Writing Through Hard Times

The Hard Times Writing Workshop is a collaboration between Denver Public Library and Lighthouse Writers Workshop. The workshop is open to all members of the public—especially those experiencing homelessness. Each month, the Denver VOICE will publish a selection of the voices of Hard Times.

Hard Times meets every Tuesday afternoon from 3:00-5:00 in the book club room of DPL’s Central branch. To check out more writing by Hard Times participants, go to writedenver.org.




Rushing to find a purpose

Working cleaning toilets

Wiping blood from the floor

Digging pits sweat smell

Body smell

Swollen ankles

Itchy legs

Shaking fingers

Pangs of hunger

Dizzy lightheaded


Staring into emptiness

Is my back broken?

How much pain can I take?

It’s hard to tell

A purpose to work

For a company earning millions?

Getting pennies

The price is high

A purpose

Is this it?

I write or draw

At the bus stop

In a hallway

On a bench

On a napkin

On a scrap

In a frayed notebook

On my leg

On my arm

In my eyes

Beauty reflecting the sky

Someone’s life

On the paper

I have drawn Him

The company will never know

As they dine

As they dance

As they drink

As they stomp

As they kill

They will never know

My purpose ■


Saif Suhail



It won't be a wind

What will make the curtains

Of your terrace swing,

When a heavy silence,

On that place,


It won't be a wind . . .

Rather, it will be

A tiny detail

That shall you see, on the face

Of the full moon!

That shall always be sensed

Like a hiss

Running through the wet grass!

And, be booming in the ear

As cyanosed chimes made of brass,

Across the city of dead!

Circulate it will the room

With the breezes

Perch on your cheek

As a goodbye kiss,

Before disappearing!

It isn't a wind;

It is just a lovely curse –

A tiny detail

Of a sallow memory! ■


Fran Ford



Abandoned at a bus stop,

homeless, lost and low,

a penny stares through Lincoln’s eye

and catches mine. I lay claim

(We’re so close.) to the dirty copper.

It’s a program. ■