AFTER SEPTEMBER
my book of poetry about September 11th, 2001...and after Available NOW at Amazon.com -click here
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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Why there is still Hope for YES, WE CAN.



This is a quote from blogger John Pavlovitz in a post today.

"Hillary supporters believe in a diverse America; one where religion or skin color or sexual orientation or place of birth aren’t liabilities or deficiencies or moral defects. Her campaign was one of inclusion and connection and inter-dependency. It was about building bridges and breaking ceilings. It was about going high.

Trump supporters believe in a very selective America; one that is largely white and straight and Christian, and the voting verified this. Donald Trump has never made any assertions otherwise. He ran a campaign of fear and exclusion and isolation—and that’s the vision of the world those who voted for him have endorsed."


These are facts except for one thing. The Democratic ticket won the popular vote. Which means more people believe in the Hillary vision than do Trump's vision (which his camp is now claiming was only a scheme to get him elected.) So we should be encouraged as a nation. We still have a lot of work to do. For every wall Trump builds we have to open a door, build a bridge, create a window. This is not the end. It's a beginning. Like Bruce Springsteen sings: "One step up and two steps back."

I think it is simplistic and just plain wrong to believe that people, all the people, who voted for Trump are xenophobic, racist, homophobic, war mongers. People are fed up with grid lock, with bickering, sniping, and insults. Those came from both sides. They are fed up our inability to move past our differences and get to that foreign place called "Compromise."

This was not a military coup or a hostile take over. This was cold, calculated, American style Democracy. Yes, Trump's base is...well...base.  And yes, now we have to fight against the Pandora's box he opened. Most of all, he is going to have to live with it.

Is he the next Hitler? Will there be death squads? Is this a zero sum game?

INSERT HOPE HERE

America was great, it is great and it will always be great as long as we hold these truths to be self evident...let us not lose sight of that. Peacefully protest. Petition the government. Take it to the Supreme court. Take it to the court of public opinion. But always fight the fight...the good fight.


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Meaningful Dates of Remembrances –





Tomorrow we mark the 8th year since the passing of my father. Sunday will mark 15 years since terrorist suicide bombers destroyed the World Trade Center. Life altering moments.

This year, we will build a home. This year we will celebrate all the hard work we have done, the service rendered in an effort to heal the wounds of a city, the wounds of a man.

This year I want my 9/11 Post to find Samantha Fossella, a grade school girl on 9/11, her hand-made card graced my locker at 280 Broadway since we moved there in early 2003. As my mind emerged from the fog of war, I saw her flag as a symbol of hope for the future. I want to find Samantha Fossella and thank her from the bottom of my heart for the encouragement her work of art and craft gave me in my darkest hours. For many years, I felt I had no right to live while so many died. I truly struggled with what turns out is a very common condition called: Survivor’s Guilt. Why had I been spared? Why wasn’t I the one to die on September 11th, 2001?

Slowly and painstakingly, I forced the conversation away from what didn’t happen to me, and began to focus on what I could do to make the world a better place, what could heal New York City and contribute on a long term basis to its safety and security. I am truly grateful to the Department of Buildings in New York City and to the Inspector Training Academy of Buildings University for the opportunity to express my grief and sorrow in a positive, productive way. I have been fortunate to be entrusted with orienting aspiring inspectors in a world of law and code. The blueprint, if you will, we all use to challenge the real world of brick, concrete and steel, to Build Safe, and Live Safe.

A lot of folks think I drank the Kool Aid; that I am under some mind control influence. If I did, it happened long ago in classrooms not unlike the one in which Samantha Fossella took crayon to paper. I want to thank her teachers, and all my teachers some of whom made the ultimate sacrifice themselves, or some who had their own children die in wars defending the flag. I am, ironically, anti-war. Anti-violence is an ideal of mine, but when violence finds you, and you are attacked, one must defend one’s self. I prefer to fight violence with Peace and Love. I prefer to inspire others to do the same. Today I want to thank Samantha for fighting violence with a peaceful message to all the folks who went to the rescue. Her act rescued me.





Friday, July 29, 2016

Sunset In America?


"The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail."

William Faulkner



I consider myself an optimist. Not an intellectual. In fact, I am only now starting to formulate the questions which define my reality. Something most of you reading this did long ago. Hey, better late than never. I write this in the solitude of my rent stabilized Brooklyn apartment where fully half of my income is paid in rent. Yet, my landlords want more.

I write to you this day after a political convention dominates the news even as two more police officers were shot in California, one fatally. Yet, that story is relegated to page two of our collective national newspaper.

The questions I am beginning to ask are fundamental.

Must we be at war with ourselves everyday? Has life become so cheap and meaningless we would be willing to sacrifice our children at an unholy alter? What is "Holiness"? Do we put too much power in the hands of a few and call it democracy? Is it really all about what it looks like? Who puts the value on wealth and money? Where have all the true "Leaders"gone? Is POKEMON evil?

Hillary or Donald?

Really?

Is that all we got? Our American radical extremes made manifest in the persons of a hustler who is a cross between PT Barnum and Larry Flynt, (no disrespect to Larry Flynt), and a career politician uniquely positioned to make history by becoming a "first" woman President of the United States?
(No disrespect intended to either women or to the word United.)

My last question for this missive is this: How many more officers in blue, and the people whom they are sworn to protect and serve will die before November because day after day our eyes are on a sparkling piece of costume jewelry distracting us from the issues dragging our sun into a long, deep, dark night?




Sunset In America?


"The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail."

William Faulkner



I consider myself an optimist. Not an intellectual. In fact, I am only now starting to formulate the questions which define my reality. Something most of you reading this did long ago. Hey, better late than never. I write this in the solitude of my rent stabilized Brooklyn apartment where fully half of my income is paid in rent. Yet, my landlords want more.

I write to you this day after a political convention dominates the news even as two more police officers were shot in California, one fatally. Yet, that story is relegated to page two of our collective national newspaper.

The questions I am beginning to ask are fundamental.

Must we be at war with ourselves everyday? Has life become so cheap and meaningless we would be willing to sacrifice our children at an unholy alter? What is "Holiness"? Do we put too much power in the hands of a few and call it democracy? Is it really all about what it looks like? Who puts the value on wealth and money? Where have all the true "Leaders"gone? Is POKEMON evil?

Hillary or Donald?

Really?

Is that all we got? Our American radical extremes made manifest in the persons of a hustler who is a cross between PT Barnum and Larry Flynt, (no disrespect to Larry Flynt), and a career politician uniquely positioned to make history by becoming a "first" woman President of the United States?
(No disrespect intended to either women or to the word United.)

My last question for this missive is this: How many more officers in blue, and the people whom they are sworn to protect and serve will die before November because day after day our eyes are on a sparkling piece of costume jewelry distracting us from the issues dragging our sun into a long, deep, dark night?




Friday, June 24, 2016

BROOKLYN IS THE LEAST AFFORDABLE PLACE TO LIVE IN THE COUNTRY.

Marooned in Brooklyn. Red dust, red Planet, red Brooklyn. Unlike God Mars I am powerless to lift my Earthly carcass off the dirty ground of a heartless place and soar into the sky of freedom. Burdensome issues of individual rights and moral imperatives fetter my already bound limbs. There is a current of fear in the world. This is why I think I want to name our new house: Serenity. A safe haven for poets, and artists, and for those who live the word Possibility.


Who would choose this?



Over this?



Saturday, June 18, 2016

Father's Day


"  ...a man, take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again," 
Hamlet Act 1 Scene 2 William Shakespeare

My relationship with my father was and is complex. Suffice to say I love him as much for his faults as I do for his virtues. So it is for all the world, if we be compassionate, rational beings. I miss him.


Fallen

On May 29
At 2:15 am
The moon rises

It is a gibbous moon.
Pale yellow.
Like young wheat...

When we heard you fell,
we didn't know you died.

But that young man
who swooped me up
with one arm
after work
with a scent of tar
and slate

Never came home.

Instead,
two different men
replaced our dad.

One a quiet charmer, thoughtful,
bright and sharp.
Terse on most subjects
of any import.

The other a Devilish drunk
who loved to squeeze too tight
and smelled of beer
and booze and too many smokes.

But they both shared
a sad, proud limp.

I never asked him what
date it had been.
I knew it was a Saturday,
then
but I never knew
his anniversary
marking the day
He fell

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Happy Birthday , Mom in Heaven







Rose Mary

What will I miss most about life
when furnace fire darkens down
behind my lidded eyes?

Will I miss most
those rose water dawns of spring,
bright fresh mid-summer mornings,
late lazy autumnal afternoons?

Or blazing rouge sunsets
with evenings of bejeweled
purple sky and cold weather warmth
of long dark winter nights?

What will I miss most about life?
The music or the musician
the actor or the play
the painting or the artist
the sculptor or the clay?

A scent of dew after rain,
touch of your hand upon my neck
bread and wine of the host?

Oh!

I know well
what I will miss most.
When all else is done.

That would be you, mommy
And dreams.


Saturday, May 7, 2016

Happy Mother's Day









For Rose

I want to write a poem
About the women in my life
I want to write a song
About their power
And their light

I want to write about
How they roll up their sleeves
And go to work
When their men
Fail them

I want to write about 
How they never give up
How they make me laugh
When I am sad
How they comfort me
The moment I hear thunder

I want to write about how
They feed me when I hunger
How they nurse me when I am ill
How they calm me when I am enraged
How they teach me not to kill

I want to write about
How they taught me to love
The kind dumb animals of this world
How to bear and rise above
With the definition of the word “friendship”

I want to write about how
They can be 12 places at once
Making sure everyone has what they need
I want to write about how they walk in
When everyone else leaves

I want to write about the women
Who strap iron bars to their backs
And carry them up 6 flights of stairs
Just to ward off the fear attack

I want to write about the women
Who give birth
Not just to babies
But to the very earth

I want to write about
That special woman who gave me life
I want to write about all the women
Who've helped me make it through the night


I want to write about these women 
My mothers, my lovers, my sisters and my wife
But every time I try 
Their courage and their beauty and their strength
Humbles me


To silence






Saturday, April 30, 2016

And We'll Walk in the Sun...out of Brooklyn...



“March, 2000


My car parked on the Friday side
with a ticket on its windshield

Never the less
Brooklyn has been kind to me
Gentler even than Staten Island or
Manhattan

Pelting searing
raindrops
drown a surreal
Wycoff Street-scape in liquid
Ash

My coffee grinder churns out words
and in the black grounds
Beat murmurings of
an unconscious Allen Ginsberg
whose own bones channel
the lost conscience of an
excavation retro generation
flayed and
Hung

Lioness March wind
cruelly soaking April in her black
Mad Cow Skirt
blew the window open
So I had to battle
Fire and Limestone
Freezing and thawing
my manic Ambition which
lies else where
having toured Wall Streets
Beverly Hills
and remains
Unimpressed.”




“April 7, 2000

I had my teeth knocked out
When I was 16
That’s why the front ones look white
While the rest look green

So what qualifies you
To represent me on that
Silver screen
When I’ve been the places I’ve been
Seen the things I’ve seen?

I was repressed and obsessed
Wound up intense and undressed
Went to Fuck U after
Graduating a school for Hard Knox
When I “came out” all I saw
Were wet cunts and
Hard cocks

How can you show me
About my life?
About my alcoholic father
Or dysfunctional ex-wife?

I can represent myself
If I live that long
Take my Dog down off that shelf
Listen to this song.”



And We'll Walk in the Sun...Brooklyn Style...

For my last post of April...the cruelest month...breeding Lilacs out of the dead ground...I offer a post from my journal...


Friday, April 29, 2016

And We'll Walk in the Sun...with Gonzo Girl...



More from my journals past before getting present…

“May 18th, 2000

Tears on the Verge of being on the Verge
Sometimes I feel like there is everywhere to go
And I can’t understand—

What’s stopping me”

April 29, 2016

Last night, this morning, I dreamed my mother died and I finally cried. I was finally able to mourn her passing, to feel my protective layer dissolve and to let the grief of her passing, of her loss, wash over me. I cried in my dream. I was trying to get back to her, I was in Chicago on a business trip trying to get a flight back because I was told she had died and I was frantic. Strangers were helping me navigate the bars and bureaucracy of Midway Airport. It was beyond sad, and a little bizarre.

Sort of like the life of Hunter S. Thompson. If you have ever wondered about the man played by Johnny Depp in the movie “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” then you will want to read Gonzo Girl by Cheryl Della Pietra. Just out in paperback, it is the story of a young woman born and raised in the protective custody of our East Coast, daring to Go West and experience the tumultuous drama of genius and human frailty in a totally immersive adventure to the edge of sanity and back.






I relate to Thompson because he was my dad. I mean my dad was him, minus the literary talent, creative genius and penchant for suicide. But the drugs, booze, guns, women,— they were twin sons of different mothers. Both craftsmen, my dad working with tin and slate, Thompson with words, both exploring the limits of freedom, physically and metaphorically. My dad died in 2008 after years of self-abuse and slow physical erosion from the effects of a 30 foot fall off a roof when he was in the prime of his life. Thompson checked out by his own hand in 2005 as his health too deteriorated. His story is the story on manhood in America in the 20th century.

If you have yet to check this book out, it is a great read. I highly recommend it.


Thursday, April 28, 2016

And We'll Walk in the Sun...Tuesday Morning 9 a.m.






5/16/00 - 3rd Avenue and East 23rd Street Manhattan, NY



Spirits move from vessel to vessel
Bright Sun to Bright Sun
Dark Sea, Dark Sea

They move indifferently
panorama walking by
each individual breath a sigh

Spirit enters, spirit passes
through solid stone and bone
flesh and mesh of moving masses

There’s rhyme in old craft-work
though I am desperate for Post-Modern
meaning

The Spirit sits me down
Bids me wait—feel what I feel
unattached to something real

Spirit rules me where non-sense
fails
where injustice wounds me
and my nature conflicts
with this artificial world

Bright warm sun
Cold dark sea
Earth damp cool
Full of Spirit
Passing through me


Tuesday Morning 9 a.m.”



Wednesday, April 13, 2016

And We'll Walk in the Sun...Moving...

There is a recurring theme here, this entry is from 1999, June, back when I was about to leave Staten Island to live with my then girl friend Jen-Scott Mobley.






“6.27.99 S.I. NY 6PM EST



Smoking a MACanudo Robusto my big sister (Pat) gave to me for #41 writing in pages my other big sister (Marti) sent me for same. Suckin’ on a Corona some Mexican beer makers made for me. Weight 180lbs. Some type of poison ivy type rash on the side of what’s left of my butt.



Taking in the last days here—in sub-urban NYC. Getting ready to move away from brother-in-law’s house, from hometown, from RED 10 year old pick-up truck in driveway, Rosebush, bar-B-Q, cucumbers newly planted where shrub used to be overgrown. They pulled the shrub out last year. I am now to follow.



Movin’ to NYC proper: Manhattan. Scared? Yeah. A little. Excited? Yeah. A lot. Lookin’ forward to reducing that weight up there, to indulging in Adventure.



6.28.99 7AM 41 years 6 Days 9 Hrs.



I get present with each ferry ride knowing it will cease being a part of my daily routine, hearkening back to my first ride with my sister (Marti) and her boyfriend (Al). Try calculating the number of crossings I’ve made since I was 4 years old. For 37 years. My favorites are these early mornings with young, sweet school girls and boys and fresh, smart working ladies and tourists. Well, not so many tourists on this early boat, but plenty of others.





Water—deep blue, sky white with haze, land—far away. Nothing solid. Not the bench or young man, nor flesh of my plan, no clearing, or bells ringing; waiting for a whistle to blow.



The kids travel together and converse. Their voices sounding like the cheerful chatter of tropical birds—colorful, vociferous, full of potential. Energy driving my world. Lady Liberty and Ellis Island float by. An anomalous green tug, (most of them are Red). Soon we’ll dock at White Hall, embarking on the working portion of steamy Monday, on a 28th of June.



(Later Same Day)



1:35 pm. BUILDING INSPECTOR – SHUTS DOWN DEATH TRAP



Several young male workers were sent home today by inspector Ransom of D.O.B. They were excavating a rear yard at... in the Chelsea section of Manhattan. Their permits had expired; there were no approved plans on site at time of inspection and no proper bracing or shoring. 3 violations were issued and the men sent home after being ordered to make the area safe.”




Now... I am back in the City, back to the grind...but I still have Greenville on my mind.





Sunday, March 20, 2016

And We'll Walk in the Sun..."



All the journals I can find are out on the table. Photos are from our trip to Mexico in 2009 and New Mexico in August 2002. The other night I finished a bottle of Mezcal Joven. Joven = young. I was young when I wrote the following:



“1/25/1989



The Mezcal Tastes Like Smoke



The Mezcal tastes
like smoke
from a fire
age old


In twilit suburban drear 
serve 
salt
for the wound
( and to bless the house )
lemon citron yellow


 American 
rainy season
 Gift of life 
falls from the sky
laced with cyanide


 Lilac blooms 
but its arduous aroma of
amour
no longer pervades 
the air of May

noise of tred
on wet asphalt 
whines and hisses
like an asp
coiled in rock below 
poised to strike a fatal blow
like fine wine
spiked with unleaded 
gasoline
 electric flame
rises High into the night


Neon and Argon
Silver and Gold
Flesh undulates
forth and back
muscle tenses
in attack
grabbed 
by the throat
blood
of goats


The Mezcal tastes like smoke"





Tuesday, March 15, 2016

And We'll Walk in the Sun...Hawaii 1999



When I left home for Hawaii in 1999, I was with a young, beautiful woman. When I returned I was in the company of the love of my life. My goals for that trip were romance and adventure. It was the romance of being with a vivacious, smart woman, and the adventure of black sand beaches, volcanoes, and lava flows. What happened was unexpected. I do love to be pleasantly surprised. Yes, there were all the elements of a fine romance novel. However, the best stories are ones that change your life forever. This is that story told in notes directly from my journal.

We were both doing the Artist’s Way at the time and writing morning pages. I was taking a lot of photographs with an SLR (single lens reflex) using good old fashioned Kodak and Fuji film, so there is a lot of jargon about photography…The trip to Hawaii at times was long and arduous, but not this part. We stayed in a place overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Room 204 of the H. Manago Hotel.

 “It’s a small family run Japanese Hotel with unbelievable rates—no phone, no TV, clean as if the word were invented here…



Aug. 19, 1999


The Luau was very commercial. A visit to the local Hard Rock Café and two “real” Mahi Thai’s by Wayne did us good. We couldn’t finish them. Bread pudding made us pucker w/ sweetness. Still – Luau was a good way to sample the local cuisine. You must mix Poke w/ Poi for it to be palatable—the Lau Lau was pork wrapped in banana leaf—good! Rice, white fish boiled or steamed more likely, cinnamon over bananas sliced in one inch thick chunks and fresh sliced pineapple filled my plate...


Roll #8 finished there the 400 slides. Roll #9 ASA 1600 B/W. I’m sure shots of Luau are a bust, but I did some stuff at the room this morning I think may go well. Using available light (as if I ever use anything else). Shot many at F8-16 (aperture opening) @ 60/30 (shutter speed)…




Manago Breakfast – I don’t know if my taste buds have awakened or if everything here just tastes so good! Papaya, toast, eggs over real easy, Portuguese sausage patties (Andouille type) silver dollar size and thick w/ a bottomless cup of Kona coffee. $10 bucks for two of us!!


Now…Time for kayaking – 9:00am – 4pm No photos of kayaking. Didn’t want to risk the camera.



The – profound solemnity of this moment defies all words. We swam with Dolphins! 

Shards of light sliced through the water and there they were—and there we were—in Kealakekua Bay.

At one point, I counted 15 [wild] Spinner Dolphins. 2 calves! One—after nuzzling its mother, sped to the surface from maybe 20-15 ft of ocean and broke the surface in a gleeful jump before my eyes at about 3 yards away! They are magnificent, sensitive creatures. I am not worthy. All the events that led us to that place…the Manago Hotel, the chance of us going to the KEALAKEKUA KAYAK RENTAL and having this nice, little old lady from Chicago and her Danish husband Olin enrolling us in the possibilities of kayaking to Cook’s Point and maybe seeing Dolphins. Dude, we didn’t just see them, we swam with them. I love Jennifer for leading me here! I love life—so much!...

On the drive home, finish Roll #9 in Waimea, Horse country. F 22/60-125 and Program

6:30PM

Phenomenal Day. Back in Hilo—What can ever possibly Top this. I HAVE HAD A PEAK LIFE EXPERIENCE. I—AM—SPEECHLESS. I’m sure tomorrow in the AM words will flow, but for now—Aloha."



Sunday, March 13, 2016

"And We'll Walk in the Sun"

On Sunday last, while spending time with my wife who came to visit for her Spring Break from ECU, I came up with a title for my next piece of literary work. I did not know whether this would be a book of poetry, or a novel, but I liked the title. It's not original, I rarely ever do anything original. It comes from one of our favorite Bruce Springsteen songs.  Born to Run.

Tuesday night Jennifer and I dug into our old journals and began reading entries to one another. Not only is it one of the most intimate things we've ever done,the readings were also quite dramatic and revealed to us ourselves in a very particular way. Not purely nostalgic, but in a way where we could be objective and think critically about our own words. We were both excited about revisiting our former selves and remember well how those two people propelled us into the future. I love my wife now as much, if not more than I did back then.

Wednesday I decided to start transcribing my handwritten journal entries into my present electronic journal and perhaps share them on the pages of this Web log. I wondered if anyone would care to read it. Then something almost mystical happened.

Friday we went to the Apple store on West 14th Street and 9th Avenue in Manhattan so Jen could bring her Mac to the Genius Bar. Upon returning to the truck which we parked in a nearby garage, I noted someone had left a very readable hard cover copy of H is for Hawk in the open bed. I have not read it yet, but plan to straight away. I am taking this as a sign. The universe is agreeing with my choice to share our story.

 

This morning I dropped Jennifer off at LaGuardia and hugged her a long time before saying farewell. We saw 3 amazing plays while she was here. The Crucible by Arthur Miller. Shakespeare's (so they say) Pericles of Tyre, and Buried Child by Sam Shepard. All three were power house productions in their own right, executing and delivering their respective stories with skill and high theatrical art. We are pleased.