Saturday, January 23, 2010

Forgive I...

Robert rolled up on the wobbling Food Not Bombs bicycle with a IWW flag waving on a bamboo pole lashed to the trailer frame. He had patched the inner tubes and used extra rubber cement so they seem to be holding air. All the fresh fruit salad survived the trip from the kitchen across town. All the bagels and bread were lashed safely under bungee cords along with the box of Food Not Bombs solidarity literature. Robert pushed the bicycle up the hill to where the weeds had been trampled by previous meals and the resting bodies of undesirable poor. Robert quickly set up the folding table and placed the boxes of bruised apples and bananas to one side. He opened the five gallon buckets of soup.

“I’d like to remind everyone to rinse their bowls in the bucket of water. This greatly helps those washing the bowls later on. Also, the compost pile is in the corner of the garden so any left over soup can go in the pile. Thank you.”

The line grew quickly as the homeless poured forth from their disabled vans and soggy cardboard shacks. They stood bouncing behind one another looking at the table of food, picking out the apple they would grab, squinting for a better look at the bread and juice and shiny ladle that meant nourishment.

“I like it when they have the tofu. Tastes like meat.”

“Eat that shit with the salt. Fucking good.”

“They got crackers? They got the crackers today? Anyone know?”

“I see them juices. Them are good. Get the vitamin C one. I needs the vitamins.”

“This cost money?”

“Naw. Just eat it till it’s gone.”

“They don’t charge nothing?”

“Naw. They doing this for the state or something.”

“Like welfare? Food stamps?”


“Is it vegan? I renounced animal products.”

“I’m hungry as fuck. When the line moving?”

“I brought me a big bowl. Eat it with the pepper.”

“I hope they got the tofu. It tastes good.”

“You see any fruit? Save me an orange.”

“You wanna buy some crank? A good cut?”

“I’ll trade you some weed.”

“Izzy around? She gives a mean blow job.”

“Anyone driving to San Francisco?”

“That bitch hanging out in the woods. Bangin’ that hippie.”

“She out of jail? Six months went fast.”

“I once had a meal in Texas with the steak and chicken. All breaded up. Fried. With soda pop!”

“You get breakfast this morning?”

“Steve was all fucked up. He said the oatmeal was poisoned. Poured it out. I got a slice of bread.”

“That’s bullshit. Steve’s a wild motherfucker.”

“Izzy’s got a pussy like a wind tunnel.”

“Cunt’s had like three miscarriages.”

“One of was ‘cause of me. Haw!”

“All that crank you sniffing. No wonder. Your cock juice is genetically retarded.”

“You hear that? My stomach calling fer food. Empty as fuck.”

“Where you sleeping tonight?


“Finally. Line’s moving. I’m gonna eat that soup. Look out!”

The hoard moved through devouring every edible crumb and potato skin. Plastic bowls ended up in the compost bin, the cardboard fruit box, the bike trailer, the river. Some were rinsed and returned to the dirty bowl box. Robert tended to the compost pile, turning it with a pitchfork, adding straw, aerating it with love and care, relishing the rich aroma of decay. Kim scooped the soup into the bowls with a stainless steel ladle, the symbol of Food Not Bombs being a purple fist with a carrot in it.

“Of course you can have more. And if you want to help rinse those bowls that would be a way you can contribute to this meal,” she said cheerfully to a toothless hobo with advanced diabetes sores on his feet.

Oggy sat next to his bicycle repairing the 20 year old derailleur. The spring had detached so the gears no longer changed. A new spring may have cost twenty cents but in keeping with his philosophy of repair and reuse, Oggy was bending the broken spring into something that would still work. Blar stepped behind him.

“Excuse I.”

“It’s alright, Blar. How you?”


“Yeah? Yeah? Where you living?”

“Here. Blar live here in the weed world. Live in the field. Eat the seeds.”

“You living on sunflower seeds still?”


“Seeds and water?”


“That’s what we all need to do. America is eating every resource and putting them in cars and technology.”

“Aye. Blar knows.”

“They give you a nickel back to use a plastic bag. But we throw out computer towers and car tires. Every fish in the ocean has mercury poisoning. I read a warning at the market. Warning: Mercury is harmful to unborn children. What is that about?”

“Blar wave goodbye to world now.”

“I don’t want to be negative. Abe told me not to be negative. He said I need to be more active in the world with my yoga and poetry. If I dwell on the decay then I get negative.”

“Blar go.”

Blar brushed dirt back into his footprints and moved onto the straw where his impact wasn’t recognizable even to him. He stood up and touched his forehead several times and mumbled a chant.

“I and I walk light. Walk light don’t touch the earth. Earth heal in time. Earth heal and grow up with flowers.”

He stepped gingerly onto the cement street and turned left toward the river levee.

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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.