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Rodger Jacobs, Porn Scribe, is Poor, Hungry & almost Homeless…

 

picture from the Las Vegas Sun

Rodger Jacobs emails me-

Dear Friends,

A few nights ago I posted a pop art rendering of Raymond Chandler as my Facebook status update to commemorate the birthday of the father of L.A. noir. At 11:30 Friday night, Jan. B., a San Francisco actress I am acquainted with (cast member in my 2007 tribute to Kerouac for The Beat Museum and Vesuvio Café) wrote on my Chandler status update:
 
“Explain to me why you are always hungry and always down on rent but can afford [to] keep posting via some internet connection, wherever you are”
 
Whether she was aware of it or not, Ms. B was echoing the infamous American Heritage Foundation report, “Surprising Facts About America’s Poor” (Sept. 2011), which revealed that 80 percent of the 46.2 million American households living in poverty have air conditioning, one-half own a personal computer, and 43 percent are clearly being dishonest about their income status because they have internet access. This is a demonstration of demonization, what Bukowski called the “raw and stupid hatred of the poor” in America, not a new tradition but certainly a heated one in this recession.
 
As Lela and I can attest from personal experience, the main stated goal of homeless prevention agencies is to keep those who are tap dancing on a rubber raft from falling off the grid and the main tools they use to keep the homeless on the grid of social visibility are internet and cell phone access.
 
I am writing to you late on a Friday afternoon via the free Wi-Fi provided by the motel on the edge of the Mojave Desert where we have been staying for the last 14 days. A few hours ago we went $200 in the hole to keep a temporary roof over our heads for another three days and nights. (Room rates fluctuate based on availability and the motel was booked solid this weekend so we were forced to pay more than we expected or hit the streets with our 16 duffels and totes.)
 
We have known humiliations that I have not written about on my blog or anywhere else. In a city obsessed with personal appearance and superficiality, we draw stares in public for our tattered secondhand clothing. I have been compelled to walk more than a mile in stifling 105 degree heat with cracked and bleeding feet from plaque psoriasis stuffed into sneakers that are frayed and falling apart to pick up medications because we cannot afford bus fare. The local social service agencies are out of funding and cannot help us. And we have lost everything we own. Again.
 
Two days before we left the Budget Suites to avoid eviction, my friend Rudy urgently phoned me with two requests: He needed an address to mail me a check (with none to provide, I explained to him how to submit funds via credit card to anyone with a PayPal account) and to issue a warning to me to avoid, while downsizing, throwing away any of my notebooks and manuscript drafts, as a recent visit from a literary archivist had opened his eyes to the “coin to be made” from a writer’s unpublished notes, correspondence, and unfinished manuscripts.
 
I was flattered and chagrined that Rudy should believe my papers would be of any value whatsoever, yet today those concentrated piles of debris (along with about one pound of medical records) are about the only personal possessions I have remaining. There are a number of potentially profitable projects amid the debris (including a possible biography of artist Lynd Ward that I am speaking to his heirs about) but, as Scott Fitzgerald wrote, “I have been a mediocre caretaker of most of the things left in my hands, even of my talent,” so I have momentarily put my work on hold, even though its feels counterintuitive to do so.
 
In my play “Go Irish” Jason Miller, paraphrasing Dante, says, “I have given up hope of bending the decrees of the gods by prayer” because all I get in response are temporary stays of execution when I need long-term support over the next few weeks until I am solvent again.
 
Yet I do believe that Miss B’s question (and her rather arrogant demand for an ‘explanation’ since I’ve never asked her for anything) reflects the unspoken beliefs of many following my misadventures online: “Surely, Rodger must be making mistakes that put him where he is, certainly Rodger must have made some bad choices.” (There is also the implication I am somehow enjoying myself, that reaching out to friends and colleagues via the modern communication conveyance of the internet is not a humbling and humiliating enterprise, which it is for those who have not tried it.)
 
Maybe I have made some bad choices, we all have, but I did not choose to contract a rare illness 11 years ago, an inflammation of my body and immune system that I have been told by those who know will one day either kill me through organ inflammation (most likely the heart) and/or leave my joints severely crippled and deformed – the latter process has already begun.
 
Some of my friends receiving this letter have done more than enough to help us and words alone can never convey the depth of my gratitude. You know who you are. I’m not asking for anything specific at this time but rather I am simply issuing an iteration of our urgent needs at the moment and in the weeks ahead (I have some funds arriving next Friday but three-quarters will be offset to repay a loan and my food stamps also arrive on August 3): a stable roof over our head until September 1 and funds to clear up our deficit and purchase food until next Friday. With my worsening health a homeless shelter is not an option; I am highly susceptible to infection (I get at least one a year that sends me to the ER) and I have several open sores on my body for infectious agents to gain entry to my bloodstream.
 
We are good until Monday at noon and then we’re in worsening trouble. We desire to return to L.A. and can do so cheaply via a casino shuttle that can take us to Union Station but we need a place to stay until September 1 once we get there, even another motel would do if we had the funding or vouchers. Or we could stay where we are until September but we need to be somewhere. As my friend Rudy wrote in his novel Slow Fade, “The street is where it’s at now and how to get off it.”
 
This letter may be shared or republished in any form but if you so desire please. We may be contacted by phone any time of the day or night. The hotel number is 702-740-0000, Room 976 (hit 3976 when you get the recording). My cell phone number is 702-496-2996.
 
Thank you very much in advance for any consideration you may give to my requests.

Best,

Rodger

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