Category: Personal Essays

  • New Beginnings (Al Action Loves You)

    Hello Family,  It’s a new year with a new beginning.  Happy Black History Month. Every day should be  Black History Day.    This country was  built upon the backs of people  of color due to the ingenious idea of slavery. In this country the color of my skin should not be a crime.  So where […]

  • 13 Ways of Looking At Death

    1. I drive down Highway 80 and gaze at the landmarks you enjoyed when you were still alive. 2. The farm outside of St David, with grazing, tufted llamas behind a chain-link fence. 3. The roadside yucca tree that declined with each passing. It began lopsided, as if slightly drunk, but slumped more each month, […]

  • Childhood Realities

    I’m 76 now and things look different to me.   First of all, I don’t run up and down stairways anymore.  I trudge the steps. When I do the laundry, I have to climb down 26 steps and then back up the same 26 steps. But that isn’t the major change. I have clear memories of […]

  • Living the Pandemic Year in Harvard Square

    Living the Pandemic Year in Harvard Square

    Life being homeless on the streets of Harvard Square was tough, but I noticed last year a glimmer of hope.  As cruel winter came upon us, the food supplies were still coming and also water. I remember the first snowfall we got in December was not too bad but the cold could whoop us any […]

  • “They Were Locked In, We Were Locked Out”: A Story of Lockdown and Homelessness in Harvard Square

    “They Were Locked In, We Were Locked Out”: A Story of Lockdown and Homelessness in Harvard Square

    It was 22 March 2020. There were about 12 of us living in the shelter. Saturday morning was our last day there.  We had no place to go. It would be my first day outside with nothing open, no restrooms, no place to sit and have a hot cup of tea, it really was hard […]

  • With Spare Change News closed, a local fund awards one SCN vendor-writer a way to pay rent

    Governor Baker’s March 23 emergency order for all non-essential businesses to close impacted Spare Change News and its vendors like myself significantly. Spare Change News closed its doors for 11 weeks and reopened Friday, June 12. Over the past three months, I sold older back issues to the public in my Coolidge Corner, Brookline spot. […]

  • Sheltering in Place

    These are weird times. The doctors postponed Mary Esther’s spine surgery until June 10 because of the situation. Her lungs are challenged normally, so it’s important that she not get exposed to the coronavirus. This strange thing has put all our lives on hold. My heart goes out to people who are homeless and have […]

  • Relapse Ruminations and a Trip in the Way-back Machine

    While taking a short ride in my car yesterday I listened to an acapella group called Jersey Dream put out by Clifton Records. The lead singer is a friend of mine named Ron Trautz, and as I was enjoying his voice I thought about how much he has accomplished since we ran wild together back […]

  • Running on Empty Part 2: Doctor Shopping and Crowbar Dodging

    The pharmacist had grey hair and his glasses rested down on a bump in the middle of his nose.  The woman working the counter came over and I handed her the scripts. She asked me for my address and wrote it on the scripts.  I hated when they did that if they didn’t cash them […]

  • Running On Empty In Vermont: Part One

    I kept drinking the wine so the withdrawal from the Klonopin wouldn’t hit me.  I didn’t want to have a seizure out here in the boondocks. My wife, Debbie, has already gone into detox at a place called Scatterberry Farm.  St. Dismas House said they had a room for me, but it would not be […]