It seems like eons ago that I was selling Steinway pianos for a living.
A musician/artist/writer will do just about anything to get by.
It was a gorgeous Tuesday morning on September 11th that I paused outside the door to work.
I looked at the bluer than blue sky, the shining sun, felt the cool but comfortable breeze on my face and thought,
“What a gorgeous day. Sucks but I have to work.”
It was around 8:50am that the phone rang in the store.
I answered it, “Hello, M.Steinert and Sons, how may I help you?”
It was one of our piano tuners calling to tell me he’d just heard on the radio that a passenger plane just flew into
one of the WTC towers in New York.
He thought it was strange and I agreed. We left it at that.
That CAN happen right?
The phone rang again at @9:05.
I answered again.
“Another plane just hit the other tower.”
Same piano tuner, more urgent.
“What the hell, dude,” I said.
It was at that exact moment that the world as I knew it had changed.
We were no longer the invulnerable United States, we were brought to our knees in front of the world.
An attack that could have and should have been avoided.
Are we safer today?
If we are, I don’t feel like we are.
We currently have an administration that has no viable/visible strength, united voice or ultimate power to
condone or publicly defile such despicable acts.
While I’m still ultimately proud to be an American, I fear for all that are out of our international reach.
These days the United States is powerless.
That is a sad truth.
My prayers go out for all those that were lost those 13 years ago.
I will keep Amy Jarret and her family forever in my thoughts.
As we still mourn, we will take comfort in the thought and hope that there’s something better for us out there.
An that maybe someday we will feel safe.
Sometimes when I start writing I have no clue as to what I will find;
maybe that’s the beauty of the written word; an internal GPS on shuffle mode.
I lost a friend of 30+ years last night and I’m fumbling for the right words tonight.
I woke up this morning with nothing special on my mind save for the usual morning routine.
It was 5:30am and my brain was on automatic as I drank my Mango juice, took my Multi-vitamin and gagged on my Fish oil.
Fish oil burps are, THE worst.
I opened my IPhone and saw a private message from a Facebook friend sent last night at 10:43.
It was simple enough and said, “Are you up?”
Obviously, I was not.
I really hate late night calls/messages.
They are never good.
I got on the train at 6:10am for my trip into Boston and responded;
“I’m up now. What’s going on, dude?”
We all think we are going to live forever.
There will always be another tomorrow.
The next scratch ticket is our ‘ticket’ outta here.
We reminisce about friends we haven’t talked to in years and think, “I should call him/her.”
Do we call?
We click our remotes to the next ‘Dancing with the Stars’ offering, the next ‘Idol’, the next ‘Desperate Housewives’ episode, and read the next Supermarket rag that somehow becomes a vital part of our lives.
We will not live forever.
Tomorrow is promised to no one.
Kim Kardashian was never sexy to begin with.
And ‘reality’ TV needs to be attacked by Navy Seals because it ain’t even fackin’ close to reality.
The message I received back told me that a close friend had unexpectedly died.
As I’m writing this post, I have not cried, have not grieved.
I am profoundly sad that my friend is gone.
I am numb.
I can’t believe I will never talk to him again.
I can’t believe I will never be able to say goodbye.
I just can’t believe that he’s gone.
I just called my best friend on my cell and left a shaky voiced message.
I wanted to just hear his voice.
Today has shattered my insides.
I’m trying hard to keep it in because that’s what I think I need to do.
He will call me back very soon, I hope.
After leaving him a message, this thing hit me like an emotional tornado.
I cried; am still crying as I type this.
Oddly enough it feels right; because genuine tears heal the bigger part of us . . . eventually.
More are on the way . . .
They say that a picture is worth 1,000 words.
I say that it’s worth much more than that.
Now and then the events of a single day subtly dovetail.
I have been an admirer of photojournalism for as long as I can remember.
Seeing images that were most likely seared into the retina’s of said photographers would give me pause.
The past few weeks in Boston have produced some images that I can’t seem to ‘unforget’.
I want to rewind the organ of soft nervous tissue contained in my overcrowded skull of vertebrates and bring it back to April 14th when life
seemed idyllic and almost normal.
Not gonna happen.
And I didn’t even take the pictures.
Last weekend my future son-in-law, Jonathan, showed me the cover of SI.
On the cover was a picture of an older runner that had been literally knocked down by an explosion at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
Behind him were three Boston Police officers seen drawing their weapons and running in three different directions.
It was a photograph of a surreal moment in time.
It was also a photograph courtesy of a 30 year photojournalist for the Boston Globe called John Tlumacki.
Little did I know that my own personal path would intersect with that of Tlumacki.
I’ve never met the man but I am sure he is deep.
Read a glimpse of him HERE.
This Sunday morning I sat in a sunny living room reading an article in the T&G.
Read it HERE.
(and look at the photo credit below)
As of this morning I had no clue as to who took the pictures that had moved me close to tears.
In my last post here I used a photo of a woman found on her knees, crying and praying fervently to the heavens above.
She was completely devastated in every possible way, beseeching the blue sky above to take back what had just happened only moments before.
This was the picture I chose to use for my last post.
The picture spoke to me, plain and simple.
Fast forward to me Googling “photojournalist Boston Marathon 2013″.
There were many results but one stuck in my craw because it gave a preview of the photo I had used in my previous post.
I was gobsmacked in learning that the picture was actually taken by Tlumacki.
In my mind, I began to juxtapose many images while thinking how difficult it must have been to take them.
I will never know how these folks do their job.
It was then that I realized that it’s not unlike what I do when I write a song or a post.
I go into something of a trance until the job is over.
It’s a phenomenon that just happens.
The biggest difference for me is that I don’t have to worry about my head getting blown off in the process.
I have a new found respect for these graphic soldiers that visually time stamp the complexities of our lives.
I contacted John via email this afternoon after realizing I had used one of his photos for my ‘Boston Strong‘ post.
I asked for permission to use his photo after finally realizing how much courage and balls it must have taken
to capture an image as haunting and visceral as what it was.
He replied to me 20 minutes later;
“You can keep the photo on your blog, this is my Boston, your Boston, let’s not forget that.”
This is from a man that found himself on the front-line of the battle and chose to do his job.
I am honored that he gave me the okay to use his photo and blessed that he took the time to reply to me.
I pray that the ‘Man Upstairs’ keeps a special eye on this guy.
He’s paid his dues.
If this guy doesn’t garner a Pulitzer this year, I will be shocked.
Thanks, JT for doing the daunting task that you do.
The blood you found on your shoes tells me all I need to know about your integrity.
Time to find some rainbows . . .
And the angels sang . . .
“Póg mo thóin!”
Was going to see you soon but life got in the way.
Peaceful travels, my dear friend.
I am incredibly sad tonight.
The candle is lit.
Somewhere, amidst the shattered crystal silence of daybreak. . .
I find you
the dusty silhouette of a life
resting on a shelf in my mind that’s sadly gathering dust,
the gentle flutter of wings sets the shadows free
I watch as you dance among the countless stars, set deep in the face of a forever-winter sky
a whisper; but a sotto-voce prayer moves me through a time and space where I realize I have lost you all over again
A transient streak of starlight falls into the invisible arms of the waiting horizon
and I look to the east, my heart finally believing in the goodbyes and the time stained no mores
and I begin to understand why
He chose you
Just some thoughts regarding the past.
5 years and you’re still on my mind, Mom . . .
I have a dark side.
I know it, my family knows it, my cats know it, my funeral director knows it.
Years ago I played a club located in the middle of a major hotel.
One weekend there was a mortuary fair, if you will.
All things death related.
There were many items that piqued my interest: wound filler, blood tubes, various (uncomfortable looking) clamps,
goggles (obviously), hypo trocars, powder blowers, toe tags and my personal favorite . . . viscera bags.
Jesus Krispies, the language of death is amazing.
Even more so.
I dug this stuff up for any funeral director that may happen to pay my blog a visit.
This is 10 shades of whack, IMHO.
Want a sterling silver trocar pendant?
Your quest has ended. Click here .
Being a cigar smoker, I am all about the ashes.
Find me a nice cat shaped urn and I’ll be happy.
Out of respect for my father,
Malarky Monday will return next week.
Please light a candle for kind and gentle man that will be missed.
That would make for a great Malarky Monday.
Rest easy, Dad.
You’re finally home . . .
A dear friend of mine died last Sunday.
I just found out about it today.
Ironic that I was looking for something in my closet just the other day and
looked up on my bookshelf to see my old copy of
“Zen and Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”,
the cult novel by Robert Persig.
Its pink and black cover reeking ‘classic lit’.
Rod had given it to me many years ago during one of my visits to see him.
I thought, “I should really call him one of these days.”
Looks like I waited a bit too long.
His last words were supposedly, “With a little more time, I would’ve gotten it right!”
You were wrong, HRB.
You got it right this time, from where I’m standing.
Although there are no calling hours I thought some music would be appropriate.
He loved music.
This is your swan song, my dear friend.
I will miss you.
Out on the street I was talkin’ to a man
He said “there’s so much of this life of mine that I don’t understand”
You shouldn’t worry yes that ain’t no crime
Cause if you get it wrong you’ll get it right next time (next time).
You need direction, yeah you need a name
When you’re standing in the crossroads every highway looks the same
After a while you can recognize the signs
So if you get it wrong you’ll get it right next time (next time).
Life is a liar yeah life is a cheat
It’ll lead you on and pull the ground from underneath your feet
No use complainin’, don’t you worry, don’t you whine
Cause if you get it wrong you’ll get it right next time (next time).
You gotta grow, you gotta learn by your mistakes
You gotta die a little everyday just to try to stay awake
When you believe there’s no mountain you can climb
And if you get it wrong you’ll get it right next time (next time).
“Get it right next time” by Gerry Rafferty
Special dedication tonight as I recall a smoky dive from the 50’s called the ‘Waltz Club’ . . .
Long story and definitely not one for this blog.
I knew of one of the patron saints of the place, from what I’ve heard.
Sweet dreams, lady, sweet and smoky dreams
Maybe I’ll see you in them . . .
*I find it intensely gratifying (for very personal reasons)
to give you the list of the players on this archaic recording:
Johnny Hartman, vocal
John Coltrane, tenor sax
McCoy Tyner, piano
Jimmy Garrison, bass
Elvin Jones, drums
God must have been engineering.