In Your Own Words — July 2019

Brian Augustine. Credit: Jesse Borrell

Brian Augustine. Credit: Jesse Borrell


By Brian Augustine, VOICE vendor

Words have the power to build beauty
Or cause destruction.
Words can inspire
Or suppress innovation.
Words can show wonder
Or hide the hideousness of the world and our lives.
Words can be shared or given.
They can be collected and stored.
Words can be stolen,
But words can’t be owned.
Words have meaning,
Words have life,
Words are power.
Words can give love,
And words can spread hate.
Words can start wars.
Words can build peace.
Words have meaning,
Words have life,
Words are power.
Words give kindness.
Words cause pain.
Words can make friendship.
Words can kill,
Just ask the parents of teen suicide victims.
How will you use your voice today? ■


By Chris Cudlip, VOICE vendor

He laid barren among thieves, steering to and from baited for 

He laid barren among thieves, steering to and from baited for none 

he knows  the bane of life, fancy for his being not made, but donated

of living and dying without foundation’s young, tilting precipice’s faint, drowning barren in pain

he stares darkly into his depths and breathing regret, open to doubt drank by love

he chases of status to move mound, deep glacier down into midst of men requiring leave

fondness to fascination, lovely pieces of destiny’s rest, pronounced joy of turmoil straight

appeals delay, as volition eats suffer, circumstance exposes unfelt heresy

pithy in sublime light, make not haste, subsume delight in hypocrisy

twinge of compassion, wearing the learned and troubling time

spurious impulse, destined for break and accepting loss, drives madness into conscience

Delight gnaws at indifferent speak with ideal in the handshake of truth

life ebbs into pools of bliss, ecstasy awaits unfound affection ■

John Alexander. Credit: Giles Clasen

John Alexander. Credit: Giles Clasen

Drugs and Homeless People

By John Alexander, VOICE vendor

Drugs are drugs. In the American society, the only difference is legal and illegal. The only great similarity is money. Whether drugs are sold legally by a pharmaceutical company or illegally by street pushers, their one interest is the profits from sales. 

To better understand drugs, we should know something about drugs. Drugs are a mind altering chemical. Their  purpose is to help you cope, to eliminate, to escape your realities whether physical or mental. You may have a headache, toothache, depression, or a broken leg as examples of a few realities. 

If you have a bad toothache, so bad it is hurting your head, you go to the dentist. That is a reality for you. Then the dentist begins to shoot all these legal drugs into you through this big, scary needle he calls a syringe. My guess is that’s the reason the dentist wears that mask over his face, to hide the fact he is laughing so hard at the scared look on your face after seeing that long needle. 

When the dentist has given us our fill of drugs, he begins to knock, drill, and and pull on whatever tooth is the problem. Not only do we no longer feel the reality, the pain, we don’t even feel the current pain that he is inflicting. You are feeling so good from the drugs that you could just sit in the dentist chair with your mouth open for the rest of the day because the drugs have completely taken you away from reality. 

When comparing this situation to the drug situation of homeless people, we are looking at the same problem with different circumstances. The average homeless person uses illegal drugs to face and cope with their realities. When the people of our society have a pain — whether a tooth pain, back pain, or depression — they turn to drugs. 

Sleeping in the cold, living on the streets, being hungry, having no sense of security, being homeless … these are the realities for a person experiencing homelessness. We all reach for drugs to take us from our realities. ■

Virginia Bryant. Credit: Giles Clasen

Virginia Bryant. Credit: Giles Clasen

Murky Morphism

By Virginia Bryant, VOICE vendor

Is once your passion
Now your cross?

Have you perished
Within the echoes
Of tormented souls?

Are you walled off?

Now finding yourself

At your Wailing Wall
         Asking no one to dry
Your tears?

Wishing for escape
Finding none…

How does
        the Healer

Your Achilles heel
Tender and sore

Marginalized and

Shielded and
Callous torn

Caught in the trap
Betwixt honor and deceit

Lost within, Lost without
Hanging by your
Threaded and woven

To thine own Self
Be True
The falsified
Foregoing ■