Street Kid Syndrome from Spiraling Firestorms of the Cosmic Heart

Hi. For my first blog entry, I thought I would simply dive right in, start with something that is deeply personal to me on many levels. It is a poem about homelessness, a poem about the vulnerability of kids, and more specifically, of street kids. This comes from my in-progress collection of poems Spiraling Firestorms of the Cosmic Heart, a poetry book that seeks to strip out as much “poetic theory” as possible and write with as much direct engagement and emotional attention as possible. This poem is especially relevant to me because I am currently working on my eighth novel, called Exhaustion, which is about street kids, in fact, and homelessness, and the vulnerability behind said homelessness, as well as the vulnerability of children, that is vastly misunderstood in our society. As you can probably tell, some of my ideas and work can be very raw, but that’s what makes it tick, in my opinion: It allows me to be honest.

I hope that you enjoy the poem.



Street Kid Syndrome

I can never really express the pain I feel
when I see or think about

a street kid.
Call it a self-inflicted obsession,
an untouchable pain,
a deep heart wound—

it is all of those, and more.
I hurt.

I hurt because I can’t help them.
They exist and I do nothing,
because they only exist in my mind.

God, how beautiful they are.
As if I can see a glimpse of myself
in them,

some fragment of beauty that used
to exist in me.

Call it street kid syndrome.
Here are some of the symptoms:

A stabbing pain when I think of one, suffering.
A desire to suffer with them.
The knowledge that I can’t help them.
The desire to be them.

I hate myself
for not being a street kid.
I hate myself for being wounded
like them.


I care about these kids.
But I am powerless to help them.
Me and them,
we may as well not exist.

How lucky you are, fellow street kids,
to live my dream.
How much I envy your misfortune.

What it would be like
to be you for a day—
that, I cannot have, or imagine.

I don’t know where all of my pain comes from.
I just know that I bleed.
I know I hurt.

I feel powerless to stop it.
Do you understand?
I need you to become me.
So I can be you.

A street kid.

So I can roam the sidewalks,
and feel pain.
And be.

Where are you, friends? Comrades? Runaways? Pariahs?
Why are you so out of reach?

Why am I so out of reach?

I care about you,
love you as fellow humans—

and I promise I’ll find a way
to heal you
if you heal me.

Allow me to become you,
to carry your burden,
your cross.
I don’t expect you to understand.

I don’t expect you to care.

I want to hurt.
I need to heal:

So I suffer through street kid syndrome,
roaming lost the streets of my mind,
and wishing,
and hoping,

that one day we can meet for real,
and it won’t be too late
to heal.


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