Wednesday, May 1, 2013

No bombs here


Martin stops in. We keep talking. It’s almost like a religious ritual, waiting for the right message to come through.

A representative from the West 80’s Neigborhood Association comes by with more posters for the upcoming candidates forum. All the city council candidates vying for Gale Brewer’s seat will be here. An opportunity to be visible to the public. To make West-Park part of what any council member will have on their agenda. Bring the neighborhood into the project of making a landmark real, not just bricks and mortar, but flesh and blood.

Mental illness continues to challenge me. It’s power and elusive quality. How many times has someone been taken in only to talk their way out in a few hours. The system is completely screwed and some of us have to live daily with those consequences. And yes, this was an issue long before Occupy.

Rachelle comes in late. She’s been in court. Eviction proceedings.  As to be expected, set off, until sometime in June..  She'd left her suitcase outside and the authorities jumped on it right away. No bombs here. She perceives the  banning of her cart as persecution, not liability management as the Capital Hall administration sees it. She takes quite awhile to tell me about her life before. In great detail. Somehow, she’s till there. This reality too hard to live in.  She still sees herself as the beneficent giver of charity, not a needy recipient.

Just in time, Sarah comes in an we go out to dinner. I want to hear all about her new Taxi project with peers helping each other learn each other’s languages. Though she’s now busy at a new job, living in Brooklyn, she’ll always be part of the family.

Later, while I’m on the phone, a man comes in. Is this the shelter? No. A soup kitchen? No. So what help are you going to give me? I point the phone. Well don’t bother, I see who you are.Turns and walks out.

RL, in the midst of our mental illness crisis, told me, Son, you can try to change the world. Maybe even succeed a little. But you’re not going  to save everybody in it. 

As I leave, Rochelle’s suitcase is still in the vestibule.

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