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.