August 8, 2011


It's one of those days. We all have had them, and it is my fear that way too many of people will have them in the future, because things are going to get worse. A lot worse. Out there. On the streets. When people who are good people, decent people are being thrown out, are running out of money, are running out of option, are running out, are running on empty.

Only the rest of the world doesn't see it that way. Doesn't notice it, for those people seem to stand still. They try to hide, try not to be noticed, try to not have their shame, their embarrassment be seen. They are the ones who just look that little bit off when you see them on the street, they are the ones who try to smile and yet, there is infinite sadness in their eyes. We no longer need camps, no longer need poorhouses, no, not in this society anymore.

These people, poor and ashmed of it, they are ghosts. Most of us don't even notice them. That's what the Victorians used to call them, did you know that? Ghosts. Because according to Victorian values (which have been shoved so deeply together with Calvinist values) those who are poor are curses, their are damned, their are haunted. They must have done something to deserves this, or otherwise, the same thing could happen to everyone, could happen to themselves, and dear god, we cannot have that, can we?

No, literally, dear God, we cannot have that.

And so, the poor in Victorian times were not merely outcasts, they were the shadowy movements just in the corner of your eye. They didn't have faces, they had blank skin, covered in soot, as if they had been to hell and back, here to haunt you, the good citizens, the decent citizens, the ones who will never have this happen to themselves.


And who the hell believes in ghosts, eh? We all know, ghosts have no power, if you don't believe in them, and if you are wondering why people on Wall Street, why people in the rich suburbs, in the planned and guarded towns for the rich, why they don't see the poor... this would be that reason.

For them, it is "another day in paradise", and as long as one doesn't venture too far out of it, the ghosts can not come to your door, they are outside the cities, they are in the parks, they exists in tent cities, in the BushBarracks of today, in those dire circumstances that were once called Hoovervilles.

It's one of those days when I feel weak. And powerless. And ashamed.

Because I have never learned to look away. And I know there are ghosts. Who once were people. Who died in our society's mind, who were left behind by our society's soul. And who haunt us.

For most of us are one paycheck, one bad day, one moment of bad luck, one of those days away from turning into them. So don't look away. Not when you meet them. Pass them. Walk away from them the next time they are on the street corner.

They are you. Or what you could soon be.

She calls out to the man on the street
"Sir, can you help me?
It's cold and I've nowhere to sleep,
Is there somewhere you can tell me?"

He walks on, doesn't look back

He pretends he can't hear her
Starts to whistle as he crosses the street
Seems embarrassed to be there

Oh think twice, it's another day for

You and me in paradise
Oh think twice, it's just another day for you,
You and me in paradise

She calls out to the man on the street

He can see she's been crying
She's got blisters on the soles of her feet
Can't walk but she's trying

Oh think twice...

Oh lord, is there nothing more anybody can do

Oh lord, there must be something you can say

You can tell from the lines on her face

You can see that she's been there
Probably been moved on from every place
'Cos she didn't fit in there

Oh think twice...