Dé Domhnaigh, Iúil 05, 2009

Mama & Papa

This is where the spoiled north side homeless sleep. 'Mama' Patty with her portable grill and her husband 'Papa' who calls himself Manic and insists that this is the legal name his mother gave him. Other pillars of this community are Purvis, a gay blond black man in his fifties, struggling with cocaine and attention whoring, and Mama Dee, divorcee and formally abused wife in Muscatine Iowa; half of her eight children our gay and she has been elevated to a saint in the Halstead bars. The recession dried up her maid business and forced her onto the street. She owns an ipod that one of her children bought her two Christmesses ago, and also a $2500 laptop that she keeps hidden at the bottom of her basket. She's fifty one, same age as my mother, told me that she has a son named Josh in New York, tall blue eyed and long blond; she trusted me with the secret of the Dell almost as soon as I met her. She told me Purvis likes blond white boys, don't give an inch and he won't take a mile.

Mama and Papa regularly get their hands on grillible meat, charrities and such, so it's usually barbeque chicken for the ones who can't afford gas station pizza or can't stay sober long enough to get portable food from a pantry. The couple has been uptown for a long time and will often attract the housed to their barbeques as well. Last night a group of about ten of us, homeless and otherwise, Liz and I among them, martched with Mama and Papa to a spot along the lake in Lincoln Park.

I'm spending my days with Liz at her recovery home in Cicero, ran out of rent money for my hotel room. Hers is a reletively liberal place that lets significant others stay nights over the holidays. Tonight is not a holiday. I must find my own way tonight. Last night I could have stayed but I told her it was the fourth and we must go out. She said she would have to be back by ten, no weekend passes on the holidays, temptations to great. Come with me until than darling, I'll see you in the morning. Mama and Papa had a stereo with Patti LaBelle and Aretha, and we danced until she had to ride back to the suburbs with a friend.

Mama kept giving me chicken three or four times after I refused the next piece, until I stopped looking at the chicken on the grill. The fireworks from downtown were powerful enough to be seen from around the meandering shoreline. There was a party a few feet away from us who was getting reckless with their explosives. One shell went off barely six feet in the air covering us in a black cloud. The girl named Briona would grab me whenever a boom went off. I gave her my jacket when she complained of being cold. (Freakishely cold for the fourth, rained nearly until dark)She has a boyfriend and I have a girlfriend. We winked at each other is all, strictly "Lost in Translation" and innocent. I said it was cute how she was afrsid of fireworks and she said she loved to fuck white men. I told her she smelled nice and she asked me what makes pussy good to me anyway?

And that is a damned fine question. It disturbs and amazes me how much I lack self-reflection in these matters. What does make pussy good to me, besides willingness? Can't honestly say, it's a question I should be able to answer without this sort of trouble. Why do fish need to swim? No. No. Why am I so much more attractive here than I was in Nebraska with stable housing and a reletively stable income? They keep mentioning the eyes and the curl of my hair; maybe you could add my slow hinterland accent and relative bashfulness regarding sex to that. There seems to be something of a Tom Petty fetish among some women here and it will do by me. I can work on my 'evenin mams' and drawl out my diction even more and have a fine old time for as long as the eyes stay blue. Briona came from the Carabian when she was seven. She has a Jamaican accent that she'll stratigicaly drop in with her standard Midwestern black. As I walked her home she was talking to her kid sister in Creole over the phone and could see me smiling and leering.

I couple hours later Mama Dee bought me a Starbucks and showed me where I could charge my phone anytime as long as I had the money for coffee.

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