Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby


The Contributor is a weekly nonprofit street newspaper distributed by homeless and formerly homeless citizens of Nashville, who keep all profits made from their sales. Acknowledge: An Anthology of Selected Poems from The Contributor is a new anthology collected from the best vendor-contributed poems which have appeared in the newspaper during the last seven years and published as a fundraiser for The Contributor. “Acknowledge” is the collection’s title poem.


I don’t have a problem
with being homeless
others do,
say it in no uncertain
terms: spit, stare,
cross to the other side
of the street, hold their
children close when
I pass by.
I’m just trying
to make it.
I’m forced into a reality most refuse
to acknowledge.
Chased out of stores,
accused of petty theft,
I stare them dead
in the face.