It’s The End of The World as We Know It, and I Still Care

Civilizations come and go – just ask the ancient Romans or their Greek counterparts. The Aztecs, the Incas, and countless others from thousands of years ago could also tell their tales – but most stories we will never know.

I have never been particularly interested in politics, voting across party lines when I liked the other candidate better, but never in my life have I actually HATED someone for their political, religious, or moral beliefs when they were not harming another human being. So, I find myself deeply grieving the Trump administration and all the lies that are being vomited into the press. The vitriol coming from the White House is beyond my ken.

For the first time in my almost 60 years, I am reviled for my beliefs on a deeply personal level; however, being a person with PTSD, it doesn’t hurt me, but rather, it puzzles me. Because of PTSD, I’ve built strong walls around my emotions. I realized when I was in grade school that I would never change another’s beliefs through argument, nor would my perspective change with their point of view. People believe what they believe. Hating anyone only hurt me, because the other person didn’t give a damn.

But I’ve digressed.

Trump has put us on the edge of nuclear war. I remember being six years old, in first grade, and the nuns telling us if THE BOMB dropped, we were not to look at the flash because our eyes would melt. There we were, hiding under our little wooden desks, just miles from New York City, cowering while the school siren sounded. I was petrified.

I’m not petrified now. Just sad. Sad that these corrupt politicians and their ilk have taken us this far into a darkness from which we, as a nation, are going to have a hard time coming back. Our credibility is being destroyed, all the good work our diplomats have done over the past 25 years is being thrown into Trump’s crapper, and the 1% and the bottom 1% are giddy with profit and revenge.

I’ll just say this. I don’t care if anyone hates me for what I believe because what I believe is this, the Golden Rule. Treat others the way you want them to treat you. Make your decisions based on love. Do the next right thing. Help the helpless, feed the poor, protect the children, and lastly pray to whomever your God is.

And one last thing. For God’s sake, men (and women, too), stop raping and assaulting people; and, for the super perverts, stop promoting and/or participating in child pornography and sexual assault. Every time there’s a child abuse sting, the number of people and the number of images they have on their computers is simply staggering. Don’t support human slavery in any way, shape or form – because it still very much exists.

Now, let’s get this clown and his posse out of the White House via the 25th amendment.

The last thing I’d like to say in closing is this: The Harvey Weinstein scandal is just the tip of the iceberg, and its effect will ripple through corporate America – and for the good.  Women and men, keep coming forth. You will be believed. Finally.

When You Finally Know

Suddenly you awake, and the
three-year-old who wondered what
it would be like to wake up old has
been answered.

Your first love no longer holds a place
in the heart you swore would never heal
from the breaking,
and the monsters in the closet,
the alligators under the bed,
have revealed their presence,
and have been shamed into hiding
under some other anxious child’s bed,
although you didn’t mean to send them.

Those who would disappoint you,
have done so,
the husbands and mothers
who would drive you to suicide
are dead, or are at last dead to you.

It’s funny.
The day you feared the most,
the day you realized you were not
going to climb Mount Everest
has come and gone,
and you did not collapse
in a small plume of smoke
of the nothingness
you perceived your life to be,
but rather you got up,
went to work,
came home,
played with your dog,
and made supper.

Lately,
you seek the cloak of sleep –
your dreams are movies
of people you knew
but did not know, and
houses where you lived and
left roll by in slow motion,
the unfamiliar curtains billowing
in the still wind, and you see
but just for a moment,
a small face in the window
lit with the pale yellow
of late afternoon sun.

Why I Backed Away From the Music Industry

Photo credit: Alison Gordy

In light of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, and in support of all the brave women who have come forward,  also those victimized by Bill Cosby, another on-trial preditor, I’d like to add my voice. I cannot name names because all these years later, I have no “proof,”

I started performing at coffeehouses, open stages, VFW halls, etc. when I was 13 years old. I had nobody to protect me: my parents were dysfunctional, and I really was on my own. The unwanted attention started immediately. “Can I take you home?” “No, my mom is coming to pick me up.” “Can I buy you a drink after the show?” “No, I’m 13.”

Over the years, I kept playing, and as I got older, the overtures were bolder and more insistent. Groping, sexual comments, suggestive offers. All of it made me feel icky and in danger. Still, like a black kid in the projects who see sports as a way up and out of poverty, I clung to my music and kept going. I was going to make it up and out of my dysfunctional childhood and play my music in front of a world audience.

Fast-forward to the 1990s. I was part of the Folk Revival movement in Greenwich Village, playing in all the key venues. I had a lawyer, who, unfortunately, convinced me that he knew “someone” at Sony who could get me a record deal. “How far was I willing to go? Answer: Not that far. He did nothing for me but put his hand up my skirt and take my money while I took him out to dinner.

I ditched him when he asked for half my publishing.

I had a meeting with a major label, demo in hand, and was asked to give a blowjob to the A&R rep. I refused, and that was the end of the meeting.

I finally took my music and formed my own label, Anvil Records, in 1994 and have released two CDs, Broken Hearted Angel, and Darkness Visible. I decided to remove myself from the predators’ pool because it was utterly demoralizing.

Harvey Weinstein is just a pimple on the acne’d face of the entertainment industry, and let’s take it a step further, on our society in whole. There is a deep vein of hatred towards women and their “ample assets,” “pert derrieres,”  “bikini-ready bodies,” ad nauseum. Women who are strong, capable, and willing to make a difference in society are hounded, pursued, derided, and discredited. In other words, there are a lot of men who really hate women, and will go to the ends of the earth to keep us as tits and ass toys.

I gave up on the music industry for those reasons. I support all the women who have come forward to decry this gross (and I mean that in all ways) injustice done towards them. Let’s put an end to this “I grab ’em by the pussy” mentality. It has to go. Look at who we have in the White House. Harvey’s brother.

Do I still play? Of course. Old musicians never die, we just decompose.

Brian Tobin, a NYC Original

On August 13th, my friend Brian Tobin passed from this world into whatever heaven we perceive. He was a gentle soul. We met in the early 90s and he told me he was available to help me cart my PA and gear to gigs far and wide. And that he did. He was better than a mail carrier. He showed up in rain, snow, floods, extreme heat, he was there for me. He never missed a NYC gig.

When I got a job offer in South Florida, I called him, and he cheerfully agreed to drive me (and my two pets) from North Jersey to a moon landing called Port St. Lucie. Brian was living 20 miles away, then, in Tequesta, with his wife Meta, and he became close friends with my husband, Greg.

Brian has been a tightly knit part of the fabric of my life for so long, and now that he’s transitioned to the other side, I’m okay for a few days, and then I just break down in tears. I’m grateful to Meta for her friendship and for the love and care she gave Brian over the last months of his earthly existence. It wasn’t an easy thing to do, but she did it with grace and love. I am honored to count her among my friends.

I chose the New Mexico landscape with the single insistent cloud to represent my buddy.   Jesus, I’m going to miss him.

For all of you who are grieving for a loved one, I am with you.

Photo credit of Brian: Rod MacDonald

Invictus

 

My grandmother who is pictured above, Jean Castrovinci, asked me to memorize this poem by William Ernest Henley. It was one of her favorites, and she said to me. “You will need these words, one day.”  Oh, how right she was. This poem has served me well in many instances.

The photo of my grandmother was taken in the 1920s.

INVICTUS

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole.
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced, nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody but unbowed. 

In this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me unafraid. 

It matters not how strait the gait
How charged with punishment the scroll.
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul. 

Gilding the Silver Lining

Dad and Greg July 2017

When you look at this photo, you see two men dressed to hop on a surfboard and ride a wave. My father-in-law is on the right, and my husband is on the left.

I just want to say, being a caregiver to my husband’s parents is an honor and a privilege. It’s also hard, frustrating, and exhausting.

To all caregivers — I salute you. You may ultimately find me asleep in the laundry room. There’s a little bit of room if you need to join me… just no cell phones allowed. You know why.

One Step Forward…

 

Last Thanksgiving Day, I was putting several heavy dishes up onto a high shelf with my right hand. All of a sudden, it felt like a small explosion took place in my elbow.  I had a houseful of guests, and I thought I just “tweaked” a muscle, and it would calm down, so I plowed through the day. And the days after that.

December came and went, and then January, February, and then, in March I finally couldn’t stand it anymore and saw my doctor, and she referred me to a specialist. As it turns out, I hadn’t strained a muscle, I had torn a tendon in my forearm, (which explains why I had to have a friend and colleague carry my computer bag on and off several planes because I couldn’t lift it). The specialist gave me a cortisone shot and said come back in a month for the second shot.

Fellow procrastinators, you know what happened after that… my elbow felt better and I figured I was good.

Nope. Not by a long shot. I’ll be making that appointment for the follow-up shot tomorrow.

I took the photo above from my hotel window in Boston a few days ago. I could actually lift my arm high enough to (just barely) make the shot.