I have attended several writing groups in my life including a couple while living on the streets of Portland. One at Street Roots, that homeless paper I used to sell, the other at a sort of downbeat café frequented by poets.
Most writing prompts are along the lines of; write about a time you spent in nature, write about a secret dream, describe yourself at 11, etc. Never know what kind of writing prompt you were going to get from the hipster poets.
One time I ended up with: Mike you are a Briefcase in Directors Park as my prompt. I turned it into a humor piece, well at least I find it funny.
Mike you are a briefcase at Directors Park. Does that sound romantic? I sure as hell hope not because you are my friend and I have never gazed at you with lustful intentions.
Why in God’s name would I refer to you as a briefcase.
Well think about what a briefcase represents; professionalism and organization.
You can also refer to it as a satchel which is a funny sounding word that has sexual connotations.
Stop it, I am not flirting, just some of that homo-erotic humor us straight guys like to engage in, a lot.
Anyway I have always been envious of your satchel, I mean your professionalism and your organizational skills, two things I was not naturally endowed with. Naturally endowed was not meant to imply anything about the size of your satchel. Nor have I learned how to be more organized and professional.
Besides professional and organized an not adjectives that people latch onto when describing homeless people. Although I did just completely reorganize my shopping cart, which I was reluctant to do.
A crazy looking cart means ain’t nobody going to steal your stuff, in fact many folks take a step or two abroad when approaching a crazy cart. But you start getting all organized and next thing you know some poor fellow on a three day meth run has made off with your sleeping bag, deodorant an 1/2 can of peace tea.
Why did I choose to imagine you in Directors Park? Well by now you have ascertained that I am without a home. Directors Park is a beautiful, fun, quiet spot tucked into middle of downtown Portland. I go there often to eat other peoples food, collect their returnable cans an bottles and to scare the shit out of tourists. Scaring tourists is just flat out fun and surprisingly easy to do if you have a shopping cart and are prone to talking to yourself.
There is a fountain in the park and its sound soothes me. In the summer I often join the children in frolicking about in the shallow water. This lasts for a minute or two until their parents start putting me together with the cart. The parents are kind and do their best to stifle all the panic in their voices.(Johny, hold my hand Johny) but soon I have the entire fountain to myself.
Well my quietly beautiful organized professional friend, the motive behind this letter is to let you know that although I am but a simple hobo, I am incredibly happy.
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