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It's not all heartwarming moments around the Day Center, though this week had its share. Tension and conflict, held back with meditation, medication and protection orders, percolate just under the surface. Colin came into the Day Center with a cast... Continue reading
Posted 3 hours ago at Across the Great Divide
I can't help but think of "John" this week as I read the budget-cut smoke signals being sent by the White House. He represents the “able-bodied” man who might be required to work in exchange for benefits in the GOP-sponsored... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Across the Great Divide
International Women's Day went a bit differently at the Day Center. Alice, who has been a guest of ours off and on, came in to to hire someone with experience doing drywall. It took about five seconds for me to... Continue reading
Posted Mar 9, 2017 at Across the Great Divide
The big man said hadn't been to the Day Center before, so I gave him an intake form and turned back to admitting the morning crush. It was first of the month, when the various forms of government aid deposit... Continue reading
Posted Mar 5, 2017 at Across the Great Divide
After a winter morning ride down the hill, my cable does not want to uncoil enough to secure my bike to the rack. The shape-memory of the metal keeps it curled, and though I can wrestle it through the wheel... Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2017 at Across the Great Divide
Last week at a book club, I met a landlord named Ted who told me he had rented rooms to four of the men I mention in the Acknowledgments for my novel, Inhabited. Ted had gotten into low-income housing when... Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2017 at Across the Great Divide
When I saw Carl last winter, he looked bad, although maybe not according to the standard of scary men on the street. His grey wool overcoat still had some formality left in it, but he seemed ready for the rag... Continue reading
Posted Feb 11, 2017 at Across the Great Divide
Today was the first of the month, a day when balances show up in public assistance accounts. The first has always been well-known as a time of, let us say, increased discretionary spending by pensioners and people on disability. Extra... Continue reading
Posted Feb 1, 2017 at Across the Great Divide
Today I counted one bike trailer with personal belongings, one carrying scrap, one shopping cart, one loaded tricycle and one wheeled walker loaded with laundry. Today started with one of our guests—a world-champion passive-aggressive—walking past me and saying, we need... Continue reading
Posted Jan 25, 2017 at Across the Great Divide
My fourth vacuum cleaner since starting at the Day Center. This week at the Day Center I realized I have survived three breakdowns. Put another way, I am now pushing my fourth vacuum cleaner. (Or maybe the fifth, counting a... Continue reading
Posted Jan 12, 2017 at Across the Great Divide
Driving to the Day Center in Grand Junction, I wondered how different the place might feel on my first day back after seven months away. Although there are superficial similarities with Peace House Community in Minneapolis, the Day Center bustles... Continue reading
Posted Jan 4, 2017 at Across the Great Divide
The State of the Nation is great again, believe me. And now, after eight years, people are saying I am the greatest President in history. I’m not saying I am, but I must be, because of the people. The people... Continue reading
Posted Dec 23, 2016 at Across the Great Divide
I wish I was able to hear today's discussion at Peace House, in case it dealt with this non-story. Jake Nyberg, known Twitter commodity, writer, and musician from Minneapolis, apparently wanted to embarrass the Minnesota Vikings and force the team... Continue reading
Posted Dec 20, 2016 at Across the Great Divide
Yesterday evening, several hundred people remembered homeless individuals who died in Minneapolis over the past year. Through frigid streets, marchers carried signs bearing the first names of the dead. You can see some of those names in the photo published... Continue reading
Posted Dec 16, 2016 at Across the Great Divide
A fleece jacket had been left for some needy street person. Over the course of the day, people picked it from the table, held it up for size and set it back again---but not before subtly checking the pockets. Do... Continue reading
Posted Dec 14, 2016 at Across the Great Divide
My ride to Peace House takes me right past an apartment building Susan and I lived in 40 years ago. This morning, I saw two guys unloading a mattress and carrying it up those steps. End of the month, winter... Continue reading
Posted Nov 25, 2016 at Across the Great Divide
She had been sitting quietly next to me, a cantaloupe in her lap. "What does it mean, 'a cross to bear'?" I explained. It's a heavy and unchosen burden that you must carry with you, whether you want to or... Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2016 at Across the Great Divide
Virgil speaks like a preacher imitating God teaching Sunday School. His voice is deep and resonant, his tones round, his words ar-TIC-ulated in-di-VID-ually, his meaning plain, shaded toward the platitudinous. But then Bible verses haven't changed much in the last... Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2016 at Across the Great Divide
Another couch house has appeared across the alley. A week ago, a new abandoned couch showed up in the spot occupied by the Happy Hour Couch until mid-October. Couch House is back open for business. From the time I first... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2016 at Across the Great Divide
We had a spirited discussion about voting today. Rather quickly, it turned to the subject of a felon's right to vote in Minnesota. Quite a number of individuals in the room had first-hand acquaintance with the state law, which prohibits... Continue reading
Posted Oct 28, 2016 at Across the Great Divide
Years ago a white man in a suit crossed a sunny St. Paul parking lot toward his red convertible. From the direction of the freeway opposite, a tall young black man hailed him and bore down upon the same point.... Continue reading
Posted Oct 25, 2016 at Across the Great Divide
For more than a month a couch house sat against the fence across the alley from Peace House Community. Several weeks ago, two police cars came by. A city mower had been unable to cut the grass along the freeway... Continue reading
Posted Oct 16, 2016 at Across the Great Divide
On the street, even people sleeping out in the rain and waking up with a hangover can find someone else to look down on. Ranks of dissolution and recovery are further gradated by race, personality type, work ethic, degree of... Continue reading
Posted Sep 9, 2016 at Across the Great Divide
"How do you like this neighborhood?" he asked. "Does it feel safe to you?" I was locking my bike to a pole on his street. I knew better than to leave slack in the cable. Otherwise, an enterprising thief could... Continue reading
Posted Sep 6, 2016 at Across the Great Divide
You realize I'm making up stories here, don't you? I mean, I don't fabricate and I usually try to verify, but I'm still filling the blanks with some of my stuff, like we all do. In fact, I specialize in... Continue reading
Posted Aug 28, 2016 at Across the Great Divide