Be sure to check out Majo's website for his poetry: SomethingRises.com
He also has a great blog dedicated to his job called
"Real life in the checkout line" rlcol.com
Written and Performed by Mimi Kates
"I wrote "Breadcrumbs" about holding Hope. It is a gift for those of you who know the Darkness. If you love someone who knows the Darkness, please share this song with them."
He’s a Boy Not Counted in the Census
When Arthur calls, he gets his parents’ machine,
Arthur needs the quarters for the Laundromat.
But if he washes his clothes that stink
he’ll be naked under florescent bulbs.
In a blanket from a woman living in a grocery cart
he wraps his pale legs, his projecting ribs,
and his head where tunes start over and over and over…
He thinks he’ll start the New Year right, clean up his act.
The free bottled juice is apple, fermented,
it turns his stomach inside out down his legs.
At the Drop-In the few men’s clothes are all gone.
Women’s stretch pants feel like pajamas, a baby’s blanket.
Their jackets zip right over left. People notice.
Is it “Hey man!” or “Hi, Honey?”
In his condition he wants to hide.
He could get some shelter if he had a case manager.
The County could get Arthur a case manager
if he had Supplemental Security Income for disability
He could get SSI in a year and a half
if he had underwear and clean clothes
to see a doctor for a diagnosis or consent to an injection.
He has symptoms, they say among themselves. Avoids social interactions.
Displays poor hygiene. Appears to be pre-occupied.
A face with flat affect. At Risk.
Arthur is not counted in the patient load.
Last year he was a sophomore at Berkeley.
Changed his major from Microbiology to Music Composition.
At Easter Arthur couldn’t go home
The money for spring quarter didn’t find him.
This year he’s not on any role.
Last Christmas his step-father sent a man with a sleeping bag in a box.
Now the bag is stolen,
but Arthur has the box.
He chooses big hedges near churches. Sleeps there wrapped
in newspapers inside a box.
He saves the classifieds before holidays,
wipes his teeth, tongue, underarms
and bottom with dew soaked Camellia leaves.
He prays and makes music in his head, hoping all night
neither the police nor priests will find him.
© Bonnie Schell
Reprinted from Coastlines (Small Poetry Press, 1996).