Archive for the 'poverty' Category

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.

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Affordable Housing: a case against.

New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has promised to leave as a legacy 500,000 units of fresh built Affordable Housing.

As you’ll suspect I propose there is nothing wrong with affordable housing. I’m tempted to suspect there’s nothing but good about it. But before we take that flying assumptive leap one must first ask Why.

Why would New York’s billionaire mayor want to build a half million units of Affordable Housing?

Why indeed? Follow The Money.

Affordable housing serves a Corporate Interest; by enabling Them to pay sub standard wages.

Low rent housing is a pricelessly needed tool for those who would keep the wages low. Because the homeless can’t work. Not that a homeless human can’t work; many can and will gladly. Still, it’s near impossible to hold down a job when you’re homeless. The work force must be housed. House it a half million-strong in low rent digs and New York City’s workforce has a Low Wage Mass — built in for generations.

The solution to New York City’s housing crisis is to set the minimum wage to adjust automatically to the cost of living. One good case may be reasonably mounted against my solution: what ill effect a mandatory, potentially steep minimum wage increase will have on struggling businesses?

A reasonable question.  Which must be dealt with because a minimum wage which self adjusts to the cost of living is unequivocally the right & humane thing to do.

I propose the difference between what employers can afford to pay, and what their employees reasonably need, be skimmed off the Top. Set a Maximum Wage — that reflexively self adjusts to meet the minimum wage’s new cost-of-living self adjustment.

I call it the reverse Trickle-Down feedback loop theory.

MikeENoPocket

I walked down the street earlier today. Ran into a friend. He noticed right away — something was amiss.

“Mike E.” He asked. “Where are your pockets??”

“Pockets.” I explained. “Are for to keep cash in.”

But my pockets got empty

All my money got SPENT

So my pockets up & quit my shorts

Said “We don’t work for LINT!!

Make Believe Bitches & Money

Know what I love?

I love to day dream about gettin paid.

Yeah that ain’t working — that’s the way you do it!

I like it when loose US $50 notes flip & tumble-roll in the air like feathers escaped from a big fluffy-goose bed. I want a pile of money big enough to lay back & relax in like it was a recliner chair.

Sip on chilled neon sweat-drip glass fulls of Dexedrine-spiked & iced Alien Turd tea. With my mind on my money & my money on my mind!

There is a tall highway over-pass a short walk from town. When I want to off myself — if you don’t have days like that…get out of my face — I think about how I might jump off it. Should I so choose. But I want to go out First Class — and that crumby old bridge, from even a suicidal standpoint, is a whole low-rent load of going out coach.

I want so much money I can plunge beneath an oxygen squeezed crater-load of it until I suffocate & die. Like an Irishman near drowned after an inadvertent slip & fall into a whiskey vat; fighting rescuers off bravely and resurfacing only to demand tequila & cans of Guinness pub draft beer.

I know what you’re saying. “But Mike E: if you have so much money you need 3 bitches & a swiss bank account — why would you want to commit suicide?”

Not a reason on all sweet momma Earth. Money is the solution to all my problems. That’s why I love to day dream in my spare time about getting paid.

When I occasionally wish I were dead it invariably is because of Smoldering Abject Poverty. Sometimes I want to commit suicide. Yes. And you know what? I’m proud of it. Why? Because one day I might. It does suck that bad to be me. But I am also a fantastically wishful thinker. My fantastically wishful thoughts are why I assiduously choose to live & not die.

Like when I comtemplate suicide by Benny Frank asphyxiation instead of landing my ass in a (with my luck) barely alive pile of gut-splinters up the street.

But don’t worry. I’m too lazy to kill myself. And it’s not like I sit around & think about it all the time…

…I think about 3 bitches & Swiss Bank-loads of dough mostly.

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.

Just Kidding (just barely).

The older I get the more I realize: a big part of what I’ve got going for me is the fact that the human liver is the most splendidly resilient thing.

Hugely.

The liver, as we know, is the organ that’s chiefly responsible for processing & safely eliminating toxins — specifically booze & drug toxins — from the human body.

Amazing thing about the liver is the way they can cut two thirds of it out and it’ll be 100% regenerated in a week. That’s the truth. In an experimental human procedure patients have received a freshly divvied half liver from a live donor. Successfully. I could donate half my liver to a friend in need to save their life from an ailing liver if need be. If my liver was healthy. And I have a damn healthy liver.

What’s more: It’s for sale!

Fuckin OZZY dudes!

Hang On to your open containers kiddoz!

BIG NEWS:

OzzFest ’07 is free.

ozzfest.jpg

Yeah & ya know what? I’m so there dudes!!

& we’re flying high again

To think! Just days ago Michael over @ Algorhythms & I pulled the plug, as it were, on the rock & roll fantasy. Arena rock, we reckoned, was in a persistent vegetative state; not precisely dead but it smelled funny.

“Barring a miracle,” Michael lamented in a recent post, after he shelled $200 to see his favorite 70’s rocker band, “the next time I hear Old Time Rock & Roll in concert, it’ll be a bar band playing it.”

Concurred. “The rock & roll wave,” I waxed in epitaph, “That swelled beneath the Stones & Beatles — and crested smashingly halfway through track 11 on Paul’s Boutique — has broke & rolled back for good.”

Barring a Miracle.

Indeed.

The wave breaks both ways.

The Prince of Darkness works miracles. Amphetamines cure hyperactivity.

The world is topsy turvy. What can I say?

Fuckin Ozzy!

I used to sneak into Phish concerts most nights every week. Stand in the crowd. Mill forward. Find someone skinny. Hover, nonchalant, until the moment they hand their ticket to the taker then slip, eyes-first, in behind them.

Reappear inside the concert hall. Dance ferociously.

2 easy!

One time I got caught by the ticket dwark. He grabbed my arm but I didn’t stop. He pursued. Caught me — a few crucial feet from his post. Several fellow ticketless patrons shrug-shoulder strolled through the unattended hole in the dwark-gate. When the dwark turned to chase them — futilely — he promptly lost track of me.

A higher than drugs moment; or I should say higher than the drugs alone could take me. I thought I was so cool. A hero.

Like Ozzy.

Dudes!!

Or is the Ozz-man sneaking everyone into OzzFest so he can be cool like me?

I bet he’s doing it for that stupendously higher-than-drugs feeling.

Also because OzzFest ’07 will, for all involved, be a positively devastating big money smash.

Free OzzFest is like if you want to have a Huge Disco Kegger of some kind. And Pabst Blue Ribbon provides the keg, party gratis, plus pays $1000 cash for the privilege. For Promo. Dig? A chance to market their beer directly to the people most likely to drink it.

Free Beer Courtesy of Pabst Blue Ribbon. PBR is yo’Daddy! Who’s yo’Daddy?

Provide Fun Fuel to a bunch of Fun Fools and they’ll reciprocate briskly. A genuine gratitude will drive them to drink! Benders will be embarked on. Jobs lost. They will buy & drink Pabst Blue Ribbon beer in the morning. Best of all: they’ll apply peer pressure and buy more for friends who’ll be drunk on PBR before noon despite their gravest misgivings.

That’s what OzzFest’s sponsors intend. Fun is the strategy. The sponsors will tell you they are so cool because they paid for your good time. You will agree. 2 cool!! Free Ozzy??

Awesome.

Festival patrons will reciprocate briskly with their discretionary funds. Seek to spend, post-festival, just to say thanks! Dudes. For a real good time. I buy fun things. What do you sell that’s fun?

Yeah. Like:

badvertisements! Powered by Ozzysense.

One wonders about the role dynamics between Ozzy & his wife Sharon played in the business model’s development. I am a terrific admirer of this scheme. I say again: one wonders. Yeah, wonder. Like wowzers dudes! Whoever swung the brainwork on this job: you’re my hero.

Should win the Nobel Prize for Economics.

Very exciting. Thank yooz!

Now I’m goin off the Rail like
a crazy train
I’m more addicted than Jane!!
& when I say
I’m Ok ya know they LOOK’et me kinda strange!
Cause I’m goin off the rail like a crazy train