Category Archives: Homelessness

Where Cold Ghosts Meet

On Grafton Street she was putting the finishing touches to her chalked coloured masterpiece.
She drew love hearts over all the i’s, pretty they were in their painful disguise.

I had seen her work before, on the ground of Henry Street, her colours then washed away by the man in the truck that sweeps.

I never made time to read them, you know how we are sometimes in a rush?

Last night, I stopped.
I stopped, instead of glancing at the wares inside the windows of the Brown Thomas shop.

I stopped, became moved without moving.
Together we read her chalked words.
Her message reminded us how we should never look down on others.
I asked her could I sit down?
Together we shared a space on the cold October ground.

Her Mother gifted her to the State when she was 12.
Pragmatically she explained, it was for her own safety’s sake.

I asked her was she not fostered?
Shaking her head she told me how her Mam still had rights at the time.
Voluntarily she entrusted her into the arms of the state,
with a promise and a hope to take back home some day.

‘Where did you grow up?’ I asked her.
It turned out we we both grew up in Tallaght.
Looking at her face, I felt I could have known her Mother.
She explained that she grew up in Jobstown, I said ‘so did I’.
She looked back at me with shock in her eyes.

She calls herself April.
She is 18 and a half years old.
She grew up running away from various Care Homes, she didn’t like the hostels, she said ‘it’s not safe to sleep on the street.’

‘I have a tent, another couple stay there too, no one comes near us.’ She assured me it was somewhere safe to rest her pretty red head.

She has somewhere to have a shower every day at nine.
She goes to Art classes in a homeless project, to pass away the time.

More than anything she just wants a real home, so she can go back to school.
This young girl has had it hard, but she is nobody’s fool.
She is waiting for aftercare, the social worker closed her case.
Eighteen years old, no longer a care for the State.

April wants to go to Trinity, she reads a lot.
To study history, even be an archaeologist some day.

I told her she was too beautiful for the streets, she said ‘ah, thanks, thanks a lot.’ She really was ever so sweet.

April grew up across the river from where I lived.
The river being a trickle that divides a multitude of lives.

I am sorry for you, I said.
I don’t feel sorry for you.
I am just sorry you have to live this life.

We hugged, longer than we needed to.

April being no fool, is burdened by circumstances.

She is just a young girl who deserves the right to go back to school.

An Peann

I asked April was it okay to write about her, she said it was okay. If you are reading this, stay safe.
You will go to Trinity some day.
Big Hug.xxx

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If Only, James…


If only, I could see the real look on your face, as I turn onto the street, which is now yours to command.

People from other lands stand proudly by your side, smiling so your unmovable image can be captured with theirs. Still images, now digital, forever hold.

What words would you use today, if you could see the couple kissing under the Bed and Breakfast of Number Seven; smooching, next to the couple lying asleep on Dublin’s pavement floor? The building looks as though it has not changed a day since you left, yet your city is now haunted by the modern ghost.

If only, you could stand down James, to walk these streets in your cast bronze coat, I could tell you how your stream of consciousness now runs through the veins of your country men and women, how students in their hot University Halls, write furiously to decipher the paralysis of your tones. Lost in Marino, borrowing from your genius to cultivate their own.
If only, you could see inside the green and white birds of shame which fly above your head, you would see how people still must flee, the Irish family branch continues to stretch across many a sea, the price of success, never free.
If only, you were here today James, what would you say?

How would you describe your Dublin in Bloom this day?
An Peann
Happy Bloomsday…

Remembering today Mr James Joyce

Any Spare Change?

Feet wet inside my purple trainers, all I needed was a new umbrella.

Walking fast in the morning rain, he looked up at me, from the ground in pain, shook his paper cup, any spare change?

The sky was cruel, the heavens open.
We both looked up, as the cold rain kept falling.
‘Is there no where more sheltered?’ I asked deflated.

‘No’ said he, ‘here all night, phoned for a bed, they said not tonight.
Come get a sleeping bag.’
‘Disgraceful’, said he.

My trainers were wet.
My umbrella broken.
This man under no roof, was truly, cold, soaked and broken.

I forgot to ask him his name, the wet man in the rain, as I dropped useless coins in his wet paper cup of pain.

Feet wet inside my purple trainers, all I needed was a new umbrella.
What he needed; someone to save him.

An Peann

Election News 2016: ‘The Invisible Party’

A New Political Party have entered the race for Government.

THE INVISIBLE PARTY

Fears are growing in Dáil Éireann today. An exciting new Party have rolled out snippets of their Government Manifesto.
The new Party claim they will work for free, if they are voted into power. Although the new Party’s Candidates have yet to be seen, they promise to change the face of the country.

Manifesto Highlights

1. The Invisible Party refuse to charge people for water, in fact they promise to turn all household water into wine, every weekend.

2. The Invisible Party, guarantee all corruption will vanish from our Banking System. Any financial institution who gave 100% mortgages will be asked to pay 20% off the said mortgages involved. If the institutions refuse to cooperate, their biscuit allowance for the year will be withdrawn.

3. The Invisible Party would like to promise everyone a Swimming Pool for their street. They believe everyone should know how to swim today and are eager to save future voters from further economic drowning.

4. The Invisible Party recognise Ireland’s urgent need for housing. They promise to send priests to ghost estates for immediate exorcisms. They ensure that all property developers will be extradited from Spain and made return to estates to finish work. They promise there will be affordable housing for every citizen in the country. The Invisible Party will firstly house homeless families.

5. The Invisible Party believe everyone in the country has the right to affordable eating. Retailers will be monitored on food pricing, all fresh food, fruit and vegetables will be priced lower than sweets and confectionary. This will lower the cost of the State’s Dental bills, whilst cutting pounds of the Nation’s waistlines.

6. The Invisible Party promise to place more beds in hospitals. They ensure more nurses and doctors will be employed. No citizen of Ireland will be left on a trolley under the care if the Invisible Party.
A hospital for the Corrupt and Politically Insane will be built with adequate Sleeping Bags and Floor Mats. The new Institution will be staffed by the long term unemployed. A rehabilitation program will be offered to the corrupt, however research will have to be carried out to examine whether there is a possibility of further corruption by the inpatients.

The Invisible Party promise not to call to voters’ doors with empty promises. They ask voters to imagine a better Ireland, an Ireland with transparency and a Government who will erase the wrongdoing of their predecessors.

Candidates will soon unveil themselves. Please let us know what kind of Ireland you want to live in. The Ireland we deserve has yet to be seen.

An Peann

THE HAND”, AFGHANISTAN

People pass the hand.

There are sounds of car horns and music.

People pass the hand that begs.

Three boys in hoods fold their arms

and swerve away from the hand,

the hand that begs in the rain.

A woman in blue will not look

at the hand that begs,

stretching out in the rain.

People come and go, looking at their phones.

Nobody takes the hand

stretching out, shining in the rain.

In the hollow of the hand

is a folded square

of paper,

but nobody looks twice at the white paper

that gleams in the hand that begs,

stretching out and shining in the rain.

PJ Harvey & Seamus Murphy
The Hallow of the Hand

Dear Santa

I still believe in you. It has been a few years since I have wrote to you. I am grown up now, well I pretend to be. I now live in the White House, not the one in America the one in Lucan.

I remember hearing your sleigh on the roof when I was ten, I know it was you.

You deliver to my son now, he is a lot like me at that age. He asked me why grown-ups do not write to you? He had a point. So here goes…

Santa, I would like to ask you for a few things this year.
I would like a few bags of coal, not because I was bad but coal costs a fortune these days.
I was also wondering would you put a roof over Ireland for Christmas Eve? There are lots of people without homes now.

Would you also give people some peace of mind, it is very hard for people to stay positive when inflation seems to be deflating their spirits.

I would really like it if you could ask all the shops to put on a half price sale in December. Everything costs twice the price it did last year. I know how you love your food, nobody should be hungry today.

Santa I know how busy you are this time of year, if you are looking for any extra staff maybe you could employ some seasonal workers, there are lots of people only too willing to work coming up to Christmas.

If it is not too much bother will you please deliver some happiness and hope to people.

Everyone is trying really hard to be nice but there are some naughty people in charge these days, who have not been able to deliver what they promised. I have a feeling they are all on the naughty list.

I could go on Santa but I do not want to be too mean.

Santa, I know you will deliver to all the children this year but while you are making your way around will you try leave some festive cheer for people and a sprinkling of luck for the new year?

From
A Mammy who still believes.

An Peann