I got off the off the phone with my friend Michael tonight feeling angry again, the kind of angry that sits in my chest, and makes it hard for me to breathe. It wasn’t him that made me angry, it was the press conference he told me about, a press conference he got smuggled into by a local reporter. Premier Gordon Campbell was announcing a 10 million dollar makeover fund for 40 blocks in the Downtown Eastside, a project called “New Beginnings”, all i could say was asshole, what an asshole. How can these people claim any fiscal responsibility when they build infrastructure, devastate the environment and whole neighborhoods, all based on a false boost to the economy from a notorious money pit, the Olympics. I realized the other day after my previous post and a conversation with my friend Keira, that like most anger, sadness is just beneath the surface.
I took a walk around the Downtown Eastside the other day, i’ve been feeling pretty sick lately, and sometimes i have this idea that if i dress up i’ll feel better, and at the very least, look better. So i’m walking around down Carrall St. towards Hastings St, see this woman, and she tells me how pretty i look, i walk across the street to Pigeon Park, i see some of Hermes writing on a piece of artwork, the writing is small but distinct, his handwriting, his words are all over the walls and alleys in the Downtown Eastside. I have known Hermes for about 8 years and he is a talented artist and writer, he is also active in the street scene and occasionally homeless. I went over to read his work and it was strangely like what i have been trying to articulate in this blog, i wanted to find him, talk to him, and see if could post his poetry here. I went down Hastings towards Abbott St., which is where he hangs out alot, and saw Dee and Shelley, got warm hugs, and i asked them if they had seen him recently and they told me where he was staying. I didn’t go see him, and i passed the park today and the poetry is gone. Hermes is narcoleptic, so he probably wrote it while he was sleeping, almost unfair that he could write so perfectly, literally with his eyes closed. I walked around for a while longer, went to say hi to Isidore, got some fabric, helped a woman i ran in to on Keefer Street find the Chinatown Medical Clinic, started to rain and then I headed to Gain Wah for some congee and mustard greens. I was in my bubble, my bubble that has shielded me from the parts of this city that i haven’t wanted to fully acknowledge. The Downtown Eastside has been my primary experience of Vancouver, good and bad. My sadness, is that it is disappearing, it is being given a makeover by a plain looking man, and being supported by a culture of beige and glass, our city of beige and glass, with little to no class, and run by an ass.