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Kamenetz, R. (2006). I Am a Homeless Man. Psychoanal. Perspect., 3(2):94-98.

(2006). Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 3(2):94-98

I Am a Homeless Man

Rodger Kamenetz

I am a homeless man.

Last week I had a two-story home in a city called New Orleans. My wife and I left that home with our toothbrushes and a few shirts on a Thursday, expecting to return in two days. When I left, I did not know of a major hurricane heading for my city. Now it seems I won't be able to see my house again for three or four months.

This is what happened in my city today:

An old man in a chaise lounge lay dead in a grassy median as hungry babies wailed around him. Around the corner, an elderly woman lay dead in her wheelchair, covered with a blanket, and another body lay beside her wrapped in a sheet.

“I don't treat my dog like that,” 47-year-old Daniel Edwards said as he pointed at the woman in the wheelchair. “I buried my dog.”

In my house on Pine Street, there are some poems I'd like to have back. There are some pictures of my wife and my children I would like to see again. Looters, you are welcome to the tuna, to the television, to the jewelry, even. You are welcome certainly to the peanut butter. There are bottles of water in the laundry room. Please drink. You may find it more comfortable to sleep on the couch downstairs than upstairs in my bed, where surely it is very, very hot. There's been no power for days, no air-conditioning. Late August and early September in New Orleans, after a big storm, is not a place to be.

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