Archive for the ‘displacement’ Category

The Stray

October 26, 2018

The Stray

His fur shone; he shivered. The rain had caught him by surprise. Mr. Black came at night to ask for food. He bumped his head against the window. The woman grabbed a can of wet food from her stash. Someone’s hand stopped her. You are not going out. He’s a stray. She looked at the person. The person just doesn’t get it, she thought. Your hands are strong. Nevertheless, I have to feed him. He is not doing you or me or anybody any harm. She ran out to the door, opened the outer gate and put the contents of the can in a small plate. The cat went for it as if he hadn’t eaten in days.

 

Advertisements

Brutal–101

October 11, 2018

Brutal—101

The rain—she hated the rain. It came down, down hard and it wouldn’t stop. The morning began out on the sidewalk, with the people walking past her. Some carried umbrellas and some wore raincoats. She had her cup next to her so that they wouldn’t think that she was there just to read the free daily paper. Being out was important to her; for now it was her job, her only job. But the water spoiled everything—she got wet and her arms shivered. Her whole body shook.  When she crossed the street to get to the phone booth, the only refuge she knew, the extra water on the asphalt went up to her ankles. Her shoes would take forever to dry later in the evening. She had to do this. She had to see it through. Life was the way it was; nothing much for now to do about it.

 

 

                                                                                                                             

 

 

My Heart

September 27, 2018

My Heart

You are going. You are leaving me and I don’t want to let you go. I haven’t seen you much lately, but I have never forgotten you. You are going to a place that is not ready for me yet. It is far away; my time will come one day but not now. What will I do knowing that I will not see you, that I will not be able to touch your body? There will be no more visits to your new home. You won’t be around to motivate me. I can never stop caring about you. I can never want pain and misery for you. If your life continues, you will suffer. That is unacceptable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evicted

September 15, 2018

Evicted

Oh, you don’t know. You have no idea what it’s like to be evicted. You have no idea how it makes you feel. It is horrible, similar to being the unwilling protagonist in a horror movie. The emotional pain is beyond belief; it scares and humiliates a person. The part that comes after you are forced to move out is even worse. There you are, with bags of stuff all around you, black bags, white bags and yellow bags. There is nowhere to go. Whether the weather is good or not too good is not important. You still feel crappy, like a desperate person in a 1930s movie, hugging yourself for comfort. Seeing the sidewalk, which is now your home, is enough to make you sick to your stomach. You want to get some sleep, but there is always a security guard somewhere to stop you. You can’t stay here, he says. Go somewhere else. Go where, you want to ask him, but why bother?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Can’t

August 29, 2018

You Can’t

There are no safe places.  She sat on the crate outside an empty store. Her cup wasn’t out. She was just there with a cup of Starbucks coffee in her hand. It was her treat to her herself—one of the very few pleasant experiences of her day. The security guard came to her out of nowhere. I am sorry, he said. You can’t sit there. She looked at him. I will be here for just a few minutes, but next time call the cops if you want. I am warning you he told her as he left to walk into the restaurant next door. What is the use? She got up and left. I will deal with this tomorrow. Today I am tired.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bags

July 30, 2018

The Bags

She entered the supermarket on Broadway near the Williamsburgh Bridge and after using the bathroom, she put her bags in the shopping cart. She walked to where in the summer they put out fresh cut up fruit. None today, she thought, shrugging her shoulders. She went to where the bread was behind glass windows and put one long whole wheat roll in a paper bag. In the cheese department, there were no more cheese samples. It was late, after 7 P.M. Her third sample stop was the cracker container. She tasted one or more; the head cashier, an older woman with bleached red hair closed the container while her hand was trying to get a cracker. The woman paid no attention and walked on. What else could she buy today besides the bread? She chose the cheapest wrapped cheese for $4.00. She couldn’t afford much. If she liked the samples it was because she was hungry, hungry most of the time. Somewhere near the coffee aisle, a short stocky man in his 30s stopped her. Come here, he said. I want tell you something.  She guessed it was the manager of the store. From now on, you will put your bags underneath, he said. You take too many samples. Other people want to eat too. What samples, she wanted to ask him. There are none left today. He called over the older woman in the fake red hair. Evelyn, she is going to put the bags underneath. If I take samples, the accused woman said, it’s because I often don’t have enough to eat. His brown eyes didn’t seem to care. Then you come to me. She didn’t believe him. She had been eating samples for about 2 years and people walking down the street had been offering her food for even more years, so what was the big deal? She knew she looked raggedy and the people shopping at the supermarket were on the prosperous side. If the manager hadn’t said anything about putting the bag underneath, she simply wouldn’t have gone back to the supermarket. As it was she felt singled out and humiliated. Often she bought stuff from the supermarket even if she didn’t need to because it was her first stop after feeding her cats. Having someone imply that she was a potential shoplifter was making her Sunday stressful and bleak.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leftovers

July 12, 2018

Leftovers

People walked by with lunch food—paper bags and plastic bags full of food. Some looked down at the two people sitting on the sidewalk by the curb and walked on. Some gave them looks as if to ask: Why don’t you just work already? The man was not too thin, but his companion was an elderly woman. Her arms were skinny and her eyes had no light in them. Someone stopped by the woman. Would you like this? The woman grabbed the bag and thanked the person. It’s a burger and fries. The man shrugged. Take it. She opened the container and chewed hard, as fast as she could. I am hungry. I am really hungry, leftovers or no. This is food.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Afternoon of Nothing

July 2, 2018

Afternoon of Nothing

She waited. She waited all afternoon. It was hot, with water going down her face. It was no use wiping it off. What would have been the point? Her red cup was next to her. She crossed her legs and looked at the people walking by: mothers with their kids, men and women wearing suits and carrying portfolios, young women with short summer dresses—all of them passed her, not seeing her. She looked down at the cup. Empty—it was completely empty. For this, she thought, I might as well have gone elsewhere, done something else. She had no idea what that something else was, but the idea appealed to her. I am tired, she said to herself. Forget about it this afternoon. I am leaving. She got up, took her bags and walked away.

 

Sleep

June 4, 2018

She sat on the white crates–one on top of another, then another and a third crate. She closed her eyes. The wind bothered her, but at least the rain had stopped. She hated getting wet. Life on the sidewalk was more real than anything she had ever experienced. It was hard concrete all the way through. For 10 minutes her mid took her somewhere safe and warm, to a place without pain and unkindness. Someone tapped her on the shoulder. She shook herself and looked to see a hand holding a dollar bill. ” Here. Could you use this?” She half smiled. “Yes. Thank you very much. I need a cup of coffee.”

pennies

May 31, 2018

Pennies

2 cents—is that your generous offer to my empty cup? Are the 2 pennies going to help me out here on the street? I am not ungrateful—not at all. Beggars can’t be choosers—I know that too well. Just think about it. If someone offered you 2 cents, would you like it? No, you’d feel insulted, maybe even humiliated. Being in the raw, as on the sidewalk is hard enough.