It’s a rainy day in New York and I’m staying underground to avoid the puddles and umbrella madness of midtown. I wish I could make it all of the way home without going outside on days like this.
“Here have a dollar
In fact now brotherman, here have two
Two dollars means a snack for me
But it means a big deal to you
Be strong, serve God only
Know that if you do, beautiful Heaven awaits
That’s the poem I wrote for the first time
I saw a man with no clothes, no money, no plate
Mr. Wendal, that’s his name
No one ever knew his name ‘cuz he’s a no one
Never thought twice about spending on an old bum
Until I had the chance to really get to know one
Now that I know ‘em, to give him money isn’t charity
He gives me some knowledge, I buy him some shoes
And to think blacks spend all their money on big colleges
Still most of you come out confused
Go ahead Mr. Wendal
Go ahead Mr. Wendal
Mr. Wendal has freedom
A free that you and I think he’s dumb
Free to be without the worries of a quick to diss society
For Mr. Wendal’s a bum
His only worries are sickness and occasional harassment
By the police and their chase
Uncivilized we call him but I just saw him
Eat off the food we waste”
It’s good to be home. I’ve been on the road for sometime now and I’m tired. It’s great to wake up to this view. Ok, fine, I actually have to ride my bike to this view, but still it’s still a great view. Crisp fall mornings like this makes me love New York all over again. I just finished a bike ride and this time I brought my camera along. I sipped my morning cup of Joe and just took it all in as the city came to life with the rising sun.
It’s official. I only have one state left to visit in these United States. This weekend I went on a little road trip. 900 + miles, 4 states and one sovereign nation later, all I have left is North Dakota. I actually never thought I would make it to see Mt. Rushmore. I didn’t really have a desire to so it…but boy is it impressive. Even after checking out the museum at the base I still can’t grasp how they carved those faces into the side of a mountain range. And what’s even more impressive is the Crazy House sculpture that is still under construction. If and when it’s completed it will be the world’s largest sculpture at 641 feet (195 m) wide and 563 feet (172 m) high (at least according to the wiki page). Regardless, Mt. Rushmore was well worth the 6 hour drive from Denver.
Life is simply hard on the reservation. Opportunity is short to come by and hope, for some, was lost a long time ago. Promises were broken before and they continued to broken today. Help usually disguised in harm. This is one of the poorest places in America. I’m on sovereign land in a country that refuses to acknowledge the past, present or future. This is Thunder Valley, home to the Oglala Lakota (Sioux). On this land people die young, unemployed and wanting for more. 97% of the population live below the poverty line. Unemployment hovers around 85-95%. The infant mortality rate is 300% the national average and the average life expectancy is only 45 years old. Homes are substandard and there are only a few shops in town. Winters are brutal with snow drifts piling up on endless roads that stretch across a desolate landscape. Despite these conditions, the Lakota are proud people. Despite the government promises turned into nightmares, they stand tall. Despite all that life has thrown at them, they are still here. But, life is hard on the reservation and opportunity, limited.
Ok. I’m starting to think that Downtown Denver is just kinda weird. This is my third day here and I’ve seen some stuff! For real! So, I’m just walking down the street minding my own business..and then this happens….a mime trying to cross the street. Let’s just say it didn’t end well for the mime. I think he thought the invisible wall thingy was really…..news flash, it doesn’t stop cars. :-)
He screamed all types of obscenities at me as he worked forward filled with rage. I violated his space…his moment…his day with my camera and curious eye. I was actually more interested in the entire scene. Alley way. Disabled panhandler. Random stranger walking. The grit of street life. A typical day in downtown Denver. I was never afraid. I always keep it moving. I steal moments of life without regret. It’s my moment too. Sometimes I want to freeze it and let it linger in limbo as a captured image. He is still angry at me. We’re not going to talk this one through. There is no hope. Only confrontation and rage.