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A Prevalence Of Knuckleheads

smiles come easy, but
a handout is expected
and not all are saints
in need of protection

I offered shelter
and got ripped off
provided sustenance
and took a fist to the jaw

such experiences tend
to put one on guard
do-gooders soon learn
as soft hearts turn hard

but, being cynical
while sharing compassion
means total acceptance
with no expectations

Style / type: 
Structured: Western
Review Request (Intensity): 
I want the raw truth, feel free to knock me on my back
Editing stage: 


very true, 'the road to hell is paved with good intentions" Saint Bernard Clairvaux

Eddie C.


Not so much the road to hell, but simply misguided expectations of what charity work will accomplish. A knucklehead will not automatically run to the employment office out of gratitude for giving him a new pair of shoes...He's still a knucklehead with new shoes, that 's all.
Expectations are foolish until one comes to terms that most (not ALL) needing charity are there because they are knuckleheads...They are not in need because they are bright, educated, ethical pillars of society that just fell on hard times.

I worked as a manager for three years in a 300 bed men's shelter, with 300 men and women in an adjacent tent city. Cynicism about outcome comes naturally.
Knuckleheads still get hungry, still need shelter, still suffer their knucleheadedness, so out of compassion, we helped them...but never expect anything in return.

cynisim helps keep one's compassion engaged


author comment

I'm glad you still have that compassion. Working with people who need help, isn't always rewarding, doesn't often give you that 'golden glow'. You just see close up some of the less desirable human traits and frequently, that's depressing. Then one day, when you're least expecting it, a ray of sunshine comes through and you think, yes I've helped. I've made a difference.
I think we need a healthy degree of cynicism (realism)? to run along side our compassion. At least if we are to retain our perspective and stay sane - ish!. Jx

Remember we are a workshop site.
Don't forget to offer critique on poems you read.

oops, late again
thanks for taking the time to express your thoughts. I concur.



author comment

I'm fairly new to the site. I joined but it took me awhile to actually participate so, when I saw this poem in your profile, it caught my eye. I know you have more recent posts but wanted to acknowledge this one before getting to the others. I wasn't sure I agree'd with the title at first, but after reading your words, I have a better understanding of where you're coming from. I like the way the poem reads. It flows well, one verse into the next, and so that allows your thoughts flow together cohesively. I can see where after awhile, you would become cynical, at least, to an extent when the 'giving of yourself' receives little shown appreciation. I admire you for volunteering your time, as helping others is something I've been known to do. For me, it's not in a job situation, and even though you're not being paid for volunteering, it's still a job. So, no form of compensation be it money or gratitude, I'm guessing, can be quite frustrating at times! Long story short, I find this to be a well done write and am glad you shared it!

just a sideline....when I was growing up there was a duck pond near my home.....well that's what the neighborhood unofficially named it cos the ducks seemed to love it. Anyhow, there was this one duck that had a red head, the rest of him was white, so I was told I named him knucklehead duck!

...I never wanted or expected appreciation from these" knuckelheads"
my point was to not expect that these knuckleheads would, or could, be "fixed"
but they still need sustenance and compassion...flawed that they are.

thanks for your thoughts.
much appreciated


author comment

dont expect nothing in return..
helped out my share of the
knowing the cost..missing tapes
survivalists...I admired what they
but then again....We both know
many would not even try...
not even attempt such risks..
leave em to the elements
ripped apart by the jackals...
I lost this and that..
I equally took in my time...
giving back now.....
and they..the understanding
gracious and empathic
grow a fondness even more..

stooges I call the hard most
faint hearted wont handle..
Pay it forward....

U have to have known it
to even try...

U can be hit by a car U dont
even see...cancer..ilness
being the most caring person
amongst us..When U get the
call...your bus is watiting..
We are still here..
We helped..we knew the
risks...we did it...
I see em down the line
still going...knowing they
sharpened my resolve Like
I did theirs...
I dont need a kiss
just that satisfaction
of feeling...
I helped out
I gave the bliss!

Thank U Al!

Mr Wolf!

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