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.
As a crescent butter moon sets and the soul searing sun of the morning rises into an indigo sky
the days and nights endlessly bleed into one another like so many forgotten dreams
creating one sad and lonely heart, the shattered pane of a window in
an already fragile life that time seems to have forgotten.
the clock strikes ten, he’ll lay in bed and stir
and he will cry for her . . .
62 is a number he used to know but now he’s innocently unaware of its significance
it was a day so long ago, a crystal blue frozen moment in time that is elusive
to a cobwebbed place that once inhabited sweet thoughts, wooden cribs to be built and fighting ships on the oceans of his forever’s but
the clock strikes ten, and then again
he will cry for her . . .
She loves the man, the 62, but she knows she’s only human too
her tired eyes, her daily goodbyes, her love for the man she thought she knew
She goes to bed, rest her weary head, dreaming sunny memories of days gone by,
while never wondering why
she will still cry for him . . .
For H&G . . .
I went to get an iced tea today and was almost knocked over by this foul smelling guy
that wanted some money.
“Got five bucks?” He says.
“What happened to spare change?” I say, half laughing.
“Come on, man. I’m hungry.” He says.
“Come on, I’ll get you something,” I say.
He argued quietly about wanting money but finally accepted my offer of some food.
I’m far from well off but I felt for the guy for some odd reason.
I got him a black coffee and a glazed donut.
Cost me five bucks with my large unsweetened iced tea. (no lemon!)
I gave him the goods and he almost scowled at me.
He wanted the money more, I think.
Truth was he needed food and some liquid.
It wasn’t a Thanksgiving dinner but it was probably the first thing he’d eaten that wasn’t from a dumpster or
an overflowing trash can on Main Street.
I didn’t feel like Santa for the deed nor did I think about it again.
I’m home at my laptop writing right now.
It’s warm and the house smells like Christmas.
The tree looks beautiful and two of my daughters and Pamela are watching the Celine Dion Christmas Special in HD.
God only knows where this somewhat smelly and Blue man is tonight.
Maybe we all need to be kinder, not just because it’s Christmas but because
we’re all in this thing together.
Just a thought . . .
This is for a very special soul in my life.
So special, in fact, that they get their very own post.
A heart that breaks will heal eventually but the hurt lives on.
Not forever, though.
This love owns this heart of mine, and in my own small way, my heart breaks as well.
Fragile is never ever a good place to be on any given day.
My heart is breaking tonight.
Tears for loves lost . . .
(maybe someday to be found)
Just read a status update on Facebook that shot me back over forty years ago.
The update was innocent enough:
“Just watched a kid hit a game winning home run in a little league game across the street.”
I thought about it for a second and commented, “That could have been me 45 years ago.”
Then I thought, 45 years.
I’m getting old.
Not that I feel old but living life has made me realize that the years are soaring by.
The year is 1968. I played for Police Association.
I was #4, although that may be disputed in Oxford High School circles.
I was a pitcher and catcher, depending on what position I played in the last game.
And this was a time when some kids just didn’t make it on a team.
If you didn’t get picked, you cried like a baby and went to bed hoping to do better ‘next year’.
Learn to hit a ball for cripes sake.
At 10 years of age, opposing coaches hated when I pitched because I had a curveball that no one on their team could hit.
“The kid’s too young to be throwing junk,” some would say,
“The kid’s going to hurt his arm,” others would say.
“See you next week.”
I have an old baseball in my closet that I wrote on a million years ago: “Beat Bayer Fuel! Won 6-4! Hit 1 home run!”
That old baseball still makes me smile.
There were no strange rules back then, no town-inspired political agenda to follow, no social media available to crucify a kid because of their lack of natural athletic ability, race or creed.
No Sirius XM radio.
No conspiracy theories.
No NSA controversy.
No IRS scandal.
No Global warming.
No Bay City Rollers.
No Boston Marathon bombing.
No Tim Tebow.
No aluminum f*&^%$g bats (God, they suck and they sound even worse)
There was baseball, pure and simple.
Technology has changed us.
For the better?
You be the judge.
As a 54 year old looking back, waaaay back, these days are the ultimate in suck, the ultimate in ridiculous luxury
and overpaid athletes that we deem Gods.
I’ll take my old-fashioned shitty curveball.
I’ll take the old days.
I’ll even take milk delivered in cold glass bottles left on the doorstep of houses in the neighborhood.
But most of all, I’ll take a steaming hot dog with spicy mustard after the game and a bottle of Coke to wash it down with.
Those days were seriously close to Heaven.
Maybe they were Heaven . . .
I saw a woman on the train tonight that had a seriously disfigured face.
It wasn’t a subtle flaw but one of great magnitude.
We’re talking Hollywood magnitude.
I stole glances as she carefully applied makeup to her face, eyes and lips.
I couldn’t help but wonder who she was meeting.
My heart felt sad as I watched her painstakingly apply her ‘mask’, knowing that make up can only do so much.
What does she go through in a day as far as strange looks from passersby?
I wanted to go and sit next to her and tell her she didn’t need all that crap on her face because inside she’s beautiful.
That’s what went through my head anyway.
For all I know, she could have been a total asshole.
But I don’t think so.
Suffering with psoriasis I understand the ‘look’ you get from people that don’t understand your condition.
I see people looking at my elbows, the patches and scales that sometime accumulate making my arms a virtual stomping ground
for questions and unknowing observations.
I can deflect comments on my skin easily.
I have herpes. Deal with it.
This flaming red-haired girl had a face that would stop anyone in their tracks.
I am not saying that to be funny because this is in no way a funny post.
I wanted to say something, anything to this girl to give her some affirmation that she is a beautiful woman.
She got off the train two doors down from where I was negating any sort of confrontation.
I just wanted to tell her that she was beautiful.
Maybe I’ll have another chance someday . . .
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 . . .
When I got into Boston on Monday morning I took a different route walking to work.
I usually slip out the ass end of Back bay station and walk through the alleys and quiet streets to Park Square
but today was Marathon Monday and a great day to walk through Copley Square on my way to work.
The sun was shining, the temps were comfortable and runners were everywhere running for buses to take them to
the Marathon starting line in Hopkinton.
Walking through Copley I saw hundreds of palettes of spring water,
King’s Hawaiian Sweet rolls, pretzels, Smart Food, Vitamin Water and on and on.
People working in the many tents along Boylston Street were obviously happy to be there as they went about their preparations.
There was a palpable lilt in the air that could not be denied.
We all hate Mondays but Marathon Monday in Boston is pretty damn cool for many damn reasons.
I also remember thinking how awful it would be were something catastrophic to happen.
At 2:55PM, a woman came in for some rolling tobacco and asked if I’d heard the ‘bangs’.
She was wondering if they were firing cannons for Patriots Day.
I told her I hadn’t heard a thing.
I was alone in the store and went to Google after she left.
I typed in: Boston Marathon 2013 /Bombs
I came up with 2 results.
Links to a few runners’ websites that simply said;
“unconfirmed reports of two explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.”
The links would not open
Bullshit, I thought.
Not in Boston.
10 minutes later the city was cracked open like an over ripe pomegranate.
Sirens, police cars, ambulances too many to count,
unmarked cars with blue flashing lights and a feeling of dread as I watched thousands of people dripping their way towards South Station.
Most were crying; some were simply distant with no facial expression at all.
You know the rest of the story; probably more so than CNN, a current font of reporting mediocrity.
I took a walk around 4PM yesterday and went down to the corner of Berkeley and Boylston Street.
National Guard would not let you go any further as everything was blockaded.
It was a big crime scene.
I looked down at a usually frantic Copley Square that now seemed post-apocalyptic, empty and dreadfully silent. My heart broke just a bit as more reality drained into my psyche.
It was not unlike a scene from ‘Walking Dead’ or ‘I am Legend’.
The word ‘nothing’ came to mind.
I watched paper and debris flying through the air looking to get out of the dead space that was Copely.
That’s how my eyes saw it and my brain interpreted it.
It made no logical sense to me.
On my way back to Park Square I noticed the omnipresent media camped out at the corner of Arlington and Boylston. It seemed to me to be a media freak show/ circus with bright lights and cameras going while reporting half myths and hearsay from who the fuck knows.
Homeless people were probably contributing their stories and ideas. (they may have been closer to the truth than CNN, ffs)
I am a Bostonian and I love this city. (Even though I live in the burbs)
I went to school here and currently work here and no one will ever take away the fact that this place was built on guts, strength, love, and a work ethic like no other place in the world.
This IS my backyard.
Sadly, the landscape has changed, for now . . .
Know that We are Boston.
We are Many.
And We are Pissed.
But I have a good feeling that many beautiful flowers will blossom this same time next year.
Because that’s how we roll . . .
ps. Photo courtesy of John TLumacki, Boston Globe