Buy a copy of Street Roots from vendor John Michael Christian if you are passing by Southwest Sixth and Salmon outside of Starbucks, or, some mornings, if you find yourself leaving Great Harvest Bread at Southwest Second and Yamhill. The least you’ll get is the paper, but if you have a few more minutes, you can get a lot more. John Michael, although he doesn’t take to labeling himself, is an artist, a writer, a teacher and spiritual guide, whose own life is reflected and expanded in a message of love and compassion that he wants to share with others.
That message is so ready to be shared that when I arrived late to our interview, it felt suddenly as if I had tuned in late to “This American Life” and was scrambling excitedly to put together what I had already missed in Part I. Tall in stature and slightly flaired in dress, John wore a blue stocking cap, a cross necklace layered over a rosary, and donned painted red fingernails, which appeared both calculated and cursory at the same time. We attempted to go for a walk, which lasted only a block before I found myself simply leaning against a lamppost, listening intently to both his personal story as well as his life philosophies, which he collects in a working tome titled, “Hobo Metaphysics.” Continue reading