Walking down the street is a different experience for every soul based on circumstance of pride. Were I striding the streets of Manhattan I'd be feeling glorious concrete under my feet participating the grand parade that is New York. Were I an angry lover storming off in a huff I'd see nothing of the street below me be it gold or ghetto. Were I someone whose life is set but whose car broke down I'd look upon it as an inconvenient adventure. But when walking down the street is all you've got to get from point A to point B, the world is a frightening place.
You feel as if you've a target on your back, easy pickings for the predators be they police or perps. How can one argue to be a success in life when forced to stand in the elements? The fuckers in their fancy cars fear you because they fear to be you. They know the unforgiving cruelty of life under their thumb, you're simply evidence to be eliminated. It bothers some less than others, but for me I always take the routes with the least amount of traffic and visibility. I may be stupid but I know enough not to trust the sorry lot who run this world.
Seems I've had occasion to walk stranded just about everywhere, even the gold lined streets of Frisco where I got sick by a newly constructed library and left a fine mess as unintended commentary. But most of the time I'm sauntering through trash lined streets by those who've no stake in the system same as I. That's the only camaraderie I have even if they are mostly wolves. Part of me has a powerful urge to pick up the trash in the parking lots to give a veneer of hope back. But that's like writing in the sand to be washed away by lapping ocean waves.
Amazingly enough, gentrification is coming to south Dallas (aka the wrong side of the tracks). This gives me mixed feelings as I walk along what used to be an area with a force field of low rent buildings and low rent lives. White bread fuckers had no use to come here then. Now they travel through to their freshly built apartments while we remain in a glass menagerie on the other side of their German windshields. I hate to see rot. It's good to see flowers among the weeds. But I'm sure there's a price to be paid for this somewhere - and that price won't be paid by those with money (Hi, Mr. Staubach!).
So I've had to alter my treks to stay safely within the yuppie repelling force field of what is still the overwhelming majority of undevelopment. Not that I don't know that white rot is everywhere, it's just that here we don't have the money to hide it. You'd be surprised at how many souls see having money to hide their rot as the most important virtue in their life - important to the point of killing I might add. As for myself, I see that crushed plastic Coke bottle on the baked black pre-war tarmac and think: that's me.
And that's how I came across the burned out shack of Sam's still standing somehow after all these years. It's off by itself on the yellow grassy end of a block. I always wondered why no other houses were built around it back when the area was developed. It's as if the builders knew its coming fate. What shocked me more was seeing Sam sitting in it, knife still in his soul. I could clearly make out his distinctive profile sitting on one of those metal folding chairs you always see at convention centers. As lonely as I felt on my own trek, seeing Sam stuck in time made the universe spin around me in disoriented despair.
Sam had a woman and a life at one point. I don't know all the details. He had some sort of meltdown and literally burned down his own house. Apparently there was no recovering from that, his woman wanting no part of it. Others at that time in the shelter made fun of him for torching his own home, especially when not even for insurance money. He was in a state of shock then but then like so many others he simply disappeared not be seen again. But he'd always stuck in my mind as I too am my own worst enemy and wondered how he ended up.
Part of me was shocked to see him still alive. Whoever the woman was he was with was the love of his life. He kept asking for her at the shelter. Sitting in that shack was his last remaining connection to what had been. He could move neither forward nor backward. Whoever claimed time heals all wounds never talked to Judas. It was a crystallization seeing him stone-like in the still silence: he couldn't trust himself to build another house, homeless for all eternity.
My brain went all haywire, part of me thinking I should call 911. However futile, we each cling to the idea there is help to be had for every situation - or at least there should be. But "Sad Sam", as he was nicknamed, has no recourse. Though above average in intelligence I knew he was working some crap job where he could avoid the killing knife in his soul. In that moment I even sensed he only stayed alive as a form of punishment to himself. I suspect his former woman, though, would see his continued existence as only a furthering of his betrayal, as if he'd had no feelings all along.
I suppose we each write our own narratives as we see fit to make sense of our lives. No man changes the world except by changing his own. Just as those who kill to hide their rot cling to that as their morality so does Sam cling to his self-punishment as his sole remaining virtue. Try to give him a life and he'd violently resist. Were he to try and have a life anyway he'd only hear his ex's voice shooting him down. "She wants me dead," is what I imagined him saying to himself as I passed by. I know that feeling too so perhaps I was simply writing my own narrative as I see fit.