Two bright young men who I know well and love, with sterling educations and from decent families, live on the street of some big city. One of these men is somewhere on the streets of LA, like this guy. Somehow, this video popped into my YouTube feed two days ago. I don’t know why. But it was there. Watching it unlocked so much feeling for people who find themselves in these straits. A clear mental health crisis. He speaks about needing to hand a portion of his daily beggings over to more powerful homeless men who demand it for “protection.” The reactions he receives from passersby who give him a few coins one day, and are angry with him that he is still in the same situation, “unimproved,” from the last sighting. It’s such a sucking-trap of the soul, this condition, in a society whose social support is as cruel and judgemental as the US.
He talks about “The first thing that gets stolen from you is your shoes. And then you have to walk somewhere to get help over areas with broken glass and where people have been urinating.” Hearing this was like a punch in the gut, remembering the feet I know so well on one of these men. Cut feet, unshowered, walking barefoot on unforgiving city streets over sharp objects. My brothers.