poMotion poetry

Rest In Peace (Excuse me if I don’t cry. I’m putting on my game face)

with 3 comments

Leo Rhodes reads Rest in Peace at a downtown rally for affordable housing

Leo Rhodes is a kind and gentle soul. He writes and sells Street Roots newspapers in Portland, Oregon and has experienced homelessness in Seatown and PDX off and on for 20 years. Rhodes life as a homeless activist was well-documented last year by photographer Elizabeth Schwatrz. For years, Rhodes has worked on homeless and Native American issues and is one of the founding members of Tent City in Seattle, Washington.

Rhodes recently read the poem, “Rest In Peace (Excuse me if I don’t cry. I’m putting on my game face),” (pictured above) at a downtown Portland rally for affordable housing. He told me yesterday that the poem was inspired by all the individuals that had died on the streets and the advocacy work that he does. “Sometimes when you do advocacy work, you have to put on your game face. You can’t show weakness and regardless of the circumstances you just have to push through.” Rhodes internalized the work through the following poem.

Excuse me if I don’t cry
I see your pain
I feel your pain
I hear you pain
We talk
Some good
Some bad
We laugh
Sometimes you cry,
Needing a hug
I don’t do hugs,
but if ask I’ll give you one.
Your pain is in my heart
Excuse me if I don’t cry
I’m putting on my game face
The world is big
They don’t understand
So I will fight
Till the world understands
Or till I’m too tired to fight
Until then
Excuse me if I don’t cry
I’m putting on my game face
Rest in peace
My brothers and sisters

Posted by Israel Bayer
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Written by lickmypoetry

April 3, 2010 at 9:55 am

Posted in poem

Tagged with , ,

3 Responses

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  1. Thanks for posting this. Great shot of Leo. What a sweet ‘game face’ he has. I feel his pain. It makes me want to cry.

    Sue Zalokar

    April 3, 2010 at 12:21 pm

  2. Excellent posting….being an avocate is difficult work especially when the system really doesn’t want to change.

    slpmartin

    April 3, 2010 at 3:14 pm

  3. I’ve seen that game face many times. You wear it well Leo. I’ve seen you late at night and very early in the morning, getting ready to go fight the fight one more day…..Perhaps today they’ll listen. Even if they don’t , you’ve tried… Miss you Leo. Stay well and drop me a line when you have time…. Love, Patty

    Patty Dickerson

    April 6, 2010 at 11:44 am


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