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Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Plastic Cart

This could be my last post here for a while because I plan to focus my time and attention over the next few months much more on my new writing project - The Life and Times of Richard Musto.  Together with my collaborator Michel Delsol, we have started a new blog at richardmusto.blogspot.com where we intend to jointly keep track of our progress.

Richard is a homeless man I met about a year ago when he began living on 28th street near my house.  He made his living selling flowers from a ramshackle home he built for himself on the sidewalk in front of an empty lot.  Michel and I have been spending a lot of time with Richard over this past year and we are deeply engaged in trying to create a photo and poetic account of his life.  Our goal is to complete a book length work by the end of this year.

Richard spent the winter and spring in Atlantic City.  He came back to NYC earlier this week and briefly set up house and shop again on 28th street.  It was the first time in more than 6 months that he was back in business in the neighborhood and there were many folks who seemed genuinely pleased to see him.

I had a chance to make the rounds with him, as he hauled  his plastic cart, collecting half-dead flowers from the wholesalers along the block.  Here's a picture I took and a few stanzas I wrote about it last night, which may be something I can use in part of the book.

The Plastic Cart

One of the key items
In Richard’s arsenal
In the war for survival
Along the midtown front
Is a plastic shopping cart
On long term loan from
CVS or Duane Reade
It’s his suitcase on wheels
And primary means
For transporting goods
Up and down the block
Gathering the flowers
Three days past bloom
After they’ve been tossed out
By the wholesalers and
Picked over by other
First tier venders
Along his collection route
And sometimes it’s
A traveling sink
For hauling water
From a nearby deli
In a large bucket
It sloshes onto the sidewalk
As he navigates through
The crowds thronging 
The midtown streets
These are pretty crappy pictures I took on my blackberry but I asked Michel to try and get some better shots of the same scene.
So once again, I expect posting here to be very sporadic for the next few months.  But please feel free to track the progress of my work with Michel and Richard at richardmusto.blogspot.com.