Falling

and Iím falling... falling through city streets
and Iím falling through the places 
where the past and future meets
Iím falling through lies 
and stories Iíve been told 
Iím falling through a truth 
that my body couldnít hold
Iím falling through institutions 
and every single belief 
or they sort of fell past me 
along with happiness and grief
and Iím falling through purposes
and the arms of the status quo 
and though they sought to teach me 
their reach in me wouldnít grow
Iím falling through ambition 
and any badges of achievement 
as Iím falling through the suburbs 
and all other forms of bereavement
Now Iím falling through the atmosphere 
into outer space
far from this friendly planet 
and every other state of grace

                  Kenny Hawley

Booze and drugs were what she used
Or should I say abused
Everything given to her on a silver platter
Now that she was pregnant, nothing mattered
Grandma and Grandpa gave her everything
Right up to the day of her wedding ring
Her husband was stationed overseas
She felt deprived of her needs
One night while all alone
She went drinking and got stoned
Went home with another military boy
Not aware of the problems of her new toy
Nine months later came the end result
The booze and drugs were at fault
Couldnít handle what she had done
So she gave up her only son
The little boy went far away
Still with no one he could play
Being raised by strangers in a strange home
Growing up he felt alone
The other kids laughed at him and made him cry
The little boy didnít know why
He was trying to make new friends
But was unsuccessful to no end
His mother came back at nine years
To take him back because he thought she cared
Her intentions were to correct a wrong
He wondered what had taken her so long
Things never got any better
Fighting for attention from a sis and two brothers
Never really fitting in
He wasn't perfect... .he confessed his sins
At 16, he moved out on his own
Starting with nothing and all alone
Building a new life from scratch
Going forward never looking back
Everything he got was by himself
Never accumulating any wealth
Hasn't talked to his mom in years
Every so often he breaks into tears
He never forgave his mom for what she'd done
As far as he was concerned he wasn't her son
A mother.. he never really had one
His heart she has never won

                        Anthony Dunne


Bus Stop at Main & Hastings

Every now and then someone, out of the blue,
will do something extraordinarily nice to
a perfect stranger for no apparent reason - give up a
seat to a pregnant girl, kid in hand, hair akimbo
There's still time for courtesy...we can still afford
to be polite and poverty doesn't cancel manners.
It's a gruff world but we constantly see
a 'rare' gentlewoman or man from a bygone era - who
have seen or keep alive better days
Golden moments on Main Street
The child bows to the grandmother
and insists she go first..
the proud mother a step behind
Look for beauty - it will come
Look for magic - the crows will tell you.


                          R. Loewen


Funny money

Laugh in the mirror
Climb Billy-goat hill
To school of the stars
Beyond any thrill.
Ride the mind
till it burns,
Coffin of dreams.
Hug friends till they pop,
Sing and dance till you drop.
For the lonely rain tears
til; the heart is wrung sunny
Laugh in the mirror
It's just funny money!
                     Newdawn


Rotten Apples and Ripe Plums


Is it realistic
   to expect
      the inferior gender
         (that's you)
          of the species
  to begin to comprehend the
           complexities
     of the superior gender
                (that's us)
              of the species?
                        
A.S.


THE FRUIT OF THE LAND

A good man said, ďLet there be abundance.Ē
And so I gave unto him the awareness to see,
                                And he looked,
And he saw how the Earth had given forth
all manner of life in great multitudes,
And he saw how the Earth thrived;
How truly abundant She really was.
And with this awareness he could also see himself;
How the living flesh of witch we are all composed
is come up out from the Earth,
As is all life.
And he could feel a new kinship towards
everything alive.
The leaves, the ants, the jellyfish,
All had become his brothers and his sisters.
And then he rejoiced in his new found knowledge,
And he proclaimed loudly to the Heavens,
ďI am the fruit of the land!Ē
So he was content.
And then I smiled upon him cynically, 
And said unto him, ďHay Fruity,
now why donít you buy me a beer?Ē
And so there was Abundance.

			AGE


NIGHT WATCH

In the midst of sun and good weather
Twelve kids from St. Jamesí and St. Catherineís
Came together for three days at weekís end in May
To learn and see part of our city
That part known as the Downtown Eastside
         A video to begin the reflection
Of men and women trapped in addiction
The beginning of journeys and stories
Into the lives of the people of this side of town
Young people we are, young people we seek
At VanCity Place for Youth, a home off the street
At Youth Action Centre, a.k.a. YAC
A drop-in to chill, to hang, and to take a bath
To DEYAS we went, the Downtown Eastside Youth Activities Society
To see detox, reconnect, and outreach programs for kids like you and me
      On the streets and through the alleys of the Eastside we moved
Lunching at the Forty Four, sharing a meal with the people of this place
       Discovering the Needle Exchange, and the Health Van, and some
Just a few of the services to help Eastsiders live day to day
                Upon Carnegie our group descended
Through its halls and rooms we wandered
Chess masters-in-the-making plotting their next moves
A semblance of community in a place too-quickly and too-often forgotten
To the people who opened our eyes, our ears and our minds
Who challenged our naive thoughts and beliefs
Our gratitude we extend
For our lives will never be the same
                      To Toby and Len, the beat cops from the Odd Squad
                      Who showed us the faces of the Downtown Eastside
                      To Chris, who opened to us the doors of VanCity Place
To Harold, Sheldon, Corey, Sean and Roy
Street peers who opened our minds to stories unspoken
To Shannon and Andrea, who help young addicts quit
To Robyn and Gloria, who help kids find their way home
And to Linda and Douglas, our resource and spiritual guides
For the lessons they taught us this weekend
Lessons we share with you today
We learned:
      Of the breadth of human compassion and of our capacity to survive no matter the odds
That not everyone on the Eastside is a drug addict
That we need to continue to learn, to learn more and to judge less
That everyone has a story to tell
That people have divided opinions about whether the Eastside is a community or not
That this place is the end of the line
That we all walk different roads, but that does not determine our personalities
That everyone deserves a second chance
That there are lessons to learn from the stories we hear
That people here are honest and straight-forward. They donít sugar-coat the truth
That people are people, not problems and stereotypes
			      Now the Eastsideís thoughts we share
Their voices and stories we bring:
			      From the streets to your pews, listen.
All we ask is you open your ears, your eyes and your minds
Keep your eyes open; Look around and see whatís happening.
WE are people too.
You get out of life what you put into it.
Listen to our stories.
Donít be narrow-minded. Be open to otherís opinions.
Believe in yourself!
This meditation was written by the young people who took part in nightwatch, a week-
end devoted to exploring the services to street youth in the Downtown Eastside.


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