So, he sits on the corner of Boynton Beach and 441. His dog sits under his chair. He asks for help. Lots of people give it. Some question his need. But, as far as I am concerned, if he sits there, it is for a reason and I don’t need to know why. His story is his story.
So I walk around with a camera, using it to document the race, humans etc. It may not make me smarter or stronger, but I feel better about life. Meeting and talking with others makes me less stupid and more aware how we are all different. I don’t ask for stories. I ask if I can help. Felix didn’t want help. He said he was ready to die. No one knows for sure, if he went. I learned when I went to the food pantry and my images of him were on the door. Last people heard, he had been taken to a hospice.
Felix lived here, right off the highway. He lived in the woods. He could have had a place if he wanted one.
His front yard.
Garage and reading room.
So, Donny Douchebag, our coldhearted faux President of the United States proposes to cut funds for the poor. What will happen to these people? Yes, they could work if they had homes, places to store their things and health care. What would you want them to do?
I feel Bannon’s bum body pushing this legislation. His boss doesn’t understand poor. Bullies squash their adversaries and then either walk over their bodies or joke about their predicaments. The President and his buddies would rather see dead and decaying bodies in the street than offer support. More money for them. More power for them. And less for those who due to either not being born rich, being a victim of a social or medical disease or having a diagnosable mental problem, don’t have a chance.
I have never been hungry, poor or without a place to live. Have you?
My heart breaks inside. I shed tears for her. I shed tears for all of them.
I knew her, you could say, as well as you can know anyone you meet on the street, Church Street. Bought her paints and paper for her art. Bought her coffee. May have loaned her a buck or two or three. Never got them back. Didn’t know Amos. Can’t know too much about someone you meet on the street, either.
Beaten to death for not a good reason. And, in a homeless camp where she spent the night, because she missed the bus back to Milton where she had a place to live and family. I hope the killing wasn’t motivated by gender animus, but who knows?
No way to die; especially when you don’t want to and aren’t ready to. So many I knew on the street suffered undignified deaths as they struggled to understand life. She was always looking up, even when she wasn’t.
Amy tried to help others, despite her own personal problems, as much as she tried to help herself. Knew a ton of people and didn’t like a whole lot of them. A noble person she was. And that isn’t easy when you don’t have comfort zones to hide out in or a complete understanding of whom you are.
Before I left Burlington, we spoke. I suggested that she not come down from Milton every day and that she find things and people up there who would be of interest. “Nope,” she said, “Burlington was where her life was.” And, that is where it ended. Badly.
So, I haven’t given up this life long special project, photographing the homeless and hapless. I see them everywhere, sometimes smelling them before they come into view. Giving them money helps no one, but I feel better, even if it’s only $1. Doug here begged me to help him. He started to tell me his story. I couldn’t listen. I couldn’t breathe. He asked if I knew of a shelter in the area. Like, who am I in this episode? Who are any of us?
Last great day, maybe; maybe not.
Jim O’Donnell, hobo with a car. Traveling through Burlington. Knows the street and its people. On his way to Maine. Has bags in his car where he sleeps.
Cheryl’s still on the steet with Ryan. Had her baby. Says she’s homeless and hungry.
Sam said he came from Maryland. Carried his bike on the train. Who knows? He slept on a picnic table.
One of my original guys. He’s back. So am I.
Not his real name, for sure. Had a following. Always a wise statement. Kind. Gentle. Smart.
When I walked the Lake Champlain Boardwalk, on one of our best days of the year, I saw him sitting in the same swing I shot him when we first met, all alone. I remember the guys with him. Three of them; one dead, two alive. And, I know where they are.
He appeared in my first show. Wants to see the photo. I had given him a print; who knows what happened to that? As to the future, who knows about that, either?
So, my friend, Tom, lost his hotel room. Says that SSI doesn’t cover it and Howard cannot help him. Last night, he tells me, he slept on this bench that sits in front of the Parks and Recreation Building on Pine Street.
I brought him some water as he sat on the curb eating, but someone had already beaten me to it. He had juice and a sandwich; didn’t want anything else. He said he’d sleep on the bench again.
I found an old sign of his on the ground, in some flowers. I bought it for $1. It was written on and Arm and Hammer box.
In Court to see one of the guys I follow on the Street. To me, he’s Skippy, a light hearted alcoholic who has a certain joie to vie, singing, laughing and carrying on. In Court, he’s He’s Phillip Searles, charged with an aggravated domestic assault. Held on no bail due to the nature of the act and maybe his record. The State alleges that he is a habitual offender, but they haven’t filed all the paper work. As for the charge, the complaining witness, his wife, died, but whether he did it probably cannot be proven. So, they charged him with the assault based on the fact that he made an admission, gave some contradictory answers to the investigating officer and some other evidence.
He’s asking for bail, not that he could make $25 were it to be set. He lives in the woods, when he’s free, a residence courts don’t usually recognize in determining whether he will return to face the charges. No bail package has been submitted as an alternative to jail. But the lawyer’s obligation is to assert his rights, here his right to bail. In addition to have probable cause for the charges, the State has to allege that he poses a threat to the community. The best they could allege, without statutory or case support, was that as a person charged with domestic abuse, he may well injure another woman were he to come into contact one upon his release.
In a hallway interview after the hearing concluded with the Judge taking the matter into chambers to decide, Bill Norful, his attorney, talked about how difficult it would be to investigate the case due to the lifestyle of his client. He suggested that others could have injured her. Could have been another person whom she was seeing.