Not enough love in the world

I found a crumpled piece of paper on the train the other day and could see there was some writing on it. Being the perpetually inquisitive one, I picked it up and flattened it out.

It read:
I watched you sleeping
you’re beautiful

A simple, eloquent and somewhat heartbreaking note rolled into one (kind of disturbing, as well).
I wondered about its recipient as well as its author and how long this obsession had been going on. You just don’t see someone one day and write a note like this. This has been quietly simmering for sometime.

I’ve watched people sleeping on the train and more often than not, it ain’t pretty.

This must have been a very different scenario. Admiring someone from afar but never getting close enough to touch must be a terrible kind of living hell.

Maybe these two people knew one another but one of them couldn’t seem to bridge the impossible chasm between them for reasons unknown.
Six words rich in meaning written on a carelessly dropped (and crumpled) piece of paper. To me, it smacks of a significant sense of loss and incompleteness for both parties involved. The note isn’t the issue here as much as the story hidden deep within the text.

I told my wife about it and she wondered if the note was even delivered or if its author crumpled and dropped it, a thought that hadn’t even occurred to me.
Words like this have a weight and possibility to them and I can’t imagine not letting them reach home.

I think back to the number of times I gazed at Pamela from a distance, afraid to approach her for fear of rejection and embarrassment.
I know I fell in love with her face long before I knew her soul. Needless to say, we run deeper than the oceans.

And though the waters are much rougher these days than we’d both like, I consider myself a lucky one; my message in a bottle was ultimately delivered and read and I thank God my words found the still waters of acceptance.
I’ll never know any more about that crumpled note, but I wanted to give it some light hoping in some small way that it too, might someday find its way home.



I had something happen to me tonight that was so bizarre and out of whack that I had to blog a bit of it.
After working in Boston for well over three years I would have thought this situation would happen there but life is not always so predictable.
Tonight, I came face to face with 666.
She came in the form of a woman 70+ years of age.
It all began as I was arriving at my stop tonight.
I made my way down near an exit door and found a seat to wait for the train to stop.
Across the way was an old woman looking out the window; 4′ 10″, black skullcap, white hair, weird clothes . . . yup, she’s nuts, I thought; a Poltergeist extra, basically.
Strange thing was I could see her face in the reflection of the glass and she was looking at me, studying me.
I didn’t think anymore about it and I began to quietly hum a blues song by a preacher named O.V. Wright, called “Don’t let my baby ride”, a favorite song of mine.
About 30 seconds before the train stopped, she walked over to me and got right in my face.
Weird right there, dude.
She asked about the clothes I had on (shirt and hat, compliments of my oldest daughter’s college) wondering if I attended said school.
The conversation went haywire from there and I refuse to write it here simply because of the amount of profanity. (on her part, not mine)
This hag seriously creeped me out but before I walked away from her I did say, “Please take your medication and do us all a favor and go play in traffic, you bitch.”
Not sure what else to say except that it doesn’t get much weirder than this, and if it did, I’d blog it and probably be rich.
Anyone curious about exactly what this gasbag had to say, email me.
I remember a few snippets but I was too freaked out to remember all of it at the time.
This encounter was just too freekin’ weird folks . . .
I’m now home, smoking a cigar and drinking Harpoon Octoberfest.
Life is once again, okay . . . for now.


Goodnight Irene

On days that I open the store I’m on the train at 6AM and visiting the land of Nod by 6:15.
Early morning trains are relatively quiet and sleeping is an acquired and needed task I’ve grown quite used to utilizing.
It must be my internal clock but my eyes automatically open right after the train leaves the Yawkey stop (Fenway Park) and I’m still barely awake by the time we get to my stop at Back Bay which is only three minutes away.

The other morning I got up from my seat with all the zeal of an 85 year old man and made my way to the stairs leading to the nearest exit.
I saw a woman standing by the door waiting to get off when my heart stopped.
Though I could only see the left side of her face she looked just like my mother.
I know my mother is no longer here but I found it interesting, maybe even semi- sweet,
that the mere sight of another human being resembling her can still make my heart miss a beat.
This woman’s hair, her eyes, nose and the shape of her mouth; even her clothes all screamed my mother’s name.

She must have known I was staring because she suddenly looked up at me, almost through me, smiled and left the train.

Sleepwalking my way to work, I passed on my usual cup of coffee from Au Bon Pain.
I guess I was still a bit dazed from the surprise encounter I’d just had and decided to continue sleepwalking through the surreal fog,
my scattered memories trailing close behind me.


The 8:16

Bernie loved the Red Sox.
And he loved pretty women.
But mostly Bernie loved his Budweiser.
I say that because he always referred to it as ‘my Budweiser’.

Up at 3 in the morning everyday, he would open the train station where I catch the daily commuter rail to Boston.
Though he had seemingly no teeth to speak of, something inside him was always smiling.
You just couldn’t walk away from this man and not feel better about the world around you. His job was simple security, but he did it well.

About a month ago, I realized I hadn’t seen Bernie and asked around the station to see if anyone knew his whereabouts.
The ‘bagel & ticket man’ at the station said he probably took a long and much needed vacation.
Probably off drinking some ice, cold Bud, I thought.
Good for Bernie.
He so deserved it.

I got to the station this morning and bought a bagel and a New York Times and went upstairs to the train landing because it was a beautiful day.
On my way outside I saw a piece of paper taped to the inside of the front door.
From a distance it looked like an obituary.

As I drew closer I read the name: Bernard C. Jensen, 76.

I stood there reading his obit wondering how many people catching the train actually knew him and knew that he was gone.
Son of a bitch, I never even got to say goodbye (a re-occurring theme in my life).
I believe that one person can make a difference in our lives and Bernie was just that kind of man.
The train station seems different in a very subtle way.
For me, anyway.
It felt fitting for me to post this on Memorial Day weekend.
Bernie was a veteran of the Korean War and was awarded a Bronze Star.
No surprise there.

The red and green lights just came on, Bernie; the train is coming.
I still remember the day you told me your little ‘Commuter Rail conductor’ secret.
You made me feel special, but then again you had the ability to make everyone feel that way.
Sweet peace to you, kind sir; the sweetest of peace to you, Bernard.
Your long journey has reached its final destination, albeit prematurely.
Here’s to you, my friend . . .



Happy Memorial Day to one and all! 


Cabbage Ass

Something short and sweet, so to speak . . .

Someone floated an air biscuit on the train this morning, a silent sulfur scream (SSS) so deadly in intent that my eyes literally crossed.
Dude, if you’re sick, go to the hospital.
It was odd the way people picked their heads up one by one and started looking around for the gravy pants responsible for the great brown cloud.
There were only 12 or so people in the car I was riding in so it was a bit uncomfortable.
I heard one guy groan and say, “Oh, man.”
Oh, man is right.
The odor of the unholy airlock was almost indescribable.
Oh, alright, I’ll try. I’m already grossed out anyway (as you will soon be, as well).
It was somewhere between ripe, warm and hairy egg salad and way-past-the-due-date hamburger. My olfactory senses are somewhat dulled at this time of the morning but I definitely detected a hint of burnt string bean casserole.
It was right after that when people started getting up one by one in search of a fresher car to ride in. Not wanting to be seen as the person that “drew the mud”, I too got up and left the fragrant car.
It was painfully clear that this demanding piece of colon-speak wasn’t going anywhere.
I overheard a woman say to someone, “Well, I’m certainly awake now!”
She sounded almost pleased.
As soon as I stopped my eyes from watering, I found a new seat.


Triport OE



For Christmas, my wife got me a pair of Bose Triport IE headphones (In-Ear) knowing how much music I listen to on my daily journey back and forth from Boston.
I have a Nano Ipod that’s always loaded with all kinds of funky stuff.
From Mojo Nixon (Elvis is everywhere) to Anita Baker and Nine Inch Nails, I have some pretty cool stuff.
I’ve been using this pair of Sony earbuds for a few years now and my wife thought it would be nice if I had something just a bit better if only to improve the quality of sound.

She thought a Bose product would be a vast improvement to my current earbuds.

And at 99$ a pop, you would think these buds would sing, right?

I immediately put them in and gave them a trial listen.
It was early Christmas morning so I chalked up my blasé first impression to the fact that I’d only had one cup of coffee.
Maybe more Joe was needed to awaken my ‘rock and roll’ battered auditory senses.

I gave the Triport IE headphones a good listening to on the way to Boston on the following day.
Halfway to Beantown, I pulled them out and thought, God, these suck.

They weren’t any better than the crappy Sony buds I’d been using.
I was gobsmacked.

In short, the IE buds sounded boxy (blatant and annoying midrange), bottom heavy (bass up the ass), and lacking in anything resembling vocal sibilance (1.5Hz +).

I’m thinking, this is a Bose product, it should blow me away.
It really didn’t.

The icing on the proverbial cake comes when you put the damn things in your ears.
They feel like you’re inserting a cold and jelly-like cadaver finger into your auditory canal. Eeegaaads….

Must be me.

I called Bose the next day and said I wanted to return the buds, the rep asked me why.

Because they sound like shit, I said.

Ahhh, customer dissatisfaction, he said.


The buds were a distant memory the next day and I was back with my crappy Sony plugs and feeling a bit downtrodden.

Fast forward to a few days ago;

I’m at Target with my wife and go to see what they have for headphones.
The first thing I see is a row of neatly displayed Bose Triport IE earbuds.
Noooo, Thanks.

Next to the earbuds is a Bose display of two new headphones; one that covers the ear ($139.95) and one that ‘sits’ on the ear (OE @ $179.95).

I fell in love with the OE’s because they were foldable and sounded incredible in the store.
Obviously, they were the more expensive of the two sets of headphones but hey, I’m just being honest.
Don’t waste your time looking for a better price. It doesn’t exist.

My Christmas/ Birthday present turned out to be a pair of the OE’s.

These headphones make NIN a religious experience.
If you can believe anyone, believe me.
If you passionately listen to music on headphones, throw me a bone and click on the picture above.
My French Riviera chateau awaits…





(“Meditative Rose” drawing by Salvador Dali)


I find myself oddly sensitive to people and situations they’re in (or not in) at this time of year. Why I possess this heightened holiday awareness is anybody’s guess.

Maybe other folks feel the same way. I don’t know.

The other day as I was waiting to get off the train I spied an older woman with her head down.
In her shaky hands, I saw she held a threadbare set of rosary beads.
The rosary struck me as unusual for someone riding the commuter rail but then I noticed she was softly crying as well.
My heart went out to this strange woman obviously going through some sort of
life-altering ordeal.
Maybe she was praying for a sick grandchild, maybe a spouse, maybe this screwed up world we all live in.

I wanted to ask if she was alright but I stopped, my internal voice speaking out loud and clear: Michael, she’s crying and saying the rosary and you’re acting like she just hit the lottery. Wake up!

{Insert literary dope slap here}

I felt somewhat stranded and inept because there was little I felt I could realistically do.
On my key ring, I have a ‘guardian angel’ penny that I carry with me everywhere I go. Most days I hardly think about it—I know it’s there and that’s enough.
As I looked at this woman, my fingers involuntarily found the coin on the key ring in my coat pocket; my thinking being the outside chance of just holding the coin would magically transfer some benevolence and blessing her way.

I hate feeling helpless when I come upon a shattered soul.
This poor woman was all alone and in a way, she was stranded like me.

I ultimately decided it was none of my business and I walked past her and out of the train.

The scenario I encountered was not much different than what I encountered with one of my latest posts.
I thought “Nebula” would elicit more comments than it did.
This isn’t a post about getting you to read it, it’s about the fact that I put 2 and 2 together and came up with 4, something more elusive than it seems.
Nebula” was a painful post to read and many chose to walk away, silent.
Just like I did the other day…

I dedicate this post to the woman on train in the hopes that she found a few of her prayers answered. Sometimes, prayer is all we can honestly offer another human being.
But maybe, in the end, that’s not so bad after all.





Somewhere, amidst the shattered crystal silence of daybreak. . .
I find you
the dusty silhouette of a life
resting on a shelf in my mind that’s sadly gathering dust,
the gentle flutter of wings sets the shadows free
I watch as you dance among the countless stars, set deep in the face of a forever-winter sky

a whisper; but a sotto-voce prayer moves me through a time and space where I realize I have lost you all over again
A transient streak of starlight falls into the invisible arms of the waiting horizon
and I look to the east, my heart finally believing in the goodbyes and the time stained no mores
and I begin to understand why
He chose you
to shine
so soon…

Just some thoughts regarding the past . . .
Please don’t ask, it’s way too deep.


Boston Lullabye


I’m having one of those ‘same old, same old’ days today.
When the pedestrian routine of my daily life sucks the creativity out of my soul, I get a bit cranky.
Creativity takes energy and lots of it.
The neighborhood is blanketed in a vapid fog, an early morning pall of mist, as I drive away from the house.
It makes the drive to the train station a bit outlandish, eerily transforming the lights that line the highway into surreal alien ships from some cheesy 1970’s Sci-Fi flick.

I feel so tired and antique, an old man with younger skin that’s slowly on the verge of molting. My internal needle registers an ‘E’ and I’ve neither the money nor the slightest inclination to even put five bucks in my tank (even thought gas is now a measly $2.47 a gallon, go figure).
The various bumps and steady vibrations of the train usually lull me to sleep;
my 50 M.P.H. Boston Lullabye . . .
I’ve no doubt this morning will be the ‘same old, same old’.

My weary mind drifts along as I watch the steady blur of the rushing tracks outside my window.

As I close my eyes, I mentally cross my fingers and whisper to myself, maybe today. . .