T H E O T H E R S I D E O F T H E S T R E E T
by Tara Kyle
Many in our society have grown up seeing homeless people as dirty, lazy substance abusers. That picture might describe some homeless people, but each person has more to their story than what we see from the outside.
Homeless people live in most towns, big or small. They may choose to sleep on the street on a bench, visible and out in the open, or choose to be more secretive and avoid letting the outside world see where they live. Personal safety is a constant concern for a homeless person.
There are many reasons why people become homeless. It may be that there are not enough available jobs, inadequate income, high rental payments, issues with family or other relationships, or the person might be escaping domestic abuse, as is the case for many homeless women. In these instances, people are forced to leave home. In ‘The Simple Gift’, Billy needs to leave home in order to survive and, eventually, thrive.
In other cases, some people leave home to escape memories. Their home may hold too much sadness for them and they believe that leaving the memories behind and living a simpler life will be easier than having to face the past every day. Sometimes, however, having more time to dwell on their thoughts may result in them being stuck in a depressive head space. This can lead to an abusive relationship with substances that is not healthy for a person’s body or mind. Like Old Bill in ‘The Simple Gift’, they want to drown out the past in order to feel better, but doing this actually stops them from getting better.
Every person is an individual. Every person has different life experiences and a different story. So next time you’re walking along the street and see someone who is homeless, don’t be so quick to judge them on their appearance. Instead, take some time to consider all the possible reasons why they might be in that position and the hardships they might have gone through.
T H E V I E W F R O M W I T H I N
Just another night again,
nothing different, the same again.
Down the stairwell do I sleep,
I have nothing but a blanket made from sheep.
Now I know I said that but that’s not true,
I have my my good friend, my friend named Boo.
She sleeps under the wool with me, my only friend,
my long internal pain does she amend.
I share the small amount of rations I get,
because it’s the only way I can look after this beautiful pet.
I do not touch a drop of liquor,
although it is a delicious sweet nectar.
For I have witnessed what it does to the soul,
liquor and a belt gave my parents too much control.
When you live everywhere but nowhere at the same time,
having someone around stops this feeling of crime.
Not of my doing but what the world does to me,
I wish I could feel safe just for one night.
Oh God, please.
A V I E W F R O M A G L A N C E
A late night out again,
nothing different, the same again.
Walking these streets people I do meet,
Middle class losers, they don’t have these Guccis on their feet.
A bottle of expensive rum the colour of gold,
the colour matching the watch on my wrist,
This world was made just for me to exist.
I step past a building, low rent apartments slowly crumbling down,
I see a disgrace of a man, he’s disgusting – a city clown.
In disguise I drunkenly spit near his feet,
he turns to me with a smile, I’m sure it shows defeat.
Pathetically curled up like his disgustingly skinny dog,
I bet this young loser believes in a god.
by Chloe Oliver
Walking into a shop is an everyday ritual for me. But for someone who loves buying clothes and food, it’s not easy to endure the looks I receive from shop owners and other customers. Every day at least one shop owner will ask me to open my bag so they can check to see if I've stolen anything. It drives me wild. Yes, I'm a 14 year old girl who carries a school backpack with a decent amount of room in my bag to hide the stuff that I supposedly steal from every shop. But no, I'm not that type of person nor teenager.
Yes, some teenagers steal but that doesn’t mean all of us do; some adults steal, too. The looks hurt and the feeling of someone accusing me hurts even more. Older people don't understand that we have feelings and it hurts when they accuse kids of crimes they haven’t committed. They were young once but because times have changed they assume the worst; their stares always pierce me, making me feel so uncomfortable.
Walking into another shop, waiting to get those looks and stares, I see a group of girls who go to my private school in the richer part of town; they are in the year above me. They’re known for stealing and having competitions about who can steal the most expensive things. I see one of them place an expensive watch into her pocket like nothing ever happened. It’s people like this who don't have respect for anyone. They give young people the reputation that we are the biggest thieves and that we need to be kept under control.
I turn my head to mind my own business, but as I turn my head I see the old woman who is the shop owner storm over in a hurry to ask the girl who placed the watch in her pocket to give it back. I can see the look on her face with so much embarrassment and a red face. The woman who owns the shop asks them to leave and they run in a hurry. She looks at me with disgust and jokingly asks me if I “was going to steal” as she slowly makes her way back to the counter.
With frustration, I walk up to the counter to ask her why she would say such a thing to me. “Young kids are reckless,” she responds quickly. “You can never trust them.”
I reply in a calm, quiet tone, “Just because one teenager steals doesn't mean all teenagers steal.” Then I pick my bag up and walk out in a hurry, never to enter that shop again.