Starbucks is his living room,
A borrowed car his taxi.
Scruffy beard and sweatshirt top
Look like a man down on his luck.

His vocation is applying for work.
Fifty, sixty times during a shopping season
He haplessly faxes or delivers his résumé
To employers who will ignore him.

He fantasizes about work.
Anything would be better than the disdain.
“Get a job man” or “You’re such a loser.”
But rejection kills his hope.

Uncommonly polite and intelligent
He reads the newspaper in silence
And treats the coffee shop like his home
Scanning the want-ads with hope.

What more can he do with no money?
Everything requires income:
Rent a house, own a car, go to school, buy clothes.
All solved when a job calls his name.

Self-determination is not the universal answer
To work and opportunity.
Sometimes it takes a village
To share, to counsel, and to help.

A callous heart that says,
“You are lazy, but I won’t help,”
Is cruel beyond measure like screaming
To a man alone in a deep well, “Climb out.”

Starbucks is his living room
Where he drinks coffee and greets friends.
But no one says, “How can I help you.”
They are afraid it will obligate them.