Archive for the 'Homeless' Category

Night At The Emergency Shelter

The homeless shelter in Brattleboro — like in most rural areas — is tough to get into. It can take weeks. The procedure is to call in every morning until a bed opens — however long it takes. I’ve tried a couple of times, for lack of anywhere better to go, to get into the place. It’s hard, though, for me to maintain the sustained effort required. Not here in my hometown, where I generally can find some place to stay — stressful & wearisome as finding someplace to stay has become after all these years.

Mind you, there is a real short list of places I can stay. 2 of my friends who generally welcome me into their homes, most anytime I need, are out of town at the moment. That makes the list critically short. In fact — last night at least — the list was non existent.

They’ve opened an emergency overflow shelter for Brattleboro’s homeless this winter. I could have hung around the bars — tired as a dog & with no money — and eventually someone may have put me up. Like I said I end up somewhere most nights. Most, but not all. Last night I was plain not in the mood to spend hours hanging around the bar with no money hoping I would end up somewhere warm. Some nights you’re just not in the fucking mood.

I remembered about the emergency shelter. It opens up during snow & ice storms and when the temperature drops below 20 degrees F. — basically the emergency shelter operates when a persons life is threatened were they to sleep outdoors.

It was mighty cold last night. The emergency shelter was open — from 7PM to 7AM. They have it in a church basement on Main St.

12 people found refuge at the emergency shelter last night. 10 men, one woman — and one undecided. Looked like a chick last night. Yet despite the high heeled boots looked quite like a dude in the cold light of day. Anyway.

The accommodations were comfortable enough; blankets, a pillow, a sleeping pad & a spot on the carpeted floor. My only complaint, shared by most others in my vicinity, was that someone’s feet reeked. Unfortunately those feet were mine. I left the last place I stayed in a hurry and was forced to wear my boots without socks. I was tempted to leave my boots outside the shelter but feared they’d be gone in the morning. I wished I’d taken my chances.

Other than that it wasn’t too bad. They fed us beef stew in the evening. I fell asleep almost immediately. In the morning there was coffee & donuts.

The biggest drawback to the emergency shelter is the 7AM check out time. Actually it was better this morning, being Sunday. On Sunday, while they make you wake up and put your bedroll away before 7, folks are allowed to hang out in there the basement until 9:30 — when church begins.

Good thing. Sunday is a rough day to be homeless — Sunday morning especially. With the library closed, there’s not much to do when you’re broke on Sunday besides just kind of walk around & try to stay warm.

Which I did for some hours. Eventually I occupied a table at a coffee shop. Though I could not buy a coffee, people who work there know me and left me alone. It’s uncomfortable though, being in a place where people buy things, with no money. I didn’t stay long.

Once outside I ran into a friend. Bummed a smoke off him. He then blessedly offered to buy me breakfast. Then we went to his place for a few bong hits. By the time I came back out the Bar was open, and now here I am. 24 hours later, wondering if it’s cold enough for the emergency shelter to open tonight.

Wishing I had some socks.

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Grove St. Inn

They say you can’t believe everything you read on open container speedWay. Actually I said that. You can’t believe everything you read here on open container speedWay.

That’s a fact.

George McGovern, the one-time Democratic nominee for the presidency, also said that you can’t believe everything you read on the speedWay. Actually that’s not true; but he would have if he ever happened to read this pile of blog doo.

George McGovern did —really — say that Hunter S. Thompson’s novel Fear & Loathing on the Campaign Trail was the “least factual, but most accurate” thing written about his doomed 1972 candidacy.

Thus the good Doctor achieved the highest journalistic ideal:

Clarity.

In the interest of clarity:

I did not email Clark Hoyt to demand immediate payment for One Stinking Dollar, or I would take my story elsewhere, thanks anyway dude. I thought about it though — big time. Everything I said in the email was true. I do direly need pay. And if another publication wants to buy that story I’ll owe it to myself to sell.

Because I really do need a place to live more than anything on Earth.

At the same time, Clark Hoyt says that, while he can not at this time guarantee Dollar will run in the NY Times Magazine, he assured my phenomenal new agent that it “looks promising.” For that reason I’ve chosen to let One Stinking Dollar run its’ course, deserved or no, on the Public Editor’s desk — a fine place for it to be.

So the email was never sent.

To solve my immediate cash flow catastrophe I’ve opted to pitch a different story to the Valley Advocate. While there’s more to tell — I hope they’ll let me double the word count — here is a brief-as-feasible synapse of the article I want the Advocate to buy instead:

In August, 2007 my friend Sophie and I approached a staff member at the Grove St. Inn. We have both been homeless – living in Sophie’s car mostly — in the Brattleboro area for 3+ years. A bit of bad luck — $100 worth of old parking fines which needed to be paid immediately to keep Sophie’s car out of impound – had recently stranded us in Northampton with no gas money.

Since we’d both long been fed up with our prospects for self-betterment in Brattleboro, we decided to see what Northampton had to offer the homeless. I used my one worldly possession – my laptop – to locate the [local homeless shelter] Grove St. Inn.

We were greeted coldly at first; Sophie & I were turned away before we even got out of the car. We drove off. I got angry. We drove back. I went into the shelter and politely asked the woman who had just turned us away if there was a waiting list we could sign on to. She said yes. And then, as we spoke face to face rather than through the window of an obviously lived-in car, the woman warmed up to me.

She listened while I explained we were not on drugs. That we were both survivors of childhood sexual trauma and our lives were messed up from it. I grew misty-eyed then – no longer angry but profoundly sad.

“We just need some help.” I pleaded.

And she – it seemed miraculously – agreed to take us in.

We would sleep on the homeless shelter’s couches. Wonderful! There is a “Home Sweet Home” sign hung above the Inn’s front door. After 3 years sleeping in a car…what a gigantic relief.

This was on a Friday. The woman did our intake and told us to relax; we were in a safe place now. We did our laundry & showered & stretched our legs out the whole way on our couches. We were in a homeless shelter. It was awesome.

I checked out the Help Wanted section of the local paper, over the weekend, and was thrilled to see a far greater number of job opportunities than exist in Brattleboro. I resolved – aided by a roof to sleep beneath each night & a shower to take in the morning – to go out & find work first thing Monday.

But when Monday rolled around we were informed, to our utter shock & dismay – not to mention the shock & dismay of the Inn’s other guests – that our stay on the couches was only authorized for the weekend. There were no issues of misconduct. Nevertheless those couches at the homeless shelter remained empty once we were inexplicably booted back out in the street.

thank God for cops.

I dosed up some acid one night last summer. I was in Brooklyn. Funny story that goes along with it: I’d completely forgotten that I even had the stuff. The cops found it for me.

I had just wandered — absolutely innocently — through the city housing projects in Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood. The projects just happened to be in between where I was and where I was going. But when I turned the corner I encountered two plain clothes NYPD detectives who assumed a white boy like me must have been in the Projects for drug related purposes.

“Whatcha got?!” They demanded.

“Nothing.” I said.

My smart ass was sorely tempted to follow my response up with a question, along the lines of:

“Why — do they got some Good Shit in there??”

But I held my tongue. A wise move? Perhaps. Though it went against my Policy; to fuck with the police in any way possible as long as I got nothing on me. Still, I felt vulnerable — being a country boy homeless in New York City — and smartly fearful of the NYPD. So I asked for directions to Van Brunt street and left it at that.

They gave me directions but shook me down first. An almost empty bottle of Sweet Breath “mouth drops” was uncovered while they ripped through my bag. The cops thought nothing of it but — wearing my best poker face — I was all thinking, like:

“Woo HOO!!

For once! There’s actually a cop around when you need one.

A couple hours later — near sundown — I was kicked back on the grass in this bad ass little waterfront park in the same neighborhood. Digging this view:

red-hook-statue-of-liberty.jpg

Awesome dudes.

The red ball of sunfire sank low over & then directly behind Lady Liberty’s torch.

Way awesome. I popped the top off my Sweet Breath vial. Poured in some water. Swished it around to dislodge whatever dose molecules were clung stubbornly to its’ side. Deposited the contents into my mouth & swigged them down the hatch.

It was a powerful brain whack. I tell you that.

Too powerful — for most people. That’s why the stuff is parceled out in hits maybe a tenth of the size of the one I estimably took.

A powerful brain whack; especially for a good old boy from Vermont — way out of his element wandering the night away on the streets of Brooklyn. Homeless. Utterly penniless. Unable to afford those distractions — ie BEER!! — so critically essential to the Drug Cosmonaut who needs, in cases of Brain Emergency, to reliably return to Earth.

The escape hatch as it were.

I had none of these things. Not even a cigarette. And anyone who smokes them knows how crucial they are when you’re tripping.

I am a daredevil. What can I say?

One thing I did have was a Friend. That helps incalculably. A friendless man may be forever lost. But Absynth Eve was with me. We were living in her car. Actually it wasn’t her car. It was an inadvertantly stolen Toyota Prius hybrid — but that’s another story.

Absynth Eve is about my best friend on all planet Earth. But it happened that on that night — she declined to trip with me — Absynth Eve was so entirely sick of the very sight of her best friend that I, for most of the night, was shall we say excused from her stolen hybrid car.

You’ll unavoidably have that when you live with your best friend in her car.

I wandered the streets alone. Far, far gone out of my skull on no less than 10 solidly potent hits of LSD.

It was the kind of trip that distinguishes the casually suicidal — we who may occasionally consider taking our own lives for pragmatic reasons — from someone who truly wants to scale a 5-story building then jump off head-first and die.

I obviously fall into the former category. But I guess maybe I wasn’t sure — and it’s good to know. For that reason the Trip ranks among my more productive drug experiences.

For most of the night I amused myself by looking for hundred dollar bills on the ground. No $20’s, please. Um-k? I’m too broke to find a twenty dollar bill! Hundreds only.

And I was amused. What the hell? Here’s what life is to me: I make stories. I listen to stories. And I tell stories. Now obviously I hoped to tell you guys the one about the time when I found that loose Hundie floating down the street in Brooklyn. But I tend not to have that kind of luck.

But again: what the hell?

Hunter S. Thompson about once wrote something smart about his Hero:

Muhammad Ali was not a lucky man. He was Fast. Very fast.

I slurped in a gigantically pulsated breath of New York City air. Scanned the pavement. Shrugged my shoulders & sighed.

And wished I had a frikkin cigarette!!

I tried to bum one from strangers all night — to utterly no avail. Until morning, when I passed a man who’d just stirred from his slumber. He was still halfway under his blanket. Outside a church, where he’d slept on a cardboard box.

He was rolling a cigarette out of a pouch of Top Menthol tobacco. Cosmically fine luck; Top Menthol happens to be my 2nd  (after the more costly American Spirit menthol) favorite brand. In fact I am smoking one right now, out of the pouch that Absynth Eve just sported me $1.26 to buy from Wal Mart.

Trouble was he did not want to give one to me. Why should he? $1.26 is literally a lot of money to a homeless man. I asked. He shook his head no. But took a closer look at me, and by my grungy appearance he concluded that I was homeless.

Then he let me roll two.

2. Shelter

I’ve addressed homelessness in this blog, but largely in passing. And wonder sometimes whether that’s a mistake. Maybe I should hit the topic more play-by-play directly. Because most days when you’re homeless being homeless is all that happens.

Gets to the point where there’s not much else to write about.

Thing is though I don’t want to write about it. I’ve sick to shit of it. It hurts. Plus I’m kind of ashamed of it. I needn’t be. Should I be? Ashamed of what? Shame is a toxic emotion which feeds on itself. So…shamed by shame? Fuck if I know. I’m not a god damn therapist.

I am a human being. And human beings need, have always needed, to provide for ourselves certain things in order to survive. Water, shelter & food specifically. And – this is instructive – in that order. Anyone who has been in a survival situation (or watched one on TV) knows that that is how one’s basic needs line up in order of priority.

1. Water.

2. Shelter.

3. Food.

It feels a bit counter-intuitive that shelter should come before food. After all lack of food – though it may take weeks or sometimes months – will kill a man. But, then, one cold night can kill a human in one cold night. So there you go.

What is shelter? In the wild shelter is adequate protection from the elements. And from both known & unknown predators. On a camping trip in summertime in Vermont a tent provides adequate shelter. But is the tent really necessary? On a dry night…yes and no.

On a dry night a person can sleep in relative comfort on the ground in the woods with no tent. For about one night. A short night! The night will end quickly. Whether it’s mosquitoes (which even in Vermont can transmit strange diseases), or the brightly rising sun, or random passing hikers who look at you oddly…something inevitably will disturb your slumber by reminding you that your shelter scenario is inadequate.

Waking up in the morning after camping with a blanket but no tent on a warm dry night might feel to you like when you get too drunk to drive home so you sack out on a friend’s couch instead. What’s the very, very first thing that pops into your pounding head when you wake up to realize the inadequacy of your shelter arrangement?

Well, if you truly were drunk the night before…you probably want water more than anything. But that’s more of a desperately choked gasp than a literal thought. The first thing you actually think?

I want to go home.

Win Or Die.

Tonight I walked in to my local poker hall with 30 dollars. I was excited to play. 20 minutes later I was broker than a dead dude.

It was as much fun as the soggy butt end of a Marlboro Light cigarette that slides unexpectedly across your tongue out of the dog-hair swig from a half full can of flat beer you cooled in the freezer to enjoy for breakfast after someone neglected to finish it the night before.

A Marlboro fucking Light!

It’s hard to rely on won money as my sole income source. But what choice do I have?

I’ve lamented in other posts about how I am persona non gratis in the local work force. Time was when I didn’t work because I didn’t want to. Or so I thought. Truth is I sold shrooms & shit for money most of my adult life. Tell you what: when it was excellent selling shro.., er um Alien Turdz. When it ruled the alien turd biz was most like Bill & Ted excellent dude. When it was awesome it was a day dream come true.

But it was work. Largely a shipping quandary, to get them buggers Fed Exed all the way from the Pluto. But you got to pay the bills. And for a while the Alien Turdz adequately did.

Until I quit the racket for reasons of stress reduction. The United States has a trade embargo against Pluto so it’s real scary when you have to pick up mail sent from there. You never know if you’re going to wind up in jail — for perhaps years — just for picking up some crap in the mail.

Lucky for me no one ever once figured out those letters originated on Pluto. Still I didn’t want to push my good fortune. Mainly I could no longer tolerate the stress. My stress bucket runneth over; like a dixie cup filled over the rim with water — pressure-gushed from a fire hydrant.

In retrospect there was at least one gigantic up side despite the stress. I could pay the rent. It is no coincidence that I have been homeless precisely since I quit the Turd biz.

Jobs are tough to come by where I live. There are no help wanted signs. The newspaper’s classified is a particular point of depression for any job hunter. Business where I live is such that there’s no need to hire some random jerk off the street. Rather positions are filled on an Invitational basis: the boss informs employees of openings. Employees alert a friend who needs a gig. That is if the boss doesn’t have someone lined up already.

Now. I ask for work. I would love work. Frankly I don’t want a permanent job any more than a permanent job wants me. Though I’ve tried for them. But it’s futile. I have a bad reputation insofar as my employment history. Fact is: How the fuck would anyone know squat about my employment history? I have not worked for someone who actually hired me for near a half decade. Maybe my reputation isn’t bad. But for whatever reason they never think to hook me in when they round up the morning work crew.

Sometimes I think I’ve out lived my usefulness to my community since I quit the Alien Turd hustle.

Is that true? Could be but I’ll get no answers here. On account of how my little pile of blog doo we got here is not real popular with the local folk. I’m not sure why that is. But I think because I’m homeless. So what? Good question. Maybe they’re prejudiced against me for it. I don’t get that. Mind you there are days — more days than not lately — when I do not want to talk to anyone who lives in a house. Talk about what pray tell? We live on solidly different planets. I know what happens on your planet. Do you know what life is like on mine?

To explain a quandry enlightens. It’s why I am super down with the friend who wants to know about my homeless quandary. Yet it seems sometimes like fantastically few do.

I say: It is not merely worthwhile for someone who wishes to be my friend to wrap their brain around my homeless quandary. It is from this paragraph forward a prerequisite to friendship with your friend Mike E.

To be friends we must talk openly of my life with no home. It is a very big deal. Homelessness may take my life. Did you know that? The average survival expectancy for an American homeless man is 10 years. I’ve been homeless off & on in my life for…I just counted 11.

That’s been on my mind lately.

Could be why I’ve resolved to buy my way off the street with money I win from gambles. For my homelessness must cease this moment. And Won Money alone comes that fast & easily. This is not to suggest that I’ll turn down work for pay in favor of an afternoon at the OTB. I never say no to money. Nor am I one to work all day only to blow my pay on a fast few ill placed bets.

Not me. Know why? I never get to work for money.

No one offers me work. And that is not a lie. It’s really fucked up. Total straw sucked bullshit really; hurts my feelings.

Most every one I know is wholly dependent on their job to provide inescapably needed income. What would one do if they had none? Ask around for work. Like I do. But what if none were forthcoming? What if your attempt to secure work for pay failed abjectly? Perhaps folks around you would conclude that you simply don’t need to trade work for money. Or didn’t want to — despite your persistent efforts.

I do not beg. Yep. I am one worthless bum. Too proud to ask a stranger for pocket change. I’m thinking about adopting a foreign child though. Because I have empathy for the plight of an orphan. Plus it could beg for me!

Just kidding. About the foreigner. But not about the work. There is none for me. Perhaps potential employers reasonably wonder whether I can reliably perform work duties. With no where to sleep that is. Who knows? No one hires me. I do know that a community feels obligated to the Employed; couches to sleep on are made available. Showers are a matter of course. Rides are arrangeable. Whatever you need to get to work in the morning is dutifully & rightfully provided.

Is that why there’s no work for me — because the community does not care to obligate itself on my behalf?

I wonder. I want to figure this out. I must.

So I write. To solve my conflict. I don’t want to die from homelessness. But it kills me. Kills me to know the things I dearly want to do with my precious time are shelter dependent activities. Like how I want to study mathematics. And learn piano. For years on end I’ve wanted to learn piano & math.

I’ll get to though. This may kill me. I’ve realized. But you may die of a freak methane explosion the next time you fart. Big fucking deal!

All I’m saying is that unless this kills me I will learn math & piano with the money I win from race horses & Texas Hold ‘Em. I will. I can. I make every bet count like it may save my life. When I win it will.

Cause when you’re 5 dollars down
What the fuck you gonna DO?


One Stinking Dollar

“I’m sorry sir.” I respectfully informed the bus driver. “But I don’t have a dollar.”

My next line was well rehearsed. I’d gone over it time & again in my mind. Not so much to memorize it as to talk myself through a crisis of confidence. How would I get on the bus with no dollar? I panicked. Then reassured myself thus:

When I see one I know it – I’m a connoisseur of these things – and I happened to have handy a smashingly good excuse.

“I’m homeless.” I explained. “And literally on my way to church.”

How bout it? I ask you. Is that a good reason to ride the bus for free?

“No.” Said the bus driver.

Maybe he thought I was lying. I admittedly didn’t look like I was on my way to church. I looked homeless. I smelled. And probably came off a bit crazily.

But Quakers – the self-anointed Religious Society of Friends — are exceptionally good people. I trusted them to accept me as I came; as a friend in need.

I had a pitch, also well rehearsed, that I wanted to make them. Quakers have an admirably deep sense of Service; theirs is a people devoted to peace. They’ve worked tirelessly to end the Iraq War. That is tireless work I admire. Alas for all their tireless work the war rages on unabated.

I know how it feels when one’s benevolently tireless efforts fail. I’ve had no success in my own quest to stop another, equally frightful, injustice: homelessness. Specifically my own.

Now. Maybe it was a long shot. But I thought the Northampton Quakers – do gooders that they are – would want to do a bit about the homeless problem in their own community. I genuinely believed they’d appreciate the unforeseen chance to help me.

And thus gain a boost in confidence, from one problem well solved, that may help them bring more peace.

If not – no matter. The hour of communal silence that is a Quaker Meeting for Worship would be reward enough for my journey; provide me with the strength of spirit required to contend with my plight. Because in the midst of their silence, at least, I am not homeless. Not hungry. I am among friends.

And friends don’t let friends go homeless & hungry.

I asked the bus driver “Please?”

I aimed admirably to better myself. Was mine not a compelling case of need?

The bus driver said no. Fair enough. This is America after all. Where nobody rides for free.

“I know!” I tenaciously proposed. “I’ll ask someone at church for $2 bucks! And pay you for the round trip when I ride back to Amherst.”

Maybe the Northampton Quakers couldn’t help me not be homeless that particular Sunday. But pay my bus fare? I personally guarantee it!

Again the bus driver said no.

I grew flustered. But quickly regained my composure. I am after all a professional journalist. And if this jerk wouldn’t let me ride a near-empty municipal bus to church – I suppose that’s the Story.

I tapped the lap top computer – my one worldly possession since I lost track of my clothes – that was slung in a bag over my shoulder. And informed him that I was writing an article about homelessness for the Valley Advocate [local free/leftist weekly].

“Look.” I proffered smartly. “We can do this the easy way. Or the Other Way.”

The other way, I promised, would be hard for us both. Because I’d have to hitch hike to church. And he’d have to Deal With what I say about him in the article I suspect he did not believe would be written.

I pointed my thumb to Northampton. And I thought I should seriously thank my new bus driver friend! Because writers need dumb snot butt wipes like him. To excentuate our Point. Prove us right. And help us sell stories.

No one picked me up hitch hiking.

I struggled beneath the awkwardly gravitated weight of my lap top computer. Slung in a one-strap bag. First across a painfully slumped shoulder. Then across my other. All the way to Northampton on foot.

It hurt.

I’d not slept. Nor could I remember the last time I’d eaten. The no food thing worried me. I grew aware that I lacked the recent caloric intake required to comfortably fuel the demands I placed on my body. I’m very skinny. And not as young as I used to be.

About the same age, I realized, as Neil Cassidy – when he died in mid step on a long walk after some nights of no sleep and who knew how long since he’d eaten.

But there was no turning back. No time to rest. Not even a sip of water to drink. There was only me & the Story. And to sell the story I’d need Proof. A witness. Who would verify my unavoidably late arrival at Quaker Meeting that day.

I had to show up before the last Quaker straggler closed & locked their Meetinghouse door.

To professionally cover the story.

The last straggler was friendly. Gave me apple juice & a snack & patiently heard my tale of woe. I’m certain she would have gladly tossed me a buck for bus fare, as well, but I forgot to ask.

Somewhere along that 10 mile walk back to Amherst I decided not to thank the bus driver after all. Because every homeless person who can’t ride the bus will not write an article about it. And the article may not sell.

But every homeless person has somewhere better to go.

The Northampton Quakers may have helped me. Who knows? But for my lack of one stinking dollar I might be already home.

Chronic Unemployment: the Case For.

I did the weirdest darned thing tonight. I worked.

It happens. Not often. But very occasionally my friends who own the Weathervane Music Hall pay me $25 to wash glasses when the bar closes after an exceptionally busy night.

‘Seeing ya’ll cold lazily cocktail-drink kick it while I do your work fills my heart with joy.” I told them. “This makes me happy!”

Weathervane bartenders hate to wash glasses after a busy night. But I was pleased as punch to. Did it cheerfully!

And did one smash of a job I might add: evidenced by the most recent comment — left by the boss lady herself — on my mySpace page.

I’m really not so spectacular a dishwasher. But she was desperate for one. And really I wasn’t so giddy about it. But I am desperate for money.

Speaking relatively, then — it was way frikkin awesome!!

In a small town like this finding work is purely an inside job. No one hires some jerk of the street to schlep for nickles & scuffle for a dime. Jobs here are got by personal invitation – either from the boss or a worker who is your friend.

I am eager to work. I do have a few stipulations. It must be freelance. It must. It is in my blood to freelance for money. Beyond that I’m flexible. I’ll do about anything. As long as it is not permanent I am not picky.

And I am as local as they come around here. People like me. I know employees. A few bosses even. My grueling need for cash is no secret. But work is never – ever – offered to me.

Maybe you think I could find work if I really wanted it. Let me tell you a story. Once I walked into a restaurant where several friends worked. I asked who was washing the dishes that night. No one! So I grabbed an apron & put the swab to the suds & got my scrub on. No one asked me to. I just did. Because no one would hire me to work. So I jumped in and hired my damn self.

And the restaurant people went along with it! I was hired.

Only they didn’t want to pay me. They wanted me to wash dishes from 11PM to 4AM every Friday & Saturday. But not for money. So I worked an entire weekend for free.

“Well,” I thought to myself. “Of course they don’t want to pay – I’m Mike E!!”

I’m pretty sure people think there is something wrong with me.

There is. I am an incest survivor. You may not know why that matters. Can you take me at my word? Life for incest survivors is not easy. People kill themselves over this shit. All the time; for a reason.

Post Traumatic Stress. Happens to every rape victim. Especially the children. And suicide – like chronic homelessness – is one bell-clear symptom of a big old honker Post Traumatic Stress Injury.

I feel like I have no place in the human community. Do I? Shit I can’t tend to my own human needs.

Not here in Brattleboro. I’ve lived here 20 years. Yet I cannot earn the money I need to feed & shelter myself.

There is no place for me in my own damn community.

On the bright side:

It’s kind of like blind folk whose other senses sharpen to compensate for their lack of vision. Smoldering abject poverty has worked a wonder job on my imagination. I’ve become a fantastically wishful thinker. With unshakable faith in the potency of make believe.

These are the disco-bomb best things about being Mike E.

Plus on balance my adult life spent mostly jobless & homeless has provided me more energy for art. Just a little more than I would’ve had with some dumb job for the last 15 years.

I am in the terminal grip of a stress tizzy. It is very difficult to write under such stress. I can write better. I will. I want to. But this is not about how well I write. My blog is a tool I use to improve myself in my time of great peril & adversity.

If I didn’t write I’d want to die. When I write I want to live. Write to survive. Live or die.

They say every story has conflict. That’s mine.

Over time a job you hate fills the soul with pools of stagnant misery. Perhaps the soul knows it needs art to survive. But the job rewards with money. Covers what one basically needs to be human. Suppose I had these things.

Would I write anyway?

Sure. I’d write. For hope. Because I like how the keyboard makes my fingers move. Write to make words go. Love to make words go!

I say a lot of nonsensicle scribbles. No. I mean really. Like one I wrote way back at the beginning of my blog. It goes

Go GO! Go Mike E go go Go!!

Gonna get $200

e.z.

When I pass Go!

I call that a linguistic Digger. You wipe out sometimes when you write to make words go & go faster still. Hell I say a lot of stupid shit.

I’m a daredevil. What the hell?

My oracle is the reward to risk ratio. Think on this: Every year thousands of Americans die in their sleep. That’s right. Rest up! For what? You’ll never know. You died in your sleep & missed it.

No reward. Bad risk.

So what about that job? No thanks! People drown every day in those pools of stagnant long-term employment misery.

If I had a job I could still make words go. Yeah. But I want to take those words out for, like joy rides.

All the way out to the edge. To where you know it’s gonna get stranger. Where you can only go when words are your sole hope.

When you’re so poor that you haul out & steal yourself a rollercoaster. Because you can’t afford a car & sweet SHAZAM! You must have a fast way to blow town.

For fun mostly; that’s what happens when rollercoasters get left just kind of laying around.