What You Don’t Get About Being Homeless Is…
By Alan L. Bounville
What you don’t get about being homeless, and don’t fucking dare tell me I’m not just that, is how shitty it gets when all I want to do is search for sustaining opportunities at the very moment I have to figure out where the fuck I’m sleeping tonight.
What you don’t get about being homeless is, its simple definition – home LESS.
You think we own shit. So if I don’t own a home, or have legal rights to one
I. AM. HOMELESS.
It doesn’t matter how many friends I have who’ll take me in. Because it’s their home I’m in, not mine. And because of that, I sometimes have to leave and face the possibility that, “I may sleep under a bridge tonight because no one’s homeS are available for me today.”
And it doesn’t matter how white or male or resourceful I am. That feeling of not knowing where I’ll rest my head
What you don’t get about being homeless is, it takes deposit, first month, last month, and a ‘secure’ income stream (whatever the fuck that is) just to get into a place. Sure, there is the transitional – YMCA, sublet, whatever the fuck – but that’s the standard YOU’VE set.
What you don’t get about being homeless is, me taking the time to write a poem about it is the best fucking use of my time.
Because if I keep bottling this up, I’ll explode!
Greater still, because I’m still
I NEED to be seen as a human. Not some free loader trying to live outside of the rules.
Don’t you get it?
What you don’t get about being homeless is, there’s no reason any of us should ever – EVER – be without one. Do you know how much harder it’s made it for me to focus on my teaching jobs? My future? My now?
And yeah, on the spectrum of homelessness, I’ve had it ‘easy.’ There are people
living under bridges, cast out of their homes for immutable traits, being shamed because of diseases like addiction, racism, depression, et. al (a lot of which is caused by your belief that if everyone were to just work hard, they would be successful).
You’re overall logic on the matter of homelessness is what MAKES homelessness.
SO, FUCK YOU!
You have no idea how much harder it is for basic needs to be met in this retrogressed way of being you call
Oh, I see you, wanting to open your filthy mouth to say things like,
“Yeah, but you’re too picky.”
“You should just take any job.”
“Be responsible for yourself.”
“Don’t pretend like this is anyone’s fault but your own.”
You make us paranoid and hoarding and selfish and wanting for what is bullshit. And you make it so everyone questions everyone – instead of us realizing that if we worked together more, had higher standards as it relates to communing with each other, and thought lesser of what means NOTHING – if we did
life would be so much more pleasant for us all.
You make us think that buying shit from people who control the resources is progress. You delude us into thinking we ‘need’ things like a certain type of car or paper towels or bottled water, or that our lives are so much better because of what we wear or whatever other cliché I could throw out to illustrate the failures of consumerism.
It’s actually all part of the diabolical plot to control us.
A plot that is far more subversive than that of a dictatorial or feudal state.
This Corptocratic Neo-Feudalism pushes us away from each other saying,
“I need more me time.”
“I don’t want to look at strangers.”
“I’m so annoyed by people.”
…who are just like me – PEOPLE. These seemingly small eye-rolling statements have
I know. Nothing’s perfect. There’s no perfect grouping of us. Tension will always exist. But what you don’t get is, this is NOT the best of all possible worlds. This fucking sucks for millions upon millions upon millions upon billions of us around the world – and for the world itself.
What I demand:
Ecologically and sociologically-responsible work for everyone.
Plentiful, healthy, local, unaltered food.
Freedom of thought, word, action, mobility.
Love of self and others
And most of all, what you don’t get about being homeless is, despite all of this, you’ve lost control of me.
And if I can be a voice of resistance, maybe, just maybe it’ll cause someone else to join me as we raise our fists at you, and then in unison, our middle fingers as we scream without words
Because our words will be reserved for the pleasant conversation we have with each other as we turn and walk away, our free hand firmly clasping the other’s, knowing this is the only real that matters.
How does a person step back into society with nothing but the support of people like you and their own skills and experience? I’m answering that question every day.
Post-walking life is much like walking life: Finding people who will host me while I look for opportunities (aka jobs), raising funds to survive during this time of transition, and continuing to live a life full of intention, regardless of how hard it is to do so in our current world.
Here’s a brief update of some of what I’ve been doing since the Into the Light Walk ended in February.
In Our Words Project – I launched this interview-theatre based project two months ago. The IOWP shares real stories from real people. Since starting, I’ve uploaded seven stories, applied for two grants, performed one of the stories at an Open Mic Night, and received 32 $1 or more donations as part of my 100 $1 Donor Campaign effort for this initiative.
Into the Light Walk Book – Yes, I am writing a book about the 21-month walking journey. So far I’ve written 150 pages. My goal is to complete the manuscript by the end of the year and launch a crowd funding campaign to raise the money needed to hire an editor, pay for self-publishing costs, and go on a book tour.
Upcoming Engagements/To Do List:
- Apply for Food Stamps and any other public assistance I can receive.
- Continue applying for Teaching Artist opportunities – and other opportunities that will help me get to a place where I can rent a room in NYC as soon as possible.
- June 21 – Speak at Church of Saint Francis Xavier in NYC about “Walking the Walk”
- July-Aug – Part-time Teaching Artist opportunity (job) with YMCA.
- When I started walking, I gave up a sense of financial security. And though resources were thin on a regular basis, I walked 6,000-miles for equality because of people like you. I was even able to donate $1,700 of what I raised to a charity.
Now life is in a way even more precarious because there isn’t a day-to-day story for people to watch which may motivate them to give.
So I ask: Will you help me again? Your support allows me to pay for things like:
- Blood work and other medical costs I have as a result of getting basic healthcare needs met.
- Food and other basic needs.
- Deposit funds I need to rent a room in the NYC area.
Alan L. Bounville
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