The  Beat: True Stories From the Streets

Page 23 by Harry Martin Polis
                Artwork by Jaynee Levy-Polis
Dear Officer 
by Deborah Carey
He says he's tired and hungry, the night air just too cold
He finds no point in living, he's only seventeen years old.
"Dear officer, does your heart hear what it's told?"

Blue lights illuminate the scene, broken glass beneath the feet
twisted metal, broken flesh, eyes closed in final sleep.
"Dear officer, how is it that you don't weep?"

The flames finally subsiding, more heat than one can stand
emerging from the smoking ruins, family Bible in hand.
"Dear officer, do you ache to understand?"

He stumbles down the sidewalk, the stench of liquor fills the air
a war we've long forgotten, he swears he still is there.
"Dear officer, are you even able to care?"

Her face bruised and battered, but she loves him, he's her man
you've been there before, and you'll be back, a cycle you just can't understand
"Dear officer, is it hard to give a damn?"

Your knock echoes throughout the house, fearfilled eyes know why you're there,
spoken words, shattered lives, news so much to bear.
"Dear officer, do you whisper their names in prayer?"

The alert tone on the radio, adrenaline rushes at the sound
shots fired, two men on the ground.
"Dear officer, why does fear not slow you down?"

In answer to your questions, sir, Yes we feel the pain
there's so much that surrounds us, so much we can't explain
We are given a sheet of armor, and a badge across our heart,
But those barriers are removed when we're alone and in the dark.

We must face each shift with a faith
that the Lord will see us through
and protect us, not only from harm,
But from all that we see and do.

Officer Deborah Carey
Johnson City Police Bureau
Johnson CIty, TN 

A Brotherís Story

 Sometimes miracles happen and I feel one has happened to me.  I have one brother and we werenít particularly close.  As a matter of fact, I got angry and spent six years not speaking with him.  I never approved of the way he lived and his attitudes.  We fought as children, but my brother felt we were friends.  I never saw us that way. 
 In the last year, my brotherís life started to unwind.  He found himself depressed and anxiety-ridden with no one to talk to.  He sought counseling and a menísí group for support.  Slowly, these positive encounters started to change my brother.  They moved his heart.  It also turned out that he had a chemical imbalance and that was corrected with a new medication.  Then something special occurred for the first time.  I can really talk with my brother and he hears me.  He listens to me and welcomes my advice.  He is glad to have me as a brother now and he tells me so.  He wants to go places with me and he is even going to spend my birthday with me.  He is also treating me to a special program in New York.  We will be spending the day together, hopefully having a good time in each otherís company.  I am really looking forward to it and Iím sure Iíll be writing about our New York trip in a future column. 
 For now, I am basking in the light of my brotherís turn around and I told him my greatest joy will be to see him be the man I know he can be.  He and I have a lot to talk about.  We can learn from each other as only brothers can.  We are like two sides of one coin.  I respect the positive aspects I see my brother has.  I am waiting to see where my brother is going and where he will eventually arrive.  I have prayed to God to direct him to the right path.  I want to enjoy who he is and I want more for him.  For me to care about a brother is a new and wonderful feeling.  I believed I lost him, but I found him through Godís loving kindness.
Copyright 2000 by Harry Martin Polis
Harry is available for lectures and entertainment with stories and poetry.  Contact SCOOP USA, or e-mail Harry.


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