Underground Poet’s Society 2012 -More Samples

June 16, 2012

I’ve been writing a lot of poetry lately and posting it on a poetry page on Facebook. I’ll be publishing a poetry collection by October or so called  Underground Modern Poets of 2012 collecting various poetry from many diverse people.

Here’s a few samples

Healing — part V
by Art Glib

i am resigned
and
there will always be a place
on the path of
my lifeline
that leads to
the spiral grip of true and
undeniable love
clinching at my heartstrings this day

i reconcile
to denounce sadness
bitterness or hate
seeing them as the impish thieves they are
they are like the anchor on the Edmund Fitzgerald

i have the power to do this-we all do

it was what it was
and we are who we are
i feel the joy on my
face as i
raise your praise to the sky
i feel the heat of
life giving sun
it’s like the way i feel
when i think of the best of us
a place of pristine truth
two souls in a corporation of flesh
a place where i wish you
peace of mind
love
happiness
and an
abundance of good things

bless us
and let no sweeping thoughts
of disdain
corrupt the pure remnants of your smile and laughter
i will not let anger steal those from me
i am not going to risk losing the locket of your memory
that i hold to my breast when you are in my thoughts
good bye
good luck
Godspeed
i love you

sQt 2008

 

Untitled
by Anthony Gray
When everything’s lost
and life seems surreal
When everything crashes
and nothing is real
When sorrow seeps in
and all that you feel
is confusion and madness
How do you deal?

Where will you go?
Where will you go?
When no one is sorry
for nothing they’ve done
Where will you go now?
Where will you run?

Everything dies
and the time will come
when the days grow too short
to mourn every one
When life’s vicious cycle
throws you ‘neath the wheels
and there’s no one to turn to
How do you deal?

Where will you go?
Where will you go?
When no one is sorry
for nothing they’ve done
Where will you go now?
Where will you run?

When it’s all said and done
it’s hard to regret
knowing full well the sun
is determined to set
When smoke in your eyes
can no longer conceal
You just let it mask you
and that’s how you deal.

Where will you go?
Where will you go?
When no one is sorry
for nothing they’ve done
Where will you go now?
Where will you run?

When you’re all alone
and the passion is gone
Can you keep your own head up?
Or where will you run?

OmnImpotence
by KrackPipe Ken

through the gloom
a dreary moon
lay soundless on the sod

a haunting tune
from dead leaves strewn
engirdled brooding god

“if I am naught,”
aghast he thought,
“but smoke and grim façade

“from womb to tomb…
…then only doom…
the deadless treadless trod.”

Little Boy Little Toy
by Jo Hewitt
Men and my pen always a dangerous combination, I’ve gone there before I’ll never be anyone’s whore I feel they never see me as real well you better duck and cover for I’m about to tell you about your own private hell mamma’s boy using women as your toy you’re invited to have a say but not have things your own way 41yrs of age you have a fit a real child’s rage in your childhood room you cause doom and gloom action figures a twin bed what a man you can barely tie your own shoes it’s no wonder it’s not you I choose grow up don’t blow up nonsense lies you spout a never ending fount try again a slave to the children you crave whine away for you I will not pine child in a mans body

 


Vanity or Sanity?

February 17, 2012

“I’ll trade your vanity for my sanity.” I said to Marcus in 1995.

We never made the trade.

I’ve had another blah day today. I had to do a “Stress test” at my Cardiologist early this morning. My mom likes to take me there to make sure I am ok etc. I slept at my mom’s last night.

I was instructed not to drink caffeine for 12 hours before and no smoking after midnight last night. Yes, I have a heart condition and I started smoking again. Not even close to half as much as I used to. I don’t drink that much coffee. But that’s not the point. It was rough waking up and staying up then going for a stress test. I was stressed from not having coffee and smoking.

I was there for over 3hours and or was mostly waiting around and 2 photo sessions after putting fluid in me for the machine. The only “test” I took was a 10-15 minute treadmill until my hear rate was up to 150 beats a minute. The Doctor was fun to look at except for her wedding ring. Well, it was a nice wedding ring. You get the idea.

I left there so groggy for some reason. Mom took me food shopping. She took me. I paid. Ha. Then we did lunch and I finally bought a coffee. A “French Toast Latte” actually, with 4 shots of espresso. I drank up and had a smoke finally. Ahh. I drank the whole thing and my ass was still dragging.

I came home with mom. I sleep here some Friday nights so I can help my uncle Saturday mornings. I helped my mom with a few things and cleaned out my broken down car in her driveway. I donated it to Purple Heart and they are picking it up on Monday.

It’s a sad loss. I loved that car but it needs too much work and I can’t afford it right now. I did score a bunch of coins from it. SO I took a walk to the bank to cash them in. TD bank charges 6% on the coin machine if you don’t have an account with them. I’ve and accounts with them for years even when they were Commerce Bank and they never charged. Now I don’t have an account and they charged me over a dollar and I ended up with just under 17 dollars. Oh well, it was still found money.

I took a walk into town to get some smokes and splurge on a Starbucks coffee (half decaf at this point) since I had some extra money. Chatted with the friendly kid at CVS I see every week about cigarettes mostly. My old friend from when I worked at Starbucks was working and we chatted it up a bit. One of the girls I used to see there almost every night a couple years back looked up at me and smiled. I smiled back. I used to think she was cute. She still is. I just don’t always think about these things all of the time. Just at my Doctor today.

“Are you the same guy..?” She asked then paused.

“That used to be her every night? Yes.” I answered.

“You lost a lot of weight. You look great.” She said.

I thanked her and almost told he she looked good too but wasn’t sure if that’s what I’m supposed to say or not anymore. I talked to her while she made my drink.

“You used to drive that big red car right?” She asked.

“Yeah. I’m not driving it now.” I said.

“What are you driving?”

“Nothing.”

“Where do you live now?”

“Fairview.”

“Where’s that?”

“ It’s on the edge of Camden near Collingswood. Where do you live?”

“Bellmawr.”

“Cool. Nice seeing you again.”

“Great to see you. Stop in more.”

I took my drink in a great mood. I gained a little of my weight back in the past month and have been a little self-conscious. I hadn’t shaved in a week and my hair was un-kept today so “looking good” was the last thing on my mind. It felt good to hear it. When I first lost the weight after a month or so recovering from my heart surgery months ago I was so confident. I was able to wear clothes I couldn’t fit into for over 4 years. That faded away fast with other priorities making me forget.

It occurred to me that I didn’t even feel bad about not having a car or even a job because “I looked good” to quote my friend John, even when I was at my worst.

I guess it was a good day. Because other people’s opinion’s of my looks makes me feel better than my accomplishments.

In reality I’d rather have created something like a piece of art, poetry or a novel than look good but I was nice to hear it.

I’ll keep my sanity (the little I have) and you can keep your vanity.


Herb

September 1, 2011

Herb sat on the curb for hours in the direct sunlight. The 100 degree temperatures didn’t bother him anymore. Nothing bothered him as he nodded off in what he thought was a heroin chic fashion. Herb looked like a street bum in his dirty ripped sweater and baggy corduroys. His face was yellow with a coat of sweat glued like mucus on his skin. He was unshaved and his dirty blonde hair was greasy hanging over his shoulders. He was out cold but the sweat was dripping like a retarded full body fountain inside of him. A 24-year old that looked like he was 40. He wasn’t alone.

 

Sarah sat next to him in a summer dress that was once meant to be colorful and comfortable. It was faded and stained under her leather jacket. She wore engineer boots over her unshaved legs to top off the winter look in July. She was still awake and waiting. Waiting for something. Or was it someone? She grabbed the last warm cheap opened beer and took a sip and spotted someone.

 

A man crossed the street towards her. Towards them. She forgot about Herb already. She hid her beer quickly as if it were the police approaching her but it was more of a quick hide to get what she needed. Part of what she needed. As the handsome casually dressed man approached her she stood up as fast as her dehydrating dope sick body could.

 

“Hey. Remember me?” She asked the man.

 

“Uhh. No. Sorry” he said.

 

“You bought me a few beers last week and…”

 

“Sorry. I have to go.”

 

I don’t think he remembered her but if he did he wanted to forget her and avoid her.

 

“Can I get a few dollars from you?” she asked.

 

The man stopped. He thought for a moment while looking at her and smiled. A change in mind.

 

“We can work out a nice deal and you’ll get more than a few dollars.” He said.

 

Sarah looked at Herb who was now awake singing some song about Jesus staring into space. She shrugged him.

 

“Herbie. I’ll be right back. I’m going to earn a little money from this guy. Ok?” she asked.

 

By the time she finished telling Herb he was asleep again. She left him there and got into a cab with the man.

 

His name was Brad. He loved sex. He figured that he’d take Sarah to a motel outside of the city and wash her up first then have his way with her. He had the money to spend and in his mind he was doing a service. Washing, feeding and paying Sarah for sex was better than throwing a dollar in her cup on the street. He’ll take care of her for an hour or so and go back to work.

 

An hour or so later Brad dropped Sarah off on the curb where she found him and left in the cab. Brad was dropped off about 6 blocks away at a coffee shop. He decided to take the rest of his busy day off. He didn’t even need to call work. They knew he’d be back the next day. He approached the counter and stopped to think a minute,

 

“Large boiler maker Brad?” the cute awkward girl with the apron behind the counter asked.

 

“Sure Sue.” Brad answered.

 

Sue rang up his order excited that Brad remembered her name forgetting that she wore a nametag. Another taller and heavier woman named Carrie made Brad’s drink. She knew how to make it best and was eager to please Brad. All of the coffee shop girls were. He only slept with one of them so far and she wasn’t there.

 

Brad grabbed his coffee and gave a secret tip to Sue and Carrie. He paused like he was going to sit down. Sue and Carrie were watching his every move. Brad walked out the door into the blazing hot city sun.

 

“OMG. I love when Brad stops in.” Carrie said.

 

“I don’t know whether I like his tips or his looks better.” Sue said.

 

“I would never date and older man except for him.”

 

“I just want to fuck him”

 

“Yeah. Me too.”

 

“Andrea was lucky o get that.”

 

“True.”

 

They laughed and went back to work ringing up and making coffee after coffee. Making each customer smile with their great attitudes and sincere smiles. They were great at their job. When it slowed down Sue went through the shop to clean up the condiment area and gather trash.

 

“Hey Gary. How’s the novel coming?” Sue asked a customer sitting with his laptop on a couch.

 

“Hey Sue. I didn’t see you coming. I’m still writing.” Gary said.

 

“I love what you’ve read to me so far. I can’t wait to read it when it’s finished.”

 

“You’ll be top of the list of complimentary copies when it’s published.”

 

“Signed?”

 

“Haha. Of course, Sue. Of course.”

 

Sue touched his shoulder and smiled as she moved on cleaning. Gary thought of asking her out for brief moment but went back to writing instead. He was in what he referred to as the “zone”. Gary’s novel was his version of the great American novel. The same goal of many successful and even more failed writers.

 

The novel was called Pictures of Karen. It was about a man named Doty and his life long obsession with Karen. The one that got away. Doty kept tabs on Karen since his early twenties. It’s actually a love story but Gary will have to finish it and you’ll have to read it to decide.

 

Gary’s novel starts off with:

 

“I’ve never loved. I never loved the way I loved her. I thought I loved before and before and once more or so. Not the way. Not the way I loved her. Love her. Love. Her name was Karen. Still is as far as I know. I’ve known her since grade school, maybe even longer. We lived next door to each other for almost 18 years. I watched her get older and mature. I always watched Karen.

 

We used to play house when we were 10 or 11 years old. It was Karen’s version of playing house. She reversed the roles. I had to squeeze into her sister Ann’s clothes. Her sister was only a year older and not much bigger than Karen. Karen even made me wear her sister’s underwear. This explains my cross-dressing and love for women’s underwear, as I got older. Karen would wear my clothes including my underoos. I usually wore Star Trek underoos with Kirk and Spock. I wanted Sulu or Uhura but they only had Spock and Kirk. The were baggy on Karen’s little body as opposed to Ann’s tight cotton panties and a bra on my chubby frame.

 

Karen pretended that she came home from work and I was supposed to cook dinner. We used a kid’s cook set with Play-Doh. Well I did. I cooked and set the table. She kissed me when she came to the table. We usually played when no one was home at her house. The last time we played it was a terrifying experience that may have scarred me for life.

 

We just finished playing house and were getting undressed before anyone got home. We were down to our underwear and Karen’s bedroom door burst open. It was Karen’s sister Ann. She laughed at first. We tried to get dressed and she stopped us.

 

“No. Stay. You 2 are going to do what I say or I’m telling mom and dad and yours too Doty.” Ann said.

 

Ann forced us to –“

 

Gary caught Sheila “the bird lady” reading over his shoulder. Sheila was a regular at the coffee shop and out of her mind. She was tall and skinny and looked like Big Bird. Some people called her “Jesus lady” because she was always handing out religious leaflets and preaching about Jesus. She was whispering his words in his ear. He looked at her and was speechless.

 

“You heathen!” Sheila exclaimed.

 

“Hi Sheila.” Gary said quietly.

 

“Your child pornography stories are going to send you straight to Hell.”

 

“It’s just a fictional novel, Sheila. It’s about innocent kids.”

 

“It’s child pornography.”

 

Gary looked up and saw the customers staring and Sue looked over and shrugged her arms. He closed his laptop and put it away, grabbed his cup and walked briskly out the door.

 

Sheila soon forgot about him and went back to the counter and ordered her 3rd refill of iced decaf coffee for the day so far. She put on a sweater and a raincoat and headed outside with no destination in mind. She only had a few leaflets left and wanted to give them to the right people.

 

She walked a block and stopped on the corner and tried to hand out her leaflets telling people that Jesus is coming and they need to be saved. Most people avoided her like a kid avoids a dentist. It took her almost an hour to get rid of her leaflets. She still had some iced decaf coffee in her hand. It looked like rusty water at this point. The temperature was reaching 104 degrees and it seemed to keep going. Sheila headed back to the coffee shop.

 

As she walked a head poked out of a cab yelling “Hey bird lady. When is the world going to end this time?” It seemed she was well known, especially for her predictions of Armageddon. She had a new date almost every month it seemed. She hasn’t been right yet but who knows?

 

Carl was the guy yelling out of the cab. Carl knew Sheila the bird lady from the coffee shop and the streets. His small pudgy belly moved fast along with his breath from yelling. He was out of shape middle age man. He was in the cab with his work buddy Bobby. Bobby was a handsome tall blond that has managed to remain in the closet for 42 years. He’s had a crush on Carl since their first run in at the Law office when Bobby first started 3 years ago. He could never figure out whether Carl was gay or not. Carl was single and seemed to hang out with and spend nights with men more than women. He’s a very masculine man so Bobby’s gaydar was thrown off. They worked a few floors apart but talked a lot on the elevator after work. They eventually started hanging out. Carl’s guy friends also threw off Bobby’s radar. He never had the courage to just ask and after 3 years it was even tougher.

 

They were on their way to lunch at the Browley Towers Bar and Grille. They both liked the food and the beer selection was pretty good. They walked in like they owned the place. At times they felt like they did because of the way they were treated.

 

Carl ordered the caramelized onion stuffed flounder with glazed pineapple. Bobby ordered a rare filet mignon with a butter fluffed potato and mushroom sauce. They both ordered the newest beer the bar listed. This one was a Russian beer called Tinkoff.

 

“What do you think it means in Russian?” Bobby asked.

 

“Tinkle I assume. It tastes like tinkle.” Carl said.

 

Bobby smiled but didn’t laugh. He thought it tasted pretty good.

 

“I never thought of a guy like you saying the word tinkle.” Bobby said.

 

“Ha. I’m full of surprises. Wait. What do you mean a guy like me?”

 

“Ha. You know. Kind of macho.”

 

“Macho?”

 

“It’s a good thing Carl.”

 

“Oh.”

 

They laughed and finished their food and continued drinking. Carl paid the check with the corporate credit card and pulled out a wad of cash for the tip. Bobby thanked him for lunch. His mind wandered to his crush on Carl. He was feeling pretty buzzed and wanted to tell him now. He made up his mind.

 

“Can we have a few more drinks and talk, Carl?”

 

“Uhh.. Yeh, let me call Marie and tell her I won’t be back in the office for another hour or 2.”

 

As Carl made his call Bobby was getting nervous and practicing what he was going to say in his head. Was he going to chicken out? Carl got off his phone and ordered more beer.

 

“Hey Carl. You know I’m gay and all, right? Have you ever wondered if I liked you?”

 

“Uhh. Well the way you look at me sometimes I get a feeling from you. “

 

“Well I have to tell you. . .”

 

The waiter interrupted and handed them their beers and walked away. The waiter’s name is Phil. He is an older man in his 50’s waiting tables. He is also an actor whenever he can find work. You might remember him from that TV commercial with the guy dressed as grape selling car insurance. Phil was they grape. It was played a lot for a few months on as many slots as it could fill. Phil’s been in a lot plays and made many appearances on movies as an extra. He will keep acting until he dies whether he makes a living off of it or not.

 

“I think I interrupted a gay man proposing to another.” Phil said.

 

“No way.” Stan answered.

 

Stan was a stunning young black college student majoring in Economics. He was there to pay for part of his school. He also liked all of the women he meets. He had a gift with the ladies.

 

“It looked that way. They’ve been coming here 5 days a week for years. They seem very chummy. Extra chummy. You know?”

 

“I guess it makes sense. How’s that work? Can men get married to each other in this state? I don’t know much about gay people.”

 

“You know I’m gay right, Stan?”

 

“Uhh. I do now. Thanks for sharing.”

 

“You never suspected me?”

 

“No man. I thought you were just a lonely old workaholic.”

 

“Ha. Thanks.”

 

“I am a little freaked by all of this but I guess that’s life. Can you watch my tables for a few minutes Phil?”

 

“Can’t handle it Stan?”

 

“No. I’m cool. Just want to grab a smoke and take out the trash.”

 

Stan walked away into the kitchen and grabbed the trash to take out back to the dumpster. The air outside was so humid all he could smell was the rotting food in the dumpster and he gagged a little and threw the bags of trash into the dumpster. He walked around the corner to have a cigarette.

 

“Got an extra smoke man?” a dirty man with a winter coat and wool hat named Gerald asked.

 

Stan knows Gerald from hanging by the dumpster for his smoke breaks.

 

“Hey Gerald. Of course. Here ya go.” Stan said.

 

“Why you out here in this heat Stan?”

 

“I needed a smoke. Little shell shocked from something.”

 

“What could shock you?”

 

“Oddly enough gay people. I just found our Phil was gay. I’ve been working with him over a year and he showed no signs.”

 

“Signs? Hahahaha. What signs do you expect? Pink underwear and fuzzy boas?”

 

“Nah man. No mannerisms. I don’t know. He just seemed normal. I mean heterosexual.”

 

“Who cares whether he slurps a rod instead of chewin clam? You’ve known him for a while and he’s still the same guy.”

 

“Yeah. I know. I’ll get over it.”

 

“Hey ya gotta dollar for me today?’

 

“Heh. Yeah. You’re the cheapest therapist around Gerald.. Thanks.”

 

Stan handed him a 10 dollar bill.

 

“Thank you Stan. See ya round.”

 

Gerald walked to the liquor store and bought the best bottle of whiskey he could find for 10 dollars. Every customer stared at him as he walked through the store and to the counter. The guy behind the counter was shocked that Gerald had money and was being polite for a change. He was a little slower than usual because of the heat.

 

“Hey buddy, take this and promise me that you’ll drink the whole thing. It’s hot out there and I don’t want you dying from dehydration.” A total stranger standing behind him said.

 

He handed him a giant bottle of water and told the cashier he’d pay for it. Gerald nodded a thank you and walked out of the store into the now 105 degree temperature outside.

 

The stranger’s name was Billy. He watched Gerald walk out and open the bottle of whiskey the minute he hit the sidewalk. Billy put his beer on the counter.

 

“You ever wonder how someone becomes like that?” Billy asked the cashier.

 

“No. I just sell booze.”

 

“I always wondered what makes a homeless person become that way.”

 

“Not me. Next in line please.”

 

Billy left with his beer contemplating the homeless and how good his life is and what would happen in his life to put him in that position. Billy headed down the street and gave a few more bottles of water to every homeless person he saw. Most of them weren’t too grateful because they wanted drugs and alcohol. He wanted to do something nice on his way home. He still was wearing his suit from his morning job interview. It was the only one he owned and every hot summer day like this one was ruining it slowly. Billy’s shirt and pants were wet with sweat. He only had a few blocks left to his apartment. He felt good but couldn’t wait to get out of the suit and kick back and have a few beers and watch a little TV before his dinner date.

 

It was a first date with a girl he met on a dating web site called sympathydating.com. The idea was you never knew which one of you was getting the sympathy. Billy hoped she’d be the way she looked on her profile and connected in person the way they did online. Her name was Nancy.

 

He got home and changed into shorts and a wife beater. Billy sat on his giant recliner and leaned back as he turned on the TV. He opened a beer and took a big sip. He flipped the channels and all he could seem to find were Judge shows. He thought about renting a movie on demand. He thought about masturbating. The phone rang.

 

“Yo.” Billy answered.

 

“It’s Harris. I’m outside. Let me in.” Harris said.

 

Billy opened the door and Harris came in from the hot temperatures. Harris was dressed for the heat in shorts and a light button up shirt. He made himself at home but Billy didn’t care. They’ve been friends for so long they were at home with each other.

 

Harris pulled out a baggy of marijuana and loaded his glass pipe. He took a huge hit and handed it to Billy. Billy did the same and got up and grabbed Harris a beer. They drank and smoked for a while.

 

“Ready for the big date tonight?”

 

“I guess. We’re meeting at a coffee shop and then going off to dinner.”

 

“Excited or scared?”

 

“Not really. The same old drill. Coffee conversation will reflect where we go t dinner and how much I want to spend. We eat then either hang out or bail. Either I get lucky or I don’t. Then we either have another date or we don’t. Same thing over and over.”

 

“I don’t miss being single when I think about all of the pain in the ass games and work involved.”

 

“Then why do you complain about your wife all the time?”

 

“You hear me complaining now?”

 

“Good point.”

 

They smoked a little more and Harris left so Billy could get ready.

 

Harris hit the heated city streets and decided he wasn’t ready to go home yet and stopped at the coffee shop around the corner. Sue and Carrie were still working. Sue took his order and Carrie made it. They didn’t know him as well as the other customers but they recognized him as the guy that hits on every girl he sees in the coffee shop.

 

“A small triple shot Cappuccino, please.” Harris said.

 

“Coming up. That’ll be $3.98” Sue said

 

Harris reached in his back left pocket to get his wallet and it was gone. He started freaking and checked his other pockets. He remembered leaving it at his mom’s house before he went to see Billy.

 

“Uh. You’re not going to believe this but I forgot my wallet.”

 

“Do you want me to make a tab and just get me next time. I’ve seen you here before.”

 

A woman’s hand appeared with 4 dollar bills from behind and handed it to Sue.

 

“I got it” The woman said.

 

“No. that’s ok. I can skip it.” Harris said.

 

“It’s no big deal. It happens to all of us at least once. Just Pay it forward.”

 

“Thank you.”

 

“No problem.”

 

Harris decided to sit down and enjoy the buzz he was on from Billy’s house. The woman who paid for his drink sat down next to him.

 

“This seat taken?” The woman asked.

 

“Nah. Sit down. Thanks again for the coffee.”

 

“Cappuccino.”

 

“Right. Thanks for the cappuccino.”

 

“Like I said, do it for someone else. Pay it forward.”

 

“Oh. Like that movie?”

 

“Basically. Hi. My name is Nancy.”

 

“Hi. I’m Harris.”

 

“You are Harris or your name is Harris.”

 

“Both.”

 

They talked for about an hour or so and really hit it off. Sue and Carrie were watching. They liked to observe the customers especially if it looked like they were hitting it off.

 

“Listen. I had a really great time talking to you and I’d love to do it again but I am meeting a sort of blind date here in a few minutes and it might look bad.” Nancy said.

 

“Blow him off and we’ll go out to dinner.”

 

“Are you telling me or asking me?”

“Both.”

 

“You’re married. Aren’t you?”

 

“Uh. Yeah. The ring must have given it away eh?”

 

“Yes. You’re too nice to be single. I assumed you were married or gay.”

 

“Both.”

 

They laughed.

 

“You’re pretty entertaining and I have a date so uh. . ’

 

“Wait a minute. Are you meeting a guy named Billy?”

 

“Yes. Well, he told me his name was William. How did you know?”

 

“He’s my best friend. I was just at his house and he told me he’s meeting a girl here. You seem too interesting and are way too beautiful to be dating online.”

 

“Well, I don’t do it often but it’s worth a try.”

 

“Billy’s a good guy. You’ll like him.”

 

“Is he as entertaining as you Harris?”

 

“He’s different. You’ll like him.”

 

Harris said his goodbye and was headed to the door when Billy came in.

 

“What are you dong here Harris?”

 

“I was ah . . warming up Nancy for you.”

 

“Wha. . .?”

 

“Just kidding. I just happen to run into her and. .”

 

“You didn’t make any of your famous moves did you?”

 

“I started to until we figured out she was waiting for you.”

 

“Oh and then you just pulled back after charming the panties off of her?’

 

“I told her I was married. She told me she was waiting for you. That was that.”

 

“That was that, huh?”

 

“Yup.”

 

“Ok. Wish me luck.”

 

“You don’t need it. She’ll love you Billy.”

 

“Thanks.”

 

Harris left and Billy approached Nancy. Sue and Carrie were still watching in between making drinks and taking orders. They knew Billy too.

 

“Wow that girl is popular.” Sue said.

 

“Yeah, I think she was waiting for Billy when that other guy made the moves on her.”

 

“You guys analyzing customers again?” Roberta the manager interrupted.

 

The girls nodded and went back to work. Roberta made her point. She wasn’t a strict manager. She just liked to bust stones now and then. She was a beautiful tall black woman in her 30s with a big chest. Customers loved her.

 

“I’m going to run to the bank. Carl is in charge until I get back. Please don’t break his balls.” Roberta said.

 

“Will you be back before we leave?” Sue asked

 

“I should be. If not make sure you count your money on the register and give it to Carl to count and clock you out. Carrie. I need you to refill everything and brew fresh coffee before you leave.” Roberta said.

 

“Ok.” Sue said.

 

“No problem. Have good day if I don’t see you.” Carrie said.

 

“Thanks ladies.”

 

Roberta headed towards the door with the bank deposit in her hand. Passing Billy and Nancy in the middle of the shop laughing. She smiled at them and out the door. As she turned the corner towards the bank she saw a guy and girl sitting along the wall of the coffee shop begging for change. It was Sarah and Herb. They moved the 6 blocks to the coffee shop. Looking at Herb you wonder how he even moved in the heat and his condition. The temperature lowered back down to 100 degrees. Roberta looked at them for a minute with disgust.

 

“You guys can’t sit here begging for change. You need to leave.” Roberta told them.

 

“Ok. Can we wait a few minutes? It’s really hot.” Sarah said.

 

“No. Leave now or I call the police.” Roberta said.

 

Sarah nudged Herb to wake him up as she drank the last of her bottled water Billy gave her earlier and the warm bear as a chaser. She stood up and grabbed her bag and was more aggressive in getting Herb to move. It wasn’t working so she started kicking him and yelling at him in the most annoying ear shattering voice you can imagine. He opened his eyes and looked at her and nodded back off.

 

“Wake up. We have to leave ya piece of shit.”

 

Roberta was long gone but Sarah knew she’d be back and they better find another spot. The day was winding down and the sun was going down. She finally grabbed Herb and pulled him onto his feet and he barely stood up and followed her.

 

It was still 100 degrees as Sarah and Herb stumbled down the city streets as the sunset.

.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Coffee Shop Blues

June 30, 2011

Holy shit. What do I do? I’ve been in hiding out alone in my house for so long and now that I’m out and making new friends and socializing I’m not sure how to react, what to say and what to do. When it comes to women. When it comes to her.

 

I’ve had a stressful day and wanted to hibernate like I did for the past few years but I found myself at the same coffee shop ordering the same coffee and sitting in the same place. I had to make a few phone calls, texts, and emails to move along the things that are stressing me and it was time for a cigarette break. There she was. Sitting with her back to me outside at a table immersed in work on her lap top or pretending to be immersed in it.

 

She was there for a while but this time I was compelled to talk to her. Tall blonde in tights and high boots that I thought were awesome so I told her so. They were sexy. We talked about boots in summer, men shouldn’t wear sandals ever, and people we knew. Normal conversation with a pretty blond with pretty blue eyes and nicely shaped legs. Not my usual type (blonde and blue eyes) but she was really nice and good looking. We talked and talked for about 20 minutes and seemed like we were hitting it off. Maybe we were or maybe we weren’t. I have trouble reading people after not being around them for so long.

 

She had to make a phone call so I went back inside and worked on a few projects for almost an hour and I wanted a cigarette and might have to leave soon and didn’t know what to do. Do I ask to see her again sometime? Do I ask for her phone number? Do I ask for her email or facebook page? Or do I just blow her off and forget about it? Write it off as just another person I met and leave it to fate (if there is such thing). Do I just pussy out like I have many times in the past.

 

I sat at my table and I looked up now and then and watched her working on her computer and texting through the sun filled window. I was kind of frozen. I wanted to smoke. I wanted to leave. I figured I’d go out to smoke and talk to her if she was free and ignore her if she was busy or acted busy. Then I thought I’d grab my stuff to leave, light a cigarette in front of her and say goodbye. The end.

 

I prefer casual acquaintances these days anyway. Jus as I stood up I saw her stand up and pack her stuff.. Didn’t know what to do. I felt like a stalker if I coincidentally walked out as she was leaving. Was she coming inside to talk to me or say goodbye? Nope.

 

She walked away from her spot outside the coffee shop. All hope was lost. I thought.

 

If I meant anything she would have come in. Oh well.. Fuck her. It got me to write.

 

It was at least safe to go outside. I did. Just as I sat down and lit my cigarette I glanced to the left and saw her at the parking meter. I ignored her. Suddenly she was in front of me talking on her cell phone. She kept walking but looked at me and waved. Was it a wave goodbye? Wave hello again? A wait a minute wave? She stood about 10 feet from me on the edge of the side walk. I was too consumed with myself and what could happen I couldn’t hear her conversation.

 

I imagined her telling someone “ I met this cute guy and we talked a lot. He’s nice but I think he’s stalking me now. Staring at me right now.”

 

I waited to finish my cigarette and a small skinny body appeared in from of me. It was a guy I know and haven’t talked to in a long time. I tried to focus on talking to him as I finished my cigarette still glancing at my fleeting coffee shop desire.

 

I followed him back in the shop and took my seat. I forgot about her fast. I guess it was what it was. Another person that entertained me for few minutes in between my coffee shop hanging out and writing.  Goodbye young lady. Goodbye for now.

 

Oh wait who’s that girl? I gotta go. . .


Livin’ the Dre .a . . uh . . . Cliche

June 21, 2011

I sit once again in the comforts of the coffee shop in Collingswood, NJ. I’ve always liked this place. The décor and the music. The owners are great. The workers are great. There’s always an interesting mix of customers. Some I know and most I don’t know. This may become a new hobby of mine: hanging at the Groove Ground in Collingswood. Writing. Drinking coffee.  Living the dream. Living the cliché.

 

I always thought that the people sitting on their computers typing away at a coffee shop were douche bags. Hey look at me. I’m a writer.

 

Yesterday it was slow and casual in here and I had odd conversations with truly weird people. The good kind. The ones that aren’t phony or pretentious just off the wall naturally. I like misfits that are real. In a progressive town like Collingswood it’s hard to separate real people from posers. Down to earth interesting people versus fake pretentious “hipsters”. They do what they think is cool because their little crowd are into it. They are usually the ones that see me reading John Fantte and know who he is. They make comments on my John Waters or William S Burroughs T-shirts. They fool me at first.

 

I assume because they like what I like then they might be cool. Unfortunately I am into a lot the “hipster” culture. I like the things I like because I like it, ya know? I get into a movie or a writer from someone I know that says “Hey Rich. Check out this (fill in the blank) if you like (fill in the blank). I usually end up liking it. I used to dream about hanging out with people with common interests. It was always the hipsters. I tried and saw how annoying and fake these people are. The more I immersed myself in the culture the more I disliked the people and could spot one a mile away.

 

I guess I’m judgmental but who gives a fuck?

So today the Groove Ground was crowded and loud when I walked in and nowhere to sit. I was ok with that because there were seats outside and I could smoke and drink coffee and write at the same time. I bought my drink and found a seat and settled in. The crowd dispersed. As some of then left I noticed their styles were similar to mine. Same glasses. Same hat that I wore yesterday. When I looked at each one I thought “douche!”.  At least I’m not wearing leather sandals like this “douche” “hipster” standing next to me right now.

 

Fuck it. I’m over it already. Just wanted to write about it.

 

My life is still moving along with or without them.

 

I might be living the cliché but I’m also living the dream. My dream, my thoughts, my life. Me.

 

Maybe I’m the cliché douche judgmental pretentious self righteous hipster. Ya know what? Right now I don’t care. It gave me something to write about for the day, right?

EDITOR’S (that’s me) NOTE: I got a better look at the guy with the hat and realized I knew him and he is a pretty cool guy and not a hipster. I guess my Hipstdar isn’t on all of the time. My Gaydar still works for what it’s worth.


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.

 

 


Anxiety Came Softly Through My- a WIndow Today

June 26, 2010

It seems like some days I just have to write off as a shitty day before it even begins. Days like today. In the middle of a decent dream. Nothing too crazy. Nothing too outrageous. I was in a deep sleep to be woken up with orders barked at me. I had to do this. I have to do that. I’m not one of those people that jumps out of bed ready to face the day. That’s why I always try to get up at least an hour earlier that I am supposed to leave or do anything so I get my “quiet time”. I usually take my morning medications then jump into my morning meditations and prayers while wait for my coffee to be made.

I realize that the coffee part of my morning is probably psychological but the meditation and prayers have become a necessity of my day. It centers me. It grounds me to handle whatever the day has in store for me. When I was younger and didn’t pray I slept to the last minute and either grabbed a cup of coffee on my way out the door or bought some on my way to work or school. Since I’ve been starting my days with prayer, I need my quiet time.

It’s funny that I just wrote a blog called “It’s Not About Me”. In the morning it has to be about me in order to begin a contact with my God so I can handle a day of what is to be thrown at me. So I can live my day being “not about me”.

Today it was anxiety from the minute I awoke. It keeps growing and I’m a nervous wreck in the middle of a very long panic attack that seems to keep growing despite my efforts to calm myself. I’m drinking less coffee so far. I’m going to eat. I’ll call someone. I am writing about it. These things seem to help along with my medication. Ugh.

Anxiety is something I developed as I got older. Things used to role off of my back when I was younger but not now. Since I lost my job a month ago the panic attacks lessoned. While I was working I would average at lest three attacks a week mostly while I was at work. I only worked four days a week. Go figure. In the last month I’ve only had about three or four for the month. It’s getting better. It seems that it will never go away. Especially when you are in it. It’s like when you catch a cold or the flu you feel like you are going to feel that way forever. It passes. This will too. I just have to do the things that help me feel better. Eat. Talk to someone. Take my medication. Even writing about it helps a little bit.

I have friends that get these attacks and in the past I never understood what they were going through. In my head I was thinking, “be a man.” Or “toughen up.” Now that I get them I understand and I turn to the people that understand. If I tell my friends that have never experiences it they just don’t get it and try to give me advice or tell me to toughen up etc. It doesn’t work that way. Most times I have a panic attack I have to ride it out and feel the anxiety.

At least I know in my heart that this too shall pass.

I hope.


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