Brutal Reality


 

Life can be sobering. Earlier today I saw fire trucks lining the street, EMS, and heard a young woman across the street screaming. Children, teenagers and adults lined the edge of the brownstones steps. The young woman continued to scream. The EMS ran into the house with those heart paddles, then he came back out a short time later putting the life saving devices away. Obviously they were not needed. I knew the person whoever they were had died.  Silence from neighbors except for the young lady who continued to scream.

Eventually someone possibly a family member took her away but I did not see them remove the body. Well a short time ago Medical Examiner/Coroner came and brought out the individual in a body bag. Living in the city death is not a new experience. I remember sometime last year I witnessed the aftermath of a horrible accident where a cyclist was killed when hit when a car and van collided and he was unfortunately in the midst. The collision was so powerful that the entire front grill of the van landed in the middle of the side several feet away. The cops had covered his body but given the amount of people who die on any given day in New York it may take hours before the body is removed.

Some insensitive people were taking photos of the scene. Now as a photographer I draw the line at photographing death, bodies or horrible accidents out of respect for the dead.

My only beef with our American Society is you are not allowed to grieve after the funeral. You are expected to go back to normal. To smile, laugh, and make jokes as though nothing had happened. People give you loads of meaningless platitudes but no compassion nor understanding. Obviously if you’re still working you must return to your job but you can never discuss your feelings or emotions.  The expectation is for you to “Get Over it” despite the fact that your life has changed in an irreversible way.

I’m not one to discuss or share my emotions about the deaths of friends, family members or pets but at least others should respect my right to mourn not expect me to hit the town partying or celebrating certain holidays which they know cause pain.  Since I’ve turned 50 many years ago I’ve seen and been to many funerals. The half century mark is when heart attacks, strokes and cancer begin to claim our loved ones. Some of us get lucky and escape but it does make you stop and think. Can’t say I’m afraid to die. I am afraid of pain. My parents, Aunts and others died terrible painful deaths from cancer and strokes. I do not want that to be my portion. I hope I die in my sleep in my 70s or 80s. Neither of my parents made it to 70 so if I do that will be an accomplishment.

Watching this drama play out I wonder how that person died. Was it murder, suicide, or death by misadventure (accident). My heart and prayers also go out to that young woman who was so devastated. I suppose in a week or two I’ll hear the cries of mourners and maybe see the hearse pass by.  I remember when my parents died the funeral director asked me if I wanted to drive by their house one more time. This gives the deceased a chance to go home if not in the flesh but in spirit one more time. Perhaps this is an African American tradition. I’m not sure.

Then I think about my cousin Bertie (not his real name) who died right before Christmas 2014 at his home alone from cancer. I cried when my other cousin call to tell me of his passing but I had to pull myself together since like me Bertie was single and I had to find his body.  Sounds strange but both Bertie and I lived in the same Brooklyn neighborhood. and when you die alone the police come, the coroner takes your body to the morgue. My mission was to locate which morgue they took him to until his elderly brother arrived from PA to identify the body. The police were very kind and considerate and the officers gave me all the information I needed to locate his body. Eventually I found out he was taken to the Brooklyn morgue. The person who answered the phone said I could come in to make the identification but I held back since he had probably lain dead for a while, decomposing.

Little did I know that Thanksgiving 2014 would be the last time Stephen and I would see Bertie alive. We both knew he was going to die. He was so weak that Stephen and I had a time getting him from New Jersey back to Brooklyn. We took him straight to his door. When we finally made it to our home Stephen did something he rarely does. He put his head on my shoulder and we just held each other. A few weeks later Bertie was dead.

Death is a great reminder that life is short and often brutal. Like my parents used to say Tomorrow is not promised to any of us. Death is the great equalizer that takes the young as well as the old, the poor and the rich. Race, color, religion or nationality mean nothing to death. Whatever plans, purpose, ideas or goals you may have had will go down to the grave with you in dust. Unfinished business. Most likely never to be resurrected again.  You become just a picture in a frame. A distant memory that will be forgotten as time passes. However as a Christian I know my reward lies beyond this moral veil. For then I shall be reunited with all my Loved ones in that Great Getting up Morning in Paradise.

Thomas Dorsey-Take My Hand, Precious Lord

 

 

What Evil Lurks Behind the Red Door


A bit Risque!  A lot sinister!

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/discover-challenges/door/#like-248267

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The Rising Sun
Psycho Barn House

 

 

 

 

 

A respectable door in a respectable neighborhood. A door with salacious secrets. A door of hidden barely whispered sighs and groans.  Behind the door a Holodeck. A portal to pain and pleasure.  A veritable palace compared to my previous surroundings.

 

The first place I landed was a dusty, dirty, filthy inn made for transients and one-night stands. The hallways and stairwells had a constant smell of vomit and day old sex that even applications of bleach and pine cleaner could not erase. The proprietor Anne was a shrill, sarcastic, snarky harridan who served Meals twice a day were little more than leftover offal that even the pigs refused to eat. Anne had a willful ugliness that was present in her body as well as her soul.

The small bag of gold coins quickly ran out and having no other worthy profession I became a hump-backed Burlesque trollop selling my body in order to pay the rent and eat.  I felt like a slow motion train wreck powerless to stop the oncoming impending crash about to take place.  Since I had a gift for bringing money to Anne’s cash starved establishment my food and living quarters were upgraded. The men who required my services were working class lads who had no other options to release their pent up semen. I was a welcome distraction from the booze addled winos and frazzled addicts who frequented the place.

metronome Utopia

House of the Rising Sun

Stepping from the filthy foul smelling streets men were ushered into exotic elaborately decorated quarters decorated with expensive Persian rugs, medieval tapestries, silk draperies hung upon windowless walls, tables adorned with Tiffany lamps. A subtle scent of incense permeated the airways. The decorations seemed incongruous yet harmonized together in an irregular yet pleasing manner. Palatial taste a bit ostentatious like a Renaissance bordello. The furnishings were highly articulated and faceted Baroque/Rococo objects, many with deep gouges and gashes suggesting transparency and interior penetration. This room and much of the house as well as the street urchins who passed through seemed to us an Orientalist fantasy. At the far end of the living room hung a painting of a Minotaur coupling with a Centauride.

Within this underworld we meet our sardonic proprietors in sex trade, the mirthless dwarf called, BrainTrust.

Brainiac as he was affectionately known had the face of Peter Lorre and the heft and bulk of a miniaturized Sidney Greenstreet.  BrainTrust had the misfortune of being scurrilous and scrofulous. His rough skin was spotted with scabies and his body emitted a sepulchral odor. Spiteful!

BrainTrust was was the bodily opposite of his Partner in Crime D-Man.

D-Man was six feet tall of bulging muscles, narrow waist and sculpted buttocks. His lack of moral fiber and somewhat limited intellectual faculties innate in most normal human personalities could be easily perceived in his cranial structure and his overall physiognomy. The shock of wild reddish brown hair closely cut on the sides of the head, the high sloping forehead, prominent brow ridges, receding nostrils and thin lips, these features put one in mind of a simian head attached to the body of Atlas. Rod’s nature embodied the seven deadly sins from head to foot.

BrainTrust and D-Man were the real owners of the bordello that Semper Fi patronized on a weekly basis.

Though the outer streets were rundown, garbage strewn and suspect inside the elaborate bedchambers fit for a king were divided into three sections one being the actual room where Semper Fi carried Bronco Busting escapades with an ornate Italian Renaissance canopy bed replete with seraphim, cherubim, and putti on the ceiling looking down seemingly blessing the lewd acts committed in that bed.

Business offices where the girls reported for inspection and assignments at first resembled an Italian studiolo. Scholarly books that were never read, save those dealing with what he felt was the “science of photography and videography” lined the bookshelves along the walls. There was a collection of opera records beside an ancient Victrola, which either BrainTrust or D-Man played incessantly even during to block the sounds of various vigorous sexual acts committed in the bawdy house.  Usually one or both of the duo would choose a woman for themselves and during those sexual gymnastics the music became louder more than likely to mask their grunts and groans plus the simulated shrieks of whatever sex worker was chosen to honor their illustrious owners.

Fetish

Dagmar served as a type of governess to the young women. Their harem quickly became a zone of safety from streets of starvation, disease and death. They were bathed, perfumed and outfitted like odalisques in paintings from centuries past.

As time went on many young women passed through our heathen portals but one stood out from the others. She was literally abandoned at our doorstep. At first we thought the girl to be deaf and dumb because she neither spoke except to make nearly unintelligible sounds nor seemed to respond to our commands. Dagmar and I thought her a poor fit for our scandalous enterprises. Dagmar took her into the women’s’ chambers to be washed cleaned of the dirt and filth that seemed to encased her fragile body and discovered a note pinned to her grimy undergarments. Succinctly the note said her name was Cerulean and that she had just turned eighteen with her moon cycle having started three seasons prior. Dagmar was always good at persuasion and bringing out the best in wounded animals. Coaxing Cerulean was no different. After a time Ceru as we nicknamed the girl responded to Dagmar’s gentle persuasions. A bond of trust developed between the two despite the fact that Dagmar knew the girls eventual destiny.

Many moons passed and Cerulean as Dagmar liked to call her became quite the coquette. For some odd reason Eve became a favorite of BrainTrust who outfitted her in dresses and skirts of silk, satin, lace, velvet. Many lovely cream colored fabrics some with lace trim others with glass beads and sequins. Before we knew it Ceru’s 21st birthday was upon us and Brainiac had a special costume made up for Ceru. It was a beautiful blood red silk satin with lace trimming with velvet calf length skirts. However as joyful as Cerulean  was when she donned the frock what pleased her even more were the Bordello Shoes—Red Velveteen Victorian button-up Boots with a two inch heel. Ceru’s thick dark hair was caught up in a chignon ala Gibson Girl but she had the Bohemian spirit of the Flapper.

As much a disciple of Bacchus as the god’s original followers neither Brainiac or D-Man ever touched Cerulean. Her chambers were the height of ornamentation and ostentation with elaborate sinks, tubs, showers and a bidet. Something the other girls could only dream about.  Yes Cerulean was a prize. And such an Odalisque could not be hidden from Semper Fi for very long………….

House of The Rising Sun – The Doors

 

 

Mona Johanneson in Elizabeth Arden’s Red Door commercial