Street Life

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Today’s prompt, “Creativity Connective” from Anna J. Small Roseboro, asked us to think about a minor character in a text we’ve read and write a poem from that character’s point of view to respond to something happening in the news or the world today. My character (Coach Otis Brody) is from Jason Reynolds’ book, Ghost. My topic is the profoundly disturbing number of unhoused people residing in Los Angeles (over 46,000). The words in bold were generated from the word unscrambler of my character’s full name.

Street Life

As a consequence for Ghost’s actions
I made him clean out my cab’s trashy trunk
When he opened it,
He wanted to cry
I chuckled, “I know, it’s bad.”

Ghost tossed old fast-food bags
Whistles and papers
Into a box on the sidewalk
But insisted on donating
My thread-bare shirt
And my jackets with hoods
To StandUp For Kids,
An outreach program for those who are unhoused.

“Coach, have you seen the cars with windows made of boards?”
“Boys and girls in our school live like that! In cars!
Ghost shared a story about a man on his block
Who built a shelter out of old doors
With a tarp tied to bicycle bars for a ceiling
It would never absorb the rain.

The scarcity of basic resources
Caused one of his friends to hoard
apples and oranges from school lunches each day
and another girl stole deodorant
from the local store
because housed kids teased her
about her hair and body odors.

Now I understood why Ghost stole those shoes
to run with our team
His mother had little money to spare
And street life was sad and unfair.

©Stacey L. Joy, 1/20/24

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