As I meander my way through this experience we call life, there are sometimes visions that are so disturbing to me they leave me completely speechless and numb. I am an emotional creature, I wear my heart on my sleeve and everything I do is first lead by my emotions.  I have noticed over the years when I see something that is so overwhelming my heart goes into this protective stage and I become frozen and numb. That is how I felt after my experience volunteering with The Monday Night Mission last night.  Now at 3 am it is like my protective wall of ice is melting and being released little by little in the form of my own tears. 

I really need more time to get into my head to put into words what I saw last night, and how I feel. For my words to be able to do The Monday Night Mission and Skid Row justice will take more time than I have now, as my thoughts ramble on and on in my own incoherent sleepy head. As I wake up in the middle of the night from my cozy bed, hair still damp from my warm shower, I try to make sense of the atrocities that are going on right under our noses. I feel a little shamed to have such creature comforts when there are thousands of people right here in my own city sleeping on hard, cold pavement. Cats that have it better than most humans slumber at my feet, husband unaware of everything that my evening entailed. It changes you, when you see up close and personal what you have only heard about on the news. It definitely puts life into a new perspective when you step outside your own narcissistic circle and look at the world through a different vantage point, no longer seeing it through rose colored lenses. But there is still a tint of a brightness of hope, and that is in the unselfish deeds by people like The Monday Night Mission. Groups who come out to feed the hungry dish out more than just a warm meal to what may seem like a forgotten segment of society. I was humbled and honored to assist them with their endeavors to pass out hope to the hungry and grateful to my friends who took time from their busy schedules to join me. I was inspired by the unity of the volunteers gathering together for the good of their Skid Row brother’s and sister’s. 

Years ago I wrote a poem that was inspired by two events about homelessness. It took me weeks to write to do the subjects justice. The first event was the sight of a crying elderly homeless lady I saw in NYC. The second event was when an old friend of our family was reunited with us in Cleveland Ohio. My father owned restaurants and the one thing I really remember about him was that he brought all of the employees home with us for the holidays; the people who were alone with no family or perhaps could not afford a holiday dinner of their own. One man in particular was Chic and I remember him well. Flash forward thirty years when my sister ran into Chic at a downtown mall, and she invited him to Thanksgiving Dinner with our family, just like old times. He was so happy to be with us, and he may have been homeless.  Just to share a dinner with people who cared enough to welcome him with open arms. Months passed, and he never responded to our Christmas invitation. Later that spring my Mother received a phone call, Chic had passed away and unless anyone came forward he would be buried at Potter’s Grave, a place where people are buried when no one claims responsibility for them. They found my Mother because in his wallet was her number and the photos my Mother gave him of all of us. To him, we were the only family he knew.  My Mother did not have the means to give Chic the respectful burial he deserved. So he was buried as a John Doe. The name John Doe stuck with me, Chic was not forgotten nor was he a John Doe. Everyone is special and individual, each and every one of us. One of the many aspects of The Monday Night Mission that I admired most was that they said hello to each and every person by name. No one is John Doe, we are all the same connected to the core of our humanity. We are all one, and The Monday Night Mission treats the residents of Skid Row with such dignity and respect that should always be a given. Food for the hungry, hope for those who need it the most.

To me, Chic was family. 

I knew this poem would take time, to do it justice. Most poems I wrote come together the minute I write them. Not this one, it took weeks to process. That is how I feel about Skid Row and The Monday Night Mission. I need a lot of time alone to wrap my brain around the senselessness of it all, the sorrow and the amazing light The Monday Night Mission plates out five days a week. I am humbled I was able to be there to assist them in their truly remarkable efforts to feed the hungry, and make the residents of Skid Row know they are not alone and never forgotten. I will be returning, changed for the better and looking to share more hope.
But for now it is back to my warm bed to sleep I go, accompanied by my own tears.  Goodnight and sweet dreams to everyone in this beautiful and sometimes baffling world of ours. Wishing everyone a better tomorrow.
Love and Light

Dedicated to Chic and the Residents of Skid Row, and to The Monday Night Mission

Step into my worn shoes,
How would you feel?
When People walk by,
Forgetting you are real.
Beyond your reach,
Hopes of a warm meal;
A place to lay your head,
To let your weary body heal.
Your spirit is broken,
Your head held high;
Only to be ignored,
By oblivious eyes.
A face with no name,
Is what they see;
Unloved, forgotten,
Throughout society.
Such lonely solitude,
Unanswered prayers;
Hopelessness and sorrow,
But no one cares.
Who will miss you
When it’s your time to go?
Will anyone remember,
Your name is not John Doe.
(c) Rose Bruno Bailey


  1. Rosi(e)

    Hi, Rose! My name is Rosi! : )
    I found your blog on the Monday Night Mission FB page and couldn’t resist reading your blog! I am in a similar situation. I write a blog as well and plan on volunteering tonight for MNM. Just wanted to let you know that your blog is inspiring and you have gotten yourself a new follower/reader. : )
    Feel free to check my blog out: Life Through Ros(i)e Colored Glasses


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