This blog is based on thoughts from a using addict living on the streets of Vancouver British Columbia Canada..
i still live on the streets, this is where i feel comfortable since my father’s passing about three years ago..
Too know a little about who i am;
i am the oldest child born February 3, 1958 in Burnaby General Hospital, having two sisters whom wish not to be named, my mother passed away in 1969, where as my father struggled to build a family life for us children.. Now us three children find ourselves alone in the world without parents… Which happens to many throughout the world at some point in time..
i have a grade 7 education and worked many jobs, mostly in the printing industry..
i am now retired, reasonably happy…
About a two years ago, a blogger visited another blog called (thisoldtoad.wordpress.com), which is now deleted. Since then i have started and deleted many blogs, however hastywords.wordpress.com, visit, opened my eyes to a new world of writing.
Well from that point forward, i have been doing my damnest to write poetry, hidding my life experiences, within each and every poem…
Blogging started when a friend, (Stanely Woodvince) sqwabb.wordpress.com, had made the remark, “why don’t you start a blog?” (Mr. Woodvine, in my eyes had hoped that i would have gotten bored and or quit blogging before the years end…) Since then, we’re both been writing every moment we’re able, funding our writing by collecting bottles for the refund!
i would like to thank any and all those whom have taken a moment, in their day to stop by and read any of my material…
i would like to apologize, since moving blogs, i have been trying to update my bio…
It would only be fair to know, whom you’re reading…
hugs & kisses
♥ ♥ ♥ chris jensen ♥ ♥ ♥
click on link above for article in The George Straight
Chris Jensen’s disappearance from the Fairview area on Wednesday evening was neither unusual nor necessarily unwelcome.
What was unusual and what caused several of South Granville’s homeless population to take notice was the fact that he went away without taking his bicycle, attached trailer, and most of his worldly possessions.
Well I’ve just seen him—darn the luck!
Only one day missing; that wasn’t much of a break, but by the looks of him he wasn’t off having a picnic.
Going going, gone
I saw Chris, who’s better known on the street as the Toad, on Wednesday morning at the Broadway and Granville McDonald’s.
He was in his usual spot inside the restaurant—his bike and trailer were in their usual spot outside the restaurant.
At about 10 a.m. he left, but just on his bicycle. He left the trailer in front of the restaurant.
It was still there 11 hours later, but then so was Chris. He brought his bike inside the restaurant and left again. Then I left.
The next morning, Thursday at 8 a.m. in an alley one block from McDonald’s, a homeless fellow stopped me in the lane.
He was manic; more-or-less at the height of a mood swing.
In the midst of a story about the icky sort of “fun” a heroin addict and crackhead could get up to in the middle of the night, he told me he’d found Chris’s bike and trailer still in front of McDonald’s after closing time, and brought the rig around into the lane and contrived a hiding spot.
Right straight ahead of me in a store’s shipping area I could clearly see half the front wheel of Chris’ bike poking straight up above a hasty camouflage of cardboard and shipping palettes. Sheesh!
What could I say?
He didn’t always see eye-to-eye with Chris any more than I did, but he just couldn’t stand by and let the guy’s stuff get taken.
I did point out that in less than an hour, the business would certainly notice the addition to its shipping area.
South Granville’s business improvement association pays a private security company to tirelessly patrol the area, which means I can generally find one of them sitting in McDonald’s.
These “South Granville Ambassadors” are easy to spot by their blue uniforms. I was explaining about Chris’ hidden stuff to one of them who said he’d talk to the store.
As the security guard/Ambassador was telling me that the bike and trailer probably couldn’t stay there, I watched over his shoulder as the other homeless guy rolled Chris’s rig along the sidewalk, past the window, and back into its spot in front of McDonald’s where he’d found it the previous evening.
A bicycle and trailer fending for themselves
There the bike and trailer stayed—after I rearranged them to the satisfaction of both the security guy and McDonald’s management so they were less of a hindrance to foot traffic; that’s when I saw that the bike’s chain was gone.
The rig sat there unmolested all day Thursday, probably until after McDonald’s closed at 1 a.m.
In the evening two of Chris’ friend’s came up to me in McDonald’s—both very polite and soft-spoken—wondering where Chris was. I explained I had no idea.
One of them had Chris’s phone—crazed glass, no back but otherwise functional, the fellow said—he’d plucked it off the trailer.
He was concerned about that. I suggested he hang onto it for Chris, just in case, but I think he put it back: the next friend of Chris’s commented on seeing it also.
By the time I arrived for breakfast I found the whole rig in the alley-side loading area of the business next door to the McDonalds. Someone had dragged it there and under the bright glare of the security lighting the trailer’s contents looked to have been repeatedly ransacked.
A warehouse guy from the business was concerned. It couldn’t stay where it was; it was blocking the loading bay.
I agreed and roughly put the puzzle back together, then rolled it over to tuck in beside a Dumpster against the back of an unleased retail building. Then I went off to McDonald’s.
After breakfast and finally awake, I took the time to detach the bike and lock it securely around the corner on West 10th Avenue. The tires were flat by now which, along with the absence of the drive chain, bode well for the survival of the bike. I admittedly left the trailer to its fate and went to cash in my bottles.
Darn. Speak of the devil
I came back into the area a few hours later and I was happily blogging on the Internet when Chris reappeared over my shoulder.
I unlocked his bike for him and left him to patch his tires and fix his trailer back up.
I had noted earlier that his sleeping bags and personal stuff had been rifled but were otherwise left alone by scavengers.
Whatever caused his absence doesn’t much interest me. He looks a bit worse-for-wear with maybe even a black eye, but he may always look that way these days—I don’t pay that much attention to him. Now I can go back to ignoring him completely.
The consideration some homeless people extend to one another in times of personal difficulty often has nothing to do with friendship and everything to do with the recognition that we all have been, and will be again, on the wrong end of bad circumstances.
It’s the natural human thing to extend one’s hand.
But it’s not like we overdo it or anything.
Stanley Q. Woodvine is a homeless resident of Vancouver who has worked in the past as an illustrator, graphic designer, and writer.
A toad would like to also mention, a one time good friend with toad (chris jensen) thisoldtoad+now deletedangel,
Mr. Woodvine, must read blog;
i only was on a walkabout…
possibly lost within my delusional mind discovering a childlike creativity…
Christopher Raymond Jensen.
What are you doing today?
Is that something that you do often?
As of about a year ago, yes. That’s when I was introduced to it.
What do you like to write about?
Mostly it’s catered around my thoughts and feelings of the day. Sometimes the past and even the recent future.
And is this what you cycle around with often? [pointing to the intricate system on wheels behind him]
Yes, my urban camping.
How long have you been living like this for?
Many years. Since 1991. There was a bit of a break when my father was ill 3 or 4 years back but other than that it’s been constant for quite a few years.
Do you normally sit out here in the park?
I’ve been coming to Jonathan Rogers park for a long time because of the coffee shop right behind us. Milano’s. I like their coffee.
I haven’t been there but I always pass by.
You better give it a try.
Do you ever do any poetry readings at any of the spoken word nights in town?
No I haven’t.
You should try giving that a shot!
Possibly maybe. I post all of mine up on the web. I was on several different sites but now I’ve cut it down to three.
What’s the main one that you post on?
The main one is deletedangel.wordpress.com, that is where i place my poetry!
(Note; i’ve changed some wording as too, i have deleted some old blogs…)
Why “this old toad”?
Someone that had befriended me about five years ago suggested that I should start a website. I think that he was hoping that I’d get discouraged but I didn’t. It’s really improved my English skills and my vocabulary as well. I have a grade 9 education.
Did you grow up around here?
In the East End, and I went to Templeton High School. I’m fifth generation British Columbian.
Is there anywhere in Vancouver that you like biking the most?
All over really. As far as New Westminster. My uncle is coming down this summer and I am trying to talk him into taking me up to Merritt so that I can bike downhill back.
Is there anything that you are looking forward to about the summer?
The summer is great. I hope that we have an Indian Summer.
What does that mean?
An extended one.
Vancouver Sun interview
The article is no longer available online, but I did find it in the database and I will paste the text below.
Sandra Boutilier, Librarian
Pacific Newspaper Group
Suite 1 – 200 Granville St.
Tue Dec 8 2009
Byline: Doug Ward
Source: Vancouver Sun
Vancouver’s police chief said Monday that his officers won’t use powers under new provincial legislation to physically force homeless people sleeping outdoors in extreme weather into shelters.
Chief Jim Chu said Monday that VPD members will instead use “minimal, non-forceful touching” in rare circumstances to persuade people to accept transportation to shelters.
Chu said such physical contact would be equivalent to offering a hand to an elderly person crossing a street.
VPD officers will back off if their efforts are met with “overt resistance,” he added.
Housing Minister Rich Coleman, architect of the Assistance to Shelter Act, which gives police the right to bring the homeless to shelters against their will, could not be reached for comment.
Coleman’s ministry issued a statement that accepted Chu’s decision, but predicted the VPD will toughen its stance once the legislation’s regulations are completed later this month.
“The policy that the VPD has put in place appears to be a reasonable interpretation of the Act, and we’re confident the VPD will strengthen their policy once the Province’s regulations under the Act are in place.”
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson backed Chu’s position.
“I’ve had some concerns about the Act, and the VPD’s draft policy addresses them — specifically around the use of force,” Robertson said in a statement to media.
Chu’s interpretation of the legislation “achieves a balance between respecting individual rights and helping protect people from extreme weather,” he said.
Chu, at a press conference, sidestepped questions about why he had declined to use the full powers of the legislation.
“The Assistance to Shelter Act has the intent of making it safe for people in extreme weather conditions and that’s our goal as well,” said Chu.
The VPD’s response to the new provincial legislation needs to be approved by the Vancouver Police Board at a meeting Wednesday, he added.
Critics have attacked the legislation as draconian, warning that Victoria wants to use it to clearVancouver streets of the homeless during the 2010 Olympic Games.
Minister Coleman has said the legislation was designed to prevent homeless people fromdying in extremely cold weather, citing the death a year ago of a Vancouver woman in a fire she started to keep warm in below-zero temperatures.
Victoria Police Chief Jamie Graham and RCMP deputy commissioner Gary Bass have endorsed the legislation, which became law three weeks ago.
Chu said that “non-forceful touching” will only occur if the homeless person is at risk of “imminent serious injury or death.” And physical contact will only be made after verbal attempts to persuade the homeless to move indoors have failed.
“We have always taken extraordinary steps to safeguard and shelter the homeless and will continue to do so as one of our top priorities.”
Chu said that VPD officers will continue to follow current policy of offering blankets, warm clothing, snacks, information about shelters and, in some cases, transportation to shelters.
He noted that other laws already give police the power to bring people to shelters if they are under 19 years of age, intoxicated, in need of medical attention or fit criteria under the Mental Health Act.
Chu’s comments were applauded by the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, which has described the legislation as an unnecessary violation of individual rights. Policy director Micheal Vonn said the VPD probably wants to avoid the controversy and likely legal challenge under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms that would occur if officers began forcing homelesspeople into shelters.
“Effective policing always requires negotiations, relationship building and the minimal use of force and only when absolutely necessary. It’s heartening to have Chief Chu reiterate those principles.”
NDP MLA Jenny Kwan said Chu’s statement shows that police don’t need the Assistance to Shelter Act to help homeless people during cold temperatures. “The police are saying that they already have the tools in place.”
Kwan added that the legislation has had the “unintended consequence” of driving somehomeless people further underground in order to avoid being picked up by the police. “The legislation just makes it more unsafe for a group of people that are very marginalized.”
On the city streets Monday night, many homeless people said they believe the law takes away their freedom.
Chris Jensen, 51, standing outside a bottle depot near Terminal Avenue, said the law “sucks,” adding he would refuse to stay in a shelter.
Dressed in a toque and layers of clothes, Jensen was perched on a bike he uses to haul his possessions and the cans and bottles he collects to return to the depot.
He has lived by himself on the streets for 20 years. A self-confessed drug addict, he doesn’t care much for hanging out with other people. He just wants to be left alone, he said.
Jensen entertains himself at night by finding a doorway with enough light to read a science fiction novel. He stays warm with blankets, tarps and cardboard. He also has a propane heater.
“I know it’s dangerous. But I am very careful.”
When asked what he will say to officers if they try to put him in a shelter on a cold night, the mild-mannered Jensen said he would comply, but then leave the shelter straight away.
“I don’t like being around people in confined spaces,” he said. “Besides, if you stay inside too long you get addicted to TV,” he added, with a chuckle.
Simon Stevens, 47, who has been living in various homeless camps and under bridges since 1979, said he wouldn’t go to a shelter either. He said the legislation was like “martial law” and feels it is his right to stay where he is.
“It’s taking away our freedom of choice,” he said. “Cold weather isn’t a problem here. Tarps are good for keeping the wind out.”
firstname.lastname@example.org with files from Tiffany Crawford,
© 2009 Postmedia Network Inc. All rights reserved.
• Colour Photo: Stuart Davis, Vancouver Sun / Lifelong Vancouver resident Chris Jensen, 51, has been living on the street for the past 20 years.
Every blogger has different yardsticks to measure their degree of success.
Some have a finger on the pulse to measure likes and comments which dictate their future content.
Others, like the next guest of#Reid2Write, simply use their site as a platform to jot down their creative thoughts.
That’s how I found the blog of Chris Jensen, better known as ‘Toad’ in his local community. He has been living by himself on the streets of Vancouver, Canada since 1991.
A self-confessed drug addict, Chris, who is in his late fifties, enjoys writing poetry about daily events as well as offering some of his running thoughts on a range of issues. All of this while hauling his worldly possessions from location to location, collecting cans and bottles to return to the depot.
A fascinating story which has been covered in the local press, I was delighted that Chris agreed to answer a few questions today.
Can I ask how you ended up on the streets?
There was a time when I was able to moderate my drug use, however because of the nature of the beast, most times it wins the battle.
Although my drug addiction brought me to the streets, you can’t hold a job being a hard core drug addict.
Now it’s more of a way of life, and a sense of freedom. Time doesn’t really matter all that much to me, right now, night or day – it’s all the same. The only difference is that the day brings more people into my life, while night brings out the undesirables.
How did you manage to get into drugs?
Drugs help me to lose myself. I came from a very abusive home life, full of sexual, physical and mental abuse. Being the oldest child of three, I was still the most immature. My sisters however, are one and two years younger and a lot smarter – far more mature than I’ll ever be. They never got into drugs.
In the end, drugs didn’t really help – it made things worse. I’ve been in 28 detoxes and 13 treatment centers. I had a clean time of three years once. In that time, being clean, I wasn’t happy about my way of life.. So back to the drugs I went!
While I’ve been answering these question, I’ve not used hard drugs for over four months. Funny how all those years I struggled, now there is no desire, possibly because I’m closer to contentment in my life. Could be the answer. I don’t know or really care.
Have you noticed things change within the homeless community in the twenty-five years you’ve been on the streets?
Quite honestly no! Just a lot of different faces, some have moved on or passed on….
What are the biggest dangers you’ve experienced by living on the streets?
I have been living on the streets for only a few years, however I’ve been trapped on the street for many years which is a different story. There are many, cruel people wandering the streets taking where they can. Some are very dangerous. On the other hand there some really unique soul on the streets also!
Now back to the question, my biggest fear would be myself.
Is there any reason you prefer homeless camps instead of homeless shelters?
We don’t camp that much any more, even when we’re out of the way and out of sight, the city frowns on the idea. Private property and liability!
Now about those shelters…if you have spent a night in one of those places, you have to be insane or very desperate to go back. On the other hand if you don’t know the city or how to get the things you need for next to nothing, you may not have a choice.
However I believe a shelter is a much safer place for women trapped on the street or homeless.
How do local people react to you and your friends in the community?
Local people mostly all react differently to me. I’m not that easy to get along with in any situation, just not a people person.
I always find they are quick to judge and always assuming wrongly. I don’t really have any friends, maybe a few acquaintances, probably do to with my bitterness and sometimes an extremely ‘un-charming’ personality.
What is the biggest struggle you face each day?
Nowadays since my hard drug addiction seems to have taken a back seat in my life it’s finding the time to do all that I would like! Just doesn’t seem like there is enough time in the day.
However, while I’m deep into the hard drugs, struggling throughout my addiction, the only struggle was always in how I was going to get more drugs. Period.
Tell me more about your poetry and what was your motivation?
Poetry was a gift from another blogger (check outhastywords.wordpress.com). She dropped into my very first blog site, which was started kind of like a dare. Anyway, I’m always curious when someone chooses to read anything or view anything that I’ve posted! Hasty was writing poetry. I had never wrote poetry until she dropped into my old site.
I would steal her poems and rewrite them, adding a line or two. A couple times we wrote a duet together. Now I have written hundreds of poems, but a lot have been deleted or lost. I’ve gone back and read some of my first poems. But they stink.
Now I love writing poetry. It seems like the only way to release some lost emotion and to hide in between the lines some unique thoughts and theories.
I find my muse within life and reading other peoples material.
Given the financial worries of many people, homelessness and losing their possessions is a very real possibility. Is there any kind of message you would give?
No, not really! I lost everything so many times that I couldn’t even give you an honest account. I’m talking about those moments where it seems you would not need anything else, happy about what you have. Then within a blink of an eye, you only have the clothes on your back and what you carry in your pack.
It’s funny. I always get everything back each time. Only it always seems quicker. I’ve learned that beside my naked self, everything is only material. Sure I like having all those toys I collect. It’s only human nature.
I think if there was a message it would be live smart. Always take care of yourself and those around you that you love. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
When it comes to the government, all you need to do is to keep jumping through those hoops, over an over. You can’t win! The government is the big machine!
Just jump through the hoops…
PS – You think you could get me on Wikipedia? lol
Image take by email@example.com
March 4, 2017