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prized possession : different things in different places at different times


“Hallelujah, I’m a bum, Hallelujah, bum again, give us a handout, revive us again,” Joe Disaster sings his heart out. Initially homeless at the age of thirteen, Joe is now thirty-five and claims to love the lifestyle. These days, he travels. “I’ve been to all the lower 48 states.” Hopping trains is his preferred method of motion, however, it’s had it’s drawbacks this year. “I done got hit by a train this year. Three fractured vertebrae. I’ve been hopping trains for years. First time I fucked up.” He goes on to tell of two friends who were hurt even more seriously on their train adventures this year. “2012’s a bad year for trains,” he concedes. Although he grew up in the city, his stay in Denver is only temporary due to a recent arrest for “some old ass warrants from like four years ago.” Joe will “probably head back out west. West coast, best coast. Oregon is the jam dude. Oregon has free health care, food stamps same day, housing is easy to get. They don’t have that shit here.” 


Most Prized Possession: Different things in different places at different time. When it comes to what’s most valuable the veteran to street life assesses the importance of adaptability and is unable to pinpoint one thing in particular. He talks about the importance of everything from dogs, to sleeping bags, to backpacks, to a garbage can (“dumpster dive or die!” he exclaims), to food, to bridges, to harmonica in calculating what is important.“When you’re sleeping outside, there’s always a combination of things that are most valuable.” However, he is sure of what’s worst. “I can tell you worst enemy of homelessness. Its cops. They bother and arrest you just for being homeless.”

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