Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Lion - Part 5

I ran that day like I had never run before. I was seriously sucking wind when I stopped. My side was starting to ache and I was hacking up Marlboro's from two years ago. Yet, as soon as I felt semi-recovered I was back to running. The pain, the pain stops pain. Sounds strange I know but it is one of my secrets. Some secrets you just can't tell people. I learned that early.

No one wants to believe Nice Mommy is really not so nice. "Stupid kid! Stupid kid! Can't be true cause you're a stupid lying kid" was part of the lyrics to my childhood song. Mommy would smile at them and casually mention "Oh he is good boy but he ...." Here she would drop her voice down to sugarland and love levels and mention "The Doctor." When she was done,then they, they being who ever believed me or thought something wasn't quite right, they would give me that smile. The "I can't believe I thought/believe/wondered such dark evil possibilities." The "Such a nice kid for being so messed up" smile. After I saw that I knew I was doomed.

Pretty soon that smile went away. I was no longer young enough to be cute or troubled. I was just a pain in the ass, probably doing dope, lying, stupid no more a kid kid. Mommy...Oh Mommy. She brought the pain late at night. Bad Pain! Bad Pain! I ran and held my hands over my ears and screamed.  Bad pain. so very, very bad.

That day, it was really night by the time I stopped running, I ended up under a tree. A big tree with nice chairs underneath. I sat in one and went right to sleep. When I woke up there was a guy a few years older than me sitting there under the tree watching me. I was lost for a second. Part of the bad thoughts and dreams still clung to me. Walking up in strange places is no big deal. What, at least for me, is crossing the border from where I go when I sleep to where I am when I wake up. Sometimes it is easy. Sometimes not so easy.

I stared at him and he stared at me. I think he knew something because he gave me time to get all my little black people thoughts together and across the border together in one group. Sometimes they stray off and I lose a few and I feel incomplete until I find them. When I felt like we had all made it I said "Hi."

He looked at me. I thought he was going to smile. Instead he said "Hey." Then we both stared at each other. It wasn't uncomfortable but I felt the need to explain why I was there. It wasn't my tree. Maybe it was his.

"I was sleeping."

"I noticed."

I checked him out. He wasn't staring at me which made it easier. He was just watching. He had lots of invisible eyes.  I knew right away away he was a Watcher, there not all that rare, but there was more. I just wasn't sure yet what. Then I noticed the gun. He was a cowboy! No, that couldn't be right. Well it could. I knew this, I sent a quick plea "Come on like shadow thought people -- help me!"  They did. I blurted "Gardener!"

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Lion - Part Four

I had the feeling it was slipping away but I was determined.  The middle one said "Ah, you want to apply for a job..."

"Yes!" I leaped for like that a drowning man would for a life preserver someone safe on a boat casually  tossed in his direction. She smiled. A thin lipped, smirky kind of smile, and reached underneath the desk they were all standing at. The girls that flanked her were grinning at each other like they had a secret giggle only they could taste. I knew that look. In the empty space where my heart should be I felt my light draining out of me. She lifted it and pointed it at me. Pointed it like a gun or a stake. I reached out to take it from her and time stopped.

Her hand, pale and clean. The nails with a soft gleam. The skin, it was perfect just like her. A skinny diamond sparkly bracelet that was impossibly elegant encircled the flesh and bone of her wrist. Then there was my hand moving towards her, stopping close enough that both were framed in a block of vision that was like a window. A window she had forgotten to close and now my hand had crept in uninvited. My nails ripped and gnawed to the quick. Black grease creased along the skin. Grubby. Ugly. Me. It was like the entire world had stopped and focused on me and my ugly hand. I looked up and all three of the girls were staring at it. I slowly pulled my hand back. Their eyes followed it. No more smiles or secret shared giggles. I turned and ran.

It only got worse. I tried to run out the revolving door but it had people coming in. I tried to squeeze into one of the slices of pie as they turned and scared some old lady plus it caught me and bit me. I heard the laughter as I tumbled out an onto the sidewalk. Buzzing laughter. The kind of laughter that meant Bad Things. I ran that day. I ran and ran and ran.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Lion - Part 3

The Lion, Part 3

My day pack is my life. I learned that the hard way. I only carry things in there that are special to me. I don't have many of them. I have lost too many day packs along the way to keep anything. I once had a box. It was metal and was painted with a picture of a girl and plants. I think, based on the writing on it, that it once held tea. A girl gave it to me. That also made it special. I lost it when I thought I had hidden my pack in a safe place. Now I was on my to the Lamb Center. As I passed by I saw a group of Hurters waiting out front. None of the people I considered friends were there so I just kept on walking.

There is a shopping center next to the center with a restaurant that has the best smells coming from it. I have only been inside once but I always like to walk on the sidewalk next to the windows and look in at the people sitting in the booths by them. The restaurant is called "Arties" and is very expensive. It looks like it is and it sure smells like it. All the waitstaff are young, White, and good looking. For awhile it was a magical place to me. One time I got up the courage to go through the revolving door. That was fun! I wanted to go through it again but I knew that it would make people stare. I had gathered up my courage and decided I would apply for a job there. I thought about it for days and days before I actually did it.

In my mind by the last day I already had the job. I pictured myself smiling and taking orders from rich people. The one blond waitress I had seen a few times through the window would be helping me. We would fall in love and I would stay at her apartment which I knew was clean and had a soft bed with nice smelling sheets. We would be very happy.

So I went through the revolving doors and was popped out in front of a desk with three women, all young and cute behind it. I was dizzy with excitement. They all said "Hello" and smiled but then their smiles got funny. They drooped an almost fell off their faces. Not quite though. If they had fallen off completely I probably would have run back out. I was excited and since in my head I had convinced myself I had the job I kept going.

"Can I help you?" This was from the one in the middle. She was tall. As tall as me and I am 6 feet tall.

"I'm here for my job." I realized right away that didn't sound right. "I mean I am here to apply for my job." That still didn't sound right but I was getting nervous and people were standing around staring at me and more were coming in through the revolving door. I realized then it was dinner time. I had forgotten that there was a dinner time and that restaurants got busy then. This was not at all how I pictured it happening in my head.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Lion - Part 2

Anna waves to me from McDonald's. I wave back halfway. I say halfway because my hand drops and I turn away halfway through it. I am embarrassed. She saw me, the me that has no heart, fold in front of those two Tree People. She dosen't understand. They invoked the ghosts with their words that day. I didn't run from them. I ran from who they called. I know them. They know me those Tree People. They are Hurters and Hurters scare me. They scare me real bad. They smell my fear and know just like I smell the old pain that sticks to them. Their skin is washed in the tears of others and dried with the breath from their cries.

"I don't know what to do. I don't know what to do" loops in my head like a bad song. I need to move. To go somewhere. Anywhere. I pull my hood up. I like my hood. When it is up I feel invisible. I need to feel invisible now.

I walk the long way. Instead of taking the path through the woods I walk around them. Not because I am scared. I just need to do it. I head towards the Lambs Center. It is a Christian place. What else could it be with that name? People go there and sit outside. They have a shower they let people use during certain hours. I never get the hours right so I never get to take a shower there. They also have two washing machines and dryers. Usually only the washer works. The dryer does but it takes forever to dry the clothes. It is free and the list of people that want to use it is very long. Sometimes I get lucky. They let me wash mine when I show up and the person scheduled for that time doesn't. I am not carrying anything much today. Just my daypack with a few things in it that I don't want to take the chance on them being stolen.

A Story from a Tom Stone Photo

This is a photo taken by Tom Stone. The image, and what he wrote, set something off inside me. The story I am posting below this is written as a result.

homeless brian from atlanta; people call him "freelove." brian has been on the street since '98. as a child he lived mostly with his mother; and moved from state to state quite frequently.

brian believes that the soul is not part of the body; rather that the body is part of the soul. he believes that his larger soul is extremely fragmented and possesses many incarnations; some simultaneous. he has memories from his other souls and his other bodies. he sometimes refers to them as ghosts; sometimes as dreams.

he describes memories as a child of how his ghosts were used for physical acts by various family members and how his soul was sold to strangers.

he describes how at 16 he was being used by a woman he didn't know. or it was a dream. or it was his ghost. but then he knew her and it was his mother. and she told him he was committing a sin and how could he be so sinful. and she tried to "crush" him as she tried to make him repent his sin.

he believes that people you know can be connected to your seven chakras and thus be a part of you. his "root" chakra is a chinese girl he knew in '95 named ann. he met her in sacramento when he was living with his mother. he thought she was a gift and he didn't know how he had gotten so lucky. ann was there visiting a friend or such. she worked in a dotcom in sunnyvale.

some time later, he went after her to sunnyvale to try and find her. he found her, but she would only see him in secret once a week and would make him call her daily in case she wanted to see him the following day. he was confused by her behavior and missed a day. he never saw her again. he felt her loss like a blow to the "solar plexus" and thus associates her with his "root" chakra. she is the love of his life.

he says people are bad to him and people use him. he says, about 2 years back, his mother surgically removed his heart and sold it; and had him committed to a mental institution. he says his heart was his hero and he can no longer be a hero without that heart. but he says he had a spare "less modern" heart as a backup.

he says things keep getting worse for him. he says he sold his soul to the devil so as to stop his slide. he says he's given himself to evil so that when others do evil to him, it can be no worse. he doesn't believe in actually doing evil to others, however. he says he visits hell frequently. he says that satan is his mistress; but that he's trying to reform "her" so that there will be no more evil in the world.

but he's not sure he can. and he feels he's gone too far. he says he needs help soon. he hopes that someone will give him a way out. but he doesn't believe there's much time. he says soon he won't be able to turn back. but for now, there's still time.

The Lion - Part 1

I like to sit here and watch the cars pass by. Maybe later I will go sit in front of where Starbucks was. I do a lot of sitting. Here, where I sit near the Black Forest, that's what I call it, but I don't think it really has a name, I feel safe. No one, well hardly anyone comes by.

I don't like to talk to people. Nobody really knows that I don't like too either. Not that anyone cares. I hide it well. Why? It's because people scare me on so many different levels. I only realized a few days ago that I scare people too. That was such a surprise to me! I am not sure why. I know that I am homeless but I didn't think it was noticeable. Hell, being homeless is no longer that unusual. I mean I try not to smell, and my clothes, at least to me, seem okay. I am not a scary old bum with leather skin and barbed wire hair who reeks of booze or worse. I am just me. Whatever me is which isn't much by anyones standards including my own. Maybe I radiate homeless rays? I wish I had someone I could ask.

I also wish I had money. I am hungry. If I move from where I am sitting anytime soon it will be because of the breeze. I am downwind of McDonald's and the wind is smelling good. McDonald's hasn't closed yet like most of the other stores in the shopping center and for that I am very glad. It would be harder for me to survive if they did. McDonald's is the source of many things that are good in my life. Well, they were. Like everything and everywhere goodness seems to be decreasing. “A shortage of goodness.” I say this to myself and smile. I am not sure why. A lot of things in life are like that you see. Stuff happens for no reason. People appear in my life than disappear. I don't even understand why I do so many of the things that I do so I guess it is no surprise that I don't understand why things happen like they do. Even my thoughts seem alien to me at times. There not as bad as the ghosts. I am not going to talk about the ghosts now. It might bring them and today I don't feel like seeing any if I can avoid it.

McDonald's is good for a lot of reasons. Maria and Anna sometimes save food for me depending on who the shift supervisor is. Also I usually find a used cup that I can take in for refills. When I do that I have to move quickly. I know the atmosphere changes inside when I come. That makes me uncomfortable. Also, sometimes the manager yells at me. He really shouldn't do that. They also moved all the ketchup and other stuff up by the counter. I used to take a cup and pump ketchup into it, add water, and pretend it was soup. I only do that when I am hard up and very hungry.

Sometimes I check the trash cans too. They don't have much in them that is worthwhile these days. I also have competition for the food in the cans now. I don't know what to do about that. I thought if I was nice maybe we could share the food. They didn't understand what I meant. They laughed at me so I left. What made it worse was Anna saw it through the window. They don't understand. If I still had my heart I would be different man. More brave and maybe even smarter. A hero.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010


This photo is from the work of photographer Tom Stone. Click here for more. Browse his photos. Read the stories. Here is hers:

homeless robin from sonoma sitting in a doorway on the outskirts of hayes valley; she has two grown sons still there (one 22 and one 35). she doesn't see them much; but they speak often.
she recently got caught in the cross fire of a gang shooting. one bullet went through her arm. the other went through her groin and is lodged near her spine.
she says it's only by god's grace that she survived.
she lives on her ssi benefits; she chooses to live on the street rather than give it all over for housing.