Monday, December 6, 2021


image from 


Today mass homelessness is more prevalent than 

ever. Instead of shacks made of wood from pallets

and crates, cardboard and scraps of metal, we find 

filthy and tattered tents, old cars and RV’s as 

domiciles. Encampments seem to sprout under every 

bridge and along city streets, city parks, and business 

parking lots. I see the mentally ill, drug addicts, and

petty criminals, but I also see whole families living

on the streets.

What’s the answer? The poet in me is aware that I

dress in their stories patterned and purple as night,

thick and muggy as cold fog at dawn, hungry and

maligned in the underbelly of America. I witness

both desperation and an infestation of plague fleas.

Covid and ill heath prevent me from any activism.

 I’m stranded along the freeway watching cars collide 

and lives being lost.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub Prosery


Merril D. Smith said...

I think this is one of the best pieces you've written, Glenn. It hits hard, but it's so true. Great photo, too.

JadeLi said...

Until homelessness is regarded not as a nuisance for communities but an intolerable state of reality resources will not be allocated. The way you describe what you've seen of homelessness in the past and compare it to the present, it feels as if it is a constant in your community which is so sad. We don't see many homeless around here but maybe that's because they are just out of sight in the shelters? A shelter is ok but it is not an acceptable long-term solution. What burns me is the steady clearing of forests to build half a million or more dollar homes that's going on here. The chasm is growing between haves and have-nots...

Anonymous said...

As usual, your prose is full of energy, Glenn, even from the perspective of one who watches helplessly from the sideline. The concrete details and dramatic tension of something waiting to explode, make this an intense read, bordering on the apocalyptic.

Ingrid said...

It's a sorry state of affairs, Glenn. Your writing is your activism!

forestbather said...

Very powerful lines there,,,the closing ones especially...and whole families there on the street.....

Misky said...

My cousin, who lives in West Seattle, tells me of this situation. It's shocking. A fine piece of writing, Glenn.

robkistner said...

It’s mind-numbingly sad Glenn. I just pray that with our miserable health, that neither of us finds ourselves there. “There, but for the hand of fate…”

Jane Dougherty said...

It's a by-product of capitalism. They're the have-nots and they shall be always with us as long as we stick to the words of that particular bible.

lynn__ said...

Your pen is active in bringing the homeless to our attention...thank you, Glenn. Yet, I know that helpless feeling. My church family sometimes volunteers to serve a meal to people on the street.

ben Alexander said...

Glenn, this isn't the focus of your post, but I wish you better health!