Magdalene – 2 January 2013

Posted: January 3, 2014 in Dialog, Prose
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
2 January, 2013
The temperature at noon was 1 degree Fahrenheit with a 13 mph wind, making it feel like -17. Last night it went down to -5. The only person at ‘the heater’ was Magdalene.
“She said, “Hi, my boyfriend, Alphonse is in hospital.”
“I’m sorry to hear that, which hospital is he in.”
“He’s in the Montfort. He’s been there for a couple of days now. He has pneumonia. Also, he’s had paranoia. He thought he saw people standing around his bed, but there was nobody there. He thought they were trying to kill him. He ran outside. The police brought him back in. They said that if he stayed outside, he would die.”When he got back to his hospital bed they gave him a glass of whiskey, because he’s an alcoholic.”I said, “Irving is on a program at The Oaks. They give him a glass of wine every hour. Gradually he’ll be able to stop drinking. He wants to get back to work. He does furniture moving, but it’s hard for him while he’s an alcoholic.”Magdalene said, “We’ve been sleeping outside lately. We are on a list to get an apartment, but nothing has happened.”

“Where, exactly, have you been sleeping?” I asked.

“On York street. If you go to the end, there is a little boutique there, turn left into the alley. There’s a place with a heater that blows down on you. We have a covering that goes around us.

“For a couple of days he wasn’t able to eat. His face was getting very thin. That’s when he decided that he should go to the hospital.

“Have you thought of staying at some place like the Mission?”

“After Alphonse gets out of hospital, we may have to. I don’t like those places. They’re rough , noisy, crowded and stuff gets stolen there.”

I said, “Shakes told me that every time he sleeps at the Mission, Shepherd’s or the Salvation Army, things are stolen from him: his backpack, money, bottles, pot even his clothes.”

“I’m going to see Alphonse at the hospital this afternoon, but first I have to go to Welfare to see if I can get my bus pass. Ambrose has a check waiting there but only he can sign for it. I’m going to talk to them and see if they can release it to me. I’m listed on all his forms. I don’t even have his phone number at the hospital”

I asked, “When you visit your worker at Welfare, can she help you to get an apartment? She should be able to help you get the phone number for Alphonse at the hospital.”

“Maybe, I don’t know, they were looking for us, but we haven’t been back there for two weeks. Maybe they found someplace.

“Alphonse has an appointment with his probation officer, tomorrow morning at 8:30. He’s going to have to cancel. I don’t know the phone number, I hope he’s awake, so I can get the number from him.

“This morning I ate at McDonald’s. I didn’t think I had any money, but I found four dollars and twenty-five cents. I was so hungry.

“Next week I start at New Directions. They’re going to help me.”…


7 January, 2013

Tonight I met with one of the housing outreach workers. All but two of my friends are now housed.


  1. paulfg says:

    It is what it is. Beautiful words.


  2. the work of angels


  3. Reblogged this on Intersections and commented:
    Lest we forget our people who are outside this week … PA


    • Thanks very much for reblogging my post. It is much appreciated. Every winter people are found frozen to death. It is such a needless waste of life in a society as wealthy as ours. Blessings, Dennis


  4. knace says:

    Your blog has been on my mind. Just returned from a quick trip to N.H. where the temp tonight is predicted to be minus 18- and that’s without wind chill factor. I hope everyone will be off the streets everywhere tonight.


  5. Small world. I go to the Montfort.


    • It is indeed a small world. I’m sure you recognize all the landmarks in my posts. Perhaps, we will meet sometime. I loved “Nav in Dante’s Yogateria”. You are a very entertaining writer. I too have suffered the indignities of yoga. All the best for 2014 and “butter chicken”. ~ Dennis


      • Oh, you made me laugh with the “butter chicken” crack. Thanks for the kind words about the writing. I went for my 3rd hot yoga class this evening. I sense a pattern and another potential post.

        Yes, some of the landmarks in your posts have looked familiar. I worked from ’08 to ’10 at the corner of Rideau and Cumberland. A coffee or tea someday is definitely a possibility.

        Cheers. *fights the urge to write “Butter Chicken”*


  6. rvraiment says:

    Sad and beautiful. I’m in a country – England – with a more hospitable climate, but it still gets damned cold at night and every time I visit London, my local city, I am aware of the poverty, of the people shrouded in sleeping bags, the people hustling for a handful of change. I know it’s the same in every town and city of any significant size and I hate it, but I’m not in a position to do very much about it. Hope alone changes nothing. To love humankind and be powerless… I can but do the very little I can and maybe, one day, I’ll be able to do more.


    • Thanks for your comment and for your concern. For three years I have been looking for solutions, but haven’t found any. I enjoyed your post “Beauty and the Beasts.” I think it is the same fashion and cosmetic industry that insinuates that we aren’t good enough, as we are, that isolates homeless people, who have no hope of following fashion or style. They are seen as different; therefore wrong. We are all the same; we seek happiness and an end to suffering. Blessings. ~ Dennis


  7. Great stuff, Dennis. I’m looking forward to reading more, and thanks for liking Rhymers are Readers – Maybe Writers, too on our Vast Imaginations blog.


    • Hi Larry I’m impressed with your blog and with the number of books you’ve published. The Vast Imaginations section is very informative and helpful. I will visit often for suggestions on editing, marketing, and book recommendations. ~ Dennis


  8. drew delaney says:

    This is such a sad world. So many are left out in the harsh cold.
    Terribly cold out this winter. You are doing a good work. Bless you!


  9. I’m proud that someone who is as altruistic as you are has decided to follow my blog, published in France ! When the temperatures are so cold, being left outside must be the most terrible thing …


    • The cold can be truly painful. Exposed skin freezes within ten minutes. Many people die each year as a result of freezing to death. I love your blog, especially the glamorous models. ~ Dennis


  10. franque23 says:

    My grandma’s cousin was Edward Curtis; many of his pictures have hung around the walls of places I’ve lived all my life. and there’s this, only to match the coat.


  11. […] “Magdalene” (on […]


  12. Shery Alexander Heinis says:

    Since I moved to the second coldest capital city in the world, I find it unbelievable and tragic to see homeless people out there in -10, or -20 degree celcius temperatures. I wonder about our priorities…


    • Hi Shery, it is unbelievable and tragic to see homeless people on the streets in the coldest of winter temperatures. I enjoy your blog very much, especially your post “What is Wholefullness?”. I will visit often for inspiration. ~ Dennis


      • Shery Alexander Heinis says:

        Hi Dennis – Thank you for your reply and for your kind words. I hope that I can through words, share some thoughts and experiences which can offer hope, inspiration and food for reflection. Thanks for the encouragement 🙂 – Shery


  13. […] 35. Every winter people are found frozen to death. It is such a needless waste of life in a society as wealthy as ours. (gotta find a home) […]


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