Only the Lonely: A Strange July 4th Meditation
"Seven out of 10 Americans are one paycheck away from being homeless." -- Pras Michel
As we reflect on how great a country this is, let's not forget those who can't -- for one reason or another -- take advantage of everything we have to offer.
Only the Lonely: Breakfast Nook
Originally published February, 2013.
I stumbled upon the abode of someone like that on July 4th and it was very clearly a place where a single person took up residence. Perhaps they still do and were scared off by my coming, I don't know.
This place didn't "feel" like somewhere someone just came to party -- but like somewhere somebody desperate came to "hang their hat"...
Take the "Breakfast Nook" above for instance. Not everyone knows it, but I was crazy and homeless for awhile before I got clean and sober. I had my "lonely" places where I sat and stared, emptying my mind of my troubles.
This seems like such a place, just the way it's set up and the circle of debris around a single chair which has seen much use sitting right where it is.
Lines come to me (perhaps it'll become part of a poem, I don't know):
At home in a forest of steel beams and vines, haunted by visions of happier times.
A past near forgotten and present denied, a future darkened by anger and pride.
That's all I have right now, but it's really autobiographical more than anything.
Only the Lonely: The Bedroom
When you have nothing, you take your rest where you can. In this solitary corner the individual no doubt felt some safety.
Sleeping in abandoned places in the night brings many fears and not all of them are natural. The wind stirs sounds which could be the whispers of demons, or the tread of a more fleshly danger. In the dark, the primal fears emerge...
Only the Lonely: Waiting in Vain for Susi
There's a great contradiction in the solitude of the homeless and psychotic. There is this sense of wanting to avoid the rest of humanity and an urgent counter longing for warmth and closeness.
I don't know that this other "outpost" in the building has anything to do with the occupant who lived in the one corner, but this scene does suggest that conflict of emotions.
Here in Kennett Square, there's no sense of the homeless -- but they are just around the corner as those who are addicted, beset by tragedy, or even the newly arrived illegal immigrant who hasn't made community connection yet.
I took these shots July 4th, 2012 on a brief exploration of an abandoned building I'd noticed but never gotten around to exploring. It's well off the road, and not something which stands out.
We do and should celebrate this great country we live in -- but lets not forget those who aren't recipients of the great blessings we too often take for granted.