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An Urban Guerilla’s Reflections on Denver

 First off, you’ve got to say it right: it’s Diyun-vurr, slurring several syllables to put you at the head of the line, standing there with a boarding pass. First Class can’t be far away! But, before you go to purchase a cocktail, take a look at this city’s accomodations, should you approach the Mile High City holding a great big goose egg, financially speaking,

Those dinosaurs, Creedence Clearwater Revival once sang, “You don’t have to worry ’cause you got no money, people on the river happy to give.” Was CCR talking about life along the Platte? There are camps there, but I can’t attest to their hospitality.

Homeless does not mean hopeless, but, if you’re planning anything more nourishing than a breatharian diet—prana derived from oxygen—you’re going to need some buckskins, or else a list of free meals and soup kitchens.

I’ve been turned out of doors in places like Manhattan and Aspen and Juarez and Miami Beach “with no direction home.” Denver doesn’t rate as the roughest flop; Father Woody opened The Church of The Holy Ghost to let homeless people sleep on the pews one sub-zero winter night. I know: I took some comfort there.

Holy Ghost, like many churches, extends itself to the neediest. “As you do unto the least of them,” Jesus is quoted as saying, “so shall you do unto me.” In “California Dreamin,” the Mamas and the Papas sang, “I stopped into a church I passed along the way. I got down on my knees and pretended to pray. The preacher lights the coal; he knows I’m going to stay.”

When you’re homeless in Denver, practical situations present themselves on a moment-to-moment basis: where to go for meals, and where to bed down? Where to stash your swag if you’re not going to carry everything on your back (or in a liberated shopping cart)? Where to get your mail and messages? What of sanitary facilities? Where to go for a daytime nap?

On this last question, I recall knowing an otherwise well-to-do fellow who preferred to crash in any of several alleys on Capitol Hill. As for me, the most luxurious accomodation was the nap I took for an hour at a nice downtown hotel, paying with the credit card (which was revoked later that month.) I had no luggage. After my nap, I just got up and split.

Looking at myself as a homeless penniless person momentarily enjoying material comfort, I either represent the gentrification of the beat generation, or the illumination of the bourgeoisie: I’m broke but like a regular safe shelter.

“There’ll be a load of compromisin’ on the road to my horizon,” so sang the Rhinestone Cowboy. Compromise. Or, as the scholarly little fellow in Yellow Submarine, put it, “quid pro quo.” That is: this for that; something for something of equal value. For my tamed personality, I get a monthly rent check.

My Fire is out, so I’ve been told, but no, I say; it “burns with a hard blue gem-like flame” (Walter Pater) merely simmering and I’m on a year’s lease for a studio apartment.

For now, I remain until I bust loose like a chained Godzilla gone berserk. Not anticipating any drastic moves, just holding steady, like billions of others on this uncertain planet.

My pacification comes as a result of medication, insurance, therapy, a comfortable address and Social Security, that and the grace. Once a precursor to a terrorist, then a client, now I am a citizen again, ready to live, ready to love. Ready to vote.






Category: Inside Out Consumer Blog · Tags:

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