The image titled The Homeless, Psalm 85: 10, featured on the cover of ELEMENTAL, can evoke multiple levels of response. They may include the spiritual in the form of a studied meditation upon the multidimensional qualities of the painting itself; or an extended contemplation of the scripture in the title, which in the King James Bible reads as follows: Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. The painting can also inspire a physical response in the form of tears as it calls to mind its more earth-bound aspects; namely, the very serious plight of those who truly are homeless in this world, whether born into such a condition, or forced into it by poverty or war.
Sometimes I'd see my father, walking past my building on his way to another nowhere. I could have given him a key, offered a piece of my floor. A futon. A bed. But I never did. If I let him inside I would become him, the line between us would blur, my own slow-motion car wreck would speed up. The slogan on the side of a moving company truck read TOGETHER WE ARE GOING PLACES--modified by a vandal or a disgruntled employee to read TOGETHER WE ARE GOING DOWN. If I went to the drowning man the drowning man would pull me under. I couldn't be his life raft.
I have learned that if you must leave a place that you have lived in and loved and where all your yesteryears are buried deep, leave it any way except a slow way, leave it the fastest way you can. Never turn back and never believe that an hour you remember is a better hour because it is dead. Passed years seem safe ones, vanquished ones, while the future lives in a cloud, formidable from a distance.