Project Pinwheel Design Diary: Entry VIII

Mother to Son
by Langston Hughes

Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
Bare.
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now—
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

I obtained this from poetryfoundation.org on Monday, January 4, 2011.

On Monday, December 20th, 2010, I went to check my mailbox in downtown D.C. As any of you who live or work in D.C. know, there are tons of homeless people near Metro Center. It's alright if you look away - so do I.

I learned this poem from a junior high school English teacher...I think her name was Mrs. Robinson. She read that poem to us in such a soulful way that it must be my favorite poem. I certainly never forgot about it when it was recited in a speech course at Montgomery College/Takoma Park. My teacher, Mrs. Travis Todd, taught that class. She'll never understand how much her teaching style helped overcome my fear of speaking in front of people. Before that class, I just wanted to barf at the thought.

One's struggle to survive. Trying to convey those years, decades of pain endured.

Just trying to live.

As I was going back home with a bevy of collections notices in tote, a guy extended his hand and said, "We meet again."

....?????

Did...I miss something here?

The gentleman was selling some papers to support the homeless. He's seen me around D.C. for years, explaining the introduction. After talking to him for a while, I discovered he used to be and is trying to help others. You know what he said?

"Ending homelessness is easy. There's too much money to be made off of it which is why it won't end. "

...?

How do you feel after hearing that? If you live in America, probably not surprised. But would we as a nation really go so far as to continue allowing this? Well, it's kind of hard to be mad when you don't know who is responsible. Most likely lawmakers in your state. This is the kind of shit that makes me mad that human beings do; I'm quite certain that when those people were in their youth, they were on the other side of the mirror, pumping fists in the air at the people they've become.

I told him...I believe his name was Jacob Ashford (don't get mad at me if I got your name wrong - it was cold!) that I was going to try to end homelessness. He was the only person I ever told in-person - my family doesn't know anything about what I do except that I'm not making money doing solar anything and should find a "real" job and "do solar on the side."

I briefly explained that I wanted solar housing for not only the homeless or those in poverty but everyone. Something very different from what there is today yet very familiar. Needless to say are the nuances, such as how such places are run - the people responsible for the lives of many. All the asshole landlords in in the Metro D.C. area unfit to tie a shoe don't realize that I'll be their competitor one day and I've very strict standards when it comes to things like this; businesses are the servant of the people and not their sovereign. The things that happen in residential housing in D.C. makes you wonder if we're simply no longer human.

Ningen Shikaku.