Watching the sun and moon exchange places in the sky
As the seasons and years come and go
The earth coming alive then fading away
Another season or year passing just for another to take its place
First there is spring
With the budding of the flowers and trees
The grass turning from pale to lively green
New life begins
Next comes summer
The flowers now in full bloom
Birds singing in the trees, along with a new hive of bees
The sounds and smells of the season in the air
Then comes fall
Vibrant colors everywhere
Stealing summer’s harvest
The cooling of my little patch of earth
Now it’s winter’s turn
A time when everything seems to slow
The snow covers the land
Earth’s way of taking a much needed rest
Along with these wonderful sights and events
Watching not only the seasons but years pass by my window
Seeing my reflection in the window’s glass
Aging as each season and year fades away
This is how I think about my childhood to adulthood, the changes that brought me to my current
situation, and what I have got to do to change now and upon my release.
For years after graduating from high school (I graduated at the age of 16), I worked various jobs,
from a fry cook to a janitor. It is not as if I was dumb; I graduated with A’s and one B for a 3.75
GPA. I just did not know what I wanted to do in life at the time. Then at the age of 20, I joined
the U.S. Navy.
After completing boot camp, I was trained in radar and sonar and assigned to the Pacific Fleet.
Without going into a lot of details, I was tested multiple times over a three year period, each time
being upgraded in rank and pay until I finished my officers’ training. Once I had completed the
required courses, I was assigned to an Ohio Class Trident Nuclear Submarine stationed out of
Groton, Connecticut. After serving 8 years I was honorably discharged in 1986, retiring as a
The changes from high school to various jobs to joining the Navy (which included changes in
what I wore, from school clothes to work clothes to a Navy Uniform), each brought a new
understanding of life from being a teenager to becoming a man.
Since becoming a civilian, I have fathered two children and adopted one. Talk about change!
Fatherhood is a responsibility that can drive you crazy and make you proud, all at the same time.
This is something I would not change, for children are a gift from GOD and a part of your life
that is the greatest of rewards.
Throughout the stages of my life I have been to many places, done fun and scary things, and seen
wonderful and not-so-wonderful events. The most painful of them was when I went to prison. I
lost not only my personal possessions, but family, friends, and loved ones – most of all my
Living in the prison system for any period of time, you can and in ways do become
institutionalized. So upon release, it can be hard to adjust to being a free person. With the time I
have done and when I will be released, I am facing a change that is in some ways scary but also
anticipated. There are many choices I need to make; one is to realize I am no longer incarcerated.
Another is to become reconnected or reacquainted with family, friends, and loved ones, to face
the pain I’ve caused them and others. I will be proving not only to myself but to those I hurt that
I am not that person who is going to do the same thing over and over expecting a different result.
It’s time for me to wise up, face my wrongs, and become the person I could have, should have,
and can be. It’s time to show that I am a person who is valued and can make a difference, who
can use wisdom, which means to use knowledge, good judgment, understanding, and insight. I
need to treat others with the respect they deserve, taking full responsibility for my deeds and
actions, living a life making good choices and not the one of incarceration.
Writer’s club by the lake
Is it real or is it fake
And if it is for real what does it take
To become a writer on the lake
Do you need to lay your soul bare
Opening your mind and heart to hear
Even if it takes a year
To what’s really going on in there
Do you write what’s on your mind
Reaching out for the words to find
Be they ugly or kind
Both can leave you in a bind
Do you write what’s in your heart
Taking each word and putting them in your cart
Slowly pulling word for word apart
Trying, to put something together that’s funny or smart
With the dawn of a new day
You ask yourself what’s really in your paper tray
Something that will pay
Or something you just threw away
Words of sin
Words to win
Using a black, blue, or red pen
All of it seeming to get under your skin
In the end when everything seems to fit
And you’ve got your script
Feeling this ones a hit
Go head, submit your manuscript!
I was homeless but not homeless. This may sound as a strange statement, it’s really quite simple, I wasn’t living in a traditional home or apartment, instead I was living in a tent.
Without going into details, it all started out with my mismanagement of my life, causing me to lose most of what I owned and my job. After wandering around the city for days, spending a few nights in homeless shelters or sleeping on a bench or in a park field, I ran into someone who told me about the tent cities. He took me to two (2), both in the flats. I was surprised at how many people lived in tents, not just men, but women and believe it or not some families too. I decided on living at a place that had 5 other tents, and with me it made six (6). My neighbors were a married couple, 3 single men and a man and women staying together.
I had about $65.00 left, so I bought a two man tent. Small, but it was all mine. To me I felt I was in a palace. Things seemed alright at first, then one day I came back and found out I was robbed. I’m an insulin dependent diabetic. My insulin needles and other medication came up missing. Other items like the food I was able to get and clothes also was stolen. This caused me to go looking for another place to pitch my tent.
After asking around I found another place to move. I had to ask the others if it would be alright to come stay there. After being interviewed I was given the OK to be a part of their community, so I moved in with my tent. They said it was not good enough, too small, so they gave me a three man tent. My palace grew-expanded-by a whole 12” (1 foot). Still it seemed a lot bigger than my 2 man tent.
There’s rules of tent living.
Now back to my new tent city. There were 3 of us who lived there. The reason for the interview was it was a no drug use tent city. I was grateful for that. We had two grills and a solar shower. There is a Burger King, a Dollar Store, Walgreens, library and 2 or 3 gas stations nearby.
Almost every night some group would stop by and provide us with food, clothes, hygiene, blankets moral support. Some even Burger King gift cards and a little money. We also were visited by the police, asking if we were ok and yes providing us with a hot meal from Burger King, blankets, socks and gift cards.
All this sounds like paradise to some, but it was harder than you think. Its not like living in a house or apartment. I depended on others, if they could not be there due to weather or some other reason you went without. I depended on the weather for going out, cooking or a shower. If I did not get a bus pass for the day or a weekly pass. I had to walk. “(I was 4 miles from downtown where most of the resources for homeless or low income people received help).” This seems like good exercise, it could be until it’s raining, or snowing. You have to learn to be prepared. Check the area around your tent because you could be inviting unwanted guest. Fleas and ticks, flies and other bugs. With food being around, animals like rats tend to invade your tent. Again you must keep your area clean and keep your food items in secure plastic containers. Wash yourself and your clothes. At first I lived in my 2-man tent, then a 3 man and finally a large 6 man tent, (which seemed to be like living in a studio apartment), life seemed so simple. Freedom of bills, living in the open air, receiving help without needing to do anything for it, or even working to earn money. This all felt like a dream, then reality starts to set in. Mainly there’s no real security. You’re up to being robbed. Open to invasion of pest and disease, rats and other small animals. The weather, rains and winds, and snow, that can and have destroyed tents. Made it impossible to keep warm outside of covering up with a lot of blankets. This has caused some to pass away or get sick. Sometimes you go hungry, or have to go without a shower or clean clothes. If your tent was not covered with tarps, rain and snow come in, and when its cold and windy, it’s like a freezer in your tent. You can heat your tent using large candles with glass covers (glass domes with small openings in the top). You need to be careful or you can catch your tent on fire. You have to put the candle in the middle of a tin pan, with a bottle or jug of water. Yes, since you’re in a small enclosed space a candle will heat the area. You can also use the candle to heat water. Again using the candle glass dome and a tin pan. Using gloves to gold the pan or get burnt. Good to make coffee or a can of soup.
One of the main concerns when in the cold weather you need to have something between you and the ground. Blankets or have a cot like I did. Your body will freeze to death if you don’t put something between you and the cold ground.
I could go on and on about the dangers of tent living, but there is a good side to being free of traditional housing.
As I stated earlier, no rent or bills, (except a cell phone bill), like a water or electric, trash or home repairs. The best time is when it’s a cool summer day and you sit around a fire, enjoying a cold beer or soda. Watching the deer (yes there was deer in the field) passed by. Listen to the birds and look up at the stars at night. Feeling at peace with nature. Times like this you feel the weight come off your shoulders, a clear mind and a relaxed body.
This all depends on how fit you are – what you desire or want. Can you face the dangers, survive the cold, robberies, pest and other mishaps, life can be good, bad or ugly, it’s up to you to make happen what tent life will be. Most of all you must be prepared.
One of the benefits of living in a tent
I did not have any rent
Some may say or think I’m bent
Still, I did not pay one red cent
In ways I lived as if I was homeless
But in reality I was being fearless
Facing each day and night
Not only with care but also fright
Some may see this as a thrill
Seeing as I had not one single bill
But there is a lot more than comes with this deal
Even if it seems to be surreal
Dangers are all around with this roll of the dice
Fending off nightmares and disease from lice to mice
Most of all there is the weather like rain, snow and ice
These things alone prove it’s not always a paradise
There are benefits to reap
While living on the cheap
Some will make you happy or weep
Think think think before you
Take this leap
Throughout the year
You can sit and enjoy a beer
Watch some wildlife like deer
Face your fear and shed a tear
But you’ll always remember what it meant
To live a part of your life in a