in the Downtown Eastside
By: Henry Doyle
I sit here at my TV lost in this little dirty underground welfare room. I turn away as a pizza commercial comes on, get up like off of fly paper from my garbage bin La Z -Boy. I look into the rooms’ full size fridge, discovering only sad lonely 3 day-old Kraft Dinner, stale brown bread and peanut butter.
Just a skid-row survival kit.
I head out into January’s dark rains for the meal line at U.G.M, just another organization that sells their religion for a free meal. I stand there in hunger and madness with a piece of cardboard for an umbrella.
Feel like a refugee in my own country.
I take a seat beside a native guy that is only in his 30′s put looks 50, smells like and open bottle of Listerine. My next seat is beside this little old man, curled up on his chair like it could be a bed, smelling of urine. He shiver’s the cold streets off of his ragged dirty skinny body, looking around with wide lost saucer eyes, as if bombs are going off near us. I stand up against the back wall.
Wishing I had a blindfold on and that last cigarette.
We’re pack in there like hungry cattle on the way to Vonnegut’s slaughterhouse. The old dull brown sad ottatorem, smells like moldy dirty laundry as us cattle have to sit in anxious hunger now and listen to an amateur Jesus freak for 30 minutes before we sit down to a 3 minute meal. He’s a well-to-do doctor and for show-and-tell he brings his picturesque son on stage like he just won the lottery and leaves exit stage left. The doctor starts his long old deep welled story.
Like his soul was for rent. , always mixed in with it. ” If you don’t accept Jesus Christ you’re going to Hell ” Kind of shit.
His suit and hair cut is worth more then what I make at the $8 hour slave labor pool in six months. Getting to the bottom of his deep welled story, he tells us that the other day he had to let this women know that her husband of 37 years was dieing. With arms wide open, like he’s on top of a mountain, he tells us that the women and husband are Buddhists. Giving us a picture in words of him watching this women now praying beside her dieing husband and he shaking his head thinking to himself that they are both going to Hell now because they don’t believe in Jesus fuckin’ Christ.
I would have got sick rate there but I didn’t have anything in my stomach. I should have brought ear plugs and that Bukowski novel I’m reading, Notes of a dirty old man, from just another dirty old man.
This was published in the MEGAPHONE.
Under. Word on the street. Issue 50/April 2, 2010
Vancouver’s Street Paper.
Also The 24 hour news paper. May 26/10
Thanks in part of the Megaphon’s community writing program here in