Wednesday, May 25, 2016


First a solemn prayer for all of us on this planet and this universe who are in danger and doing all the good hard work every day and every night and a solemn prayer for those of us who remain huge followers of the great musicians who have passed on this year David Bowie, Keith Emerson, Prince, and Glenn Frey. Read on now! Read plenty! Read it all come on everybody dig in
      There are so many songs about war. They are sometimes songs that get it all wrong and commit a serious horrible sin: blaming soldiers. Never do that! Never blame soldiers for anything least of all the nightmares they so often go through. Sometimes, however, they praise soldiers and speak of healing and sometimes they are about a soldier or the plural of that suffering from trauma, misery, and the horrors they terribly too often encounter. This blog mainly focuses on a song not about war  at all, but about another kind of loss: Lost love. I decided to give this prelude if you will, this introduction, after thinking hard and long about whether it would be therapeutic for me to state what never has been stated before or if it would hurt more. I can't hold it inside anymore so here it is for all of you to read.
      I have chronic P.T.S.D (post traumatic stress disorder), a horrible crippling at times mental illness often suffered by war veterans. The beginning was when I was shut in a closet with no light for over an hour by a "teacher" when I was only 4 or 5 years old in Nursery school. Then there were the terrifying experiences I had in elementary school where all I dreamed in vivid nightmares turned out to be true events of mankind as frightening as the Normandy Invasion June 6th 1944 and the crucifixion of Christ. When a little boy is having nightmares of being a soldier who gets shot and chokes on his own blood from the wound in a boat trying to reach his friends up ahead on a beach and when it happens on Memorial Day you can imagine how bizarre, unfathomable, and terrifying it is when in later years this becomes known to him as something that happened to thousands. Also, there was that nightmare of the bearded man being nailed to a tree and being left there in misery while the betrayers and committers of this crime left the hill. As we all know that was Jesus Christ on Calvary.
      As if that wasn't enough, and read the elaboration here, when I was 6 years old or 7 barely older than the infamous "closet incident" I became aware that something was strange about my sexuality A YOUNG LITTLE KID AND I KNEW THIS! I found myself loving girls, but something was missing. They couldn't protect this already shell shocked little boy. Also, why did I have to be like the other boys and go for long hair and frilly flighty little girls. I became aware that I was being slandered for my distant attitude to the vulgarity of the scum boys in school and my small size. I needed those bigger older boys who were protecting me. I couldn't pin it down, but there it was another cross alright: after feeling odd as a kid it became obvious throughout life that despite my intense hatred for nearly all things homosexual I am by knowing what true sexuality is all about and that little bit learned a million years ago when I was protected at summer camp that I am a different breed of gay man. If you are effeminate leave me out of it. If you cross dress and get campy I may punch you. If you talk with a lisp I may want to grab you around the throat, but that is the very bad kind of gay. Did I not say if you think heterosexuals are inferior leave me out of it? Well if you think heterosexuals are inferior you're a fool. Then there's that other thing I don't dig too much gay marriage. That I can maybe let slide. Those other things seen as benchmarks of homosexuality are perversions of the worst kind.
         Throughout school and throughout my existence I have been the victim of brutal and horrific beatings, attacks, and serious physical violence. in the fall of 1987 when I went into middle school I was tied to a fence and left there for over an hour and it was all the other kids who did it. I was during my time in middle school beaten up every day, abused by teachers, and in several cases thrown down flights of stairs. I survived it barely. The scars remain, but I'm a fighter and I will get better. One thing I don't seem to be able to get better from are memories. One of the most painful experiences happened in Spring 1988 when I was 12 and I saw the video and heard the song many times "I Don't Want To Be A Hero" by the British New Romantic pop/soul  group Johnny Hates Jazz. To see those somewhat older boys suffering, to see them then on the tank with the victory symbol, to see and be aware of soldiers was something that hurt me more than any of the past experiences and when all got combined it led to my falling apart. I would say a video and song as disturbing as that would sadly only hurt someone who cared. I said "Sadly" I should have said "Tragically!" What is a soldier was my question? Do you want to know how long it took me to figure that one out? Something seemingly  as easy as that? What is a soldier? I didn't know till high school and that was just the beginning, but through all my youngest years aware that something was missing something wasn't there. I tried to find out. I tried to learn. I couldn't. When I was in high school they became a huge part of my world. However, as you have read my past high school sucked too. It wasn't all bad, but I was a young kid haunted. I was someone who couldn't find peace of mind. I was lost. I needed to find out another question: Where is salvation? I leave that to the rest of this blog and I hope you want to read what saved me. 
      This year 2016 I suffered two major breakdowns and while the first one led me nowhere, out of the blue after a second huge breakdown everything finally came to light right after I turned 40 years old on this April the 28th. Reaching out my hands into space into the cosmos into the stratosphere into the stars into the universe and all the distant galaxies I am still reaching and damn it- the same thing is true I get tongue tied. Words are hard to find. Sometimes words are hard to find because there is nothing to say, but as I tried my best to explain to the wonderful young Specialist in my new friend BEST ARMED FORCES UNIT IN THE WORLD THE 82nD AIRBORNE DIVISION USA there are so many it takes hours and hours to elaborate.
       I know what I must do and hard as it is I will not take hours and hours hopefully, but I had to start from the beginning and my beginnings can oftentimes be crashing head first into a wall until I end up smashing it open with emotional fists- too many words become just enough words. Everything becomes possible. How did I become a really happy and stronger person? Accepting and facing things many of them facts. It's that right there FACTS. After having a really hard time listening to a song that had for several years been a favorite "Last Day Of Summer" by the wondrous sparkling British pop duo Velvet Glove I wound back the clock listening to over and over again those lyrics so painfully illustrating a loss- a loss of love, friendship, seasons,  and innocence. Summer is a bright time, a cheerful time often, but many times IN MY OWN LIFE something was missing on that last day of the summer season as I reflected. What was missing, then? Hopefulness, love, friendship, seasons, innocence. I normally would have turned out a peaceful gentle non aggressive man, but after losing my innocence a million times and my faith in the way things are run a million times now I'm a fighter, I AM A FIRE BURNING HIGHER! HIGHER! HIGHER! How a song led to all this and the proverbial having to take an emotional fist to that wall I was facing is actually quite easy to say: I was in that song's shoes in their shoes twice in the past and it led to pain and more loss everyday. In "Last Day Of Summer" amidst the incredible arrangement is a story of how he's drawn to someone and then after losing them retraces or tries to retrace his steps going everywhere, every place they went that past summer and finally we hear at the end of every chorus "But On The Last Day Of Summer I Knew That I Would Only Find The Pain." Tell me about that. I experienced it twice: Loss. When friendship and love are lost because one doesn't try I reached this conclusion in the dire mess the song left me in: GRAB IT AND SMASH IT BEN! BREAK THE BARRICADES DOWN!
     The first time I felt strongly for a person was back in the distant past 21 years ago at the age of 19. I had just missed my graduation of high school with a near death poisoning by medication and had for the already not first time in my youth come close to meeting my maker. Confused, anguished, distraught, wondering why I was so unfortunate, "what is that thing that's haunting you so much" I asked myself. Barely into the month of June, but just long enough to have heard such gems as Spring's "Shipwrecked Soldier," and "Isn't Life Strange" by The Moody Blues, and I believe I was hearing things wrong most of that "Summer Of Bad Timing," the answer to my question of what I couldn't face and what was underneath the teardrops I soon found myself facing close enough to look right in the eye.  I went into a supermarket back then all those years ago quite a ways out of town and there he was: a young soldier roughly around my same age. No sooner had I looked him in the eyes than I was gripped hard by a veritable onslaught of emotion: "Ben Your Chance Is Here And Here Is Your Friend, Your First Love, And Your Protector BEN WHAT YOU HAVE LOST YOU NEVER HAD YOU NEED A SOLDIER, A PROTECTOR, A SHIELD, A FRIEND, A LOVE." All this grabbed me hard, threw me on the ground, and made me feel so utterly overwhelmed that no words came out. I blew it. No words came out. We stood there for what must have been 15 minutes me being grabbed by it all and somehow feeling as I thought I would be safer around him, but I was a shy and quiet boy and I fucked it up by not saying a word not even "Hello." So I had seen him right before my eyes with my eyes accepting, but not my "intellect" (or lack thereof).
           I would later after so much losing and so many years of losing everything nearly get it right just to not follow through and then suffer with my whole country and world in September of 2001 and that was when I was 25 and not so hard at conversations. When I was 19 it wasn't just soldiers who couldn't get words out of me it was through my disillusionment a whole lot of people I began to feel no love for. As I found my tongue over that year and its ending and as I continued to grow all my mistaken stupid circle of  so-called friends ditched me over the years. They left me for dead. And why was this!? I started to get at the heart of why our friendships were in vain: they only cared about drugs. Don't just avoid friends like that and avoid drugs DO NOT EVER EXPERIMENT WITH THEM! I soon ran out of people throughout the coming years to talk with and be friends with except for true real friends and that was when it started getting better. However, back to that day in September right before a ton of loss hit everyone with a heart on the horrible 11th of the ninth month 2001. On the way back from Montreal Canada we stopped my father and I at a motel and the beautiful scenery of West Point New York home of America's Army Academy (Bless 'em!) and my second time it was a little better only to end hard as you can imagine it ended hard for all of us with the loss of our nation's and the world's innocence and hopes. I had, to go back to that afternoon before the shit happened, that day gone up to a young MP (military police if you don't know!) in uniform to ask some questions when this time all that sparkle and shine hit me and we started talking and talking and talking. We agreed on everything! It was great! He was actually a true soldier and in the honor guard and as we spoke I began to do something I had not done in the past: I began to listen. I would later become very traumatized even more so by 9/11 to the point where FROM 2001 TO 2016 AS OF MY NEW REBIRTH AND AWAKENINGS NOT TO BE ABLE TO FACE MY OWN COUNTRY AND MY LOVE AND TRUE FEELINGS. When the towers came crashing down and all Hell broke loose I became a pessimistic and angry person afraid of myself to the point of a horrible crime I will no longer pursue: DO NOT BLAME OTHER PEOPLE FOR YOUR FAILINGS. On the last day THAT SUMMER I groaned and cried and was poisoned by medication again. DAMMIT! Now I see why that song by Velvet Glove means so much. My answer to the question can love be a trauma when you lose is a resounding YES IT CAN BE AND IS. I also have had many other experiences with soldiers and nearly all of them have been very positive. My answer lies not just in myself. It lies in believing that one day good dreams not nightmares will come true.
    I am writing the lyrics for my first album and simultaneously preparing to go when summer starts to cool down and I get some traveling experience to North Carolina where the best army division in the world the 82nd Airborne Division is. I hope that as each day progresses from now to then that I will become stronger although the wounds of a terrible childhood and some mighty bad mistakes in my life continue to be hard to deal with. That said, every day gets better and every day I become less afraid and more connected to something true and real and good: the way that life unfolds better when you give and don't just take. I am willing to state in facts that I personally believe that we should no matter how bad a war is, and most wars are bad, never to put any ill feelings or hatred towards soldiers. Soldiers are real people too. They laugh, they cry, they enjoy doing good things for us, they are oftentimes young and oftentimes very emotional and very much something  we should cherish and not hate or not believe in and take for granted. I go further and I am ready to say that I love them. They are all of the four main elements and therefore the people closest to nature. They are earth, air, fire, and water. They are NOT TO EVER BE ALLOWED TO BECOME ANOTHER ENDANGERED SPECIES! NO! If we lose them we lose over half our history and a whole lot more. The final loss of innocent lives has to be avoided at all costs. The last thing the world needs is a repeat of World War One. I feel a lot of empathy with soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen. We go through many of the same obstacles and share so much that now in my mature mind and my new life I treasure them. The lyrics to my songs are deeply personal as are my writings, my artwork, and sharing myself I believe is my duty. It's also something I love. Take some of me take all you like. I give. I'm a romantic. Just give some back and you may if male receive a chocolate bar, beer, and/or ice cream and if female a boquette of real flowers not fake ones. I do not like closed mindedness or closed anything. Mainly on many issues I'm firmly wide open and I listen and feel and think and believe with eyes, ears, arms, legs, and heart wide open. Open up your heart and go find something worth fighting for. I have and I'm getting better all the time as The Beatles said. I think that as hard as it may be to take the first steps it's important and in the end worthwhile. I can trace my strong feelings about soldiers back to a very painful and violence plagued childhood where I was constantly the subject of brutal physical and psychological beatings and I had to fight every minute of every day to survive. I would not know my true emotion until far later in life because I was too much a victim of traumatic events and most of my friends were the toughest kids in town who I always got along with the best. I still do. I believe in people who take risks. I am an artist and a warrior combined who knows a lot of the pitfalls of society and the dreaded "Herd Instinct." While an Army is UNIFORM an army IS NOT MASS CONFORMITY. Are Herd Instinct people ever gonna be soldiers? NO! WHY? BECAUSE THEY ARE TOO STUPID AND SELFISH. To be a musician to me means laying yourself wide open through words, vocals, and music. To be a warrior too there must be an openness to challenges and obstacles and a "try it till ya get it right" mentality. You can't be a quitter. I don't quit and neither should you. I find a lot more answers come when a lot more questions are asked. I really want to stress my appreciation for the 82nd Airborne who are not just our country's best, but also the world's best. They are fast becoming a soon to be found family away from my dwindling own family where it seems we just can't agree on anything. I become more and more distant all the time, but mainly because a grown man must do what he must do and fall down on his face if he must a few times. There are no hard feelings, but there is a very big hole in our relationship. Staying distant is self protection. Staying together might not be the best option anymore. I spend a lot of time finding out more and more and more from the 82nd and keeping everything wide open and having a strong positive outlook. I have made some really good friends in the 82nd Airborne most of them  sergeants, sergeants first class, and staff sergeants, and there is a shy and likable specialist whom is going to be someone with a very bright future. Fly, fly, take to the sky BE FOREVER AIRBORNE! Till next time and till then all you gotta do is be yourself, but don't be afraid to reach out to other people too. You may not have to go through some of my lean times if you live the right way.