This is the fifth in a series of short portraits by Clay Jones introduced on April 11. The stories of the men and women Jones has known and photographed over many years are told here in Jones’ words.
Danny is 55 years old. He’s the guy you see selling palm frond roses on the Waterfront. I’ve know him for about 20 years. I also know his mother. The family would like him to come home, but Danny wants to live free.
He dropped out of Sts. Peter and Paul in his junior year. Often I will spend 30 minutes or more listening to him. He has some very intricate ideas and expresses them well. One of the ideas is that all the stores on Main Street have basements with elaborate systems that reach into outer space. He gets really detailed in explaining complex systems. He often imagines things that aren’t necessarily real, but still his ideas are well developed.
He is always very polite and told me recently how happy he is to see me. It’s because he knows I like to listen to him.
When I was on the streets, the most hurtful thing was when people ignored me – as if I didn’t exist. That is why it is important to me to try and offer some respect for people’s humanity. Everyone deserves respect and dignity.
Danny said to me recently, “You are one of the only people who pays attention to me.”
Editor’s note: Neither Jones, nor the Source suggest that everything Danny has shared over the years is entirely accurate. What we hope is to introduce him as a person in our community who we now recognize.
Jones has not been paid for this project; instead he asks that donations be made to Alternative Art Alliance, which is the 501(c)(3) charitable entity associated with sevenminusseven.