Category Archives: Homelessness

Aromatherapy, Millet and Celebrities

(Originally posted 12/23/13.)

In the past, I’ve seen many print ads that use the word “aromatherapy.” They seemed to me only to be selling fragrances, and I didn’t see the point of using that word.

Light endorses the Bach Flower Remedies. I’m skeptical.

Continue reading Aromatherapy, Millet and Celebrities

The Rich and the Rest of Us

(Originally posted 04/18/12 at Trojan Horse Productions.  Reposted 12/11/13.)

From a flyer announcing a presentation tonight at 7:00 p.m. at Enoch Pratt Free Library:

Record unemployment and rampant corporate greed, empty houses but homeless families, dwindling opportunitites in a paralyzed nation — these are the realities of America, land of the free and home of the new middle-class poor.

In The Rich and the Rest of Us, award-winning broadcaster Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornel West, one of the nation’s leading public intellectuals, take on the “p” word — poverty. They challenge all Americans to re-examine their assumptions about poverty in America — what it is and how to eradicate it.

I cannot attend that presentation, even if I wanted to, since as of 3:00 p.m. I must head back to the shelter to stay in for the night.

I know little about Cornel West and nothing about Tavis Smiley, but I do know something about poverty. I do not believe it can be eradicated. Thus any analysis that supposes that it can, is mistaken at its core.

talk show host, on air talent, talk radio, the homeless blogger

(3) Baby steps

Efforts to dialogue with Dan Rodricks’ position (that is, take it seriously) led to a lot of confusion and self-doubt in my prayer time Friday morning 10/25/13.

The past week’s instability in my support system had forced me to ask for and accept significant (by my standards) amounts of money from acquaintances who had never donated to me before. It was as if the Cosmos was retaliating for things I said in “Chaos overwhelms the poor.” Am I a panhandler already myself? Is there any shame in that? Am I in any way a better investment than the drunks who panhandle on the street?
Continue reading (3) Baby steps

(2) Obstacles to my prosperity

Dan Rodricks complained that a recent Baltimore City ordinance on panhandling failed to address “the underlying issues.” He has failed to address them either; so, I thought I would. Here are those I personally see:

CHECKLIST

TREATMENT ON DEMAND. Drug and alcohol treatment needs to be available on demand. This doesn’t affect me personally, but does affect panhandling — and prostitution, petty theft, shoplifting, smash-and-grabs, larcenies, and in fact all crime of any type. It’s not just traffic fatalities — half of all crimes are committed while someone is either intoxicated or seeking drug money. Continue reading (2) Obstacles to my prosperity

(1) I stay at the best shelter on the East Coast

… which shall here remain nameless, for reason that I also have harsh criticisms and don’t need any reader, however well-intentioned, to draw me into controversies not of my own choosing. The administration is rigid and authoritarian, and if I ever need to ask a favor it’s best I not be seen as a troublemaker.

I had ample time to prepare for homelessness. I packed up all my stuff neatly to make it easy for the landlady to dispose of. I gave away practically everything of durable value — dumbbells, tools, kitchen utensils, foodstuffs. Angie wanted to keep the bird feeder going after I would leave, so I showed her how. I was able to ask around and find out the highest-rated men’s homeless shelter in town. I went there at once when I became homeless March 7, 2011, and except for three nights, have been there ever since.
Continue reading (1) I stay at the best shelter on the East Coast

Three-post series on panhandling

(Originally published 12/07/13.)

Concerning Baltimore City’s recent ordinance about panhandling, Dan Rodricks complained that the ordinance didn’t address “the underlying issues;” but then, he didn’t, either. So I thought I would, here. These posts pertain:

(1) I stay at the best shelter on the East Coast;
(2) Obstacles to my prosperity;
(3) Baby steps.

talk show host, on air talent, talk radio, the homeless blogger

Gimme

Proverbs 30:15: “The leech has two daughters. Their names are ‘Gimme’ and ‘Gimme.’”

———— ♦ ————

Saturday 05/12/12, 3:00 p.m. — I tired today of strangers asking me for things when I was on smoke breaks out in front of the library.

Other homeless guys have talked with me about this in the past, expressing similar frustrations.

People talk about “What goes around comes around,” but when it comes to this stuff, I don’t see it. In my years in the ’hood (Barclay area, 2006-2011) I got the definite impression that it’s always the exact same individuals asking, asking, asking, and the “blessing” never gets passed on, nor do they ever give back.

They’ll bleed you dry.
Continue reading Gimme

The new panhandling controversy in Baltimore

(Originally posted 10/25/2013.)

City considers crackdown on panhandling

Baltimore has another fit of panhandler anxiety

For years, I had the mantra: “Most panhandlers aren’t homeless, and most homeless people don’t panhandle.”

Now I have many acquaintances who do one or the other.

Given recent instability in my support system, I myself may soon become one who does both.

My experience is much informed by what I’ve seen at the McDonald’s I frequent at Baltimore and Light Streets, where some people seem to panhandle outside all day long.
Continue reading The new panhandling controversy in Baltimore

Resolution

One can want the best for another person, but
only that person can define what “the best” means.

Thursday 2017-04-20

On the walk from the shelter to church Wednesday morning, I was in great turmoil.  I may or may not manage to recall all the questions now.  Pastor is focused on the need to change systems (people’s circumstances) in order to alleviate poverty, and seems unwilling or unable to consider how people act; my orientation is the exact opposite, wanting people to change their ways in order to alleviate poverty.  Pastor says he doesn’t like it when I talk about squalor; but doesn’t squalor need to be talked about, given that it’s why “haves” won’t invest where the “have-nots” live?

I am torn between the way I want to live, and the way I have to live in the situation I’m in.

Continue reading Resolution