The Downtown Woodsman: Portrait of a Street Person


This is the portrait of Mark, a drug addicted street hustler who goes from shop to shop trying to sell the stuff he's just stolen from another nearby shop.  The man is a walking disaster with a dyed blond, tattoo covered head shaved at the sides .  His face has that weather worn, weary look to it, like a sea captain who spent years sailing the Baltic or some other Northernmost body of water.  
The shopkeepers disdain him, says he's no good and yet many of them buy from him.  I don't let him in the store because I don't want to do business with the street.  It's a disaster waiting to happen when you buy from the street.  Pretty soon you find items missing and what you've just acquired doesn't make up for the losses. 

The other day I watched Mark grab some old tree branches and drag them down the street and then proceed to strip off their dead leaves and whittle them with a jack knife into a sculpture that was placed inside a seatless chair.  It sits in front of a shop across the street, storefront decor. I am pleased when I see it, despite the bitching I hear from others about how awful it is and how it's a nuisance and a hazard to pedestrians. 

I saw him in another store today attempting to sell some hot jewelry, and I watched him walk away wearing a red and black wool lumberjack coat, urgency in his step.  I have dubbed him the woodsman.  And I secretly admire him more than many of the other people I have encountered on this street.  
Originally written 1/12.


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