The Mission

I passed by Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission,
‘Reach Out and Touching Lives’,
With their Search and Rescue Van,
                Volunteers feeding, housing (in Hope House)
And clothing the abandoned, hopeless and homeless.
Those street people less fortunate or less determined,
Shrouded in their hoodies, huddled together in the cold,
Their begging bowls and cups outstretched.
Dozens of leftover hippies from San Francisco,
Now in their 60’s, stand in small groups
Outside The Mission, surviving on hand-outs,
Eating breakfast buns and drinking steaming coffee. 
There were many ragged, white-bearded African Americans,
Escaped from the harsher prejudices in the Deep South cities
Or from lost jobs in the ground down industries
By Lake Michigan, Lake Huron and Lake Erie.  
And younger men, mottled thin, syringe arms,
Or alcohol red, West coast Indians, 
Battered & bruised, once looking for jobs,  
Now incapable of looking,
Eyes half-closed, some with a knapsack,
Others with all their Worldly possessions
Piled up high in a shopping trolley.
It made me think of the Alcatraz ‘Resort and Spa’ cup
Bought in San Francisco: *Bars in every room,
*Great views, *Meet new friends, *Meals catered daily,
*Top notch security provided, *Great workout facilities.
These are the things every tourist and traveller
Both desires and despises;
The first resort and the last resort.
                    ©Christopher   [email protected]
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