There were two glass buildings that were twin-like and tall at the border of town between Hempstead Turnpike and Merrick on Earle Ovington Boulevard. These were the two tallest buildings in our town, except for the hospital and the other glass building on Earle Ovington. But come Christmas, the two glass buildings put up a huge Christmas tree right in the courtyard. There was also a small ice skating rink but I have no real memories of the skating rink. I remember the tree though. I remember wild teenage nights when we in the rebellious crowd took to the grounds around it, screaming out loud, and running around like the local maniacs we were.Continue reading
We are moving towards a very special time of year with all the lights and all the holiday events. The songs play on the radio and the good ones that come on, which take me back to the days when I was young, are still the songs that take me back to different memories. I find them beautiful although in my age and though the time between then and now is distant, there is a sting with these memories, beautiful as they are, and painful in some way because these times will never be so again.
At the day job, I sometimes get projects that call for a parts list to be sure that I have what I need. And sometimes, I add extra parts, just in case I added short or I come across an unexpected turn.Either way, the idea of a parts list is to be sure that all items are covered.I collect what I need and compare this to my list and one by one, I check them off.Continue reading
I had my share is what I thought to myself and then packed up my things and closed the door behind me. This was my last day, I thought to myself. This is the last time I would ever find myself at a place like this. It was enough for me to feel determined. I had finally found it within myself to move on. It was clear tome, however, that my fears would lurk behind me like a strange impending ghost,which I would always attribute to the tales of my insecurity and the wreckage of my past. I was young in most ways but too old in others. It was a fine time to be me, I suppose, although in fairness, I found the promise of my future and the benefit of my new beginning to be intimidating. There was no one around answer to. There was no more rules which I would be made to follow and no more counselors, no more reasons for meetings, no more trips to the hospital in an ambulance and no more suicide watches, no more doctors in white coats with clipboards and questions, and no more dish crews or sub par meals, cooked in a kitchen of an institution. No more bad coffee. No more room checks in the middle of the night and no more walks to the pond just down below the hill at the back of the property.Continue reading
Back in the days when we used to live at 277 Merrick Avenue and whenever The Old Man felt old or whenever he felt the effects of his age, if he felt out of date or out of shape, The Old Man would take on big project in the house to prove to himself that he was still young and capable.
If he felt the outside world was unfair or whenever something emotionally painful happened, whenever something made him question himself as a man, like say, whether it was a family thing, a work thing, or anything that The Old man couldn’t fix, he would take on huge projects to prove to himself that he was still valid.
It was only a few minutes after they sat me down on a hard wooden bench when the realization set in. This was me. I was back in a place I never wanted to revisit.
I was handcuffed to a metal pie which ran beneath the bench and sat between two different types of drunks. To my right was a tall, thin, and lanky black man, feminine as could be and drunk, and complaining on a frequent basis that his handcuffs were on too tight. To my left was another man, heavyset and equally feminine, often echoing his co-defendants plea about his handcuffs being too tight. I was between them and when a brief pause of silence came to the scene, I quickly became aware of what I had done.
I was heading south down A1A with the moon-roof open, the windows down, the sea to my left and the land to my right. The town of Melbourne was behind me and Vero Beach was ahead. I was thinking of the world I knew and how much it had change.
I thought about the vastness of the sea and how I hoped that one day, I would find myself ocean bound, heading outwards into the mystic of turquoise blue with the warm sun above me, the canopy of a blue sky overhead, no clouds, no distraction, no emotion, except of course for the joy of my stillness, which is a sensation of warm content like the first touch of a summer breeze.
Going forward,I fully realize that resisting resistance with more resistance is not only draining,this is a losing battle.
And there is this thing,
this inescapable thing about her,
this thing she does,
which I cannot completely define or describe.
There isn’t much left out there now. There are no surprises anymore. More accurately, the secret, which the client thought was well-kept, was nothing less than obvious to the rest of the world. In times like this there are no places left to hide and all one can do is face the consequences of their actions.Continue reading
Late at night and the rain is falling outside. I can tell this by the sound of the spattering droplets that crash against the skylight and stream down my rooftop.It is at times like this when I lay awake in the dark and think of how insomnia has struck again.Continue reading
After the winter when the ground began to thaw, I felt a certain indescribable feeling, which came over me as the sun grew warmer. Finally, our side of the world moved closer towards the sun. It was springtime and there was a feeling that came over me, which was more like a sensation than anything else. The ground had thawed and the trees were turning green. The sky was blue with patches of white, pillowy clouds, and at last, the air was warm enough to shed the coats and jackets.
Although we never really spoke or met the way people usually meet or speak, and though you are not real or better yet, although you are me, or more accurately, you are the young me, you are the unresolved me and the emotions which revolve within me, I am writing this to relieve you of some things, which you gripped too tightly and held for too long.
The way to achieve is to work towards your goal. And this won’t always be easy. You have to step in all the way. Day in and day out, you train each day to be better.This is how you learn to overcome obstacles. Nothing of true value comes easy. Not at all, in fact, real dreams take effort; they take time and dedication as well as pain and sweat.
I was sitting in a break room the first time I learned that one of my stories was about to be published. I was several hours deep into my midweek grind, tired and dirty, and making my way through my blue collar life. I made a choice to dedicate a special moment each day and every day to this thing I call my art. And every day, I would sit and write about one thing or another. I would never write about the same thing twice because as an exercise, I made sure to switch my topics, which was challenging at times because the mind is naturally swayed by compliments. Therefore, I had to remove myself from the comment section and the messages I received on my blog.Continue reading
I understand there are rules in place. I understand there are reasons for this. There are laws in our society and laws of nature. There are laws set upon us by government and other personal laws, which we follow because we are taught them. I know that laws are put into pace to prevent chaos and mayhem.
Every so often, I think it is necessary to have the letter of the law rest for a moment. This is not to live lawless or to be defiant of the rules in place, but more, every so often the spirit should be allowed a moment of reprieve. Every so often, the soul needs a chance to scream and shout and run and play, like children do . . . remember?
In my briefest way, I tell you this
The best sounds are quiet sounds. Like the sound of a baby’s breathing while sleeping on her father’s shoulder as he hold his child. Or maybe the best is the sound of your loved one sleeping next to you, which is virtually soundless, but yet in your heart, you can literally hear everything in the world.
The best sounds are the sounds of your loved one’s laugh because I swear this beats any antidepressant. This beats any drug because when she laughs, suddenly; all the world suspends for a minute and nothing else exists. Others may look and stare,but who cares because when she laughs (I swear) there is nothing else in the world quite like itContinue reading
When there is nowhere left to fall and the there is no room between you and the bottom;when there is nothing left to lose, nothing left to be afraid of, and when the outcome of your downfall has overcome you and all you can do is withstand and endure, of all times necessary, this is the time when it is most necessary to stand up and be counted.Continue reading
Sunup is about lift on my side of the mountain. I can see the band of light blue at the horizon. I am quiet now and listening to the sounds of my home, the heat, which clanks in the radiators, the wind, which I can hear when it gusts, and me,armed with my cup of coffee; I am content for the moment to breathe in and enjoy the stillness of morning.
I was asked by a reader if I believe in God, which I do, and we speak often and frequently about the moment and the tasks at hand. I was asked if I have faith, which I do, and at times, I realize that faith is not just a belief and that faith alone is not enough. Faith is also an action.Continue reading
Please excuse the rant but writing helps me feel better. This is for two men who are special and dear to me. They are friends but more they are both soldiers of their own battles:
I would like to address the overdoses
Two different men from two different towns told me about two separate events but both with the same outcome. And to both I said this we need to use this to sharpen our pencils because the rest of our life hasn’t been written yet.
And yes, this is sad. Yes, this hurts to see. And yes, there is an entire world out there that has no idea what’s going on.
And they’ll talk about the issue in Continue reading
I think first and foremost, the truth needs to be said that yes, it is accurate; you are all that you will ever need. Your body is equipped. Your mind is equipped. You have all that you need to live and live well. Somewhere though, deep, like a little seed planted inside your mind is the idea that tells you that something is missing.
Nothing is missing—
I watched Continue reading
Bless us O Lord for these, Thy gifts, which we are about to receive because all through the land, families will gather together and sit at tables, crowded with food, and the television will play and the news will show the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Aunts and Uncles, cousins, brother and sisters, friends from all around; we gather here on this day to give thanks for all that we have been given
We say thanks for the food and thanks for the warmth. Thanks for the roof above our head, the clothes on our backs, and the shoes on our feet.
We say thanks for the in-laws (or the outlaws if we regret them) and thanks to the makers of stuffing and mashed potatoes
Thanks for the Moms on full-time duty for they are truly underappreciated
Thanks to all those who’ve braved the traffic and thanks to those who made it even when age or life’s predicaments might have placed them elsewhere Continue reading
It’s been a while since I wrote to you and with all that’s been going on and with the ups and downs, which I’m sure you remember how it goes, life has a way of getting away from us. Take now, for instance; I am up before dawn because there are things that need my attention before I leave for work.
Tomorrow is Continue reading
There are pieces of advice we hear throughout our life, which we might hear a thousand times, but yet, at the same time it is as though we’ve never heard it once. Until one day, suddenly, our ears open and finally, we get it.
The same can be said for the cliche sayings we hear throughout our life, but one day, we hear them differently and just like that, a light comes on, and we get it.
There was a grade school teacher of mine that once remarked, “Everything is impossible until it’s done.” Continue reading
The sun comes up to signify another Monday. It is another day here in purgatory. And I say this because I see this as a way-station. Another week begins, and of course, the ideas of what’s to come and what awaits me when I punch my time clock are beginning to filter through.
I am a blue collar man, which, in reality makes me no different from a white collar man. I am here to earn a living and to make a mutually beneficial exchange. This is what a job is. I give them my time and my work and in exchange, I Continue reading
Climbing out of the well of depression:
I was broken—
I was not broken in the sense that I was not whole. No, I was broken in the sense that I was not complete, which is worse. Something was missing. Something was wrong with me but I couldn’t say what.
I was lost in the absence of a certain presence. I was lost as if I were missing an ingredient th Continue reading
Does anybody remember good luck charms?
I remember rabbit’s foot key chains. I think the idea was to rub the foot to bring good luck. I remember dandelions too.
Remember being a kid and picking up one of the feathery ones. Then you were supposed to close your eyes, make a wish, then open your eyes and blow all the little feathery seeds into the sky so that your wish would come true. Continue reading
What people don’t seem to understand most is that compulsion defies logic. It defies sanity. Compulsion is what makes an otherwise unthinkable idea become thinkable. But there’s more to it than this.
It’s like this:
There is this little tiny voice, which speaks in the third person. It piques interest, like a diversion, and then exploits the ideas of a ongoing compulsion. Some have called this voice, “The monkey on my back,” and some have call compulsion “Diseased thinking,” and me, I say it’s the beast in me. And the beast in my knows me well. Continue reading
I was somewhere south of Houston and walking down by the shops and looking through the windows at clothes I could never afford. I was in my late 20’s at the time. The weather was closing in on the end of the warmer months. Autumn had just begin and the change in season was just underway.
It was me and the girl I dated at the time. There were two others with us and neither of them were people I liked. But yet, of course, there they were, with us, and walking along, talking loud about Continue reading
The world changes and as it does; suddenly the familiar things become strange like some small detail we’ve seen a million times before, but yet, we never seemed to take notice of until are eyes were able to see things from a different perspective.
I sat across from a detective once. Meanwhile, my life was about to alter and all I could notice was the loose Continue reading
Once the sun comes up, the world takes on a new appeal.
Everything is glistening now with a new sensation.
The sky is colorful and the beach at point Lookout takes on the orange haze that beams from the horizon.
I can feel myself Continue reading
One of the smartest women I have ever met once told me, “Everyone is recovering from something, Benny. And don’t you forget it”
“We all got something going on,” she said.
“And we all have something to work through.”
I say she is right about this. We all have demons and skeletons, bumps and bruises, and scars than run as deep as our Continue reading
As I see it, there are different kinds of friends. There are friends like say, the ones you grew up with. These are the neighborhood kids. These are the ones you go back with. You have history with them and you know the little secrets no one else will ever know because real friends like this keep tight lips—and when something good happens, you smile and you nod proudly because you know the whole story. Friends like this are rare and far and few in between. This is true. It is also true that there are no friends like old friends. I can say this wholeheartedly and with all the love in my heart, there are those who have stood by me throughout my life regardless to the upswings or downfalls and have treated me Continue reading
The feeling of freedom comes most at the dawn of our awareness when the sky is about to change. The sunlight sheds light upon our crazy little world. This moment above all is most important because that which was confused or left in the dark is now enlightened by the brightness of sunlight.
This is freedom, here and now, as the sun comes up over the town to convert our emotion into the language of a picturesque view and summarize this thing, which beats in our chest, or Continue reading
I was smaller than most. I was weak too, or at least weaker than most with a small boyish, baby-like face. I appeared much younger than the others my age. I was not athletic or spectacular in any way that would make me stand out in the crowd. I was uncomfortable at best and eager to be liked.
I wanted to fit and feel comfortable in my surroundings. I wanted to say the right things and be the right person but for some reason, everything about me seemed mismatched or unfitting. My words never came out right and instead, they repeated in my mind like a haunting and undying echo and I would try to say something to correct this but the words that would follow only came out worse than the original things I had already said.
I tried though. I did. But Continue reading
I can stand true to one thing; pain is painful, I agree. But when it comes to pain from the heart, I defy anyone to stand so strong that they don’t fall to their knees.
I had an amazing phone conversation with someone who is fresh out and back into the world. Wherever he was previously is unimportant; however, now he is home and free from his previous surroundings. Now he is back to where his real life can begin.
There has Continue reading
There is a time, just before the sun sets,
and the sky over Midtown is perfect
and nearly orange.
All is quiet as I find my spot
to retreat on the roof of a building on Lexington,
the Eastside of Manhattan.
I can hear the Continue reading
I was never one to enjoy being along. Perhaps, this was because I couldn’t stand my own company but nevertheless, I found myself alone, high as could be, often times wondering what my life would have been like if I just turned right instead of left.
I was in my bedroom and I could feel something terrible coming for me. I knew there was something on the way but like a child with his under-the-bed monster, I had no idea what dangers awaited me.
I weighed next to Continue reading
There is thing we have and we all have it too. We call it life, and sometimes, life happens beyond our control. Life goes on without regard for what we ask for or what we wish. This is life.
Life happens on a daily basis. This is us, every day, weaving through time and negotiating the daily obstacles, overcoming, sustaining, and enduring the mild to major intrusions. that happen to us, Like it or not. This is life. Continue reading
Grandma Lena used to sing to me when I was little. She would sing, “I’m gonna sit right down and write myself a letter, and make believe it came from you.”
I was so young then. I was smaller than I could possibly imagine. I was young but yet old enough to remember (I guess.) I remember Grandma Lena’s voice and how it sounded. I remember the feel of her hands and how her skin was so soft, like a chenille blanket. She would ask me to write letters but I was young and young boys have other ideas and other plans. And least of off all my plans were writing letters or picking up the phone to call Grandma and say, “Hi.” Continue reading
Please note: The following is just my experience. I do not claim to know more than anyone nor do I claim to say these things from a professional standpoint. But breaking things down this way has helped me.
Sometimes the attacks come out of nowhere. One subtle thought leads to another and then the fear receptors override logic. This is what happens. Your fear receptors overreact and release calcium Continue reading
When there is nothing left to surprise us,
and when there is nothing new to common life,
and there is nothing more than our routine,
which we keep intact for routine’s sake,
we have to hold onto the things that excite us.
We have to cling to the things that hold a place in out heart,
which drives us to feel young again,
like kids running across town from the Eastside to the West,
or like a couple sitting on the shoreline
Say like, somewhere along the Amalfi Coast
when the sun begins to set Continue reading
This will be my last day here at Mountainside Lakes. I had to stop counting my days because I found the numbers to be too distracting. I am leaving; however, this is not because I completed the program successfully. This just means that I am being discharged early because my roommate John went off into the woods to end his own life.
I am being treated differently now, better than ever before. I have been Continue reading
It was late and cold. I found myself walking with someone I had never met before. He was leading me toward a small brownstone that was burnt and abandoned. The doors and windows were boarded up. The concrete steps leading up to the front door was littered with trash, old paper bags, newspapers, beer cans, and broken bottles. I had never been here before, This was Brooklyn, I think. I was in East New York, if I’m not mistaken.
The man I was with was someone from the street. His eyes were wired like electric demons but his face was somehow distorted to me. His skin was dark as night. But his eyes; his eyes were haunting me. I remember him leading me towards the side of the building and in through a side door that was broken open. Continue reading
I haven’t written to you for a few days now. It’s been hard to write and hard to process the last few days of events. I was in the middle of sending a letter to my mother when the news came in about my roommate John.
I don’t understand why life happens the way it does. I can’t make sense of anything anymore. I haven’t Continue reading
My roommate John has been missing for two days now. His things are still in the room. His dresser is still left the way he usually leaves things. John is somewhat obsessive/compulsive with the way he organizes his arrangement of things on his dresser. There is an old black and white picture of a woman that I always assumed was John’s mother. There is a picture of St Dismas.
Dismas was the good thief that was crucified next to Jesus and asked to be remembered. There was a laminated mass card he kept placed at the top left corner and there are the white Rosary beads which John wore around his neck and underneath his shirt.
I can feel John’s presence in the room. It is almost like he’s here, but he’s not. I can’t say this any other way. His bed is made. His things are where he left them. Everything is in its usual place, except for John. Continue reading
Just another day at the side of the mountain . . .
We all have to meet up in the big meeting room each morning to check in for attendance. One of staff will calls out the names and we all have to answer to show that we are still here. I have seen a few others answer for their roommates and their friends.
I have also heard people respond to roll call with the jail-minded responses. For example, today is my eighth day in. This means I have 20 days left so in this regard, my answer would to roll call as 19 and a wake up. Although Mountainside Lakes is not the prettiest of places, it is certainly not jail nor does it resemble anything like a jailhouse environment. Continue reading
This is day 7 of 28
Word hit the rest of the fellowship at Mountainside about Brian yesterday. The news flooded our little community here like huge tub of red blood that spilled over on a white floor and spread outward across us all.
No one really spoke much to Brian. He was young and somewhat unlikable. Brian was socially awkward. He was just a kid trying to find himself and trying to find a way to feel comfortable in his own skin.
I suppose this took too much of him. My guess is the Brian’s world spun too fast —and I suspect that it’s not that Brian wanted to die so much. I think he just wanted to world to stop. But the world doesn’t stop. It never stops. It just keeps turning and for Brian, my guess is he just couldn’t take another trip around the sun. Continue reading
Today is day 6 of 28.
The writing has been hard for me, which is why I missed yesterday’s entry. But at last, I think I got my first night’s sleep since I’ve been here. I was able to purchase a set of earplugs from the commissary to muffle the sound of my roommate’s snoring. John has been good though. He remains mostly quiet when we are in the room. I suppose neither of us like to talk much especially in the morning. We did speak a little last night though about different places we used to score in Alphabet City.
Yesterday was rough on Continue reading
Today is day four and this place must be getting to me. I finally went to the bathroom yesterday and thank God for that because the constipation was killing me. Last night’s meal was chicken, which was actually pretty good too.
We had our first real day of spring yesterday. The sky was clear and the sun was warm. Everything around us seemed to thaw and winter let go of its grip. Everything is green around here now. The mountains are pretty and there is a lake down by the trail, which is a nice place to walk. The funny thing is I’m not even sure that I recognized the seasons were changing until now. Then again, I’m not sure what I recognize anymore. All I know is I am stuck here fo Continue reading