Blink

June 15, 2012

 

Angela was over again and we were happy for the minute. My parents were there from the dead and from the life. I haven’t seen my dead father since the last time I dreamed he was alive. He had never died in the last one. This time I knew he died and came back over and over. Sometimes I acknowledged he was back from the dead. Like this one. They were mad at me and they kept riding my ass. Angela was there and I didn’t want to say or do anything stupid so of course I did. I started screaming at my parents about all and nothing. When my father started back on me I yelled back.

 

“Yeah, well you’re the one that keeps coming back from the dead!” I screamed.

 

Angela was crying. Everything stopped. I felt so bad.

 

“You know I hate when you yell at your parents. You know I have problems with that.” She said.

 

Angela walked to my porch as if she was leaving. I kept apologizing to her and turned my head to apologize to my parents.  I felt so bad my knees cracked with tears. My bones trembled with fear of loss of what I might have had if only I was a tolerant kinder person. She. She was breaking up with me and I was helpless like in those dreams when I find my self naked in the middle of a department store.

 

Blink.

 

Angela and I are at an old movie theater and all is swell. Swollen you can say. I said. No kinks in the love. All smiles whilst holding hands like professional lovers that have been at this game longer than each of us has lived. I catch her catching me catching her looking at me and we laugh until we smell smoke. Someone burnt popcorn I thought. Flames came up through the floors I carried her down the charred rippled weak stairway to uncertainty. She held me tight with a magical look of “if we go down at least it’s together.” We made it just in time as the Fire People squirted. Squirted the last flame out.

 

Out of nowhere a white man dressed as Jimi Hendrix appears in the lobby as Angela and I are trying to leave the burnt building. It turns out to be my friend Tony and he is with Rolland and Jesse. I didn’t question why he was dressed in his garb or colored face. I accept too many things at face value (no pun intended) too much. Too many times. Like why was I with this beautiful girl as my eternal lover out of the blue pink and red?

 

“I wonder if I can buy the posters and movie star cut outs in the movie theater?” Rolland asked with no greetings or concern of our health or the fire.

 

Jesse was silent and patted us on the back with a “it’s going to be ok” vibe.

 

It was ok. I still had a friend and I had Angela.

 

I’m so grateful in my dreams.

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A POEM: Rose Colored Goggles (for Joe B)

January 12, 2012

 

Rose Colored Goggles (for Joe B)

 

Speaks slowly as if expectations are for you to savor every word

When he’s not too busy exercising his inherent talent for listening

To the ranting, venting and complaining of others.

 

The secret mystic patiently awaits his turn to react and advise Wisely his positive spin on whatever it is

I am self absorbedly going on on on and on and on about persistently like an ADD child demanding attention

 

Intuition and listening are his gifts yet unrecognized because of his

ASSociations with the mentally challenged or selfish, self absorbed people in his life.

He has answers but has learned through the years to wait to share them

We are not always ready for the answers

 

As you get to know and love him you realize he is human too

Moody, judgmental and self righteous like the rest of the world

Showing this side to only the closest of allies

We and or I accept this for all he has endoured with our friendship

Through years upon years

 

Relationship dynamics change as with all intelligent free thinkers and sometimes we grow apart and then grow back together stronger

A selfless man in actions sets the example I strive for.

Well grounded yet spiritual, mystical, creative and verbally expressive.

 

I call this man

I repeat man

As my best friend

And a major contributor to society and God’s world.


The Loss of an Angelic Soldier (for Marcus Shepherd)

December 2, 2011

NOTE: I wrote this November 10th, the day Marcus passed away. I haven’t been on the internet so I am posting it now and I still feel everything I wrote.

Lost another soldier. A soldier of angelic visions and pain. A true warrior of lost souls finding his way. As many times he wandered off the path of enlightenment he always came back to share the sometimes soutrageous yes spiritual paths he found.

Marcus died today. My muse. My confidant. My hero. My friend.

A friend of almost 20 years. As best as he could be. Good enough for me. We became each other despite our extreme differences.

Never have I experienced a friendship that transcended reality like the one I had with Marcus. Marcus Shepherd. A million private jokes. A million laughs. A million cries. A million trips outside and inside ourselves discovering, discussing and over analyzing emotions, theories, thoughts and the world surrounding our soft child like yet genius brains.

He was the only friend that knew everything about me and actually understood me. Missing him is an understatement at this point. At any point. In and out of my life at times as friendships do yet always in thoughts and prayers.

I met him in March 1992 and knew there was something special there. I never dreamed we’d play in bands together, live together and become so close. I couldn’t imagine that this tall skinny guy in eyeliner with long full black hair that wears frilly shirts and leather pants would become my inspiration turning me on to writers I never heard of like Jean Genet, punk bands like Television and even foreign films like Goddard. A new world sparked from this unusual friendship.

His visions, which I once thought were bullshit, unfolded in front of me. Light and dark. We talked of these things. We talked for hours about the here and now as well. Our emotions and desires. Exposing each deep secret we’ve ever had through the years.

We hung out at coffee shops in our 30s like 2 art school kids to meet artists and people to inspire us especially the girls. Then we discussed our love for them. The women. The art girls. Frantically, desperately seeking our soul mates from any hot young artist girl.

I helped him discover that he was just as superficial at times as the rest of us the way he brought the artist and serious poet out in me.

I could go on and on and I probably will about stories and adventures of the man I call friend and mean it. Keep reading. As much as I miss him, I know he is part of me and will stay here.


Conversations with Scar Tissue Past

July 20, 2011

Scar tissue expands every day on my wounded mind.

Sometimes I feel nothing. Denial? Remission?

Sometimes I feel everything. Projection? Frustration? Anxiety?

Scar tissues spreads and strengthens me and weakens me.

Sometimes my past will pop up and surprise me.

“Hey how ya doin?”

“Great. How are you?” *Stutter and shake*

Chocolate shake. Fuck you. I want vanilla. I always want vanilla.

“Livin the dream” *Shimmy, shimmy shakes*

Shimmy my ass. You’re dream must be simple. You must be simple. Fuck your shimmy, shimmy and your Goddamn shake.

“Oh. That’s great I guess.”  *Reelin and rockin*

Ahh.. that’s better. Reeling and rockin… Not living or dying just kind of rockin.

“Yeah man. I am so filled with gratitude for my wonderful life.” *proud statement loosing confidence*

“Yeah? Me too. What are you so grateful about?” *Twisting and shouting*

“I woke up today. The sun is shining. I have love. I have friends.” *it goes on and on and on and . . .yeah*

Doubt and reconsideration of this fool standing before me. Too evasive. Too general. Hides the scars and pain and the past. Denies it.

“Are you grateful you took a shit?’ *sarcastic laughter held in*

“Wha. . ?” *confused by ninja verbal dance moves*

“Are you grateful you found a dollar to buy some food?” *humility or self righteousness (can’t tell)*

The past faded away as I questioned and hustled and even disco ducked..

Hope or hopeless. Doesn’t matter if I remain in motion. Mental motion. . .Keep going and no matter the scars or the past or the pain, the spirit is well. Always is if I tap into it. Do the twist. Shake it out baby. Shake, rattle and roll.

You know how it is, Rockin and rollin and what not.

You cna live your dream. I’m living my life. It’s worth every scar.


Women. You Can’t Live With Them and Men Are Assholes

June 23, 2011

Women. . . You can’t live with them . . . . Men are assholes that fucked women up. The messed them up for guys like me. Maybe guy like you.

 

We are all a result of our personal experiences in life. Most of us stick with what we experience in life early on and it seems we stop changing in at a certain age. Look around. You can usually tell how old someone is by what they wear, their hair styles, how they speak and their interests like music and television. You know the types. You can tell when someone grew up in the 80’s, 90’s etc.

 

Ahh…. The mysteries of the male and female relations. It’s never been solved but I have my theories and opinions.

 

In my dating experience and the older I get I find that I am less and less of a commodity and I gather more and more baggage. The same goes with the women I encounter or date. It’s been a while but I have been paying attention to other people’s relationships. So when I date a woman I am also dating her last boyfriend/husband/fiancé, the one before that and the one before that. Each experience she has changes her in some ways. This seems to go against what I said earlier about people staying in certain mentalities from early life. It’s been my observation that each man they date reaffirms her attitude from early life rather than changing it especially the women that have had traumatic experiences with men in childhood, teen years and early 20s.

 

So, the reason I was thinking about this is because my friend is having guy troubles. She’s been dating a guy that grew up in the same city neighborhood with the same friends and family dating the same type of girls his entire life. My friend grew up in a backwoods environment and transitioned to the center city life and has had different types and tries to let go of her past relationships when entering a new one. They are only a couple of months in and he didn’t realize how many male friends she had. I hung out with her last night and she let him know she was going out with a guy friend. He started to get jealous. She even called him while we were out to assure him it was cool. His jealousy got worse and worse.

 

Today she posted a photo of us on facebook and he freaked out with even more jealousy. She’s not used to this. Even in her wildest times of her youth she never cheated on a boyfriend. Apparently he has or he has experienced girls cheating on him.

 

It got me thinking about the line from when Harry Met Sally (yes I watched it several times and I’m proud) when Harry says “No man can be friends with a woman he finds attractive. He always wants to have sex with her.” I found this to be fairly accurate for me personally until I hit my late 20s and early 30s. Sex became less important and friendships become more important.

 

I suspect that my friend’s boyfriend still has that mentality in his mid 40s. My friend is a pretty tough bitch sometimes and she won’t tolerate it. She’s still upset about it.

 

The other code I cracked a while ago that I don’t always follow or live up to is the “women are bitches” and “men are assholes” mentality many people seem to have. It’s pretty simple to me.

 

Women are attracted to confident men. In many cases men that appear to be confident are actually cocky. There’s huge difference between cocky and confident. Cockiness is fake. It’s a way of overcompensating for insecurities. These men are usually assholes and dickheads. Men that are nice and accessible appear to be weaker and unconfident and a lot of them are. A woman gets the cocky guy and he turns out to be an asshole. Then she is either a victim or a bitch.

 

Men are attracted to confident women. The louder and more aggressive women turn out to be bitches because of their insecurities. The nice accessible women appear to be weaker and too easy so he turns to the cocky woman and she turns out to be a bitch. It’s a vicious circle for some of us.

 

Due to my personal struggles and variety of women I’ve dated I have been an asshole, a nice guy and a confident man. I’ve had the most luck being nice and confident.

 

I’m not even going to address my thoughts on love. Let’s say, for now, that I have no opinions on love.

 

Love ya.


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.

 

 


Thank God I’m an Athiest

April 12, 2011

A religious rant? Maybe. Maybe not.

Does it really matter what I think or feel about religion? I rarely talk about it but her goes nothing.

Actually, something happened today that got me thinking. I ask questions on formspring.com and I ask things that I’m curious about in people in general. Sometimes I’m silly, sometimes I’m curious and sometimes I’m serious. I asked about 130 people that I follow whether he/she believes in God or a “higher power”. It was interesting. The most interesting answer I got was confrontational.

“Do you believe in God or some sort of “higher power”?” I asked.

“Better question: Why is it that in our culture it is completely acceptable for a total stranger to ask some one the details of their spirituality? Why is it that we do not treat that information like the intimate thing that it is? People often structure their personal morality on their religion or lack there of, so it stands to reason that it should be a much more in depth conversation than “so do you believe in God?”. Honestly I think it is vulgar to toss out that question as simply as you might ask some one about the weather. Short answer: That’s not something I discuss with some just any one.” She answered.

I wasn’t trying to be deep or intrusive. It was pretty much a yes or now answer type of question. I was really curious as to why it seemed personal to her. I’ve asked way more personal questions like “What is the first thing you do after sex?” and there were polite answers from people that did think it too personal. I don’t feel attacked by the god answer but it threw me off.

Personally, I never cared much about the existence of God until I was introduced to the 12 steps where I “had” to find a “higher power” to help me recover. I kept it simple and call Him God but my interpretation or beliefs are flexible. I know that God could be anything. He could be Jesus, Buddha, Allah, nature etc. I’m open enough to believe that it could just be something in my own head that I “pray” to. It worked for 20 years. To a certain degree my non-descript God is still working. Like any human I lose faith. I also gain it. I keep on truckin’ despite my persona;. Emotional and physical problems and I still depend on a “higher power”. It’s just changed. I know that I am in control of some things and I have no control on others.

I just heard a great comparison to Bipolar disorder to the weather. It’s a daily thing. I rarely check the weather reports. I open the door and check the weather and then I know how to prepare for the weather. My mind is like that. I wake up depressed and I know the things that I have to do to prepare for the day.

This is how I explain my belief in God. It varies day to day. I don’t expect things to change. I just want to be prepared for what’s ahead of me and the ability to accept and change it. That’s my belief. I don’t think everyone should have the same view.

I used to bash various religions especially the one’s that seemed pushy. I hated religions that had the “holier than thou” attitude or “believe what I believe or you are going to Hell”. I could go on about all of the wars in the name of God and tear apart the hypocrisies of the members and clergies but that doesn’t help me. My personal beliefs help me. I don’t know if any religion is right or wrong. I do know it’s wrong to judge someone just because they do not believe what I believe. That is my only problem with religions. Every religion, atheist, agnostic, organization or group has it’s good points and bad points. They all have members that set a good example for the above-mentioned groups.

I don’t have any answers. I am open minded to believe that any belief could be the right one. There may not be a God. There might not be a heaven or hell. I may be my own God.

I never overanalyzed it like many people I know but I was pretty judgmental. I was lucky that religion was never pushed on me. I was raised Catholic. My first natural family weren’t real consistent with it so I found church boring and uninteresting. I was “adopted” at 11 and my new mom was (is) an ex-Catholic nun and my new father was and Agnostic Jew (ex-Jew). They raised me with my options open and I chose not to choose. I did what any self centered teenager might do. I lived for the moment. Instant gratification was my middle name. (still is sometimes). In college I wrote a paper about God for a philosophy course. That was the last time I really gave God or spirituality a thought. I received an A on the paper but was failing life.

As I mentioned already I was encouraged to find a “higher power” when I stopped drinking at age 24 by 12-step meetings. It changes as I do. He or She changes as I change.

One point I took a brief interest in studying Anton LaVey’s Satanism. It preached more peace than I expected. I was curious because LaVey seemed such a charismatic character. He was witty, intelligent and convincing. Then I realized that his distaste for the Catholic Church made his “religion” pretty much the same as any other. I don’t judge it or any religion at this point.

The individuals of various religions and the Atheists are the ones that get to me. The “haters” from each organization religious or otherwise are the ones to give what they claim to represent a bad name. If you are that convinced that your way is right for you then the need to recruit and convince others your way is the only way then you should live your beliefs not preach hate.

I am not committed to or hold anything against any religion or belief system unless it involves hatred and violence.

I think I had a point with all this. If not oh well. I haven’t written a blog for a while so here it is.


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