Being un-homed doesn’t exactly mean roaming the land wild and free. I had already noticed that I tend to keep to a certain radius around the Kapahulu/Kapiolani Park area. But Thursday I noticed that it isn’t just me who has a range of motion.

Going to a meeting I noticed a guy sitting in the sun at the small park along Waialae Ave near 10th. I used to always see him around Kahala Mall. So it got me to wondering. Do homeless generally stake their territory for free range of travels? Or was it just random? The places I usually saw him at were food places, whereas here he was clearly looking comfortable on the basketball court.

I suspect that traversing a specific area is pretty common. When you let go of, or are pushed out of, a stable living situation you lose a lot of familiarity; both environmental and personal. These are some of the rhythms I’ve mentioned already. So I’m guessing that out of some habit we gravitate around central locations that we identify with more strongly than others. Naturally for me I have work-related, food-related, and shower-related locations.

More importantly, I think if factors into my frame of mind. In an earlier post, I mentioned that being un-homed can be a state of mind as much as a physical reality. Perhaps more so for some homeless if the hopelessness or despair gets too strong. So then it seems natural, even logical, to focus on the physical aspects of life, such as where do I sit down to eat breakfast in the park. I have some favorite benches near Kaimana Beach, somewhat due to factors of close proximity to the showers.

In any case, location becomes a concrete tie to life and even reality. And connectivity to community, to physical needs, and to some possible hope is clearly how I make the best of my situation.


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About the Author

  • Joe Bright
    Joe Bright is a graduate of Iolani School and went on to study art at The Cooper Union School of Art in New York City, and later Chinese medicine at The American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco. Joe currently runs a small acupuncture clinic, Kama’aina Acupuncture in Kapahulu as the first dedicated low-cost “community acupuncture” clinic in Honolulu. Joe has a varied background that has included working as a bicycle mechanic, freelance artist, teaching calligraphy and Tai Chi, a nanny, and even a CEO of a small entrepreneurial company. He continues to create art, even having work recently appear at the Honolulu Academy of Arts as well the Bishop Museum. He also continues with entrepreneurial projects when possible and serves on the Board of Directors for a local Buddhist meditation organization, Vipassana Hawai’i.

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