By Elizabeth Langgle-Martin, Street Outreach and Resource Navigator

If you picked up the latest edition of The Contributor, you may have noticed the initials of one of my dear friends, Ken.

Kenneth and I have journeyed together for about two years. We’ve built camps in the middle of the night in freezing weather, left messages for each other on cell phones and sidewalks, attended countless appointments and struggled through excitement, anger and disappointment. This past year we celebrated his 54th birthday over Cracker Barrel and shared a Thanksgiving feast at my dining room table.

When it was my time to write a blog for our OTN community, I kept thinking that Ken has the gift to craft words in a way I have never been able to, so I asked if I could share his gift with you. This past week, we sat at a small table at his home, and he pulled out Volume 12, Number 5 of our city’s most popular street paper and showed me his recent published work. He noted that his poems often arrive as just a phrase and he builds a piece around that phrase, often doing his best work under the pressure of a deadline. Though his guitar was stolen from his tent before his move into housing, Ken is also an incredible musician and he said that his songs often originate the same way: a single phrase or line that takes residence within him, and then the rest follows.

As I read the words of my friend, I’m reminded of the incredible gifts, talents and strengths that the OTN team so often gets to have a front row seat to in the lives of our friends on the streets. For this, I am thankful.


By Ken J. 

With the passage of time

We strive on 

Honor those we lost 

Continue with this struggle 

Make our efforts double 

No matter the cost 

Clock keeps ticking 

Stay on the hustle 

As you help others 

Mark our time 

And carry on

To read more of Ken’s work and the work of other poets who are homeless or formerly homeless, pick up a copy of The Contributor from your local street vendor!