You know I have always been passionate about human rights for all but I was very passionate about the civil rights movement that started in the sixties. I just was. I studied it , read books and poetry about it. Tried to do what I could to live and love a certain way because of it. I was like this at a very young age. Because of that I am also very passionate about the black lives matter movement. I feel it is a natural extension of what our predecessors worked towards. I was posting something about the black lives matter Movement and someone said to me, well Why don’t you care about Jewish people? Well of course I do. What does that have to do with it. I get some form of that question a lot and I think it comes from a place of fear, anger and yes, even racism. I really don’t understand that question so I have trouble answering it. I mean to me it’s like going to a cancer benefit and screaming at everyone “don’t you care about AIDS”? Of course we care about AIDS but this is a cancer benefit today. Being that said there is something to be said for being passionate about one thing and really sinking your teeth into that one thing. Robert Redford, the fabulous actor and environmentalist activist once said that he didn’t really respect people that change up their cause and jump from one cause to another all the time. This comes from a man who has made an incredible shift in the world with his environmental efforts. His efforts have made ripple effects across the globe and it doesn’t mean he doesn’t support other causes or care about other causes but he listened to his own specific Dharma. His Dharma was the environment . Here is a picture of Redford on the set of A River Runs Through it. An amazing film that celebrated Nature. The river, family , free spirits and Fly fishing.
I mean we all support different causes but to be passionate about one thing and really try to make a difference with that one thing isn’t a bad way to go. There is nothing wrong with that. Then I saw it explained so perfectly by Ram Dass from his blog.
For each of us, you’ve got to be very quiet to hear your unique dharma, your unique way of expression.
Somebody comes along and their major thing in life is to regain the rights of indigenous peoples.
Someone else comes along and their major thing is to awaken people to environmental degradation.
Someone else comes along and their major thing is to clean up the incredible oppression of women.
It isn’t a question of which thing is worse, or which is more worthwhile. Each person has to hear what is their part in the whole process of how their compassion expresses itself.
I am doing this gig. This is my part. It’s no better than your part, it’s just my part. I’m not under some illusion that I have a different part and I honor everybody else’s part, I just have to constantly keep listening to hear what my part is anew.
There is no rule book about this.
We are all on the edge of having to listen freshly all the time. When your children are little you hear theDharmaone way, and as they grow you hear it another way, because you listen freshly. The plane at which all the dualities exist is relativity real, and the plane in which they don’t exist is relatively real, and that’s equally relatively real, so you can milk it any way you want to… We all need a gig.
I think he expressed my thoughts perfectly and I wanted to share that because I wasn’t exactly sure how to explain myself because I usually think that question comes from a negative place but I wanted to answer it none the less. I have always appreciated Ram Dass and his wisdom through out the years.
So I think its time for this blog to be written. I was thinking about a lot of things yesterday, in my head and then something very special happened. I was driving and picked up a customer, he was waiting on the side of the road. He was handsome, nice smile. He was friendly. As I was driving him something very special happened.
He decided to tell me his story. I believe when someone shares something very personal with a complete stranger that it is a gift. Some people find it strange or weird but I think it is an offering of some kind. A glimpse into their soul.
I accept it when this happens to me; I actually treasure it like a beautiful shell or smooth piece of sea glass I find on the beach. Little gifts from god.
I don’t know if this man will ever read this, probably not but I want to thank him just the same. He shared a traumatic story about his childhood and how it affected him as an adult. He told me how he handled it and how his anger overtook him for a large part of his life. I cannot tell you his complete story but I will tell you part of it. This man was given looks, athletic ability, high IQ and intelligence. But he was angry. Very angry and he never really understood why. He had suppressed the events that happened to him for years. But all of a sudden he remembered. And he cried.
One day he decided to kill one of the people who had hurt him very badly as a child.. So he bought a gun, he drove to the person’s house and sat there, sober and aware. He said he waited a few hours getting the nerve to commit a murder and as he was about to get out of the car, a 90-year-old black woman with white hair, came up to his car and knocked on the car window. He rolled down the window and she gave him a piece of paper of some kind. It said you are loved, God loves you. As he was looking down at the paper to see what it said, she said what was written there. She said You are loved. God Loves You. He looked back up and she had vanished. just vanished, into thin air. He said he had that piece of paper for years in his wallet and it eventually fell apart from showing it to people and telling them the story. He told me his friends and people he told didn’t believe the story and said he probably was seeing things and he was delusional. He said she was real and no way could she have walked away from the car that fast, she was very old. He said she was an ANGEL. He said he didn’t do drugs and he wasn’t drunk and he knew it happened.
After she gave him that paper, YOU ARE LOVED, GOD LOVES YOU. He felt someone had reached into his insides, his heart and pulled all the pain that was in his body and pulled it out. The weight had been lifted. This is all true, this is what he told me. The pain was gone. He put the gun back in the glove compartment and drove home. He didn’t murder anyone that night and all he had left to prove what happened was this piece of paper and his memory.
He said no one believed him. But he stopped drinking so much, He stopped getting into bar fights and he found comfort in a Christian church and was happy for the first time in his life. As he was telling me his story it was hard not to get goosebumps. I listened and when we got to the destination I turned around. I took his hand and I thanked him for his story, for his offering into his soul. I said it meant so much to me that he shared it with me and as I was holding his hand I noticed his angel tattoo on his forearm. It was quite large.
I looked at it and he saw me staring at it and he said that was there before I met my angel. The old black lady with the white hair. I said your soul called her to you. I believe the angel story because I have some of my own. He gave me some caring advice that he thought I needed to hear and got out of my car. I was very emotional. I cried.
Sometimes you have to be broken open before you can be healed. I think he had been broken open and I feel I have been as well. A kind woman gave me this book once, it’s a great book and I recommend it to anyone struggling to breathe. Before you can be stitched back up you have to forgive and be forgived. I realized then that it was time to say I am sorry. I have been thinking about this for a while. It’s time. So here it is.
I AM SORRY.
No excuses this time. No Buts or Whys. Just Sorry.
I am sorry if I hurt you in any way.
I am sorry if my words were harsh or insensitive.
I am sorry if I hurt you in my inability to communicate correctly. ‘
I am sorry if I hurt your feelings in my own confusion or lack of understanding.
I am sorry if I hurt you when I was unbalanced or mentally ill.
I did my best with what I had to work with. I tried to help myself but it took me 45 years to figure it all out, My heart was always in a good place but I had trouble communicating that sometimes.
I AM SORRY.
I ask you to get to know the me in front of you today. I am a living evolving human being with a open heart. I ask for your clemency.
I hope you can accept my offering of apology and I hope you can forgive me as I forgive.
I forgive it all.
I thank the Manwith the Angel Tattoo as he never did give me his name but he did give me his soul, a piece of it anyway and I thank him for that. We all have our stories.
I also want to thank all of my Angels. All of you. Thankyou!
As for the rest; This song is for all of you. I love you all.
There are many reasons I love Langston Hughes. Many of the same reasons we all love Helen Keller. I learned about Helen Keller in highschool, I didn’t learn about Langston Hughes until I found him on my own. Both are heroes to this world. They both offered such beautiful insight on how they see the world, both courageous , both beautiful, both inspiring. Both could be from a place of Extreme darkness or enlightened walkers of the sun and morning. These two poems were on my mind today. I pray for all the children that are crying and suffering. I pray for them and their parents. Sometimes I feel like I don’t even believe in god anymore but I pray anyway. I am a spiritual Christian and sometimes my faith is tested when I see such atrocities and how the world is going. Sometimes I feel that the churches have been so passive in action when our brothers and sisters needed action. Even During the Civil Rights movement , why didn’t more white churches help? These were and still now our brothers and sisters. They are not illegal aliens. They are US. I hope their darkness ends but I know too well how unjust this world can be but I will pray just the same to any god that will listen for their safety and to stop the cries and suffering as soon as possible. I pray that they have strength to continue the journey wherever it may lead. My eyes are red because children are crying for their mommy and daddy and it is one of the most horrific things to listen too and our world is getting smaller and the news is getting harsher. How can we repeat history? Horrible atrocities should never be repeated. I pray they get to see the light again. I pray for the babies to once again be in the arms of their parents. I pray they find a way to survive together. I pray they have strength to survive. I pray they are walkers with the sun and the morning.
Walkers with the Dawn
Being walkers with the dawn and morning,
Walkers with the sun and morning,
We are not afraid of night,
Nor days of gloom,
Being walkers with the sun and morning.
This morning there was a video on the news of: Protesters inside Columbus Circle globe in front of Trump Hotel. All these comments came up on the video where people were saying go get a job, all sorts of mean comments about the protestors. I don’t care if you support Donald Trump but we the people have the constitutional right to protest. You all like to throw the constitution at us all the time. Just because your protesting doesn’t mean you’re not working. Not everyone works 9-5 which backs up my point of this post. Just because you work 9-5 doesn’t mean the rest of the world does.
But what strikes me about these people is their inability to see anything from a different point of view other than their own. The world is s like a prism and it has many angels. viewing the world from only your angle, is short sided and I would say even cruel. .
We need to LOVE from all angles. We need to SEE from all angles. Not just the angles we can see from where we comfortably sit. I try every day to try to see things from other people’s point of view. I make mistakes and I say the wrong things sometimes but my heart is real and I try to walk in the shoes of my brothers and sisters. I try to walk in the footprints of our ancestors for we stand on their shoulders and we should’nt let their sacrifice and wisdom go to waste. If I consciously make a decision to do this every day; then I can truly love our differences instead of being fearful of them. And we already know that there is nothing to fear but fear itself.
So I woke up this morning and decided to take a job driving to Minneapolis. It was impulsive and risky. These are two behaviors that unfortunately go hand in hand with living with Bipolar, Especially when your running out of your medication. It is a sad day that benefits in New Jersey are so hard to get when you need them. I worked my whole life working very hard and paying my own way. It is very frustrating that when you actually need help from your state and government because you lose a job that it is almost impossible to get the help you need. I don’t foresee it getting any better under the Trump Regime.
Anyway I took the job having no idea how I would get back home. I didn’t plan it well but it worked out. Thanks to a really nice customer who worked for Heineken I ended up getting a driving job back home. He was a true angel. My Trip could have been a great short film because there was lots of stuff happening and I will explain some of it. Some of it I will leave for the book. I love to drive so I thought driving might be a good job for short-term but it isn’t worth it because you have to pay for your own hotels and that makes it less than desirable and not enough money to risk your life severely increasing your driving time on the road. The more you drive; the higher chance you can die. Obvious fact.
My trip was filled with a lot of music on the radio, a stop off in Chicago to meet a true blues legend and some blues disciples, met a bunch of friends along the way, a couple of really nice state troopers, thank you! Some definite drama, cold and snowy weather and some really bizarre tollbooth messengers. I wrote some song/lyrics called Tollbooth Preacher one day and I wish I could find it. It’s in a box somewhere and I can’t remember the lyrics. I’ll find it or an i’ll re-write it. I remember the premise. Here are some pictures from my trip. I stopped off in Chicago and met one of my blues heroes Buddy Guy. I also met some other friends as well. All the employees that worked at Buddy Guy’s Legends was so friendly; From the awesome bartender to the cool lady bathroom attendant in the bathroom. Thanks for the deodorant. 🙂 Also met some really fun fellow blues fans and of course more guitar players. Here are some pictures of my trip. I will follow-up with a Night at Legends post with all my photos.
New Day. New moments. New Adventures. New Hope. Some Moments from my crazy trip..
1.. Selfie In the car. Fake makeup app. Bored, more waiting.
2. Killing time at Manna Hamburgers Hackensack New Jersey waiting on my car getting detailed. Always wanted to go inside because of my obsession with Vintage Buildings, diners, signs and Businesses.
3. Taco Truck In Drums, Pennsylvania . Stopping off to get my money from the trucking center. They pay 80 percent up front. Trucking centers always fascinated me; a whole culture going on there; if you ever need a shower on the go that’s the place to do it.
4. Me meeting my Blue’s Hero. Good timing. Good Luck. Thanks for the music and the inspiration Buddy.
5. The Buddy Guy Legends sign…so happy to see it. http://www.buddyguy.com I haven’t been back to legends since the 1990’s. It was in a different building back then. I met buddy back then as well, I was 26 years old. I even went to Maxwell Street on the south side back then but it was before camera phones and I didn’t have a camera with me so no pictures, sadly. Rough street but a blues history Gem. I wish I had pictures to share of Maxwell Street but they are only in my mind. Lots of Garbage Can fires burnin’ it was cold. The Hawk was out.
6. So I’m sitting in a McDonald’s in Winnebago County, Illinois drinking coffee watching Fonzi, Captain Kirk, George foreman , Terry Bradshaw trying on lederhosen. I am not sure if it’s a new low or a new high!
7. Traffic. That’s why I sat still for so long.
I stopped taking pictures after a while because stress took over but I finished driving to Minneapolis, then I turned around and drove back home. Had to get the new car detailed and fixed up so stopped in Rockford Illinois. Saw some messy ice and snow, met a chatty meth head at Starbucks… god bless him and while checking into a ahem..budget motel, I call them shake & bakes, I got propositioned by a creepy hotel owner tweaking on something ..yuk. So 2500 miles later I am back home. Shout out to the folks that helped me along the way and kept me safe. You know who you are. Peace!
“In benighted, incompetent Africa, I had never encountered an orphan: the American streets resembled nothing so much as one vast, howling, unprecedented orphanage. It has been vivid to me for many years that what we call a race problem here is not a race problem at all: to keep calling it that is a way of avoiding the problem. The problem is rooted in the question of how one treats one’s flesh and blood, especially one’s children. ”
Freedom doesn’t really mean we’re Free. There are expectations and even then it’s all a lie.
“And what the white students had not expected to let themselves in for, when boarding the Freedom Train, was the realisation that the black situation in America was but one aspect of the fraudulent nature of American life. They had not expected to be forced to judge their parents, their elders, and their antecedents, so harshly, and they had not realised how cheaply, after all, the rulers of the republic held their white lives to be. Coming to the defence of the rejected and the destitute, they were confronted with the extent of their own alienation, and the unimaginable dimensions of their own poverty. They were privileged and secure only so long as they did, in effect, what they were told: but they had been raised to believe that they were free.”
Let everything that’s been planned come true. Let them believe. And let them have a laugh at their passions. Because what they call passion actually is not some emotional energy, but just the friction between their souls and the outside world. And most important, let them believe in themselves. Let them be helpless like children, because weakness is a great thing, and strength is nothing. When a man is just born, he is weak and flexible. When he dies, he is hard and insensitive. When a tree is growing, it’s tender and pliant. But when it’s dry and hard, it dies. Hardness and strength are death’s companions. Pliancy and weakness are expressions of the freshness of being. Because what has hardened will never win. Andrei Tarkovsky
The moon was a perfect sliver in the Navy Sky
As I look up for a moment
My hands release my head
I'm dizzy. Spinning.
I look back down and sob
into my hands
as my tears drip softly down to the ground
thru my long fingers
making little puddles next to my shoes.
I made a mistake
I made a mistake
I am in pain
So I drink
and I drink
and I drink
and think about what I've done
Over and over like a spinning wheel
I can't stop
I am melting into this bench
wishing I could be this bench
so I don't have to be human ever again.
It seems I never learn
My heart burns
My stomach churns
and hell returns to me like an old friend who is
softly tapping me on the shoulder
and whispering in my ear
of what could have been.
This story is the reason I think there is a connection, a destiny, and maybe an existentialist thread from the moment were born to the moment we die. It’s not a big story but it is big story to me and I’ll tell you why. It proves a point, about destiny and how just maybe our subconscious and our dreams know what we are to become even before we understand it ourselves.
When I was eleven I went on a plane for the first time. It was a pretty big deal. My parents and me were going to California. I remember the trip and some of the stuff we did. It was a big deal because we always went to the jersey shore for a week if we could afford it but this was big for my parents. This trip was the trip of a lifetime for my them at the time. We did all the typical tourist stuff that tourists do. We went to a wax museum and Universal Studios. We saw Alcatraz. We visited my parents friends in San Francisco and they took me on a canoe ride right under the golden gate bridge. That was beautiful. We went to China Town in San Francisco and we drove down that famous windy road. We rode cable cars and we drove on that scary and breathtaking Pacific Coast Highway . We saw the Big Redwoods. We even went to Carmel, Clint Eastwood Territory. I remember there was a store there that was just for lefties. Everything in the store was for a southpaw.. I’m a lefty I thought that was cool. I remember we couldn’t find a hotel one night and we thought we would have to sleep in the car. Back then we didn’t have computers and or phones to help us know what to do and my parents were not savvy travelers because they never really traveled. It was a great trip but I was eleven and not very present but I had as much fun as I could at the time. I remember we were staying in a hotel in San Francisco and we were walking to a restaurant and I guess we were right on the edge of the red light district because there were prostitutes everywhere. I really liked the restaurant because it had a salad bar and an ice cream bar and a live band and I never saw anything like that before. I mean give an eleven year old unlimited ice cream and well yeah..that’s cool. .My parents knew how much I liked that restaurant so we went back the second night and again we walked past the prostitutes . .. each time feeling a bit out-of-place but I liked it. My Parents not so much. I was always attracted to Gritty ..even as a young kid. I didn’t like that the girls were prostitutes but I liked the feeling in the air, there was life going on, different from the boring suburbs. There was an energy I felt that my soul was attracted too instantly. I always felt like a prisoner in the suburbs. It was depressing for me. I used to walk along 42nd street a lot when I was 16 or 17 and I thought it was cool. I would hang out in the village but I would walk down 42nd street to get back to the port authority. Pimps always thought I was a run-a-way and I would tell them..no I’m just from Jersey. 🙂 Ha Ha. I will never forget Gypsy the pimp. He was dressed in all red leather, it was the eighties, Eddie Murphy was popular. He had a red leather cowboy hat to match and a lot of gold chains. His chest was showing thru his red leather jacket Gypsy The Pimp, I never forgot him. I met up with twice; not on purpose of course. He had a great memory because he remembered me. I of course remembered him. He would walk me to the port authority and he would ask me questions along the way and he was very polite and very likable..and in there lies the problem. He wasn’t dumb. God bless his next victim. Both times when I got to the port Authority Gypsy would say Au Voir my little friend, and them he would yell. Your too pretty to be from New Jersey and would flash that big smile.
I used to think about how smart and charismatic Gypsy was and what might he had become if he had been allowed to be something else.
So Anyway, back to San Francisco.
The name of the hotel we were staying at was The Mark Twain Hotel. Now this is the part of the story that freaks me out. I never understood why but I loved that hotel. I mean I really loved it. When we got there we walked into the lobby and the bell hop was super friendly and bent down and gave me a sticker, like an oval one you see on everyone’s cars now a days with initials on them. The sticker was brown and it read the Mark Twain Hotel and it had a clipper boat on it. I loved getting that sticker and the bell man was very nice too me. First Impressions and all. I really liked the lobby, it was kind of dark, lots of Mahogany I think and it had a feeling ..old ..like stuff happened there…you know like history. I just felt it and I liked it. It was instinctual.
We went up to the room and it was really small. I remember reading that some of those rooms were really small because back in the day they were made small for the maid or butler quarters. ….for the help that traveled with their uh ..employers or masters…ok I said it….You know rich people would bring their help and the small rooms were for them. So anyway the room was really small. I think I slept on a cot. The bathroom was so small and it had one of those old-fashioned sinks and the bathtub had feet. The walls were covered with small square tiles. I loved everything about that room. My parents weren’t thrilled but I was loving it. Ok so here we are in a really old hotel near the red light district and I was happy and didn’t want to leave. Now I don’t know why I loved that hotel so much, I do like vintage old stuff and was attracted to that even as a young kid. There was something else though….Something I felt about it….I felt that history, I mean it is called the Mark Twain Hotel. The literary history was dripping in the air. The only time I felt that again was when I stayed at the Paramount in New Orleans…when I was there so was AL Gore at the time and you know the story was that historically a ton of politicians would stay there and wheel and deal. The bar tender told me the Blue Room, bar at the Paramount , was famous for shifty wheelin’ and dealin’ going on over a stiff drink…it had that same feel. I believe you can feel stuff in the air and the way it moves around you ; like a kinetic science of some sort.
What’s weird though is what happened after. Years went by and I grew up and I never forgot about the Mark Twain hotel. I would think about it all the time. I made a scrap-book out of some pictures I took there at the hotel and I had that sticker that the bell hop gave me in my scrapbook. I couldn’t forget it. The memories were so vivid to me. I even knew what room we stayed because I wrote it in my scrapbook. Room 203.
I recently checked back into the website to see what was going on with the hotel and it was sold. It is now called the Tilden Hotel. Bummer, that must be recent because I looked at it last year and the website still said The Mark Twain Hotel. So in my twenties is when I discovered Billie Holiday and I of course loved her… I was reading some stuff on a website about Billie recently and then I came across something about the Mark Twain Hotel and I started to feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand up….I got a tingle feeling. On January 22, 1949 Billie was arrested when a raid occurred by federal Narcotic agents at the Mark Twain Hotel. They raided her room for a very small amount of opium and a pipe that they found in her room. This was an ongoing witch hunt from the FBI on Billie. They would try to do anything to destroy her and I believe in the end..they finally did. They eventually took away her NYC Cabaret card preventing her to work or perform anywhere that sold alcohol.
Billie was heartbreak, Billie was beautiful. Billie deserved better.
She wasn’t the only one in the arts that the feds were to crucify but it was a damn shame. So after reading that article I thought to myself was that the reason? Was that the history I felt. Every hair was standing up on my arms and neck when I looked at what room Billie got arrested in. I realized it was the same room we stayed in. Unbelievable …it was Room 203! Here comes the existential thread. The DE-JA-VU. The come full circle of it all. Is this the reason I loved this hotel so much. Did my sub conscious somehow know that Billie was in this very room. Years later I am inspired by her in a way that is mind-blowing for me and as an eleven year old, did my body, my mind , my spirit already know I was connected to something in room 203? Something kinetic again, energy is the motion of waves, electrons, atoms, molecules, substances, and objects right, so it was about the way the air felt or moved or somehow my sub-conscience knew that something happened there. Ever since I was 20 I wanted to sing the blues like Billie. I adore her.
This is why I think our bodies and spirits and antennae that is our living human body is much more insightful than we might want to admit. Do our bodies know our destiny when we are small? Is our destiny in our blood plasma. Is our destiny in out flesh. Is our destiny in our hearts. Is our destiny in the 65 percent water that makes up most of who we are. All I know it something about that hotel attached to me just like Billie’s songs of heartbreak attached to me and never let go. I thought about it often and never knew why. Maybe this is why. If not and I am wrong and it’s just a coincidence then so be it but it makes a story non the less. I knew I loved to sing when I was eleven but I didn’t know consciously that I would be on a stage doing it. I never thought that would be an option for me.
Now there is a plaque that lies near the entrance of the room. The Billie Room. I didn’t know who Billie was in 1977. I don’t know if the plaque was there in 1977 but I was there and I never forgot.
The pictures above are mostly more current pictures of the hotel. I have some of my pictures and one of my dad in front of the hotel right here. This is what the hotel looked like in 1977.