Parade Season

each spring, as the parades
approached, many veterans
would need to update
their uniforms. a small percentage
are Vietnam Veterans
who discarded their awards
in disgust. an accumulation
of time altered their original
conscription, and now wanted to
participate.
and represent.

the veterans of World War II
did not have to confront
the decision their Vietnam brethren had to.
the Greatest Generation watched over decades,
as their uniforms were desecrated
by curious grandchildren.

“i need a belt buckle.”

“a regular web belt for work?”

“No, a Goddamn USMC buckle in all it’s glory!”

my father in law- who owned the Army Navy surplus store
i found myself working in
had bought 120 USMC Dress buckles
at a trade show years earlier.
there were still a few dozen
in our attic stockroom.

“hold on one minute, i’ll be right back.”

i immediately find a
boxed USMC belt buckle,
and head back down the
rickety stairs from the attic,
to the retail floor.

“how much do i owe you, kid?”

“on the house. it’s the least we can do.”

“awww, c’mon kid, i can pay you!”

“hey- didn’t anyone give you something for free today?”

he raised his head to look directly into my eyes.
i thought i could hear his train of thought.

“a free buckle? a free buckle?”

holding the small
cardboard box
he spoke eloquently

“You are making an old Marine proud.”

he then exits the store.

the sound is congruent
everyone in earshot
was aware of what we heard.

i race to the deck outside the store
as customers are dialing 911
on their cell phones.
when i reach his fallen figure, i ask “are you ok?”

he replied~
“yes, i am.”

a moment later, a police officer arrived as
the first responder.
he walked across the deck
that provides access to the store.

“have you been drinking today?
“no, no, no, sir…..”

“Stand Up….”

the officer plants his hands under
the arms of the Marine Veteran
and gradually brings him
to his feet.

“have you been drinking today?” the officer repeats his question, with
an edge of malice.
i was shocked at the lack of a level of subtlety from the officer.
perhaps they dealt with this “emergency” everyday.

and yet, i decided to speak out:

“hey, take it easy on him….”

the officer held the Marine in the same position and then
slowly craned his neck to look directly at me.

“i’ll let you know when i want you to talk.”

i thought to myself
i would oblige,
and remain silent.

a gathering of EMT’s, firefighters, and police
have gathered at the scene.
they all seem to look at me
with a coordinated
disdain.

“you couldn’t differentiate a heart attack
from a drunk old man?”

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October 2001

October 2001

i was confronted
with the dichotomy
of the internet
in the late autumn of 2001.

the attack on America
had specifically affected the content
of our culture, and our national identity.
i attended a concert
by a prestigious English band
at the Riverside Church during the
October of that year.
in Manhattan, security was
prominent.

a week after the show, i found myself in a
bulletin board forum,
the early century precursor
to facebook, and twitter.
a topic caught my attention- the security
at the Riverside Church show, which many
felt was inappropriate.

i wrote to the forum in response
to the topic:

“hey, are you aware that planes flew into the WTC less than
two months ago? could that be the reason for
heightened security?”

member after member of the online group forum
savaged my interpretation of the situation.

“those searches were inappropriate!”

“they negated our personal space!”

“we are not the terrorists!”

“we have no stake in violence, why target us?”

following their compelling statements,
i continued to howl
the content of my rebuttal.
it was an attempt to defend my point of view,
while simultaneously
regarding criticism
as a necessary element.

the awareness was sudden, and complete.
i did not want my personal opinion
validated…

i wanted to be seen as
the smartest person in the room.

i immediately disengaged.

Washington, District of Columbia

memorial d.c.
20 june 2017

the Residence Act of 1790
established the District of Columbia
as the nation’s capital.
Philadelphia became relegated
as a temporary centrifugal point,
while the District
was constructed.

the realization of the national capital
was ratified by the First Congress
of our United States.

I was fortunate enough
to visit the Martin Luther King Memorial
during the summer of 2017;
at the edge of the second year of Trumpism.

Kevin and I planned on meeting
at Farragut Square at noon,
which was the end of his specific
workday in DC.
I arrive uncharacteristically early.
the statue of Farragut catches my attention, its
stoic commitment toward completion is as obvious
as the humid component of late June in DC.

I look him up on my hand held
computer device,
while I waited for Kevin’s presence.

Admiral David Farragut was a
Tennessean who fought
against the Confederacy,
for the Union.
his efforts as a commander
were instrumental in the capture of
New Orleans in 1862,
and was of the mind that
Secession equaled Treason.

the K Street kids buy lunch
at the food trucks that line
the periphery of the park.
Kevin arrives, and greets me with a smile.

“i think the MLK memorial is over there, past that row of trees.” states Kevin as
we approach the entrance of the memorial.

I am initially surprised by
the inherent deception.
across a wide plaza sit two massive
rocks, towering over the people
that are walking between them.
In the distance stands
a third stone, the missing middle section
of the granite mountain.

what appeared at first to be inconsequential,
was immediately and instantly revealed as a lesson
in the realization of totality:
the center rock of the split mountain
contained the sculpture
of his image.
conclusions are inherently happenstance,
and yet I understood that Martin had
created a path through the mountain
that did not exist before him.

his majesty exists beyond containment.

a large group of Black Americans
are gathered at the front of the memorial,
for a lasting impression.
they appear to be a multi-generational family,
some smiling; the majority reflecting.

I look to my right to see
who is taking the photograph.
a White woman in shorts and ponytail
squints to get the focus correct.
and I am in awe.
Is this The Dream?

to my left, about twenty feet away
sits a White American family of four.
their teenage son is wearing
a Make America Great Again red ballcap.

I turn my head back toward the group taking photographs in front of the Monument.

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A Prophecy

the old systems are being destroyed
right in front of our eyes-
refrain from shielding your sight…

we exist within the hidden nature
of a heedless epoch.
a severance of our accepted
deference toward divinity.

our examination of
behavioral traits
stretches decades.
was it all part of the plan?
we participated, subscribed, and invested wholly
in the disruption of the anticipated outcome.

perhaps, the convincing argument
articulates a recollection,
not an institutional
creationism that
may protect the possible
consideration of the
work.

the evidence is everywhere.
a collation of failed firewalls,
as reckless malware
creates a composite portfolio
of corruption.

is the mirror image an exercise of divisive involvement?

we are being asked to
define formality.
a curious reclamation
of a previous reality.

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reminiscence

i recently perused the CD
you gave me
of photographs of the U2 show
at foxboro.

and now you cannot speak for yourself
the tidal wave that took your life and forced us to ask
is there really a God?
who could believe this circumstance?
the depth of a recognizance
we were tasked to come to terms with

begat an avalanche of an inescapable reality.
as witnesses, we were then
asked to confront the fact that

death is always at the door.
living is within every door,
and you taught me that.

IN THE VILLAGE

i walk toward
work in downtown mystic,
amidst our recent heat wave.
the pavement dissolves into
a blur of recognizance.

the sidewalk is dry.
however, my footsteps raise
no dust.

a car pulls into
the parking spot
in front of the local
health food store.
a window slowly unrolls,
defining the progress
of electronic sensors.

“could you tell me how to get to Mystic Seaport?”
“Eric Bogosian!”
“Yes…..”
“Cool. Ok, take the first left after the Drawbridge, at the flagpole.”

“and next?”

“take the left turn at the next stop sign at Route 27. The Seaport lot will be up on your right about two blocks.”
“thanks, kid…”
his wife smiled at me, and turned toward the windshield.

2018

i have witnessed
a compromised nation
intentionally conceal
the inherent cohesion
of equality

experiencing
a regulation of normality
requires resolve
as a survival
tactic

this is the division

opposition
prevents a codification of the
present tense.
a reliable sense of repetition.
an immunization
forcing expiration,
within common sense.

a threat of extinction
a lack of firewood
a pretense of generations
whose valor
shall render
their quest for dominion
a trivial iteration.

nigger is a white word

anticipate
one person, sitting at their desk-
(these are the words that you are now reading)
“oh no…” say the pale faced brethren
shrinking within hand shadows

“lacking in consistency is the only constant here,
much as the complacency I’ve used as goodwill recently…”

habitually

“consider the weight of what I have to say,
and liquidate our antiquated assets
while i straddle this tower of dual continuity”

the discipline of far too few
accumulates in patterns
of day-glo cowardice-
ply by ply, shaving away
at our skin

the dream of life
is simply to dream of life
the sun is an illusion as are the
torments that grow in its ray

so forget-
forget the women of yesterday’s sex
déjà vu and the same shallow coincidence
clotting the deference of an absolute truth,
narrowing the hindrance of youth.

forget the margins that dilute the mind,
whose fragmentation remains ill-conceived
during our time.

forget the secondary highways and the strangulation by government.
forget the commercial inertia and the graduation of the mass permanent.
forget the tradition of carving out territory at your will,
a propulsion defined by an inevitable inversion.
and forget your holy war,
it is not part of our plan.

and forget your blond haired blue eyed jesus,
because nigger is a white word.

Employment

i woke up when I wanted to-
a 16 year old with no job, no responsibilities
other than to show up on time for
band practice.
that was easy enough, as our band practiced
in the basement of my mom’s house.

“you had better come home with a job today. If not, say hello to living with your father!”
that was the worst thing I could hear from my mother. whenever my brother or I truly fucked up,
it was the final threat to bring us back in line.
“DO YOU WANT TO LIVE WITH HIM!”
moving into my fathers house was a death sentence,
not in a literal manner,
but rather within the long term scope of our lives.
my brother and I were acutely aware of that,
a curious side effect of divorce.

at 11am that same day, Alex called me. he had found “the amp” that would
catapult our nascent rock group to the next level.
his search led him to an ad in the Bargain News,
a weekly print magazine that was the craigslist of it’s time.
455 Whalley Avenue. New Haven.

we set out in Alex’s 1971 Pontiac in search of the near future.
as the salesman moved four dust ridden amps out of the way,
the Roland JC120 was revealed to us.
it was a shining purity amongst the detritus of the other equipment in the room,
no doubt bought and discarded by a wealthy gold coast family
who had succumbed to the momentary whims of an obsessed teen.
that was as far from our reality as possible.
Alex was the actual recipient. he had paid his early dues.

after more cash changed hands than I had ever previously witnessed,
we loaded the amp into the Pontiac. unfortunately, the car wouldn’t start,
even as Alex valiantly attempted to get the engine to ignite.
i tried not to be overbearing as the episode took shape,
but after the first hour, I couldn’t help but plead with him,
as if my words could somehow transmit the power to start the car into Alex’s hands.

“i have to get a job today before I go home tonight! we have to get back to town!
i’m seriously jeopardizing everything here…..”

the engine started.
we should be back in town by 6pm.

my 6th grade teacher spent his summers
as the maître d’ at one of the local restaurants.
with less than an hour to spare
to secure my first position of employment,
i had no choice but to plead with Mr. Z to help me
procure a dishwashers job
at the restored Inne, where he charmed each diner
with an effortless grace, his voice illuminating the spaces of any conversation.

i was introduced to the head chef and his assistant,
my outstretched hand was not reciprocated in the dark of the
basement tavern.
that traditional slight made no difference to me,
as I walked up the steep valley side
from the riverbed
to our house on the ridge. i was ready to confront my mother, having the gold
coin she needed as proof,
in my handmade canvas pouch.

“did you get a job today?” she shouted at me as I entered the kitchen, mired within the expectancy of
payback time.

“i start at the Packer Inne, doing dishes, tomorrow night.”
“i’ll call your father and tell him you won’t be coming over tomorrow.”

The Holidays

the drive seemed to be endless,
and my mother seemed to be lost.
in Norwich, on the northernmost edge
of our secluded world.
it was Christmas Eve,
and we were trying to find a holday party
that we were actually invited to.
a party with promises
of gifts- to fill the void
of tomorrows anticipated vacancy.

we eventually found the house,
and my mother pulled off an incredible parallel parking maneuver
in the snow and ice, on the slight hill.
it didn’t seem that we knew anyone at this party, uncomfortable
to the extent that even being given a
gift seemed like charity.
my mother prided herself in not giving in. on this night, it seemed as if we were.
it never happened again.

in town, there was a famous
Christmas Night party, which I was
now old enough to participate in.
i had just. enough. status.
to be invited.

the first guest I would encounter had an original screenplay in production.
in Hollywood.
that afternoon was the first time my step-father let me drink beer with him-
a conference with both elements of our families that
became a rallying cry between the two of us.
for the first time, we had an unspoken certainty,
that found it’s conclusion in his reassuring words:

“have another. you’ll be fine”

my father and his first roommate, after leaving home,
collected miller lite cans from the first sunday
of football season, until the holidays- their goal
was to decorate an entire tree in nothing but
miller lite cans
as part of a contest
for the brewing magnate.
they stole two shopping carts from the local supermarket
to store four months of empties,
before they were to deliberately hang each can
from a proper, ornament hook.

i had to be escorted out at 11.30 pm
from the party. beyond drunk ….
passed out on the “dance floor.”

i was thinking to myself, after a bleak sunrise-
“you have embarrassed everyone!”
there certainly were more elegant ways to leave a lasting impression.
but wasn’t that the point? to make a mark?

i would never be invited to the party again.
i could hardly blame them.