Tag Archives: homeless

1707. A chef for the homeless

“I think caviar is vastly overrated,” said Lord Brackenbury. This was at a meeting called by the local Anglican vicar. The number of down-and-outs on the streets had sky-rocketed. The local vestry decided they would provide a grand Christmas dinner for the homeless. And the wonderful thing was that Lord Brackenbury was lending his cook for the day. “Lending a Cook” might be too banal a description; Lord Brackenbury was “Providing the services of his Chef”.

“I think caviar is vastly overrated; although it doesn’t get simpler—or more elegant—than crème fraîche and caviar tartlets when served alongside a glass of sparkling wine. However, in the case of feeding the homeless at Christmas I think a carrot tart with ricotta, almond filling and pickled grapes sounds a lot healthier. And my chef Delphine makes it to perfection.”

“We were thinking along the lines,” said the vicar, “of something simpler. A slice of ham or turkey, with mashed potatoes and peas. Besides, I don’t think we could afford such extravagance.”

“And you need a chef for mashed potatoes?” said a stunned Lord Brackenbury. “Delphine wouldn’t have a clue how to go about doing that.”

The vicar was starting to get riled. “Delphine can’t be much of a cook if he doesn’t know how to boil a potato. I suggest…”

“I suggest,” interjected Lord Brackenbury, “that you find yourself another chef. I have standards. No wonder no one comes to church these days.”

“You can stick it up your…” declared the vicar. The vicar’s statement was interrupted by Lord Brackenbury rising from his chair; he gathered his proposed menu notes and stormed from the scene. Fortunately he forgot to take the main thing he had brought for the meeting to enjoy: elegant crème fraîche and caviar tartlets with a couple of bottles of sparkling wine.

“Ham, mashed spuds and peas it is,” said the vicar. “Cheers.” The meeting cut late into the evening.

1668. Hungry and destitute

Quite frankly Austin didn’t have a clue what to do next. He’d spent his last ten dollars on a ticket in the lottery and he hadn’t won a brass razoo.

To think that he had once been better than comfortably off, and now he was destitute. Penniless. It was all the government’s fault. Taxes. The government’s insatiable greed. They needed money – lots of it – to feed their unremitting desire to support politically correct causes. Let the humans suffer.

Here he was hungry and cold, while the government fat cats wined and dined in the capital city’s fancy restaurants.

It was financial worries that had driven his family apart. Austin and his wife had argued constantly and the arguments were always over money. They say that money is the root of all evil. That’s not true. It’s lack of money that is the root of all evil. Austin’s wife had left him, taking the three kids. She would be better off trying to cope with no stable income than to put up with a moneyless, useless husband. That’s why she took off – and with the car.

Enough is enough. Destitute Austin had learnt in his catechism that stealing wasn’t stealing when one was hungry and destitute. And that’s what he did. He stole. At first it wasn’t much; just a little here and there. But soon it grew into something bigger. It takes a lot of money to feed a gambling addiction.

Poem 70: Into nothing

All the empires of this world will crumble into nothing.
Strident protests of our time will tumble into nothing.

The homeless in the byways, in makeshift cardboard boxes,
hold out their hands in pleas for bread, fumble into nothing.

Young men in search of meaning in empty, shallow hangouts,
find all their courage dashed as they stumble into nothing.

Vibrant women, scarce seen and rarely heard from day to day,
are told to cook, knit, and sew, and humble into nothing.

Growing boys play in the park; they tussle, combat, battle.
Boys! Don’t fight! and watch your manhood rumble into nothing.

Captured girls sold abroad as slaves are going cheap this year;
their hopes, dreams, and aspirations jumble into nothing.

And Bruce? I know my words won’t echo far in time’s good hands.
I hope a crumb or two might not mumble into nothing.