Poverty Dream

poverty

 

Children raised with hunger pains
Living in the apocalyptic rains
Of the greedy capitalist deserters
And the bankers really hurt us
They stuck their heads in sand
Then took the money and ran
Just as the industries dried up
All they’re assets were tied up
Fed us crumbs from their steaks
Leaving real lives choking in the wake
Coughing from the burning fumes of fate
Cracked walls peeling paint
Rusted hinges and broken gates
Glassless windows lockless doors
Darkened stairways where drugs are scored
Once a beautiful structure now a haven
For crimes and addictions of desperation
Not only buildings were left abandoned
Humanity crawled away from its war
Took its spoils to accounts offshore
And pretended the children were gone
Letting wall street carry on
Blaming misfortune on poverty
Because all we have is apathy
Fuck it, we don’t have to live here
Let’s pack up the shopping cart
And move somewhere else
Somewhere nice

A Clockwork Existential (An Existential Beat/Street Poem)

clockwork71

 

 

What’s it to be then Eh?
What is your identity Alex my Droog? Does your soul know your dreams?

 

 

From the wet and dark
Arose life anew
Full of raging violence
Wild and auspicious
Unbound of rule
In a world of chaos
In a digital epoch
Where violence is king
Not much different than today
Survival of the fittest
Ultra-violence life
Sharpened with synthemesc
Opium for the Lewdies
Real Horrorshow yarblockos
Until betrayed by droogies
Handed over to the millicents
Sent to prison
What’s it going to be Alex?

 

 

What’s it to be then eh?
Loss of your freedom
Or loss of your identity
Stay boxed and shut
In a cage full of clones
Uniform yet all alone
No longer free to make a choice
Or in a cage on the street
An jigsaw of yourself
Bound together by rules
One of society’s jewels
Unique yet robotic
Unable to speak your mind
Free but neurotic

 

 

What’s it to be then, eh?
Stay as you are condemned to prison
Pacing in your container
Forced to be humble
To a servant with keys
Mind shaped in rage
A soldier of mediocrity
Counting scratchmarks on the wall
Is that who you are?
Same ole same thing
Dancing to your own tune
Singing an aria of your life
Day after day
To unhearing ears
Lost in a sea of indifference
Or would you like to walk free

 

 

What’s it to be then, eh?
Manufactured nurture
Become a sandcastle
Built by society
Waiting for high tide
To carry away your self
Stripped of imagination
A perfect Orange fruit
Spinning like clockwork
Dancing to their rhythm
Singing their song
Living chapter to chapter
In society’s book mundane
But free to pace the streets
Absolved of your of sins
Yet unable to choose evil
A hamster in their wheel
Reserved and compliant
Void of expression
Trapped in the expectations
Of societal programmability

 

 
The Ludovico Technique
Gave Alex a choice
Life In prison
Or social experiment
Complacency or individuality
Join the theater of the sublime
Leave behind the slime
Become a cog in the wheel
However unreal
But free in the street
To all the vonny soddy bratchnies you meet
Free of the evil that possessed you
Or stay behind
With your evil mind
What’s it to be then Alex?
Eyes clamped open
Medicine of goodness
Dripping tears of complacency
Exorcized evil
Yes yes yes my one and only friend
Until Ludwig Von pierced your ego
Shattered it in a million pieces
Awaiting the vengeance due
Haven’t you ever seen a movie
Or watched a magic show
Nothing is ever what it seems to be my boy
Especially choice
But rejoice
Soon you’ll be free
Just not who you used to be
Lobotomized by law and order
What’s it to be then eh?
Your nature or their nurture

 

 

 
Little Alex
Our humble narrator
Filled with rage
Locked in a cage
A prison of damnation
You’re an editorial sensation
In a Jail
Of your own creation
Your life waiting on cremation
Alienation of a generation of mutations
Locked away for committing a crime
Imprisoned to a life of time
Loads and loads of time
Nothing but time
You were brought to trial
No longer a juvenile
Now locked in exile
Unable to smile or sashay in style
Because what you did was so vile
Now little Alex is a murderer
Surrounded by hate
Either translate or eradicate
But you will acclimate to a criminal fate
Or perish and dissipate
Full on mind amputate
You’re a lost little malchick Alex
What’s it to be indeed
What’s anything to be?

 

 

Inspired by a book that once helped shape a young mans free and open mind, A Clockwork Orange in which the very basic essence of existentialism is explored. Is a person still a person once stripped of choice and free will? Is there such a thing as free will? Is it up to a society to determine nurture or nature? Is the self the central theme of essence? I have read and reread the book many times, viewed the movie many times, and both still inspire deep philosophical questions of existence and cause and effect for me. The clockwork part is easy to work out, the running of the same regimens day after day without change but the orange has duel meanings for me. Anthony Burgess explains that the orange is a perfect fruit but I maintain a second meaning. No other word rhymes with orange giving it a sense of individuality and uniqueness. When they “cured “ Alex they were in effect coming up with other words that rhymed for Alex, stripping him of his individuality and winding him up in a clockwork. Anyway, my tribute to Stanley Kubrick, Anthony Burgess, and the words that jumped off the pages and into my heart and mind….
In street beat poetry

Interview On Top Of The World

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It was June of 1980 and I had just graduated The Culinary Institute of America. Oh, hell yea I was ready to take on the world with a knife and a saute pan and was scheduled for an interview on the 107th floor of One World Trade Center, the glorious Windows On The World Restaurant. I was so nervous about going there I had butterflies fluttering in my stomach. I arrived at One WTC. Standing by the elevators the thought struck me that I was about to enter into a room the size of a broom closet and be transported up to the clouds. The butterflies became anxious and aggressive when the elevator opened and I got on. The second the broom closet began its lift off the butterflies began to migrate, some up into my throat and others downward. I thought it was either their migration or my excitement that kept popping the Hell out of my ears until it hit me I was flying upwards in a box higher than the Manhattan skyline and it was the rapidly changing air pressure that caused my audio dilemma. When I stepped out into the foyer it took me about thirty seconds to get over the body rush I’d just had and with a weak voice, I asked the concierge where Chef Henri Boubee’s office was.

The dude rushed me towards the kitchen and at first, I believed he was simply enthusiastic to help me. How awesome is this? Consequently, I would find out he was getting me away ASAP from the strict jacket and tie code at the entrance to the restaurant. Whatever, he walked so fast I was sure I would never find my way back in this corn maze of a complex 107th floor. A work of pure brilliance, the kitchen was in the center of this maze and the complete perimeter of the floor was used for some form of dining service. I reached a familiar feeling as I passed through a double door and spotted the familiar red tile flooring so many kitchens I had worked in had. Past three giant steam kettles on my right and a massive waiters station on my left I continued on to the Chef’s office.

In the scheme of things, his office was rather small and unassuming. The chef himself was a tall thin European looking man. As small as the office was, and as friendly looking as the chef was I was intimidated beyond words. I couldn’t get the thought out of my head that I was in the WTC, talking with the chef of Windows On The World!!

The Chef asked me some summary culinary questions to test my basic knowledge and then some questions about me I assumed to get a psychological profile which frankly worried the shit out of me. Then he stood up, looked at me which I mistook for a thank you – we’ll let you know, but to my surprise, he said, “Come, I vill take zhoo on a tour”. With that, the chef began power walking through the kitchen with me in tow trying to keep up while at the same time looking around the kitchen trying to absorb the culture. Over twenty dudes and dudettes in checked pants, white coats, and tall toque blanch chef hats checked me out like I was a new meat prisoner in a movie like Brubaker. The chef continued his power walk and I followed finding myself in a huge dining room. Holy shit! All windows with a view of the city that was mind-blowing. We were above all the tall New York City buildings looking down. The Chef continued his pace and mumbled something about dining rooms A B and C, led me through the Brooklyn view mentioning something about a Cellar In The Sky, and we ended up in an Hors d’oeuvres restaurant peeking down at The Statue Of Liberty. I was totally blown away, had gotten numerous head rushes and it was all I could do to keep my balance from the dizzying walk while looking outside of the top of the world. I would eventually develop “sea legs” like the chef had and learn that the buildings were designed to sway so they don’t snap. On a windy day, all the sauces would make waves in unison.

At this point though, when we got back to the Chef’s office I had absolutely no idea how we got there. The Chef looked at me and asked, “So… Do you vant to work here?” I thought back to all the advice the school had given me, all the questions to ask about salary, hours, compensations, and how I should never commit but ask the interviewer to allow me time to think it over. Then I thought about who might be coming in to interview after me and my intuition, as naïve as it was, told me if I didn’t say yes the next person just may get my job. I said, “Yes Chef, I do. When can I start?” He dismissed me saying “Come in Monday at 3oclock and Ask for Ovidio, he’ll get you set up.”

So that was it. I had no idea what days or hours I would be working, no idea how much money I would be making, and for the first and only time in my life, I accepted a major decision job on the spot. It turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life.

I met Ovidio, a Latin dude with a kind of lisp who showed me around. He and I became very close, and within days I became one of the group. To them, I was a funny hippie dude who played his harmonica into the expediters mike on downtime, and to me, I had a new family. Donald, a good ole southern man who I swore would work barefoot if he could. He used to sell his grill mistakes to the wait staff. “C’mon now, take that steak and leave me 8 bucks. Hurry now, this ain’t no damn buffet now, let’s go”. Benji, a chef from Jamaica who shared my love of Bob Marley and taught me so much about cooking, the most important thing was his constant yelling at me “Let it cook Mon!” I guess I was over-anxious and flipped my food too much. Victor, a sixty-something old buffet chef who did spoons of coke in the walk-in fridge and drank half the brandy that was supposed to go in the sauces. Steve “Stevo”, a pill-popping saute cook who was so high by end of the shift the fell asleep changing in the locker room. But Stevo would give you the shirt off his back. He stole my Adidas sneakers once because he needed some shoes. They were like three sizes too big but I never called him on it, just bought myself a new pair because he never had any money but would do anything so he could to help any one of us. Speaking of shoes, one of the best sauciers in the city who taught me how to make a thirty-pound butter hollandaise wore sandals every day. We chipped in and got him some very expensive Nikes. He was almost brought to tears but the next day he came to work in those Nikes cut out to look like his sandals. Can’t argue with something that’s worked your whole life. There was Willie the vegetable cook, James who taught me the fastest way to cut up 60 portions of roasted duck in a half hour, John B who drank half a gallon of cheap cooking wine every night, Ralph, who grew up next door to the famous pastry chef Albert Cumin and learned so much he was the youngest pastry chef in the city, his assistant Carmen who was every bit as talented but overlooked because of her sex, and Herman, my Sous Chef, who busted my ass every single night. Herman was relentless and it took me nearly six months to realize the more he busted ass the more he liked you. Herman taught me more than anyone about the entire industry, beyond cooking to managing and admin. His stories of how he learned his craft in Austria were terrifying and fascinating. There were so many more, other cooks, wait staff, utility people, ES friends, Miss Ann was in charge and we became friends instantly. She gave me extra chef coats on Fridays and Saturdays so I could change out of the sweat-laden coats on those busy evenings. (Her assistant ran the illegal numbers for NY and Brooklyn for us). There were no barriers at Windows. Race, color, religion, orientation, we were all family and exchanged many cultural and ethnic practices with interest. I learned a lot about the world at Windows, giving a double meaning to the On The World part.

The family that worked at Windows were extremely tight because we had to be. Service was so fast and furious, on busy nights over one thousand dinners served, and the pressure was so intense that we had to have fun together just as intensely. It was by far the richest work experience I have ever had, I worked there for two years and had more real friends in those two years than I did through youth. I learned to appreciate other forms of lifestyles and customs. Even today I have friends who worked at Windows at different times than I did which made us instant friends who could exchange endless similar stories. It was more than a job it was a deep relationship.

Some 20 years later Maureen and I had our first little café not twenty minutes from the city. It was a breakfast, lunch, and dinner restaurant we called it The Petite Cafe and catered to the working crowds. A strong breakfast and coffee accent with two TV sets that ran news channels through the day for our customers. We were attempting to upgrade it with a more modern ”Pan Global” cuisine and had been opened only a week. We kept the TV’s and morning crowd as they were so the two televisions were on the morning of 9/11.When the first tower was it was an arrow through the heart, when the second tower got hit it ripped it out. I was working stunned, a crowd had gathered knowing we had the TV’s and the café was packed yet silent and somber. I was in denial until the first tower crumbled. When that happened I broke down and cried. I didn’t see a tower crumbling, I saw a huge building full of people, full of stories, full of memories that will never get told. Full of life. A profound relationship had ended in death. For the next week every time I looked over towards Manhattan Island there was a huge plume of black smoke that just hung over the city. The normally airplane busy sky was crying in eerie silence. My heart broke.

Sometimes it seems like an impossible task to pick up the pieces of such a devastating tragedy in our lives and every year we commemorate our pain and anguish with an anniversary. This is the fifteenth anniversary and for me personally I have not yet been able to sort it out completely because it will never make sense, never offer any closure, but I try very hard to be comforted by my many memories of not just working at Windows On The World, but the years of commuting through the Trade Center in the years I worked at various financial district kitchens. Thank you for indulging me in this bittersweet memory.
Live and Love in peace….

What’s That Daddy? A Question of Perspective

dad

 

Why are you crying Dad
Are you happy or sad?
Right now I’m sad my love
Why do we get sad Dad?
Sadness is part of life Baby Girl
As sorrows burrow
Deep within our selves
It leaves an empty tunnel
To be filled with joy
You fill that tunnel for me everyday
Sometimes it’s okay to be sad
Because happiness exists after sadness
The beautiful sound you hear
When you play the violin
Was born in the anguish of a tree
That grew sad as it was torn down
That wine that brings me joy
Was squeezed from the berry
Born of the tears of the vine tender
Shed when we extracted its luscious fruits

Happiness and sadness both exist within you
Your heart holds near these truths
To enriches all the treasures
Of your infinite depth
Revealed to your soul
Yet not to your eyes
For you don’t see happiness
But you know when it here
Only through life sap in your eyes
The tears of sorrow and joy
Can you meet your true being
And walk together always
Hand in hand with emotion
Through the good and the bad

Live and love in peace

From the very first moment our children point and ask “what’s that” we transform from average people to all knowing parents. They look to us for answers from that day forward and with the right perspective we can become the fountain they’re thirst of knowledge is quenched from forever more. It’s all about offering perspective…….

LAST NIGHT

last-night

 

Last night
I had a dream
I dreamt
It was the last night
Of my life
But when I woke
Tomorrow was waiting
To hear my song
To see me dance
To feel my touch
So I sang, and danced, and felt
In case it’s my last
Every night is a last night
For something
Or someone
One last sunset
One last breath
Each note can be the last note
Every dance can be the last dance
The last touch can be the last feeling
Any night can be the last night
Any day could be the last day
Live and love in peace today
And every day

Hold Tight

closing in

 

Inspired by the likes of Robert Smith, Ian Curtiss, and Morrissey….
The walls close in
The countdown starts
Pressure building
Pounding hearts
Punctured musings
Grasping time
Can’t let go
I’ll lose my mind
Pain is pure as driven snow
Thoughts come crashing down too slow
Life inside a Dali scene
Reality inside a dream
World is melting
Its so obscene
But I’m..

 
Holding tight
To a folding
Life
Jigsaw fragments
Tossed
In fright
The walls are closing
Flaws exposing
Head exploding
A life corroding
I look around but it’s not me
It’s not my world
It couldn’t be
Some others are inside of me
Controlling everything I see
Holding tight
I make my plea
Medication please help me
Holding tight

 
That’s my life
No compromising
Losing my grip the waters rising
Toss a life ring
I’m going under
The walls keep closing
Worlds gone asunder
Once coherent
Now spinning wild
I’m Satan’s offspring
The devils child
My life’s a rerun
Been here before
Hope lies dead
Upon Hell’s floor
But I’m..

 
Holding tight
To a folding
Life
Jigsaw fragments
Tossed
In fright
The walls are closing
Flaws exposing
Head exploding
A life corroding
I look around but it’s not me
It’s not my world
It couldn’t be
Some others are inside of me
Controlling everything I see
Holding tight
I make my plea
Medication please help me
Holding tight

 

Clocks keep ticking
Getting louder
Veins are dripping
In white powder
Head keeps throbbing
Keeping time
Prayers unanswered
Church bells chime
All alone
In this demented cloud
So far away
From the maddening crowd
One last grasp
I see the light
Hold me Mama
Hold me tight

Destiny Quest

quest

 

Just as the fallen acorn dreams
Of becoming one of the mighty oaks
So do the seeds of true knowledge
Yearn to grow into a wisdom
To become more than simply words
But rather concepts worthy of evaluation
Considered for shared validations
Perhaps exchanged in earnest honesty
Not debated as calculated opinions
But rather discussed as alternatives
To avoid using conflicts of death
As a means of arbitrating differences
A sound unifying of cultural concepts
Leading to a solid construction of idea’s
Not built as a house of cards bound and intertwined
On fragile shards of misplaced mutual discord
But built on a foundation of shared harmonies
A verbal arrangement like an orchestra
In an everlasting quest of peace and unity
In which we can proudly reserve for our children
Truth