Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Homeless in Springfield, Missouri: Brothers Damien and Ken

Ken (left) and Damien (right)
I met Damien on a crisp fall day in Springfield on the downtown square. Several men were gathered on the stone steps, smoking and talking. When I sat down with them, they eyed my camera with some suspicion. 

After we talked for a few minutes, Damien opened up and explained that his meds were not working well, that he had been in and out of mental illness treatment his whole life, and he had always lived on the street. When I asked about family, he pointed to the man sitting nearby and said that was his brother who just got out of the pen.

Photo by AlGriffin

Ken seemed edgy and tense, smoking a cigarette and glancing around at every movement on the street. Damien said they were trying to get their other brother released on bond from his homicide charges.

After a few minutes they relaxed and talked about their lives on the street a bit more freely. As the time passed they agreed to photos when I explained why I took pictures of street people.

The brothers are a fixture on the streets of Springfield, a bit aggressive and unsettling to local business people, but friendly enough when I spent time listening to their story.

Photo by Al Griffin