You know that I love the Street Sense organization. Not only do I love what the paper and the organization stand for but I also have got to know many of their vendors and am honored today to call many of them my friends.
So when I heard about the Silent Auction benefit that Street Sense held to raise money for their organization, I made sure I was able to go. It was a great event and they raised a record amount, but what I will remember most is meeting David.
He was asked to share some of his spoken word poetry at the event. It was powerful. David is so talented and brought the house down. I knew he was my recipient of the day. Here is one of the poem’s he shared with the attendees of the Silent Auction.
After he was done I approached him while he was by himself having a bite to eat from the delicious food that was generously donated by Fresh Start, a venture created by Day 225’s Robert Egger and the DC Central Kitchen. David was so excited that I wanted to give him my $10 of the day that he started telling people around him. His enthusiasm was beautiful.
David shared that he was released from ADX Florence, a level-5 Supermax prison in Colorado about 18 months ago. “I shot a few people and threw them out of a window,” David told me picking at some fresh grapes on his plate. “I had to serve my sentence there because of the violent nature of the crimes,” he went on to explain. It was an odd juxtaposition. In front of me stood this kind smiling man with a deep warm laugh who was sharing this information that didn’t seem to jive with the gentle giant in front of me. He seems to be on the right track now; focusing on the positive.
David was homeless before serving his sentence and is homeless again. One good thing is that he just was able to rent a storage locker. “That’s a problem when you don’t have anywhere to keep your stuff safe,” says David. He explained that he needed to go buy a proper lock for it. “It costs $11, so I’m going to put this $10 toward the purchase of that lock!” I happily reached in my pocket and handed him one more dollar to fully cover the cost. He gave me a $100 smile.
David told me a story that I haven’t forgot. While in prison he befriended another inmate who was illiterate. Since David was good with words, this other inmate would have David write letters to his lady friend. David would read the letters that she would write and tell him what she said and then write back to her. “I was getting pretty interested in her,” he told me. Here he was vicariously falling for another guy’s girl all because some guy couldn’t read or write… that’s movie material! And a message for the kids, stay in school so other guys don’t steal your women while you are incarcerated!
I want you to watch David perform two of his other poems. They’re powerful and deal with heavy subjects.
David could use your help. He would like to find additional employment. “I’ve been cooking for years,” he said, but he would like to find something where he has more community engagement. I was very impressed with this man. He is one of the most interesting and talented people that I have met this year. Although he is not always at the same location, often times you can find him selling the Street Sense at 13th and Pennsylvania in northwest DC. Go visit him and tell him I sent you!