The Virtue Of Their Greed, I Will Tear It Down

“I am kind” she said. This statement involved street risk-
but she felt urgent that I must know ‘something’
about what had happened to her.
I didn’t even know what day it was. Or the city,
the state of the world, but I seemed to be a dumb believer
in the idea that once a person begins talking to you
with great conviction-
regardless if they are a stranger,
you are indebted to this moment where words are being risked.
Where meaning and the transmission of meaning
are being entrusted to you.

I am constantly pulled apart at the seams
by the sight of people homeless-
without direction because every direction
is another nowhere.

I stand nowhere as if I am the one being beaten by these elements.
I care, and cross my caring to listen, to help,
though it does not help,
the culture of ‘moving on’ erases my unease-
to do one good thing- turned to shit by another,
by the whole society,
if it sounds loaded, how I use that word,
it might be because you have become comfortable
using it to describe other, non-urgent things.

James Diaz is the author of This Someone I Call Stranger (2018, Indolent Books) and editor of the forthcoming anthology What Keeps us Here: Songs from The Other Side of Trauma. In 2016 he founded the online literary arts and music journal Anti-Heroin Chic to provide a platform for often unheard voices, including those struggling with addiction, mental illness and Prison/confinement. He resides in upstate New York, in between balanced rocks and horse farms. He has never believed in anything as strongly as he does the power of poetry to help heal a shattered life. Read other articles by James.