15 Minutes, Prose & Poetry

The Sheltered Existence Part 3

June 16

This morning, a “personfight” occurred at breakfast where one resident accused another of stealing(?) her juice. Took a DHS (Dept of Homeless Services) cop to calm things down. It’s not like it’s the highest quality 100% juice…

I’m here because it is what it is. Better than lockup, no worse than the street – at least here you can sleep, bathe and have a “place to be”. For me, it’s a place to sleep and bathe. Otherwise, it’s a soul-crushing drain on your sanity and patience. the wait. Jeebus, they make you wait. and wait. uhm, a few of us have jobs… Every few minutes, you’re asked why you’re sitting in the chairs, like you’re an inconvenience. You respond:

  • “Waiting to see the caseworker”
  • “Need a renewed Meal Ticket”
  • “Intake”

and, you really want to answer:  “I’m bored shitless, and I just want to annoy you.”

June 17

Walked into the “wreck” room as another argument was ending. The “babysitter” had his radio out as two women walked and got the third and they left. This was followed immediately after by another whinging about a cigarette. Can’t wait to get the hell out of here.


Prose & Poetry

The Sheltered Existence Part 2

June 9

“Residing” in an Industrial Area makes for interesting “living”. You feel warehoused, stored away. Confined without bars. You have to have your bag(s) pass through an x-ray search, no outside food, or open bottles, no sharp “stabby”  things, and you must pass through a metal detector. Smoke? There’s “the yard” a fenced in area with no place to sit, except for the uneven blacktop.

After the dorms are locked, you can retreat to the “recreation” room, where you can sit, watch a movie, and generally be demotivated to change your existence. The computers are in dire need of updating the OS and browser, and, you have to ask permission to use them, as you are not allowed to know the password. Job skills/prep isn’t happening there, baby. To be fair, it is the Assessment Shelter, but still.

June 10

Did my health/psych screen a couple of days ago, and the PPD (TB) test came back negative. NOW I can be sent on to Transitional Housing. The question going through my head is the one of where I will end up. Shelter? or Transitional Housing?

June 11

Monday morning I go see the people regarding housing. Saw pics of the building and apartment I hope to be sharing. Nice.

June 13

Got the directions to the apartment building where the interview will take place tomorrow, excited.

Last night, last fucking night, I walked into the restroom, and some nasty excuse for a human left her bloody panties and napkin on the bathroom floor. WHAT. THE. FUCK?  ran into a “Sink-bather” this a.m. Ladies, there are showers. With curtains.

How do I feel after starting the mood stabilizers? GREAT!!!! Energized.

June 15

Breakfast consisted of three hard boiled eggs, fried turkey baloney, y una hot dog bun. Since every maintenance person in this place is here, it must be “feeding time at the zoo”. “Breakfast” is a mashed egg/baloney sandwich.  ugh.

Interviewed at  1070, and will know in a couple of weeks. Saw the room. SWEET!  PLUS, I will be able to cook again!!!!

As non-stimulating as it is, I’m heading back before it starts raining.


Prose & Poetry, Vocal Booth

The Sheltered Existence Part 1

May 23, 2011, I checked out of my apartment, and checked into the psych ward at the Allen Hospital in NYC.(Actually, I checked myself into the Psych Ward at NY-Presbyterian first, then went to Allen.) I was there for three weeks total. 3 days in observation, where all I did was sleep as, there was nothing else to do, and two weeks in the Psych ward itself. The diagnosis? Major Depression.

The men and women I resided with for that two week period were pretty cool people. Seemed the most were “emo” cutters. one or two who were delusional, and a few like me, who were there because we held thoughts of doing ourselves in.

Sadly, there was one patient who really should have been in a nursing home.

After my two week “vacay”, I was released with my meds, into the custody of a friend. from there, since there wasn’t enough space to keep me and my suitcase, I went to the Assessment Shelter.

From There With The Grace of God

What follows, is my journal to date.

June 3, 2011 

I arrived at the shelter in the morning, to be told I had to relocate my laptop and camera. So, I walked back to the train, and headed back into Manhattan and to my friend. Dropped my stuff off, and began the sojourn back. I arrived back at 4:45 pm. 5 hours later, I am still waiting for intake. FINALLY, at 10:00 pm, I was handed the paperwork with an apology. Didn’t eat, as I wasn’t a resident, yet. So, dinner that night was a bag of kettle corn and a Snickers™ bar. While waiting to be given the paper work, a resident went into an asthma attack. Asked at the desk to call 911, which they said they already had. Asked if I could stay with her, was told “no.”

I am now “E14” and must carry my “identity papers” a/k/a Meal Ticket with me and show when I eat, sign for my bed, do laundry or at anytime when asked.  Welcome to “We Control Your Life” Curfew is 9:45, since bed check is 10:00pm. Lights out at 11:00 pm. 6:00 am wake up call. we get 00:30 to shower poop and dress. Remember to lock your locker, as once 7:30 am rolls around, you’re locked out of the dorm til 5:00 pm. Did I mention Breakfast is 6:30 – 7:30? Meals in the cafeteria are an adventure. Will someone get all cranky pants and accuse another of stealing their cup of what passes for juice? Will the Homeless Police have to intervene? Will an audience?

The shelter itself is a converted school, in an isolated area of Brooklyn, an industrial area, that closes up shop at 4:00pm, and definitely makes you not desirous of being out after dark. Curfews, bed/bag checks. Still beats sleeping on a train.

June 5, 2011

My friend, E is aghast that I described the area the shelter is in as a “ghetto”. It is. No services, amenities closer than 4 blocks away in a single direction, Did I mention we’re actually cut off from the rest of the area because it’s in a freaking industrial park? I did? Sorry. Just because we live in a shelter, is no reason that those of us who work (or anyone else there) can’t have a decent meal (food is awful and non-nutritious).  We can’t shop for toiletries without having to ride the bus or a subway 30 minutes just to get to a business district. Just because I’m homeless, don’t think I don’t work and pay taxes.

See, I live in NYC, and I am living within my means. I don’t make enough even for a share.

June 6 

It’s all hurry up and wait. Breakfast ends at 7:30, and the caseworkers don’t arrive til 9:00, which gives us an hour and a half to twiddle our thumbs. At about 8:30, The Binder appears, and we sign up for a slot with the caseworker. Then, we sit some more. The staff for the most part is courteous and respectful. A few of the staff treat us like we’re leeching of them. Some of my fellow shelter peeps? Not exactly the “give respect to get respect” types. The collection is an interesting mix of working homeless, transgender, mentally ill and castaways. Some of the women are gay, and dress like little “gangstas”. A couple of women were tripping on the Trans’ presence, but if you’re male and identify as trans, they can’t turn you away. And, there are women on parole and probation there. So, we tend to get treated like petit criminals. Bags are searched and we walk through a metal detector upon entry. With good reason.

One dorm mate is loudly, proudly schizo-affective and fully functional, yet lives off mine and the rest of the taxpayer dime. Another went to the hospital earlier.

June 7 

Breakfast was two “cheese omelets” just this side of edible. Might be powdered eggs or “egg beaters” and  bread. Thin coffee (think water with a brownish tinge). Most of what is served ends up in the trash. Should be grateful for all the daily bread we are served. (up to 6 slices/day). Talked to my hospitalized dormie. She told me she had miscarried.

Schizo-affective has been transferred out of the shelter.  The girl who miscarried has been transferred to another shelter that can better serve her.

June 8

Found out from the girl who had the asthma attack,  it took 40 minutes for the EMT’s to show up, and there wasn’t any paperwork done by the shelter about it. Last night, I completed all the intake shit. Now the wait for the transfer to transitional housing. Am eagerly awaiting the step up from this one step above incarceration. The general opinion of those of us who aren’t on parole/probation, is that this is like being in jail.

The Shelter: it’s a converted school in an industrial area of Brooklyn. Yeah, I said that in another entry. Oh, well. anyway, some of the girls work just down the block going down.


Prose & Poetry, Rumours Gin Mill

Like Attracts Like?, or, Why I think the LoA is nonsense


Yeah, you heard me. I think the “Law of Attraction” is bull. It’s hypocritical. It’s all touchy feely “picking up good vibrations” but when the Universe gives you negative “excitations”, suddenly, it stops being “Like Attracts Like” and the back-tracking begins. If my awesome experiences are the result of “Like Attracts Like” then why aren’t the not so awesome experiences? Is it because you can’t accept a “Plutonic Universe”, a Blind, yet potent Force that bestows Fortune and Tragedy without regard for social station, place or circumstance?

“But, Magpie”, you say, “bad things are circumstance. The Universe is a Loving place. We were created out of love. How can it be so cruel?”

“Simple. When I was much younger, I used to pretend I was on a soap opera with a pivotal hospital scene. Circumstance surrounding it are never explained, but sometimes, I would have facial injuries, as that’s what I almost always saw – unless of course it was the dreaded “incurable disease of unknown origin”. May of 1999, my hospital pretend came to pass with my being beaten. Now, according to LoA, I planted that outcome. Except I didn’t. Capice? No? Okay. Here’s another example of why it’s wrong wrong wrong. Friend of mine and I used to make quiet fun of the bag ladies we saw in San Francisco. Bag Ladies. That is what homeless women were called way back in the “good ol’ days” of the 1970’s. I’ve bee chronically homeless. Did I attract that, or just “wrong place, wrong time”? LoA will tell me “wrong place, wrong time” So will the Bergian version of Kaballah.

It’s all about “Touch-Feely” Goodness that like a lot of “modren” neo-paganism as well, cannot accept the duality of their gods. So LoA is also incapable of accepting that “Like attracts Like” for good or ill. and, it ain’t “Rubberband Karma”, either.

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Ad Astra, Prose & Poetry

the Chronicles of Me

This marks the end of my first full week at a new job. While it’s an IC, and I can go at my own pace, there is an unspoken pressure. I’m not as tired as yesterday, but then, I haven’t spent too much time dealing with bullshit, such as the revelation that “online bill paying” is “bank floats your payment for two-seven days before transmitting”. Or walking 4+ miles without stopping. I was not functional yesterday. Today? Just don’t know. Does the broker accept I have a disability? Or does he think that my mTBI is an excuse and I’m full of shit?