I was walking through downtown Chicago at night when Roland asked me for money. I had some annoying coins in my pocket so I dropped them into his cup. But he was very engaging and he pulled me in with his questions. After a few minutes of hearing his story and resisting giving him any more of my money, I said I would give him more if I could interview him.
His sister was killed by her ex-boyfriend and he was found not-guilty. But Roland heard him going around bragging that he had done it. He went and killed the guy and went to jail for it.
He was raped in prison. He forgives them but won’t forget. He says we gotta love when we don’t feel like loving.
His mom got murdered while he was in prison. He chose not to join a gang, but instead to turn to God instead.
It is his prison record that makes it hard to get a job.
He tries to compliment everybody that passes him. He hopes it gets people thinking about what they have and be grateful for it. And he encourages young people to listen to their parents and stay in school. He thinks maybe they will listen to someone on the street if they won’t listen to their parents.
He sang a song on the spot. Like a modern day, ad-lib spiritual. It was pretty good! Listen for it at 4:31 minutes. He gives another one at the end.
He says that any day he might commit suicide because he just feels like this place is not his home. He says if killing himself would take him to heaven he would do it.
Raw Spoon, 5-29-17