After My First Kiss A Punch to The Heart

 

(from The continuing stories of JT and his quest for Culinary Nirvana)
I stopped off to see Kathy and bought a nickel of gold weed then went to the magazine store to buy a pack of big bamboo rolling papers. I was feeling a bit frisky, which is adolescent code for horny, so I decided I was the one who would set the tone tonight. The four musketeers met up by the corner of the schoolyard near the woods where many of us underage derelicts quench our mind thirsts with beer or wine or sometimes both. I hoped Ken would get out of being grounded, he almost always did, but this time he was busted with weed which was like the ultimate crime of the century or something. Felony pot smoking! Every suburban parents nightmare, a child that has been turned into a stoned out zombie from doing the “reefer madness.” Maybe his old man was just too drunk to remember what happened. Or maybe just beating Ken was lesson enough. I flipped when he showed up carrying a six-pack. “ Hey Ken man, give me the cardboard from the six pack, I gotta clean some weed.” This was a ritual in the neighborhood, copping some beer from an older brother of a friend outside the stores then rolling a few joints to get even higher. It was just another night in the land they call suburbia. On this eve we were a group of 12 strong all pounding down alcohol and puffing away on yellow gold high quality marijuana. Someone suggested heading over to Beth’s because she was having a party and there was an instant and unanimous agreement. Ken grabbed me and pulled me to the side. “JT, did you take those pills I gave you last night?” “Of course I did bro it was awesome. I did the red ones and brought the other 4 with me. I figure I’ll do one and give one to Carrie and you and Sue can have the other two” Ken thought for a moment then said “Lets you and me do the tuies and give the girls one yellow each. The tuies are a lot stronger.” It was decided. We called over the ditz sisters and offered them each a Nembutal. Carrie took it without question and washed it down with some of my beer. A foreign feeling came over me and somehow I just knew the moment was now. I grabbed her hand and held it like a boyfriend would feeling the sparks instantly. I knew Carrie could sense it too by the smile on her face and the odd twinkle in her eyes. I pulled Carrie in front of me and peered into her soul through her beautiful ocular portals. Without one single word spoken, with just one seemingly small act of mysterious energy the whole of the cosmos shifted to a slightly uncomfortably yet fully confident and happy alignment. We exchanged nervous glances at first, and then looked deeply into each others eyes searching each others desires. Our eyes engaged in the only conversation necessary. With a sensuous and tender movement our faces shifted slightly and slowly, very very slowly as we moved closer toward each other. Maybe she was born with it, or maybe it was maybeline but at that moment no other female had ever looked so amazingly beautiful and for a brief few moments no one else in the world existed. I felt a tingling that emanated from my groin and echoed through my entire body out through my fingertips as our mouths opened and our lips met with a furious and gentle tango explosion. All the blood in my body seemed to take the elevator straight to the top and made me wobble so that I nearly lost my balance. With our mouths locked tightly to each other our tongues danced that tango, tossing and toggling inside each others mouths in a desperate search of our new raison d’etre. With slippery hormonal precision our mouths performed the minute waltz in ten seconds as our tongues danced the entire Swan Lake to artistic perfection. Jesus shit man we were embracing in a wet and desperate lovelock of synergetic bliss. Eyes closed and mouths now hermetically sealed to each other our faces rocked gently as we both drank in the most incredible love infected chemical secretion either of us had ever experienced. We kissed and swapped salivary gland fluids for four or five minutes completely oblivious to any lifeform outside our now combined nucleus. My endoreticulum was running amok and scratching my back while it tickled my soul. I loved it! (see? I did pay attention in biology) The only sound in the universe was the soft panting and moaning of Carries throat and the slightly louder moaning of mine. After what seemed like two lifetimes the magic was shattered by a familiar voice when Ken broke up the vibe. “Well its about fucking time you guys.” We broke our lip lock and looked at each other knowing exactly what he meant, and we knew he was right. I think we both felt glad we waited because that was the most perfect kiss and saliva exchange in the history of Cupidom.
From that moment on Carrie and I would become inseparable, holding hands or walking with my arm around her shoulder. We were high from weed and beer and soon the pills would be kicking in and even if they didn’t fuck it, I’m in love which as of right now is the best high I have ever felt. Our friends looked at us as if this was how it had always been, no one even seemed to notice how different we felt. We however could not stop looking at each other, smiling and kissing the night away. The music was loud, the party was crowded, yet nothing existed outside of me and Carrie. We continued drinking and smoking whenever something came by our way and I gave the weed and papers to Ken and left him in charge. It was getting late and we were very stoned and very happy. But time was running out on the evening.
No sooner did we decide to leave than a strange tension built up between us. Well not really between us but more like inside the both of us. A sense of anticipation and curiosity filled the small portion of our private universe. Ah, the moment of truth. Should we continue our adventure into adulthood or just take it easy? I felt that awkward feeling because we were headed to that moment we would say goodnight to each other and figure out what the next step of our relationship was going to be. Should I try to cop a feel and touch her breast, maybe take it further tonight or be happy where we are and wait? Suave and cool operator or caring respectful dude? The pilks had one scenario and my mind had another. Should I make a move? Fuck man, what if I try for the tit and she gets pissed? Oh my god so much fucking pressure. Tuinols on one shoulder and my conscience on the other. As we walked closer to her house we chatted nervously and pointlessly about nothing. That’s when I realized she was sweating it out too. Well its time to make my move, be a man, do what a real man would do. But what man? Be like my asshole Dad? I’ll never get laid if I’m like him. Like Artie, the scumbag? No, he would probably rape her though I would never say that in front of Ken. Fuck man I have no role model since James got drafted. That’s it. What the fuck would Jameson do? He was caught having sex with his girlfriend once when her old man came home unexpectedly and caught them. They had to break up and James was a mess for months afterward. They got back together of course because they really do love each other but they had to steer clear of her parents. What kind of shit is that? He’s in the army defending I don’t know what an has to hide his relationship. What bullshit! But James was my hero so that was it. I’ll do like James would do. I stopped walking, grabbed Carrie and pulled her close to me. Our eyes met and I could see the look she had was curiosity with a side order of apprehension. “Carrie, I really dig you a lot, and I want us to have a long relationship. This love shit is fo fucking confusing! Well if it is love we should be able to talk about shit like this so here it goes. “I want to have sex with you really bad right here and right now.” Her eyes narrowed and she seemed to be contemplating what would be next. I took a deep breath and continued. “But I want it to be right, the right place and time and the right reason. I just don’t think tonight is that time.” Now her eyes began to smile and I think I heard a breath of relief. She smiled the most beautiful smile I had ever seen. Without a single word we both knew it was the perfect choice. “Jesus shit JT, I want to have sex with you right now too but I don’t think, no, I know I’m not ready. But I would have if you asked me to.” My relief was evident too and I smiled and said “You would have?? God damn it, now you tell me.” We laughed and embraced each other holding tightly and I am pretty sure she felt that uncontrollable male muscle pulsating slow and hard up against her hip. Life was beautiful, we were in love, and this new high we found was the best ever. We walked up to her house and stopped just out of sight should anyone be spying on us. We swapped spit, sucked face, made out, French kissed, toggled tongues, whatever the fuck you want to call it for 15 minutes before we said good night. I walked home like each step was taken on a carpet of foam rubber with my head so high in the clouds it took a special request from gravity to keep me on earth. I can’t wait to tell Ken. Jesus shit I hope this lasts.
I’m not sure if the incredible feelings I was experiencing was from love, beer, pot or pills. Most likely it was a combination of all the above but to say my head was spinning would be an understatement. I could feel the effects of all of them having a group hug in my cerebellum but all I could think about was Carrie. Damn man, I hung out with her as friends almost every day and now all of a sudden I can’t stop thinking about her. I walked straight into my special little spot in the universe past my Mom who was mumbling something about the time, past the dinner table which normally beckoned me over for a tempting bowl of cocoa puffs, completely oblivious to all the sights and sounds surrounding me. It felt like the giant smile not only went from ear to ear but wrapped around my head a few times. Fuck man, I’m in love!

For the first time in ever I woke up happy and wide awake. I am ready to start the day a teenager in love. Think I’ll go into the kitchen and surprise my Mom with a kiss. The surprise was on me though because as soon as I got to the kitchen my dear mom was sitting at the table with a bucketload of tears in her eyes and my dickhead old man pacing and just mumbling over and over how “Everything’s gonna be allright”. Moms head was shaking and all she could let out was a desperate sounding sob. She kept trying to catch her breath but sounded like she was going to choke. I looked at my mom but my words were directed at my Dad. “What’s going on?” My old man looked at me with a shut the fuck up look on his face and spoke forcefully when he said, “Its not a big deal. Jameson has been shipped off to Viet Nam and is headed to a place called Quang Tri. He will be defending the honor of the entire country and our family because he is a brave son doing the right thing.” I knew it was half trying to convince mom, validate his hawkish war stance, and most importantly to him send a dig at me and my anti-war friends. Mom was becoming increasingly more hysterical so I chose to let that shit slide for the time being. In the calmest voice I had used with my Dad in some time I intoned outside of Moms audible range, “Dad, Jameson is going to Nam. He is going to risk his life for nothing. Not a big deal? No big deal?” Unfortunately my brazen in love self began growing balls and my voice raised a few octaves. “ What the hell do you mean no big deal? James is going to fight in a bloody and senseless war halfway around the world.” I was using every ounce of Zen energy to remain composed but the old shit was feeling guilty and believed increasing his own volume gave him some warped sense of authority. “First of all watch you language young man, you’re still living under my roof. We live in the United States of America and our country needs our help.” I rolled my eyes yet he continued, “Just because you are a pansy ass chicken who’s afraid to fight doesn’t mean both my sons have to be.” The Old shit felt that his drunken slurring statement was in need of an exclamation point so he slapped me hard in my face. I was stunned.

The shock converted quickly to anger and it took every ounce Karma I had to not punch the shit out of his old drunk ass. Mom let out a little scream as my eyes burned holes in the wallpaper and my fingers began to ach from clenching. Being the better person I headed back to my sanctuary to worship my stereo headphones and pretend I didn’t live in this hell hole of a house. My dickhead father, my wailing mother, and the thought of my brother shipping off to Vietnam for real had completely destroyed the amazing feeling of love from my first kiss. Fuck them, I’m outta here on my eighteenth birthday!
TBC

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War Is Unhealthy For Children And other Living Things

 

 

 

 

 

J.T. HILLTOP

 

The effects of the booze and drugs didn’t manage to dull the fact that my brother is dead in some country called Vietnam! It did however manage to leave me an ass kicking hangover teamed up with emotional overload. Jameson’s body, or what’s left of it, is being flown home tomorrow from Vietnam. So now what? Time to make preparations Old man war lover said of his son’s death . Just what in the fuck did that mean? How am I supposed to cope with losing my mentor, my big brother?
Kids in school barely spoke a word to me, afraid I had a dozen eggs hanging precariously around my heart. Maybe I did. I told them at work I needed a little more time off which of course was not a problem. Mom was in her denial stage wearing a fake smile but her vacant eyes betrayed the true feelings. One look at the hollow abyss of her glazed orb sockets and the masquerading smile fooled no one. Dad had spiraled downward and was drinking way too much, which for him was quite a feat. His precious fucking reputation around town had now become the poor martyr that sacrificed his son. Bullshit on that. Jameson was the one who fucking gave his life and Mr. well respected man about town was soaking up the sympathy like it was he himself that had fought in Viet fucking Nam. The only possible good side to all the bullshit was that my sister Mandy was coming home. Mandy sweet and innocent Mandy my older “true hippie” sister who had left home. I had always suspected my father of kicking her out of the house but Amanda maintained she left on her own. At the very least I was sure Dad had made living here impossible for her. Mandy had left and moved in with her boyfriend upstate New York in a town called South Fallsburg. I had been to visit them once when Ken and I drove up to the Catskill Mountains town to get away for a week two summers ago. Her boyfriend Todd had studied Club Management at Sullivan County Community College while Mandy took some photography classes and worked part time as a bartender at the Bending Elbow. Todd finished his two years and landed a job at a resort club in Monticello as assistant manager. The last time I heard from her she was still working and was trying to find work as a nature photographer. I would find out soon enough because part of the preparation was getting a room ready. I really missed her.
Dad was too drunk so I had to bring Mom to the Funeral Home to make arrangements. Jesus shit this must have been the hardest thing I ever did. Mom sat and nodded her head as a sleazy mortician described what services they offered. It was downright offensive that he was asking my Mom about tips for the gravediggers, and did she want to spray some air freshener in the casket. I mean I know it needs to be done, but all we were getting from the US Army as I understood it was an American flag and a uniform once worn by my brother and his remains. Remains? He died in a fucking bomb massacre and truth is I have always had a distrust of the military but give me a break. They most likely scrapped together whatever organic shit was left of the troop that were killed and shared it among the families of all the deceased. Who really gives a shit if it smells nice anyway? The fucking topper was getting her to buy a vault so the “a umm, bio-organic scavengers don’t infiltrate the casket.” Oh, do you mean so the worms, maggots, and grubs don’t eat his body? There is no God damn body you scumbag, only remains! But again, I guess he had to do what he had to do. I would absolutely hate a job like that. The memories of all the bodies being discreetly removed from the Nursing Home patients that died flooded my mind. I imagined a similar conversation took place with their families and thought how many of them wouldn’t have even cared about the worms and such. But Mom did, and I knew it was all about her and not me. My loser old man couldn’t even make it to the funeral home. All that did was added to my already boiling distain for his sorry self-pitying ass.
On the ride home I knew I needed to get Mom talking. “When is Mandy getting home?” As if on cue Mom broke out of her desperate trance. “She is coming in Sunday night. I can’t wait to see her Can you pick her up at the train station JT?.” I was going to respond but she immediately regressed back into her sad and morose meditation. Jesus shit this was tough, and I have no idea what to do. I let Mom wallow through the five steps of mourning as I continued to attempt to make sense of the world. This fucked up Jameson free world. I can’t handle all this death shit man, I gotta do something!

 

 

 

When we got home from the funeral sales floor the old man was sitting in his recliner and was clearly out of it. My anger began to gather in the pit of my stomach and work its way up into my overloaded brain. I looked at that sorry excuse of a man and decided that this was the time. I got right up in his face. “Why don’t you get up off of your self-centered pitiful ass and go comfort my Mom? She is in so much more pain and all you do is sit your worthless ass here and get drunk and feel sorry for yourself. Where are your patriotic self righteous principles now? Jameson is fucking dead! Dead! I told you this war would kill him and now it has. Mom cries every god damn night and all you can do is drink beer. You call me worthless well what the fuck are you?” It was the first time I ever cursed in front of my Dad and it felt strangely good. The only thing that could have possibly felt better was if I had a picture of the look on his stunned face. He had no clue what to do because in his cold heart he knew I was right. I just read that asshole his rights and I liked it! He was speechless and I sensed his angst not directed at me for a change but at himself. He looked sheepishly toward my Mom, looked at me and then back at her again. I believe he was debating whether he should try and beat me to a pulp or go and comfort his wife but surprisingly after a short deliberation he chose to do the right thing. As soon as they embraced I knew it was time for me to head to my room, my fucking sanctuary. I needed some comforting too! I also realized that things had changed profoundly here at home and nothing will ever be the same. Sometimes my life is just so fucked up I am not sure what I should do.
As fucked up as it was though as soon as I walked through the door I knew what I was going to do. I knew that I was gonna snort some morphine pills. The twin tablets Ken had left me had been singing a sweet love song to me ever since they made it into my pocket. I grabbed my stash, a cleverly hollowed out bible, and grabbed the pills. Next I pulled out my new Grateful Dead Album. It was a live double album of the Dead who are by far my favorite band. Not a Deadhead yet but I have seen them quite a few times and I own every album they have made so far. But today this album would serve double purpose. Music to soothe my soul as well as “drug paraphernalia” to soothe my brain. I opened the album cover and placed the pills in the center of one side. With the back of a soup spoon I crushed the 2 pills into a pile of powder. I had seen movies so I knew what to do and I took out a razor blade so I could chop up the pills even finer. Then out came my driver’s license and I formed two long lines of white powder. I rolled up a 20 dollar bill, put one end in one nostril and closed the other with my finger. I sniffed hard and fast as if I were a Hoover vacuum cleaner until both of the lines had gone deep into my sinus cavity. It burnt so much I thought I would get a nosebleed but I immediately clasped my nostrils shut so nothing would escape. Next I drew in a hard breath through my nose like a strong sniffle. Jesus shit it was like I could feel it making its way up my nose and into my brain. I looked up feeling like I was going to sneeze, my eyes began to water, but within 15 seconds a new sensation set across my whole body. Wow, a warm and fuzzy! It really is warm and fuzzy, and as if by magic every bad thing in the universe disappeared. Not gone but certainly forgotten, at least for a short while. I whispered to myself intending it for Ken. “This shit is like 10 times better than ludes man, you were right! I felt good.” Not just good man, great. Fuck everything man. James is still dead, my old man is still an asshole, my Mom cries all the time, but at the same time, everything is okay. Not gone, but okay! Holy shit, I think I just found a new religion. I will now become a morphine-ite and worship the serenity it has bathed me in. And the music was perfect, I had chosen side 3, an18 minute jam called “The Other One” and I closed my eyes and drifted. Praise Jerry. It was Jerry Garcia’s guitar that scooped me up in a magic carpet and set me on a course to wonderland. I was chasing Grace Slicks White Rabbit and feeling great. I plopped on the headphones to help drown out the sobbing and reconciliation of Mom and Dad. I wondered for a second if they were going to have sex, and nearly threw up in my mouth a bit at the thought. Fuck this man, I need to drift off in this music. Take me away Jerry. So Jerry and Sister Morphine took me by the hand and walked me down into the garden of serenity, hoping the piper will lead me to reason. And a new day will dawn, if I can only stand long, and the forests will echo with laughter. I really love laughter. As always the drugs took me away, so very far away from this mad fucking world! Knowing it was Dangerous didn’t make me more cautious, it made me want to continue doing it forever.

Continued Tomorrow

 

THE STORYTELLER

 

The storyteller unlocks the subconscious
A locksmith using memories as his tool
Reminding us knowledge which lay dormant
Sleeping in the memories of our own hearts
Wishing one day to sort out real from imagined
So we listen with intent hoping to be free
Because feelings that lay frozen in our minds
Plead day to day that they be un-manacled
Free of the fears which lock our hope away
Holding hostage that which we already know
The knowledge that dawned with our births
Stored in the vastness of our repressive minds
Inside the temples of the storytellers graveyard
Where secret knowledge is preached in solitude
So we listen

 

 

The storyteller he makes no claims nor judgments
His tales are the dreams of visitors from the night
Imaginary and manifested friends of midnight lore
Some welcome some unwanted but all unfiltered
Preying on our eager and vivid imaginations
Reaching in to unleash our suppressed emotions
To strip them naked exposed unto ourselves
He asks not to be paid in silver nor gold
Only hopes to enter into our hearts and minds
And allow his words soothe or injure wakefulness
Offering no direction nor instruction be followed
Exposing incognito the paths of our choosing
Oftentimes he tell stories of profound love
Allowing many to reflect fondly of experience
So we believe

 

 

Yet for others love never seems to be enough
So he recalls stories of deep pain and loss
Sharing the pains he lived through and died from
Exposing himself while revealing our profound grief
And in the end with the many tales he’s woven for us
He blankets us all from that darkness which resides
Obscuring from inside the desires of the incendiary
Coaxing emotions to come bubbling to the surface
In a desperate search to find our own reflection
And fix the broken parts we tried to forget
Whether memories make you sad or glad matters not
It bears no significance once the story comes to end
The teller leaves carrying our hurts without reward
Upon his shoulders to cast into his healing heart
A mutual exchange of what is and what should be
As it was intended

 

The biggest fish of the fishing rod, a thousand tales from Scheherazade
Saviors of the suicide squad that make us stop and think so hard
Should we disregard our own backyard or traipse on down the boulevard
Scary streets abandoned yards, play at risk of being scarred
Don’t blame the words of the traveling bard its only a tale
The storytellers veil to hide his wails
Be he poet or prophet or teller true
He gives freely of words to me and you
Words plucked from his heart become his art
Right from the start
He writes them down not for glory
Only wants to tell a story
To reveals our eyes to our mirror
Put perspective little bit clearer
So gather round come in nearer
Stand naked before his story moral
Thank him for his message oral
Once he’s gone only words remain
Because no one notices his barrel of pain
They only ask him to tell it again and again
Until he has no story left

 

 

I Got The News Today Oh Boy….(From Zen and the Art of Culinary Maintenance)

 

 

J. T. Hilltop

Arties Quaalude parties where epic events and tonight’s was one for the records. We partied through the night high on ludes, shrooms, weed, and beer without a clue to what reality felt like. We laughed ourselves into the early morning hours unaware that time even exists. With Ken out of the picture for the night Patrick tried to put the move on Sue but I took him aside and set him straight. No harm no foul, it was the ludes that really gave him such big balls and Patrick wasn’t the kind of guy that would try and screw his friend’s girl. That is to say not without being coerced by a number of Quaaludes and herb. It was getting too late and time to head home so Carrie, Sue, and I headed for the homesteads hoping to sneak in unnoticed. We first dropped Sue off at her house, then Carrie and I hid in the bushes just on the side of her house. We made out for ten minutes and we both wanted to make love, especially with the enhanced desire from the Quaaludes, but doing it on her front lawn was not a good move and it was late and we had nowhere else to go. I gave her one long last passionate kiss goodnight and began my own trek home.
A myriad of thoughts were flooding my head and due to all the pills and weed combined with the shroom trip I began hallucinating wildly. This was not uncommon when you have been trying to maintain until it such a time as you could let it go like say the sanctity of my room. When you let your guard down the hallucinations flowed with the fury and passion of young love. Which by no accident was one of those swirling thoughts on this night. The smile on my face was so huge that my ears had to take a step back and make more room. The delirious joy from the ludes and the spiritual wonder of the mushrooms had begun to hit me in a tag team match. They both took me on at once kicking my ass and it felt unbelievably great. “Jesus shit, nothing in the world could possibly take me down!” But as we have learned the universe has it‘s own agenda.
I stumbled up the driveway feeling absolutely giddy until I noticed the kitchen light was on. “Oh fuck. Someone’s awake, this can’t be good.” I walked into the house sensing an uneasy feeling. That fantasy of life feeling was quickly replaced with trepidation. Maybe the parents found my weed, or I was busted for some dumb ass thing in school. I could hear my Mom whimpering in the kitchen. When I walked into the kitchen the tension in the air was thick as mud. It became obvious Mom had been crying for some time and the old man just stared at the floor with that dumb blank expression on his face he always seemed to have. I did my best to remain cool and not look as fucked up as I was, “What’s going on?” It was a familiar silence, the kind so tense and awkward your ears burned from the lack of noise. My head filled with heat and I was sure it made my face so red a beet would be jealous. Instant buzz kill from Mom’s laser machete chopping eyes swinging her anger at my general direction. Fuck me, don’t tell me they found my stash. But no. This was something far worse. After about 10 seconds of eerie nothingness my Pops broke the spell. “We got a visit from the army. James was killed in battle.” Mom broke out in a renewed set of loud heaving cries that I was sure had been going on for quite a while. I knew it. Jesus shit I fucking knew this was gonna happen! The rage built up quickly and I felt my face fill with anger, sorrow, and total disdain. I looked over to my old man and he never took his eyes off the floor. Didn’t even possess the balls to look me in the eye. I reflected on every Goddam fight Pops and I had over Vietnam, over government overreach and all the times I had to defend the fact that I wasn’t a shithead communist. I glared at him and all I could think of was how Ken had described punching his old man out for hitting his Mom. I wanted to go over and wail on him but my Moms crying stopped me dead. Stopped me dead? What a shit for brains thought that was for me to have. I looked past my war mongering old man and walked straight to Mom to hug her. My eyes filled up with salty rivers of sorrow. Jameson, my fucking hero, my big brother and only confidant dead. A senseless casualty of a senseless war. I began to cry as well and just held Mom tight as she cried in my arms. My whole world was now upside down, inside out, half assed, and backwards. The various drugs teamed up with the raw emotion and the result was a vortex of confusion, hurt, and anger.
My God praying Mom had an empty soul for the first time in her life. Her eyes were vacant and void, all red and beaten not just from tears tonight but from many years of worry and stress over her kids. I knew I was a major contributor to the weathered and worn orbs and felt ashamed at the moment. Her expression was blank, lost, at a complete emptinessm war,  of emotion. I had never seen anyone so detached and it worried the shit out of me. As I held her close I reflected on the better times James and I had, arm punch contests, purple nurples, and wet willies aside we were very tight as kids. Jameson always let me play ball with him and his friends and I thought back to the time playing football when he played quarterback and helped me score my first touchdown. “Okay JT, you take one step over the line, I’m throwing you the ball. You catch it, turn and run to the endzone.” Ha, the endzone. An obscure piece of real estate in between two large trees on our elementary schoolyard . The promise land of no rules pick a team football. He then turned to the rest of the guys in the huddle. “Any one of you mother fuckers lets JT get touched by anyone gonna get their ass kicked by me!” We laughed for days because I caught it, turned and ran my little ass off down the field and James and his friends used the most unethical and illegal forms of blocking, but not a soul touched me and no one from the other team dared to say a word. James was the best big brother anyone could hope for. For two weeks all anyone talked about in my Jr. High school was how JT made a touchdown playing football with the high school kids. It was gold. Jesus shit I’m gonna miss James.
I looked my Mom in the eye and said “Mah, remember the time James was chasing me around the house and I ran through the sliding screen door Dad had put in that morning? I thought you were gonna kill us both.” I could see the smile taking root on her face and her eyes lit up for just a tiny bit. I hoped it was making her forget if only for a short time the pain she was dealing with. I wondered if my asshole old man felt pain or patriotism but it didn’t matter either way, it was being numbed with cheap beer. But whatever, my Mom smiled probably for the first time tonight “Oh good god JT, you two were such terrors. You have no idea how much you guys put me through.” Mission accomplished, Mom was now reflecting fondly too. We exchanged stories for what seemed like hours, but it just felt good just to not see her crying. As for the old asshole, still not a word. Most likely he was wallowing in guilt and remorse. He was pounding down beer after beer and he looked drunk. I almost felt sorry for him because his sorry ass aura had no glow at all. Nothing, nada, zilch! Zero emotion as though he didn’t even have it in him to shed a tear. Beneath those red eyes was an empty sandlot.
I sat up with Mom for a few more hours until the sun began to shed light on what was a normal day for everyone else. Mom offered to make breakfast but I declined. My head was now pounding from the loss of James compounded by a killer hangover from booze and drugs. I went to my room slapped on the headphones and lay on the bed, not even bothering to take off my clothes. I have no idea for how long, but I stared at the ceiling until I fell asleep weeping. I slept hard all the time hoping when I woke up it will all have been a shit ass dream and James was waiting to kick my ass. Fuck war! Fuck Vietnam! Fuck me!! TBC

 

 

TODAY

 

 

Nine fucking eleven. I wasn’t going to say a word about this Day, too many emotions. The shedding of fear for family and friends in Florida, the memories of my days at Windows On The World and all the hours spent commuting through the WTC. Everyone telling me not to forget without considering for one second it hurt me so deeply I could never forget. Believe me, sometimes I wish I could…

 

Then I started thinking about how we define our lives according to traumatic experiences both societal and personal. I was far too young to understand the implications of the murder of President Kennedy but I clearly remember how the adults were so unilaterally shocked and hurt. In my lifetime it was similar to the day Reagan was shot and for one collective night we were all Republicans, praying or chanting for him to be allright. I was far more conscious about the deaths of Martin King Jr. and Robert Kennedy as my political views were beginning to form. The trials of the Chicago eight, the civil right denial of our brothers and sisters, the emergence of a group of young kids who cared about every culture proudly assumed the name of “Flower Children”. My question tonight is WTF happened to those children? Did half grow up to be angry white racists? Seems like it to me. Many of the kids who locked their arms with mine now question If people of other faiths and cultures are worthy of the standard my one time brothers and sisters felt were open to all. WTF happened to your souls?

The terrorist attack on NYC, Pennsylvania, and Washington DC wasn’t committed by the people but of a religious cult bent on hatred. It was committed by a break out faction of Islam not that far from Joel Osteen and his band of fuck you if you’re not Christian Faction. Sound harsh? Racism is a harsh reality we need to confront. I am relieved that most of my Florida family are safe, I am relieved that the evil religious zealots have been compromised , but TBT, I have many reservations of who my fellow Americans blame to ease their minds, while turning a blind eye to their own racist assumptions.

I had a long history at the WTC. It was a marker for me, a family member, and when they fell I cried for days. I still cry when someone posts the planes flying into the buildings… It hurts me as if I lost a family member. I have so many fucking memories tied into the Twin Towers that every year it hurts a little more, almost as much as losing my daughter. It hurts…… it hurts us all, but today I am a bit more concerned My family are safe, I grieve for all the families, but I am not willing to target a specific group of people because of their beliefs, or Christians would be on my hate list too If you truly believe yourself to be a believer in God, now is the time to prove it . Jesus didn’t argue, he preached love…..Or at least that’s what I was told ……Live and Love in Peace……

 

racism,

Zen and the art of Culinary Maintenance by JT Hilltop

 

Centerlawn, 1971
Centerlawn. That’s where I grew up, in my parents suburban dream just east of the Gold Coast Great Gatsby section of Long Island. In the backdrop of this little utopia was a huge cauldron of a media inspired sizzling hot generation gap. A war in Viet Nam, a disregard for civil rights, women’s rights, and youth rights, added to the police brutality all over the country had boiled to the top and threatened to spill over into the kitchens all across Centerlawn pitting sons against fathers and daughters against mothers. It was no wonder all we ever cared about was getting high. My brother was in the army likely headed for Nam soon and if things continue the way they are my entire neighborhood would be in Viet Nam in two years. Being in high school sucked, but it sure was better than dodging bullets and bombs. Anyway, time for some old fashioned get high so let the search begin.

Chapter II The Dream Is Born

A typically boring day in high school where cutting class was a necessary event to keep from dying of boredom. Some of us made it an art form which most often was accompanied with a search for a little buz or someone to share yours with. Three years ago pot smokers were a small group but now the non pot smokers are a small group and most of them were considered “narcs”. So much pot was smoked daily in school that we sometimes wondered if that was how it earned the term “high” school. We knew that was just a joke of course but the amount of marijuana exchanged in the hallways was really was substantial. My particular clan of cronies had earned a reputation for being some of the most prolific pot puffers. I could smoke a huge doobie all by myself and still be able to go to any class and function. At least I thought I was. Any class except maybe gym anyway. Yea the “jocks” Those boneheaded sports enthusiast loved to pick on longhairs. They talked in what I assume was the Cro-Magnon vernacular saying well thought out repetitive jokes like “Hey, is that a girl in our gym class? Hey girlie, the girls gym is next door.” So many times I wanted to say something like “Oh I know, I share a locker with your girlfriend”, but I am much too nice a guy. Then again maybe it was because they would have kicked my ass with their Charles Atlas biceps. Not wanting to get sand kicked in my eyes I opted for keeping it an inside joke. They really would kick my ass if they ever found out I had sold and smoked pot with many of their girlfriends at one time or another.
Anyway, whenever I got bored, which usually only happened on school days I engaged in a ritual tradition that Ken and the rest of my band of merry marauders enjoyed called “Find some Buzz”. We would go in search of anyone that had a joint, or a chunk of hash, and ask them to front us a hit. More often than not when a good friend came by they would ask us if we wanted some buzz before we even asked because we always shared our stash, no one really liked to smoke alone. It wasn’t unusual for Ken and I to run into each other in the hallways because we had a certain few places we always hung out at that were prime hiding spots while cutting class. Today would be no different. My best friends voice startled me, “Hey dude, I have a fucking brilliant idea.” Ken was the idea man and had tons of them. “And we should start saving money for it right now.” As always, Ken immediately garnered my curiosity having blown me away with truly great ideas so often. Ken was brilliant and creative. Many of the other students laughed at him back in Jr. high, because when he moved here from Oklahoma he was the first boy in school to have really long hair. All of five foot six, he had long flowing blond hair that was parted in the middle cascading over his shoulders and half way down his back. He had a rebel soul and I was drawn to him instantly. Like most of the male students I had started growing my hair long in part to look cool, but more importantly to piss off my Mom and Dad. Most all of us had developed a twitch from keeping our long bangs out of our eyes. We all wanted to be Beatle “moptops”back then but Ken was ahead of the curve and had already grown his hair long like……well like a girl. That was also part of Kens appeal. He seemed to know ahead of everyone else what would be in style before it actually came in style. He had gone from a long haired geek freak that was made fun of to a well respected member of the hippie rebellion ranks. Proudly I admit I had much to do with his rise to “coolness” because for some weird reason I was always allowed to hang with the cool kids since fourth grade. It wasn’t that I actually was cool, but I had an older brother and even older sister who had created reputations with the teachers. Those reputations preceded me so you could say I was cool by association. I played kid rules football and baseball with the “older” kids , got rides in my sisters boyfriends “Surf Woody”, and just always hung out with the older kids. So my becoming Kens friend had helped him gain acceptance and move up the hipster social ranks quickly with my friends. It wasn’t long until they too saw how insightful he was to popular culture and trends. Before the end of the 9th grade we were all growing our hair long, and wearing cool clothes like bell bottom pants and double breasted balloon sleeve shirts. Checks, stripes, paisley prints, the brighter the better and no worries if it doesn’t match. Now we all had real long hair, afro’s, long straight hair, super curly locks or like mine long wavy banana curls.
But the first order of business was to relieve the boredom with a little herbal remedy. “Cool dude, but lets go out to La Bomba and do a bowl first. You still got that hash?” As usual Ken came through. “Of course bro, some nice opium streaked black Afghanistan. Lets go asshole.” I hated his “lets go asshole” phrase but he always sang it like a commercial jingle and everyone laughed, so I just dealt with it. Off we went to the parking lot to climb into my car to smoke some hash. My little red Simca, A French sedan type car that was Frances answer to the Volkswagen, “La Bomba” is what we called the car and it was our entire groups pot smoking haven. I never locked the doors because so many of my friends used it at various times of the day, even if I wasn’t there. But this day, at this moment, no one else was around. I could tell Ken was happy about that because he really wanted to talk about his idea. Tell you the truth, I was pretty anxious as well. As he filled his chamber pipe with a small piece of black hash I needed to know. “So Ken, what’s this new idea?” Not a ground breaking or earth shattering question but it‘s hard to talk while smoking hashish. “ Well, here’s the thing.” I heard the match strike and light up as he put the pipe to his lips and lit the hash. He spoke as he was inhaling and his voice got lower and stranger as he talked as if gasping for a last breath but had to get a statement out. The interior of my little red bomba filled up with the sweet herbal haze of hash smoke. In between inhaling and holding the smoke Ken laid out his plan. We would be graduating in two year’s and with no job or plan for college Ken was open for an adventure. I did have a job but at the time I thought it was just a job not a career. I was up for adventure too and most likely not attending college either. The choice was basically go to college, get drafted, or leave the country. I was smart enough for college but my grades had fallen substantially over the last two and a half years. I stopped putting in any effort after my Dad called me a worthless communist because I did a project about the dreaded USSR and the positive side of Socialism. I took the point of view that they had some redeeming values. Controversial but worthy of an A+ from my liberal social studies teacher. Instead of being proud he freaked on me. What an asshole! Anyway our fates will be in the hands of our government considering we would more than likely be shipped off to Viet Nam. Ken thought we could save up some cash, get a video camera and supplies, and head out to Chicago. “Jesus shit man, we can burn our draft cards and just get the fuck out of town.” His idea was to start at one end of Rt. 66 and travel to the other end to Santa Monica where we could settle in with the hippies of California. “You know man that’s a great fucking idea, we can be like those two guys on Rt 66, I’ll be Buzz and you can be Todd.” Ken gave me a punch, “No fucking way man, I’m Buzz, you’re more the Todd type. If either of them dudes were around today Buzz would definitely be in a band. Todd would have a silver pen!” Ken had a love of guitar and film and I wanted to write. His idea was to basically make a kind of documentary of the trip, Ken with his camera and me with my pen. “Bro, you can write the whole thing down in your notebook.” Yea, my notebook, JT’s bible. I took my notebook almost everywhere convinced I was the next James Michner, Jack Kerouac, or maybe even Ken Kesey who wrote about the life of the Merry Pranksters. My book was full of poems, short stories, or just a few of my abstract observationsand Ken’s idea blew me away. To me it was brilliant, the chance of a lifetime. RT 66 was so historic, a television show, the route for all the dust bowlers of the 1930’s who fled to California to escape poverty. Route 66 was the sort of scenic route people took who just wanted to migrate to Los Angeles. I mean Jesus shit, the fucking stones do a tune about it. Brilliant choice, from Chicago to Los Angeles via Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona. Ken shot me his infamous shit eating grin and said, “whatcha think, lets go asshole.” I was sold instantly.
TBC

 

Fractured Soul

 

When the soul is fractured it’s fractured forever. We try and put braces on our fractured souls, people come into our lives that make it easier for us to function with the fractures, to love and laugh, but the fracture always remains. We only learn to carry on as if there were no cracks whatsoever. That’s a fucking lie!

 

My soul became fractured in one moment
My dreams turned into icy memories
Hope snuck out the bathroom window
Taking my will to survive on its back
That horrible moment I had to be strong
I needed to assure baby girl it was okay
Not that everything was going to be fine
But that it was okay to let go of the pain
She couldn’t speak so she nodded
Told me she loved me with a blink
The machines went silent
My heart fell apart
My soul fractured
Only one questioned remained
Do I live on or die

 

Fractured soul a life corrodes broken heart as black as coal
Free me now let me explode unpack my sorrow and unload
You can’t console a fractured soul
You can’t control the Reapers role
So take me down that lonely road
Back to my home
Where I always travel alone
My soul disqualified and compromised
Modified to be unoccupied minimized and oxidized
Rust and dust the tears I cried
Begging and pleading tell me why..
Nothing matters when your soul is fractured
Living life backward like a tortured actor
My essence smoldering in a nuclear reactor
That’s how it feels when the soul is fractured
Filled with all the hurt that I can manufacture
Like a homeless soldier stripped of stature
Left in the rain to scrap and forage
Thrown to the wind left unsupported
Purple hearts don’t pay their mortgage
Forgotten heroes packaged in cardboard storage
Alongside fractured souls of the morbid orphans

 

 

Our lives are made up of memory experiences
Big piles of good reflections and big piles of bad
Hopefully the bad pile is far lower than the good
But even if it’s not we mustn’t let the bad
Infect all the wonderful good things we have
Both piles make us up to who we’ve become
And who we are now comes down to one decision
Which pile to ignore and which to climb high
From my first memory I set out running
In a fervor to find what’s beyond the light
I didn’t realize when I was a young man
That I wasn’t running towards life but away
All along I was being chased by the ravager
If time ever catches up to me all I can do
Is surrender my fractured soul
And accept my final fate…..
I’m running as fast as I can

 

Live and Love in Peace