Saturday, December 29, 2012

Bowl 32: Pam

She had welcomed me warmly the evening before.
I arrived in Emporia -- which I kept thinking of as Euphoria -- 
after driving for twelve hours 
through eight states 
with quick stops for gas, coffee, and rest rooms.

She told me she usually worked the morning shift,
but took the night shift so she could spend Christmas morning with her kids.

She asked if I had any discounts -- AAA, AARP . . . 
and when I shook my head she said, "I'll give it to you anyway . . . 
and, you can have the handicapped room, with the king-sized bed,
 and you won't need to walk upstairs."

At 7 am she was still there,
looking fresh and rested,
still welcoming,
still interested in the people who arrived and departed,
still touching people's lives with care, 
as she had 
day by day,
for eighteen years
from behind the desk of the Best Western in Euphoria, Virginia..

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Bowl 31: Amy

We're walking the trails of the Emerald Necklace,
together and apart.
She is accompanied by her trusty Scout.
I walk alone ...

beneath my feet the softness of eons of life
that have emerged only to disintegrate and emerge again.
around me fallen trees silently transforming,
lichens and mosses hastening the process of melting back into earth.

it is one of those almost solstice days,
the sky is still blue
but there is the feeling of evening settling in despite the early hour.
there is deep silence, 
somehow undisturbed by the distant hum of the first bloom of rush hour traffic.
there is peace,
despite the heartache of the suffering that has been all too present in recent days.

She gazes silently as Scout drinks from a pool . . . they are clearly comfortable companions,
at ease after walking these paths together over many seasons.
"Scout barks at people," she tells me . . . "the rough bark of a hound -- it's not so pleasant."
But he doesn't.

Perhaps he too is hushed by the nearness of the dark and the quiet.
Perhaps he too is feeling this time of turning inward.
 Perhaps he too is quietly waiting for the return of the light.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Bowl 30: Heather

I've stopped in for a cup of coffee.
It's late morning on a Thursday and the ice cream shop is virtually empty.
Only a couple of women and a child in a stroller talking softly.

There's something special about the young woman behind the counter.
Maybe in the way she asks me what I want, 
easily, with care, not at all rushed or harried.
Or maybe in how she notices me eyeing the baked goods case
and asks if I want a pastry with my coffee,
then smiles when I say I'm trying not to get one,
but then opt for a cinnamon roll
telling myself I will eat it later and savor each small bite.

Such a simple transaction,
so satisfying in its simplicity.
A cup of coffee -- organic and fair trade --
an exchange of good will and smiles,
the warmth of the coffee, and the lingering taste of cinnamon.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Bowl 29: Ravi & Vinayak

Walking by displays of ancient bowls from Asia and the Near East
I notice two young boys and their mom,
sketchbooks open,
capturing the graceful gesture of Islamic arches in careful pencil strokes.

Later, in the hushed silence of the Buddha room,
I find them again . . . 
One brother drawing the peaceful, dark, Japanese Buddha -- one I have often been drawn to myself.
The other, the golden-hued Buddha in the center, seated on an enormous lotus flower.
They are so small next to these huge seated figures,
 yet their focus and concentration bring the scale somehow into balance.

And when we begin talking I find they are delightful as well . . . 
They love to do art they tell me, and their mom makes art too!
They are excited about the bowl and pose for me in several different ways.
It's a happy and easy exchange.

Later, as I gaze on bowls from China, Korea, and Japan
I reflect on the ancient stream of artists
reaching back at least 37,000 years to the caves at El Castillo,
and on how the urge to make art continues in these young brothers.
I feel gratitude for our human impulse to make something of beauty,
something of use, 
something that reflects the joys and sorrows of our lives.
I think about those people from so long ago and wonder
 if they ever had an inkling that the work of their hands, and hearts, and minds 
would survive through so many generations
to inspire me and my young friends to do the same.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Bowl 28: Alex

Sometimes it's smooth sailing!

In New York for Thanksgiving weekend,
I need to go from Yorktown to Levittown
then into the city
I anticipate gridlock. . . and find none . . . 
then, driving 'cross 21st street a free, on-street, parking spot emerges. . . 
the gods must be with me!

I grab my bag with bowl and camera
with little hope of an encounter on a chilly day in chilly NYC
but turning the corner, outside a cafe,
a man sits singing to his toddler,
"cold, cold, cold it's cold," he chants . . . 
and she giggles.

We chat for a while, then his wife emerges from the cafe,
a tiny infant snuggled against her chest . . . 
I do a quick calculation.
"She must have been born right around the time of the storm," I surmise . . . 
A week before, they say . . . it was pretty tough living without power for a week with a newborn.
But they are smiling . . . like everyone I've talked to who weathered the storm . . .

This human life . . . so fragile, so resilient, so unpredictable. 
Sometimes we weather the storms,
and sometimes it's smooth sailing.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Bowl 27: Barbara

I've been carrying this bowl for weeks . . .
the weather's turned cold . . . 
a hurricane
a snow storm,
all in all, difficult days for finding someone sitting on a park bench
open to a conversation.
I go to the library,
to the cafe downstairs near the shelves of the used book sale . . .

A woman browses, wrapped against the weather
although it is quite cozy inside.
She carries books and books on tape.
We smile, pass each other as we browse, pass and smile again.
She moves to a table with a bowl of soup and removes her wrap.
 Conversation feels possible, but two artists I know are sitting nearby . . . 
I feel intimidated. . . what will they think? do they know my project? will I look the fool?
 . . .so much doubt!
I am tempted to abandon the entire project.

I swallow my pride, and my fears, and say hello.
In her pile is Tales of the Alhambra by Washington Irving . . . 
an audio book I've listened to . . . and a place I've been.
She tells me she is going to Spain in the spring
and I recall being in the Alhambra many years ago, 
my eyes glazing over as I wandered through rooms covered with lush pattern and texture --
floor to ceiling - and floor and ceiling.
then coming upon a bath in muted blues and greens,
and being stunned by the beauty and the simplicity of the space.

We share our relief that the weather has broken
and at the outcome of the election -- 
we'd both worked on the same campaigns but hadn't crossed paths.
She says she's driving to New York for the weekend
something I'll be doing as well only a week later.
Her mother-in-law is packing to go to Florida.
My mom lives in Florida and I'll be going too next month.
Fear is long gone and I am warmed by the many small connections we find.
The exchange of a bowl and some conversation . . .
so simple, so satisfying . . . 
and almost abandoned in the face of emotions that dissolved, like the storms, a just few moments later.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Bowl 26: David

He's reading as I approach -- it's book about how we're all connected . . .
thoroughly researched, including interviews with numerous physicists and other scientists . . . 
it sounded interesting, but I've already forgotten the title and the author.
He wants to know if the shape of the tea bowl has a functional purpose
and why I call them tea bowls and not cups . . . 
interesting questions.
I reply that the shape is serendipitous, there only to make the hand feel comfortable . . . 
and that for me bowls have gravitas -  evoking ceremony and offering,
 whereas tea cups seem flighty, somewhat lightweight, frivolous even.

I find myself explaining the process of inscribing the lines and inlaying the slip
 . . .  he tells me that he's writing a play.
 . . . and he is trying to devise a way for someone to put a secret message on the back of the Rosetta Stone . . . a message that could be revealed at a crucial moment . . .
we speculate about clay and glue and tar and acid . . . 
and what would stick to stone and what would look like it belonged.

Then we talk of making art for the love of it--
plays to be seen by friends and family,
tea bowls to be given away
sharing a joy in the process
then sharing the process with the world.
I walk away, embraced by the warm sun and the brilliant colors of the day,
filled with the contentment of a shared moment in time and space --
feeling connection.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Bowl 25: David

It's a circus of sound, color, movement.
The steady beat of Brazilian drummers holds the space.
Onlookers bounce in rhythm with the band.
Even the Tai chi players seem somehow in sync.
 Children running, trailing brilliant streamers.
While overhead a giant kite/banner/origami thing snakes its way through the space
defining it. . . sheltering it . . .without really enclosing it.

He is drawing bowls as I approach -- with black charcoal on white paper.
But he is sitting on a blanket with three colorful paintings arrayed beside him.
$15 each, he tells me.

He's studying fashion at MassArt, 
the child of Columbian immigrants who came here to build a better life, 
and he is grateful for the opportunity to study art, to live among museums, 
and to draw inspiration from artists both living and dead.

I offer him a bowl. Not for a painting, just for his photo.
Hands smeared with charcoal against the pale glazed surface.
the drawing of his bowls behind.
The image, and the trade, are just right.
perfectly in sync with the rhythm of the drums
and the spirit of the day.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Bowl 24: Miriam

I stop to help her with the parking meter.
It's the kind we all have trouble with.
And in the end her cards are unusable,
but it finally takes some bills
and spits out a receipt for her car.

As we begin to talk, she reveals that she is an artist --
a painter of icons.
It is something I know little about,
except what I've read in art history books
and what I've seen when I looked at them from time to time in museums.

I've heard that painting icons is a spiritual journey,
and she confirms this,
and she says that icons also reflect the culture of the country where the painter lives.
That people can tell from her images that her roots are here in the US,
rather than in Russia, or Bulgaria, or Greece.

And she tells me about some of her spiritual journey,
and of how she was drawn to the Eastern Church
a church that has maintained its connection to its mystical traditions, even in this modern age.
and she speaks of painting icons and how it keeps her in touch with the mystery.
and I can feel her groundedness both in the reality of this world and in its mystery.
And I walk away, lighter, happier, and feeling grounded as well
 in both the reality and the mystery of it all.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Bowl 23: Jose

He is looking at a bamboo sculpture when I approach.
What do you think, I ask.
It reminds me of a tree house, he replies . . . like those we used to build
when I was a boy in Puerto Rico . . .
we'd start them and then leave them partly finished.
Then move on and start another somewhere else.

Then he points to another sculpture . . .
and says how much he likes it . . .
 and tells me that it reminds him of nests that the tortolitos make . . .
he tells me that they're little birds that live on the island
and that hundreds of them live in a single nest.

Art is whatever you see in it, he tells me.

As an artist I sometimes think people will see what I want them to see.
But really, I think he's right.
And I love that he sees what he sees.
And that you see what you see,
no matter what I see
or what I think I've put out there.
It makes it all so much richer,
the coming together of different lives 
and different points of view.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Bowl 22: Paul

He is lying on a bench,
looking up at the trees.

that's an ancient one, he says.
not too many that old around here.
and this one,
I think it's sassafras. . .
and I learn that sassafras has three different kinds of leaves --
one oval, one mitten shaped, and one with three lobes.

then he tells me about a banyan tree where he grew up in Florida . . .
so big it spread across three yards!
we used to climb them and crawl along the branches
 to the mango trees in our neighbor's yards . . .
delicious! and we never needed to touch the ground.

we talk of clay, and of seeing contemporary ceramics in ancient settings --
he in Oaxaca, me in Certaldo,
and of a Chinese teacup he once held that was made for an emperor
so fine that when you held it to the light, the emperor's portrait was visible in the porcelain.

he talks on, about music and musical geniuses he's met,
about painting houses for billionaires
and at a certain point I begin to wonder how much he is making up
for my benefit
and how gullible I am for believing it all . . .

and then I decide
it doesn't matter in the least
the stories are fascinating
the day is beautiful
and I am totally enjoying our encounter.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bowl 21: Chris

It's been a difficult few days. . . 
things that I thought were done and tied up neatly
have been unravelling,
falling apart,
plunging me back into uncertainty.

Feeling the sinking in the pit of my stomach
I begin walking,
allowing myself to touch back into just this moment
just this step.

I see Chris fishing, his mom nearby.
Although he appears to be no more than 10 or 11
he is a surprisingly knowledgeable and competent fisherman,
Arcing the line far over the water
and pulling it in with adept flicks 
so that it truly seems that a live frog is on the end --
tempting bait for the large-mouthed bass that swim the pond.

"I always throw them back," he tells me. 
I'm very careful with them. Sometimes I have to cut the line and leave the hook,
but the acid in the fish's stomach will dissolve it," he says.

Then I give him the bowl and start to photograph..
"Wait," he says, "wouldn't it look great if I hold it up and you can see the water behind it."
He is absolutely right! Much better than the first few against his shirt.

Later, I encounter the shards of a goddess left three years before.
I walk home.
Things are still unraveling . . .
but I am more at peace with that . . . 
for this moment at least.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Bowl 20: Laurie

The space is huge, but intimate, 
perhaps because of the warm wood that surrounds me.
Wooden beams soar high above.
And looking up it's as if we are in a ship turned topsy-turvy.

She is leading a tour for two contractors who know a lot about buildings.
I join in. 
They talk of the curved beams, unnecessary from a structural point of view,
but beautiful nonetheless.
And how churches in England were built this way 
because they had used up all of the straight trees, 
and only curved ones remained.
After they leave she shows me the Victorian wallpaper 
installed during one of several renovations. 
And photos of the interior all dressed up in Victorian garb.
It is so different from the plain beauty of the wooden pews 
and simple walls that surround me now.
And she tells me that when they removed the box pews, 
some families took them home and stored them.
And when they decided to restore the church,
 families brought them back again . . . 
more than 100 years later!

I leave, and return, catching her as she heads out down the driveway.
Grateful that she has shared this bit of history with me.
I offer her a gift in return.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Bowl 19: Laura

She appears so content, 
sitting on a bench,
On a screen, not a book!

Curious, I ask if she likes it.
"Yes," she tells me, "and I never thought I would."

And, I am struck once again
by how we all make assumptions.
Every day.

This will work for me. . . 
this won't.
I will never give up the feel of a real book in my hands.
I could never enjoy reading a newspaper online.
So definite about so much.

She reminds me to try to hold these thoughts more lightly.
To leave space for possibility.
To allow that today I might feel differently.

I have given her a bowl.
And she has given me a gift.
Of inestimable value. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Bowl 18: Michael

There's a pile of stuff on the sidewalk,
interesting stuff.
And being someone who likes to find treasures
in someone else's trash
I begin to look through it.

Someone else joins me and we look together . . .
78 records, an "original authentic desk blotter", empty violin cases.

The person responsible for the pile emerges from the brick-front town house.
He carries a Russian poster of Lenin, clearly old, clearly original,
and offers it to my comrade.
I am chagrined . . . I want it!

But he invites me inside and says I can choose anything I want,
there is nothing I need, but I am intrigued by the decrepit beauty of the building.
"It was my father's he tells me . . . he was born in 1920"
the same year as mine, I note.
And he shows me photos of four generations . . .
his father,
his grandfather,
and his daughters.

And now he is leaving it all behind.
Clearing out the remains of lives lived here.
Leaving it on the street
for others to find and recycle into their lives.

Later I pass by again.
Almost nothing remains
but some very old books, pre- and early 20th century
I pick them up and bring them home.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Bowl 17: Angela

July at the farmer's market.
bursting with energy.

Vegetables, flowers, cheeses, baked goods.
Tables overflowing.
People overflowing.
Long lines, 
arms heaped with produce.

But her space is quiet.
Monastic even.

A few beautifully packaged raw food offerings.
Crackers, pâté, spreads, nut/fruit goodies.
She offers a taste. 
The kind of sweet that satisfies with a single, small bite.

She's turned her passion into her business over the past year
and seems really content.
Though I can't help but wonder how it feels
to be in her island of peace,
in the midst of the chaotic energy of the summer market.
. . . and I forgot to ask.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Bowl 16: Joan

"My name is Joan," I say.
"So is mine," she laughs.

It's noon.
Sun beating down, relentless.
But her lunch bench is perfect.
water view.

I remark on a bright red bird flashing by.
She says she comes often.
Sees rabbits, chipmunks, squirrels
the ubiquitous geese,
pairs of swans.

She knows Olmsted and his parks.
Here, and in New York and Buffalo
where she lived as a girl.

"Not so many Joans," she says.
"It's so bland."
"Plain," I agree.

But what's in a name?
I google it.
so many Joans! 

Joan of Arc
Joan Baez
Joan Halifax
Joan Jett
Joan Cusak
Joan Miro
Joan Rivers, to name a few.

and even,
Jo-an (teahouse), a National Treasure in Inuyama, Aichi Prefecture, Japan.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Bowl 15: Carol

We could not be more different.
She in her gold bracelets and designer sunglasses.
Me in my second hand clogs and sunglasses bought for $1.69 at Building 19-1/2.

She stares straight ahead as I seat myself on her bench.
And listens politely as I describe my offer.
"My hands are not so beautiful," she says.
"Beautiful hands are not the point," I reply.
Although to me all hands are beautiful.
The worn and the cared for
the supple and the gnarled.
All reflecting the journey of our lives.

We talk of art, and we come closer.
We speak of Christo's Gates
and the beauty of multiples.
Of how dozens of flowers of a single kind can be breathtaking in its symmetry.
And how a bouquet of wildflowers brings a different joy in its diversity.

Then she speaks of her grandson's first birthday party.
With 12,000 gold balloons to welcome the guests.
And the lake and bridge that was created for them to cross over into the party.
And my mind boggles
And I can't help but think of the hundreds who might have been fed, 
even just for the price of the balloons.

And yet, she receives the bowl with grace and gratitude.
"I'll have to make tea now," she says with a smile.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Bowl 14: Ani

I am captivated
by a display of poems written by children
in the window of a bookstore.

People stop. . .  pause . . . move on.
Then someone stays.
We read in silence for a time.

Are you a poet? I ask.
No, she smiles, but I love poems.

We read on, separate and together.
Then I offer a bowl.

Look she says, it matches my outfit.
and it does.

A happy accident.
Like finding poetry,
or a kindred spirit,
right in the midst of everyday life.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Bowl 13: Sean

He has stood near clinics since 1987,
talking to women and "saving lives."
I approach trying to keep my heart open.
He is not someone I normally move toward.

He is friendly, with the calm confidence that he is doing "God's work."
He tells me he been a street counselor for many years, 
some of them full time - living on $15 a week and the generosity of friends.

"It's always wrong to kill," he says.
And I agree -- it is, in fact, the first precept.
And yet I know that being human, we destroy life all the time,
knowingly and unknowingly . . . 
being human, we do the best we can.

And I also know, as a woman, the relief of knowing
that I would not be a mother before I was ready,
and the lingering pain of deciding to end the possibility of life.

Life moves through everything
forming and re-forming.

In a perfect world all babies would be loved and cherished.
All beings would be nourished, safe, and healthy.
In this perfectly imperfect world, living beings suffer in so many ways.
and though we may not agree,
we can still move toward one another
keeping our hearts open,
knowing that being human, we all do the best we can.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Bowl 12: Alinda

I am in a bright, clear space 
surrounded by tea bowls.

the work of master hands --
from the infinitely subtle
to the rough essence of earth and stone.

"which are your favorites," she asks.
and I am dumbfounded --
 each is so alive in its own being.

earth, air, fire, water
body, mind, spirit
all transformed. 
become a vessel to hold tea.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Bowl 11: Kang

I see him at the edge of the pond
cutting wild greens . . . 
long, slender, graceful,
with just the barest of buds at the tip.

"onions," i ask
"garlic," he replies,
and suddenly i am aware of the deep earthy scent that is at the start of all great food.

"good for cooking, " he says
"and, good medicine."

a researcher in a modern lab, he is trying to understand autoimmune disease . . .
and has carried the knowledge of medicinal plants and ancient remedies
with him from China to Boston via Texas and Michigan.

"you can use it for soup," I say and nod at the bowl.
"for tea," he says, " it is a bowl for tea."

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Bowl Ten: Kairsten

Airport terminal.
out of time.
out of space.

in dreads,
feather in her hat,
a sweet smile,
looked up from her music as i sat beside her.

i just bought my first clay ever, she tells me
and shows me an image of her painting --
all brilliant color and eye of horus,
and buddha dancing on the cracked screen of her phone.

NYC sisters at Logan
each on our way to somewhere else;
making a brief connection in this wide, wide world.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Bowl 9: Joanne and Margaret

 A badling of ducklings on the shore
all fluffy browns and yellows.
Twelve in all.

Watched over by mama, 
a large Canada goose,
Joanne and Margaret.

I join them.

After a bit I offer a bowl
and as I am photographing
bedlam breaks loose.

The goose has ventured too close to the babies.
Mama duck has her by the leg,
and despite being half her size
has dragged her away and left her limping.

The buddha said, 
"Love all beings as a mother loves her only child."
and our hearts break,
loving them all . . .
and each of the twelve ducklings.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Bowl 8: Mette

walking downtown
streets packed with people
sun warm with the coolness of early spring.
me, feeling vulnerable
especially since I've invited you in.

watching my mind
watching people. . .

too young
too old
too straight
too hip
too busy
too spaced out
too many judgements!

I flee to the relative quiet of the library courtyard
and circle it slowly
once, twice, three times
breathing, calming . . .

then i see a family snuggled in a corner.
mom, dad, new baby - so sweet . . .
i offer my name, and a bowl
they accept.
what is your name? the mom replies,
Mette . . M.E.T.T.E.
ah, like metta, I sigh.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

welcome to the tea bowl project

I began this project for year three of the time project -- an endeavor by a group of artists who commit to making one piece of art on a regular basis for a year and sharing their process each month with the other members of the group. 

In the first year I produced the goddess project and ultimately a book, 52 goddesses

Last year I produced a series of collages based on photographs that I took during the previous week.

This year I have returned to my root medium, clay, to produce tea bowls,  small ceramic bowls inspired by those used in a Japanese tea ceremony. Each is unique in shape and glaze, and meant to feel good when held in the hands. 

Each week I take one of the finished bowls and go in search of someone to give it to -- someone I don't know. In return I ask to take a photograph of the person's hands holding the bowl. 

My intention is to break through the barrier that separates us on the street, offer a gift to a stranger, and have some conversation -- to truly encounter someone new each week. 

I come home, print the photograph, and write about what happened for me at our meeting.

I now have given away seven bowls . . . the images and writing are below . . . and from this time on I will post images weekly as the project continues . . . I look forward to your reactions and comments.

Bowl One: Anitra
Heart pounding.
Wind strong.
Will this work?

A woman fishing.
Catch anything?
Not yet.

I offer the bowl.
She looks puzzled.
Then smiles.
Wind dies down.
Weight drops away.
The sun is shining.

Bowl Two: Sean

Long walk with Sam
Who is too shy for a photo
But talks happily of his life and family.
We part and I see Sean
Resting, eating, enjoying the day.
We share a smile.
A few words.
He takes the bowl
and really looks at it.

Bowl Three: Angeline

Sitting in the sun
plugged into her music,
Angeline makes space for me on her bench,
and takes out her earbuds.

You take the photo, she says
then I'll give the bowl back to you
and you can pass it on to someone else.

You keep it, I say,
and pass it on if you like.
 Her smile lights up the day.

"My momma called me Angeline
'cause she said I looked like an angel when I was born."

Still do, I think.

Days later we meet again
and hug, heart to heart. 

Bowl Four: Loretta

Calm and beautiful
she sits waiting for the bus.
I pass by, and then again . . . and finally approach.

She is delighted!
Why me? she asks.
I murmur something about her rings.
But really it's her halo of grey hair,
and the stillness of her being.

And yes, the rings
that speak of a soul moved by beauty.

We say a few more words
and her bus appears.
She rises and boards 
with a grace the belies her age
and her walking stick.

Bowl Five: Terry

Her baby cradled in her arms,
she watches the bigger kids on swings and slides.
The baby - Tula - is irresistible
chubby cheeks, laughing eyes.

She loves the bowl -
but I think she loves the photo best.
The bowl, cradled in her strong, beautiful hands.
I'll send her one, I promise. 
And I do.

Bowl Six: John

Keeping a keen eye on three rods resting on the shore
he relaxes in the shade.
"You can catch a 28 pound salmon here," he says.
   "That's a lot of eatin'," I reply.
"No, I just catch them and throw them back," he smiles big.
"I'm here every day. I just catch them and let them go."

Bowl Seven: Robert

I've seen him here before,
standing on this very spot, 
selling Spare Change.
Been doing it for six years, he said.
My brother too, before he died.

A young woman walks by - 
"Buy Spare Change," he asks.
She hesitates, then pulls out a fiver . . 

I'm surprised.
He is gracious.

People are generous he tells me.
And, it's hard, really heart living in shelters,
on the street.

But I can use this . . . 
and he takes the bowl.
Wraps it carefully in his jacket,
And puts it in his bag.