November 5th, 2017 … A junkies Lament

Years ago I would walk most of Kensington Ave but I can’t now so I drive to a spot and then walk some. I parked at Lehigh Ave and started walking up towards Somerset St. I get under the Rail Bridge and I see across the street a familiar face. Mom the Ricoh GRII was at the ready and we made a photo. I put her in my pocket. I walk over to the guy on the sidewalk and say, Hey Harry, what’s up? He looks up and has a slow nod on from the dope but responds, yo ma’ whatz up? I ask Harry how it’s been and he says, 17 already. What? 17 years out here, nothing any better.

See a few years ago I worked the avenue making photos of the junkies and  hookers etc. I spent maybe 2 years there and got to know a lot of people.

Harry told me his wife and daughter both od’d years ago. His daughter was 14 and she been tricking since she was 12.  Harry asked me how I was doing and how the PTSD was creeping up on me. I smiled. Harry was in the Marines and served a few tours in Afghanistan. He was a grunt and I suppose that’s how he ended up on the streets. He said he didn’t need the VA for help cause he gets all the help he needs from the next fix.

He told me he was hungry and could I spare some cash. I handed him $20.00 and he said no. That kind of money I shoot, just a few bucks for a coffee and a hot dog. I asked hi if here had any plans and he said, someday I’ll get a hot load and then I can sleep. I ain’t got no family anymore and friends just wanna rip me off.

Don, this is my home under the bridge. Your free to pass by or stop and chat anytime. So I sttod up and said my fafrewella. He looked at me and said…

“Semper Fi”. Ya know, that’s about the highest honor a Marine can bestow upon another Marine. For him to do that for me, Damn man… Fucking Hard Ass Soldier..


Lighter days a comin’….. be blessed

14 thoughts on “November 5th, 2017 … A junkies Lament”

  1. It’s sad. It’s really, really sad. We all complain so much about our lives (sometimes legitimate complaints, and sometimes petty ones) but it could all be so much worse. We could be living on the streets, only getting joy out of getting high. We should all learn from stories like these that even though it doesn’t always feel like it, we really are the lucky ones.

  2. I googled the map and street view of Kensington Ave and Somerset. Kensington as it runs under the rail bridge. Some old looking streets and neighborhoods and store fronts. What history must be in that area. Don’t think I’d like to walk around there at night. But must be so fascinating during the day and great for street shooting.

    1. Dave, even day time is not really safe. Junkies love cameras cause they are small and worth money. I used to know a lot of people there but most have died so there’s a new crop. I don’t go there too often anymore. Thanks, and good light….

  3. Hi Don,
    I’ll bring this on over from another place, so as to add to the other inclusions to your image, above “…you’ve photographed a specific truth that has wider reverberations …” and, not just because, as you said “… I drove thru his living room…”, that “… probably amplified the reverberations …”.

    Your commentary, regarding the circumstances contained within the above image, has profound weight in its focussed and stark truth – in that you have showed us one aspect of one persons world that is also, through circumstances, embedded within your life’s circumstances.

    A shared history, coincident with all the chaos and messiness of human fallibility, of which both Harry and yourself have experienced, shared, and resiliently endured with periods of loss and frailty.

    Albeit, it seems, with different outcomes, but still, stememd from something shared.

Leave a Reply to David Anderson Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.