August 15, 2018

The Power Of Imagination


Inspiration can come from imagination or it can come from the most innocuous things and at other times it can come from the bottom of a bottle or glass late into the night in a dark bar full of people with checkered pasts and soon to be checkered futures...or sometimes it’s the imagination that gives birth to the baby that becomes your story or at least becomes a welcome distraction...sometimes, it can be your best friend...there’s no limit as to what you can come up with...I’m sitting outside and what was a sweltering day has now become cooler and overcast and it’s starting to rain and I just moved my chair so I can feel the rain because I was under a tree...the rain and me are good friends and it’s hugging me now with every friendly drop...I love the rain...maybe because most people don’t like it...always the contrarian am I...I’m looking over the top part of my wooden fence at my neighbors metal pool enclosure which has seen better days and those days were a long time ago... the screen is torn in places and is hanging down with a sad neglected droop, some screenage is missing altogether, the metal frame is tarnished and looking ancient...if I peered over the fence, I would see that the pool water is greener than the weeds in the lawn...it’s really kind of an eyesore and a shame...but if I use my imagination, I can pretend I’m looking at the frame of a temple built long ago, yes...somewhere in southeast Asia...Buddhist maybe...yes, Buddhist I decide...this temple is one that is crumbling and falling victim to time...yes, it is one that has been abandoned for ages and is forgotten, of course no one knows why, it all adds to the mystery of it all...it’s a relic belonging to another age...that’s what I like to think it is anyway...a place where monks meditated and chanted 100,000 moons ago...I walk on the other side of the yard and I see my replica of Stonehenge that I made after we had a tree chopped up after a hurricane pushed it over crushing part of my fence, which I haven’t fixed yet...Stonehenge...I don’t know why I made it...I think Stonehenge is a mystical sort of place although I never was interested enough to actually do any research on it and find out who built it or what it was for...I’m not sure anybody knows anyway...my imagination tells me that is was some kind of powerful spiritual place where the paranormal was normal...that’s more interesting probably than the real story…located near Stonehenge are the three pyramids of Giza, which in reality are some pieces of broken concrete I once picked up at a friends’ house...my pyramids went up in about five minutes...an engineering marvel...the house across the street from me has sat empty for a while...slow real estate market?...no, the house is haunted...there was a suicide by the previous owner and his troubled spirit haunts the premises and scares off any would be tenants...strange noises at night...unexplainable events...maybe there’s some kind of poltergeist behind it...I’m looking at it now while I write this and it looks foreboding...and sometimes imagination is your best friend and it puts an arm around you and gives you a warm embrace and tells you that things are going to be better...it got you through many a day after school when you were growing up playing alone in the backyard and like the times when you were in high school and you listened to music in the basement on Saturday nights and pretended that you were popular.

August 13, 2018

Looking For You

I am looking for you...I’ve always looked for you and I’m still looking...in every bar I’ve ever been in between downing some 110 proof...or in a million other places...the problem is life don’t come with no treasure map to show you where to get the good stuff...no X marks the spot...but maybe you will walk in out of the rain one dreary afternoon shaking the drops off of your raincoat...maybe you’ll just come in and take a seat at the far end of the bar and we’ll just know as soon as we see each other?...can I buy you a drink?...sit down and let’s talk for awhile...we can sit in the booth in the corner, or even better, go somewhere that isn’t so damn depressing...I know a couple of nice places...I’m really not so bad, a little worn around the edges maybe...maybe you’ve got a little baggage you’re carrying around but that’s alright...we might be down but we’re not out...could it be you’re that one coming around the corner of the cracked and broken sidewalk...our eyes will meet and shake hands and go to the local coffee joint to get to know each other...we can talk about Monet and impressionism, or Chopin or Rachmaninov, or whatever you want...no rush, we got all night...I’m in no hurry...or are you the one that’s squeezing those tomatoes at the all night market...some nights I pretend you’re picking them out to take home and make some spaghetti for the two of us in your cozy apartment that rattles when the train rumbles by...shall I pick out the wine?...I don’t know much about wine but I’ll give it a try...or maybe I’ll make one of my special homemade pizzas or that delicious chicken parmigiana I can whip up in no time...can you be the lonely looking one riding the train back from downtown after a long day...staring out the window and looking at nothing...faceless people getting off into faceless towns...maybe you’re lonely too just like me...waiting for your stop and then the long walk into the biting wind to the parking lot and the silent forlorn drive home past the crumbling neighborhoods with the little, dirty faced kids playing in the streets and the bigger kids throwing an old basketball at a hoop with no net...the whole scene decked out and painted a grim shade of grime...that’s the only good thing about the snow in winter...it cover up all the ugly, and least for a little while and everything is a virginal sort of white...or maybe you’re the one I see at the movies all the time...sitting by yourself and maybe like so many other lost souls, sitting in the darkness and cool of the theatre...disappearing into the screen...losing yourself in the film and running away from all the crap in real life at least for a couple of hours...lost and lonesome among a supporting cast of millions...unsure of your cue, unsure of your lines...always out of the spotlight and the audience unable to hear your desperate words...maybe you’ve got that deep ache in your heart or your soul...that nagging hurt that just won’t go away no matter how much booze you drink and keeps elbowing you in the side when you’re trying to sleep...or how many times you wanna scream “Fuck everybody” to nobody in particular...are you my angel?...will you watch over me...watch out for me...cook for me once in awhile...hold me when I’ve got the shakes...tell me it’s gonna be alright when I’m ready to crumble?... I’ll be there for you too when it’s raining too hard or snowing too much, or when the winds of this wonderful life feel like a butchers knife trying to slice right through you...we can be there for each other, united we stand...maybe someday, maybe never.

August 11, 2018

We're Not Who They Thought We Were


The other night I went to the dimly lit, uneven floored, smelly old grocery store by my place in search of something to eat while watching some favorite old movies...The Third Man, Sunset Boulevard, and Dr. Zhivago...all classics...at least half of the fluorescent lights were burned out like some of the customers were or flickering like they were transmitting Morse code to ships at sea, and the uneven broken heaving tile floor invited twisted ankles and face plants...anyway when I got to the checkout line, I noticed that tonight, my cashier is Jennifer...except she isn’t a cashier...she’s an actress who is as they say in the business, is currently between parts...all her life, she had dreamed of making it to the big screen and being a big star, but now she tells me she would be happy with a walk-on role, or she’d even settle for some kind of TV commercial...she keeps going to auditions and they tell her they’ll call her, but they don’t...yet, she’s always got a smile on her face...I guess she’s one of those people who takes rejection well or something...I know I’m not...she knows I’m a writer and asks me to write some part for her, and I smile and say nothing...I’m not a screenwriter but I tell her I’ll put in a good word for her if I meet a famous director...I know a few directors, but they ain’t famous...I turn around and I look behind me and hey it’s the lovely Misty...Misty with the long golden blonde hair that works as a waitress at a restaurant down by my apartment, but she really isn’t a waitress, she says she’s a model; that is when she isn’t holding down a full time job waiting tables...I don’t know the last modeling shoot she was on, but she’s always running around the city, in search of a modeling gig...I first met her at a local pizza place and my first thought was not of the pizza I was picking up, but that she was much too beautiful to be working behind the counter at a fast food pizza joint...yet somehow she has not hit it big yet...I keep thinking it must only be a matter of time before she finds success but then again maybe I got a broken watch...the other day I saw Angel...she’s a wonderful artist, a little eccentric but that goes with the territory...I should know...she also happens to work at the check cashing place and the convenience store...she holds down two jobs so she can buy paint and canvases...at the check cashing place, she’s a little loose with the rules and that’s alright by me...sometimes you’re in a tight spot and you need a friend like that...her apartment is one giant studio...you have to be careful where you sit or you might sit on a tube of paint and wind up with a cobalt blue ass...Angel has an artistic vision but she is the only one who can appreciate it now...she laughs that when she’s dead, her paintings will be worth a lot of money...I playfully ask her if I can push her out the window of her ‘cozy’ studio/apartment and find out...then there’s me, a poet and writer who just had happens to spend a lot of time at some old, dirty, hot warehouse with the big metal fan blades spinning like category 5 hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean displacing hot air with more hot air...eight hours a day of lifting boxes and plastic totes that don’t even say thank you, and an aching back that can verify my story...but of course that’s never been my real job, I’m a writer/poet or so I tell everyone so they don’t think I might be something else...it’s funny sad how most of us aren’t what we really are...the job ‘experts’ tell you to do what you love...that’s fine, but what you often love doesn’t pay the bills, so you have to take a job doing something you don’t love...in the battle between doing what you love, and doing what you have to, the job you have to do usually eventually squeezes out the one you love like the cinnamon toothpaste you use every day...when you realize that, you sadly put your dreams in a scratched and dented rusty old file cabinet that sits in the basement with a top drawer that doesn’t quite close all the way.

August 9, 2018

All Aboard Were Lost (MS Hans Hedtoft)

The sea is beautiful when you’re standing on the shore, but seamen know it can be perilous and deadly...the MS Hans Hedtoft was an ill-fated ship that sailed the treacherous Greenland Sea between Denmark and Greenland...at least it did once...but unfortunately, it sank on its maiden voyage...the date long ago, January 30, 1959...as of now, it remains the last known ship to be sunk by an iceberg and as a result, had a tremendous loss of life...for some reason, much like a certain other ship that was built in Ireland that is famous for being sunk by an iceberg in 1912 with a great loss of life, the Hans Hedtoft was fashioned with a riveted hull, instead of a stronger welded hull...the design of the ship was even criticized by a concerned ship owner for its construction...the ship was built in Denmark and it was to provide year round service hauling goods and passengers...it featured a double bottom and was equipped with seven watertight compartments...the ship had left port in Copenhagen on January the 7th of 1959 and successfully made the voyage to Greenland, it did so in record time in fact...so all seemed well and everyone was pleased...but it was on the return trip, that the tragedy ensued...it collided with an iceberg and immediately began taking on water...how it failed to avoid the berg is unknown...the collision occurred about 35 miles south of Cape Farewell which is the southernmost point of the desolate, frosty expanse known as Greenland...the ships communications officer sent out an emergency distress call...we don’t know exactly what happened and probably never will, but we can only guess that the rivets let go upon impact with the iceberg and permitted water to breach the hull...it could be that the iceberg tore a gash in the side of the ship, like what happened with the Titanic...the officer wired that he had water coming in and the engine room was flooded and that any ship should come immediately to assist...the damage had caused an inevitable sinking and the ship sank below the icy death inducing waters...the S.O.S was one that was heard by at least three other ships that were in the area...unfavorable weather conditions prevented any aircraft from searching for the doomed ship...a United States Coast Guard Cutter and other ships began a search for the ill-fated vessel...by the time the ships arrived to the location of the accident, no trace could be found of the Hans Hedtoft...ship or passengers…the search was suspended on February 7th...one of the vessels that searched reported that the weather was the worst they had even seen in that area with high winds and wild seas...the only item to ever be recovered to this date from the sinking was a lifebelt...this item from the disaster washed up onshore nine months after the sinking...95 people went down with the ship...it has never been determined if any lifeboats were ever launched...or if not, why not...perhaps it was the nasty weather with the whipping winds and angry seas that might have made any attempts impossible...and what about the wreckage of the Hans Hedtoft?... I mean they even found the wreckage of the unsinkable Titanic...but even though the coordinates given by the desperate crew were 59°30′N 43°00′W...the exact final resting place of the ship is unknown to this day...On January 30th, 2005, the Queen of Denmark dedicated a landmark at North Atlantic Wharf in Copenhagen to the memory of the 95 lives that were lost in the accident.

August 7, 2018

The Black Bear As Himself

He was a black bear from New Hampshire, the state with the saying of ‘Live, Freeze, and Die’...or something like that...he hailed from the cold and remote north country where it’s always cold even when it’s warm...he claimed to be from Mt. Washington...he was a bear but not without a care...he felt he had a calling he thought but it wasn’t your standard moose call...he always saw himself as a thespian and he had done some summer stock in Nashua in the past and now he was looking to jumpstart his acting career and he figured moving to New York City would do it...so he set off down the road to NYC, on the highway of dreams where a lot of these ill-fated dreams wind up breaking down on the side of the road and putting their hoods up and looking like giant metal alligators...from the deep deep forests and into the sprawling suburbs as he did some hitchhiking...he couldn’t rent a car because he wasn’t old enough to meet their requirements...but he mostly walked where like a lot of bad drivers, he caused a lot of accidents but he never got caught up in them...before long he could see the zigzag skyline of New York City and there he was...strolling into the Big Apple...that’s where I met him, we were listening to some bebop jazz or razmatazz jazz or jazz jazz or some kind of jazz at some club...some nights we’d play too much pool and drink too much schnapps...I taught him to play guitar...he still owes me for all the strings he broke...damned clumsy bear...he got a room with a few other aspiring actors; I went over there a couple of times and there was a girl who was practicing her Academy Award acceptance speech...the guy who thought he looked like Johnny Depp when he really looked and acted like Johnny Dipp...and a couple of other comers and goers, but they were all from hardscrabble backgrounds like him...scratching and clawing to hang on to a dream...in his case, the bear actually had claws...he learned to like pastrami and he even had a favorite deli, and he got used to the crowds, but for some reason he always had trouble getting a cab...black bears often have a hard time getting picked up, whereas I’ve heard polar bears have it much easier...he scanned the trade papers and he went to a lot of auditions and got a few parts here and there; usually in comedies...that was OK with him for awhile, it paid the bills...but he longed to do drama, maybe like Othello...he definitely felt he was a bear with some acting chops and he didn’t want to waste his time on frivolity...I’m pretty sure he told me he was a Method actor and he took classes regularly to keep his craft sharp...I’d help him with his readings when I wasn’t too hungover or writing feverishly to make a deadline...he even sang a little in a musical that was off off off-Broadway...oh, and he sang the National Anthem once at a Yankees game...he waited tables to pay the bills when he was between jobs which started happening more and more...he tended to be argumentative with the customers and growled, so he usually didn’t last long...not to mention that he occasionally snatched the meat off the customers plates before he brought it to the table...well, the bear gave it a go for a while but he started getting homesick...he missed his old cave...he complained that all the good roles went to other actors not as good as him...he felt he was getting typecast as ‘the misunderstood bear’...and he was missing the snow covered forests that he used to roam around in back home too...he said he was getting tired of the NYC, and he was going to go back home...I figured him to just be a little depressed and tried to talk him into giving it some more time, but his mind was made up...so, he sold his few possessions and started the journey back...now I figured him to head back to the forests since that’s what he told me he was going to do and just live anonymously...I lost touch with him and then one day I was in the bookstore at the mall...I grabbed a couple of magazines and sat down on a comfortable hard wooden bench that they put there to make sure you don’t sit there too long...I was thumbing through the pages trying to kill an afternoon when I ran across his picture in one of those tech magazines hardly anybody reads...there was my old friend the black bear...he’d found some fame running his own tech start-up company in the Silicon Valley, and was now living in a bay view penthouse in San Francisco, and he must of been doing real well to live there and pay those rents...as for me, I was still scratching and clawing with my antique laptop and beat up guitar that was missing strings, and I started sharing an apartment with Johnny Dipp.