Monday, January 31, 2005

cattle

last night i went on a tour of seven minneapolis shelters. we started at the salvation army's shelter safe bay. i think somewhere around 130 men sleeping on mats. then onto people serving people a shelter downtown mostly for families, ces 20 mats on the floor just for women and transgender individuals, our saviors 32 beds for men, 6 for women, simpson shelter, we watched the monday night lottery, a room full of men trying for beds at three different shelters, (49 men 23 beds tonight), st. stephens shelter and last harbour lights "secure waiting", no mats, just men in a room, cement floors, two church benches, full capacity at 125.
i learned the reason why some of these places are called secure waiting, there is a shelter zoning law that says that shelters can only be located at places of worship because the goverment can't tell faith based organizations that they can't help the poor. then the places that are called "secure waiting" usually can't offer meals, storage and they can't staff advocates to help people out of the situation that got them there in the first place.
i'm struck by the reality of the difference between youth serving shelters and adult shelters. the adult shelters are like warehouses, cattle barns, shove them all in, shove them all out.

Increasing Numbers. In 2003, estimates placed the total number of homeless and precariously housed persons (persons at imminent risk of losing housing) at 20,347 - a 36% increase over 1997.


-Wilder Research Center, Oct. 23, 2003




Sunday, January 30, 2005


at the red dragon about a month ago. Posted by Hello

Saturday, January 29, 2005

so begins another spring

i want to live a slow life filled with embracing.
i want to believe i'm a good person.
i want to dress up.
i want to tell the truth.
i want to hold hands.
i want to follow through.
i want to bring someone home, to hold.
i want to believe that people are good.
i want to spill secrets.
i want to be tickled until i pee my pants.
i want to live a fast life filled with second chances.
-oleander-

Thursday, January 27, 2005

budget

my work budget for the YEAR:
$400 dollars in food vouchers

12 bus cards



i heard this song on the radio today, i forgot how much i love it.

What a pretty live you have

Oh boy, it's a pretty life
And I would need a map
Just so I could navigate the back yard

Home is very ordinary
I know I was born to lead a double life

And when I find it, I know I'll make sense of me

I want to be cool, tall, vulnerable and luscious
I would have it all if I'd only had this much
No need for Lucifer to fall if he'd learn to keep his mouth shut
I would be involved with you

I know the girls
That live inside your world
Just sitting next to a mortal makes their skin crawl

lyrics from Perfect World
by Liz Phair

blood shot

she sits across from me asking me for food vouchers, begging, almost. i feel disgusted with myself that she is begging me. we've given her too much already, she needs to use the food shelf. she has too much perfume on to cover some other odor, her eyes are puffy and bloodshot. she's been using and selling her self. she's about to cry, and she's sick and she's hungry. i have to go, the meeting i'm supposed to be in started ten minutes before, i don't have enough time to say yes or no, i shove her off onto another worker. this wakes me up at 2:30 in the morning.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

we had a time

being a street outreach worker is a good job for me. because of many reasons, but i love walking and i love this city. saturday night julie and i walked from her place on lyndale to a party on hennepin. we walked on the pretty snow covered minneapolis streets, crunch, crunch crunch, drinking beers, rosey cheeks, cold, quiet, clean air.... one of those times that i want to capture and keep in my bag full of times, so i can pull it out whenever i need it.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

link

http://www.accessworks.org/

exchange

alissa came over tonight... i don't know if i've explained how amazing she is, but she works at the only syringe exchange in minneapolis. a few months ago they lost a huge chunk of funding and are currently operating on three staff, when they once had twelve!
anyway, alissa also started a hepatitis clinic at the syringe exchange and is being asked to speak about it at a national conference. she is truly passionate and inspirational.... i'm sure she will inspire others all across the country, because she inspires me nearly daily.
we were talking and finally, i figured it out, for those who know me, you've all listened to me rant about upper class people and oppression of the working class and poor people... i realized i'm scared that the people in my life will become yuppies. yup. that's what it comes down to. all those nights when i talk shit about the upper class... what it comes down to, i'm terrified of a take over of suvs, overpriced fru-fru coffee drinks and maybe even (eeeekkk!!!) smooth jazz by my dear friends. but, it's probably going to happen and i will deal and love them all just the same.

feel good about yourself, contribute!

Diaspora Flow presents a Benefit Show for The Sri Lanka Relief Fund
WHEN: Sunday, January 23rd 7 pm, reception following show

WHERE: Coffman Memorial Union Theater at the University of Minnesota
300 Washington Ave. S.E. Minneapolis, MN 55455
for directions go to www.coffman.umn.edu/directions.php
or call 612-624-INFO

WHO: South Asian Artists from Canada, Minnesota, and LA
COST: Sliding scale from $10 to as much as you want to give
Over 47,000 dead and one million homeless in Sri Lanka. In a few hours, the tsunamis destroyed what took lifetimes to create. Help us rebuild.Diaspora Flow, a Sri Lankan American 501(c)3 nonprofit arts organization, will hold a benefit show with local and national artists for The Sri Lanka Relief Fund. All proceeds will go directly towards basic needs and rebuilding efforts.
For detailed information on the show, projects funded, as well as the organization, please check out www.diasporaflow.org
We have an amazing group of artists for the show! Their beautiful work shows the necessity of transforming pain and suffering into a language that communicates hope and rebirth of the spirit. Not only do you get tos ee some amazing performances and visual art, you're supporting socially responsible giving in Sri Lanka!!!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

freeze

so, if a person becomes homeless when they are say 12 years old. and continue to be homeless until they are 22, they could cognitively freeze in a 12 year old brain for that entire time until their basic needs are secure.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

tnsc

tuesday night sex club. julie, ben and myself, also formerly amelia. i got home, kind of drunk. done talking about sex that other people are having.
my mom called. she wanted to see how i was doing. she talked about selling the house, i started to cry during our conversation and i made myself get off the phone instead of trying to get her to nurture me. i cried because i was drunk. i cried because when you lose where you come from, you lose part of yourself.
-oleander-

Monday, January 17, 2005

post-party-depression

when i used to live with roommates and we would throw crazy (or completely not crazy) parties, julie and i would refer to having post-party-depression the next day, when all the hype and anticipation is over and it's just back to cleaning up icky beer bottles, wiping up some mysterious sticky substance that ended up on the bedroom floor and maybe making a few phone calls to apologize for some outlandish behavior. after that's all said and done, it's back to normal life again. back to work, back to shit like getting that time card in, paying the phone bill, clearing out the smoker's cough... and that's where i'm at now.... post vacation depression, when there isn't the party to look forward to anymore.
hugs
-oleander-

Sunday, January 16, 2005

criss-crossed

georgia's braiding my hair as i sit here trying to write my blog, i feel like we are eight years old again, accept in georgia's own apartment, not some make shit house made out of couch cusions and sheets.
yesterday we went to central park, the met, the john lennon tribute in front of the dakota hotel, we criss-crossed the park, criss-crossed it and criss-crossed it again! then we went to this coffee shop to meet up with jason, had dinner at this thai place with jason and richel and then i met troy in long island city. we walked by the water and i got some great shots of the city at night, then we went to this awesome little bar called the long island city bar. i drank my first white russian with vanilla stoli (yum). peace.

Friday, January 14, 2005


Posted by Hello

day 2

so when i walked out of the airport yesterday, it was dark out! we had been so delayed in chicago, it was already evening when i got into new york (so not my plan). i'm pretty proud of myself, i found out how to take a bus and a subway to georgia's house it was so scary at night and not having any idea where i was going, i was asking all my neighbors and everybody was looking at me with my suitcase, my maps and directions. i should have just pulled out my camera and starting taking pictures of them!
so last night we went out in the west village (had awesome pizza... i'm so excited to be here i keep over using the words "awesome" "that rocks" "rad" that's hot") and met a bunch of georgia's friends. then we walked around for about an hour and then came back here and chilled.
today i'm going to the streetworks project for a tour, that should be exciting, me finding my way there should be exciting. it's pretty wet and rainy out right now, hopefully it will clear out before i head out.
then tonight i'm giong to a yoga class at the studio georgia manages then we are going out to dinner and then out for kareokee. should be a wild time. i told georgia if she gets ten drinks in me, i might sing "brand new key".
hugs!

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

sweet thing, i give you

"winter comes and it snows
i can't marry you, you know
without children to grow
i can't marry you, you know

take a year in your hands
you can find another man
let your unloved parts get loved
i will be your man

places you should be afraid of
into the river we will wade up"

i hugged julie from behind, "julieeeeee-kiiiiiinnssss" i kind of slur as we hug and say good bye for the night. we just finished screaming in the middle of a still and quiet lyndale avenue. screaming at nothing. sometimes, it feels so good to scream, especially in the middle of a normally busy street in the middle of the night. the wet, clumpy snow falls on me, it falls like rain, in sheets, snowman snow, perfect, snowballs. joe says "you guys are so cute, you know how cute you guys are, right?" julie kind of floats away, "yea...." they disapear into the next bar and i walk to my car, the stillness and the purple, grey, poluted sky captures me with the leafless trees agianst it.

i'm reminded of being young at a slumber party, when the highlight was some girls sneaking off in the middle of the night to do cartwheels down broadway of our small town. i slept through that one.

"wake up and i'm fine,
with my dreaming still on my mind,
but it don't take long to see,
for the demons to come and visit me,
but i've got my problems,
sometimes love don't solve them
and i end each day, in a song...
i know i'm hard man,
to live with sometimes,
maybe it ain't in me to make you a happy wife of mine,
maybe you'll kill me,
honey i don't blame you,
if i was in your place,
maybe that's what i would do"

(every thing in quotations by will oldham/ palace brothers)

Monday, January 10, 2005

i need you to understand...

i'm a middle child, one older brother or i guess sort of two older brothers (long story, for another entry) and one younger sister. apparently middle children feel the need to over-explain and recieve feedback from other people that they understand. THIS IS ME. to anybody who has ever had a conversation with me... think about the amount of times i have over-explained something and then said, "do you get what i'm saying?" or "do you know what i mean?" or "do you understand where i'm coming from?" etc. etc. i think that oldest child types tend to be the best at validating and youngest child types are better at distracting or something... not sure about that, my co-worker rick would know, he's smart like that.
i hate believing in "pop psychology" but, it can be so true. so true. bye.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

spill

it's saturday evening and i've had a day of neurotic feelings. i'm anxious about my trip to new york, money, love, friends, everything.... mostly i spill my emotions, i have a hard time containing... i guess it's a good thing most of the time i'm in a good mood.
i miss amelia.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

highlight

a highlight of my career... this evening i brought a youth i'm working with to a shelter for a tour and to get on the waiting list, while we were doing that, i ran into another youth i work with who is staying there. we were chatting and after awhile, she asked me, "so, are you getting him in here?" i said, "yeah." she just looked at me and she said, "your cool."
it's nice that she thinks i'm cool, but that's not the point. the point is, that it wasn't:

you got me a bus card, so your cool;

you got me a food voucher, so your cool;

you got me some cloths so your cool;

the point is, that it was:


you are helping someone else who's in a situation like mine, so your cool.


Tuesday, January 04, 2005

working hard

one of my favorite books is called thinking class, it's about art and intelligence that is so often undermined when it comes from working class people, when not articulated perfectly, the art within crafts like refrigerator magnets and such... it also explores societies view on working class, blue collar people as being ignorant, stupid or simple because of a lack of formal education. it's been awhile since i read it, (i lent it to a guy i dated for about a minute and then i never saw him again) but, anyway, i was thinking about this book tonight after having dinner at my friend alissa's house. see... i stumbled across this book pretty randomly at book smart in uptown, i thought it looked kind of interesting, i had just graduated college, trying to figure out what i wanted to do with my life and in that search i was thinking a lot about where i come from, my families values, etc. i did then and still do feel out of place around intellectuals and quite honestly people who use big words to alienate.
when i met alissa we bonded quickly because of our similar backgrounds, coming from small towns, working class families and that familiar drive to leave, leave, leave... then struggling to fit in we found ourselves reclaiming that which makes us who are... and in this quest of reclaiming we each separately discovered this book.
i'm also reminded of this time when i sold some beaded bracelets i'd made at a local craft fair. i told this to a guy i knew, an artist, from college. he asked me if i "was still making my little bracelets" and i told him about how i'd made $30 dollars selling them. he told me that was cute that i could sell my little crafts.
hey, i made $30 dollars.... where i come from, we value that.

big hair guy


jared was in town recently. we were new years buddies. i think it's best to find a buddy for those sort of nights. he told me about a detox diet that is simply cayenne pepper, lemon juice and maple syrup. spicy lemonade.
after the craziness of the last month, i decided it's time to get clean out my body and my mind. overdosed on drinking, junk food, stimulation, spending money, people, gifts, food, drinking, smoking, pictures, headaches, drinking, drinking. i'm taking it easy for awhile. my body needs some down time.
last night, i spent a night in, and i cleaned my apartment and listened to music. having time to really listen to music, without doing ten other things, is so great. i made a gift for my friends, who are going to thailand, cambodia and india (tomorrow morning). i made them patches of the eye of horus. the eye of horus is the egyptian symbol for protection and healing.
Posted by Hello

Monday, January 03, 2005

sally and betty

i miss my cats.


betty Posted by Hello


sally Posted by Hello