Crazies in Raleigh

I saw more than enough mental illness this morning.  I mean, it was in full bloom as I stood on Wilmington Street, in front of Café Wilmoore, waiting to meet my friend for coffee.  There was a quick drug exchange hand to hand. There was a yelling woman who sat on the ground saying she was tired.  I was a bit scared of her as she looked at me and said, “Don’t you dare look at me, sister, I’m f’in tired!”  She sucked deeply on a cigarette butt that had little or no tobacco left.  Smoking on a filter. I looked away.  Then, a man with terror in his eyes and very long dreadlocks, lit up a cigarette and came face to face with me and said, “They found my cousin last night. They found her body, but not her clothes. She was 26 and they found her in Wilson. She’s dead. Somebody killed her.  My relatives are coming from New York. I don’t believe in violence but well, they have to kill the guy who killed her.”  “Oh dear,” I said.  “I drank a bottle of vodka last night because you know, I was crying.  This is a crazy, crazy, angry world,” he said.  I looked at all the keloid scars on his chest that looked like old knife wounds, agreed with him about the crazy world and felt so sad.
The streets downtown, are full of crazies and I wonder why there is no place for them to go? Why is there not a place for help, for beauty, for state of the art help to nurture and help these folks back to life?  Why are the powers that be talking about making a big park on the old Dorothea Dix property?  It was once a psychiatric hospital and should be again.  One that is the envy of the entire country.  One that restores the sanity to the broken and lost.  One that hires all the smart and caring talent who can do just that.  How can we think of doing anything less? Where do I begin?  I know that the bureaucracy will drown me quickly, but don’t I have to at least try?  I’ll give it a try…..