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 from 3-5 p.m. on the fourth floor of DPL’s Central branch. To check out more writing by Hard Times participants, go to writedenver.org.
Papers of copybooks are dancing – by wind – in front of the café!
. . . .
Our friend blocks the Muggins dominoes game, and checks off five scores on a folded piece of a cigarette pack,
And then, he bows his head and says:
We checked off another five souls . . . and now, another friend must be torn up in the next explosion!
. . . .
It’s always the same game, repeating itself, on the café table or on the café curb:
With each bang of a domino, on a swaying board, there is a jest of explosion at the entrance!
With each throw of a dice in backgammon game, there is a dead body rolling . . .
With each puff from a hookah hose, there is a chortle vaporizing.
. . . .
Laughing, Raed says: Son of brew (coffee)
This is not an insult being addressed to anyone, nor is sarcastic joking;
It is only a statement of the taste of bitterness that a loss and another imminent waiting leave on a customer’s mouth (between a loss and another, we pour a bitter loss and wait)
It is a silent and pallid statement; a sign that we are charred and leave our entrails behind us, swelling in proportion to the extent of calamity . . .
He says: ‘Son of brew’; and dwindles;
Disappears with any chair or couch that is listed in a contract to supply Paradise furniture.
. . . .
The café empties gradually,
And any slight crack can start from a cup of tea, and extend through a glass, running on the wall of the café, then the floor, to crack, at the end, a heart!
. . . .
The last corpse that’s been buried next to me in the cemetery . . . A corpse of a female employee who we used to watch while she was passing by the opposite side of our café – in front of a café shop that was blown up yesterday, she told me:
Your café remained empty . . .
Yet the people passing by still hear sounds: laughter, snap of dominoes, a roll of dice, and a sound of glass smashing . . .
Listen they do closely to the glass that is smashing,
And say about us: wreckage is smashing and bleeding its glass!
While papers from the debts ledger are frolicking on the café curb, shaking off our names and numbers . . . and they don’t calm down until someone says:
“Son of brew!”
Yesterday, I made it home
just in time to partake
of the sight of a deluge
of a hard, hard rain
which quickly developed
into a hailstorm. The skies
cracked open and hammered
the parked cars and shredded
the leaves of the trees along
the streets. Inwardly, I expressed
gratitude to The Powers That Be
for bringing me to a safe,warm
dry place—my front door, made
of glass—whereI could observe
the deluge. I nearly dropped
my jaw to drink in the sight
ofthe might of the heavens
as they poured dirty rainwater
andhalf-inch pellets downward,
Ere long, the lawn outside
my door, the sidewalks
and the streets lay forlorn,
carpeted by two inches of hail.
For once, I had no spiritual delusion,
no holy metaphor to attempt
to gain a superior handle on
the phenomenon, just
a mammal’s awe at the fury
expressed by theenvironment
weshare on the planet.
If i but taste as sweet as I look
Would you then understand
From my ripe pink soft inner core
The sacrifice dig into me as my seeds
Reminding me of my youth memoirs
My umbilical code known to be a stem
To the fighting my sibling for water
As circular with the greatest of grass color
Forming into the yellowish beauty today
Picked by your rough hands against me
My life story has now begun
In the distance I realize it’s about to the end
For i am the succulent taste you craved
I AM A GUAVA