Archive for the ‘friends’ Category

Mc

Thursday, July 27th, 2017

Many people are taking the Great Escape lately. My brother Glenn just a few years ago and alot of friends. Just a little over a year ago I was tailgating in a hot Summer parking lot in Queens New York with a bunch of friends and two brothers. I was just looking at the photos we took and posted on Facebook. Everybody seems so happy and healthy. I spent hours talking with my friend Jonny and quite suddenly I look at that photo today and he is gone. I would need three hands to count the friends that have just disappeared lately.

Jim McSherry was a different story you see. Jim McSherry was strong in muscle and character. Jim McSherry would never die. He never told me he was dying when he was trying to reach out to me. He was never on Social Media, didn’t understand or like computers. I received a few text messages from him and it seemed like he was saying goodbye. I just shrugged it off as his dramatic personality.
I am so happy that I did call him….. finally. We talked for several hours. He told me a story of how a long time ago his wife Susan and his family were homeless. They broke down on the side of the road and a cop pulled over to help them. His help went on for years after that. Eventually giving them a temporary home until they got on their feet. That was just like Jim. Here he was preparing for the great escape and all he could talk about was how someone had helped him deeply in his life and he would never forget it.

I haven’t see Jim McSherry in almost three decades, yet it always seems like he was there in my life. Years would go by before we talked. It is a strange thing to feel so close to someone that isn’t even there.

This taken many years ago. This photo is so old, I was still living home. The McSherrys had moved to Arizona and Jim came back to visit. I beleive his jaw is wired here from a fist fight he had in a cactus filled desert. The location was somewhere in Port Reading by the railroad tracks. It was early morning. I’m impressed with myself to have a camera with me at the time. We were drinking Jack Daniels straight out of the bottle and singing Grateful Dead songs. Jim was playing harmonica. I remember going home so messed up and crawling to bed and staying there for two days. I remember my mother coming to my room feeling sorry for me and helping me recover.

Jim McSherry was a Golden Gloves boxer and part of his training would be to run from his house on Tennyson Street up Harrison Avenue to the VFW and back again. Then he would sprint the last few hundred yards. I followed him on my bike every night when he did this. My mind has taken a photograph of him huffing and puffing, taking off his shirt and recovering from one of those runs. There was sweat poring off him into puddles on the street. I carried this mind photgraph of him with me to this day. Jim McSherry – the strongest, the bravest, the funniest man I ever knew. He took me to places I would have never went without him. His love of life, family, art, music and God were his glowing aura that will last forever.

The Great Escape

Monday, July 10th, 2017

Jim McSherry was always our leader when we were young. We were mostly bored out of our minds desperate to find something to do. There was no technology, smart phones or video games as you have heard from us old timers ad nauseam on social media. We did do a lot of interesting things but in between those adventures mostly I remember walking to the Shopping Center to get a coke or a snack to start the day. Along the way we met with other members of the gang that lived along this route. So totally boring and mindless it seemed to me that I would spend the rest of my life walking to Carteret Shopping Center with this crew.

I thought I always had a plan in the back of my mind but it seemed too selfish and stupid to share to anybody. It was my secret.
My first love in life was the New Jersey Shore. I was carried there as a toddler by my parents, and was taken there in my early years by aunts, uncles, sisters and their boyfriends. Something magical happened to me when I sat in from of those endless rolling waves. It was mesmerizing inner peace and freedom. It attacked all of my senses, the salt air, the hot sun, the sand between my toes. This was always my heaven on earth.

As our fearless leader Jim McSherry was the one that started the football team (he was quarterback), he was the one that initiated side street baseball. He told us where to go. He told us what to do. If you didn’t listen or do what he said you were shunned mentally from the “gang” He was also much stronger than us and apparently a good fighter. (later on he did join a boxing gym and fought in the Golden Gloves).

One day James Vincent McSherry began our daily routine walk to the shopping center with a plan. We listened intently as he explained what his old brother had recently done, we would now follow. The plan was to walk to the Woodbridge train station and take a south bound NJ transit train as far south as it would go which was Bay Head. From there we would hitchhike a few miles north on route 35 to Belmar. Belmar was a quaint little shore down. This was the McSherry beach of choice. You see each family in New Jersey had adopted a favorite beach to visit. I know for the Hartmans it was Point Plesant and the Gitter enjoyed Bradley (Bagel) Beach. Stuff’s family went to Seaside Park. Jim McSherry was our leader and Belmar was “his” beach so Belmar it was.

Belmar was unique in a way that they had huge wooden lifeguard boats that they turned over at night. We could tunnel underneath them at night to create a place to sleep. A couple times when we did this adventure we actually rented a room. Today I still wonder where all the adults were. Our parents for one thing, allowing us to travel by train 50 miles south, hitchhike and rent a room to stay over night. Also, what kind of responsible mature adult rents out a room to a group of teenagers all obviously under the age of 18?

So what stuck in my mind was that this great adventure and rebellious plan actually worked. This beach escape became a permanent fixture in the back of my mind. As the gang went on to different high schools and some of us to college we separated. It happened swiftly and without warning like life usually does things. I don’t really remember saying goodbye to anybody. Life just happened. If I would have known that our very last walk down to Carteret Shopping Center was our final, I would have done things so much differently. I would have a taken camera and lined us all up in front of Krausers holding our cokes and snacks in a cheer. I would ask one of the passing adults to snap our photo. Then I would individually hug each and every one of the gang and wish them well in life. “Bless your journey, whatever it may be.” I would say with tear filled eyes.

I struggled greatly in an all boy High School dominated by geniuses and talented sport playing fellow students. They had trophies with their names on them in the huge glass case out in the reception area of the school. The administration had a flawless reputation to keep. We are the best and nothing else. They hung up newspaper clippings on a board by the trophy case demonstrating that greatness. I was just barely getting by with my grades and at home it was now 5 years since the death of my father and almost pure chaos had kicked in. It was also around this time I started to drink. I drank to get drunk. This was a fine escape.

I was delivering the Star Ledger in the early morning my first three years of high school and I adored getting up early to do this. There was something magical and QUIET about being the first one up in a house loaded with 12 children. (at this point Barb had moved out and three step brothers had moved in). I loved the complete stillness of the early morning when I walked my route. Sometimes I would see stuff in neighbors garbage that I took. I found a cool wooden box hand engraved which I still have today filled with concert tickets. One time I found a box filled with National Geographic magazines and I picked up and took it home.

It was in these magazines I discovered the world. How huge and beautiful it is. There was something bigger, more important and much more beautiful out side of Carteret New Jersey.

I had concocted a plan and it was to run away from everything. I would save enough money for a one way ticket to Hawaii, pack nothing, fly there and then spend the rest of my life there. Since Jim McSherry had taught me that you can sleep on the beach that was my plan. I would stay on the warm beaches of Hawaaii until I could find a small job, maybe washing dishes and then just work my up. I told myself I wouldn’t tell anybody where I was. I would have just vanished with a new life.

With no internet checking flight prices and departure times was done with a phone and at times my vision of living on a beach in the Pacific ocean seemed unrealistic. But I was determined and several times I had saved a couple hundred dollars in the bank for my plane ticket but then “something always came up.” I don’t know whatever happened to this plan to escape. It got lost in the rough and tough tumbles of life. It was still always there, though, whenever I got frustarted or lost a job or fell behind on my bills.

It was only in writing this now and remembering that I realize a very influential friend has been gone in my life since I turned 20. It was one hot day in the Summer that Jim McSherry knocked on my door and said, “I’m leaving now. We’re moving to Arizona” His father had asthma so bad that the doctor told him that moving to Arizona would be the only left to save him. So Jim McSherry moved away and started a new life. He came back to visit a few times and I went there once to visit him in Arizona State University but it was never the same. He was on the other side of the country and so was his imagination, his laughter, his impersonations, his animated story telling and all the magic that he brought to any friendship.
Now he is slowly dying from congestive heart failure and I ask that anybody who reads this to say a prayer for him and his family. He is a great man.

pawn to king four

Friday, June 12th, 2015

Early June. Welcoming the unofficial start of Summer. Here in the North/mid/east all the seasons don’t slowly blend into one like most of our southern friends .Our season are abrupt, extreme and sometimes frightening. Winter here was brutal and the snow piled higher than cars at times. It has yet to release us from her grip as here I am on June 7 seeking desperately a hoody to help me make it thru the morning.
It was an email from cousin Jim Gill “Paul McCartney and Wings (on the radio now) remind me of our visits to Jersey.” that triggered this post. Also a call from a very old friend Jim McSherry was filled with resurrected Summers.
This topic has been covered ad infinitum yet I feel a desire to write about it. I’ve waited 55 years to finally say, “You kids don’t know how good you got it.” or “Get off my lawn you no good sons of bitches!” Social media is swarmed with the “when I was young…” cliche. Social media will always be telling us about life before the internet. I remember the set of outdated encyclopedias in our rec room actually WERE my internet. And if it wasn’t in there, then I really did walk 20 miles in the snow (actually it was more like one mile and it was only in the snow once) to the little library on Carteret avenue. I filled many reports with cut out photos and charts from those encyclopedias……and I hate to admit I also used books from the library for my primative “cut and paste” knowledge.
Todays internet brats don’t know how good they got it. But the internet is just the first in-line glaring example of how things have changed. Summer has changed dramatically as I look around now at the empty streets and playgrounds. Most kids have resorted to cyber entertainment. When we played in the Summer, we had to use our imagination. First of all our Summers were at least three weeks longer! For whatever reason the school year has definitely lengthened for todays school kids.
It started on the carpet when Jim McSherry and I would play “little army” with plastic soldiers frozen in boring poses. We don’t know where he got them but Johnny Lambert had the coolest, meanest looking Japanese toy soldiers in unique poses of death and destruction. How we yearned for those politically incorrect yellow soldiers. They were never to be found in any toy store.
There was always our pool and Kenny Gitters pool which sometimes became strange when we decided to take off our suits and swim naked. Mrs. Gitter put an end to that real quick Most hot Summer days she could be found at the end of our kitchen table playing Scrabble with our mom. They had also discovered a fabulous new drink by reading “Hints from Heloise” in the Star Ledger. It was called Iced Coffee. It was this same Heloise daily article where mom found out that we could actually eat the skin on our baked potatoes and didn’t have to throw them away with the tinfoil that they were wrapped in.

Actually football is always compared to a chess match. Maybe because the knight wears a helmet?

Actually football is always compared to a chess match. Maybe because the knight wears a helmet?


As the Summers progressed we invented new things to do and keep us occupied. One time we spent an entire Summer in our backyard creating mazes with lego pieces and watching bugs walk around in circle. It would piss us off when some bugs would just say “fuck this” and climb the Lego wall to exit our “maze of doom.”
Unfortunately for these clever bugs escape usually meant being captured again and being subject to some cruel torturous death. Being burned to death with a laser from the sun via a magnifying glass was a popular choice.

In our neighborhood the 5th of July was much more popular than the actual holiday on the fourth. For it was the day after the nightly fireworks that we would walk the sidewalks and gutters looking for “duds” Unexploded fireworks. Anything. Fire crackers, bottle rockets, the remains of a roman candle. We bought hundreds of these used explosives home and carefully unraveled them into a box. It was long tedious hours with little payoff. I ate a few crabs last Summer and it kind of reminded me of that. A lot of work with little meat and never feeling close to having my appetite satisfied.
What we did with our gunpowder harvest hardly satisfied my appetite for destruction either. I was pretty keen on destroying plastic tank models that I spent weeks building but that was usually done with gasoline. Sometimes we got lucky and were able to purchase real fireworks from the local firework dealer on Tennyson street. We would knock on this teenage kids door and barter with him. A nickel, a dime, ANYTHING for one single firecracker or bottle rocket.
We played outside. Sidestreet baseball, touch football, man hunt. We built forts in trees and under bridges. We explored the endless miles of railroad tracks that led up the dirt hill from Daniele. We hung out on the trestle

Then there were the Summers of the Gills. I had already written about this in a previous posts but these were great times. Just a few years after the passing of our father, it was good to have a man in the house again. This was Summer at it’s very best. Carefree and happy. Lot’s of pool, barbecue and popcorn. Wherever we went, we all went together. Filled the station wagon and sang songs from the FM together. It never got any better than this.

We did surrender to TV though, although it was a different monster than it is now. A huge wooden box attached to an antenna on the roof. Seven channels and sometimes eight, if we could get channel 3 to come in. Monty Python was a Summer staple on Sunday nights along with all the other mindless sitcoms of the day. Greg got us into “Dark Shadows” Saturday Night Wrestling and eventually Mary Hartman Mary Hartman.

The Day I Beat Walter Lambert In Chess
In the Summer of 72 we sat in front of channel 13 and “watched” the championship of chess between Russia and USA. This was huge when we were young. There still was a cold war going on and anything Russia vs USA was must see. At this time Bobby Fischer was still in the progress of losing his mind and didn’t allow cameras in the room where they were playing. So, for the entire Summer we sat in front of the TV and watched some guy move paper chess pieces on an upright paper board. There were sometimes HOURS between moves. It was like watching grass grow yet this is how we spent an entire Summer. This championship match had ignited a national interest in the game that we caught.

In 1973, this was worth more than three bars of solid gold.

In 1973, this was worth more than three bars of solid gold.

So when chess wasn’t on TV, we were playing it everywhere. Nobody was better at the game than Walter Lambert. One of those wise ass kids a few years older than us that “knew everything” and actually owned the yellow plastic Japanese soldiers that we craved.
I had gotten rather good at the game and even got a book from the library. Next to Fran Tarkenton, the then quarterback of the New York Football Giants, Bobby Fischer was an absolute hero to me. I studied and envied his life and his mysterious quiet way was even more intreging.
So one day, it happened. In the Lamberts always open garage door, I challenged Walter Lambert to a game of chess. Nobody had ever beaten him or even come close. And he would smirk and let out a whinny laugh everytime he beat one of us and called us knuckleheads for even trying.
But as the game went on, it became interesting and a small crowd began to gather around. I knew I had him on the ropes and he was just waiting for one stupid move, like we always seemed to make, to beat us. Not only did I keep my head in the game but I actually check mated the older, the wiser, the much cooler Walter Lambert. There was a shock of silence first but then the place erupted. George beat Walter Lambert. Yes. George Hartman had beat Walter Lambert in a game of chess. In the Summer of 1972 in a small rural town off the New Jersey Turnpike where planes flew overhead to land in Newark… I had become a folk hero for a few days. I had indeed beaten Walter Lambert at chess.
For me,
I want every anticipated Summer to be good. I yearn for the sun in my face. I watch our tomatoes and flowers grow. I BBQ ribs and steak on weekends. I’ve seen a Summer moon rise from the deck. I love each abrupt season better than the next. I couldn’t stand ‘summer all the time” or rainy seasons but Summer is a great time to feel alive. There is no greater swim than body surfing on an Atlantic ocean wave. Much like George Costanza, today, I proclaim this THE SUMMER OF GEORGE!
the abrupt seasons

the abrupt seasons

As I was saying, the moon was orange…

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

…thru the pine trees of our camp site. It felt like we were a million miles from New Jersey but there we were right squat in the middle of it. In the middle of what seemed to be nowhere. You couldn’t hear the turnpike screaming here and we weren’t under a direct 747 plane route to Newark. The only sounds we heard here was the crackling of a fire, beers popping open and our dog barking in the wind. These were the days, my friend. I don’t remember who discovered this “hidden” dirt road to Farrington Lake (Stuff or Glenn?) but it was the greatest discovery since rubber-coated baseballs. We drifted here often to get away. To drink, to sleep in tents, to fish and to just basically be crazy kids. I have some great memories (at least what I hazily remember anyway) of coming here on windy Fall days or blazing Summers. Into the cool shade of pines. Swimming in the cold lake. Cooking off the fire. Drinking and laughing into the late hours of darkness. We were men (and dog) living off the land (ha ha) and surviving the wilderness (yeah right)
About this photo: courtesy of Bonnie Ludwig Matthias on Facebook. This is actually a photo of a photo and I loved it the second I saw it. Wish there were more photos of the Farrington Lake era.

Two brothers and their dog.

Two brothers and their dog.

Other notes:
-Perhaps it’s part of our basic nature to drift into believing that we have a handle on life. Perhaps we think we’re all so experienced that we have seen it all, know it all and that nothing that comes our way anymore is shocking. And then someone you love dies.

-My awkwardness is at an Olympic level. I stumble into most rooms looking for a corner to hide. Except at work. I’m a quiet T-Rex that can explode in hunger at any given time.

-Latest discoveries: I’m over-emotionally available, have a strange brain and like it. I enjoy taking part in life for the most part, don’t we all? If you think you have a “miserable” life just stay in touch with the news and if you can’t radiate one OUNCE of gratitude from that then you probably won’t get along with anyone and certainly not me. Children with cancer, especially RARE cancer is seemingly becoming an epidemic. Do you ever really wonder what is in our food and milk after humans and technology get their hands on it? Do you believe that at the turn of the century and the industrial revolution has anything to do with this? Back then it was “OK” to dump millions of tons of toxins in the rivers and oceans and air. Do you think all of that has just gone away? Do you think we have completely stopped dumping on Mother Earth?

BLOGdissappearLikesmokeWith large families being so rare these days, I’m always asked how my mother did it? You have to give her tons of credit but do you mention the drinking, shoplifting and total loss of control? Some people just aren’t cut out to be the disciplinarian. Being part of such a large family means you always have someone to play with, but privacy is scarce. We had more bunk beds then a submarine. It makes me sick of what becomes a reality TV show these days. Anything and everything. While some can be interesting and educational most of them and 90% of TV is just pure trash anyway. If they set up a few cameras in Whitman street during our peak, I’m not sure it would sell. Some of our neighbors were pretty interested in our life. I remember being watched with an odd eye a lot as a kid playing in the yard or cars driving by slow to take a gander at the bizarre Brady bunch after Ed and his kids moved in. There were always haters but there were some that loved us. Some that loved us so much, that they actually became family. We took in anybody. Mom was like that after dad died. Hey we have ten kids but Bevs boyfriend moved in and friends slept over for days upon days turning into weeks.

-It isn’t hard to learn how to breathe more properly Deep breathing can be very relaxing, it reduces stress and is a wonderful way to get in touch with our body and our very self.

-Nothing can make people feel they have a purpose in life, like having children.
I am worried about what I do not know. There is too much of that. I don’t live with my kids. What is really happening? What happened?

Before Halloween became yet ANOTHER American made money making extravaganza there were very limited Oct 31 decorations. This cat is a huge part of my childhood.

Before Halloween became yet ANOTHER American made money making extravaganza there were very limited Oct 31 decorations. This cat is a huge part of my childhood.

Yes, that day of regret has finally arrived like I knew it would. I gave everything I owned and MORE in the trust that it would work out for their benefit.
I knew when they were just so young, and there was never a pet dog and worse thing ever, when I pulled up in front of the house on Oct. 31 to pick them up, there were never any Halloween decorations.
Children without a real home, will always seek a real home. What is a real home? The definition can vary, but when sickness and phobias create an unhealthy environment, then you can be left with no warmth. Warmth in a home can consist of many wonderful things. -Paintings and photos hanging on the wall. -A crowded refrigerator full of food and healthy snacks. -A crowded refrigerator door filled with magnets memories and fun. -A functioning TV. -An internet connection and family computer. -A comfortable positive environment. -Never worrying about losing your home to financial ignorance. -A dog with a wagging tail or a purring cat. -Halloween decorations.

CONCLUSIONS:
1. .Just sit & observe. You’ll learn a lot.
2. Before you get married, spend one year living together first.
3. The best things happen unexpectedly.
4. Never trust coffee that isn’t coffee flavored.
5. Go camping once a year.
6. Take a few deep breaths daily.

What Goes Without Saying

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

The ART of Appreciation or
The Appreciation of ART

I enjoy this ____ because ____
I respect this ____ because ____
I admire this ____ because ____
I appreciate this ____ because ____
I think this _____ is worthwhile because ____
I love this ____ because ____

July 2012 New York City
The city. In a nutshell I missed you terribly and yearned for that thundering subway underneath my tattered (I’m in shatters) sneakers. (Sha doo bee) The stench of rotting sewers sweltering above as we wait for the green flashing WALK. My balls tingle as we rise rise rise above the sweltering elevator of un-airconditioned heat. (Sha doo bee, shattered shattered)

Diary of a Sex Addict
scene 32
Greenwich Village. A crowded outdoor Cafe.
CoCo: That’s a nice camera.
Butch: Bigger is better.
CoCo: (signaling for a check) Not always.
Butch: I’m not talking about cameras.
CoCo: (annoyed) Why change the subject?
Butch: Because I’ve been watching you walk around the Guggenheim in that sexy dress all day.
CoCo: (laughing) Oh, lets’s get a room, then!
Butch: How about a secluded back alley off Bleeker street?
CoCo: Cheapskate!
Butch: No. Thrill seeker.
CoCo: Mmmmm, that does sound intriguing. I dare you!
Butch: I dare us!

The Gone-by Days of When I Drove a Forklift on the Nightshift.
or Goggling Your Own Name
Entering a new drag and drop dimension Funny how life works in ebbs and flows. A lot of blogs I read are written through rose-colored glasses. We all have a tendency to sugar-coat our own life – social networking gives us that opportunity every day.
When I woke up, I was 18 and working at a warehouse across the railroad tracks and over the West Carteret bridge. I woke up drunk because bed-time wasn’t but a few hours ago. (spent most of the night driving around with Glenn Haley drinking Bud nips. (7 ozs bottles) I don’t know why we always got those nips. I think because we were driving and if we got pulled over maybe it would be easier to hide.
In the past the Summers are always hotter and easier. There were no cops or confusion. Just drinking and adrenaline laced adventures.
My fork truck was #30 and I named it Wharf Rat. Written on the side in black magic marker forever. One of the faster in a large fleet of fork trucks. I was young, dumb and full of cum. My pony tail curled up into a twisted blonde ball, my beard a wiry mess.. Wharf Rat was my horse and I rode her into the sunrise of the receiving dock hangover in tow. This was my life for too many years and I thought I would die there in the long aisles of warehoused sporting goods.
Back to the closet of another job here in the future. One final kiss before the time travel. Kryha is so into passionate kissing Now to a different warehouse on a rainy night and the smell of fresh cut pine.
You’re face is glowing red in the distant sun of the EXIT sign.
Yes, I have said goodbye to all my friends of the past. Some are even dead now, but I’m going to see them again.
Mc (pronounced “Mick”) Gitts (pronounced “Skeeter”) Bill Brunner (pronounced “Bill), Hoy (part of the original Banana Splits) Stuff, Beds, Dino, Puppet, Nutty, Pokey, Bobby Orr, Bok (pronounced “Baaaaaaaak) God I miss these fucking bastards.

I accidently by all
no fault of mine

traveled via blue sky many years ahead
waking up in twisted wet sheets

a man breathing, walking white halls
pulling around squeaky wheels

his oxygen tank
into pristine whiteness and

florescent dementia and weed cancer
in the retirement home

of ex designers and production printers
spray paint freshness of the train muralist

(pronounced “Graffiti”) crazy old people
mostly men and my sister Bonita visiting me

So I must be in Ohio, she sits on a white surreal plastic chair
flirting with the younger male receptionist

I miss driving most of all and texting
and the rest of my family where ever they have gone

I don’t recognize my hands
and I’m missing a finger

Kryha is in Poland milking cows
with rich Asia on a golden farm with huge bales of hay

you always told me “I’m not going to take care of you”
I appreciate your honesty, emails, and electronic brain photos

of Polish hillsides
and those strange looking trees

you always liked to paint
“I am in love..” you type “…with another…

…bucket of hot foamy milk”
and brown crispy fresh baked bread

the jagged fields of berries
are radioactive red! those damn Ruskies!

the sky is swirling with doubt
I am an old fox in a florescent cage (pronounced

retirement home) waking up alone
with a nurse washing my armpits

All the Arctic animals have melted
everyones warm laptops scream the news

Outside my recycled window the bravest hour
strikes my analog clock

My desire to live will never go away
is what my sister whispers in my ear
(to be continued this post)

Inventing Abstraction
Man of Construction says this: Can you climb that ladder on the hottest day of Summer
carrying tools, strip the three layers of old roof off and install a new roof?
Man of Printing says in return: No. But can you scan a high resolution image, color correct, clean, clone and print?
Man of Construction then says: No. So I guess we are even?
Man of Printing says this: Yes, pretty even I guess, except that I didn’t emasculate you in front of your mate like you did to me.
Moral: “Say it once again now-
Oh I hope you understand-
When it’s done and over
Lord, a man is just a man

The wind whispers yet another rainy Jersey Shore evening
Butch: (looking off into the distance) I want to change the world!
CoCo: Oh yeah? You don’t have any money.
Butch: (shakes his head out of a daydream) Money! Who needs money to change the world?
CoCo: (laughing out loud) You need money for everything dear.
Outside the thunder and pounding rain on the boardwalk invite warmth and love into the warm cozy hotel room.
Butch: I love thunder.
CoCo: Perfect timing too. You are going through another Super Hero stage.
Butch: (after taking a deep breath) You don’t need a super power to change the world. When you wake up to the blessings and gift of another day, you must face it with the willingness to do the best that you can. Be kind to every person you meet. It’s not easy. Neither is judging. When I meet somebody for the first time, in my mind, I have them all figured out within ten seconds. Their aura is sucked into my brain and most times I configure people to be less of a human then me. I am learning to stop this quick judgement of people. If there is a leach on your back, it is probably sucking the life out of you and you don’t even know it. This leach has the capabilities to to suck all the monies, strength, and dreams from your body and soul. The leach is in a place on your back where you can’t reach it. Everybody sees the leach on your back but they can’t pull it off for you. That leach is yours and only yours..or so you think. Until the day comes when you can finally reach around and pull that F-ing thing off your back, you MUST walk tall and act as if it isn’t there.
A leach will never learn to live for itself. It’s whole world depends on sucking from you twenty-four seven. I have the super powers of sobriety, calmness, patience, love and most of all: GRATITUDE. You can fly through the clouds self-doubt. Break through the brick walls of depression. The day the leach falls off your back, curls up and crawls away, you will realize that it was indeed years and years of this leach that has actually made a super hero out of you!
CoCo: I have a craving for cheese perogi.

(the continuation)
I know if anybody knows
the trails and cliffs of time travel

Whose are these doors I open?
where strangers in white shadows swim

If you’re driving down a ONE WAY street
in a refurbished pick-up full of trees

thank you for not turning around
the snow flurries carried me home

Ill miss your Chinese eyes
Ill miss your chicken soup

A robot cleans my room today so
grab a brush and paint your dreams

End
(pronounced “see ya later”)

Heart of Darkness II

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

f-life mother f-er’s


Fevor
In twenty-four hours I had been sick and sicker then I have ever been in a long time. The aches, pains and sweating were the easy part compared to the feverish nightmares. It all began with a powerful sneeze in a train station in Seacacus NJ and very slowly advanced into a lost day and a half of tangled sheets and chills. You can almost recognize the power of the brain when you witness what it does when you body is burning up in fever. Your mind is a movie house of horrors. The movie replaying over and over again. As you sit in your seat gripping the armrests with horror, you know it will all end but you think that if it doesn’t you can fully understand why people would commit suicide.
As the cool wind blows and yesterdays news tumbles to your feet, you can wipe your brow for the last time. But the snots are still like a river. It is a human metamorphous to emerge from the sheets one morning. You have survived and hope to never go there again.

My eldest son’s holy trinity: Red Bull, Hot Wings and Heavy Metal.

To the philanthropist: Your tongue is mightier then the sword. You’re killing me.

— Oh Mrs. Mc H —Wherever you go … there you are.

Anthony
Anthony wasn’t a close friend of mine, as a matter of fact I hardly knew him. The spaces were so far apart in between our meetings that he actually forgot he had already told me his life story and would repeat himself every time we met. Anthony was certainly different then most alcoholics, perhaps there was a more severe bipolar thing going on inside his mind. When somebody takes their own life you can’t help but wonder what was going on inside their head leading up to that moment that they find themselves alone and make such a decision as Anthony did. One night shortly after his huge funeral, I was sitting in a hot tub with some other people that knew him when I was asked, “What’s your take on Anthony?” And I was speechless. I couldn’t put it together yet. It was too early. I was really shocked. Death has always fascinated me, scared me, and captured my thoughts. I finally came to the conclusion that Anthony’s brain had succumbed to damage from his drinking. The last time I saw him he seemed really out of it almost like he was mentally ill. I also think that the period when he told everyone he was sober, he wasn’t. I believe he had a a thing that chronic drinkers get called wet brain syndrome When this happens it is irreversible and that’s pretty much the end of the show. I also don’t think it helped Anthony’s cause that he was rejected and verbally battered for many years by his girlfriends family. That’ll take a toll on even the soberest man in the world. People are people. Some are sicker then others. There is no room for ignorance of this proportion in the world. You don’t hate and reject human beings. You pray for them and try to help them. Too late ignorant people, too late.

The right way to end a story.
After the sunsets and the longest hottest Summer EVER is finally over, the actors and actresses will realize that everyone had already left a long time ago. The writers will smack the sides of their head and realize that their writers block had never ended. This was the Summer of nothing. A dried up ocean of desert sand with no waves and a sun hotter then a preheated oven in hell. A vegetable garden that, to me, produced weird stuff. A drought of happiness that led into a deep depression. I’m still waiting for the day when I will wake up refreshed.

The Blues
Today has been cancelled. I can’t listen to people anymore. My coworkers speak Spanish, struggle in English, dance to latino music while they work. Read my lips when I speak to them from the managerial pedestal. They understand me, but I am slow to learn. At home it’s a different language and I am lost in Polish. English is just not part of my normal day but I love it, it’s an adventure in listening and learning. I’m so confused.
Working on this blog is a unique kind of torture. The only safe place is within.

The Blues have been strangling me lately.

im waking up opposite from you upside down
so far apart and the faint smell of sex in the 6am morning sun
(so it must be summer but what day
? ahhhh, wednesday so i will go to work but even my snoring again
must have flipped you around and I face your feet
CLIMBING over you and knocking over plastic fan again
creaking toward now simmering heat this way too long
summer of moths, the olympics and unending heat
THIS is about when the now negative chemistry
deep blue almost black neon lights at night flickering
with my emotions these empty rooms and old carpets in my head

IT USED TO BE every day was magical but then something happens
the endless grind of living maybe. the never-ending sucking leach (more about this leach in a later episode)
on a part of your unreachable back. a bubbling of bad chemicals in the brain

TRULY A TOTAL LOSS of gratitude, faith, and money Taking restless
naps in the hot car Tossing and turning like empty trees in winter
shaking off the fuck-it-all-blues.

“Happy Horseshit” somewhere in this mixed media day I heard this forgotten expression and it has since become my new battle cry.
The bad thing about Barnes & Noble the bookstore/cafe is that it’s not a library and you can’t “shhhhh” people on the phone or tell them to “shut the hell up, I don’t care about your happy horseshit!”
To all my unlovable political IDIOTS burying my social media world in all your CRAP: Solutions, not signatures and if you think spoon-fed Rommney is gonna do better you have mashed potatoes for brains. Nobody is EVER gonna be a good president of the United States again. It was allot simpler in the 1800’s and up to the turn of the century. There were less people living here and most of them that did, GREW THEIR OWN FOOD and slaughtered their own meat. Life was FRESH and SIMPLE with no fucking preservatives. Why do you think the health care issue is what it it is today (Besides GREED) we have all these diseases, heart disease, cancer etc etc and including autism because man insists on screwing around with nature! Stop putting shit in our food and the cows food you dumb bastards, You are what you eat. Health Care is what it is because even with a successful surgery PEOPLE ARE STILL SUEING! Authorities are still catching people and groups of people stealing from the health care system. MONEY has become god in this stupid country. Everyone has to have a big fancy car because they watch too much blaring TV with commercials that tell you what you have to have. And most dumb asses BELIEVE that happiness comes to us through television and movies. Most dumb asses will steal, kill and go into tremendous debt to obtain that TV- driven message.
When we lived in log cabins that we built with our neighbors and grew food with our VERY OWN mud-caked hands and sat around a fire with our family, it was because THERE WAS NO TV. There were also no mortgages, no crazy insane diseases, and we didn’t need pills for everything. When life was REAL, you fell asleep naturally because you were so damn tired from plowing the field or your wife.
I found out recently that it’s illegal to keep chickens in your yard where I live. What a bunch of HAPPY HORSESHIT !!

Nobody Understands Why I Sit Next To These Churning Rivers Of Ideas
The past has it’s place, I agree. I shouldn’t dwell in it but it’s so freaking cool I just can’t stand it! Beam me up Scotty, there is nothing better then a well made movie about time travel. The latest one for me just happens to be Woodey “the genuis” Allens fantastic film, “Midnite In Paris” ONCE I was in an antique store somewhere in the hills of Pennsylvania with some hip chick wearing a swirly hippy dress and I found a big old wooden box. Not that the box was so damn cool but it was filled with old postcards…not that the postcards were so damn old and cool BUT they were USED. There were handwritten messages, address, stamps and lipstick kisses from the past. I was so enthralled with this, that I spent an hour in front of them. My swirly-girlie-hippy chick had to finally drag me out of that place so that we could dig into so Tai Food at some freaky Indian place on the side of the Hudson river.
Now, over lunch, and the smell of searing tuna, I explained to my colorful friend that I needed to go back and maybe even purchase some of those “neat-O” postcards from the past. As her eyes rolled (a typical expression of ALL my female friends) I heard her say “That’s a bunch of happy horseshit that I’m not going to do. We have a steam boat to ride.”
Hippy Goils are so sweet and yummy on the outside but on the inside they are just plain old females. Sort of like M&M’s they melt in your mouth but you can get sick if you eat too many of them.

Things I Never Regret As A Father:
1. Getting divorced.
2. Getting divorced.
3. Getting divorced.

WHY?
…as the only patron in Barnes and Noble does the coffee chemist behind the counter have to ask me for my name and write it on the cup?
My problem as a writer and photographer is that I’m always thinking that amazing revelations are to be found in the blandest most boring facts of daily life.
And THAT my friends is a bunch of happy horseshit. Today and hopefully not tomorrow.

We really need to get away. Nature is the deepest relief. Ocean or Forest. I don’t care which. Just show me the way. I’ll drive. I’ll pay the tolls. I’ll fill the tank.

How I Met Your…
One day boy, I tell ya, one day I’ll wake up from this unconscious stroll thru life and I’ll realize that I was a slave to money, yeah, evil moolah. You were waiting for me on the other side of the automatic doors looking fresh and pout. Your ass crack showed when you leaned over to kiss me. Yeah, you think I closed my eyes? I forgot to buy flowers but they would have died in my un-air-conditioned car from the early senventies. A Ford Pinto, a time bomb that could explode on impact. A fiery painful death for sure. The Pinto only had two front doors so you couldn’t get out if you were in the back seat and you were rear-ended. And that was why you would never understand why I never came to meet you. Why I never drove with you. I have always had nightmares of claustrophobia. I think I was suffocated or drowned in my previous life.
But there we were; In the middle of the produce aisle. Soggy broccoli being shoveled into the garbage. Parsnips freshly cut. The smell of onions and your french perfume. Organic cabbage. Small and soft. Cucumbers, like cocks lined up, I was disappointed you didn’t stop to lift them up, and feel them, squeeze them, like you are supposed to do while shopping in the produce aisle. These nuclear vegetables, they just don’t grow things the way they used to. So as they say, we lived happily ever not after, chasing vegetarian dreams and after several years, I caught you sneaking into the meat department.
That was the sunrise of our next ten thousand meals together. Holding hands and taking cracker samples until we couldn’t eat anymore. Wouldn’t you know there was a TV to watch while we checked out. You read People. The coupons saved us a fortune and I wanted to spend the extra cash on a new car with air conditioning. But you said I was too frivolous.

lost weekend

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

I owe you another kiss....

After the twisted storm had passed, the tornadoes papers flying out of the grasps of the harmless clouds. The banners hanging black unswayed and unnoticed … and very alone. “We tried…” someone whispered from the bricks. It was true. Effort wasn’t the villain, sweat flew with it’s hero cape across the expansive lobby. The smiles from the purpose were beaming halfway across the dark gray sky above the swamp.
I opened the skyline (Manhattan) with a crooked can-opener on a dreary Monday morning…driving faster….faster….beyond all signs of rescue.
We owe you another kiss on the fields of the great unknowns. You were unromantic yet sexy, in your black dress with yellow trim. We followed you off a cliff of paper money. Under dark chandeliers in theaters. That small space between the curtain where you peek out. It is clear you, and everyone in the audience can not stay here, but yet, I love you.

Coffee with Bill

Saturday, March 12th, 2011

Memory is such a strange and elusive thing. It is much more than mere knowledge, awareness, or the impressions that a person retains – be it a person, an event, a period, or subject. Memory is a celebration of those experiences. It is the realization of our past, our history, our whole life.

Bill Brunner was one of my closest friends growing up. He lived conveniently just around the corner and we were the same age we had the same toys, the same interests and quite possibly the same dreams. Bill was more than a bunch of great memories, Bill was my early childhood. Going to school together, watching TV, sports, playing games for hours. We got into everything and anything. Chemistry, geology, astronomy , swimming, racing, bikes, football, baseball the list is endless. He was the punter, running back, lineman of our football team. The only football team with real uniforms and painted helmets. Sidestreet baseball home-run hitter. Engineer of some incredibly swift paper planes. Hot wheels racer enthusiast. Tough competitor and all around typical American kid from around the block.

We threw back coffees in our little meeting spot, up there in the north west corner of New Jersey – a Pannora Bread – late one freezing week night. In my estimation, we had to fill in the gap of at least THIRTY-FIVE YEARS!

After thirty-five years, best friends find each other on the Internet.


Bill has been married over twenty years and is currently raising two preteens and we all know that is more than a full time job. If you want to reconnect with him like some of our family has already done, you can find him as one of my friends on Facebook.
Bill hasn’t changed much, except of corse in only the wiseness that life slowly unwraps for you as you become a husband, a father and a person. He was very genuine, kind and funny.

The thing that I always enjoy when I frolic in the past with old friends or family is that their memory always has a lot more than you could have ever remembered. I thought I knew it all. I thought I remembered it all. Bill kept bringing up times and memories that I thought I had long forgotten! There are so many events that connect together in your childhood, that it is impossible to keep them all.

How I never met Madonna

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

This is it. It has been ALMOST ten years since our wonderful mother has passed. Seems like yesterday right? As I write this it is almost exactly ten years ago that she happened upon a paper and pen and wrote what is now the very front (index) page of the family web site.Also this week it has been two years since they took me in the office in New York at Apple Digital Graphics and told me “It was nice, but it’s over.” The most I remember of that was the very blurry and surreal ten block walk to the early (at least today it was) long bus ride home. “So…here I am again. Looking for work.” and I always think of those lucky bastards that always have a way to not punch the clock, yet they make it through life. Or the other lucky bastards that put in an application for ONE job. Get it. Then work it for twenty-thirty years and retire and go home. They never have any clue of what it is like to be standing in the cold begging for a job.

A very somber photo of a woman who had a tough life.

So in those two years since my NYC layoff I’m thinking-I don’t miss that art community at all-nor do I have any faith or love for any art community for that matter. They are all self-centered selfish jerks that are so totally absorbed in their own crap and are constantly fishing for compliments. Once I went into a Barnes and Noble Book store with an “artist” (many years ago” and I was excited to look at art magazines with this person to get ideas, inspiration etc etc. But this person, you see, refused. “I don’t look at other peoples art, I’m too involved with my own.” (buzzer sound) Guess what “artist”??? wrong fucking selfish answer!! I don’t know why I am constantly measuring time. And I measure time by years. And a year is alot. Ten years since my mother died. Ten years since I got fired at Lucent Technologies, two years since the Apple Digital Graphics layoff. Almost ten years since 9/11 terrorist attack. Ten years since my divorce. In the last two years all the disastrous dates, fumbled relationships, sleeping in my car, collecting unemployment, living in the woods in upstate NY somewhere, the interviews, the “under-the-table” weedwhacking job in the ninety degree Summer days. The bouts of severe depression, staying sober through it, feeling a million years from my children. Then the art teacher and another art community and her layoff . Throwing on a dress shirt in the parking lot of the Parsippany Hilton for yet ANOTHER job interview. By now, well versed and confident (I have been in this hot seat of questions way too many times to not be nervous anymore. The English guy called me the next day (while I was working at a sign design shop in New City New York, sleeping in my car) and told me that I got the job but I already knew that by the way he was eyeing me in the interview. I’m not afraid anymore after these two years. I’ve been through so much shit that I have become a very wise man. When I met Cat, I was Dog. I was still sunburned from cutting the lawns and weedwhacking in Central New Jersey. I was late for the first date. I was sleeping in my office. I was living one day at a time. A little while after that, the British guy told me to meet him at Ruths Chris Steak House for dinner and as I was chewing on a $50 dollar steak, my boss from New York called and wanted me back. I made a fool outta myself, the phone slipping out of my hands from the garlic butter and I couldn’t turn the ring tone off. The British guy gave me a 10 grand raise and a year later after that a $5,000 dollar after Christmas bonus. For what? For becoming a total extension of this new job. For living, eating and sleeping graphics. For pretty much performing miracles of 60-70 hour work weeks. In this time I met Mike who was married to Joanna who was my girlfriends sister. She quit a nice salaried job to go back to school at the Visual Arts in NYC by special invite. Mike is an extremely talented puppet creator who sides as a Saturday Nightmares convention maker. He ran into a little trouble making puppets on ebay with some sesame street copyright infringement bullshit but now has a way around it. Joanna was handed a brand new guitar on the first day of a second semester class (with 18 others) and was told to pretty much create something from it. Based on a musician and her/his charity. So I guess most famous people with alot of money have charity’s sincere or not-basically to make them feel less guilty for being richer than God and it always works nice as a TAX WRITE-OFF. So my girlfriends EX has a job where he builds floats for parades. I never knew that could be a real job, let alone a year-round full time job. I thought the puppet making job was pretty cool but building parade floats is right up there. Meanwhile down in Florida the property that is in my name is slowly deteriorating but my very talented wood-working brothers, Grant and Gary are going to fix it up and rent it out. I have fallen behind on the taxes and the property insurance has expired. The only neighbor that lives there, Tim (the same first name as my British boss) told my crafty brothers that he caught a man with a pick-up truck trying to steal my refrigerator from the property. This is a disturbing thing, when something 2,000 miles away from you is being taken. Talk about feeling helpless. I wasn’t even sure how old the refrigerator is so I asked my brothers and they said “pretty new” so now that pissed me off. If it was really old, maybe I wouldn’t care if he took it, the fucking thieving bastard. My girlfriend creates many different kinds of art

Seven chakra jewelry

and recently sold something to someone in Belgium. Now THAT is how powerful the WEB has become. I used to love my job but now, I don’t know. It has sucked all my creative energy into a ball and thrown it away. I have been on my hands and kness looking for it. Egypt is so far away, I don’t care. Since Tim has become my boss, slowly but surely, all my crazy bills have gotten paid off. I can buy books and magazines for myself again. I go out to eat in strange nice places. I have lived in the THREE New Jerseys in my life. South. Central and now this wild jungle called North Jersey. There are alot of nice neighborhoods up here. Here, in the shadows of New York. I have found myself in strongly -knit Poish communities, waiting in line for pork and bread. Listening for hours to Polocks speaking Polish. Thinking that maybe old school Communism is gonna be ok.

Garfield, little Poland as seen from Botany Villiage

Here in Botany Village the melting pot of the north Jersey. Here in the depths of the year 2011, on a rainy cold night in the beginnig of March. In between Winter and Spring, Easter and rolling black clouds. I miss my family, I miss dancing with my brothers in my bedroom to the Grateful Dead, I miss being alone, I miss someone “liking” what I took a photo of. I miss being heard, I’m a little tired of listening, to all my employees, to my two boys, to my close friends and all their new endeavors and the exciting things going on. If I keep listening long enough I will learn another language. I could weed whack the McMansions of the rich people using no hands. If that butterfly guitar that opens from Africa ever gets into the view of Madonna, there would be a slight chance that I could meet her. We could smoke cigarettes together and sip long glasses of brandy. Joanna the designer, Merick the contractor, Mke the puppet and convention creator, Halina the nurse and Jack the float builder, Krystina the art teacher, Charles the guitar player, Anna the singer, Josh and Jonathan, my long lost dad, my mother would all be there. My mom would be writing letters, half in the bag, scribbling memories of her short life, spent one third of it pregnant, watching John Wayne movies….and sleeping in the room downstairs that used to be our garage. You will walk through life and meet all kinds of people. We all do this….and enjoy your life, with Gods help we can all be together again. (great advice mom)
_The effects of the moon-

February's full moon-2011

Spring has Sprung

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Yeah, it's here so get off your asses, get away from the TV, PC and the FB and find the sunshine again. Bella Hoffman shows us how on Easter in Netcong NJ. Nestled in the western countryside of New Jersey. Joe and Belindas 100 year old home of creaking wood and delicious meals. Joe dissed the Cornhole and brought out the wiffleball and bat. It's baseball season, Hartmans, Hoffmans and Gills! Three strikes and we're out. Plant your gardens, trees, bushes and bring on the bees. It was a long Winter.
Bella is getting so big for those of you who haven't seen her lately.....here she is.

It was another quick but sweet visit but some of the Hartman girls were here for a long weekend. Brittini, Bonnie and Bernadette paid a visit and stayed over Debbie Dinicola and Barbara s house. Hats off to both for the awesome hospitality!

What diapers?


This was Bonnies first Jersey trip in three years. Bernadette seems to find herself here several times a year lately. It's not a bad drive, especially when your husband and son are truck drivers. Britt has grown up a lot too. I can't believe that she is six already. Before we know it Blake will be in college.
BLAKE IS THE LAST HARTMAN GRANDCHILD
I have decided that this isn't true. I am here to announce that at the ripe old age of 49, I am willing and able to have another child. His name will be Wolfgang and when he graduates college, I will be almost 65. Why should Bonnie have the last kid? Maybe Greg will surprise us? Not! It is up to me. I must find ovulating ovaries soon. There is a lot to be said about running around after kids in your fifties. It will keep in shape like swimming never could!

blondies