Cardboard Purgatory

 

The Homeless. Everyone agrees it’s a problem yet no one has a solution. Many of us would refuse to walk an inch in their shoes but most of them would walk a mile with blistered bare feet just to have a pair of our shoes. They are looked down on, looked at with disgust by many, looked at with sympathy or empathy by others. Most of us walk past them pretending not to see them, or maybe throwing them a bit of spare change, but seldom do any of us stop and talk. Or better yet, listen…..

 

How did I get here?
Too many the days of pain
Too long the pain of days
Was what brought me to this
Alone in the jaws of depravity
In the confines of hopelessness
Left naked and empty of hand
Crouched in the shadow of despair
Possessing only the gifts of the Earth
And the stipends of the caring few
While the gates in my face are slammed shut
The gates of my heart remain ever open
What little I have I share with the world
But the world doesn’t often reciprocate
Ridiculed and held in distain from on high
I am the dust beneath their Persian rugs
Catching scraps from their linen tablecloths
Judged as lazy, useless, and worthless
Praying the generous winds of humanity
Will lift me away to place I can call home
And free me from this cardboard purgatory

 

 

Spit it BeBop Street Flow…..

Listen up to the story of existing in purgatory inside a cardboard dormitory
Where guts ain’t got no glory dying is pretty but livings gory
A metaphoric allegory that ends in a repository
Am I striking a chord here?
My shelter made of cardboard is an upgrade from the psyche ward
Got no money can’t afford more been abandoned by the good lord
My universe yet un explored I was floored
Had to fall on my sword
Guess I got a fitting reward but I hate falls
Want to tear down the corrugated walls
But that takes protocols and balls and my balls are all I got left
Feeling bereft because I turned right when I shoulda turned left
So I turned to theft
I was busted disgusted and couldn’t be trusted so I fled
In days past my life seemed complete, had the world upon my feet
Riding high living sweet a big time player playing Wall Street
Until my defeat
Took quite a fall and lost it all, took both eyes off of the ball
Dropped like a giant cannon ball into a tub of alcohol
Anyhow, that’s all I can recall
Lost my job and lost my home lost my family was all alone
They stripped me to the bone locked me up in the crazy dome
Then set me free
Below the Bourgeoisie
No longer have home so with homeless do I roam
Stockholm syndrome
Misfortune as my captor, my pastor and my master
Lead me straight into disaster faster than a slick Bastard
So I got plastered
To be clear it was wine and beer until my problems became severe
Then I blazed the drug frontier and all my worries disappeared
Acted cavalier
But it gets you in the end destroys your life and all your friends
No matter how hard you pretend all the shit comes back again
Only worse
Life becomes perverse obtuse and terse
You’re immersed you can’t converse the only way out is in a hearse
So you ride alone

 

 

 

How did they end up here on “skid row”? Some are simply born into poverty and never have the advantages of good schooling we take for granted. Illness, loss of a loved one, domestic abuse, mental illness, PTSD. Some came back from fighting a war and were simply left alone in the cold. Some simply couldn’t find work. The point is don’t assume they put themselves there from lack of will, or unwillingness to do even menial tasks. Most homeless humans have stories to share that could curl self righteous hair.

So don’t point a finger and yell that lazy bitch got no will power, that’s all. Pull themselves up by their bootstraps and face the world, get a job instead of getting high. But getting high isn’t why most of them do it, they do it to numb the pain, the physical, the mental, and most of all the emotional. Bad decisions often lead to worse decisions and the dominoes of life continue to fall, a little harder each time. Judge not lest Ye be judged…… Live and Love in Peace

 

 

Powdered therapy

powder

 

Blankly she gazed my way

Eyes two hundred years old

Ancient and weathered

Hollow but hopeful

Just one more shot

We’ll kick tomorrow

This time we promised

Again

But we knew the truth

Because every day we wake up

Its just the same as every yesterday

A purposeless life stuck on repeat

Walking in endless circles

We know exactly what we will do

Even sex has become mundane

Stuck in our own tracks

 

 

A numbing life of monotony

Overloaded with mediocrity

Every fucking day seems the same to me

The two of us in powder therapy

And we just sit back and let it all be

Wondering aloud when we gonna OD

 

 

Still we hide behind our solution

Our addiction merely our masks

To escape detection from the world

So all the hurt each day possesses

Can remain locked away until dark

Until the latch of aguish comes undone

Again

The familiar routine comes around

But the hurt never stays forever

It fades and disappears in therapy

Frantically we seek our appointment

Whatever it takes to get through

Spears poised to  pierce our skin

Fill our veins with delirium soaked blood

Leaving evidence of their constant visits

Deeply etched in little red lines we hide

Soul tattoos that we wear on our arms

The tracks of our tears

 

 

A numbing life of monotony

Overloaded with mediocrity

Every fucking day seems the same to me

The two of us high on powder therapy

And we just sit back and let it all be

Wondering aloud

Who’ll be the first to OD

 

In a dingy room sit’s a candle flickering discreet

Two lonely lives stagnate between flesh and dust

A spoonful of sugar helps the pony downtown

To be buried side by side with our long lost lust

 

Wrapped in each others arms we nod through the night

And promise that tomorrow we’ll get ourselves right

Again

 

 

The roadmap to addition is full of pathways and routes but how and why one got there matters not to anyone who’s addicted. Sometimes its just for kix but far more often its for therapy. Therapy through drugs first blocks the physical pain sensors but you soon learn it also blocks the emotional pain sensors. Self hatred, guilt, emotional emptiness are a few fast highway lanes to addition because this therapy makes all those pains disappear. Perhaps only for a few hours but sometimes even a few hours of relief can seem like a life-line.Just about everyone knows of someone who has died from addiction. Addicts can be very convincing, even to themselves. Don’t enable and don’t give up on them. If someone you care about heads down that road you need to be strong, stronger than you think possible. Love, compassion and consistency are what they may need most.

Live and Love in Peace

 

 

Dispossessed

dispossessed

 

I love music but I am far from what you Call musically inclined. I couldn’t read a note of music even if it were played on Rosetta Stone. I always pounded my own drum to my own off beat and even in the shower my singing voice is atrocious. I couldn’t carry a tune in a wheel barrel. But be that as it may from time to time an interlude of sounds takes up space in my brain and pleads me to give it words. I’m far from a songwriter, but not being something has never stopped me from deluding myself so I wrote the words.

 

Dispossessed

 

 

Four course dinner

A movie a dance

While little children waste away

Hoping for a chance

To earn a piece of bread

Wash the pains away

Praying for some silence

When the bombs begin to play

Smart car- cell phone -flatscreen scene

Blindfolded luxuries

To watch a movie and not see

The homeless refugees

 

 

We’ll never change the world if all we do is justify

We’ll never change ourselves if we believe we’re satisfied

Don’t hide behind complacency of nothing can be done

Don’t shake your head but shake your fist until the peace has won

 

 

Bomber jets fly overhead

Then circle to come back

And drop destruction on the land

A civilian home attack

Family lives being shattered

Don’t even know if the children live

Chemicals fill in the cracks of life

Somethings got to give

Get those rockets in the air

Limbless children blood and gore

Close our eyes so we cant see

Families dispossessed by war

 

We’ll never change the world if all we do is justify

We’ll never change ourselves if we believe we’re satisfied

Don’t hide behind complacency of nothing more can be done

Don’t shake your head but shake your fist cause war is never won

 

 

Eighty year old in Ukraine

Lost her house today

Lived in it her whole damn life

Until a war blew it away

With a fifty year old crippled son

Alone in the forest hear them cry

Hold each other tight and pray

That sometime soon they’ll die

But I gotta go to yoga class

And I gotta buy some wine

Then turn on my favorite TV show

O I can try to justify

 

Don’t glorify or justify

Just open your heart and unify

Tome to give real peace a try

Yet still the war machines roll on

Fuck political camp-pains

Use the donations for starvation

Because if we continue on medication

Our world will spin in indignation

And we will continue to build destruction

And we will continue to create deconstrution

Because murder can be a tax deduction

Fuck it, I’m done with my rap Y’all

Peace out, right on

Live and love in peace

 

An Attitude Of Gratitude

att

 

A person never stands as tall as when they bend over to help a child..

Megan Laurine Jaret

2/26/90-10/23/91

One of the unfortunate truths in life is that sometimes it takes the worst things happening to us to bring out the best of our humanity. However that’s no reason not to shine a light on the profound acts of kindness we as humans share with each other in times of catastrophic stress regardless of what motivated those acts. Every year on the anniversary of our daughter Megan’s death we commemorate her life in some way. Maureen and I both fear this date because it’s an unwanted anniversary, the loss of our baby girl. The immense pain we endured and the profound sense of loss haunts us to this day. So each year we share parts of our journey down into the depths of every parents worst nightmare in an attempt to express the need of organ donations as well as the need for all of us to have compassion without condition. This date also reminds of the best humanity has to offer, the selfless and compassionate acts of family, friends, and even strangers. Our story this year is our attitude of gratitude. It as not just an honor to a brave young child, her fight for life and the tragic fight of a mother and father, but it’s an opportunity to focus not on our loss but of our gain for having had Megan in our lives, and to have had a group of heroes alongside us the entire time. We have had the opportunity to share with so many special people throughout the ordeal. We will shine a bright light of gratitude unto all the people, all the heroes in our story who worked so tirelessly and selflessly to assist us through our struggle to keep our daughter alive and to help us both hang on to a thread of sanity.

We had just relocated from Manhattan to Belleville New Jersey searching out a nice community to raise our family. We were strangers in town with a newborn baby girl who would soon make us unwilling celebrities in the New Jersey town. It started with a visit to a pediatrician and ended in a tragedy, but as is usually the case if you follow the journey and not the destination you reveal the true heart of the story. During that often tumultuous journey there are a number of local heroes we want to recognize and have them be the focus of our anniversary this year. So here’s to our homegrown heroes….

The first star of the journey is the late Doctor Milton Prystowsky, a well known pediatric cardiologist. Dr. Milton sat with Megan for over an hour, the first time he met her, monitoring her heart rhythms because he believed he saw something wrong. He was the first one to listen to what we said about Megan’s discomfort. A very welcome comforting voice of reason and compassion after a slew of doctors who totally discounted our claims as what they perceived as first time parents over-reacting to a normal child’s illness. Most chalked it up to a new mother ranting and a new father whose only real medical knowledge was from what he watched on Marcus Welby or Medical Center. But she was much sicker than just an average childhood illness. With our instincts as parents we knew something wasn’t right and it was Dr. Milton who listened intently to all we said and incorporated our observations in his assessment. Megan suffered from myocarditis (an enlarged heart) and she quickly became a favorite patient of his. He would later spend hours saving her life after she had a stroke and cardiac arrest and even comforted us throughout the pregnancy and subsequent birth of our second beautiful daughter Kelllie. Unfortunately Dr. Milton has passed but he is forever woven deeply into our hearts and we are eternally grateful for all he did.

 

Having found out how ill Megan really was another reality was about to rock our world. Even with decent medical coverage the medicines, the therapy, the time off from work, and the costs of frequent doctor visits spiraled out of control. After a cardiac arrest and stroke we were informed Megan now had cardiomyopathy, a condition which is irreversible. Megan needed a heart transplant and we would need to be ready to at the ring of a phone call to rush to the hospital. A local business person, Scott Harvin who was busy growing his own printing business listened to our story and decided something must be done to help. Along with his childhood friend Chris Otazo Scott began a local fundraising campaign to assist us not only with our bills, which had already placed extra burdens but with emotional support. In the beginning Megan was on seven medications given eight times a day, so many intervals it allowed for little sleep if any as well as frequent trips to hospitals. Scott and Chris started the Megan Jaret Heart Fund which grew exponentially as more members of our town heard of our plight.

Before telling of the story of how the fund grew from a grass roots community effort to Megan becoming the 1991 New Jersey Police Benevolent Associations poster child it’s important to go back to two EMT’s who responded to a Sunday morning 911 call on October 7th. Megan’s condition was compromised further when she had a heart attack that morning which we heard in chilling real time over her baby monitor. A frantic call to 911 brought a rapid response from the Belleville Firemen Mark Rossi and Mike De Andrea, who reacted swiftly and decisively first stabilizing Megan then sweeping her into the ambulance and nearly flying away down the road. Maureen and I jumped in our own car and drove with great purpose to the hospital only to find the ambulance hadn’t yet arrived. Panic stricken and confused we were quickly triaged to a private room where we waited an grueling 45 minutes before finding out Megan had arrived. We would later find out that the firemen had stopped along the way to administer emergency cardiac stimulation. There is not a single doubt in my mind the two of them could think of little else then their own children while saving Megan’s life. Of course the pair of heroes would later humbly tell us they we only doing their job but they gave true meaning to above and beyond with their desperate efforts. No matter how big and strong you may be no one really wants a helpless child to be part of their job. So a special thank you to Mark and Mike.

Leading up to that time our needs both emotionally and financially grew significantly regardless of having the medical coverage Maureen had to leave her job and stay with Megan full time and I picked up extra jobs in restaurants to help make ends meet. The fund that Scott and Chris had started became another focal point of our existence. Belleville Police Lieutenant Jack Mailot had read the story of Megan in the Belleville Times and contacted Scott. He told him that he wants to be apart of the fund – he was a cancer survivor and there was just something special about Meg. He and Tony Weiners, also from the Belleville PD helped to heightened the awareness and assistance and suddenly a huge community that had no idea who we were had started rallying around this young couple with a catastrophically ill infant. Larry Rosenthal, a highly successful businessperson, and his associate Barbara found out about our plight and joined in. Larry became a huge supporter for us when he and Barbara focused on Maureen and I because they realized the caretakers so often go overlooked, especially when the one being cared for is such a beautiful and helpless child. It blew us away, and I admit to many hours of tears of gratefulness in their reminding us that we were human, that we were important, and that everyone cared for all three of us.

The need for Megan’s heart transplant also opened us up to an almost sub culture of people who called themselves “The Transplant Community”. There is a slew of people here who helped us emotionally including Rhonda Roby and Peggy Dreker (who’s own beautiful child had a liver transplant) from TRIOS (Transplant Recipient International Organization) and UNOS (United Network for Organ Sharing). Along with the transplant community was our circle of friends. Our “Bridgebrook” family, Kathy and Bob Gandolfi, Mary Bay Pickett, Michael DiFrabizio, Lisa Grabas, and a host of others who were more than merely neighbors shared in our plight.

Megan got her transplant at Columbia Presbyterian, and her doctors were nothing short of amazing!! Drs Robert Michler, and Dr Linda Addonizio, who cried with us when Meg died never made us feel that our daughter was not their priority! The entire staff of Columbia most especially the extremely caring compassionate and professional nursing staff who always helped interpret what the doctors told us as well as just making us feel as if they were our family.

And most importantly our families, played a major role in helping us to not only get through all the insanity but to help us keep it!!! Maureen’s sister Kathleen and her cousin Laurine, and her best friend Diane, who helped to hold her up and give her the courage to get up and fight another day! Their love and support are still immeasurable today! Her brothers, Michael and Sean, both standing next to us helping to hold us up! Maureen’s Aunt and uncle Mel and Bill, who were by our side when we received the devastating news that Meg needed a transplant, they took our other family member, our little sheltie Kasey Jonze and gave him a nice home while we rearranged our lives. When we had to make a trek to Philadelphia to St.Christopher’s Hospital, my brother Randy and his wife Joyce followed behind us, they virtually never left our side, and helped us settle in our new temporary home while attempting to take our minds off of our peril as best they could. Philadelphia was extremely tough on Maureen who set up home in a chair beside Megan where she watched over her 24/7. After the first month I had to return to work where two of my best friends and co-workers, Wayne Lyons and Vicky Zonana kept me together until I could get back to Philly on the weekends. The two of them along with “Little David” another coworker who since passed away were my rocks and stood alongside me from the beginning of our ordeal. A frienship just as strong today as it was back then despite being miles apart.

Then there is our parents, who must have been going through their own agony watching there children suffering and in so much pain over their beautiful granddaughter enduring more pain in her short life, then they did in their lifetime!

We know that there are people all along the way that we did not mention, but it does not mean that their impact is any less for us! We are eternally grateful to all that had come to the aid of our little family and our beautiful little Megan!

Peace, Love, and Thank You

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Arrow Escape (Finding Humanity in an inhumane world)

susan

Paying it Forward To Mother Earth
J.T. Hilltop

There is so much bullshit going on in our world these days, citizens taking aim at governments, world economies collapsing or in danger, Typhoons, hurricanes and tornadoes ravaging the earth, random shootings and mass killings around the world, its no wonder the news seems perpetually loaded down with either bad or worse news. A time of year we like to reserve for sharing and caring can become compromised by stories focusing on the dark side of our humanity. Social media adds fuel to the fire turning one time friends into mortal enemies over politics and religion. But politics and religion are beliefs, concepts, that are dissected, analyzed repackaged and force fed to us through various forms of media. We are constantly bombarded with sex, violence, racism, sexism, politics, and religion in negative ways. Its a wonder we haven’t collapsed ourselves under the weight of hypocrisy and injustice. I’m tired of the same old negative bullshit so I’m taking a break from my normal dry sarcastic warped view of the world to tell a feel good story. Nobody dies, nobody gets molested, no bombs or sex scandals, and no untruths slung around to discredit anyone‘s character. Not this time. This is my Hallmark Moment Story. Not the clever funny Hallmark moment, but the cute kittens, the lion and lamb together all too cute puppy licking baby to make you say awwww moment. And its just in time for Festivus. An to top it all off it has a happy Festivus miracle ending.
This story is a story of two of natures beautiful souls, on a helpless animal in distress and the other a caring humane woman who just may restore some faith in our species. The story of Susan Darrah, a compassionate player in the game of life and her odyssey she called “Saving Steve Martin”. A tale of paying it forward in the noblest of causes, the cause of humanity. Paying it forward because she felt a need to right a wrong created by a human being who carelessly shot an arrow into a helpless deer leaving it to fend for itself with that arrow stuck through its face. If I could I would apologize to Mother Earth for allowing such a horrendous act to have happened to one of her innocent creatures. I would then beg her not to judge us by the careless act of the shooter, but by the act of kindness and compassion that followed.
Susan Darrah spotted this wounded deer on her property in Rockaway New Jersey, a natures paradise of beauty and an area rich in wildlife. So rich with wildlife in fact that Ms. Darrah refers to the land as her “Susanghetti.” . The Susanghetti is home to bears, deer, fox, raccoons, skunk, possum and assorted birds, as well as 5 feral cats, 2 alpaca, an Afghan Hound, and 2 goats to help round it out. it’s a remarkable patch of nature overflowing with life being lived as its meant to. The philosophy of wildlife is simple, survive and multiply. Take advantage of what Mother Earth offers but leave some for the next critter. But that one day Susan spotted a young deer that had overlooked another important wildlife philosophy. Watch out for humans. For whatever reason someone had shot an arrow into the deer. Maybe an accident, maybe a hunter who chose not to follow through by tracking its wounded prey, hopefully not as a prank but an anomaly in the lifescape of Susanghetti to be sure. Proving not all of us are careless or lacking compassion Susan’s human instincts kicked in prompting her to act.
The first thing she did was to photograph the deer she lovingly named Steve Martin, who is famous for his arrow through the head routine among many other comical moments. Her hope was to bring as much attention as possible to deer Steve’s plight. She posted the picture on Facebook and developed a ring of compassionate people following the debacle. Susan gave us daily updates as all of her facebook friends watched helplessly hoping she would have good news one day. She placed calls to anyone and everyone who would listen until finally she made a connection with New Jersey Fish and Wildlife.
With Susan’s cooperation they set up outside the Susanghetti with a plan of rescue. After staking out for two days everyone’s luck changed and Little Steve Martin returned for some eats which Susan supplies. From a window inside a marksman from the New Jersey Fish And Wildlife shot a tranquilizer at Little Steve and successfully sedated him. They remove the arrow which fortunately was a screw point and applied anti-biotic. Once Steve woke up they released him back into the wilds of the Susanghetti. Susan has spotted him a few times coming to feed in the Susanghetti where she leaves food for all her extended family of nature. Little Steve Martin was saved!
I’ve viewed many stories related to the holiday season. People beating each other up over parking spots, trampling each other on black Friday, theft, shots fired at malls, people complaining about prices, and even fights over whether to say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays. That’s why this story is such an important story to me, because Susan’s actions define the reason of the season so much better than all the bullshit flashed over the media. So go ahead and enjoy whatever you chose to celebrate, and don’t focus on what you want or what you need to get someone, focus on following the example of a caring and compassionate human being who put a helpless animals concern ahead of her own. Susan has indeed reminded me that while there’s way too much anger and greed in the world, I can choose to surround myself with positive people who perform compassionate selfless good deeds looking for nothing in return.
Thank You Susan, an may you all have a safe and love filled holiday….PEACE

Go to you tube to see her story at……… Deer pierced in face with arrow @ …… http://youtu.be/vkIH8aP4DbU