Dangerous Compassions

soup line sutra

This morning I served on the soup line–it had been a while.  It only takes an hour. 

I did sugar and creamer for the coffee.  There’s coffee only Saturdays. 

Many of the hungry people take their coffee in disposable plastic water bottles.  The sugar pours okay, but the creamer is a fluffy powder and goes everywhere.  Hard to get it into the small bottle openings.

A hungry person told me I was too slow.  “You’re falling behind, boss,” he said.

“Sorry about that,” I said.  It didn’t hurt.  He smiled at me.  I smiled at him.

Later another guy told me I was doing a good job.  I felt comforted. 

I did feel like I was doing a good job–I actually felt like the goddess of sugar and creamer.  I felt like a badass.  I was focused, listened to instructions, communicated well, didn’t spill on anyone beyond the inevitable.

I saw some men in the gutter.  They were using the curb as their table, squatting there quietly, eating their breakfast.  It seemed somehow beautiful though sad, poignant.  Something about it made my heart ache.

Very few women today.  I talked to a lady I’d never seen before who seemed to be on speed or having an episode. 

She told me some stuff I didn’t believe.  She said she was in training to be Queen Amidala.  “Who would you be, if you could be someone else?” she asked me.

“I would just be myself,” I said. 

She asked me my name, and I told her Laura-Marie.  When I asked hers, she paused, and I felt she was choosing from a few options.  She thanked me and said she loved me when she went.

The guy who buys the Bibles was wearing a Kent State sweatshirt, so I was thinking about the Kent State shooting, and I started singing the song.  Then my friend started singing with me.  I enjoyed that moment.

Later I was holding hands with Ming, and then some of us were standing in a circle, and R held hands with the people he was standing by, so we all held hands.  We talked like that, for a while.  I kinda wanted to pray.

Please bless the hungry people we’re feeding today.  Please help them have good days, have food to eat, not get beaten, not get arrested.  Thank you for the honor of feeding them.  Please help us be good to them.  May the food nourish their bodies…

The opposition says that by feeding the hungry people, we’re enabling them.  Like if nobody fed them, they would get their acts together and get jobs and apartments and become upstanding.  Before you knew it, they would be having retirement plans and driving Priuses.

Hahaha!  Well, if only it worked that way!  If only letting people starve would help them.  Hmm.

There’s the rapid response people–they have the job of raiding homeless encampments, destroying them, and stealing everything.  Throwing away countless tents, sleeping bags, possessions.  People’s ids, birth certificates, and family photos are in there–everything.

How do those rapid responders live with themselves?  I think they have to psych themselves out really hard.  Like people in war say their enemy is sub-human. They believe the weird ideas.  They believe they’re helping.

Yeah, or whoever killed the students at Kent State.  They probably lived with incredible guilt.  Yuck.

Well, that album was really important to me, when I was a teenager.  I wasn’t radicalized till later.  But that song planted a seed, one of many.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

2 replies on “soup line sutra”


I am locked out of my email again. My email is linked to my phone which has been cut off.

I liked today’s post.

Your stuff is incredible Laura-Marie! I don't go on your blog often enough. I'm a Facebook man–isn't that a gross thought! You always say "Hugs". Hugs to you, amazing lady! Can I say lady…it's supposed to be woman, right? I get confused sometimes, but I mean well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *