was wired, on crack or might as well--
his 3-month welfare motel stay up next
and he was coming to our office for options.
He settled on one after
was going to get his gun, blow everyone away
drug rehab center,
then come up to get Lois and me
and finally turn barrel
No more worries about homelessness, drugs
no more counselors
to answer, cops to fear,
no more god to feel guilty about in morning.
left office suddenly, so this case all mine.
I wasn't sure whether he really
had a gun
and if so whether it was on him.
I tried focusing him on healthier
housing alternatives--but there weren't any.
He'd been kicked out shelter
for 6 months
and had about used up his 3 months of
welfare emergency shelter
staying at Route 1's cardboard welfare motel.
More we talked,
angrier he got.
I contemplated calling for help
maybe even the police,
but was afraid
if he had gun on him he'd use it right there.
I asked about
his family--there was nothing
about family to keep him hooked to this world.
His wife left with son, parents' location unknown.
Just thinking about
wife leaving enough
to convince him further murder-suicide
the only honest
way out of this fix.
I asked about jobs, what dream job would be.
angered him cause it required reading
and he'd never learned to read.
easy. I could teach you to read, I said.
Would you do that?
he asked & started weeping.
Sure, and we set up a weekly schedule
as he cried all the way out the door.
When he left, I asked his counselor
to check on him tonight--wasn't sure
that was appropriate social
but thought it better than calling police.
He never showed
up for reading lessons.
When his motel stay ran out the next week,
threw a brick through window downstairs,
tripping alarm, and sat on the sidewalk
waiting for cops to arrive to take him
to only warm bed for which he was
under Central Jersey's social safety net.