Many years ago I somehow got this brilliant idea to take pictures of people sleeping and dead animals and coming up with a smart ass comment to post on social media. A lot of those people caught sleeping are homeless. The rest are either random strangers or friends. The latter hate me for it and the former have yet to catch me. Admittedly, it is a dick move. One which I still constantly pull.
This was probably the first of what would become many. I found this guy sleeping in The West Village in that little triangle where Christopher St. And 6th Ave. meet. It was early spring and still a little cool out. I thought it was hilarious that this person had decided that this was a place to get cozy. I believe the hood of the jacket being pulled tight to block out the sun was the icing on the cake. Part of me admired this person’s sense of liberty.
Then there is this guy. I found this guy outside of an Oi! gig in Brooklyn. This kid was a train wreck. He was probably the only one to ever catch me taking a photo of them. I was promptly invited to a punch up, which I impolitely declined. The kid, although sizable, could barely stand and he had piss stains on his pants upon closer inspection. I laughed it off and walked away. Over time I would revisit this picture and think of how many times, in my youth and adulthood, had I been found like that or in similar states. It’s not really a pleasant thought and a harsher reality. But that’s life when you grow up fast. That’s life when you let something eat at you. And, that’s life when you’re not ready to accept life.
One very cold winter in Bushwick, BK I found this guy. I was on my way to the bodega on the corner to grab my usual two tall boys of Red Stripe. It was a very bad time in my life. Probably the beginning of some of the darkest days I will ever know. I drank a lot then. Way too much, if I may be honest. Something about this rat that froze to death in the cold kind of hit a nerve. “His fate could very well be my fate if I didn’t shape up”, I had said to myself. I didn’t quite get the message when I had that epiphany. I instead bought a one way ticket to Puerto Rico and swore I wouldn’t die in the cold shortly after this picture was taken. I put this up on social media and titled it “Good Night, Sweet Prince.” It tickled a well respected colleague’s fancy and a tagline was born. I tag him on a lot of these, which is also probably a dick move. His family and friends must often wonder who the asshole is that keeps tagging him on pictures of bums and dead animals.
I took this beauty in the months before I set sail to PR. Something about this caught my eye. The roll of toilet paper only added to the reality of it all. There were some tourists on the train yelling at some cops who were also stationed on the train about her. The police did nothing. That’s life in NYC. It’s like that Fear song “I Love Livin’ In The City” where it talks about how the junkie is king and the air smells shitty. Well, here’s one of the 5 Borough’s many queens. We treat poverty and drug addiction like crimes and we will only help you by offering you one placebo after another. Like everything else in this town, it’s a hustle.
Do you see this guy? I mean look at this guy!!! Pimpin’s hard and sometimes you’ve got to take a break from that long-shoe game. He’s sleeping well because his third string hoes are probably pulling a profit and he can probably give his baddest bitches the night off. Or at least that might have been the case once. This is a unicorn of an image and I love it. I found him when I was crashing with some friends before I set sail. My flight was two weeks after my rent agreement had finished and a very kind couple offered their couch to me. I was on my way back from work. I somehow managed to get lost, just like this time traveler. I took the picture because I thought I could relate at the time.
I was coming back from a trip to the Bronx. My grandfather and I decided to catch dinner and make amends over some bad blood. I was actually touched by his actions and it made me kind of forgive him for some of the mistakes he made. I had done some wandering about after I had left his place. It was a very bitter winter that year. That night was particularly cold and crisp. I found this mummy on the ride back to Brooklyn. It kind of got me thinking about how I was technically homeless and about to embark on a massive journey. I wasn’t sure if I prepared or had packed appropriately. Which, later, I realized I hadn’t. I had to wonder if in all of this person’s problems, were they really as prepared as they thought they were given their current state.
Less than 48 hours from the time of this photo I had been in NYC waiting for my one way flight to PR. NYC could kiss my ass for all I could care. It could take its miserable 9 degrees and stick it right up its rat infested ass. So here I was in Puerto Rico taking my one man act of nihilism and over indulgence to new levels. It seemed so hot here upon my arrival. Hot and humid in the most unforgiving ways. I’d later grow to get used to it. But I can, within an instant, recall with great detail how that sun would singe my skin instantly and how sticky everything felt. My second night on the island my friends and I ventured to a club in Carolina, if I am not mistaken. I was given the driving duties to get there. I had no license what so ever. Also, driving gives me anxiety. I drove singing “Uptight” by Stevie Wonder to keep me calm as my passengers drank and snorted coke. We saw one of Mimi and Sergio’s many talented bands. I forget the name of this one. They sounded like X and The Gun Club. I proceeded to get banged out. Man could these people party! Someone else who was neither the owner of the car nor had a driver’s license was behind the wheel now. We went to a bar in Rio Piedras. The streets were filled with a nightlife like I had never seen before. The Caribbean was such a beautiful place at night. The music, the women, the rum and the way the ocean breeze would give you such a gentle relief at night; all so very intoxicating. I was feeling like such an alien. I was in over my head with a lot of things here. I felt very lonely. I was shuffling off to the bathroom to have a piss, a panic attack and a bump of coke. All in that order, too. Somewhere on that mission I found this guy. Suddenly, things weren’t so bad.
By the time I snapped this one, I’d been living in Old San Juan for a while. I was listening to The Marked Men a lot around this time if memory serves me propper. I had just stopped off at a dive bar to have a beer to wash down the pizza I was eating that also happened to have an 8th of psychedelic mushrooms on it when I found this guy. I loved tripping out on the fort wall of El Morro, sprawled out on the bricks much like this guy. It had a huge clearing that sort of helped reduce light interference that made the night time sky absolutely amazing to look at. It was much like being in a planetarium. Very serene, with the ocasional shooting star. The point that I liked to set up camp also provided an excellent view of the shoreline. You could see the cemetery, the battered homes in La Perla and it’s empty streets to San Crystobal. Past that you could see that little beach up by Puerto De Tierra and all the way up to the Condado shoreline. I usually surrendered my camp when I realized that ants were eating me alive and teenagers had also set up camp and were fucking all around me. I stopped off at a local bar, El Farolito, and had a whiskey and coconut water while trying to keep some composure. The bar, tiny as it was, was packed to the gills. None of them were faces I knew, save for the bartender. I paid my tab, which was somewhat difficult at the moment and marched on into the night. This gentlemen still slept peacefully in the same place I had found him as I embarked on the long route home. I made a point to also check out the Princess Walk which was also one of my favorite views, on drugs or otherwise. The churro stand was still open and I maintained to up the ante on my level of delinquency and got one churro with dulce de leche and another stuffed with warm nutella. Awkwardly, I marched my tripping ass to my small one bedroom whilst trying to eat my churros in the neatest of ways possible. I must’ve been a sight to behold in the most disgraceful of ways. Later I laid in bed, listening to music and looking at the internet through my phone, as I didn’t have internet in my house. I uploaded the picture of this sleeping prince on the web. I admitted, only to myself, in that dark room, how that man had most certainly been more at ease with himself. I smoked a bunch of pot and drifted off into the night.