Archive for December 8, 2015

Migrant

Posted: December 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

MigrantPOSTED ON DECEMBER 7, 2015Traveling by railway we follow seasonal harvests across the country, our   bodies huddled in the freezing box car.  Maria gave birth to a baby boy on the cold floor.  We are not Hoboes, not homeward bound. We are seeking work, we are used to hardship.The sting of citrus scents the air. At times it is so quiet in the fields the thud of rotting fruit can be heard when it reaches the earth.  There is little conversation, the crop overseer keeps a close eye and the threat of being reported undocumented is as real as a bull whip.Maria has strung a sheet separating the cots in the one room shed we share with another family.  Their children lie on a pallet on the unheated floor; they fall asleep to the sounds of copulation.  Perhaps someday they will have a door to close.I  awaken before dawn and join the men and abled bodied women waiting at the corner where the grove owner will select the workers he will take to the fields.  I have brought my gloves; Today I feel  I will be one of the  chosen.  Yesterday I went home empty handed.It frightens me to see Maria so frail, her skin barely covering her brittle bones and  her dark  fists of fear eyes. Her milk drying up with the rest of her,  the baby cries.  I worry for myself. If she dies I don’t know what will happen to the child.  Just the two of us, I know I can’t do it. This morning her desperate eyes stare into mine. I look away from the hunger and fear. She knows  if she dies I will leave the boy behind.  Inside my boot I  feel the imprint of the stolen knife blade against my ankle. This morning I take my desperation with me.  Today I must do something.

Source: Migrant

 

homeless family L

5 June 2013

It was a wonderful day in the park today as, I suppose, it was in Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood. The usual suspects were there. I shook hands all around.  Wolf said, “Id get up, Dennis, but you know me. It’s one of those days.

I was about to sit down between Wolf and Gaston when Yves handed me a Metro newspaper. “Sit on this, it’ll keep your pants clean.” I said, “Thanks Yves.”

Gaston said, “Now, isn’t that a lot softer?”

“Yes, it is.”

Wolf said, “I’ve got something even better.” He reached into Shaggy’s cart and pulled out a thick, folded blanket. “Try this. I just got it this morning, rather Shaggy just got it this morning. A lady — maybe it was the Christmas lady for dogs — she brought a big bag filled with the blanket, a toy rubber boot, a stuffed dog and dog food, lots of dog food. Shaggy really  hit the jackpot. She gave me something too. I think I spent it.”

“This blanket is really soft and comfortable. Thanks.”

Wolf said, “This morning when I woke up, the first thing I saw was a six-pack of beer, so that’s when I started. If I hadn’t seen it I would have been alright, but if I see it I drink it. That’s why I’m the way I am now. You understand?

“Dennis,  tell those fucking Frenchmen to shut the fuck up! I’m having trouble concentrating. Let them go ahead and mumble to themselves.

In unison Gaston and Yves said, “Ta Gueule!, colis, tabarnac.”

Jacques said, “Wolf speaks  perfect French, he just doesn’t like to use it.”

Wolf said, “I’m German not French!  Don’t make me get up!”  He laughed, then continued conversing with them in fluent French.

I said to Wolf, “You couldn’t get up if you tried.”

“I know,” he said, “I just like to stir the shit sometimes.”

I asked Jacques, “How are you liking your new apartment?”

“I love it. Did you know I have a balcony? Yesterday I bought a mattress, a futon. I think that is the good one. I don’t buy the most expensive, but not the cheapest either. I bought the next one up.  Me, I don’t like the coil mattress, because after a year, you get one coil sticking through into your back. I don’t want that.  In my other place I had been sleeping on the floor for the last four months, and I had no window.  This place is nice, and I can brew my wine again.

“It used to be that they would give you a start-up allowance when you moved and every three years,  but not any more. I had to pay for the mattress myself. I don’t mind.”

Shamus and Judy from  Innercity Outreach approached. They were wearing red vests with the crest of their organization embroidered in yellow. They had brought sandwiches, socks and a variety of other things to hand out.

Judy said, “Wolf, what kind of sandwich would you like? We have egg, minced ham and tuna.”

“This is my drinking day, not my eating day,” said Wolf. “I’m a shaving guy. Do you have any razors?

“No, sorry , Wolf.”

Jacques said, “I’ll take an egg, and leave me a minced ham for Wolf.  He’ll eat it later. Can I have some socks?” Judy handed socks to Jacques, Shakes and Wolf.

Shamus said to me, “Dennis it looks like you’re holding court.”

I said, “It may look that way, but Jacques is King”

Jacques said, “Shakes is King.”

I said, “Okay, we’ll go along with that.”

Judy asked, “Has anybody seen Serge? We haven’t seen him for a long time. I know he was in hospital, but then he was out.”

I said, “I visited him a couple of times in hospital, but he escaped, in his hospital gown. He was too sick and was taken back to hospital.”

Jacques said, “I was talking to Greg from 507. He got a message saying that Serge passed away April 7th. Nobody knew, otherwise we would have gone to the funeral.”

Judy asked, “He had cancer, didn’t he.”

I said, “I’m not sure. He didn’t talk much and when he talked it was in French.”

Judy said, “I hear that Outcast is in remission. Is that right?”

I said, “I knew that he had lung cancer. I didn’t hear that he was in remission.”

Jacques said, “I saw him a few days ago. He seems fine. He doesn’t come here any more.”

“How about Joy? How is she.?”

I said, I saw her Thursday, she seemed fine then.”

After they left Jacques said, “They gave me all these bars that I can’t eat. I don’t have enough teeth for things with nuts.”

Shakes said, “You, know, Dennis, I’ve known Wolf since ’95. I’ve always called him Pudding, because he looks like a pudding. I’m the one that got Bowser for him. He looks like Shaggy, but he’s stuffed. I remember bringing him home on the bus. I barked and pretended that he was going to bite people. Now, he sits on Pudding’s balcony.”

“Yeah,” said  Wolf, “People will say they passed my place, I must have been home because the dog was there, but he wasn’t barking.

“Shaggy loves Bowser, they lay beside each other all the time. One time when it was raining Shaggy went out on the balcony, grabbed Bowser with her teeth and brought her inside the living room. Isn’t that something?”

Wolf said, “Dennis, we should pick on you for a while.”

I said, “Go ahead.”

“I was going to get Shaggy to bite Jacques, but you’ve got some meat on your arms.  Shaggy, bite Dennis! She won’t bite you, she likes you.”

Shaggy wandered around and lay next to me, her warm side pressing against mine. I petted her. After being freshly clipped she felt like velvet.

 

 

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