Just one way out of the Courthouse. Always a good day when you can leave through a front door. The rest of life’s problems could be simple, but they are not.
Amanda’s carrying the burden of her father’s sickness and trying to stay clean and sober. She looks great and sounds positive.
Larkin has a place and a relationship. Both need furnishing and care. He’s got a good heart.
Molly has programs to attend and needs teeth. She is so happy to have her life back, too. Larkin protected her when they lived in the woods.
Brian says he spent time in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. He’s out. Now, he needs a life. Hasn’t gotten help. He’s not sure he needs it. Who knows.
Karl would be lost without the street. “Hey Duck, take this photo.” Never saw the people before. Young woman is a poet. She recited a poem she made up. He cut her off. Ending his physical therapy for hip repair. Has to get around with a chair. Vision going. How long he stays in his apartment is up in the air. Asked me if I knew of a place to live. Me? Why would anyone ask me about a place to live? People all jive him, without knowing what goes on. They play him, not taking the time to look beneath the shell. He acts like he’s Donald Trump, firing people. From what job? Who knows? Lives in another world, one where poets live. He will be more lost without a place to live. I told him to go to the hearing, deal with the bullshit and keep his apartment. Always have to show up. And it may mean missing a day on the streets. He’s got a pad full of problems and poems.
Chief came by to wish Paul a Merry Christmas.
“Did you see Rita Markle? COTS would not have taken him in if he was drunk. I told Tim and Wayne that he was dying. His lips were blue. He couldn’t stand or breathe…”
Chief and Jason built the memorial. Someone stole the sign and the Buddah. Paul’s friend from the store across the street gave them the sticks to make the cross.
Paul sat on Cherry St after he woke up, whatever time or day it happened to be or when he wasn’t in jail (criminal trespass and open containers) or at the hospital (car accident, beatings, or falls). People walked by. Some gave him money. Some gave him food. He was always courteous. People who don’t know each other have lost something in their lives without really knowing what it was or how to replace it.
Autumn bought votives and candles.
She wanted to take him home, but he wouldn’t get clean.
Very sad, both said, and not fair.
I met OB on Cherry Street paying his respects to Paul. He gave Paul a few bucks every once in a while; Spoke about life with him. “A blessing and gift you gave me,” he said when he looked at my image. “I needed to feel a real emotion about this. Too often we walk by people with a false smile on our faces. I’m not feeling so alone, anymore.”
I wonder who will be next in line?
He’d sit on Cherry St, just up the street from Rite Aid. Before the Gear Exchange moved to Church St, the yellow jackets would chase him from under the enclosed area in front of the door.
Sometimes he put his crate near the wall near the grate so he could stash his beer (avoiding a ticket for an open container) and his litter (so he wouldn’t be burdened during travel).
Told not to block the sidewalk, he’d sit close to the street, putting his box or his butt in a place where cars backing into a parking space wouldn’t hit him. He’d also chase the sun.
He usually travelled with his friend, Eric.
He went to the park occasionally. He didn’t like the drug scene, the phony friendships, or the antics. Eric learned from him, helped him and was with him close to the end. Eric is now alone on the street.
So, they said Paul thumbed out, eh. Nope. Back after a four day stay at FAHC (actually it was three, but he’s not counting).
They call him Mikey Huffer. He huffed with a flame nearby. Not much left, except his heart.
“Now, don’t tell me we have to go through this again?” “I am not going to be here for the winter.” “Does this plan include you as a living person or something else.” “You will have to wait to find out.” “Not sure I have the energy.”
So, he likes Tigers, the Detroit ones and the Bengals. A little too drunk to distinguish the two, but he acknowledged that having a reflector, held by Eric, shining on him, required me to pay him $3000 for the shot. He never read Moon Tiger, though.
Quite an accomplishment for a photographer to have my street models hold a light shaper, eh!
Now, I just have to learn how to teach them how to use the equipment.
Great thanks to Paul’s sister, Mary, who keeps part of her eye on her brother through this blog, for sending me this image. He did ask for you upon his return, asking that I tell you where he was at. His surprise that I had informed you that he was incarcerated at St Albans, lacked understanding of our relationships: yours and mine; his and mine; and the power of blogs.
Photographers, especially documentary/portraitists look at their work in search of increased understanding of individual people, as well as the human race, in general. That is quite a span in which to find a focus. Every portrait forces me to look at the person, an exercise which can start with the easiest question, like where was this shot made or when and why. But, at some level, I just look at the portraits, knowing they have recorded a life living.
So, he spent 31 days in jail. What a waste. “Nothing much to do there,” he said. Missed the Labor Day Weekend in Burlington. People on the street said it was for a failure to appear; others said his public presence and sanitary practices posed a problem. He had built up a series of unspectacular violations of the public order and couldn’t or didn’t show up in court to answer them. He went in, because there are only a few ways the system can respond to uncooperative citizens who disrupt the peace in the main urban glen in Chittenden County.
Still complaining, he returned to the spot where he hangs, starting the same cycle of present life again, and continuing to age. Yeh, they pick on you. Yeh, you have been underserved. Now what? It be getting cold, again. “Hey, yunno, there aren’t a lot of people walking down this street. Getting more difficult to make a living out here.”