(Originally posted June 22, 2013 at Trojan Horse Productions. Reblogged 2014-09-10.)
My normal day runs as follows. After breakfast at the mission, at 5:45 I head for McDonald’s, where I drink coffee ($1.06) and do my prayer routines. Around 9:15, I head for the library, stopping at a convenience store en route to buy smokes ($2.75) and a soda ($1.69). From 10:00 to 2:00 I’m online at the library. When my time’s up, I go to the Wi-Fi café, write in my diary and have another cup of coffee ($1.00). Then it’s back to the mission, where I have to pay admission ($3.00).
Sunday mornings, I am normally left with bus fare to church ($1.60) and pennies. I meet my patrons at church and obtain an allowance for the next week.
Continue reading A simple lesson
Thursday 2014-07-03. Jimmy came up to me at McDonald’s yesterday and sat down and talked about the incident. He doesn’t say he’d been drinking. He says people thought he’d been drinking.
Recall his psychiatric diagnoses.
Pastor sent me this clipping about the homeless squatters’ camp underneath the Jones Falls Expressway, which the City was about to raze — again. He thought the housing vouchers it mentions might be available to me. They’re not. A different detail caught my eye: the remark that many people in the camp “struggle with mental illness and addiction.” Note the “and.”
Continue reading Jimmy, part 2
16:01 Saturday 2014-06-28. [Written in the “smoke pit” at the shelter, waiting admission.]
They escorted Jimmy out of here about half an hour ago. He’s always been a milquetoast. Now he was shouting and cursing. “Yeah, I been drinking.” Whatever happened at the desk, he’s barred out now. I owe him $2.
He’s diagnosed with bipolar II disorder and ADHD. I’ve seen him reading books about both of those diseases, but never anything about alcoholism.
Continue reading Jimmy
Some weeks ago, I stood in line awaiting check-in at the shelter. This place charges $3 a night. I was holding my money in my hand, and someone playfully tugged at it. I snapped. I said, “You don’t value your life much, do you?”
Minutes later, I explained this to someone else. I said, “Don’t take a man’s last dollar.” “Why not?” he asked. I said, ” ‘Cause that’s the one he’ll die for. That’s the one he’ll kill for.”
Don’t take my last dollar. That’s the one I’ll kill for.
I’ve been on hard times since 2004. If I lose, or am robbed or cheated, of $20 or $50, that’s a pretty significant amount. But it doesn’t hurt all that much if I have more, and know more is coming. However, if I lose, or someone robs or cheats me of my last $1 — that’s the one that really hurts. That’s the one I’ll kill for.
These memories came to me as I reflected on Maggie Fox’s 08/29/2013 article, “Poor people aren’t stupid; bad decisions are from being overwhelmed, study finds.”
Continue reading Chaos overwhelms the poor
I included this song in the William Tell Show playlist because it never fails to move me. I think it may be one of the saddest songs ever written.
These days, it has me conflicted.
ADVISORY: EXPLICIT LANGUAGE.
Continue reading “Oh Girl”
(Originally published 06/15/13 at Trojan Horse Productions. Reblogged 06/18/14.)
No comment. Read the story.
This is a good thing. Many young men are eager to step up to the plate and, in these circumstances, overcome the disadvantages of their own background.
Give ’em a chance.
We mammals aren’t reptiles.
(Originally published 06/05/13 at Trojan Horse Productions. Reblogged 06/04/14.)
It’s difficult to start this post, as the story’s prone to leave one speechless.
What sort of karma would impel a child to be born into that context?
At the shelter, we’re compelled to attend chapel every night. A different preacher comes each night, in a monthly rotation. These generally disappoint me in their utter failure to speak to the sort of situation in question here. About 40% of the presenters are preoccupied wholly with what will become of your soul when you die; whether you’ll go to heaven or hell; and your need to “believe in Jesus” as the key to salvation. It’s all about a cognitive assent, saying “yes” to a certain set of ideas. There is no presentation of Christianity as a lifestyle, nor any discussion of the role of discipline in following Jesus.
Another 40% of the presenters are preoccupied wholly with obtaining “blessings,” principally by the means of praise: “When the praises go up, the blessings come down.” A “blessing” here is always a material, for example monetary, advantage that one has done nothing to earn. It is as if God were some cosmic King Lear jealous for flattery.
Neither group mentions the call to repent, in terms of any need to change one’s ways.
The only hell that concerns me is the living hell that folk create in this life, here and now, for themselves and their community.
Continue reading Carter Scott, Karma and Chaos
A better life is available to you.
If you want it, and will work for it,
you can have it.
I will recite that often on The William Tell Show. It’s the sort of thing one hears from Barack Obama.
Continue reading Hope for black America