Sunday, July 17, 2011

Funny the difference that name makes

There’s a cardboard bed, but nothing else. Though a few yards down the sidewalk, there’s  dog poop and the human variety as well. But I’m not mopping any sidewalks today.
Meet with Marc and Satrah in the sunny backyard to review the gala, upcoming meeting with session and  overall strategy.  We talk over the politics of gay marraige in the Presbyterian Church.  How sad it is that the government is way ahead of us on this one.  Marc and Sarah’s plans for a festival. And the music of Sufjan Stevens. 
As I see them out the door, I see that Edward is back. Asleep on the steps. I walk over to him, feeling more empathy than anger this time.  I say his name, Edward, and he looks up. Funny the difference that name makes.  You know you can’t sleep here during the day, right man? He looks up at me, Yeah, I know. I’ll be going now.  You wouldn’t buy me a cup of coffee, would you? Sure I say. I look for a one. All I’ve got is a five. I give it to him. Will he use it for coffee? For a St. Ides 40? What diffence does it make?  Edward, how long have you been here?  In the city,  he says, all my life. I’m 53 years old.  And how long has he been  homeless? Since 1988. Damn. Twenty-three years. Twenty-three years.  He looks at me, eyes welling up with tears. I feel like I’m dead, he says. As I look in his eyes, I know what he means. 
I work on the Sunday service. My writing. Late in the day I come back to do some business with Stpehen. Contracts, press, paintings. The Prophet is on the steps again.  Stripped to the waist again. Raising both arms heavenward, his eyes looking up, the sun shining aross him. He raises and lowers his arms three times, staring skyward as the traffic passes. 

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