Weather: Very rainy, tapering off toward the end of the shift
Number of people: 4 stoppers, 6 walk-bys
Number of hecklers: 0!
Number of people who commented on the rain: 4
Pages of notes: 6, but mostly poems / reflections
People who took a picture without permission: 1
People who recognized and commented on the Peanuts reference: 1
Money raised for Environmental Justice League of RI: $0.60
The only thing funnier than a pigeon trying to sexually impress another pigeon is a wet pigeon trying to sexually impress another pigeon.
Theme of the day besides the rain: woodpeckers.
I’m a machinist. Calipers, micrometers, stuff with that. I thought Rhode Island would be a manufacturing state forever, I never thought all these jobs would leave. That’s why my parents came here from Portugal. They would put food on the table, they had a house. They passed away, my dad passed 14 years ago and my mom 8 years ago.
You mentioned a couple ways other people have helped you — how do you help other people?
I help with soup kitchens when I go there. I used to volunteer at a church, I don’t go there anymore, I left for personal reasons. Anything like that, like you feel like you’re connecting with people — it’s tough when it falls apart, especially if you feel manipulated. I don’t have anything like that right now. I tried a bunch of churches, but either you connect or you don’t connect.
What are you working on, what’s that one? [I show him the pileated woodpecker card.] Do you know why woodpeckers peck? One, because it’s mating season, and two, because they know that there’s these worm things inside the tree. The wildest thing — I saw an American bald eagle near Pilgrim High School. It was early in the morning, and he was going out to get his breakfast. He had an unfortunate young squirrel, stupid squirrel, in his talons, and I watched where he went — he went up into a pine tree and had his breakfast. I walked the dog by there the other day and all he left was the tail … There’s a population of herons in East Providence. Somebody I guess built them these poles and something they can make a nest on, and they come back year after year.
[These two came up together; I gave them the pileated woodpecker card.
Her: I hate these things! When I grew up in East Greenwich, they would always be outside my window, [makes woodpecker sound effect].
Him: Yeah but she almost had a panic attack the other day when we were down here. There were these birds that were beating up this other bird, and like trying to have sex with it and stuff and it looked like it had a broken leg, and she was freaking out. I called Animal Control and they said Animal Control don’t come for pigeons. Just like the cops don’t come to the ghetto.
The people who go
don’t come back
the things and ways
of going and taking
so immersed you thought
another day would be
available, just haunted
finding at a loss
the same site strained
though emboldened by
a man and two boys taking
beech tree shelter
you see them a drain
and yourself a drain
in the green weather
as brightened as ever
a wet leaf was
the downward wash
of all detritus
wanting what you want