prized possession : bag
“I can tell you some shit that I’ve been through in my life man, it would blow your fucking hair back.” Hailing from the Berkshire Mountains, in western Massachusetts Robert has been homeless for at least ten years. He sits alone, under a tree, and isolated from theactivity of the park’s other homeless patrons. “It’s a primarily black park, but no one bothers me,” he explains before detailing the darkness of his early life. “My mom emotionally abused me. I was shooting up heroin by the time I was thirteen. I’ve spent many years of my life in jail.” In addition, a serious motorcycle accident in the early 1980’s nearly ended Robert’s life and landed him in a coma.
Despite these challenges, Robert is optimistic. Our conversation is dominated with nostalgic glow for the good times, self-appreciation, and a deep love of music. “I’m a hardworking motherfucker. I probably laid half the concrete in Denver,” he exclaims. His face lights up when talking about the rock and roll of his youth. He talks about Jimi Hendrix, Joe Cocker, and Bruce Springsteen to name a few. “1968, this is my best story. Berkshire County. Big Brother and the Holding Company came to town. You know who that is?” He pauses for effect. “Janis Joplin was the lead singer. She’s up there drinking Southern Comfort. That was her drink.” Dancing through the chain of that evening’s events, he comes to the climax. “I jump on stage with about fifteen other kids as Janis is singing ‘Give me another little piece of your heart now baby.’ That was her song. She could sing man. She could fucking sing.”
Prized Possession: Suitcase.“I actually found this on the sidewalk today. I have two other backpacks in here. It comes in handy because carrying those backpacks around sucked.” With everything he needs in his bag by his side, Robert continues to watch the pulse of the city day pass by.