I have never owned a bicycle, a car, a computer, a motorcycle, or a house.

cayley - Posted on 02 November 2010

Thornton Kimes

What Homefulness Means to Me


1.  A Minute Of Your Time

A minute is an eternity for a computer.  A "minute" means something else on the streets.  I was Middle Class "for a minute", then my parents divorced, my mother sold the house, and most of what was left of the family left Texas and is separated by 3,000 (or, usually, more) miles.

I have never owned a bicycle, a car, a computer, a motorcycle, or a house.  I have never owned gourmet stereo systems or televisions, nor had cable or satellite service.  I have been a renter of rooms most of my adult life.  I have wandered across state borders (not national ones like some of my poormagazine brothers and sisters), trying to find a spot to call my own.  Texas; Oklahoma; Minnesota; Washington, DC; Iowa; Colorado; California; Oregon; Washington State; California.

I've written about being in my SRO hotel (the Elk), written other "Welfare Blues" articles--the second one about trying to get (poor people) housing in Seattle, a stand-in for Anywhere, Amerikkka.  There are more "Welfare Blues" articles to come, there's a lot of that going around!

2.  The Welfare System Is An Organized Crime Against Humans

As far as I can tell only my skin privlege has stopped me from free-falling through the widening cracks in the safety net people like California Governor-wannabe Meg "The Whiteman" Whitman want to vaporize altogether.  Poormagazine Elderskolah "Bad News" Bruce Allison likes to joke about being "whiter than a snowman".  We're both purty pale males.

I'm thinking of making my poormag "slam bio" semi-permanently "I'm Thornton Kimes, wandering through San Francisco's Welfare Wilderness for the fourth time, hoping it doesn't take 40 years to get what I want!"  I'm walking some kind of fine, sharp edge with the State of California Dept. of Rehabilitation (CA-DOR), 86'd and re-instated, but not at all certain what I want will be honored.

3.  What DOES Thornton Want?

Thornton wants to be a (massage) healer of people, in Amerikkka, who work their asses off much too hard, or a healer of computers working for people who work their asses off much too hard...or a "slave" to a very busy writer who isn't poor!  There aren't very many other things I'm interested in doing.

What CA-DOR wants is for me to shut up, behave, do what I'm told and get a job that fits into a neat little box they can check off as a successfully employed statistic.  I'm a troublemaker, I like to dream big...or at least bigger than I've allowed myself to in years.

The Welfare system isn't designed to accomodate dreams.  It would work better than it does, and be better funded, if it did.  It would not be a dirty word (thank you Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Ronald Raygun!) or phrase if it worked well.

4.  Homefulness?  Homefulness!

Thus and thus and thus we come to this idea of Homefulness.  Just before Tiny a.k.a. Lisa Gray-Garcia and POOR Magazine got drop-kicked into the Non-Profit Industrial Complex Twilight Zone of Weirdness And You Have To Have Money And More Staff (At Least) To Get Grant Proposals Stamped YESSSSSSS--there was a POOR Magazine-style class on grant writing.

I jumped on the tiger spelled H-O-M-E-F-U-L-N-E-S-S.  It was oddly easy, and hard, to write in "Non-Profit-ese", or perhaps an alternate universe Spanglishi combo of Non-Profit and POOR Magazine.  Something strange happened on the way to the forum...erm...homefulness?

The class generated the play, based on the 'zine, HOTEL VOICES.  Bad News Bruce and others started talking about some property in San Francisco's Sunset District.  We hosted some Non-Profit Industrial Complex workers for a weekend of "This Is How WE Do It" at POOR Magazine...and, slowly, this thing called Homefulness, a vision of stepping off the rat race that just makes you another rat in the race to the top of the bridge to nowhere, started looking realer and realer.

Scary.  Scary?

We've been talking a lot about "isms" at POOR Magazine lately.  One "ism" that's an "omy" is "autonomy", a less complicate version of "Anarch-ism".  The freedom to do what you want to do without needing the permission of an authority figure or an institution.  Something I've been struggling to find for a long time.

Scary?  What do you do when autonomy comes sniffing around?  Whatever you want to do?  I'm still a D.I.Y. (Do It Yourself) virgin.  I won't be one in a minute.


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