A Poem by Christine Rene Ciulla

A thought on the way home... on the way, I guess. There are pauses, there are thoughts that race across our universe headed for a place to belong, in the light.

What can I say about the swirling rivers that have flowed within me…why I smile when it hurts most. Why I feel it bigger…at times this game of tug of war...I play with life, it is who I am.  It is feeling crowded by my own presence. Distance, the only direction my eyes can see.

A cast of shadows that play their part in memories that are best long forgotten. But words, sweet words still have a softness, a cushion when blackness needs a place to fall. Down upon itself...musically surrounded by feelings that feel when bland unaffected by color... a commonplace takes a turn.

I wish it was clearer; the line between the beauty of peace, and brutality of sadness... Though, it seems neither can exist without the other… they are partners. I like to imagine it that way. To think and question and gain perspective from yesterdays foot steps. It hurts in every muscle, places deeper than a person can tumble and as it gives way.

Then there are fountains of inspiration, days of faith, and poems flowing, from a beautiful watered garden. The sweet relief of emotion its like a sort of stardust…Neither is a place I could ever completely give my myself to... So I find the open spaces where life rushes in. 

The cold air of January on my cheeks. A walk through a path of trees. A sweater I wrap myself in. A catalog of sweet something’s that could very possibly get me through another day, on the street, so I save it all. Its tiny scraps of paper, a text I reread and smile. A hint of a smell. The tune of a guitar usually acoustic becomes the string around my finger that leads me back to remembering to open my eyes.

The path is the way, catching fireflies, catching a breath, catching a smile on the way to a home through another day. Its ups and downs rights and wrongs, the grays that come in between. It's maddening and miraculous. It’s my chance, my one chance at touching this life and leaving a mark. Some would say it a curse and a blessing -- I would have to agree.

By what is given by birth, by my standing. Is my heart… my legacy… it’s purity…The good guys winning. It is looking up, lasting, evolving and placing my hand on my heart, as its purposefully beating…

It goes on and on a kind of awkward little song. I'm fine with that. Because when I measure the very best people, I often feel, they too have a beat, though a bit different and I get to live my life in the company of them…Beating the odds.

A note about the author: Christine is a poet, mother, and advocate who has experienced homelessness and housing instability. She has been advocating for the expansion of the RAFT homelessness prevention program, along with the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless. Read the Coalition's interview with Christine in Spare Change News here and testimony here on the bill of rights for people experiencing homelessness. To participate in the Coalition's current online action to legislators in support of expanding access to and funding for RAFT, please click here.

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