A few weeks ago Jen made a request, writing a comment on the collaborations Elspeth had initiated.

After my first reaction: “this is impossible”, it stuck with me, and I decided to try to create a musical piece about homeless people, which in itself is not easy at all. One evening the inspiration came, I recorded and mixed it, and now I’m quite happy with it. The music resonates with me, and also with you, I hope. Maybe even with those whose rather involuntary way of living this post is about. That’s my greatest wish, since the music was created for them.

I’d like to thank Jen for dragging me into this. It’s a step out of self-sufficiency, out of my encircled psychedelic universe… It’s a good thing for us all to bear in mind that there are those not as fortunate as we are, and how easily we can lose what we might take for granted. Jen, who works with homeless people, offered to contribute the words to this post, and here’s what she wrote about a conversation she had with this man:

Tom, age 59

“you know, it wasn’t always like this. i used to be like you, i had my own apartment, a car. that was a long time ago but i had it. living on the street’s not so bad sometimes, but you know what gets to me? that people are afraid of me. that they grab their kids arm when they walk past me. do they think i am going to hurt their kid just because i’m homeless? when did it become a crime to not have a place to stay? or worse, when I try and talk to somebody, not to ask them for money but just because i want to have a conversation and they look past me as if i am not even here. or worse, they walk around me in a big circle as if i can’t tell exactly what they are doing, if i can’t tell they aren’t afraid of me. that really gets to me. it makes me want to ask them if they knew i fought for this country, that the reason i don’t have a place to live is because i got hurt over there and i didn’t come back right. i mean, i made it work for awhile but i just couldn’t hold it all together. i’ve still got a metal plate in my head. you didn’t know that, did you? i don’t tell people because they think it makes me crazy and i’m not crazy but it’s no use cause people think what they want. that’s the worst part really, people thinking what they want just because i am on the streets. you don’t really know how much you miss being normal until it’s gone and you almost can’t remember what it was like to go into a store and have people treat you right or to be able to go where you want to go.

there’s some good things about being here too. i notice the small things that other people take for granted. see those birds over there, the ones on that wire? they come every single day, the same three birds. sometimes if i’ve got some bread i give it to them. we’ve gotten to know each other, me and them birds. and there are others like me and we help each other out. there’s a guy at the park who can’t walk right. i go and see him every morning to make sure he can get up. sometimes he can’t and i have to help him. once i found him and thought he was dead. i was pretty upset for a minute and then he started moving and i knew he was alive. but i don’t know what would happen if i didn’t check on him. i’m all that guy has. you don’t think of this when you drive past us in your cars with your coffee all nice and warm. you don’t think about how much i’d like a cup of coffee. or about how i am not that much different from you. i’m a person too.

but there’s hope you know. some guys and me are thinking of getting a place. one guy thinks he’s got some money coming. we all get on alright and if it works out we’ll have a place and that’ll be cool. and when i do i won’t walk around anybody on the street, that’s for damn sure.”

Remember the Just Post roundtable: justpostjuly2007

guitars & gear: Epiphone Les Paul Custom, ’71 Ibanez SG, Vox ToneLab SE, Tube Reverb

17 Replies to “homeless”

  1. Wow. I’m over here via Jen’s site. I’m so glad that I came. You did amazing work on this song. Thanks for sharing it with all of us.

  2. gary, i found myself running over here after reading jen’s blog about this man…so curious about what type of music could be written to accompany such a tug out my heart real life story…

    …and the music is tragic, just like his life right now…i especially like the part near the end where the guitar gets more thick (sorry for my lack of musical terms)…I was reading about the part where he thought his friend may be dead…and it just added to the moment…

    thank you, i think i may be back…


  3. Thank you all! It’s been a pleasure to do this, but without Jen’s original idea I wouldn’t have accomplished it. To read words like “beautiful” that often is flattering. The emotion involved has been real, and I just want to point you back to the people this post is about.
    Everybody is invited to use non-musician language when leaving comments BTW, as there are no technical terms required to describe what you feel. Lil: “Thickening guitars” is a lovely expression! And it makes me proud the music even appealed to a two year old, Ewe.
    Thank you.

  4. The first time I came by I only had time to briefly scan through the text.

    Today I listened to the music and slowly read through the text.

    The sound and the words merged. Together they revealed a sadness, longing and dignity that made my eyes fill with tears.

  5. love this. it is such a pleasure to see two wonderful people collaborating in the arts for a noble cause.

  6. This is great. Truly. The music really fits the narrative so perfectly. I’m glad you took the chance.

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