Hobo Handbook: Memoirs of a Homeless Poet in New York (Excerpt #36)

By Daniel Canada c.2010


CHRIS TUCKER is a strange motherfucker. You can hear his high-pitched voice rising over the crowded den of "Skeksies," at the Bowery Mission church almost every dog-gone day. He likes to hang out at this haunt for some reason that's his own. Of course, you can guess the reason I call Chris Tucker, "Chris Tucker" is because he not only looks like the actor, Chris Tucker, but even sounds like him when he's speaking.

Can you believe that?

He's a natural comedian and doesn't even know it. And I’m not going to let him on to the secret either. That way I won't have to lose him to the greedy clutches of the producers and directors of Hollywood.

Yeah right.

“Chris Tucker” likes to walk around with a huge, wooden, hand-carved staff in his hand, like a displaced Moses, looking for the lost tribes of "Skeksies." Perhaps he wants to deliver us to the "Promised Land" of an SRO. I don't even want to try to figure out what's the deal with that damn staff and why he really carries it around.

“Chris Tucker” also likes to keep his afro large, and 70s looking.

The brother likes to keep it real.

During the fall and winter months he could be seen donning a long, full-length, leather coat like Shaft, a recipient of the Coat Drive for the homeless, held every winter throughout New York City. I have to admit, for a homeless guy he does have class.

Sometimes at the Bowery Mission he gets caught up in the holy spirit of his own origin, and started arguing with himself and moralizing out loud about the philosophies of life, and the injustices of society. He always has a slight chip on his shoulders, and easily gives way to venting vituperations at the soup kitchen. 

You see, in the soup kitchen you're stuck, because you’re hungry and have to go there to get some grub. You can't exactly afford to leave, simply because someone next to you suddenly has an epiphany and wants to share it with everyone. 

There's no escape, my friend.

One day I was leaving Starbucks on Astor Place and accidently ran into "Chris Tucker." He was standing at the entrance of the Number Six subway station, and greeting the crowds of commuters with the most boisterous pronouncements of judgment and condemnation heard since Abraham Lincoln castigated the White Southerners for the institution of slavery. Funny thing was he didn't have his usual “Chris Tucker” voice this time around.


What startled me was that he sounded more like Mr. T. Perhaps his “Chris Tucker” voice had gotten tired, or maybe it was being reserved only for the company of the homeless and “Skeks" at the Bowery Mission church.

I’ll never know.

“Chris Tucker” could probably land a decent gig as a performer, if he ever thought of pursuing it as a career. He could either fill in for the real Chris Tucker on a movie set, if he'd only cut his enormous afro. Somehow I don’t think he’s ever going to pursue an acting career or anything worth writing about, other than what I have already taken the pains to apply my pen to.

So, listen up folks!

If you have enough guts to stand in front of a rush-hour crowd of tired commuters and show your ass, chances are you have enough gonads, or mammary glands, to go out and audition for a big gig on the real stage or big screen. Some people just don't know what they have, and that's a crying shame. Fifteen minutes of fame, or infamy, in front of a rush-hour mob, who more than likely really don't give a hoot in hell what you have to say, is not the path to The Emerald City, Tin Man.

What is more, it is certainly not the road to becoming a well-known and nationally celebrated motivational speaker.

It might be the fastest route to landing you in the psyche ward at Bellevue Hospital.

Or Creedmoor.

Or worst.

(To be continued...)