Category Archives: Quotes

Painted Black Rehash: Chris on Clark Street

Sewer gas. Stetson cologne. The taste of tears, sweat and semen. Chocolate dark and bitter as blood. Night after night of standing on Clark Street, waiting, smiling, it all started to smell alike. But the growl of his stomach echoed louder than the screaming in his head.

Jo Meets Lexie

I hope you enjoy the attached excerpt from Painted Black

“Wait.” The word seemed to rush out of Lexie before she could think. They looked back. “I was wondering if, you know, if you could–” she looked at Jo, then quickly back at Keisha. “Could you buy me something to eat, maybe? I’m awful hungry.”

Jo had a second to picture this half naked child seated at a corner table set with fine linen and Waterford crystal before Keisha said, “How about a burrito?”

Eduardo’s, famous for a clam sauce made from Mediterranean shellfish and extra virgin olive oil, did not serve burritos. Felipe’s Taco and Burrito Place, however, did. As soon as they walked in the door of the little restaurant, they were hit by the smell of greasy meat. Keisha ordered and paid, then they found a booth near the counter to wait for their food.

Stories Have Power

Homeless doesn’t mean hopeless, despite what some blind, deaf and dumb human monkeys might think.  Many of the people the monkeys are throwing verbal feces at are working hard to better their situations–and succeeding.  With help, things CAN be different.

This year, youth used their stories of homelessness in powerful ways. They talked to Illinois legislators about the need for increased funding for Illinois’ homeless youth programs. They spoke about the services they need at CDBG and city budget hearings. One resident of RAPPP even visited Washington, DC this month to tell her story to members of Congress.

Here’s a link and short quote from her story:

“I’m in college now. I’m on the Drama Team and I was elected to the Student Senate. I have to graduate college no matter how hard the obstacles may be. With a college degree, I know that I will be able to get a good paying job with a guaranteed salary. My dream is to be a social worker to help people that are going through the same struggles that I have faced.’

Testimony to the House Financial Services


Sidney Cole

From his second floor window, Sidney watched the woman leave. Dark alley–no, dark hair, shoulder length hair, alive, living, medium height. Young, maybe twenty five. She stopped just outside the door, like she saw something that scared her. Probably that cat he’d seen earlier, or a rat maybe. Nothing to worry about. Whatever the woman was doing here, surely it could have nothing to do with what had happened earlier.

The light slanted into the alley from the street and freeze-framed the moment like a scene from an old movie. A horror movie, with monsters and chainsaws and women who scream.

But that wasn’t real life. In real life, women seldom scream.

Excerpt from Painted Black

Making the invisible visible

The young girl in the picture looks like your everyday average teenager, right?  And she is.  She just also happens to be homeless.

«Mark calls them “invisible people” because so often, they lurk unnoticed on the edges of society. We walk by them on the street, not seeing them or too busy or uncomfortable to stop. Do we give money? Do we buy them a sandwich? We don’t know, and so we pretend we don’t see them because there’s no easy answer.

We distance ourselves mentally, too. The homeless are drug addicts. The mentally-ill. Not us. Not like us. They’re homeless because they want to be, many say. They’re too lazy to do anything but ask for spare change. Not like us. It couldn’t happen to us.

Sitting next to AnnMarie, Doris Day kept singing in my brain. “I asked my mother what would I be? Will I be pretty? Will I be rich? Here’s what she said to me….”

It didn’t sound so sweet this time. Whatever will be will be? What kind of answer is that? Here I was, sitting next to someone who felt so like me. And Sandra, and Reggie. They felt like me too. Why was I the one asking the questions while they asked for change?

It seems so cruel. AnnMarie and I were both little girls long ago, wondering what we would grow up to be. Did she ever imagine she would be sleeping in an empty lot, depending on the kindness of strangers?»

via Making the invisible visible – Megan Cottrell – One Story Up – True/Slant.