Posts Tagged ‘displacement’

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beer Feet

July 23, 2018

Beer Feet

He stumbled; he fell on the floor. I am alright, he told her. Everything’s fine. She looked at him and shook her head. She helped him sit on the cushion. Her bare feet felt something. She bent over with a paper towel and wiped the floor. Beer! It’s beer! The floor is all full of beer. The cans were empty. I fell because of the water, he said. No, it’s the beer; I can smell it a mile away, she answered. He put his head on the cushion by the wall. He grabbed the blanket and covered his face.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unhappiness

April 5, 2018

Unhappiness

It is an unhappiness that will not go away. It stays around and loiters, like an intruder in a building. The unhappiness does not express itself. It has no exact words to describe what it feels like. It eats away, little by little, someone’s spirit. It makes people restless and angry. The anger doesn’t show. Nobody sees it. All that people see are white teeth and a permanent grin.

 

 

 

The Rain

March 29, 2018

The Rain

It was the rain. The rain was the worst part of it all. When it hit, the face and the body had no chance of escape. There was nowhere to hide from the rain. On hot summer nights the rain resembled a traitor; it was a most unwelcome surprise, the worst possible slap.  The water had to be put up even without thunder. Doorways were no help. The feet got wet and there was nowhere to dry them. There was nowhere to dry the clothes on one’s back. All the thoughts went to a place with a cup of hot tea, somewhere to take away the taste of wet poverty.

 

 

 

The Wind

March 16, 2018

The Wind

This is how I feel—this is exactly how I feel. The wind is hard; it is harsh and it is striking my face. The woman had these thoughts in her head as she thought about the new crisis in her life. She was threatened with homelessness, with sleeping on the street again after having been inside in a cramped apt. The apt. was the roof over her head, the only roof she had, the only roof available. She listened to the heavy duty traffic. This is just what I need, she said to herself as she smiled. All this mirrors my mood. This chaos, this nightmare that I have inside is the new problem. It is the so hard to solve problem. I hate it! I hate myself for not having the solution to it. A new gust of wind struck her face. Enough! This is enough! What to do now. I need to concentrate on that and that only. My life—what will happen to my life from now on and beyond. I have to live it until I die—but how and where?

 

 

Raw Storm Scene

March 7, 2018

Raw Storm Scene

White, white and more even white falls on the sidewalk, the streets, everywhere. People and their umbrellas caught by the wind stumble, then keep on walking. They skip the black ice areas if they can; most walk as fast as possible. At one end of a street, a man sits on a piece of cardboard. A large black umbrella covers his head. At the other end, someone is sitting on three United Post office crates, the kind that postal workers use. The person looks up at the sky; the shoulders first, then the head shake. She looks towards the man. That we should be out on such a day! We would rather be nice and cozy somewhere, not here in the wild of the storm. People hand her single dollar bills. She looks at their hands. Thank you. Thank you very much. The snow has turned her black pants white. Her fingers shake it off.

 

 

 

 

Fitting In

February 16, 2018

Fit

You don’t fit in. You are no one; everybody thinks that you are nobody, nobody at all. The way you look is not the look they want. They want a different look, something that will be like them. You walk a certain way; you carry yourself a certain way. Your clothes are shabby; they dress with style. None of it is their way and never will be. You can’t pretend to be another type of person. You can’t back down. That will not work. You are out. You are definitely out. The photograph is taken without you.

 

 

In or out

February 12, 2018

In

To fit in—there is, there always has been, a need to belong somewhere, anywhere. An outsider, she is an outsider always with her nose stuck on the glass window. She looks at all the people who have made it, all the people who are in. They are part of a group and they have the badge to prove it. They have done something, whatever that something was, to make their selves known, to make themselves seen. How can she, this now older person, be herself when her real self is not accepted? She’s just not what is accepted; she’s not what the people want. Her eyes close; a minute or two of rest, of forgetting so she won’t have to think. She is no stranger to the harsh realities of life. Harsh realities have been her companions for a long time—more time than she cares to remember.