Friday, August 30, 2013

Hobo Handbook: Memoirs of a Homeless Poet in New York (Excerpt # 12)

 By Daniel Canada c.2010
TIME (Continued)

If you’re late, you’re shit out of luck. Food and supplies run out fast and survival is only for the swift out here. Homeless folks who can’t make it on time to these places aren’t going to last very long on the streets. Thus, the need to always be cognizant of the time.

Believe or not, homeless people are never late for meals. Amazing, isn't it? Yeah, they all have their grub meters tuned and calibrated to the next and nearest soup kitchen. It’s remarkable to watch how a “Skeksy” who seems out of his or her mind most of the day, walking around, talking out loud to themselves in gaga land, can manage to locate the next soup kitchen and get there well in advance of time.

It is indeed puzzling.

If you can scrape up enough cheddar to purchase a cheap five-dollar watch or get a cheap cell phone, it would serve you well. If you can’t afford regular, competitive, baby Ma-Bell phone service, you can always buy a TracPhone from Duane Reades or your neighborhood dime store. They’re very inexpensive, and you won’t accrue a monthly bill.
What is more, it has an automatic time digital display!

In the event you just can’t afford to buy a watch, then it’s time to live off the land, trooper. This calls for an observant eye that looks out for clocks and digital displays throughout the many buildings and billboards that carry these, on your travels about town.

Clocks and digital read-outs are practically everywhere!
If you take a good look around you will see clocks of all kinds, just about anywhere you go. They’re on buildings, advertisement signs and what have you. You can even find digital displays on the modern meters located on most city blocks.

The point being, you don’t have to be lost for time just because you don’t have a timepiece. No matter where you are you can always, as Flavor Flav once said, "know what time it is…Boy-ee!"

Now, that the day is drawing to a rapid close, and you're chomping at the bit to hunker down for a good night's rest in one of your well-selected places, you'll need to stash your precious bags and items while you sleep. Knowing where to tuck my valuables away was another important skill I had to acquire promptly.
So we'll discuss that next.



O.k., now you’ve glommed just about everything your big-ass, glom hand can attract. So, what the hell are you going to do with all that swag and accessories, Skek Prince? This is where it comes in handy to have a well-hidden spot to stash all your gear and supplies.

(To be continued...)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hobo Handbook: Memoirs of a Homeless Poet in New York (Excerpt #11)


By Daniel Canada c.2010
PLASTIC BAGS (Continued)

First, you must make yourself invisible. I don’t feel it’s necessary to explain how to affect this. I’m sure you know what to do. After you’ve hidden yourself well out of sight, take out your handy, plastic ass-bag and quickly take care of business. 

And I do mean quickly!

Now, here’s where skill comes in.

It is of the utmost importance you tie the ass-bag immediately after use! This prevents the release of any offensive methane. Do your best to get rid of the ass-bag in the most proper manner. Be considerate of others, for heaven’s sake! You wouldn’t appreciate it if someone left their…end product…exposed to your proboscis, would you?

And besides, there are poop-a-scoop laws currently on the books. They kind of sort of apply to you. Well, at least within the spirit of the law.

Anyway, as crazy as all of this may sound, they are the solid truths and can help you, as it did me, whenever you get into a pinch-no pun intended. Therefore, make certain you remember to always stock up on the multi-faceted plastic bag.

Now that we've wrapped up this topic, let's move on to the subject of keeping track of time.



“Time is the fire in which we burn.” Well, at least that’s what the character Dr. Tolian Soran, in the movie Star Trek Generations said to Captain Jean-Luc Picard. On a more positive note, we all can agree that without knowledge of it we’re somewhat misplaced. You might be wondering why in hell would homeless people need a watch, or timepiece, in the first place. They don’t have anywhere to go anyway, right?


Homeless people have to keep a constant vigil on the passage of time, unless they’re completely gone out of their cotton-picking minds, in order to show up to all the soup kitchens, food lines, churches and shelters that give out grub and swag, and a whole host of other places throughout the day and week.  

(To be continued)

Monday, August 26, 2013

Hobo Handbook: Memoirs of a Homeless Poet In New York (Excerpt #10)

By Daniel Canada c.2010

What’s in a name?

You know, I could never quite figure that question out. What’s in a plastic bag?  Now, that’s a good question. Whatever you put in it. On the streets plastics bags are also gold. There is nothing you can’t do with a plastic bag. Well, maybe there are some things you might want to reconsider doing with plastic bags. However, I’m going to demonstrate that there are quite a number of things that can be done with them, some of which will certainly borderline on the bizarre.

For starters, you can store your food in plastic bags. Tying them tight helps to preserve its contents. Whenever you get a fresh set of swag, a plastic bag or two comes in handy as well. It helps keep them clean and dry whenever it rains. This too applies to books, newspapers, or whatever you have of value and want to protect. Plastic bags preserve them from experiencing ruin.

Believe it or not, I even used plastic bags to line my shoes, when the weather got extremely cold. It served as good insulation. Just as I used newspapers to line my clothing, I utilized plastic bags as well in freezing weather to keep my body warm. Plastic bags have many utilitarian purposes as well, not to mention as a toilet liner.

Then there’s the Ass-bag.

I beg your pardon?

Yes, I said ass-bag, dude. And I'm not name calling here, either. You’re probably wondering what on God's earth is an ass-bag, and I understand your concern. To put it plainly it is a plastic shopping bag used to…well…let’s just say to take a dump in.

Wooh! Wait a minute! I recognized that we are really trespassing into strange territory here, but let's venture on.

Before you dismiss the idea completely, consider this scenario. You’ve been hitting the bricks for a while and the sudden urge to relieve yourself strikes without preamble. When I say "relieve yourself" in this case, trust me, I'm referring to something that wallops you like thunder, and with all the unfettered fury of what promises to be nothing short of a monsoon. It’s a case of one of those do-or-die bowel movements, the stuff commercials products are made of. 

Feel me?

You tried all the local public restrooms in Burger Kings, Star Bucks, and Chicken Delight. They’re all occupied. Now, this is the kind of shit that’s hard to tell the difference between it and a colon piss. You feel time is running out because nature’s calling, and when She calls we all have no choice but to respond.

What do you do in a situation like this?

Ta dah!

That’s when the ass-bag comes to the rescue!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Hobo Handbook: Memoirs of a Homeless Poet in New York (Excerpt #9)


By Daniel Canada c.2010



O.k., so now you’ve taken a shower at one of the centers that provides showers for the homeless. You even feel good after you've changed into some fresh clothing. But there’s still something missing. How about the use of some deodorant, toothpaste, and what not?

This is where glomming these provisions from the soup kitchens that hand them out comes in handy. During the evening, there are various charitable organizations, such as The Midnight Run, and certain church groups, that drive around in vans scouring for the homeless to give out these accoutrements.

However, you have to know where they stop and the times they arrive, or you’re shit out of luck. If you do locate them, you’ve hit the homeless jackpot! Why? Because they give out buku (Yeah, know the proper spelling is "beaucoup") soap, deodorant, toothpaste, razors, just about everything you need to keep up your personal hygiene for a decent period of time. That’s until you need to catch them again, and to restock.

The key is to keep your glom hand out. Don’t be shy. You’re going to need these provisions for the road trip, buddy. Look! There’s a ton of bathrooms, and plenty of water around in such facilities. Even the homeless hold their noses up to other dirty “Skeksies,” who neglect their own personal cleanliness. And they bitch and complain about them whenever they show up to a soup kitchen. This shall never happen to you if you keep your bag well stocked with these essential items. And hit the public showers provided by the churches and government shelters, that extend these amenities, as often as possible.

Guess what? After a while you're starting to look like a normal, working-class bloke.




Thursday, August 22, 2013

Hobo Handbook: Memoirs of a Homeless Poet in New York (Excert # 8)

                                              By Daniel Canada c.2010

I used napkins to wipe my mouth, to wipe my hands from grease after I ate, to wash my hands from dirt and debris. I used napkins to blow my nose, to wipe my-well, you know-in cases where there was no toilet paper available. I used napkins to wrap food, or a valuable thing. I used napkins to wedge a public bathroom door shut that had no lock. I used napkins to scribble my thoughts and to write the outline of this book upon.

If I were to attempt to enumerate all the purposes in which I can put the napkin to, I’d have to write a separate brochure, just on the usage of napkins. However, I will not overwhelm you with all the minuscule details. 

Suffice it to say, napkins go a long way when you’re homeless. So, the next time you’re in a fast food joint, like Burger King or Wendy’s, glom as many napkins as you physically can carry away, without causing a scene, and save them up for a time when you're really going to be need them.

And that pretty-much…wipes it.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Homeless Handbook: Memoirs of a Homeless Poet in New York (Excerpt #7)

                                      By Daniel Canada a.k.a Obsidian c. 2010
Surprisingly, one of the best sources of information about soup kitchens comes from other homeless individuals, standing on any soup line, at any given time. If you listen out carefully, from time to time you’ll hear someone discussing, or even gush out loud, about a hot new soup kitchen they just discovered. 

Look! There’s more than enough food to go around. So, there’s no need for anyone to be all clandestine and attempt to conceal a new grub spot. If you’re savvy enough, you can go onto the internet at any public library and look up the number of soup kitchens available, in which they have listed. I did, and I’m not all that smart either.

The point being, there’s no such thing as a hungry, homeless, person in America, especially in the big U.S. cities. In addition, there are so many soup kitchens operating around town, that unless you’re on a self-imposed, Mahatma Gandhi hunger strike, there’s no reason for you to go hungry simply because you’re homeless.



They say the pen’s mightier than the sword, but not much has been written, if you will, about the power of the napkin.

Out here, the napkin rules supreme!
You might be wondering how in the hell can a common item, such as a napkin be of such importance. I was surprised how much I had to rely upon this little piece of paper, on a daily basis, just to get by.

It seems I have to explain and provide a little history.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Hobo Handbook: Memoirs of a Homeless Poet in New York (Excerpt # 6)

By Daniel Canada c.2010

I shouldn’t have to stress the importance of keeping your backside clean. A clean change of pants helps in fighting off odor as well. Applying a little talcum powder to the inside of my pants or underwear worked wonders for me, so much that I was able to mingle in with the rush-hour crowd, and no one was able to know my predicament.

Hey! Take care of yourself. It’s the only self you’re going to have for awhile.

Enough should be said in that regard.



Are you hungry? Well, you bet to start learning where all the soup kitchens are. Otherwise, you're going to starve to death, and that would be a crying shame. You would be loath to know that while you are starving to death, there are soup kitchen a plenty, serving hot, delicious food to the needy.

There are some homeless people that make it by sitting on a stoop and begging for coin, but pan handling’s illegal in most states. Forget about the fact that it’s supposed to be protected under the First Amendment. If the cops want to bust your balls, for panhandling, they can do so and they will with impunity. 

Besides, begging is "Skeksy."

For those of us who don’t want to be affiliated with "Skeksies," but want to be able to satisfy our hunger when the time comes, there’s a whole network of soup kitchens operating throughout the cities and towns you live in. It behooves you to familiarize yourselves with their locations, and times. The thing about it, is once you’ve connected to one soup kitchen you are tied in to a whole plethora of information leading you on the path to another, hither-to-unknown, soup kitchen, and another.

The process repeats itself, spreading out like a web, until you become satiated with the addresses and times of a variety of soup kitchens. You will reach the point where you no longer need to seek out one any longer, but can have a meal just about any time of the day, or any given day of the week.

You can actually get fat just following the trail of soup kitchens, serving a scrumptious display of vittles within the very city of town you live in. Amazing, isn't it? To help you along your culinary journey, some of the churches that serve as food kitchens also provide handy brochures, such as “The Street Sheet,” which has a listing of other varied soup kitchens you can avail yourself of.

I hate to toot my horn, but I know you would've never known any of this, unless I had revealed it.

So, I'm going to enjoy a moment, on the corner, tooting my horn.


Ok. I'm through.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Hobo Handbook: Memoirs of a Homelesss Poet in New York (Excerpt #5)

By Daniel Canada c.2010



Oh, you don’t want to smell a funky "Skeksy!"

“Skeksy” is a word I use to refer to a run-down-homeless person as oppose to the regular homeless individual, doing their best to get by. More on that later, when we get to the chapter "Levels of Homelessness."

Let me put it like this, if they were to drop a bunch of funky “Skeksies” out of a C-130 over Afghanistan, Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and the whole lot of them would simply throw up their arms and surrender. 

The war would be over. Period and amen!

The truth of the matter is there is no reason whatsoever that your homelessness has to be associated with offensive odors. There are restrooms a plenty in which you can tidy up. As soon as I found out where a few local churches were that provided showers and a clean set of clothing, I made a bee-line over to them, and got my shower on. In fact, unless I had told you I was homeless, you would never know, unless you had some kind of “homeless meter” on you or something.

You know, the homeless people you encounter in the public restrooms, steady washing themselves up in the sink, to the ire of everyone around. These are the better ones of the bunch. At least they’re trying to keep up with their daily hygiene. The ones who don’t see freshening themselves up, well, that’s a different story all together. These are the “Skeksies” that chase people away with the most battering stench imaginable.

Notice that horrendous tang around homeless people? 

You’d never guess it’s their feet. Yep. That’s right. What you’re smelling is the odor of their long-over-due and unkempt feet. The feet of the homeless are first to go, because they are constantly on them. They hardly have the opportunity to take off their shoes and socks, and give their poor brogans a breather.

The other smell is coming from a long neglected to wash ass. Writing this part of the memoir brings me much vexation, in that there is no reason on God’s earth anyone should put aside the upkeep of their own backside. However, this is another of the offensive odors emanating from the bodies of the homeless "Skeksies," who just don’t give a clean, coyote-well, you know the rest-about the upkeep of their person.

I know you won’t let this happen to you.

This underscores the importance of keeping good maintenance of your feet, and your backside out here. Do not wear your socks for more than two days in a row! Wash your feet everyday and give the poor doggies a little breath of fresh air, as often as you can. Who cares what others think about you when they see you airing out your flippers? Trust me, they rather see you doing that than endure the oppressive muzzle torture of offensive smelling feet.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Hobo Handbook: Memoirs of a Homeless Poet in New York (Excerpt #4)

By Daniel Canada c.2010



We all know the story about Robinson Crusoe being stranded on a lonely island.  Being homeless can be the same way if you have no one to communicate with and bounce your thoughts off. You’d be surprised to know how many homeless persons I’ve seen hit the streets as normal people and gradually, over the course of time, turn into complete, blithering, lunatics.


The problem with the whole damned thing is that most individuals separated themselves from society and took to the streets, because of some lack of understanding with former friends, loved ones, and relatives in the first place. So, while they’re out here on the streets, there are very little-if any-telephone calls, or contact with the very ones they use to have commerce with on a daily basis. As a result they eventually go bunkers.

So, how did I avoid this fate? Good question.

Let me tell you it wasn’t easy. So I joined something. You too can join something as well, be it a local church or synagogue, or ashram; it doesn't really matter. If you’re not so religiously inclined, join a local volunteer group, like Police Benevolent Association, or Kiwanis Club. There are plenty of them out there. I being a poet of some notoriety, have found a way to busy myself, traveling the poetry circuit, and doing my poetry thing. On the poetry circuit, I met a lot of people of like mind, and made plenty of contacts to…well…communicate with.

There’s seems to be something psychologically advantageous about the exchange of ideas between two people. Be creative, as I was. Find a companion, even if it’s just a "friend for a day," that you met in a soup kitchen, for Christ sake. Fortunately for me I had a homeless friend, Hobobob, who actually hit the streets the same time that I did. Our companionship provided a major bulwark of psychological support, and kept us from going over the edge. Regrettably, everyone is not so blessed, and weren't successful enough in persuading former friends and relative to "rough it out," and join them in their new life on the streets.
Ok. I'm being facetious. 

The other option is to begin creating faux friends, or mentally dredging up family members, old friends, and enemies, then launching into a full tirade, or dialogue with these.

I'm sure you've seen this lot before, and don’t want to join them. So follow my advice and do as I did. Roll your sleeves up and take the time to do some enthusiastic volunteer work at any organization you like.
If you do, you will find many a wayfarer, like yourself, and may be able to take refuge in up building banter with a kindred soul to two.



Thursday, August 15, 2013

Hobo Handbook: Memoirs of a Homeless Poet in New York (Excerpt #3)


                                                          By Daniel Canada c.2010
Before long the bills are stacking up. The rent or the mortgage becomes overdue.  You are robbing from Peter to pay Paul. To add insult to injury, your unemployment insurance ran out, or you were fired and never had any from the giddy-up. Suddenly the rug is pulled out from underneath you and your next option is your first night out on the streets. This is not exactly the scenario that I faced, but similar, in that I was in transition between jobs and got caught out in the middle, when the economy took a severe downturn.

Here's the deal on this situation, folks. Once you fall on your behind, you’ll probably find your friends and family members viewing you as a social pariah, and do their best to distance themselves from you, for fear of catching the financial "heebie jeebies." There’s just no room for a free loader in this day and age.

Now that the dye has been cast in the wool, you'll have to find somewhere else to rest your head; a daunting proposition you would think. To use my own circumstances as an illustration (especially since this is supposed to be my memoir), there were priorities that have to be met immediately. For one, I had to find a place to lay my head. I had to maintain a level of acceptable cleanliness. Also, I had to find ways to keep up my precious sanity, which was being constantly threatened by the gathering, depressing, storm clouds of abject poverty.

There was a lot on my plate at the time, especially during the first few days. But I took courage and managed to meet these pressing goals. I was not completely without resources. I used the tools and knowledge that I had before being turned out into the concrete wilderness. What is more, I will demonstrate to you how this was and can be done.

Hobo Handbook: Memoirs of a Homeless Poet in New York, will steer you through these seemingly turbulent times, by revealing how I successfully negotiated my way through the confusing maze of the jungle out there. To start off, I will discuss some of the things that were closely associated with my personal survival and shed a little light on the hither-to-unknown phenomenon of homelessness.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Hobo Handbbok: Memoirs of a Homeless Poet in New York (Excerpt #2)


By Daniel Canada a.k.a Obsidian c.2010




The Hobo Handbook exhibits what life on the streets is really like. I will familiarize you with the actual existence of those without domicile, and demonstrate what steps I took in order to survive the onslaught of the bare-ass-naked streets. What is more, I will introduce you to some of the most colorful and bizarre, real-life, characters you will ever meet; and no doubt, would otherwise never meet, unless I made their acquaintance to you in this book. These are truly the invisible people of the earth, folks that you've merely pass by on your way to work, or any given day of the week. 

Also, I will present the types of personalities and characterizations I had to take care not to unwittingly imitate, after spending a certain amount of time in the company of the dispossessed. The Hobo Handbook: Memoirs of a Homeless Poet in New York, uses my personal experience to demonstrate how practicality helped me to survive and to keep my precious sanity, while navigating my way through the trials and perils of the streets; this was all with the goal of extracting myself from a state of homelessness and to once again find a place I can call home.







It doesn't matter what you've done in the past. All that matters is where you are in the present. You probably were working at a well paying job, in a respectable company, drawing six-figures. You might have been a manager or the supervisor of a cutting-edge, corporate team. Suddenly, there's an economic downturn and like Gilligan on "Gilligan's Island," you've been handed the short straw, and you're the one out of a job. Now you're forced to scrounge off your precious savings. At this point you reluctantly started dipping into your 401K plan, or Roth IRA. However, this still doesn't seem to cut the mustard.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Hobo Handbook: Memoirs of a Homeless Poet in New York (Excerpts #1)






By Daniel Canada c.2010



“Whoever said you can’t get back what you lost was a loser. You can get back whatever you lost. It just takes a little finesse.”

-Daniel Canada










The economist John Kenneth Galbraith once said, “The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.”





The stock market is unstable and experiencing the mercurial vicissitudes of a roller coaster ride! Many hard-working middle class American's are losing their homes, due to the unprecedented collapse of major subprime lenders. Chief investment bankers and financial corporations are folding and laying off thousands of employees, who once had secure jobs. As a result, a lot of the former middle-class Americans are now facing the real possibility of losing their homes and having to contemplate life on the streets. 

If you found yourself suddenly unemployed, out of an income and thrust into a state of homelessness, what would you do to survive? The "Hobo Handbook: Memoirs of a Homeless Poet in New York," is a memoir of my four years spent on the unforgiving and nightmarish streets of New York City.

It is my desire that this book can serve as a beacon of hope, which will help to illustrate that no matter how unpromising your situation in life may be, you can successfully navigate you way through the tangled maze of it, as I was able to do so in these concrete jungles. I hope my true-life story may serve as a guide to, and can demonstrate that with personal faith and perseverance, you can make your way out of even the most debilitating situations imaginable.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Newflash Concerning Future Obsidian Posts

Ok, folks. I would like to take out this time to thank you all  for following my blogs: "Obsidian the Mystic Takes New York." I appreciated all your comments and input as well. What I would like to announce is that I will be posting regular blog excerpts from my completed non-fiction book, titled: "Hobo Handbook: Memoirs of a Homeless Poet in New York," for your perusal. I welcome comments and feedback from all of readers, as is always the case . Also, these excerpts will be posted on my sister blogs: "Time Square Shout Out" and "Shout Out at Ottos."  Subsequently, those of you who would like to check out the poetry and postings on these sites, as well, should feel free to do so. I will be visiting the site daily to respond. Bon appetite!

-Daniel Canada a.k.a. Obsidian