Manhattan Was My Mistress

mistress

 

The moment I met her I was hooked
So alluring and seductive
Flashing her neon eyes
Singing her sirens lure
Behind an orchestra of chaos
She promised me a life
Reckless abandon
I pledged my heart
I would always stay
My Manhattan Mistress
Took my heart away
Howling like a hyena in heat
Her streets purr as though a moan
The ground beneath our feet
Rumbles and rocks us gently
She smiles from her throne
I beckon at her will
Noises fill every essence
Yet still she whispers my name
Inviting me inside her
That sweet seductive game
Lured by her voluptuous secrets
Inspired with her beautiful mysteries
Strolling moonlit avenues hand in hand
Disclosing sensual inquiries
Provoking my carnal beast
Entrancing me in her spell
My Manhattan Mistress
Loved me oh so well
She’s my concrete inamorata
Exchanging longing desires
Gyrating my internal fires
Chaotic Karmic spin
Two lust filled nocturnal silhouettes
Together dancing on a pin
But all good things they must come to an end
Packed up my emotions and moved away
Manhattan was my Mistress and
I miss her everyday

Just In Case

just in case

 

(Modern Beat)

 

 

I ran from a familiar land

After my delusions chased me

Across the sand

And I ran

from the North Shore sights

Toward the bright bright lights

Electric nights of city life

Laughing in the jaws of the dragon

Breathing wisps of demon breath

To a world unnatural

In search of death

There in the belly of the beast

Putting my life on lease

Chasing smoke rings

Dancing a crazy crowd

Punk music blasting loud

Fractured bones in the pit

Because I moshed a little bit

Too hard

Fraught with anger

Driven with salacious devotion

Drawn to deviant commotion

I rode the avenue waves

Reveling the horizontal hugs

Stoned insane from too much drugs

Waltzing on the edge of the universe

Stumbling across my dreams

But age collects it’s toll

Body and mind fade from time

Can’t live that way no more

Can hardly get up off the floor

I’ve become a dinosaur for sure

But if you offered me a normal life

I would turn and run away

Who wants that kind of life anyway

Chained to a picket fence

Life in the past tense

Another hamster in the wheel

Man get real!

That don’t make no sense

Children and suspense

Always worried about expense

I’m better left to all my clutter

Traveling rip tide down the gutter

I’m not who I thought I would be

Two good eyes but still can’t see

Even though its in front of me

Now you tell me God can free us

Jesus will appease us? Please!

Was my life ever worth saving

When it was death I was constantly craving

But anyways I ain’t misbehaving

Mine is no disgrace

Repentance has no place

But I’m not going back there

Just in case

 

 

 

 

 

Over/Under…Over Whelmed And Under The Influence

drunk

As a Sous Chef in Soho, after being a line cook at Windows On The World, my career was on track. The Smoking Moon Café was a quaint little 45 seat restaurant in a very hip part of the city. The chef trusted me to run the dinner shift which in truth wasn’t all that hard. A limited restaurant with a lot of specials, the sous chef is a one man show behind the range. Our staff was one dishwasher, one waitress, one bartender, and me. But we all had the right attitude and abilities to make it a fully functional team.
Our clientele were mostly young hip professionals with an edgy style. Very often a diner would enjoy the meal I prepared so much he would send me a drink or a joint, or a piece of hash (quality stuff). Every once in a while a regular would come in an cut up a few lines after dinner then invite us all over for a snort. What can I say it was the eighties, the age of excess and everyone in New York City played a role in the Bright Lights Big City clubbing and drugging culture. The really hip clubs had no signs, one had to be “In The Know” to have the address. That was our clients, we catered to the in the know clientele, many of which came to us for dinner before bouncing around the various clubs.
It was a great place to work, the owner treated us like family, even when he wasn’t there when our shift was over he allowed us to lock up and have a few drinks at the bar before heading out. I was the back of the house and back of the house restaurant people complain about business a lot. Whenever its really busy I bitch wishing for down time, and whenever there’s too much down time I bitch wishing for customers. But on July 4th, 1986 I experienced the most excruciating downtime in existence followed by a near impossible power service. The city was alive with celebration, the streets packed with people in anticipation of the annual fireworks display. This year we celebrated the centennial of The Statue Of Liberty so the fireworks were on the West side that year. Being near the West Side ourselves lunch was crazy busy, I had to come in early to assist the chef, but by dinner just about everyone was out jockeying for a good spot to view the works. By seven o’clock we had had one single customer who only ordered a burger. The area was like a ghost town with everybody and their brother on West Side Highway. It was so slow Moss, the waitress, Eddie the dishwasher an I sat at the bar chatting with Stolie, our favorite bartender.
I mentioned that a customer who had requested a very hot meal had given me a bottle of Mt. Gay rum. I made some my patented dragon juice, assorted hot peppers stepped in sherry vinegar to an order of lamb couscous which I topped off with some harisa. When I came out to chat with him his face was covered in sweat but he loved the meal. He asked me if I like rum. Of course, who doesn’t so the next day he bought me a bottle of Mount Gay, his favorite, to say thanks. Before I knew it Stolie, Moss, and I were in a rum drink competition making each other rum drinks. Eddie didn’t compete but happily accepted the privilege of judging. My concoction was a combo of 151, Meyers, and Bacardi with a drop of every juice I could find then a splash of coke. Delicious and deadly. By 10:15 the four of us were toasted and still not a soul to serve, not even anyone passing by. Closing up in 45 minutes. We were laughing loudly when the door opened and a couple walked in. Shit! Now I am really buzzing and have to cook some dinners. When I started heading to the kitchen I hear Moss say, “Holy fuck!”
From the kitchen door I could hear the decibel level increase rapidly. It was like the floodgates opened allowing customers to come charging through the door. The fireworks were over and we were right smack dab in the middle of the path of hordes of happy hungry people leaving the highway extravaganza in search of a place to eat. Within ten minutes every table was full, a line of revelers out the door. Half hour to closing time, but now closing time no longer existed.
Most restaurant people stay in the field working because we thrive on the pressure. All four of us were thriving our asses off. Moss handled the tables expertly, Stolie made the customers drinks and helped Moss by bussing. I really would need a new ass, thriving or otherwise if I didn’t cook it off I was certain to sweat it off. Eddie was promoted to assistant sous chef and he did a fantastic job. For the next two hours the four of us worked together half drunk on pressure, half drunk on rum. For me the best part of the crazy scene was after the last two tables had been seated, while things were semi calm, Moss came back to the range with her cocktail tray holding one large drink. “The happy customer on table seven wants to send a drink back for the chef so Stolie made you a JT Rum Special.”
I was literally drenched in sweat, rivulets of saline trailing from my temples. I was breathing hard because I had been cooking non stop even slapped myself hard and shook my head many times to try instant sober up, and Moss was standing there, also exhausted, but still smiling handing me a drink. “Are you fucking kidding me? A drink now?” Moss tilted her head, lifted her eyebrows, smiled at me shaking her head yes. All I could do was smile back, “That sounds about right.” I accepted the drink with a laugh, giving half to my newly promoted assistant. We didn’t have our usual close up drink that night, all of us wiped out, but we talked about our fourth of July experience for months after. Those were the days….PEACE

No Angel Born In Hell

medium

I was MIA for two years and now I’m back in town to see Miles my best friend and riding partner. We di everything together, even went together to Port Jeff Harley Davidson to get our bikes. I got the Sportster shovelhead in black, miles went for a customized candy apple red with flames. Miles was a bit showy but that’s one of the things I loved so much about him. In high school we were both considered a little odd, flaunting our uniqueness’s, but Miles took his to the extreme. Long before any of us knew what glam rock was he had a long shag haircut and wore iridescent tight jeans, sparkled socks’ with platform shoes while I stayed loyal to concert tee’s, bell bottoms, and my red, white, and blue “moratorium” sneakers. They called us the big freak and the bigger freak but we always had the best weed so they seldom called us that to our faces. The power of supply and demand was in our favor.

We were both also first on line to experiment with any new drug and to stretch the boundaries of sensible abuse of the drugs. So it wasn’t much of a surprise that when I came back to town it was in part to detox. Nor would anyone be shocked that it was Miles I turned to. I had left town 2 years ago and moved into the big city where I fell into the clutches of addiction. Not much of a surprise there either but bottom line is I wanted to detox and Miles was the only one I could turn to. What was a surprise was when he answered the door. Full red beard and long red locks obscuring a hardened face and wearing a Pagan Motorcycle cut off jean jacket. Mild Miles. Crazyman Miles. I can’t see for Miles and Miles cuz I’m so stoned Miles. The hippie peace loving non confrontational Miles I left behind was now in a violent motorcycle group.

The second we saw each other we embraced like long separated lovers. Two peas getting back in the pod, Frick mending ways with Frac, peanut butter reuniting with jelly. Best pals from kindergarten till after high school together again.It was a magic moment shared by two outcasts that had each gone out in search of themselves. I became a city bohemian starving artist writer, a potential Salvatore Dali with a typewriter and a thesaurus holding down cooking job to make ends meet. That and to feed an addiction. And now Miles a what? A kickass biker dude? “Holy shit Bro, long time man, you look great. Full beard, long hair and a..A Pagan MC jacket. Wow, I mean like jeez bro you look…well you look kinda mean. You hooked up with the Pagans?” Miles grinned his infectious grin. A grin that grabbed your smile muscles and forced them upward. His grin was so intoxicating women would get woozy and he would get lucky with jut a smile. As always I fell prey to it as well. “Yea bro, me, a fucking biker right?? Who’da thunk Miles Martin would be a badass biker with the Pagans. I bet most of our friends figured me for a burnt out junkie loser or some shit, hahaha.”… Ouch, that stung. I forced my smile muscles not to participate in his enchanting grin game and looked down at the ground slightly embarrassed. When I sniffled he figured it out instantly, “Oh hey JT, sorry man, I…I” He stepped back and rolled up my sleeve. “Oh shit Bro not you? What about our pact? What happened?”

I began to sheepishly explain how I just got caught up in it, using a partially true excuse of researching the sub cultures of the city to write my stories an catching a habit researching street survivors in The lower East Side. That was how it began but it was me that fucked up and chose to keep going back for more not for research, but for relief. “That’s part of why I’m here man, I’m sick and I need help. I want to kick Bro, I want out but I ain’t got no one to turn to. My family disowned me, don’t even wanna hear my name, my girlfriend moved back to Kansas just to get away from me, and everyone else I know is either too strung out or too stoned to give a shit.” Miles got it, he knew instantly what to do. I knew he wouldn’t judge me or turn his back on me or tell me to get lost, he was a true brother. “Come on in man, have a brew. Let me make a few calls. First we’ll get you right and then we’ll get you clean.” he sat me down, tossed me a PBR, and disappeared. I guzzled the beer listening to ZZ Top, sniffling all the while as the physical aspect of my sickness from addiction became more noticeable. Five minutes later Miles returned, “Come on JT my brother, I’m gonna get you a dose of methadone for tonight and then we’ll go to a Pagan safe house to clean up. We‘ll take my cage.”

Miles cage, what bikers call their cars, was a cheap sedan of some type, I never really noticed. He drove about fifteen minutes to a bar in Amityville called “Blue T”. I could tell Blue T was a biker bar the second we pulled up because I saw rows of incredible scoots lined up in front. Mostly tricked out Hogs, a few Indians, a pair of Triumphs, and one Norton all shining and gleaming. It was a beautiful sight and I started to understand why Miles hooked up. He told me to wait as he went into The Blue T, returning after two minutes with a dude that scared the shit out of me with just a glance. He was about six four an maybe 275 pounds dressed in all black. His big oval face was obscured by a huge stringy jet black beard that went below his tee shirt neckline. His hair was just as coal black but long and greasy and sorely in need of a brush. Or at least some shampoo. In the middle of that hirsute framed face were two mean and angry giant beady eyes set way back in his head. They appeared to be stuck in pissed off mode and I feared his grimace was surgically implanted. As he got closer it became apparent that personal hygiene was not a priority. A reddened worn face with acne that betrayed he was much younger than he appeared. I wondered if he had ever had a moment in his life when he wasn’t angry. He looked directly at me with incredible distain, “This the asshole Red?” Miles stepped up, “yea JuJu, this is my buddy man, he’s cool. Give him a break Bro, he’s sick right now. Just do me this favor dude an I’ll owe you.” I shivered and let out another sniffle as an exclamation point. “Fuck this asshole Redbeard. Look, I’ll give him half my take home but stop with this punk ass I’m sick bullshit. You think you’re the first dipshit to use the spike?” He was looking at me now an I tried to sound halfway normal, “No man, no, I dig it, you’re right man, I just want this shit to stop man.” He shot me a look that may actually be able to kill and passed me a vial, “Drink half, but just fucking half asshole, this is my take home.” I obliged, thanking him enthusiastically for his generosity. The methadone clinics are only open Monday to Friday so on Fridays reformed junkies in the program get take home doses to get them through. Giving up half your take home was no small favor, he really did me a huge favor, or rather for Redbeard. I passed the remainder back putting out my hand to shake, but he just glared, turned, and walked back into the bar. I looked at Mile and thanked him then asked “Reddbeard” His grin returned triumphantly and he merely ssaid, “long story.”

Miles slapped my shoulder, “c’mon, lets go puff a joint then we’ll have a few brews. My sponsors gonna pick us up in an hour to bring us to a safe house.” We went out back to puff a joint. By the time we finished the methadone was just beginning to kick in and for the first time all day I felt good. We went inside sat on stools at the bar of Blue T to have some beer an catch up. It was a frightening experience just looking around. I was afraid to look at the chicks for pissing off one of these dudes. They were all big burly badasses virtually all dressed in black, “I’m sorry man, I gotta know. How the fuck did you end up with the Pagans?” Miles guzzled his beer straight own, wiped his thick red beard splattering a mix of spit and beer off his mustache into my lap and began his story.

“After you left I had no one to run with. Patrick went off to college and Sam got married and sold his bike. Rest of the assholes from town gave me nuthin but shit so I said fuck it and started hanging alone. I was chilling at Gunderstocks in Northport. and this dude come up tells me about a party out in Amityville. Dude looked cool and I was alone so of course I say fuck yea, and turns out it’s a Pagan club party. Booze and chicks everywhere man, I thought I was in biker heaven bro. So I talk to my new friend and he tells me if I want to get in with the Pagans I gotta do my time. If they like ya they let ya become a hanger on. Then if your lucky a member will sponsor you an you go through all kinds of bullshit I can‘t talk about here. Dude says he’s been a hanger on for two months now. That night I got so fucked up, had so much fun, and on top of it got laid by two biker chicks at once. I’m telling ya JT, the fucking best ever”

“So I became a hanger on, went to all their parties, carried the kegs, picked up grain alcohol and weed for them, cleaned up after, shit like that. Whatever they wanted they just yell ’Yo citzen, get me a joint, or bring me a beer, whatever. Three months go by, I’m hanging around all the time, getting laid like every day trying to impress a member to sponsor me. One morning its like seven AM, everybody’s tanked and tired and this member says to me, ‘Yo Citizen, make us some breakfast’ So here’s my big chance ya know, cooking like you an me always done working at Moonriders. So I whipped them up a great breakfast, made them hash brown potatoes, sausage and bacon, eggs with parmesan, and everyone’s like holy shit fucking citizen can cook. Next thing I’m cooking all the time and they start calling me Chef Boy Ar Dee. That’s cool because it beats the shit out of lugging and cleaning and gets me noticed. Two more months of that when the dude what originally asked me to make breakfasts asks if I want him to be my sponsor. Well hell fucking yea I want a sponsor, that’s why I’m there, so he sponsors me.”

Just then another biker came up and whispered something to Miles. Miles looks up at him says “Cool, thanks,” and the dude leaves. “Okay JT, finish your brew buddy, we leave in ten. When we get to the safe house. I’ll finish my tale then an you’re gonna tell me how the fuck you ended up with that shit in your veins.” I picked up my beer and began guzzling when I hear a commotion to my left. A dude was sitting on a stool next to me minding his business sipping a beer when a biker wearing his Pagan colors pushes his head into the bar, “I asked you what you said about my bike mother fucker!” The dude was confused. He rubbed the area on his head that had just been introduced to the bar counter answering, “What? Hey man, I didn’t say nothing about nothing man, I’m just drinking a beer.” The Pagan grabbed him by the shoulder, “You calling me a fucking liar asshole?” and lowered a hard right hook to the dudes forehead. It was right in front of my face, I saw the skin cave inward on hiss forehead then reverberate back in place all red. After another punch to his chin he lost his balance and fell to the floor. I was in shock but it was like no one else noticed as the dude jumped up fists flying. They bumped my stool spilling half my beer all over me as they engaged in hand to hand combat, splattering blood around from someone’s nose. They brawled valiantly the sound of thuds and cracks as they pummeled each others faces and heads until the barstool dude had nothing left and just collapsed. Shaken up I looked at Miles and said, “Dude, I’m sorry. I know this is your gig but I can’t handle this, I gotta split man.” Miles stood up, “No worries buddy, were leaving now anyway. We’re gonna get you straight.” He through a twenty on the bar and led me out. I stayed very close so they knew I was with him.
Next episode, Kicking It In The Safe House