Marseille, December, 2009

Marseille homes two different types of homeless.

One kind is of the starving artist archetype, smartly dressed if noticeably creased, styled and groomed if dishevelled and gaunt. A temporal homelessness, a passing interest in begging, befitting of such a man. Bad times restrict them to this for now, but change, figuratively and literally, will surely come.

The other kind is truly down and out. Beaten. I see one man so condemned by his plight, defeated by an uncaring world, with no hope of redemption or glimmer of defiance to offer solace.

He sits on the floor, his face pressed tight against the concrete of an unwelcoming building to hide the shame that his choking sobs cannot help but advertise. He weeps with a rhythmn that echoes the perfunctory beating of a fading heart, a bodily function sustained by routine and not hope, matching the weak pulsing of his withering veins.

Nobody looks at him, when I suspect that is all he wants. No amount of money can save him now, but the recognition that he is alive when he must feel anything but…

Or maybe he’s just hallucinating from the smack?

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