Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thank You For Serving, I Cried

Friend to the Homeless Founder, Jacob Folger (above) flies 
back to base after a parachute jump. Jacob served 
as a Paratrooper in the US Army 82nd Airborne in the early 1980's.

Lucy and I rested on the park bench outside the post office as a young man on two prosthetic legs struggled with his service dog and packages.

Two legs gone. Two. And he was half my age. Bravely, he moved about his vehicle. Lucy and I watched.

I asked him how his dog serves him. He replied, "Emotionally and physically." "Are you a veteran?" I asked him. He said, "Yes. And you?." "Yes." He moved to the other side of the truck and out of sight and I heard his voice again, softly. "Thank you for serving."

My heart felt as though it had fallen as I returned the thanks. Oh my God. Oh my God. I know I could never know where he had been but for a moment, it was as though I knew. And his humbleness to be grateful to me wrenched my heart.

Having been through the military training pushed deep into each and every soldier through and through. I doubt if one soldier could see a fallen soldier and not feel in some way that pain if none other than by being through the training, alone.

It left my heart numb and my mouth dry and with a sweaty chill on my flesh as I watched him drive away with his dog. Both compassion and fear for him was there as I thought of others who I sensed that same feeling all too frequently. And that is of those who are Homeless heading into an icy night with but a flimsy blanket and a bag of tattered belongings.

It really doesn't matter. Whether I have a home or not, I am Homeless. I will always be Homeless.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

I Awake To Homelessness

The bite of the cold air hit me with a start, I reached to my Lucy to feel for her body heat - is she shivering?

I am disoriented, my muscles stiff and sore, there is no place to stretch my legs amid the clutter of car pedals and stuffed beneath the steering wheel. I can light a cigarette though but damn, now I have to open the window. More cold air rushes in. I pull the covers over my dog.

The action of parking the car, seated in the car seat to "slumberland" is seamless. There is no laying down, my head to a pillow, no snuggling close to Lucy with a warm blanket, there is only the doze in and out of conscientiousness, I restlessly rest.

Lucy, my dog (above) naps in our woodland shelter in a forest in North Carolina before we came to live Homeless in the Washington DC area.

Lucy and I step out into the late night to the diner, a parking bench out front takes our weight as a man passes carrying a bag and an old, course, moving-blanket. I smile and nod and offer a cigarette. He pauses for a match and I think, "It will be a cold hard night for you, my friend, not matter how you look at it."

The moon above is bright and it shines down upon these two. One, asleep to the ticking clock, the even breath, the soft, clean sheet, the consistency. And he with a worried brow for the winter coming close. The morning scents, warm coffee, a home made breakfast, the chill of the air hanging just outside the door where looking in, he awakens to Homelessness.

At, connect with Homeless People through their voices spoken in word, images, video, music, art, poetry and stories. With connection there can be compassion. And with compassion, a "fire in the belly" for change.

Monday, November 3, 2014

A Shiver Is All

  By Jacob Folger


Summer drops off to Autumn

Leaves change and blow free

Days darken early

A shiver is all

A clear cold night

Wind whistling through trees

Frost keeping me up

A shiver is all

A cold dank stairwell

One blanket not two

No pillow for my head

A shiver is all

A sweet Christmas home

Cozy and warm

Comfort completely

But for me, a shiver is all

A Warm Bed No More

We have been dating for just about a year and this person is exceptional. But Homelessness and dating really doesn't mix well - at least in my head. But still, I wish to be with this person at least, sometimes.

Today I worked on my art most of the day and then to prepare for a date, I gave myself a "whore's" bath, put on a change of clothes and headed out to be with my "friend".

After a dinner of Mushi Pork and Sweet and Sour Chicken, we snuggled to a movie. My doggy, Lucy, right in the middle - she basked in the warmth and affection shared.

I fell to sleep spooning a warm body close but only to awake with a start at midnight. I almost felt as though I could not breath and rushed outdoors to breathe the frigid cold air there.

I needed to get out of that warm house, away from the warm bed, those warm arms. My only regret was for Lucy as I walked her to the car and drove into the night.

I have this feeling that has been nagging at me - the voice now weak, I almost do not hear it anymore. "Find a place to live." I think I prefer the Homelessness.