In the space of just a few months, two dear friends, both unhoused, both named David, died in my hometown. My relationship with each one was complex. But I loved them both, and both of them taught me lessons I could not have learned anywhere else.
Because both were named David, if you search online you can find them. I sit here tonight sad that I was not a better friend to David—both Davids.
Two Davids taken this year
One by train
The other by knife.
Bodies riven. Life
Driven from them
(We cannot pause too long, to consider the violence that renders flesh inert)
There was no place for them, for
We made no place for them.
They slept in “locations not meant for human habitation”
And we allowed that because
They might inconvenience us, or
They made choices, or
We lack the fiscal resources, or
It’s not our problem, or
I just don’t have any fucking time for this right now.
David behind a jailhouse glass, stable
We speak of Ellul, and Keizer, and Help and what it takes to succeed in the world—what would it take?
David on the corner, purpose-driven
We speak of sympathy, empathy, compassion and the potential to heal all of mankind—what would it take?
I see David on the curb between two cops—they will beat him
I see David on the bench—they will confide in him (and reveal their lostness)
I see David, sitting in a circle with a homeless crowd too impaired to speak—he shares pizza with them and binds up their many wounds. Oh, they are wanderers on the planet and they will never find peace, but David feeds them.
I see David, standing on the corner with a housed crowd too privileged to identify the source of their angst—he shares a space with them and binds up all their many wounds. Oh, they are wanderers on the planet and they refuse to find peace, but David feeds them.
Oh, god. They left too soon.
They were the best of us—without portfolio
We simply could not see.
In other times or places, maybe
Maybe we would have made a place for them
A space for them
But we are not in that space/time—that universe
Out here and now in this place—in this space
We are poorer
They are gone.
If there were fairness
If there were just a tiny space for justice that restores
If there were an economy that valued peacemaking, truth telling, and love offering.
If there were a world in which gifts of healing were honored
If there were a place for two Davids