I Still See
I have lived inside for more than five years. In rooms that are four walls or at least some kind of four wall concept, most with doors that shut. These rooms are in houses with bathrooms that have big ole water wasting flush toilets where I do the vast majority of my business. There are ceilings on these houses that keep out rain for the most part. There are mattresses in my rooms, now there is even a bedframe, a head and a footboard. There are rooms with stoves and working refrigerators and when we say we are out of food we are not counting the pantry full of the food bank cans we prefer the least.
I ride Amtrak trains. I drive my registered and insured car. I ride my very fancy new bicycle worth three months of my rent.
But I still see.
I see the perfect cluster of bushes in Central California; there is a mattress there because someone agreed with me. I see every dry cardboard dumpster when I am walking in a rainstorm. I see every eve of every abandoned business. I see the bridges that have blind spots from the road. I see the unlocked compost bins. I see the unlocked recycling bins in states with a deposit. I see which liquor bottles have booze left in the alley recycling in my town.
I haven’t drank booze in six years.
I see every exit inside every store; I see which public restrooms are monitored and which are not. I see which men I could take to a motel and roll. I see the rich ones with whiskey dick. Those were always the safest.
I see shade in the desert; I see drinking water in industrial parks. I see shelter in the storm and heat vents in the snow.
I see security guards. I see police. I see when they are focused else where.
I see ink tags on new clothes; I see beepy strips tucked into the pages of expensive books. I see which cameras are real and which store clerks are invested enough to confront someone. I keep tabs on the rumors about store policies, about train routes, about attacks in the street.
I count the bolts on passing trains. I scrutinize the shape of their cars and the number of their engines. I see which spots have wide shoulders for rides to pull over. I see which intersections have forced slow downs passed good spots to stand with a sign.
I live inside, I work Monday through Friday, I volunteer, I blog, I drink coffee at coffee shops out of disposable cups, when I have beans at home and a mug in my bag. Sometimes days pass and I am not hungry and I am not scared. Some days all I worry about is a bill or a beautiful boi who doesn’t come around anymore.
More than five years and I still see.