Time Travel is Not My Primary Concern Chief – THE POEM

February 21, 2012

Sickness of my psyche

Rapes my body furiously

Like a grape devouring a sunset

Exhausting my entire vessel

I am vacant and wearied

 

I run in slow motion to

The food truck of love

Careful to avoid every crack along the way

To avoid herniating my dead mother’s discs

 

Hopscotching the bricks of the city with

Carmelita as she flirts and leads me on and over to

Successive numbered city blocks until she has

Vanished permanently from my sight

I move on lost in the darkly lit city

Lost in my contemplations

 

I find my filthy white car and

I try to drive it around as people cheer me on

I leave them behind and fall asleep at the wheel

 

I wake up in my motel room and I try to wake up

And pack a weeks worth of belongings into my

Two suitcases

Panic fills my essence

 

Relief arrives in the form of Carmelita the motel maid

In my room with the manager telling me to take me time

He lifts her skirt to reveal her big pantyhose covered ass

They tell me to help them and I can stay for free

Arousal versus my need to flee

 

The sickness of my psyche

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Uglytown -A Poem

January 20, 2012

 

Ugly people making

An Ugly neighborhood

Uglytown

Someone tapped y head walking the neighborhood

He made an uglier face than

He already had and ran ahead of me.

I was scared for my life, wife and money

 

We were together

My new wife and

My Best friend

Shopping on the border of

My ugly town

Uglytown

With ugly people

 

I spot Marie

Walking with a younger

Handsome me

She waves to me

From outside the store

 

I tell my girl who knows her

And we go outside while

Marie is inside another store

On the border of

Ugly town

Uglytown

 

We meet up with Marie who is with 2 older

Heavy men, one older I find out

One younger version of the older

Looking inbred and dirty

Assuming one of them is Marie’s boyfriend

 

We made a wrong turn and almost ended up

In ugly town, my town, my home.

Uglytown

 

We were at a restaurant of some sort in a mall

A mall with a view of an ugly town, my ugly town

Uglytown and

It’s ugly people

It was me, myself, my girlfriend with no name,

My best friend with no name, Marie, the guy

I thought was her new boyfriend and

 

What or who looked like her boyfriend’s father

It occurred to me that the older guy whose scraggly hair and beard kept growing and getting grayer might be her boyfriend

 

The film crew was set up and a new arrival besides the crew said

“Action”

The show officially started as we suddenly found things to talk about as if I knew my lines for a film or TV show I had no idea I was part of. I looked at my girlfriend and she stayed in character

Asking what the inbred dirty redneck friends of Marie do for a living.

 

I knew my friend and girlfriend were waiting for an answer hoping

The answer was something I could do and get me in a real job

The younger guy who was touching Marie said

They started a business installing lights or something similar.

I was going to ask him more and out table got distracted

By a fight breaking our down below in the food court

 

Children fighting children

Ugly children fighting

Pretty children and

In between children fighting

Pretty children fighting ugly children

In an ugly town, my Uglytown

Uglytown

The war has begun

I woke up

 

I went outside and lit a cigarette

I heard gunshots

I saw police lights in the distance of the ugly town

My ugly town

My ugly home

Uglytown

 

I heard the voice on a megaphone

Telling someone to drop the gun

I finished my cigarette

Business as usual on a Thursday night

Back to my

Safe little room

Escaped in a book

 

Oh ugly town, oh Uglytown

I’ll miss you one day

Uglytown

 


Smith, Burroughs, Curtis, Scarface and Shepherd

December 23, 2011

This story starts early on a Sunday morning. A couple of friends and myself took a ride to West Philadelphia to the last residence of our closest departed friends, Marcus. Our mission was to gather his belongings and get them out of the house. Since our one friend was in a hurry we didn’t have time to go through everything. When we arrived Marcus’s friend who rented the room to him greeted us and had all of his belongings packed randomly in milk crates.

Let me back up. My story concerning Marcus started a week before he died. Once my “childhood” (in my mid-20s) hero, Marcus turned me on to many authors, poets, music and some films that I may not have found without him. He was my Shaman and friend and I devoured a lot of his interests. He had bee in and out of hospitals this year and ended up in a nursing home to care for his final ailment, celulosis. I visited for the last time (unknown to me while visiting) a little over 2 weeks before he passed away. We talked on the phone a few times the week before he died.

For some reason I started reading poetry that he loved out of the blue, authors like Arthur Rimbaud, Walt Whitman, Allan Ginsberg, Patti Smith, Jim Caroll and William Blake. It wasn’t a conscious effort. I was writing poetry and devoured the greats that Marcus turned me onto. For some reason I actually understood the poetry for the first time. I even mentioned this to Marcus when he was lucid and not in pain, over the phone.

The day before he died I started a poem about him because he deserved one for his accomplishments and his contribution to the world. November 10th I found out Marcus died from blood pressure and heart complications, I felt as though he jumped inside of me that day. “ghosts crowd the child’s fragile eggshell mind” to quote Jim Morrison who claims to have had dying Indians’ spirits he witnessed as a child jump into him. He stuck with that story until he died mysteriously in Paris, France in 1971. I felt Marcus in me for a at least a week or so. The extreme presence has faded but part of him remains in me.

The week of his service I was reading Arthur Rimbaud’s biography and discovered that Rimbaud also died on November 10th, 1991, 120 years before to the date. How appropriate I thought. I told his friends that knew his love for Rimbaud and they all agreed that it was some kind of spirits working there.

So, my 2 friends and me are at Marcus’s last house, his last home before the hospitals trying to avoid the temptation of going through his stuff and loading it into the car. I did manage to take a few minutes to throw together a crate of books and cds for myself. I tried to go through more while we were driving but I was in the blind spot of the car so I had to wait. I’m still waiting but in no hurry because I have months of books to read and cds to listen to.

I am.

The very afternoon I came home I started reading Patti Smith’s autobiography/ Robert Mapplethorpe’s biography written by Smith called Just Kids. Patti was in the top 5 of Marcus’s favorite performers, poet/lyricists and both he and other friend mentioned how great of a read it is. I have been obsessed with it.

Another related side story. My love for Patti Smith, like the majority of my sub cultural loves, have come from Marcus. I listened to her tender and abrasive mix of songs, the spiritual punk rock Queen. Marcus used the line “the sacred and the profane” to describe her, stolen from her own words at a show or interview. I had heard her on vinyl, tapes and cds. Watched video of her, seen endless photos of her. I found out she went to high school, a grade between, my biological mother and my aunt in Deptford, NJ. I had never seen her.

One cold December night in 1995, while living with Marcus, I passed on the opportunity to see not only Patti Smith but legend Bob Dylan at the greatest and at oldest (it has moved but still the same vibe from what I’ve heard) Philadelphia venues, the Electric Factory. I was in my depressive, isolation mode at the time. Sometimes I would create some original art in these modes and I felt this was one of those nights. Marcus felt different. He bugged and pestered me to go with him, he would pay for my ticket (I had no money and he had money back then), It will be one of the greatest experiences of my life. I fought for my right to pout and stay home.

He left. I was relieved. The thought did cross my mind when he and my other roommate went to see David Bowie on his Spider tour with Nine Inch Nails and I regret missing that one. I’ve seen both bands before but it was a different show. Marcus wasn’t even gone an hour and he came back home and burst in my room.

“I am not going to let you miss this one time event, possible the event of your life. I bought you ticket and you’re going back with me.” He said.

I was guilted into one of the best and the most spiritual rock n roll shows I have ever experienced. Patti was first. Marcus made sure we were almost front row. I can’t recall the exact set list but she lived up to her “sacred and profane” performance and lyrics. The deafening speakers in our ears, the crowds cheering all became distant sounds as I became one with Patti Smith, with Marcus, with God. I was disappointed when it was over, walking to the back of the Electric Factory when the more than legendary Bob Dylan hit the stage. I’ve had an on and off love for Bob Dylan and his music. Patti blew me away and the several times I’ve seen her since.

Reading Patti Smith’s stories of New York and her relationship with the controversial artist Robert Maplethorpe almost mirrors my own memories of Marcus and I, Patti and I, art and I, God and I. I can’t stop thinking about Marcus because of our mutual connection.

In 1996 or 97, Marcus and a couple other friends went to a record store for Patti Smith’s book signing. Marcus had been into drawing his favorite writers and rock stars on t-shirts with markers or Sharpies to wear and show off his art, Patti Smith, Keith Richards, Marc Bolan, Walt Whitman, and his personal favorite Jean Genet. Knowing that Genet was Patti Smith’s favorite writer, he brought it to the signing, to show her (I thought because it was his favorite shirt). When it was his turn to talk to her get the book signed he gave her the Genet t-shirt and told her he made it for her. A mountainous sacrifice for Marcus to part with that shirt with his painstaking time consuming beautiful art covering the front. When it was my turn I told her that my mother went to high school with her. She shot me a dirty look and said “oh yeah?” I was speechless and grabbed my copy of her poetry book signed and followed Marcus, giddy as a young artist showing his first work to his teacher. I left pissed at Patti Smith for a while but got over it when I thought of how stupid what I said was or could have been interpreted.

To the last time I saw him, he swears that she wore it on stage at a show he attended. He was so proud. I missed that show. Oh well.

A few nights ago I had a dream about William S Buroughs, one of my favorite writers Marcus had introduced me to. It’s a recurring dream I’ve had for over 10 years where I have conversations with Burroughs or I am chasing him down at a convention of some sort. The next day I read about Patti Smith having a dream about William S Burroughs, one of her mentors, and then actually meeting him the next day. This blew my mind. I knew it was Marcus at work inside me.

The next day I went to Social Services in Camden, NJ. In the waiting room there are clothes for people to take. It’s mostly women’s clothes so I never bothered looking. This day there were 3 boxes of books. I didn’t expect much besides best sellers that I wouldn’t read. First I spotted a Howard Stern Book I already own. Then an AC DC biography I grabbed and put to the side. Like it came down from heaven I spotted the name Jackie Curtis on the spine of one of the books. I grabbed it so fast and gave up on the AC DC one, knowing I might not read it with all of the books I’ve been acquiring. I’ve always owning beyond my reading capability. It started with my comic collection. I had to read everyone I owned. The book was called Superstar in a Housedress: the Life and Legend of Jackie Curtis. Jackie was one of the early Andy Warhol’s drag actors. There was Candy Darling, Holy Woodlawn and Jackie Curtis. You might know the names from the Lou Reed song Take A Walk On The Wild Side. He mentions them all by first name. The book came with a dvd documentary about Jackie Curtis. Once again I knew Marcus had something to do with it being my only friend that knows who Jackie Curtis is and my fascination with over the top drag queens. My favorite was Divine from the many John Waters’ films.

I was feeling sick all day so when I came home I relaxed and watched the documentary. I loved it. I learned a lot about the actor, the writer, the poet, the addict and the superstar by the name of Jackie Curtis.

I was looking for another movie to watch after the documentary. For some reason I watched Scarface, not having seen it in years. I figured after watching a documentary about an artistic genius drag queen superstar I needed to even it out with a movie about a Cuban druglord. I usually watch the featurettes and extras when I am finished. I did. The featurette made references to the original Howard Hawks’ Scarface movie from the 1930’s and the phrase “the world is yours” was used in both versions of Scarface.

After dreaming about transvestites, fame, writing, Patti Smith and Tony Montana, I awoke confused, groggy yet awake and ready for the day. “The World is Yours.” rang in the back of my mind. My morning rituals, when I don’t have to rush off anywhere, are to find some decent light music to listen to, drink coffee, write and read, alternating the reading and writing. I even alternate which novel, prose or poetry I write and the books I read. The Patti Smith biography, Just Kids has been winning out as my reading choice more and more.

I came upon the part of Patti and Robert’s life where they are living at the famous worn down Chelsea hotel in New York, home to celebrities (underground, big names and has-beens), junkies, prostitutes and everyone in between. They get in with the Andy Warhol crowd slowly by showing up every night at Max’s Kansas City another celebrity haunt. Patti meets Jackie Curtis and is asked to be in her latest avant-garde play called Femme Fatale playing a male role, playing opposite sex roles was common and almost mandatory in a Jackie Curtis production. Marcus at work again, I thought after reading this. My mind was blown further when I read a comparison of a neon sign Patti and Robert were looking at to a scene in “Howard Hawks’ movie Scarface where Paul Muni and his girl are looking out the window at a neon sign that said The World is Yours.”

I used to think Marcus was full of shit when he would tell me of his visions and special stories or that they only happened to him Now they are happening to me with Marcus there every step. I’m not the only one.

A few of his closest friends and even those connected with him from a distance are feeling his power, his life, and his soul. Some are in the form of lucid yet surreal recurring dreams while others actually see and feel him while conscious.

In life he wanted to be famous, to be remembered. In death he’s keeping his dream alive. He knows if he comes to me I will write about him and keep him alive.


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?


Poetry is for Wimps

September 2, 2011

I hate poetry. It’s for cowards that don’t have the balls to say what things directly and tell you what they really want to say. That’s what I used to think. I thought that for the years I’ve been writing my ramblings and prose because a lot of the standard poets I’d been exposed to were boring. All fluff and evasive.

 

Let me back up. As a teenager I loved poetry. I loved rock music and I especially loved the lyrics. I loved the Beatles. I had no idea what their words meant all of the time but I got something out of it. In the 8th grade I discovered Jim Morrison. Well, the Doors then Jim. I followed the trend of what everyone else was listening to and since there wasn’t much great popular music my Middle School and High School were into classic rock. Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, AC DC, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors etc. All great lyrics. I loved the simplicity of some and the complex descriptives of others.

 

Then I found the book called No One Here Gets Out Alive, the biography of Jim Morrison. I fell in love with his persona. I bought every Doors album and learned every lyric. I bought Morrison’s poetry book. Morrison led me to reading William Blake and Dylan Thomas. This was poetry I thought was cool. Many people I know call him a hack. Maybe he was  but so am I and almost every artist, musician, writer, director etc. that I love.

 

Jump ahead to my mid 20s. I lived with a couple of friends and one was into a lot of the art, music and books that I was. He had spent his entire life building up knowledge of beat writers and their influences and punk rock and it’s influences. I grilled him for knowledge and books and records. I learned constantly about writers and bands I heard of but didn’t get into. He was my muse.

 

It was my second childhood of many more to come. I was making art constantly, listening to the Sex Pistols, The New York Dolls, the Velvet Underground, Patti Smith and reading William S Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and eventually Arthur Rimbaud and Jean Genet. It was a learning experience I will never forget. I started writing poetry, lyrics and short stories. They weren’t the best but I was trying to find my voice if I had one.

 

I started showing my art in galleries, coffee shops and book stores. I was actively participating in poetry readings. It was one of my many new beginnings. These artists and my friend have become part of me on a deeper level that is still with me today.

 

Years past and I evolved into other creative activities. Life started taking over like working and paying bills and girlfriends. I kept going. From that point of my life I knew I was an artist and had to create on some level or another.

 

Back to poetry. I went through a period and all I wrote were prose. Mostly simple stories and journals sometimes incorporating heavy descriptives then back to simple writing. I was developing as an artist, a writer, whether I liked it or not. Even when I’m not drwing or writing

 

About 9 or 10 years ago I got heavy into writing and I wrote and wrote non stop sometimes. That’s when I stopped liking poetry. That’s when I came up with my opinions stated in the first paragraph. That’s when I thought all poetry sucks. Then I remembered Charels Bukowski and a lesser known and in my opinion the greatest poet ever, Steven Jesse Bernstein. I prefer their prose but I love the way they write poetry. No rules. Just say what you want however you want.

 

My life’s mission statement is stolen from a poem by Patti Smith’s poem calle Babalogue that she recite before performing her song Rick n Roll Nigger. “I am an American Artist. I have no guilt.” I try and remind myself of that everyday.

 

The reason I was thinking about all of this is because I was at my favorite coffee shop last night for internet access since I don’t have it at home and I discovered that there was an open mic planned for the night. I hate open mics these days. I wasn’t in the mood to hear a bunch of people singing and guitars etc. then I found out it was a poetry and spoken word open mic. I thought this might be more interesting. I over heard some of the people that were there and went back and forth whether they are full of shit or interesting. I went with interesting.

 

I listened and there were some pretty good poets that also knew how to read it aloud. I listened to each poet and considered reading. Once I mentioned it to the older woman sitting next to me she gave me a push. I was actually a little afraid of reading. I picked out a few of more short more powerful and humorous pieces and eventually I read them. I could feel the energy of the room rise with each word that came out of my mouth as I read from laptop. I was nervous but still pulled through. I tried to be humble afterwards knowing how great I was, I am, as people complimented my poems.

 

It was a good night. I felt good having read after years of being out of the scene. It got me to thinking about poetry and my personal history and my mission statement. I am an American Artist. I have no guilt.

 

I might even go back next time.


Rich Hillen Jr’s Top 20 Favorite Television Show

August 31, 2011

 

Rich Hillen Jr’s Top 20 Favorite Television Series

 

This is a tough one. I’ve had a lot of favorite shows through the years because I grew up watching TV series. Of the 100s of TV shows I’ve watched to date these are my 20 favorites as of now. The order changes week to week but basically stays the same.

 

1.   Buffy the Vampire Slayer

2.   Kolchak: the Night Stalker

3.   SOAP

4.   The X-Files

5.   Bussom Buddies

6.   The Sopranos

7.   OZ

8.   Happy Days

9.   The Sarah Silverman Program

10.  Family Guy

11.  King of the Hill

12. How I Met Your Mother

13.  It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

14.  House

15.   Burn Notice

16.   South Park

17.   Still Standing

18.  Aqua Teen Hungerforce

19.  M.A.S.H.

20.  All in the Family

 

That was tough. I keep thinking of more shows to mention but I’ll hold off. If you haven’t checked any of these out do it.

 


Wicked Smile

August 16, 2011

The gray wired stem cell recedes as your infected fingers touch it.

Look at the first thing you hear and find the weak spot and torch it with your flame broiled tongue.

Lick it.

Tease me with your green-clouded carcass and my tight gray eyes loosen slightly enough to absorb your fantasy.

My fantasy.

A crowd gathers and gathers watching. Looking. Gazing.

At us. At you.

At me.

Your over qualified charms releases it’s grasp and backs off.

A clear candied sludge covers my smile. Your smile widens and you laugh wickedly. Wicked.

It’s my face. Whispering sweet nonsense. Mumbling my monstrous innocence. Crying for something I think you have.

I want.

Come here before you go. Sit on my jellyfish clammy lap and try not to fall off and run away.

From me.

Go now, dear lethargic lethal lover.

Go.


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