Hello, my name is Ricky. I’m 43, single, no children, 5’ 11 ½”, 185 lbs. I love to cook. I like quiet walks in the park. I like to travel. I like contemporary art. I read romance novels. My favorite books are A Tale of Two Cities, and The Rise and Fall Of The Zulu Nation. I listen to 80’s soft rock, Rick James, Barry White and Marvin Gaye. I write poems. I am homeless.
In the countryside of North Carolina, I grew up a country boy who loved the city life. As a teenager, I fell into drugs and alcohol and dropped out of high school at the age of 17. Throughout my 20’s and 30’s I used and sold drugs and eventually became homeless in 1992. Not only did I lose my home and my fiancé, but most of all I lost myself. My world began to spiral downward. It was like the streets had a spell on me. Drugged out every day, I lived on the streets with no care for myself or others. I made my money working at labor halls, but made most of my cash street hustling.
I’ve made some poor choices and some bad decisions, but I still hold my head high. A while back, people once asked, “Do we get our 40 acres and a mule?” I say, Hell no! You get your 40 hours just like everyone else. If you work hard for your dreams and your children’s dreams, you know what you get? -Fulfillment; a satisfied heart and soul. I’ve been blessed to meet some wonderful people in my life who actually care. I’m working hard to start a new life. I’m not poor or rich. I’m not white or black. I’m a child of God.
So the next time you turn the corner of a street and see a homeless person, remember they’re a human with hope. And the dollars and change in your pocket may last them to the next corner, but a kind word and a change of heart may last my street brothers and sisters a lifetime.
I don’t want a hand out. I want a hand up. I’ll see you again on the corners of Rick’s Street Life.