2011

December 31, 2011

 

Found a new way not to launch a few businesses.

Found anxiety and loss of job in 2 days

Found no love.

No sex.

No desire.

Made new friends

Traveled. First time in years

Partied and stopped.

Smoked and stopped and started.

 

Found new ways to pay the rent.

Discovered being poor does not suit me.

Survived it anyway.

Found a new art. Photography. Ugly city photos.

Sexy women photos.

Found out my disabilities are true. The hard way.

I tried everything I could think of.

Found new ways of being depressed. Worst ever.

Found 7 seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer to get me through.

Found new ways of being happy.

 

Found out what a heart attack is like.

Followed by triple bypass surgery.

Found comfort in my brain-dead state with my adopted mother caring for me.

Found relief, as I felt better.

I found new ways of getting closer to God.

 

Found out about the “system” when a person can not work.

Found about having a car and not being able to drive it

Found taking a bus in Camden sucks.

 

Found my Guardian Angel in my dreams that tries to lead me from danger.

Found out my best friend died and lives with me

Every day.

Found his books I inherited to be nurturing and mind expanding.

 

Found a new way of getting mugged in my own town.

Found out there was a drive by murder the day after Christmas in the center of my town.

 

Found out who my friends are.

Found my family after not talking for years.

Found myself again and again.

Found you.

 

Tomorrow I will find 2012.


Joan or Arc, Joan Baez and You!

December 30, 2011

Joan of Arc

Joan Baez

And you

 

So young an beautiful in my mind as

You once were

 

Joan Hillen

Joan Marie Siani Hillen

Mother

 

Great mission                         from God

And country

Joan died                 for it all

So young

Brave

Young

 

“Love is a

Four letter word” Joan sang

Protested war

Civil rights

Entertained thousands

 

Joan brought me into this

World I am still figuring out

You spent years

In wards of hospitals

I never understood

They never understood                      YOU

 

Oh MOTHER. I understand now.

I love you now

Now that it’s too late.

 

Joan of Arc

Joan Baez and

YOU


Cabbage: the Poem

December 6, 2011

I wake up to the smell of cabbage

I am sleeping on a giant cabbage leaf

The blue . . . no green . . now orange

Rib caged baby lion in a now current

Monster of coolness of sorts sorts the

Mail on his autumn leaves in Louisville

A cup of Earl Grey tea you fancy?

Fancy me? What did I do?

Where did I go?

Carpet cleaners are coming around noon.

Can they, would they spray me down with pink poison?

So, I can breathe again

Slim Gilliard would love the gibberish singing you screech

To me about fried ice cream and potato chips.

Alternatives? Drink snot and call me in the morning.

Call someone before you snuff it, off it, give up.

Please.

I’d like to catch up first.

Not save you. Live, learn and breathe with you.

You can go anytime just talk to me first.

Please

Something in the way she crowds around me

Grinds spines in the old chop shop

Aunt Dollien operated by herself

I should have, you should have

Helped her. Bloody mess it was.

Not she. 117-years-old and still

In charge. We listen and obey

She rides off into the distance towards the rising sun

Like the girl with no name in a Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western.

Bang Bang. You shot me down.

Bang Bang! I’m vested and not crying yet

Ready

To meet my Angels. Are you?

Powder blue suntan, flowering yellow hair,

Insects in your eyes, resting, not doing any harm

They need rest too, ya know.

Sink deep into an opiate coma with me

With him, with her, everybody sing

“All we need is Love”

The bed drops softly to accommodate

Our bodies.

“Everybody is just a little homosexual. Whether they like or not” Allan Ginsberg once sang through my departed allies.

The piss in your pants somehow comes off

As a romantic gesture. just not sure who or whom or me.

Romance, courting and foreplay have changed.

Piss, spit and a clean T-shirt is all we desire

Under the brown, dark chocolate brown, chair

That wiggles when I turn on Wagner.

Maybe it’s German. Jewish.

“You should burn it and find out.” Jack said to me

Wiping the cocaine off his Skrewdriver T-shirt.

Salute the master. Carry his bones to the crematory

Make sure he’s powdered. Maybe a nice face powder someday.

Bring your tired looking face back to life.

They call you “face job” ya know?

I call you love.

Is life worth the sadness, the happiness, the ups and downs?

Worth love? Worth death?

Worth money?

(pause and take a deep breath.)

Tuna. Grazed grazed 2 day old fish  marked down 58 percent.

Thank God for the rain or the smell would have turned on the perverts and scared the little girls.

Take me back to the thousand foot

Red tranquil trees hanging over my head

Terrifying peace as the sun goes down.

Dreams don’t have to die

Ya know?


Today Again

July 28, 2011

Shit. It’s today again.

Lazy. Not so much. I sit. I lay. I spend the day trying to make my meets end or end meets or meats.

Pay bills. No money. Get money. Owe money. Pressure. Stress.

Mail. Social Security sent me 5 separate 10-page packets to fill out. Explain my disabilities. I tell them that the experience of filling out the forms triggers all of my disabilities. It’s true. I get almost halfway done and have already medicated myself with over the counter and prescriptions.

A night of watching Kevin Smith movies and eating the sheet of dried seaweed my roommate gave me. Wash it down with any liquid I can find to dehydrate and rehydrate me.

I create imaginary masterpieces to get the toxins out of me and into you.

Piss more toxins and negative energy away in the toilet every hour from drinking too much water all day. It’s good.

More pain. More anxiety. More pills. More time.

I sleep peacefully.

Dreams are so much better than my life sometimes. I wake up disappointed and sweating. My bladder is full. I spend 5 minutes straight unloading.

Stumble in the hot house turning on every fan and I play with the thermostat.

Drink water and wait for my coffee. Cigarettes and water.

Shit. Today again.


Nightmares and Dreams Video Experiment

July 9, 2011

Home.

Bed

Dream.

Smile. Dream.

Nightmare.

Fear.

Sexual delight

Frustration

Proactive


I Am . . .

June 29, 2011

I’m fucking riled up and irritated. Anxiety is creeping into my blood stream exploding in my brain and heart. Imaginary convulsions. Public anxiety. Private anxiety. What’s the difference?

 

I feel safe for a while then it happens all over again. One bad apple spoils the fucking tree. Fuck that apple and the tree and the branches and the roots. Fuck you too.

 

Question my capabilities. You threaten my art. You are nothing. What have you done? Who are you?

 

I am Rich Hillen Jr. I am an American artist. I am a dream. I am a nightmare. I am sick. I forget that sometimes. Why does it seem that people bring out the disease? Make it worse.

 

“Snap out of it.” “Force yourself to do it” “ Get over it” “Move on.” “Just do it” “Do this” Do that”

 

Fuck you.

 

I do what I can when I can the best I can and that’s all there is to it. You don’t like it then leave me the fuck alone. Go. Now.

 

I can’t take people’s opinions, advice, recommendations, suggestions, demands, orders or anything you have to say that doesn’t support what I am doing.

 

Look, you don’t know what it’s like to to be me. To be infected with several diseases. Inflicted for life. Like it or not.

 

Even with my problems, even with what you view as me being lazy or rebellious or whatever, I have done more than you can dream of. I’ve been a rock star, an artist, made more money than you, fucked more than you, lived, truly lived more than you ever will.

 

Through my inferiority I see that I am superior to you. I’m not going to let you destroy me.


Epiphany Shmiphany

June 20, 2011

 

I’ve been waiting to sit down and write about an “epiphany” I had a little over a week ago. Epiphany. For such a soft word that is almost pretty as it rolls through my mouth it is a powerful word. I’ve had these changes in attitude and  realizations ( a harsher sounding word that’s way less powerful). I was basically going to tell you about the “epiphany” that I have told you about and have experiences over and over. I guess I should mention it briefly then move on, huh?

 

I was watching a documentary about Hubert Selby Jr, author of classic novels like Last Exit to Brooklyn and Requiem for a Dream that were made into fantastic movies, about a week and a half ago. Learning about the struggles of the life of an artist is just rehashing what I already knew. An artist is born that way. Born to struggle through life so he can create art. That is his purpose and contribution to life. In a world of money oriented and materialistic people, we the artists, are giving instead of taking. As soon as we share our creations with at least one other person our art is art.

 

Ok, I’m not going to go on on and on about my purpose in life and your role in it. Basically I was just reminded of what I need to remember and keep forgetting. The struggle is the burden and consistency and I have to comment, react and create from it then give t away.

 

“I am an American artist I have no shame.” Patti Smith

 

The past few weeks have been terrifying, incredible, amusing, and on and off weird.

 

I’ll start with right now. At this moment I am sitting inside a coffee shop in Collingswood, NJ. I just finished talking to a friend I’ve hung out with only a few times but when we see each other there is this bond we have and we end up in deep conversations about art, music, addiction and sometimes the meaning of life itself. Ha. He’s in a similar situation as me and we always get along.

 

I went to the welfare office at 7 am this morning and spent over 2 hours trying to get some kind of assistance. I followed it up with a visit to unemployment to waste another hour or 2. It wasn’t a complete waste. My unemployment is back on. I just had to fight for the weeks they held back. This is fantastic news after waiting almost a month without the money and bills are adding up.

 

When you’re broke. Really broke. You start thinking about every coffee, donut, dinner out, pizza delivered, soda, etc and you over analyze what you wasted money in the past while still spending the same money on the same things. Oh yeah, the air conditioning is killing my roommate and me. Both he and my landlord suggested I turn it off and leave the house each day and hang at a coffee shop or somewhere with internet connections. These days that’s pretty much every coffee shop and eve restaurants and bars.

 

I went home after the unemployment office. It was about noon. 5 hours spent on trying to get help and it was semi successful. I still had the entire day ahead of me. I still do. I rubbed one off watching Judge Pierno or whatever her name is to relax. Not long after I got a phone call from the lady I spoke with at the unemployment office to tell me that all of the past money owed to me will come through. I was more floored by the fact that the woman called me back as soon as she found out than I was about the money. That was just really nice. I was ready to get out again and head to the pharmacy and then relax at the coffee shop. I am relaxed despite the caffeine.

 

I just ran into a girl I knew from a group I used to attend. Young, beautiful and great body and she is a fellow writer. A talented writer. I had such a crush on her a while back. I had so many fantasies about her in the past few years. I haven’t seen her since this past winter when I fist grew my beard and hair long and she called me a Wooly Mammoth and I was embarrassed and I was already anxious borderline agoraphobic. Weird. It was just a cute little name-calling and borderline flirtation that helped speed up my already progressing reclusiveness.

 

Irony. Now that I am leaving the house I run into the girl that I not only had a crush on but made me not want to go out anymore. I have to admit when I first laid eyes on her I got a little anxious and I pretended not to see her. I wanted to hide and jump up and call her name. I didn’t. I went back to writing what you just read. What I just wrote. I felt comfortable when she approached me on her way out. She was actually working, looking for a story to cover for one of the publications she writes for.

 

We talked a little bit about writing and how good it was to see each other then she left and here I am. This is the message of my writing today. Random events that mean nothing and mean everything to me.

 

When I got here I randomly started talking to a guy I never met before about misery versus happiness. I happen to be learning and relearning that life is a struggle and it’s what you put into it. This is before I met the others here today.

 

Last week I went to Philly to sell my cds to a shop where I’ve known the owner for a while. We had a great talk and he gave me a great price and I left a happy man. I wandered to a coffee shop I’d never been to greeted by 3  barista angels that worked the registers and coffee machines. People talked to me and greeted me like I was someone. I grabbed my drink and tipped then sat right outside so I could smoke. Huh… I haven’t had a cigarette yet since I entered the coffee shop. Usually I jump right out side and smoke. If I did that I wouldn’t have run into my friends. Shit. Now I want a cigarette. . .  .

 

*Dramatic pause for Rich Hillen Jr’s cigarette break*

 

Great smoke break. I’m texting my friend maybe girlfriend that lives in New Orleans all about my day. She’s another story. We’ve been talking about moving in for a while but we can’t afford it yet. A long drive and she has a pooch.

 

Just 3 weeks ago (maybe 2 and a half weeks) I was so desperate and stressed about my financial condition and it’s slowly pulling itself together.

 

Once I had my “epiphany”, I felt better over all and knew things will work out if I make the effort and try not to feel or come off desperate. I was ready.

 

My roommate told me about a music shop in Collingswood that would probably give me a good deal on my amp I’ve wanted to sell. I headed out one night to sell the amp and I ran out of gas within 4 blocks from the store. I laughed. My gas gage isn’t always working right and it says that there is less gas than is in there. I was on empty and was planning to get gas after I sold the amp.

 

This teenager appeared out of nowhere and started pushing my car. We couldn’t budge it for some reason. I was a foot from the corner street wedged on the curb. I called my close friend that lived in Collingswood and he was on the road going to a show and couldn’t help. I was pretty far from a gas station. I racked my brain finding someone in the area that could and would help me out.

 

I called my filmmaker friend who I’ve worked with on a few projects and he came through for me. I was still in a decent mood. I was also lucky enough to have had a gas container. So my friend picked me up, took me to the gas station and back to my car. It worked out because he wanted to talk to me about his upcoming projects. Just as we pulled up near my abandoned giant red beat-up 1994 Lincoln Towncar there was a Mini-Cooper in front of it and my cell phone rang with an unrecognized number. I just said to my friend that it looks like my mom’s friend’s car and it was my mom on his cell phone. I laughed again. My mom and her friend were parked there checking to see if I was ok. I was. They left. It was starting to get windy and a storm was on the way. I gassed the car up, thanked my friend and drove off to get gas.

 

I debated going to the music shop because of the gas problem and the storm brewing. I went anyway. It was a great decision. There were 2 women sitting in there with a guy that worked there. I jumped right to business and didn’t even check out the ladies. I wanted money. I knew exactly how much I wanted for it and the guy looked at and tested it. He left to get the owner to look at it and appraise it. While he was gone I looked at one of the now noticeably pretty women and she said “Hi Rich.” I knew those eyes of hers. It’s been over 20 years but you don’t forget her eyes. I said hi and I was a little uncomfortable yet happy. Memories rushed through my head of all of the nights I hung out with her, her friend and my weirdo friend. Many drinks and many other things. I tripped on acid with this girl at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She was at my college graduation party. One night we got really stoned and went back to her place to look at her art (she was an incredible artist). We had a most memorable passionate night that we agreed not to tell anyone about. I wonder if it made it special because it was a one-time deal. It doesn’t matter. Here she was face to face 20 years later and looked the same.

 

I knew she lived in the area for years and heard about her musician boyfriend/fiancé through a friend of mine. I did run into her once 10-12 years ago and it was a brief conversation because we both had somewhere to go. So you can probably guess who owned the music shop I was standing in hoping to make a buck from. It was the infamous boyfriend/fiancé or whatever. Then I talked to him about the people we had in common. We talked after he paid me righteously for the amp of course. I left feeling good.

 

Then came the storm as I was leaving. A physical storm followed that Sunday afternoon after “helping” out my uncle who is really my great aunt’s live in boyfriend clean offices. I pulled muscles in my arms and shoulders. This triggered my infamous Trigeminal Disorder. The pain was at its’ worst since I was first diagnosed with it in 2005. I was running out of pain meds and I couldn’t refill them for a week. I took migraine aspirin and sleep aids. I spent most of the next 3 days away to escape the explosions in my face. I was in extreme pain for 3 days then the recovery took a day or 2. I was finally back in the world and that’s when I sold my cds and hung out in Philly.

 

This past Saturday I did my usual “helping” out my uncle whose not my uncle. Afterward, I met up with my adopted mother, the one that raised me, to have lunch in honor of my adopted father whose 2nd year death anniversary that also fell on Father’s Day. We were supposed to meet up the next day but she changed her mind and we had a great dinner and conversation.

 

On my way out I ran into another friend I’ve known for years sitting on a bench and I voluntarily joined him. This is a big step for me to be social and I hung out with him for an hour in the hot sun drinking an iced coffee from Starbucks. I was in a good mood. I headed home and watched some movies and did a little writing.

 

Sunday was Father’s day and my adopted father’s death anniversary. It was an awkward day. Having 2 dads can be difficult. My focus was on the dead one who raised me and not my biological father who came back in my life as an adult and has been there for my for over 20 years now. I called him and text him. We decided we will celebrate when I can afford it. It ended nicely.

 

Shit. This was a random bit of writing that went on forever. If you’re still reading, God bless you and thank you for sharing my life as it’s still spinning in and out of Epiphanies, pain, poverty, good memories and hopes of tomorrow, meanwhile, living in the moment no mater how good or bad it gets.

 

Ride on.

 

Right on.

 

Write on.

 

 


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