Jesus Christ Superstar Do You Think You’re Who They Say You Are?


Excerpt from JT Hilltops Galactic Gardening

News. North East West South. Good news, bad news, happy news, sad news. There’s tragic news, welcome news, not so welcome news, news, news, news, all kinds of news. Some news has little or no consequence on your life and some comes hurling at you accompanied by a shit ton of bricks. News can make you laugh or cry, chuckle or sigh, it can have little effect or it can have a dramatic effect. But its gonna come. News is coming toward you and there ain’t nothing you can do to stop it. Mary Anne’s news was one of those shit tons that came on a speeding train out of control heading straight down the track with no one at the wheel. Like it or not, good or bad, news is a coming and Cosmo better be ready because once this news hits Cosmo’s fan there will be a whirlwind of change and its got a shit ton of bricks with it. The real difference between good or bad is perspective. “Cosmo my favorite god, I have some news for you. Remember that time we had our romp in the clouds in The District? You filled me up with joy, pleasure, intense feeling and….and a shit ton of highly active sperm. You have a baby boy and his names Jesus.” A baby? That’s news all right! It’s the kind of life altering news that for some is incredible and joyous, to many others it’s indifferent, but for a vast number who get this news for the first time its frightening. It’s the kind of news that will have you running down the street screaming halleluiah I’m gonna be a parent or slam you headfirst into unprepared parenthood. “You have a son” is the very definition of life altering news. “You have a son, his name is Jesus.” Cosmo repeated the name Jesus over to himself more than a dozen times and he was still not sure how to take the news.
But lets put some perspective on this news. Not your ordinary couple, Mary Anne is not headed for cable TV show about a pregnant teen, but she may swing a new show about bring up a half god. Cosmo is the God of The Milky Way Galaxy and Mary Anne’s profession is ….lets call it questionable. However we must keep in mind that Cosmo has always been a stand up god as well as quite resourceful. If anyone can put a positive gravitational spin on this news Cosmo could. So this news of baby Jesus would not be taken lightly. First things first let it be known that the moment it sunk in Cosmo knew his responsibility to both Mary Anne and baby Jesus. As much as he loved his bachelorhood the thought of a solid lifestyle held a degree of appeal to Cosmo. On the other hand Cosmo was quite the lover and never had a problem finding a partner. Yet many a night was spent lonely watching his garden and Mary Anne would certainly be of interesting company and a god has no qualms about past practices of their mates. Besides she is quite skilled at put a huge smile on the virile gods face. The bottom line is he had a baby on the way and a responsibility to both the baby and the non god he had fallen in love with. Wait! What? Fallen in love? Certainly not fallen, perhaps he had stumbled in a profound like with her but love? Come to think of it he did create the fertile crescent while thinking of her beautiful hair (If indeed it was as he claims her head was the body part he was thinking about). Maybe this news can be used for a positive effect on the three of them and the garden as well. A plan was inseminated and the egg is ready to be hatched. Cosmo knew exactly what to do with the news.
Of course the news is also going to be heard at a board meeting in District 7. The board is like the gravitational center of universal gossip. Whether it’s entertainment, breaking news or even just hearsay, all news that’s fit to print or printed to fit will find its way to District 7 in a radio-active flash. The best thing for Cosmo to do is to have his plan of action fully worked out before they summon him. Some mixed marriages have worked, a god and a non god can live a happy life but many a failure has been scandalized across the universes. With this plan however Cosmo was taking fatherhood to an unprecedented level . He had already sold it on his non god lover who had found herself in a awkward position of being the mother of a gods child. Ironically it was from twisting herself into an awkward position one pleasure soaked night that lead to her situation in the first place. For her part it was difficult to argue with a god to begin with but Mary Anne trusted Cosmo implicitly and his plan made sense. Truth be told she did have some reservations at first but after thinking the story through a few times it began to make more sense. Her son would be a savior, a Christ. Her son would be the messiah of Garden Earth. She repeated it to herself, “My son, Jesus Christ, Superstar.”

Wasn’t I?


An ominous and frightful howling shattered the fragile windows of my tranquil dormancy forcing my eyes open to experience a reality. Without looking I knew instinctively that what had recently appeared real and lucid was abstract and artificial. I took a deep reassuring breath to take stock of my situation. Thank God I was just dreaming!!!
Wasn’t I?

Begging for mercy my face full of fright
Over and over night after night
My plight
A most unsettling sight
Someone else destroyed her soul
I’m not the one in control
Some other asshole
Asshole on patrol patrolling my brain
Inside of my brain putting ice in my vein
Hidden in the lining between crazy and sane
All of my rationality circling the drain
What have I done to her
Made the blood run from her
Life spilled from her
Fear chilled in her
Fear filled her
I killed her
I know she’s dead because I heard her stop screaming
But I was just dreaming
Wasn’t I?

Pools of crimson filling the space
Entrails and blood all over the place
But I’m still sleeping is that so off base?
Looks like someone tore off her face
It’s a disgrace
A putrid ogre from the depths of hell
Inhaling the fumes of a flesh decay smell
Her vile death vomit present as well
The pain in my head is beginning to swell
Stop that screaming it’s so demeaning
We need intervening
But I was just dreaming
Wasn’t I?

She vomited silent during the tussle
I twisted the knife through her hot leg muscle
Her thigh bleeding out I kicked her she fell
Never knew how good someone’s blood could smell
This is the true glory of living in Hell
The steel blade shone gleaming
Her fresh corpse was steaming
But I was just dreaming
Wasn’t I?

Rattled gasping lungs begging to die
Beg for my mercy for the end of the ride
But I filled her throat with linen and lace
Laughed at her God and spit in his face
Set it all on fire I won’t leave a trace
Her life and my deed have all been erased
No more planning or scheming
The light of her Jesus still beaming
I guess I should ask for his hallowed redeeming
But I was just dreaming
Wasn’t I?

Don’t Write What You Know, Write What You Feel


In an interview with Esther Davidowitz, the food editor of the Bergen Record recently I mentioned that I approached my culinary creations as way to express my writing passion. She asked me to explain but I had never really thought about it I just always did so I gave it some consideration. I had a passion for writing since I can remember and I developed a passion for food because of that passion. Creative energy flowed through me into the dishes I created much like it did from my pen when I was young. When I was a young lad I carried a spiral notepad around with me and wrote whenever I felt I needed to express something. Truth is I have had no formal writing education. Yea I know, hard to believe until you actually read what I write and then it becomes painfully obvious. But then again it worked to my advantage because I had no structured rules to follow I just write how I feel. I don’t write to be right I write to be me. I write to release burning creative energy that constantly bounces around inside my brain looking for an escape hatch. So how does that relate to the career path of chefdom I roamed through? Well let me write you about it.

From the very second I came out of the womb I wanted to be different. When the doctor smacked my ass I didn’t cry, I laughed. Okay maybe a bit of a stretch, I don’t actually remember my coming out party but I was there. The real point is from a very young age I enjoyed disregarding the rules and practicing the art of uniqueness. I didn’t just color outside the lines, I made up my own lines. I added things that didn’t belong and used unrealistic colors, like green suns or purple trees. I wanted to color my own way. For me, that was art. When I went to school and entered my first art class it was painfully clear my talents where limited to making Ducco cement balls and really interesting stick figures. A future back windshield artist for young families aside, I had no apparent talent in art class at all. I couldn’t draw the most basic of structures. In fact I failed penmanship up until the third grade. Still I had an urge to create so I stuck to writing, illegible though it was. I started out writing silly poems. My idol at the time was Hallmark, because the poems in his cards were spectacular.

When I got to junior high school I took typing for three reasons. First the penmanship issue, second I knew it would help me in my writing, and third and most important it was full of girls. I failed typing because I focused too much on the third advantage but I had a fantastic year and the long term what little I did retain from typing class would help in the years to come. I was still writing, the poems took on a bit more maturity, politics began to form, and I started testing the waters of short story writing. In high school I had an assignment of writing a short story so I had an advantage. I actually wanted to do the assignment. I went with the tale of a couple of youths with liquid LSD robbing a cop car and losing the LSD when they crashed the car into a reservoir. The reservoir it turned out fed the towns water supply and all the families began tripping. It really wasn’t very good or well written and I feared the content would land me a visit with the principal and perhaps even a shrink, but I wrote what I felt. Instead of lecturing me about drugs and off color topics my teacher found it extremely creative and convinced me to take her creative writing elective course. I did, and I failed. Unfortunately the class was right after lunch during the ritualistic handball court marijuana smoke break and I missed too much of the class, either coming in late or missing it all together. Not really my fault, the weed in my town was always very high quality and hard to resist.

I talked a lot in school about going to college for journalism to learn how to write but as is often the case in dreams life got in the way and I changed course. I had been working in kitchens to make money to buy the great weed I mentioned when a thought occurred to me. I finally realized it would behoove me in my life to have a career so I went to culinary school and embarked on a gastronomic journey to find my culinary Zen. It was really the only thing I was good at but as it turned out I was really really good at it. I was working my way up to become a chef when I met an established chef who would become my mentor. Chef Patrick was a cutting edge French chef who was poised at the helm of the kitchen during the New York City culinary renaissance period. Food was beginning to change and long standing cornerstones of culinary traditions were being stretched and tested. No longer were parsley and watercress the only garnishes, imagination ruled the day. Red wine with fish and foods such as grilled grapes and goat cheese salad replaced the tried and true recipes that had worked well for over a century. Sorry Mr. Escoffier, but its time to move over and let the youth of culinary communities take over and deconstruct the classics. Cultures of foods were clashing and mashing and a slew of new creations appeared in top restaurants around the world. It was the ideal time for me, chefs were now coloring outside the lines, adding things, and painting purple trees and green suns in their dishes. Patrick taught me how to take my passion to write and inject that creative flow into my cooking.

I approached cooking the same way I approach writing. I see ingredients, colors textures smells and tastes and rearrange them to create biodegradable art that tantalizes all five of the senses. I know different ways to alter them and I pair them with other ingredients by my feeling not by a cookbook. I just imagine how different things would work together and instinctively know the right ratio or combo. Much like the writing. I see words, I know how to use them and what they mean, but its up to me to choose the ones I want and arrange them how I like to get across the feeling I want to share. Maybe it’s a concept to convey, maybe it’s a moral I want to impart, or maybe I just hope to elicit an emotion from anyone who reads it or tastes it. I don’t write what I know, I write what I feel. The truth is as much as I would enjoy reaching a wide audience I’m happy and grateful for the few people who take the time out to share the energy along with me. As a chef cooking was my Zen, but now as I no longer compete with young chefs but have my own little food niche, I have more time to focus on my first passion, my true Zen, writing.PEACE

Whats A Nice Guy Like You Doing In A Jail Like This? pt1


Welcome to South Carolina, take your handcuffs off and stay awhile, hear?

A rewrite to JT Hilltops great American novel “Zen and The Art of Culinary Maintenance”

Here I was on the first day as I moved into my new digs, a guest suite in the local detention center of Aiken County South Carolina. I remembered having detention in high school. Often! It’s a form of scholastic punishment for any of a variety of mischievous and normally mundane infractions. Detention in my high school was even nicknamed “Brig” to accentuate the feeling of being locked away. This however, was quite a different form of detention. Instead of sitting in a room with the other shenanigan producing student inmates forced to pretend we were working on homework after school I was given my very own guest suite. It wasn’t an especially large room in fact I’ve seen studio apartments ten time the size and this particular living arrangement came fully furnished yet totally unadorned. I suppose you could say it was decorated in minimalist style, complete with four bare walls, a stainless steel toilet and sink, a pamphlet thin mattress on a wooden platform with a polyester sheet and Government issue wool blanket, and…..well actually, that was it. That was the extent of the furnishings, all the comforts of home for a down and out hermit. Whatever the case it was to be my new living arrangements for the next thirty days. So here I am, this young suave New Yorker, locked up somewhere in the deep south where I feared I may never be heard from again. The pace in this city, I think I heard it called Grandmaville, or Grannyville or some shit was anything but urgent. Great, I thought to myself, here I am in Petticoat fucking Junction. There’s Uncle Joe he’s a movin’ kinda slow!” Somewhere between Mayberry and Hootersville. “Jesus shit,” I thought, “Not a familiar face anywhere and not a single person left to turn to.” Thirty days in this hell hole with no beer, no weed, not even a fucking TV to help pass the time. Just me, myself and….and a band of hillbilly cops. Actually, I wasn’t completely alone, it was kind of a low life criminal condo.
Along with yours truly, and against their wills as well, were five “block” mates each with their very own sardine can housing unit and each sizing up this long haired city boy. I could tell they were wondering what skyscraper it was that I crawled out from under. I was relatively certain I detected a mix of urban admiration and good ole boy Yankee hatred, but I may have been setting their intelligence bar higher than I should have. Having been in the wrong bar at the wrong time on occasion I instinctively I understood the importance of establishing the “upper hand”. I had heard some of the other detainees, let’s call them “Inn” mates, refer to the guards as“turn-key”. So it was time to establish my dominance with my jailors while developing my “street credentials” with my new roomies. I determined that a perfect place to start was right this very moment by showing these local yokel criminals how we do it up north in the big city. So in my toughest NYC voice I let out an authoritative directive. “Ay Oh, Turn-key. Yea you in the uniform over thar, I need to make my phone call.” I had attempted to inject just the perfect modicum of disdain and rebellion as was necessary to achieve my goal of upmanship. An awkward silence befell the cellblock and I‘m not 100% sure but I believe I felt a slight wind from the eyes of my roomies opening wide in astonished disbelief. I was half expecting Barney Fife to come take me to a phone but instead a burly mean looking police officer began to stare at me with such a deadpan sarcastic glare I almost felt jealous. I’m from New York, where sarcasm is taught in kindergarten and is a second language. This dude had such killer swagger in his walk he read me a cynical short story without even uttering a single word. I began to wonder if I was taking the proper approach or if I should rethink my technique. It was then that this komodo dragon in uniform began to saunter quickly in my direction with a slow and deliberate pace that screamed “What we have here is a failure to communicate.” The oily haired officer got his face as close to mine as humanly possible and just stared at me a moment. I could feel his smoky foul breath dancing across my cheeks and I felt the lashes of his eyes as they blinked. Little hard eye hairs that could successfully cleaned under his fingernails if he had the gumption to appear clean. I had a sudden and humbling movie memory penetrate my tough NYC exterior and turn me into shimmering mass of spineless amoeba. “Suey, let me hear you scream suey!” Before my ‘Deliverance’ became a reality I attempted to coax myself back from my baseless paranoia and re-establish control. Oh Hell, stop thinking like that and get your shit together tough guy. You faced bigger opponents in Spanish Harlem just three days ago. You’ve spent countless hours in a Pagan Motorcycles Club bar. You have faced off with New York City detectives. Not very successful with the detectives, but stood up none the less. Well maybe stood up was not the right term, more like whimpered through a face full of mace as I dropped to my knee’s, but I did get a kiss my ass pig in which my friends found impressive a few days later from the safety of our hometown bar. I gave my head a hair clearing shake, swallowed hard and began to feel like I was back in charge again. Apparently, none of this impressed Sergeant Komodo Dragon. He began to speak, and I swore the voice was the same voice I recalled from that scene in Deliverance. “Say what boy?…. Did I hear you say turn-key you long haired New Yoke piece o’ shit? Are y‘all gonna tell me y‘all came alla way from da big apple jess at git an ass kicking here in Aikon County?” I couldn’t help but detect a certain note of arrogance and alarming disdain in his voice. But alas it was too late the drama had begun. I sensed that any second now the proverbial pig shit was headed directly in the vortex of the rotary oscillator. And the fan was humming a darkly ominous Dixie tune! The two of us stared each other down for a minute and the silence raised to a tense ear shattering level that damn near burnt my ears. Then as if right on cue a big shit eating “who the fuck does you think your dealing with” sardonic grin broke out on his upper lip, quickly spread across his jaw until cynicism took over his entire face. He gave my solar plexus a formal introduction to his police baton with a shit kicker smile of an exclamation point. Now I am staring directly into this shit eating evil Cheshire Cat’s angry eyes and what’s most obvious is that it’s giving off some very serious vibe implications. I had to think quick to get out of this predicament, to ease the tensions and repair the relationship with my captor while not losing face with my new room mates. Something big and potentially life altering was about to go down. But let me back up a bit and explain how I even came to be here in the first place.

Hey Man, Nice Town

nice town

If I had me a bike I’d be riding like Bronson
Cant never stay in one place for too long
Don’t need no anchor the road is my mistress
She sings to me so I answer her song

Always in motion nomadic and constant
There’s so much of the world left to see
If you want to get out from under the weight
Pack what you can say good bye just like me

Travel’s my code
My life of the road
Kerouac would never slow down
Hop on a freight
Where am I this date
Its like whatever man, nice town

Stepped off the bus not even sure where I am
Just gotta pray the town you’re in has some heart
There are so many cities I get so confused
After awhile you can’t even tell ‘em apart

Neon flashed out more than a chance invitation
Cup of hot coffee to warm lonely bones
Waitress served me a wink with a side of compassion
Plain to see we both suffer a sex Jones

Together we found comfort
In a bedroom of solace
Thought she would never slow down
She asked me to stay
But at the end of the day
I’m like whatever man, nice town

Two lonely lovers in one lonely town
With her stuck in chains I was soaring with wings
Two lonely lovers both searching the stars
Meeting in this town was just one of those things

Where are you going where are you from
What brings us together on this night
You need the comfort of being at home
I need the endless road found in flight

I’ll never stay
I’ll just run away
Never in one place am I found
There’s room for one more
Just walk out the door
Say like whatever man, nice town

The tray that you carry keeps you in prison
Your husband nailing your dress to the shack
Only you can make your pathway to freedom
Escape the prison of love on your back

This time tomorrow I’ll be back on the bus
Heading straight to destination unknown
I’ll have two tickets and a heart full of hope
If you don’t show guess I’ll just travel alone

She felt kinda weak
Couldn’t even speak
Seems like a bug of some kind going roun’
Heart on her sleeve
Just couldn’t leave
Its like whatever man, nice town

If I had me a bike I’d be riding like Bronson
Cant never stay in one place for too long
Don’t need no anchor the road is my mistress
She sings to me so I answer her song

The Censor (In praise of Ginsberg)


Words are hollow when void of intent
Vehicles of idea’s often removed from the road
Save for the words of sanctimonious incontinent
Orated by contemptuous preachers of pyrite alters
Clandestine crowds scream repent like an empty echo
Indoctrinated by their own fears
My words enjoy freedom
My inner thoughts cannot be dissected or infected
Censure me until I howl
Howl at the best minds of all generations
I will shout from the bowels of my entrails
Fuck you!
Now erase that from your mindless pomposity of egotistic rhetoric my censor
Whence erased I will whisper it thrice more
Fuck you fuck you fuck you!
Let the vulgarity resound across the echoes of self righteousness
For what is a whisper but an echo from the past
Uttered then forgotten
I watched as your angels staggered the hallway of red luminescence
Hoping to be bathed away in sabbatical confession
Winged followers staggering out by the dozen
Damning the practitioners of asexual dreams
Scorning the interracial existence bound for destiny
Yet lifting up the sanctimony of the matrimonial betrayed
Praising the scholars of death by war
In the cathedral of the absurd where hallowed rain murdered vulgarity
Buried its words in a tomb of satin linen
Laced with nylon garters of impropriety
With his blessing go forth
To sin once again
Void of intent

Met A Man


Met a man without his legs
Guess he hadn’t heard the news
Cause he stood up in front of me
Walked a mile in my shoes
When he got to where he was
He said friend listen to me
It isn’t just the legs you walk on
Take you where you need to be

Met a man without his eyes
Felt his way around the night
Did the same in the light of the day
No difference when you have no sight
Some are blind yet they have eyes
Still they never have the vision
To see the truths for what they are
To make their own decision

Met a man who had no hands
Yet he held me in his esteem
If you need a helping hand
You’ll want him on your team
Its not hands to lift you up
But ones self determination
Then he gave me a double five
Lifted me to my destination

Met a man without his tongue
Used sign language to converse
Said people with too much to say
Seem to always make things worse
Its more the content of the thought
Words are just echoes of your choice
Even thoughts when left unuttered
Can still be strong of voice

Met a man who had no arms
He hugged me with my fears
Told me its not arms my I need
To embrace the right ideas
We all need something to believe
An embracement of strong assurance
It isn’t muscles that measure strength
It’s the integrity of our endurance

Met a man who had no ears
Yet he knew exactly what I meant
Nodded yes in affirmation
Because the message had been sent
He said he knew just how I felt
Because emotions aren’t spoken
He promised he would listen close
A vow he’s never broken

I was bumping into trouble because my life seemed dark as night
I met a man with no hands or eyes who held me up to see the light
Never sure of where I should go or how to cross the many miles
I met a man with no arms or legs taught me to travel on my smiles
So many people with so many tales of people reaching their goal
Listened to every story I heard until I met a man without his soul
Could have been a demon or maybe it was the devil in disguise
But I don’t need to look at him because I can see without my eyes

About that man who had no eyes
His vision brightened up my day
Leave to the sightless few
To teach us how to see the way

About the man who had no legs
Never once led me astray
Leave to the challenged few
To help us find the way


Take The Long Road Home (by J.T. Hilltop) pt2


Where There’s Hope…

When I thanked the sheriff for the ride it occurred to me he may have had an ulterior motive. He wasn’t saving me in the name of Jesus, he was getting me the hell out of his Dodge. I was a hindrance, a public relation nightmare. If some of his people were to engage me in a game of full contact Red Rover and leave this New Yorker dead on the side of a road in his jurisdiction the repercussions to tourism would be staggering. The mother fucker left me off in the middle of nowhere, full on darkness and a stretch of road so straight and lonely it begs tires to rotate as fast as they can in an audition for NASCAR status. The side of road across from me was dotted with a few little shacks, a general store, and a pub advertising a pool table. My side of the road was a fucking swampland. Nothing but marshy woods mainly due, I would soon find out , to the fact that you can’t build a decent structure in mud. The only thing that could survive this side of the highway was Swamp Thing or some genetic mutation thereof. But there was life somewhere because I could hear a deafening din of some kind of amphibian-like croaking. A group of frogs are called an army and this sounded like The Amphibian Marine Corps out on massive combat maneuvers. They shocked and awed me! I had never heard so much ear shattering croaking in my life and the voices in my head were nice enough to remind me of the intimidating alligator congregation so the level of fear intensity was through the roof. I was imagining killer frogs and mutated swamp things waiting for me to take one step too many. Nothing to do but start walking and hitchhiking with my back turned to whatever went whizzing by in the hopes that another pearl white Chevy truck would come my way and not a gaggle of goose stepping backwoods hicks looking for some boot practice. Well it was neither, after the first ten vehicles raced past without as much of an acknowledgment a foghorn drowned out the incessant croaking. An eighteen wheeler was barreling towards me not signally a ride but letting me know in no uncertain terms would it slow down or move over for me. A tense decision, either close my eyes and hope I’m not road kill or take a few steps into frogland. The thought of some Appalachian chef dicing me into human roadside stew swayed me and removed my fear as I stepped into the marshy terrain. With my eyes closed as tight as I could I felt the cold muddy substance on my feet and the most amazing thing happened. The fucking frogs clamed up! I mean like every last one of them.
It was downright spooky, the silence would have been laughable if I had even a scintilla of laugh hormone left in my body. The truck blew past me so fast it kicked up a wind that forced me to dig into the mud to maintain my balance. A header into Hellswamp would have been the end of my existence for sure. Feeling ever so slightly angered tempered with being scared shitless I decided to listen to the voices this time. To hell with it all! I stuck my middle finger up as high as was humanly possible while he blew past down the road and shouted out a resounding FUCK YOU! Even the army of frogs were taken aback and remained silent allowing only a smattering of croaks, mostly from deeper in the marsh where I promised never to find myself. It felt surprisingly good until my reality check bounced. I’m alone on Swamp Boulevard in the town of “Deliverance”, there’s a tavern back about a half mile that’s probably filled with inbred cousins of the gorillas shit kickers from Camden and their drunk ass selves would be piling out of that bar stinking drunk in a few very short hours looking for something, or someone, to do. Being a New Yorker would definitely not work in my favor under those circumstances. My pace tripled as I power walked down the road just hoping to find a somewhat safe area.
A new game for me, step off or become road kill. It took me a good two hours to get past this stretch of hopeless landfill and find at least a bit of road with some shoulder to it. Every time any vehicle came by I just stepped into the marsh and with my back turned with my thumb out to begging for salvation. Nary a ride. But I was past the worst, at least where I ended up had a hint of human civilization to it. Feeling completely exhausted, hungry and dehydrated, and having come down with a chronic case of hopelessness I spotted a tiny abandoned gas station surrounded by wood. I had little to no strength and the station offered at least a modicum of cover so I went around back to find the door open. I always try to see the bright side of things but this was really challenging. Well I can add hobo to my resume? Didn’t cut it, but there was a tiny sparkle of bright. The garage was empty, smelled a tad rancid but not overwhelming, and none of the local anarchistic militia truck drivers will find me. As unsettling as the garage was it was still a haven. I settled in, laid down and began to contemplate where the fuck I went wrong in life and how I ended up tired and starving in some tiny backwoods southern town where not one soul knows I’m even alive. Hopelessness came out in tears of self pity so I gently cried myself to sleep.
“Cold ground was my bed last night, rock was my pillow too.” A line from the Bob Marley tune “Talking Blues” that had become my reality. Not sure how long the burning sun had been shining the full force of its ultraviolet rays on my face acting on behalf of the alarm clock association but it was long enough to impart the slightest hint of reddening discomfort. I woke up with an aching body wishing I was home in bed, feeling dejected, tired, and hungrier than I ever remember. I found a water faucet in the back of the old store and gave myself a hobo shower giving some extra splash to my face to compensate for my lack of caffeine. I chanted a positive mantra to myself in the hopes it would renew my luck and perhaps withdraw a touch of good karmic returns from my good deed bank. I needed something.
I set back out on highway 22 convincing myself that the sleep and light of day would bring me fortune. The third car past me was a small Volkswagon Karmann Ghia with a young long hair college boy with a full beard and the idealistic life outlook that had been missing since I began this ordeal. He drove me all the way into Myrtle Beach chewing my ear off about politics and the southern “head up the ass” mentality that prevailed with most of the young robotic clones in South Carolina. It was like Karma jackpot, someone I could talk to and who understood, perhaps even viewed me as a sort of Kerouac’s Dean Moriarity type character. He claimed not to have much money on him but when he dropped me off on the outskirts of town he bought me a soda, or pop actually, and a buttered roll. Then he gave me the half a pack of cigarettes he had. “Well its sure been a pleasure chattin with Y’all JT, in I hope Y’all fine what it is yer searching for. I’m meeting my Mom and Pops up in Columbia so this is the end of our road. This here’s Myrtle Beach, that a way down there is Conway, a lot cheaper place than the beach and up that away is North Myrtle Beach which is touristy but more for camp like tourists. Make sure y’all check out the boardwalk and be careful.” I didn’t want to leave, almost suggested I go to North Carolina with him but this was my new path, I was going to find out what Myrtle beach South Carolina is all about.
What is it all about? Unfortunately Jonas the preaching sandwhich maker was right, it’s all about money. You can get whatever you want if you have enough money but if your looking for a helping hand its not here. Everywhere I went people tried to hustle me until they discovered my finances, then they would dismiss me with contempt. I was getting more and more hungry by the minute and was walking in circles. I could feel the dust had formed a film of dirt on my face. I was a mess, again busted disgusted and can’t be trusted. My stomach had gone from growling to downright snarling and I couldn’t barely walk any further. Weak from hunger and almost completely dehydrated I took a chance on a KFC.
My feet were filthy, my flip flops had flopped, and I was too exhausted to even formulate my puppy dog eyes but I knew I had to give it a shot, I desperately needed some water. I entered the Kentucky Fried Chicken getting in line behind one other person. When I got up to the counter a young African American boy looked at me curiously saying, “how can I help you sir?” I gave him the readers digest condensed version of my plight pleading, “Please, all I want is some water, this is my first time in Myrtle Beach, I’m trying to get back home to new York and I can’t even get a drink of water anywhere.” The young man gave me a look that said okay but he said, “one minute sir.” and started putting together an order for the drive through window. I was thinking he was dismissing me and was about to leave when he returned, looked me straight in the face and placed a box of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, a biscuit, and a large soda in front of me. “Thank you very much sir, have a nice day’” and then he winked at me. I could see behind his eyes, it was a genuine caring for another human being and he was likely going to end up paying for the meal himself. I grabbed the box and with tears of gratitude in my eyes and thanked him.
As thankful as I was gratitude had to be put on hold for a second, because at the moment I was a wild animal who had finally found his quarry. I found a patch of grass in the back of the building and crouched down with my kill, glaring back and forth from side to side ensuring no other hungry varmit was going to make a play for my fried chicken and bisquit. I ate like a starved vulture nearly choking on the bones as I was not going to let anything palatable remain in the box. If the napkins were edible I would have chewed them. When I had finished my meal, the absolute best meal I’ve had in well over a month, I sat like a sated lion, overseeing my parking lot pride as I leisurely finished my large pop. Time to formulate a plan now, where to go and what to do next but this time with a full stomach. I glanced through the window and saw the young man who had so selflessly given a total stranger, one who looked like a psychotic serial killer than a desperate human a meal. No, not just a meal, that young man gave me far more than mere food. He had given me a renewed sense of good, of the best that humanity can be, a renewed sense that there are things in this srtinking world that can rise above the stench of inhumanity and not only cover it up, but totally obliterate it, if only for a while. I promised I would never forget that young man, his face will forever etched in my memory, and every time I do any good deed, I will remember him and his incredible gift to me. The gift of hope! But for right now I’ll just have to settle for finding a friend ans getting back home.

Take The Long Road Home (by J.T. Hilltop) pt1


I haven’t written any excerpts from JT’s great American novel about growing up in the 60’s in a little town of Centerlawn in awhile so the journey continues as he gets out of jail in the deep south.

Long And Winding

Thirty three days in jail may not seem like much but it certainly frees up your time to reflect on a good many things. What I had to reflect on in my final day at The Aikon County South Carolina Correctional Facility was the fact that Max and his junkie girlfriend left me down and out in bum fuck South Carolina with nothing but the clothes on my back and…..well tactually that’s all I had. I was busted, disguted, and couldn’t be trusted. No money, no extra clothes, food, not even any cigarettes as I left the half pack for my cell mates to fight over. I was dejected and alone, nowhere near home, and it seemed like I had not a friend in the world. But then a thought hit me, “JT my boy, what about Rhonda? Yea, that’s what I need, ‘You gotta Help me Rhonda, help help me Rhonda.’ Rhonda Harris. Rhonda was a friend from high school whose family moved to Myrtle Beach at the end of the eleventh grade. We weren’t what you would call close friends but close enough that she’ll remember me and right now I needed somebody, anybody to talk to. I mean we talked a few times probably even flirted some but the plain cold truth is other than Rhonda Harris the closest friend I could think of was some six or seven hundred miles away back on Long Island. Forget family, no one I could or would talk to about my failure here. besides Myrtle Beach was a mere one hundred and fifty miles from this boondock town of, of wherever the Hell I am. After a quick calculation and a group meeting it was decided that me and the new voices in my deranged head that had adopted me during the correction phase of my stay would hitchhike to Myrtle Beach and look Rhonda up in the phone book.
So we pointed ourselves in the direction of Myrtle Beach, stretched out the faithful old hitchhiking thumb for some digital exercise, and began walking down the highway feeling happy, free, and positive that a car would come along any second. Well maybe any minute. Any hour? In fact it was almost two hours before even one car came by going my way and it zoomed past like I wasn’t even there. I checked my thumb to make sure that it was still working properly and satisfied my hitchhiking digit was in order my thumb, the voices, and I plodded forward. Four cars, one bus, and a dump truck later my first potential ride pulled over. A nice pearl white Chevy pick up had stopped and the driver rolled down his window. “Where y’all headed man?” Comforting. The front cab was full with four hippie looking young southern dudes. He motioned towards the back as I called out, “looking for Myrtle Beach man, thanks for the lift. How far am I from the beach anyway?” Driver dude smiled, “We’re heading up to Raleigh but we can get you about halfway up to Camden man. Then Y’all only have roundabout another fifty miles east. Ain’t no more room up here Bro, jump in the back. We’ll let ya know when we get there, maybe an hour or so.” Feeling grateful and happy to have a place to sit awhile I jumped in the back with a big ass smile on my face. The voices were happy too.
After the third or fourth huge bump my huge ass smile fell out of the back of the truck and I wondered if I would ever see it again. My new metal palace was in constant motion as if I were a crash test dummy taking the shock absorbers out for stress diagnosis. I bounced up and down, rolled left and right, and every so often the side of my new surroundings gave me a body check into the wheel well. But fuck it man, I was free, I was on my way to finding a long lost friend, and I was grateful. Hungry as all hell, but grateful to be getting as far away from Aikon County South Carolina as possible. When my savior in the pearl white Chevy pulled over at a gas station an hour later to refuel he came up to me. “here ya go man, this here’s Camden.” I was almost disappointed. He continued, “If’n y’all take 22 East ya run straight on inta Myrtle Beach. Ain’t no more’n hour an a half away. We be headin’ on up north here. Good luck.” I thanked him profusely as I took stock of the many new bruises I had acquired during the ride. Ith a hint of sadness and some serious hunger pangs I watched them take off. Now if only I could find something to eat. I had come to a sort of small bridge, both literal and metaphoric. I equated it to Dorothy stepping out of the black and white house into a world of wonder and colors. Yea, the way I figured it I was heading to Munchkin land, Utopia or Eden, but halfway across I looked into the slow moving rivulet and a stinging wake up call shook my very foundation, and when I answered it said, “No yellow brick roads here in River Styx, just a crickfull of danger. ” Sloshing around in the water beneath the bridge was a congregation of razor toothed alligators. Apparently congregation is what you call a group of alligators and this congregation was holding high mass, or maybe even celebrating baptisms. I was impressed with the smoothness grace and speed with which these parishioners swam and regardless of the fact that I was up here and they were down below a wave of paranoia swept over me. I ran across the metaphoric bridge as if they were chasing me to the other side. I made it over without incident but slightly disillusioned. Nothing changed, but at least there were no wicked witches or alligators with ticking clocks in their bellies. The other side of the bridge was nothing more than the other side of a bridge. To make things even worse, the running only made me more hungry.
I had often heard the phrase “There’s no such thing as a free lunch”, but to tell you the truth when you have dirty clothes, long stringy wind whipped hair, and a Yankee accent down south there isn’t a free anything except for advice! Most of the advice consist of things like Y’all should jess git yer Yankee ass back to new yawlk, woncha git that thar girly hair cut like a man, or take a bath hippie, y’all stink like a got damn angry polecat in heat. I was definitely not feeling the love of that southern hospitality I heard so much about, and frankly I would have preferred a bottle of Southern Comfort right about then. I was walking down highway 22 when I spotted an oasis in this backwoods hell, a small Salvation Army building. I walked inside and poured my heart out relaying my story of misuse, abuse bad luck, abandonment, incarceration, dehydration, damnation, degradation and to top it off getting scoffed at asking for a morsel of nourishment. The young man, Jonas, listened intently, offered me some apple juice and a peanut butter sandwich, told me I could take a shower and then we could talk some more. I accepted happily and even though I put a clean body back into those dirty rags I felt like a new man. Feeling fully refreshed and ready to talk more about my trials and tribulations I joined the young man in a sort of guest room.
The talk he referred to was not about me but about a much higher power, the lord. I was the beneficiary of a two hour lecture on God, Jesus, sins, repentance, and scriptures. It was all I could do to keep my eyes open but I remained grateful and awake. At least I wasn’t in jail anymore! When Jonas, finished his sermon he asked me why I was going to Myrtle Beach. Not wanting to get involved in anymore lectures I opted to explain how I had heard so much about what a wonderful city it was and wanted to experience it. Apparently Myrtle Beach was either the Sodom or Gomorrah of the south because I earned myself another thirty minutes of lecture which ended in advice to cut my hair and go back to New York because Myrtle Beach is about nothing but money and sin. I refrained from saying “My kind of town” and instead thanked him and meandered back out onto highway 22.
When I was a kid I loved playing neighborhood games, especially tag. Hitchhiker tag however isn’t quite as much fun and a lot more one sided. With the sun going down and dusk setting in another pick up truck pulled over, but this one was an old beat up rusted out model with three boys in the cab. Being a fast learner I ran up and started to climb in the back but instead of asking me where I was going the dude rolled down his window and snarled, “What the Hell you think you doin’ boy?” He then proceeded to pull the truck up about ten feet as I fell to the ground. I stood up noticing the rifle rack in the back of the cab and the Deliverance image made a brief reappearance inside my head. The loud guffaws of condescending laughter riled me a bit. After a second time the voices said to me, “ Fuck them, lets kick their asses, we can take them” Fortunately I paid the voices no heed this time as the funny truck driving asshole yelled back at me, “Hawhawhaw, I’m sorry man, we was jess kiddin’, c’mon git on in the truck.” I weighed my options, didn’t want to piss them off and certainly didn’t wanted want to get fooled again so I moved forward with some trepidation. Slowly I moved towards the truck and that’s when the game of tag ensued. After four more antagonizing times I just said “Nevermind man, I don’t need no fucking ride.” He slammed on the brakes and both doors swung open. I gulped and thought, “Fuck me! No wait, I don’t mean like literally I meant please don’t fuck me, please!!” The three amigos walked towards me and I felt like this was gonna be even worse than the beatings I got from my favorite jailhouse guards, Billy Boy and Jimbo.
“Whatchoo mean Y’all done want no ride, we aint good enough foe yo dirty stinkin hippie shit ass? Maybe you needs to learn a little manners ya pig fucking longhair.” I tensed up to brace myself for another order of southern fried ass kicking when an authoritative voice broke through, “Now come on boys, Y’all know better’n at stomp this young lad fer no reason.” I opened my eyes and walking behind my three wannabe ninja’s was a huge figure of a man with an impressive trooper looking hat. The boys looked disappointed as they had been forced to reseal their cans of whip ass. Having feared the cops for most of my immature adult life I wasn’t sure if I was being saved or enslaved. I had visions of being taken to the basement of a police station naked and hogtied with a red ball strapped inside my mouth while some huge half witted yokel prepared to jam his self amused hard on up my digestive aperture……. Sorry, I’ll give you a sec to get the image out of your mind.
After a few minutes of the boys apologizing to the sheriff and swearing they “Was jess gonna have them a little fun, wasn’t akchully gonna hurt im” the would be assassins got back in the truck and the sheriff came over to get a closer look at me. I braced again, this time for handcuffing or Billy club enlightenment but the sheriff must have been a follower of Jonas from the Salvation Army because he spoke with the same God preaching condescending tone. “Praise the Lord I got here in time here boy. Now son y’all really need to watch out for yourself in these parts, where you from?” I took to telling him most of my story, leaving out the jail part but telling him I was abandoned in the night by my one time friends and was just trying to get back home to NY. He listened politely and then began practicing empathetic lecturing on me and leveled some tried and true southern advice on me, to cut my hair, take a bath, and go back home. He offered to take me to the town limits on 22 where he was sure I would get a ride. I told him I was much obliged and I actually praised the lord out loud for his coming around when he did. Like I said, I’m a fast learner.

Days Too Often Forgotten


Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it -George Santayana-

Does any one remember when a hopeful generation
Of compassionate human beings made a peaceful presentation

Hell no
We won’t go
Break down barriers
Free Jim Crow
Stop the fighting
Stop the draft
Join the army
Get the shaft
No more murder
No more bombing
No Agent Orange
Stop Napalming

Give us your poor and tired huddle masses
Seeing the world through our rose colored glasses
Bending down to raise the downtrodden
These are the days too often forgotten

Now our friends bicker bitch and moan
Sit at the computer their internet throne
Haters behind the mask of the keypads
Yelling at liberals to put on their kneepads

Heads up their asses those conservative clowns
Those god damn liberals will destroy all the towns
Old white Republicans want us to live in the past
Communist Democrats want rebellion to last

Too many days we have forgotten
Too many riches were ill begotten
Better we let those days remind us
Not let political parties define us

The once united
Has become
A money vulture
Failed policies
Failed schism
Failure to every
Fucking ism
Breeds not sanity
Are any choices
Left to me?

A decree to jog the memory

Let us not forget
The barefoot, pregnant, and silent
Bought them needle and thread
Chained them naked in bed
Don’t let them vote
Let them clean the house instead
It wasn’t easy but we learned we could find the way
You’ve come a long way baby to get where you are today

Let us not forget
The sight of fibers hanging from branches
People crucified for taking chances
The sound of chains
The promise of pain
That was then this is now
That’s no reason to disavow

How easily we forget the war over cotton, these are the days too often forgotten

Now streets are alight burning with hate
Disingenuous rule makers holding out bait
Its always them against us or us against them
When the hell will this hatred end

How is it we traveled across many so generations yet still can’t stop warring against other nations

Foundations like United Nations taking donations to ease frustrations and improve relations
But continued accusations and insincere declarations bring condemnations from all congregations
They hope deportations and allegations will prevent confrontations by becoming celebrations
Will anything lead to sensible conversations?

The taste of anguish so bitter it makes me cry
We’ve forgotten how and forgotten why
Once we stood a rebellious culture united
But money is the root of all the shortsighted
We need to remember the peace we desired
And go back to being a nation inspired

Condemned to a world dank and rotten if we allow these day to be forgotten

Where are those brilliant minds that forged a union
Who stood firm against wrongs in peaceful communion
Youth’s banded together demanding a voice in their world
While defying all inequalities under a banner unfurled
A nation of families spreading blankets of peace and love
Sharing respect and integrity in the utopia they dreamed of
Days once filled with promise of the best of humanity
When those days are forgotten we’re left with insanity

Capitalism is tradition
Revolution is a mission
Hatred must cease
Increase the peace