I was deeply honoured to be commissioned to illustrate create an illustration for a dear friend. Her work is centered on various subjects, but I love this one because it speaks to something that I always think about. We often look away from the homeless, they are repulsive to us, we cannot face them but in a lot of ways they represent a part of us that we often hide from the world. I hope you enjoy the illustrated poem below and if this subject touches you, I would love to hear about it in the comments.
I saw the man,
The same man who fought the dog
for the dinner wrapped in the black plastic tablecloth at the street corner.
Or perhaps it was a different man,
rummaging through the debris
of someone else's life
to find sustenance for his own.
Bottom jammed against the church wall,
feet spread apart.
Tattered, dirty, weary and drawn.
Feet cracked and dry.
Perhaps from walking too many miles on the streets paved with harshness and hostility.
There are no shoes to cushion the impact of concrete reality.
Hands desperately sorting through the black plastic tablecloth. Frail....bony......shaking hands clawing for his dinner in someone else's waste.
People passed, people hustled by without the batting of an eye
There is nothing new - A man foraging for his dinner at the street corner.
Outside the STONE walls and BOLTED WOODEN doors -
The BASTION of FAITH, HOPE and CHARITY.
Susan Alfonso - 1997