals for MOW and after school programs, and the daily meal. it is a lot of work. I only volunteer three days a week cooking. Some people do this seven days a week. I am not that brave. thank you for volunteering.

      Reply

  3. V.J. Knutson
    Aug 13, 2018 @ 20:17:32

    What a heart breaking scenario you paint. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

  4. Jo
    Aug 13, 2018 @ 21:15:22

    You write about the situation of homelessness beautifully and as we know, the truth is often heartbreaking.

    Reply

  5. Sherry Marr
    Aug 13, 2018 @ 22:40:17

    So sad, and far too many children live like that. I love that you volunteer at the food bank, Toni. Way to be!

    Reply

  6. Marie Elena
    Aug 13, 2018 @ 22:48:47

    Thank you for this. It is hard to see, and hard to read, but it sheds light where light needs to be. And thank you for volunteering. We need more like you.

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Aug 13, 2018 @ 22:54:58

      Thank you.

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      Reply

      • Marie Elena
        Aug 13, 2018 @ 22:55:53

        I meant emotionally hard. Not physically hard. 😉

        Reply

        • kanzensakura
          Aug 13, 2018 @ 23:05:45

          It is physically hard for them too. The conditions of these residential hotels are appalling. Kids live in these things. They catch school buses at these placed. Sometimes up to 8 people in a room. They kids are always hungry. They catch lice. Kids at school bully them because they wear often dirty clothes. They love hugs though. Just like the elderly. Their mother, or father or grandparent tried so hard. Often they are overwhelmed. A $1 donation to your local good bank can purchase up to $10.00 worth of food. It is heartbreaking to see people picking through bins of half rotted potatoes to get enough to feed them through the week, to pick through loaves of expired and donated bread. We often help them go through the canned donated food to form a meal plan for them. I come home three days a week and cry.

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          • Marie Elena
            Aug 13, 2018 @ 23:11:45

            I’m sorry. I think I was confused, and further confused things. At the end of your comment, I thought you said, “Get Outlook for Android.” I took that to mean that you thought my comment about being hard to see and hard to read meant your poem itself was hard for me to see, and so hard to read. I thought maybe you were trying to tell me Outlook makes it easier to see. Oy … so sorry for the confusion. And yes, of course they have it heartbreakingly hard physically and emotionally. So sad.

            Reply

  7. peterfrankiswrites
    Aug 13, 2018 @ 23:31:53

    + 1 for this excellent piece – and bravo to the volunteers.

    Reply

  8. Mish
    Aug 13, 2018 @ 23:55:09

    Every small gesture makes a difference, and especially those hugs. It is ridiculous that in a country with so much potential, families have to live this way. We are so rich in our resources in this world, but we are clueless about spreading them around. I love that you used the prompt to share your story.

    Reply

  9. kim881
    Aug 14, 2018 @ 01:16:52

    I admire you for cooking for the homeless, Toni. That must be a treat for them. But how heartbreaking that children have to live like that with roaches and toys from dumpsters.

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Aug 14, 2018 @ 06:39:24

      I don’t know how much of a treat it is as we use donated food stuff. It can be iffy at the best of times. The children? They remind me of the animals who know of no other way of living.

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  10. Vivian Zems
    Aug 14, 2018 @ 08:45:28

    Well done for doing your bit! If we all did a little..it would add up to something tangible…we hope

    Reply

  11. annell4
    Aug 14, 2018 @ 09:25:48

    Beautiful children! We have to have leadership that care…programs that care…it is not the rich white men of the GOP!

    Reply

  12. Frank Hubeny
    Aug 14, 2018 @ 10:03:24

    Nice description of their sleeping in boxes and use of the prompt word.

    Reply

  13. lillian
    Aug 14, 2018 @ 11:11:37

    Oh Toni….what a heartbreaking write. And so so sadly, true for too many.

    Reply

  14. Charmed Chaos
    Aug 14, 2018 @ 13:06:55

    So terribly sad Toni.

    Reply

  15. Magaly Guerrero
    Aug 14, 2018 @ 13:07:35

    Bleakness is so much more terrible when it cloaks the shoulder of the very young.

    Reply

  16. sanaarizvi
    Aug 14, 2018 @ 13:07:58

    This is such a heart-wrenching poem, Toni. There are so many like them out there facing things we can’t even imagine 😥

    Reply

  17. Jim
    Aug 14, 2018 @ 13:35:55

    Thank you, Toni,, for sharing this. We, the more fortunate need to be reminded of how the various others are living. And help like you and your bunch if we are able. We generally do this sort of thing through our church, like make and feed the noon lunch at the Salvation Army. Or help in the “Second loves Kids” program ( school supplies, tutoring, food, clothing, these four mainly. And of course Money always helps too.

    Reply

  18. Carrie Van Horn
    Aug 14, 2018 @ 15:44:52

    It is wonderful that you volunteer your time Toni! That is something more of us should do. Thank you for your wise words over at my blog. I promise I am working on letting go and moving forward and outward. 🙂

    Reply

  19. Frank J. Tassone
    Aug 14, 2018 @ 17:19:58

    A true poem of witness, Toni. Excellent!

    Reply

  20. anmol(alias HA)
    Aug 14, 2018 @ 17:32:28

    Oh, this is so tender and painful. I like how you portray their camaraderie and companionship subtly.
    It’s wonderful that you devote your time and energy to this venture.

    Reply

  21. Rosemary Nissen-Wade
    Aug 14, 2018 @ 22:03:20

    Tragic! And told with powerful restraint.

    Reply

  22. purplepeninportland
    Aug 15, 2018 @ 20:24:27

    Thanks for sharing this, Toni. It is hard to think about or see, but we must.

    Reply

  23. coalblack
    Aug 16, 2018 @ 11:33:42

    I lived in one of those residential motels for a time in my early 20’s. It was quite an education and quite an experience. Sometimes i wonder how the hell I survived my under-30 years. The images of the kids sleeping in boxes and pilfering toys from trash cans is poignant. The way of the world as it presently is, with no heart or care for anyone or anything without a country club membership, is horribly dispiriting. Part of me was formed forever while living in that motel–nothing and nobody was ever going to stop me taking care of my own, again. It is a horrible thing to be powerless because of economics. I vowed I never would be, again.

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Aug 16, 2018 @ 12:31:41

      I know. I lived in my car for several months in my 20’s. I know people will say so sad…but, will they do anything to help? Nope. So sad is cheap.

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  24. ladynyo
    Aug 16, 2018 @ 12:58:11

    Heart breaking, heart breaking….you got to the essence of their existence,.

    Reply

  25. Lona Gynt
    Aug 16, 2018 @ 16:53:46

    This might also count as an unseen world prompt. We should be able to see. Thank you.

    Reply

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