2 Days To New Comic @ NYCC 2018 BOOTH 1061: RJ Huneke, Elizabeth Yoo, Fred Harper and more folks will be at the Rune Works Booth #1061 with THE comic, SPY WOMAN SPY, loads of art, free swag, and more at the NYC Javits Center!
Eager readers, I could not be more excited for 2018's NY Comic Con.
I am beyond STOKED this year!
Alongside my good friend and amazing artist Elizabeth Yoo, the very first preview issue of the CYBERWAR Series prequel graphic novel SPY WOMAN SPY will be available in extremely limited quantities.
We will do our best to have these books out every day of the con and I am hopeful that the art is going to set the world on fire!
This comic book features Xera Finn and Fae Yu from CYBERWAR.
SPY WOMAN SPY takes place in the near future, in the CUSA, where the two disillusioned foreign agents, friends, and lovers struggle to cope with breaking ties to their past. As their birthplace, Wangluo, demands more and more heinous acts of allegiance from Xera and Fae in the Cold Cyberwar, a horrible act of government-sanctioned child trafficking is uncovered rattling the two spies to their core. Betraying orders will be costly!
SPY WOMAN SPY written by (me) R.J. Huneke, and art by Elizabeth Yoo, will be premiering the first preview book of SPY WOMAN SPY Issue #0 at the 2018 NY Comic Con.
It has been five years since my car accident, and I am not yet at 100% (getting close), but my creative drive has never been stronger, folks.
Many new projects (children’s book series anyone? a few are in the works) and art are coming very soon, and though I have struggled to work as quickly as I would like, I have by no means been idle.
You will be happy to know that I am currently pitching the follow-up to my novel CYBERWAR.
I apologize for leaving you hanging at the end of that first novel, but from what I gather as I speak to fans of the book series, the next chapter will be something special that will make up for the wait.
The book will be longer for one thing. And there will be many answers and more questions examining the entire world and Cyberverse as the Cyberwar is fully unleashed...
I will be signing books at NYCC 2018 Rune Works Booth 1061, but more on that later.
I am thankful to have some great friends who happen to make amazing art and are going to be on-hand with me at Rune Works # 1061.
The incredibly talented illustrator Fred Harper will be there – badass Hulk prints in tow – and he will be doing commissions throughout the Con as well as painting and possibly even taking a musical turn on his infamous cowbell.
My longtime friend (and now) bookmate artist Elizabeth Yoo has been producing amazing cover art for novels and movie productions of late, and she is innovative (I do not use the word lightly).
Her work is truly resonates deeply on many levels, and I am ecstatic that she is producing a deeply noir-esque and never-before-seen take on the comic book art form as a co-creator and the artist of SPY WOMAN SPY.
I could not have imagined anyone who grasps the feel of the world of Cyber more than Elizabeth.
And her art, from the Joker to Batman and Catowoman sharing a milkshake will blow you away.
Along with Fred's prints, original art, and commissions, Elizabeth will have limited edition prints, as well as a host of other goodies on sale at NY Comic Con.
Liz’s amazing “Joker” piece and “Pyscho” piece will be on a heavy-duty tote, for example, and the Mr. Romero’s Joker lips will be hand-colored by Ms. Yoo at the table! They are $10 a piece or $5 with any other purchase!
There will be magnets and Comic Con-only discounts to Liz’s art prints!
And yes, the author R.J. Huneke, yours truly, will have a limited number of copies of his book CYBERWAR and will be signing them.
Now I recently uncovered a box while moving, so I will have a VERY LIMITED amount of the sold out hardcover in tow, and I have paperbacks left as well!
Please check in at the booth for signing schedules for all of the artists, including author RJ Huneke (me).
And be sure to talk to my friend Charles D. Chenet; Charles' Dare2Draw non-profit has brought comic books, published artists and aspiring artists together for education, amazing lessons, and fun exploration of the craft.
From their site Dare2Draw.org: The Dare2Draw is a non-profit mentoring and networking platform for all comic book and creator artists, an opportunity to connect with each other, face-to-face, encouraging good health and business practices for cartoonists. Established artists and arts organizations meet in a supportive setting, putting the art back in sequential art.
And, as always, there will be free candy, bookmarks, Joker playing cards, and fun swag galore!
On behalf of the Rune Works / Cyberwar Series team, I’ll see you there, at NY Comic Con, in just 2 DAYS! ~RJ Huneke
New books COMING including American Political Asylum, yes it is true!
It has been far too long, my friends.
Nearly five years after my car accident, I am not yet at 100% but my creative drive has never been stronger these past years, and so many new projects and art are coming very soon.
I, R.J. Huneke, promise: winter, I mean, art is coming!
What has been extremely difficult for me mentally and spiritually has been coping with the fact that I have not been able to write and work on art every day, as I have for many years.
It is a part of my soul and every day the compulsion is so strong that it can override the need for sleep, money, and even food (which for me is saying something).
But my brain has needed to rest and recover, as well as my body.
Regardless of this, I have been hard at work on some interesting goodies, invigorating pieces for me (and hopefully for you too), some of which I will spill the beans on here and some I will wait until the time is right.
My frustration is often paralyzing because when I can write, edit, and make art it is still taking me far longer to accomplish anything than it used to . . . most of the time.
I am happy to say that there are times where the magic comes back, full force, and there is that amazing indescribable storm of swiftness as things pour from my vessel to the medium.
And I have come a long way from having to teach my eyes to see straight again and scrawl or type without inverting letters and words.
I can also stand on one leg again.
This is unrelated but gives me infinite joy as I can stretch as I used to and jump on Dragon and go mountain biking through the walls of trees, the winding needle-strewn paths, and the steep peaks and valleys of the trails.
I get many of my best ideas this way, so I guess it is a little related.
You see I do ramble on even more than I used to (also saying something for me).
Now to the art!
As of today I have been declared a finalist in the Local Gems Press NaPoWriMo Chapbook Contest and been offered a publishing contract for my first ever book of poetry titled American Political Asylum!
I had little hope I would win the contest outright, as there are so many gifted poets in the world, and my work, in this case, was largely political in nature.
But in writing a poem for every day in the month of April 2018, I met a challenge to myself to complete a themed compilation of poems, which I had never done before.
And, what is more, the difficulties surrounding the United States of America have had me either depressed, scared shitless, or enraged (or all three at once) nearly 24/7 and writing this book was a tremendous relief to my mind, body and soul.
I hope you, Eager Readers, enjoy it.
It is not all gloom and doom, nor is it all politics.
American Political Asylum is a theme based off of the title and so anything American, anything political, and anything needing asylum fell into my hands to carve into works.
There are some hilarious pieces, as well as one about my Dalmatian puppy Indiana Jones.
What else, do you ask?
Well, Rune Works Productions Ltd. will once again have a booth at New York Comic Con!
And for it, there will be a comic book written by yours truly based in the Cyberwar world, taking place before the tale in Cyberwar.
The artwork will be like nothing out there now and dark! Elizabeth Yoo is going to blow the doors off of the house!
There are also two children’s books, a wholly new mystery suspense maybe even a touch of science fiction or fantasy (who can say at this point) novel, and of course the refined next book in the Cyberwar Series, which is currently being perused by agents before, hopefully, going to the publishing houses.
This book will make Cyberwar a prequel and be the true launch of an interesting and twisted series that delves far more in-depth into the Cyber United States and Wangluo and everywhere in between, as only Sheetrock and Xera Finn and company can live it.
I have also relaunched a site for POWkabam Comics and artists, like myself, are writing their own views on any and all things comic books there so check it out: powkabam.com.
Sorry, you will have to stay tuned to that Bat Channel.
I can promise to try and communicate with you here and on Twitter far more often than I have the past few years.
I am healthier than I can remember and loving life, so be ready because this art is going to be special, all of it.
Thanks for tuning in. I will not tune out, and I suggest you do not either.
Art is coming!
My identity was stolen to help the FCC repeal Net Neutrality, and the short of it is I am outraged to have been slandered as a matter of public record (see pic) with my name supporting a repeal of Title II net neutrality rules when I have vehemently fought against such a repeal.
The long of it is as an author who has not only petitioned (download the actual CREDO pdf to view the one I signed here that is also on record on FCC.gov) for Title II net neutrality rules to be left in place weeks before my name was fraudulently used to comment on the FCC site in favor of repeal, but also as someone who has written a book called CYBERWAR wherein I am critical of anti-privacy and censorship issues and am writing about the cutting edge technology surrounding the Cyberverse, and I have spoken publicly on cyber-related issues where I have promoted net neutrality, I am really worried for a grim reality that the FCC is trying to force upon us in the USA.
I am an annual supporter of the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) as they research, report, and fight via the law for our digital rights as humans.
When I began donating to Eff.org, I started to use their badge on my sites in the footer: “I Support Online Rights.”
That sums up my real stance.
And with supporting cyber security, digital freedoms, and online rights, I fully support Net Neutrality and the Title II net neutrality rules that are in place in the United States to keep a level playing field and prevent the ISP’s like Comcast and Verizon from dictating, censoring, and preventing what media we receive via the Internet (and how quickly we receive it and at what extra cost for equal treatment).
I am a citizen of the country I love, and I have now suffered defamation by bots that I believe the FCC purposefully put in place to fill their web site with over a million comments in favor of, and begging for, the repeal of net neutrality.
The detail with which my name used in conjunction with a former address of mine (and a current address of my family members is used and it is under my full name, not my pen name of RJ) is nauseating.
If I were an employer interviewing someone who said these views, I would think twice before hiring them.
Read what my Bizarro wrote:
The Obama-era FCC regulations known as "Title II" enable the federal government to exert an extraordinary and unnecessary amount of regulatory control over the internet. This bureaucratic overreach impedes innovation, stifles investment and continues to create economic uncertainty for one of the largest sectors of the U.S. economy. I support Chairman Pai's proposal to roll back Title II and restore the sensible regulatory framework that enjoyed broad bipartisan consensus and enabled the internet to thrive for more than two decades. I strongly urge all of the FCC Commissioners to support the Chairman's proposal to repeal the harmful Title II internet takeover.
This is entirely false; I never made that statement.
The best part is that when using the Attorney General of New York’s tool to see if my identity was stolen and miss-used on the FCC site (click to check your name here, folks), two comments show up: the first is the fake repeal-happy comment and below that is my comment in the form of a petition to keep Title II net neutrality rules in place signed by me, R.J. Huneke, and from my home town.
I fought against the repeal of net neutrality just weeks before the fake comment of mine appears in support of it on FCC.gov.
Since me and my overt call-outs for everyone to help support net neutrality (dozens of writings and all of them quite public via social media channels that include Google, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn), it is almost funny that my identity was stolen and maliciously and fraudulently used in this manner to make a public statement on the FCC.gov web site; but it is not funny: it is terrifying.
The fact that the evidence used by the FCC in the million-plus “individuals” that the FCC touted as having spoken in support of the repeal of Title II net neutrality rules are riddled with false submissions, so far including dead people and plain old living citizens (like myself) who have had fraud committed against, is utterly unethical and damn scary.
And yet the FCC refuses to, at the least, delay the December 14th 2017 repeal Title II net neutrality rules until proper evidence is verified.
New York State noticed that many numbers did not add up and our NYS Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has not been satisfied with the brush-off from the FCC. And so it is commendable that he has constructed on his own government web page a simple tool to search for fake (or real) comments on the FCC.gov site and then if you find you have been wrongly represented on there a simple button click and form that takes seconds to complete allows you to open up an official investigation into the fraud.
I must urge all of my Eager Readers and all who value their online rights and a fair Internet in the US to spread the word that the FCC must delay the repeal and to check that your friends and family are not a victim of identity theft being used to falsely support the repeal of net neutrality as we know it.
NY Comic Con 2017 Booth 1061: R.J. Huneke Signs New Comic! was written by R.J. Huneke. And yes it is true the Rune Works NYCC Booth # 1061 will have even more New York Comic Con 2017 RUNE WORKS Exclusives coming from author and artists R.J. Huneke, Fred Harper and Elizabeth Yoo, including a new CYBERWAR world comic book filled with NEW material.
Here is some news Eager Readers: the Hardcover of CYBERWAR has SOLD OUT! I am proud to say only paperbacks remain and also that a new novel is in the can, as they say, and you can ask all about it at our Booth # 1061.
The RUNE WORKS schedule is as follows:
There will be a prequel comic book featuring characters from R.J. Huneke’s cyberpunk noir thriller the CYBERWAR Series titled SPY WOMAN SPY.
If you could not guess it is starring two of the leading ladies, the infamous CYBERWAR Series heroines Xera Finn and Fae Yu as they live their double lives in the shadows of the Port Jefferson black market, which is always at risk of being shut down by the Cyber United States government’s local CNYPD forces.
But that is not all.
Along with the opening pages of this CYBERWAR Series prequel the graphic novel is followed by a never before released in print spy tale, a short story of William Waltz the Cyber Warrior.
This thrilling throwback to the days when Waltz hacked his way into and out of jam after perilous jam as a Cyber Warrior is titled THE CYBER WARRIOR AWAKENS and was only briefly featured as a short online on rjhuneke.comand cyberwarseries.com.
The newest book for the kickoff novel for the CYBERWAR Series is coming very soon . . . drop by for news from the author, yours truly!
There will be five incredible pieces of artwork available in limited edition archival print runs of Mr. Romero (The Joker?), an amazing tribute to the late Adam West (is that Batman and Catwoman at a 60’s shindig of a soda shop?) and The Blondes of Alfred Hitchcock: the beauties of THE BIRDS Tippi Hedren and Kim Novak!
We are talking about amazing prints that reflect the paintings (see ElizabethYoo.com.
There are three sizes of prints, so that there is an affordable $5 4x6” print of each, a $20 8x10” print (or 2 for $30), and $40 each for a 13x19” masterpiece collection piece.
But there’s more: rumor has it the TIPPI piece comes in her natural blonde or her noir blue colorations . . .
And then there will be two, only two, of these pieces that are coming in a limited edition and utterly incredible magnet ($5 only folks!).
The man, the myth, the legend, Fred Harper will be bringing MARS ATTACKS pieces and we hope a bevy of his art – check out fharper.com and fredharper.com!
More announcements are coming!
Check all of our sites and come hungry for there will be FREE candy, bookmarks, and knowledge to eat up at the booth.
If you help out after Hurricanes Harvey-Irma I’ll send you a poem that is personalized, printed on classy parchment, and signed by yours truly.
The fine print is this:
I love to write and I love to help out.
If you love to read and to help others in need, then I think you might be interested to know that you are due a poem!
If you donate to the Red Cross and message me on Twitter or Facebook with a picture of a receipt, or if you volunteer at a place affected by either Hurricane Harvey or Hurricane Irma (and shoot me a quick pic), I will happily send you a personalized copy of a poem I have written after seeing the folks recently hurt in Texas by the terrible storm. For the next month I hope to learn how to visit my new post office in my sleep because you have kept me so busy mailing you a one-of-a-kind piece of writing.
I just came back from a trip to the western part of the US, the Navajo Reservation, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona, and I was filled with awe. There are some of the most stunningly beautiful and amazing lands and people out west. From the lofty mountains, the epic deserts, the snaking rivers, the striated rock formations of stark reds, browns, blacks, and oranges, it is a wondrous place like no other.
I feel for those in Texas. I feel for those in Puerto Rico (for those in Florida who may be hit bad again) and everywhere else that is affected by these super storms.
Eager Readers, I have so many things I am working on, but nothing is as important as helping one’s fellow human being.
That is why I wrote my poem “That Grit In Your Toes” and that is why I urge you all to give just a few dollars or hours, if you have them, to the relief efforts underway.
Let us all work to come together.
P.S. Yes, for those of you wondering I am still writing and working on creative projects every day. I will never stop. Though a bad car accident had me sidelined – or more like slowed to a crawl – I have fought and rehabilitated body/mind/soul and some really fun and interesting things are going to be published and released very soon. I have not forgotten the Eager Readers, fans of Cyberwar, or those curious in my work, and I am sorry I have largely been away for so long.
R.J. Huneke Returns to NY Comic Con Rune Works Booth #1061 where he will be signing books!
2016 sees the Rune Works Productions Ltd. team flourishing and once again occupying the New York Comic Con Booth #1061 in the Small Press Section of the main floor on October 6-9, 2016.
There will be customized bookmarks and candy available for free to all of our fans (and certainly some more fun surprises).
R.J. will appear beneath an enormous sign bearing the temple and pen logo of Rune Works. Look for it over the aisles at the Javits Center!
Hours are forthcoming for R.J.'s signings of his science fiction thriller CYBERWAR, and the Ivan O'Neill graphic novel BACKWOOD STATE, of which R.J. was editor and a part of the art/writing work for the continually selling out premiere issues featuring notorious English major Gwen.
And new things - fantastic new works and pieces - are coming and to be oh so slowly teased and brought forth just for you, Eager Readers, at the New York Comic Con 2016.
Other comrades of author R.J. Huneke, such as Rune Works writers, promoters, media specialists will all be on hand, and specifically members of the Rune Works Gaming division, and its head Maria Sumoza, as well as media guru and fine artist Liz Yoo who will also be there touting new and exciting works.
Maria is kicking off her own Twitch Stream and continues to be a female force examining gaming from her innovative perspective. Check her out on the Rune Works Gaming Section and on her Twitter feed.
Liz is bringing the great works of, The Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock to the canvas in ways like no one has ever seen! Her galleries have had enormous success in New York City and Long Island. Check out her site and Twitter feed here.
R.J. is proud to be a part of Rune Works as both a member of the media, covering all of pop culture art at its finest, and a publishing and promotion firm for artists.
The Rune Works® Productions Ltd. Mission: to give a voice to unique artists and bring their vision to the world at large.
Rune Works® began in 2007 as an outlet for innovative artists looking to thrive with their works. We now offer art, content, and business consulting for media, marketing, web design, and representation.
Want to hear an artist's perspective on comic books, video games, art, or film? Check out our News & Reviews Section.
Star Trek Beyond is truly fitting for Star Trek’s 50th Anniversary and is a moving tribute to Leonard Nimoy and Star Trek: TOS (The Original Series) while carving new ground in the fantastic genre that is all its own.
Yes, you can say Star Trek invented its own genre: the Trek genre.
And as the movie begins 966 days into the five-year voyage of the space pioneering craft, the USS Enterprise, we are reminded of when her maiden voyage really took place in September of 1966, or 9/66.
This Star Trek Beyond film talk includes spoilers.
First let us dismiss the heinous odd numbered movie curse that was considered by many to have been placed on the Star Trek odd numbered films.
Thank producer and director J.J. Abrams for dispelling this with his reboot into an alternate universe in such a perfect way with the 11th film in the franchise, Star Trek, that no fan of The Original Series could be unhappy with the amazing new twist that still breathes new life into our favorite Gene Roddenbury characters of legend.
Star Trek: TOS is alive in spirit, in shape and form and even in story.
For the 13th film in the franchise, which aired 50 years after its debut, Star Trek Beyond is an amazing movie and piece of the Trek history.
There was little to expect from director Justin Lin and co-writers Simon Pegg and Doug Jung who began work on a script just six months before shooting.
But the long history of Star Trek: TOS was utilized to delve out interesting new backstories and throwbacks to the original cast and crew of the USS Enterprise, while the story itself was fresh, engaging and forging new territory.
Tune back to see more about the new film in a future write-up on Rune Works News & Reviews here.
This was a bloodier, grittier Trek story, and it centered around two things that characters Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock grappled with in their own previous TOS episodes and films . . . leaving Star Fleet.
At the heart of Star Trek Beyond is Spock learning that Ambassador Spock, his older self from another timeline and played by the original Spock, himself, Leonard Nimoy, has died.
Recruiting Vulcans to rebuild their society was Nimoy’s pivotal role that had freed his younger version of Spock to spend his time with Kirk his best friend, and the crew, his lifelong friends, to live that remarkable life, in which Kirk needed him every bit as much as Spock needed Kirk.
This is no longer feasible once Ambassador Spock has died.
The passing away of Leonard Nimoy was a loss that could never be fulfilled as his art from Star Trek and countless other productions are fiercely loved today, as they were decades ago.
And Pegg and Jung centered their script on the premise that if Nimoy is gone, so too is Spock’s chance at the Enterprise life, and he must fulfill his duty to his species.
He will leave Star Fleet after its last mission.
And at the same time, Kirk feels lost aboard a ship in the void of space and grows tired of his heavy labors and responsibility. He too will leave the ship for a desk job at Star Fleet.
It is heart wrenching.
Spock nearly dies in the film, but is saved by having his heart where his liver would be if he was human (a great nod to Star Trek: TOS), and he has an unlikely emotional moment when he peers at his predecessor’s effects.
Ambassador Spock has kept among his possessions a picture of the original cast and crew from Star Trek: TOS aboard the bridge of the Enterprise after they had grown old together, smiling, in one of the last films of Star Trek: TOS.
How we all miss Leonard Nimoy.
This truly tear-jerking moment is not lost on the young Spock who remembers his mentor advising him to live that life with Kirk and his friends.
The events of the TV show and the Star Trek: TOS films all happened, just in another timeline where Leonard Nimoy’s Spock will always remain one of the most intriguing characters in science fiction and in the Trek genre at large.
We lost a great artist and man in Leonard Nimoy, and Star Trek Beyond pays tribute to all of the greats, from Uhura, to Scottie, to Sulu, to Chekov, and of course to William Shatner’s unflappable Kirk and his courageous but disgruntled Dr. McCoy, Bones, who constantly nudged Spock as being a green-blooded Vulcan.
Spock studies the picture and decides against leaving Kirk and Star Fleet.
And somewhere, in another timeline perhaps, Leonard Nimoy is smiling and possibly wiping away an un-Vulcan-like tear.
"Star Trek Beyond Is A Moving Tribute to Nimoy & TOS" was written by R.J. Huneke.
P.S. For as long as I can remember the voice of Leonard Nimoy spoke to me: whether it was documentaries into unknown mysteries of earth or the universe, or Star Trek: TOS the TV show and the movies, and then later on as a fantastically brilliant, dangerous, and vastly intelligent villain on another J.J. Abrams work of genius, Fringe.
Mr. Nimoy was there throughout my whole life.
Seeing him in Abrams reboot Star Trek, and how cool the premise of having two Spocks and the original Spock living in a new timeline with the younger version of himself was a thrill I never expected and was so spoiled to relish.
I knew he would be back again and again.
Sadly, Star trek Into Darkness would be Nimoy's last Trek film, and tears are welling in my eyes right now to think of that bitter truth.
Mortality comes for us all in the end, at least in this form, in this timeline.
And I miss the work of an artist who was one of a kind and a friend that I never really had, but enjoyed the company of all the same for my entire life.
We miss you, Leonard, and we are so grateful for you and your work.
Even the newest Star Trek voyage could not have taken place without your influence.
Thank you, wherever you are.
Live Long and Prosper,
Here we are and in the heart of May the Second Annual Local Author Fair will be taking place at the Port Jefferson Free Library on May 14, and R.J. Huneke will be there!
And there will be books!
Lots of books!
Come down for a rare meet and greet with local New York and Long Island authors, as they speak on their latest works of literature on Saturday May 14, 2016 at 2pm EST sharp.
R.J. Huneke will have a table on the main floor, so look for his huge CYBERWAR banner and the tumblers of binary.
Authors will be speaking, hand shaking, answering queries from intriguing and wonderful readers’ brains and last, but not least, signing the works.
R.J. Huneke was present at the launch of the 2016 Suffolk County Poetry Review last Saturday, and he read his piece “Careless Eyes” that was published in the issue (read about that here or on his web site at rjhuneke.com.
It is rumored that Mr. Huneke is very close to finishing his next novel in the variety of science fiction and/or noir and/or spy thriller genres.
If you like a page-turner, great characters, and an intensely entertaining story backed by great research, Cyberwar can offer all of that and more.
If you want to hear more about his next book, or perhaps a secret reading of its opening (SHH!) attend the fair!
Hear all about it from the author himself – I am sure he will be happy to sign a copy for any Eager Reader in attendance.
In case you were wondering about his book that is out now:
When hackers seize the world governments everything changed for all of humanity. A new sense of hope arrived in the streets and young people everywhere embraced the new world order. However, what appeared to be a new found freedom soon turned out to be a new tyranny far worse than anything they imagined.
William Waltz formed part of the new elite that guarded the regime, that is, until the regime turned on him.
Read more about Cyberwar here.
It was a tremendous launch for the Suffolk County Poetry Review 2016 at Dowling College in Oakdale.
The poets in attendance that read were nothing short of awe inspiring.
And I am so very proud to have been published amongst such talented and creative scribes.
My piece “Careless Eyes” was chosen to be a part of the second ever Suffolk County Poetry Review and I am humbled and truly moved that it was.
I submitted a few pieces, but this one has more significance to me than most.
It is something I wrote about after suffering a traumatic brain injury that has drastically impacted my life, and in turn, my writing for nearly two years now.
I attended the event and read my short piece “Careless Eyes” aloud.
My Mom and Dad and my young niece – an intelligent poet of nine years of age (who is already reading and enjoying Walt Whitman; I mean how cool is that?) were there to witness it.
The piece, as you will see by the picture here, is short.
I told the poets in attendance it would be a short read, but I wanted them to get the most out of it; I urged them to look on it in there books, as this poem is every bit as visual as it is audiological.
It was my great Creative Writing professor, and a Poet Laureate in his own right, Ed Stever, that taught me the power of a visual poem, that a poem could have no bounds on the page, and that it could in an abstract or specific way have visual stimulus other than the words.
In the class there was a piece in the shape of a smoking cigarette that shook my brain out of its norm in a very, very good way.
What do I mean when I say visual?
Well, my favorite poets of T.S. Eliot and Ginsberg made way for another, one ee cummings, who refused to even punctuate his name and whose words became art on a page.
Those of cummings are visual, as is “Careless Eyes”.
Why does that matter?
My short poem reflects my transformation from an author reading, writing, and editing an average of 1000 words a day for many years and then was struck by a car and unable to type even a simple good morning without inverting letters and words due to cognitive and visual sufferings from my brain injury.
After so many years, typing a sentence, let alone a piece in any medium, took 100 times as long to accomplish as I continually wrote it wrong; every day I wrote one of my best friends ‘good monring’ and grew angry, despondent, depressed and a myriad of emotions at this battle that was my livelihood.
For anyone that has ever dealt with a traumatic brain injury, and that includes a bad concussion, this piece is for them.
My words start off working until the HIT on the page. And then you get a glimpse of what is has been like for me for nearly two years now.
It hurts, but I fight to get through it.
Nearly a year to the day after the car accident, I had to write this poem. I had to. I cannot explain that other than saying that I had to.
It was difficult but it lives now forever in great company of poets from Suffolk County, Long Island, New York, and these talented individuals have inspiring pieces that fill the volume.
My piece is but one tiny part in this anthology, but I am utterly grateful to be a part and for “Careless Eyes” to be the one in there means the world to me.
I dedicate the poem to my love, my wife, Cassie, without whom I would have been lost to this, the past year plus.
I believe, that when an artist dies, you must fill the void with their art.
One of my all-time favorite musicians was the singer and songwriter, of Stone Temple Pilots and other bands, Scott Weiland. STP’s Core and Purple were two of the first albums I ever bought for myself, and for over twenty years I have loved their rousing tunes.
At the heart of the music is a voice unlike any other, is an emotional ferocity, a creativity, and a poetry unique to itself. Please listen to “Big Empty”, my old favorite, and “Atlanta”, my new favorite as of this year (it took me nearly twenty years to change my mind on that one), to see what I mean.
When Scott passed it hit me hard.
I do not care about his past; his death was unexpected and it was utterly sad. His demons never let go of him, but I still felt his decades of struggle were a tragedy, and his art was soul-bearing and resonate, no matter how many hundreds of times I listened to it.
And then David Bowie fell to cancer; it was bitter, sudden, painful...tough to swallow. The brilliant actor, musician and artist was up and gone, not of old age, but of a malady that no one can seem to cure, no matter how many stars are dimmed forever because of it. And he will forever be the greatest emanation of Nikola Tesla that I could ever imagine gracing the silver screen.
I love to listen, re-listen and to play these guys' music (my awful, raspy rendition of "Five Years" and “Sour Girl” and so on), and it hurt me so damn much.
The words and melodies, the voyages, the mind, body, and soul impacted so many in myriad ways and forever changed the world for the better.
Now why the fuck did they have to go so soon?
They were strangers to me, I never met either of them; though I did get to see Scott Weiland leap from the stage at Jones Beach and stand on seats, many rows deep, with his megaphone, to the utter ecstasy of the crowd in a legendary show. But my point is I did not know them, and I will not claim to know them just because I know their art. All I really know is their art, from my perspective, and what their art means to me. And it means a fucking lot. A lot more than I can even put into words, though my rambling tongue will die trying. Scott sang, “conversations kill” yet I keep talkin’.
David died, and it hurt so much.
David Bowie was gone. Fuck cancer.
He had just made an epic record: a grand fucking masterpiece that spoke back to Ziggy Stardust and Alladin Sane and “Cat Power” and yet evolved into something wholly new. Blackstar is a beautifully epic, spacey, funky, classical menagerie of an album. And just as quickly as it came, David was gone.
It was not fair.
And right around this time, an old school friend of mine named Adam passed away at the age of thirty-two.
Adam was a master guitar player – one of the true natural talents that echo the brightest of abilities with seemingly little effort (though what was the total of the countless hours he spent honing his craft, only he will ever know) – and he was a great musician, artist, and a kind human and a good friend.
He would help anyone for the sake of helping.
And he was gone. We lost him.
I still cannot believe you’re not there to talk music or philosophy or just laugh over a beer with. He brought me into my 1st garage band, 38 Down, when I was fourteen or fifteen. I learned how to write songs, how to strum a guitar, and how to yell with all my lungs from this guy.
Adam gave me my first guitar, when I was sixteen, and that Epiphone has not rested ever since – it went with me in the subway tunnels beneath Manhattan where “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” was frequented and on to the rest stop of Tahoe and the coffee shop of Sonoma and back 3000-plus miles to Long Island. I will always cherish the instrument that he gave me.
We had not been close for many years, and now I rue the missed opportunities to jam with him. He’s gone, passed away 50 or 70 years too young - it's crushing.
For those who wish to donate to an important cause bringing aid, awareness and support to those suffering from the disease of addiction, and their families, you can reach out through the “Look Up For Adam” Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/Look-Up-For-Adam-195509140801081/?fref=ts.
This grief eats away at you, whether it is for utter strangers or once good friends or both.
For the artists that have gone on, we all need to unite. For those that impacted us, their art is what we have to remember and to propel more and more, to blast on high ever loudening, as our days go on.
The pang of sadness is a lot sharper when an artist is taken at a young age.
There is not just a void in us, but there is a void in the world when an artist leaves this plane of existence.
And now I have not been a huge Prince fan by any means; I just never got around to really get into his music (and I am sure I will), outside of “Purple Rain”. But Batman is one of my all-time favorite movies and so too one of my favorite soundtracks, which was all Prince.
Now he too has left us. Seeing Elvis Costello bring down the house at the Beacon with an impromptu "Purple Rain" as my wife and I lost our minds screaming with joy will forever be one of those magical music moments in time for me, for as long as I live.
And Prince is gone.
The man's art was amazing.
We have a void to fill. Maybe you do not believe in a collective consciousness or Ralph Waldo Emerson, but there is something we can all do.
Project their art.
If, for nothing else, do it for yourself. Play the art that had/has/and will have meaning for you.
Send up a call and play their art!
For these fine musicians, and for ourselves, we can project their art forever.
It may be something they would be happy to know, were they alive, that we would continue to follow our bliss through their art far after they passed on.
You are so missed...
But we can fill the void.
P.S. Listen to STP go over the master tracks in the studio to reflect on their beloved friend, Scott Weiland, after his passing in a heartfelt tribute; the song is “Atlanta”, and I will warn you: you might cry the first time you hear this.
I have turned the tide and started on my journey. Words and Worlds hang in the balance and I am writing it all down before the RJ Tower! Read about my newest novel on CyberwarSeries.com