ultraspare change

all sorts of things

6/4/10

photo


photo
Originally uploaded by iquanyin moon
i took this today. chinatown, of course. without going more than six blocks, i could have taken a slew of others like it - men, women, simple like this, elaborate, multiperson dwellings of umbrellas, tarps, straw mats. no shopping carts. the new $500 fine? i doubt it, since there's a cart convention down by kaheka st. chinatown folk rarely have carts, except the occasional crazy person - and then, it's extreme. an old chinese lady used to have carts, boxes, bags, chairs, and more. almost a solid block of it. she would plop in the middle of her makeshift, perfectly useless castle, on a chair. she didn read, or smoke, or harangue passersbye. she didn't smile or doze or mutter. she just sat there, all day all nite. every day or so, cops would make her move. about half a block or across the street, because that's how it is: no camping. if you're poor, you're illegal everywhere. if you sleep or have a blanket or mat, you're committing a crime. people complain if you're in the park, on the beach, in or near a store, on the sidewalk. so homeless camps and duos and individuals are constantly shifted, ofte in the middle of the night thus making a night of sleep impossible most nights.

sleep deprivation makes crazy folk crazier, sad folk sadder, emotional people even more impulsive, desperate people either more desperate or just plain angry. they get sick, pick fights, use drugs, attempt suicide, or on my case ... keep to self, dress like a tourist, and unless i'm really unlucky and have cops at my bedside (in which case i'm prone to sassin', to wit: "oh yeah? well, you can see my id in jail then"),
...

well, i alternate between a near giddy, tho all too brief, sense of absolute freedom, freedom from somewhat more than freedom to but both figure in, and a sulky, bitter yet somewhat superior envy (or just flat out i feel sorry for myself, but that's rare, mostly if i'm very tired).

so i plan to take pictures of people here. all kinds, tourists (for money, i hope), friends, fellow street artists, locals of various sorts, people with cars and nice clothes and indoor loos, people with literally the clothes on their backs, people flipping burgers, cops, kids, oh so cute stylish japanese girls, mahus, hookers, musicians, micronesians here for medical treatment for us caused cancer (and they're universally despised, the "microdots" as people call them. even i can see why: the others and infants, fine. the teens? besides stealing--a common activity here by many--they seem to know just a tad of english "got a dollar?" and "got a cigarette?" are -- literally --the only words i've ever heard a micronesian teen say. and they say it and say it and say it.

it tempers my sympathy a bit and softens my instinctual aversion to people bitching about ethnic groups.

i intend to, and will (am, with loaner cameras) shoot anyone and anything i can, whe ever i can, with whatver i have at the time. its easy when i have an iohone or small camera for me to take 400 shots (more, even), or shoot till the battery goes or the weather or lighting turns all no-no. iphone shots are not tops reswise, but i'm goog with iphone and manynof my shots are good.

cameras? i've used a few. once. suddenly. knowing nothing, mostly as dark was falling, mostly without being able to see or change settings or choose where or who. the one george sent me last year? probably i took a few thousand photos. never changed a single thing -- the modes and options meant nada. i glanced twice at the manual and couldn't even make myself skim it. it was cold, i found the scenery dull, i looked weird and had no friends, i was too shy to do anything but stealth shots of people. so i concentrated on aperture once i snagged it, and photomatix and the gimp. mostly i felt the stuff itself was boring and not so great (tho i had moments of delight).

but i was learning, so it was bearable. sometimes. sometimes i'd be editing some image on the mac and bam! burst i to tears, sobs, utter despair. i'd sob, then edit, then sob, then edit. i wasnt dedicated. in fact sometimes i was disgusted and fed up. but all i had was the mac, the camera, and myself. no duties friends clothes errands outings money hope love blah blah.

dark time. i wanted to complain and demand and act rashly and forcefully to leave. but i was being helped--at my request, and probably would have died without it, by my son. promptly, uncomplainingly.

briken glass on the floors. weakness from the oral surgery. the theft of all my things. cold rain cold rain cold rain. no contact from anyone here after the first month or so. silence and no deposit from my apt.

no money at all but twice early on and once in early summer, in ashland. none for me to use; erin spent thousands, on medical, travel, rent in ashland (tho i begged him to end that).

healing took a whole year. i got a weird, intense, rounf the clock pain in my whole left arm. it was useless all summer, and the pain kept me up at nite. as lessened -- over thr next four miserable months-- the right arm acted up. but this time, i put it strongly enough to get a chair and air pad (i'd wanted them sibce the first week, and would have had them, but i was in the position we all start out in: i could do nothing without persuading someone else to agree -- and i'm superbly, almost unbelievably bad at that. even as a kid, the only method i knew was ask ask ask cry beg ask ask demand ask ask beg cry....yeah, it can work but i even then, i'd often choose to just forgo whatever rather than beg.

i've always been like that. i might have just suffered and sometimes whined and watched my right arm get as bad as mynleft had been. might have, but terror won. what would i do, back on oahu with no income or place, if my arms were so painful i couldn't use them?

inconceivable. so i told erin and we fixed that.

how much dismal, sodden, profoundly lonely time i spent in oregon. once in ashland, i sat in my room and cried from hunger. everyone had suddenly lost their job. no food. so hungry i cried and cried and cried - why? i could have gone to the foodbank. thru the graveyard, under the bridge. walkable, flat. no. my misery depression despair was black and heavy. hunger, tears felt better, sort of, or more like, a fitting and weirdly pleasing undertone or counterpoint to the emotional pit.

then, the guilt for sneaking, even tho i had no choice and r was phobic, dmanding, sneaky, unstable, two-faced and so on...even tho by this point u had fevers and pain and almost od'd on boy once when the pain was too much (i'm not a fan of boy, so have no tolerance). i'd begung "dating" a bit, just fell into it without planning to do anything but get some smokes from skippy's.

i felt betrayed by r, trapped in a filthy, drugs and hookers slum, with drugs -- never my problem (other than nicotine and a few years with an alkie) -- were pretty much mandatory to stay numb enough to just get by. ie, tho it lacked the utter isolation and senseless yet razorslash guilt of oregon -- hot like hell where oregon is cold like a frozen unjverse--it was inarguable. i had to leave. to prevent obstacles ( i was too weak, i'd have failed and quit) i told no one. not one person. i leaf all the work and time and art and money and ssecurity (such as it was) i'd thrown down what was a rathole to me then, left it all. lugged the priceless and irreplaceable. six years of journals, the ones of my time with sinisa. his suicide, the unbelievable things that followed.

crazy irreplaceable things too: bits of paper, ads, reciepts, sketches, junkie notes, court summons, tinfoil candy wrappers, feathers...i felt i had to use them in an artwork. later. someti e. to fullt heal.

and sinisa's notebook. what he wrote that last week of his life. to me. to rudy. to life. to death.

once i'd tried to read thru everything but it was too soo . i was in a hotel room in waikiki, alone, gary's guest. i tried but all manner of eerie things aroseand wouldn't quit. hoky things i'd have laughed at in a movie: unfelt sudden wind from nowhere slamming doors shut, things falling off shelves they'd been firmly on all week. after four or five such things, i was spooked. i put awaly allthe writings and bits of stuff. obsessively put them away--my new way under pressure grabbed me and made me organize everything just so. and then, again. and again. and again. i just kept taking it all out -- some was wet and muddy, as a rainstorm and a destructive human had flung it all over my kalihi camp while i'd been away (and stolen my dharma things, my art supplies, and some clothes too), so probably i had a vague idea of finding the perfect arrangement of the scraps and notebooks where they'd fit under the bed, out of sight (i wanted no one to read them before i did), would keep together if they did get found, yet would still dry out and not be ruined)...

as it got near the time gary generally got back from work, i forced myself to quit and leave. i was still spooked. there'd also been an earthquake, a powerloss of the whole island, bus shutdown, etc. i was also trying to somehow just know who had trashed my camp all to hell. probably manny, from jealousy and insanity, tho he swore he didn't. i still think the manner in which some things were destroyed ( and which few things were spared) showed more knowlege of me than anyone out there had but him.

it was little more than a year since i saw sinisa jum, fall with arms held out like superman, and perfectly silent, hit the street and explode with a sound like a melon smashed on rocks.

then the rick show, which just spun further and further into chaos and then, in its own way, split back into infinity like sinisa (but with more immediate, practical consequences...)

i got fored, lost my apt, had all mybcash stolen abd was thrown out of two places (that i was invited to) my second night, the second time by of all things, a homeless guy who's been there awhile.

i had to digfood frommthe trash or do without. i did both. i got good at being near tourist food places at dinnertime, qnd casuallynwalking by and without looking, grabbing a likely looking bag off the top. i'd grab it by the handles like hey, it's just my doggie bag. i never glanced at it, just stolled on till i was far from where i snagged it.

then i'd find a table, open it, and if it was a decent looking meal -- and most were, people waste hella food on vacation-- i'd pull out chopsticks and dig in.

but the constant rain -- it eventually broke something and millions of gallons of raw sewage flooded the ala wai canal, then the waikiki boat harbor and over the summer, infused the ocean withncrap and flesh eating bacteria (a guy fell overboad and died from it) and puke and silt and poisoned fish --- well, it was just water floods and sewage for months.

now i'd alwaysnhad a place to live. becoming homeless so soon after sinisa's death, being broke before the next morning, enduring the two coldest nites i've seen my whole nine years here -- sans sweater, blanket, socks, food, phone, friends, or anything but my life and legs -- this was something.

i damn sure burn to write about it. i burn to have someone read what i write and really, truly get it. a few amazing angel bodhisattva type beings have crossed my path during all this, but no one has understood. it feels urgent yet futile: i must push thru fear, caution, sloth, prudence, etc and write it all down. as it comes, no punches pulled little editing (or id get bogged down) no care for law or names or feelings or the possibility it would be read and...misunderstood.

things that shocked me, changed me, continue to distort the lens that looks out, my spirit or whatever: how i wanted -- totally -- and needed someone then, but got anger from colleen, robbed (harshly) by rudy, his own devastation possibly greater and deeper than mine, robbed by the stupud junkies rick brought in, threatened by some of them, with a baseball bat by the insane kid, twice threatened with being thrown out the window -- once at length, rick was trying to get mynlast key. snuck to me by a kind guard. he risked his job, and i refused to give it to rick, whodmlost the other two.

"rick, if you're going to throw mw out, why not get i surance on me first? hell, might as well get some money, why not?" not long after i said that (i kinda meant it but i was scared too) -- and recall, he'd been trying for hours to get the key from me, just he and i, on the 24th floor, with thick walls that blocked sound, no rules. no rules at all...

but yeah, he soon saw it was useless. he stopped, resumed a normal manner, said bye bye, and never mentioned it again. somehow tho, maybe a week later, he brought mikel over for the first time and managed to steal it. i've never known how, nor can i convey my anguish when i realized the key -- the kind guard's key, who might get fired now -- was gone forever.

i wonder if he did get fired? ah... the terrible twins, shaun, the bank swindle, broken windows, rex setting the bed on fire and stealing all my important cards, then giving them back one by one -- till he got arrested elsewhere. i didn't replace my library card for two years. and when i finally did, i checked out several books on string theory, the diminsion thing, etc. before i could read them (but not before an educated, highly intelligent, schizophrenic yelled at me for having such fantasy nonsense!) the cops threw us all out of the park. i had a days notice so i returned the books.

several weeks later i tried to check a book out. nope. they said i'd damaged the physics books and would have to pay another $20. my words about no way i could read three books on quantum mechanics in a day swayed no one. ditto that i was homeless, very poor, and had not had a card for months and months because mine was stolen.

being still freshly shell shocked, and being in that permanent sub exhaustion homeless people learn (or not) to ignore, i got to see how much affect crying and telling how and when i'd lost my card had: zero .

oahu library ladies: hard as nails. who knew?

well, janet and yo are up, having morning drinks odf something that takes a lot lot lot of stirring. maybe i should stop writing and leave.

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