The Big Issue : Edition 449
28 THE BIG ISSUE 10 – 23 JAN 2014 One of the men left to meet a friend; the other and I continued talking. “All these people,” he waved to the masses crossing the road in front of us, “I wonder how many of them feel happy. Their faces are glum, they always look down, they come home from work and their families don’t tell them they love them.” The man was newly homeless, but this wasn’t his first time. I thought of what it would be like to live day to day like that. One can’t help but notice people who are curled in the only clothes they can find, waking up on the streets each morning and riding the trains with nowhere to go. I understand that many people avoid the homeless; they see them as outsiders. But there’s no reason to automatically treat them with fear and dodge their glances. When we parted, the man tipped the busker. I couldn’t stop reflecting: how was it that I had just spoken to two men, two complete strangers, and come out so radiant and full of hope, feeling I had known them my whole life? Everyone will have a home one day, I’m sure, and until then we all have no shortage of friends if we know where to look. We just have to trust each other. The words and wisdom of the two men were glowing in my mind. I owe them for their insight; it gave me courage. Once on the train, I saw a woman reading a book. I asked her what she was reading. She looked up, smiled...and we talked for the whole journey home. » Andreas Katsineris-Paine writes whenever he can, believes in poetry and hopes that the human spirit triumphs against pain. He lives in Melbourne and plans to study at Swinburne University. AFTER A HIGH-SCHOOL seminar not so very long ago, I was sitting and watching some buskers in the city. My friends had gone straight home, but I stayed a bit longer. I live in a cosy, bushy suburb on the northern fringes – a fine place to live, but far away from the buzz, buildings and cafes of the CBD. I had walked for a while, bought a Big Issue from a cheery vendor, and was now waiting for the train home. I threw some money to the musicians and took a seat, listening to them playing Paul Kelly’s song ‘How To Make Gravy’. And, while sitting in front of the station for about 20 minutes, something happened that taught me a lot. As evening descended, I started writing in my journal. Two men in their forties came over and crouched down behind me, organising their bags. They were dressed in rough, torn garments, beanies pulled down over their long, brown hair. Their skin looked hard. One of them approached and asked what I was writing. I explained I was writing poetry, that I wanted to become a writer. One of the men, eyes lit up, said he also wrote poetry and turned it into rap music. It was the only way he could get his feelings out. He said that if humans don’t communicate or make art we end up disliking each other. All this he said in the highest of moods. And, man, do you know how hard it is getting attention as a writer? It’s always inspiring to have someone notice you and genuinely take interest. For the next 20 minutes we had one of the most engaging conversations of my life. We talked about moods, humans’ needs, about work and why we do it, what we liked to do in our spare time, whether or not God was real and what, really, was the best Australian band. The Home Coming WHILE WAITING FOR A TRAIN, ANDREAS KATSINERIS-PAINE GAINS SOME INSIGHTS FROM UNEXPECTED SOURCES.