Broken Glass is multimedia art project analyzing the phenomenon of broken glass on city streets and the affect it has on the community, the individual and animals.
Sweet rotting milk, that’s what the steam seeping out of his mouth smelled like. As the scent traveled through my nose I could feel my eyes watering, my throat tightening, my lip curling… Holding back my throat’s instinctual vomit spasm I pushed him away by opening my right hand on his chest, an obvious body stop sign. At this point, both of his hands were grabbing each arms of my coat and he pulled me closer to him. He stuck out his tongue, I turned away in disgust searching for any signs of life through the windshield of an old, 2-toned Chevy Nova.
He’s another Painter.
A few months ago I was in a alley with a man that smelled like paint, white and blue stains on his pants, dusty and dirty Timberland boots, greasy hair and an appetite for a dish I do not serve. I had just finished with another client in a motel and had walked a block south, and this man emerged on the street walking north. He seemed tired, hands in his pockets, slumped shoulders and I couldn’t find his eyes–I don’t know how else to describe it, I know it was dark, but I couldn’t find a even a hint of a glisten as I watched him walk past.
“Looking for some company?” I said as he walked past.
He looked at me as he continued to walk away and I said, “venga conmigo papi”, and to this he smiled and slowly began walking towards me. Needless to say, I was in a dimly lit alley with the Painter, my back against a concrete wall, he grabbed my hands and stretched my arms above my head pushing them to the wall. He used his fingertips to press into me starting at my wrists and at a steady pace went down my arms, to the side of my breasts where he began to claw with his nails, continued down and used his thumbs to push hard into my ribs and as soon as he reach my waist he grabbed hard and twisted in opposite directions, his hands full of my flesh. It was at this moment I knew I had to escape. Till this point, I’ve been fortunate not to have many encounters with violent individuals, it was just a matter of time until the odds were no longer in my favor………
Sweet rotting milk was also a Painter. His eyes were lacking in warmth, his whole body throbbed with anticipation, his breath was even. I used my eyes to search and my free hand to find something, anything to use. The car was filthy, I felt rocks and lint, a sticky plastic paper piece, and some kind of cloth. Finally, I felt something smooth, cool and round. I grabbed it and hit him as hard as I could, I think I caught his ear. Then, again, this time I saw an empty travel mug in my hand as I struck him with it near his right eye. He growled and yelled as he pulled back his body back and brought his hands to his face. I opened the car door and fell out backwards onto the sidewalk without ever taking my eyes off him. Mug still in my hand, I stood up, crouched down and threw it at him.
“I don’t play like that!” I roared, “F***ing psycho, don’t ever f***ing come back, I’ll have you killed” I backed away fast, brushing a discarded glass bottle with the side of my foot and stumbled slightly. I quickly turned to pick it up and chucked it at his car…
It is often said that one person’s trash is another’s treasure. In a low-income, urban setting, trash can become a tool for survival in many different ways.