You are charged with a misdemeanor,
based on witnesses
who thought they head you saying you were leaving
even though you knew
you dinged this red truck’s door.
I know they saw me like that
but that’s because they could not hear
I was the driver ahead of them
holding out a $5 or $10
or even a $20,
if that was the least I had,
to any one beside the road
wearing a self-made person sign:
Please help me.
I never pass these opportunities to help.
You see I have an oldest son
who is not quite right
and tries his best
but finding and keeping a peaceful train of thought,
much more a job,
is hard for him
and so he stays where he may be welcome
despite what he can ill afford
to rest on other’s dime and time.
I never pass a chance to help
when need for help is obvious
as the tears we face
when humanity feels disgraced,
effaced by race,
knowing only left behind
to do the best they can
to ask us to do our best, we can,
to help when they approach us
with life’s nutritional concerns.
I make it my business to always try to help
when someone’s in our mess.
It would be too out of character
to know me as these have heard,
doing my best to avoid
a dinged your door responsibility,
because if a mess I caused
I had no interest to not confess
and then open my eager to be warmed wallet,
already too long-suffering of neglect.
But I do confess,
these are all my messes,
and yours as well.
We have too often acclimated
to this culture,
where we do not actively care
for one another,
and so not so much for ourselves either.
I hope to treat each mess we cause
as gently and lovingly as I so hope
someone right now will find the faith to see
within my homeless not quite right son’s asking eyes:
Would you help me,
Do you know yet,
we are in this together,
or we are out to fall and lose apart?
If you see him
let him go
do not hold him
by his toe
be not mean or bad in return.
Try with me to relearn
he’s done his almost best
to get it more almost right
So feel free to lavish praise
on how close he might have come
to doing better.
This helps him, and you,
feel and remember better
and perhaps even rather less than worse.
It would be my misdemeanor
to not do my best
wherever I see our mess.
I cannot see me in this way.
These watchers and listeners and speakers against me
yet perhaps that’s all to life’s good.
Makes me wonder
how they would see me
if they had recognized that guy in front,
stopped to say yes to each homeless mess,
could we all better take time enough
to just say yes
to benefits of doubt?