Seattle Soupline Event 1996

This was the first poem I wrote in two years, as I finally came out of along depression:

Out of Limbo
I come
to find
across the pavement
I seek
with found objects
a life.

We all create our lives with found objects. We do not always choose wha thappens to us - we choose only how we respond, what we make out of what we are dealt.

In the shelters and on the streets I shared the category "homeless" with people of many stories - depression; a car accident with no medical insurance; old age with no pension; a minimum-wage job and no savings; earning just enough over survival to be disqualified for housing subsidy, not enough left over from sheer survival to pay all the expenses of moving into an apartment; and more. Most of these people were bright, creative, and caring; overwhelmed by unchosen circumstances, they were attempting to create a way out of it.

I have worked with many of these people to organize our own shelters, our own meal programs, our own educational programs. SHARE, Seattle Housing and Resource Effort, is a group of homeless and formerly homeless men and women who have organized self-managed shelters that run at a fraction of the cost of city or private agency shelters. WHEEL, a sister organizationto SHARE, has repeatedly initiated programs developed by homeless women to serve the true needs of homeless women. We have here in Seattle a computer skill development program and a writer's development program begun and run by homeless people themselves. As I told one interviewer, I am both inspired and appalled by the amount of creative talent living on the street.

I value and appreciate all efforts made to help the homeless and the poor people of Seatle. I especially urge support of the truly grassroots programs begun and managed by poor and homeless people themselves. I urge including the voice of homeless people in planning future programs. We are your experts -- use us.

Today, we find Seattle a splintered city, with thousands of its people scattered on the streets. Together, we can create with what we find, a new life for us all.

Anitra's Writing Page