I gave ten dollars today to a homeless woman. She was young, in her twenties. She had a dog and a cat. Nine weeks old she said. It was hot. The three of them were sitting on the sidewalk on Fourteenth Street. It was the sunny side of Fourteenth Street. Why she didn’t sit on the shady side I don’t know. Maybe the money was better on the sunny side. Maybe the passersby were more generous on the sunny side. I don’t know. I didn’t ask. It was very hot. I gave her ten. I do know this. The wrong people in this world have all the money. I wish I had lots of it, millions and millions. I would give it all to the homeless. I would give it to the girls and the dogs and the cats and the vets of Nam. But it’s the wrong people who have the millions and millions. The poets should have all the money. The poets should have the millions and millions. The poets would know what to do with it. The poets wouldn’t care what the homeless did with it. There would be no strings attached. Each would pursue happiness in his or her fashion. It would be just as Jefferson said. He, too, was among the wrong people with millions and millions. It’s always the wrong people. Walk down the sunny side of Fourteenth Street. You’ll see what I mean.
J.R. Solonche is the author of 24 books of poetry and co-author of another.
Photo by Giorgio Trovato