Volume 33, Number 3

Men “Experiencing” Homelessness

Two men are tossing dice against a wall
outside Starbucks. Craps, one says. You lose.
A woman walking by says to a man beside her,
That should be illegal. I’m on a bench.
This thought in my head fresh from the mayor:
We now have a shelter for men experiencing
 So, homeless men are having
an “experience”? Which comes first, apprehension
of the situation, or the impulse to act?
said that. We’ve screwed around a lot in this city
about the homeless, even erased a place
where some could congregate near the art center,
also a theater. But theater-goers complained: 
the ugliness, the stench, violence, drinking, drugs…
I’m finishing my ice mocha, sun shining 
on my battered Jung. The dice-throwers shake 
hands. The winner claps, the “loser” picks up 
a beagle puppy. No loser, I see. I wonder, as Jung 
would ask, if the mayor gave any “flesh and blood 
to her abstract intellectual frame” when it came to 
men “experiencing” homelessness, but Jung 
meant poetry, and what about the women?

—Charles Cantrell