Walking Cross-Town. With a Tin Cup.

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The moment, seconds really, should have degraded into an inkblot, edges fraying, burrowing to lose itself among the billions of other moments, stored for retrieval at a later date when a similar moment showed up. Aha, I remember that.

But No.

This one Rises, floats on Top, bobbing up and down, making sure it isn’t lost. Remember this, it seems to say. Don’t forget this, it needs to say.

I’m walking Cross-Town on 47th. It’s dark. It’s early, 6:23 am. And, it’s Cold – sub 35° F, with winds gusting. Feels like 26° F. Biting.

I’m wearing a trench coat, knee length, its heavy lining leaning in on my shoulders. It’s zipped to the throat.

The fur lined leather gloves keep the hands and fingers toasty. I grip my case with one, and swing the other, the motion pulling me forward, the pace quick, the blood and bones warming from the movement.

And there he was.

Alone. [Read more…]

More buoyant than before

blue-eyes

I was heading up Sixth Avenue and stopped to buy a new watch cap from a street vendor. As I pulled it on an old man approached me. His blue eyes burned and his hair was white as snow. I noticed that his wool gloves were unraveling and his left hand was bandaged.

—Give me the money you have in your pocket, he said.

Either I am being tested, I thought, or I have wandered into the opening of a modern fairy tale. I had a twenty and three singles, which I placed in his hand.

—Good, he said after a moment, and then returned the twenty.

I thanked him and continued on, more buoyant than before.

~ Patti Smith, M Train


Notes:

A picture is produced. A moment is held. Then it is ours. For 77 years, and counting.

christmas-tree-children-homeless-adopt

“Children from the Homeless Children’s Aid and Adoption Society Home at Leytonstone, London, hauling in their Christmas tree. I love these children’s outfits and it was probably their last Xmas in London before they were evacuated. (10th December 1938 by Gerry Cranham)”


Post inspired by Sam Abell:

As I have practiced it, photography produces pleasure by simplicity. I see something special and show it to the camera. A picture is produced. The moment is held until someone sees it. Then it is theirs.


Credits: Photo and caption Source: bbc.co.uk via Schonwieder. Sam Abell Quote: whitedarkroom

Sunday Morning: “There’s no words”


“Damned is the man who abandons himself”
These six words show
That the worse the situation is
Never, ever should a man consider it is lost.

~ Raimundo A. Sobrinho

Raimundo Arruda Sobrinho, 77, is a Brazilian poet and writer. Born in a rural area of Goiás on 1 August 1938, he moved to São Paulo at the age of 23 where he worked as a gardener and a book seller. In the late 1970s, early 1980s, nearly at the end of the military dictatorship of Brazil, he became homeless, and this lasted for nearly 35 years. During this period he wrote several poems and short stories, but they remained unknown until they were discovered by Shalla Monteiro in April 2011.


Thank you Sawsan

Walking Cross-Town. Saving the best for last.

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It’s not any day.
But every day, that I’m walking cross-town to the office.
I call him up.
Or better stated, he gets called up.
Why this thought among billions of others, I don’t know.
But it flutters in on its wings, lands and settles.
A 20-second moment in life that never returns.
But returns each time I walk on this patch of earth.

It was February.
A warm day, but a winter day.
He’s lying on the concrete sidewalk on 48th street.
Not against the store front.
Or over a grate spilling steam from the guts of the underground tunnels.
He’s more centered between the street and the hulking skyscraper.
Early morning commuters avert their gaze, and step far left or right.

He’s covered from head to toe in a soiled sleeping bag.
He’s sleeping on a thin sheet of cardboard. [Read more…]

Would I (could I) have done it? Hmmmmm. Inspiring? Absolutely.

homeless-subway

David Brooks: Building Spiritual Capital:

Lisa Miller is a professor of psychology and education at Columbia University. One day she entered a subway car and saw that half of it was crowded but the other half was empty, except for a homeless man who had some fast food on his lap and who was screaming at anybody who came close.

At one stop, a grandmother and granddaughter, about 8, entered the car. They were elegantly dressed, wearing pastel dresses and gloves with lace trim. The homeless man spotted them and screamed, “Hey! Do you want to sit with me?” They looked at each other, nodded and replied in unison, “Thank you” and, unlike everybody else, sat directly next to him.

The man offered them some chicken from his bag. They looked at each other and nodded and said, “No, thank you.” The homeless man offered several more times, and each time they nodded to each other and gave the same polite answer. Finally, the homeless man was calmed, and they all sat contentedly in their seats.

Don’t miss entire op-ed story by David Brooks: Building Spiritual Capital


Simple care and simple caring

cold weather and homeless

“I (Dr. Bob Flaherty) was involved with starting the medical clinic about 15 years ago to provide health care for Bozeman’s low-income individuals and families. It keeps a lot of people out of the ER and the hospital. Angels work there…

It is already below zero outside the converted machinery-rental shop that serves as Bozeman’s Warming Center for the homeless. A local nonprofit…opened the center a few years ago after a homeless man froze to death in a U-Haul truck…

I come to the center Wednesday evenings after seeing my last office patient. It is the practice of medicine at a basic level: I’m here to clean ears, trim toenails, drain abscesses, listen to worries and give advice; to fix small but important problems that will allow the people here to survive on the edge of society for another day or week. I bring a large toolbox with basic medical instruments and several over-the-counter medications…

Jerry thinks he’s going deaf; my otoscope reveals both ears packed with wax. Tiffany and I irrigate his ears with my portable kit. Success and gratitude…

…I don’t ask, but with familiarity and trust bits of their history bubble up. Divorce, lost jobs, disappearing husbands or wives, alcohol, drugs, mental illness. These homeless are often different from the homeless you read about in the New Yorker or hear about on NPR. Certainly, many have hit hard times, but just as many prefer to live off the grid. They want most of all to be left alone. They are not poster children for political assumptions.

My assistant, Tiffany, will soon enter the world of 21st-century medicine: electronic health records, quality metrics, diagnostic and treatment codes, performance-based reimbursement, insurance exchanges. Medicine as process where the patient can easily get lost. But on this cold evening she has seen a doctor helping one patient at a time, doing small things that can make a big difference. In perhaps one of the few places left in America to practice simple care and simple caring.’

Read the entire opinion piece by Dr. Flaherty here: Diagnosing the Many Routes to Homelessness


Image Credit: Oakridgenow.com

Driving. To Exit 9.

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It’s Wednesday evening.
I’m on my commute home from work.
Traffic is flowing on I-95 North.
A school of fish gliding down a rapid current.

He drips into consciousness at Exit 5.
There are three words on a piece of tattered cardboard, written with a thick, black, felt pen.
The words are stacked.

Homeless.
Hungry.
Help.

My thoughts shift to a Netflix movie. I’m replaying scenes from 13 Conversations About One Thing as I’m chewing up highway. John Turturro: Life of predictability. Fullness of routine.

He stands at the same Exit. Exit 9. My Exit.
There’s a stop light at the end of the long exit ramp.
You can’t avoid him, unless you are at the back of the line in rush hour.
And then you pass him at 15 mph as you negotiate the corner.

White male. 35-40 years old. Clean shaven. Average weight and height. A coat a bit heavy and oversized for the season, but not unusually so. His eyes, those eyes, emit distress.

Addict? Alcohol? Prescription Drugs? Coke? Meth? 
Unemployed? Unemployable? Record?
Bad decisions? Bad luck?  
He doesn’t give much away.
[Read more…]

The Dream Dealer


Good Friday or Christmas Day, this message rings in the season.  In this clip, the film producers spent the day talking with people who were going to spend their Christmas on the streets.  You can find more on The Dream Dealer here.


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