Leaving NYC on the NJ Train
Keep your head down, I told myself. Somehow I managed to get on a train leaving New York City. Penn Station was a nightmare. I had sat in a waiting area for the Long Island Railroad trying to read, watching people and wishing like hell I had brought the laptop computer. This one suit across from me was Abe Fortas. No, not old enough. But, I was sure he was working on the case. What case? I wasn’t sure. But, he was on it. That much I knew. He had the briefcase and graying temples, heavy leather brogans. The man running the station, or this part, was great, but I knew he wouldn’t help me. The fuckers at the Algonquin hotel had stolen my ticket. I had managed, by using my name, to get the information desk to give me my reservation number. I was sure if I reported the ticket stolen, the red lettering, the blue carbons, yes, if I had told the officer in the station, talked at length to him, I’d end up in jail, arrested or worse, trapped in a hospital. I knew the theme of places like this. Keep your head down. I had a brown paper bag with Ranier cherries to keep me focused. Save them for the ride. So, this space with many blue, chrome escalators, and stairs, and flashing lights, and electric boards, and advertising and shops, and people of all worldly origins. I was terrified. Keep your head down. So, I had a reservation number, but I didn’t have the credit card anymore. I’d cut it in half with the Algonquin’s scissors right there at the desk, to tell them they had stolen my clip-on sunglasses and my train ticket from the dry-cleaning. I was so fucking angry, and I had given up on them, and gotten in a cab to Penn Station so early, but I didn’t know where I could idle in Manhattan. In the cab I could smell grilled kielbasa, onions, sauerkraut and mustard. Yellow mustard, and I was in a yellow cab, but out the window the fragrance, the odor, it wafted, it waved, and it seemed the driver followed that greasy yellow smell. I thought of Chief Inspector Dreyfus, and how Clouseau would follow a smell like that, like telling a cabby, follow that man with the moustache and the mustard and in the cartoon the trenchcoat cinched tight at the waist and the wafting smell lines would come in over the glass of the open car window, into the back seat. And I imagined the smell was the thief, the scent of sausage was the criminal who had stolen my clip-ons and my train ticket, it had to be the smell. Then it was gone, the trail was cold and the cab pulled up at Penn Station. I hadn’t been sleeping much and finding a place to sit down was hard. And if I fell asleep, I could be robbed. I had my pack, my aging brown rucksack. Troubled. Keep your head down. Fluorescent lights, tile floors, wooden seats. I sat for three hours, or was it two, or one, or half an hour, or twenty minutes, no just ten. Time dashed and flashed and vanished like the scent of a criminal, or did it drag like the hand around the clock, ticking once a year.
They announced my train and I thought I saw somewhere a flashing sign, a red lit display telling me a track number and I walked fast in near panic, trying to conform to the flow, looking for arrows, directions. Lost. Totally. I saw some Amtrak signs but without a ticket, and weren’t all the trains out of town going to be commuter trains, not Amtrak to start? I didn’t have a clue. Oh, what the hell. I got on a train. I found a seat. I kept my head down. A conductor asked me for a ticket. Keep your head down. I just kept it down. Down in the cherries, munching, spitting the pits into the brown stained bag, rolling the rim of the bag. Muttering and eating, and keep your head down. Different conductors. Gonna throw ya off the train. Then in New Jersey and two really huge, bigger than National League umpires, with uniforms, grizzled faces, and punches and change machines, demanded I get off, and I offered to pay in cash and twelve dollars to the next stop. I got off on a platform in drizzly New Jersey. This was some kind of automated station. And all these people were the commuters who traveled this way everyday. There were people of all races. I imagined I must be near Princeton. Wondering where these people lived, what they did for jobs, and where the lock-up was for the deviants? Why I started wondering that, I don’t know, but I think I was starting to see where this was going to end. Then and there I wanted to sleep. But it was drizzling and even sitting would dampen my ass, and I was damp in spirit already, but did not want to add physical discomfort.
The train I was reserved on would have gone north into New York and eventually cut across Pennsylvania on its way to Chicago, even crossing northern Ohio, through Cleveland. It was abundantly clear to me that I was not going to make the Chicago train and now that I had missed it it would be several days to make the right connections, and I might as well go to Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., but realizing that, and recognizing that I was now totally fucked without a destination, or a ticket had me in a generally increasing panic. I had become dysfunctional. I started shouting at the world that I was a Freddie (The name of the band I played harmonica with in Cincinnati and an acronym for some kind of light on the caboose of a train.) thinking that I could get on a caboose, or somehow hop my way out of this jam. I kicked the door of a commuter train. I stood in the darkening afternoon, gray sky, drizzle on corridor of train tracks with big sterile concrete and glass station that had a closed in bridge over the tracks and afraid of parking lots and people and everything. Keeping my head down had only let me finish the cherries. They had been ripe and delicious. They are only available for a short period each summer coming from a remote region. Yellow and light red, plump, juicy and flavorful and abundant and reasonable at a fruit stand across the wide New York street from Penn Station. I thought of my cycling friend Po with whom I ate them summers in Loveland, Ohio when we rode our sport bicycles. Even for a moment at the fruit stand, I had thought of how my brother had started his career delivering and warehousing produce in San Francisco.
Then I did something really dumb and I just randomly got on a commuter train. I sat with my head down and watched a girl reading a hardback novel out of the corner of my eye. As she got up to leave, I shot a remark, “Want to go for coffee sometime?” She ignored me. I was surely near Princeton. Then the train emptied. I stayed on. Soon the train stopped completely on a siding. I looked around and paced through car after car. I was alone and there was no way to open the sliding doors. No conductor, no nothing. The silver train wasn’t at a station. Just stopped for the night on a siding. So, I looked at the dashboard of switches and knobs in the in between space where the conductor could do something if he was there, and he wasn’t there. But, without a key it was hopeless. After trying to open the emergency exit without result, just pulling some kind of gasket away from a window, I found a sliding window and slid it open. This aluminum edge cut my finger as I climbed out and dropped to the tracks below after tossing my pack down. A scary drop, onto hands and knees on cinders. Plunk. I hiked across the tracks and stood there as it grew dark and misty. I could see overpasses, and wires and dark concrete brown gray walls and lights and creosote rail ties stretching away into the night. I thought of why I had ventured to New York City and for a moment realized part of me was resigned to the comfort of being by the tracks again. Several times in my life I’ve gone to the tracks, this time I sighed with pain. This was not where I wanted to be.
This is the hard part, telling you what happened next, because I’m sure I don’t understand it, and I cannot believe it, but it has happened before, and likely will happen again. Yes, we’re talking fate with a capital F. I stood there. On the tracks waiting. I thought about hiding, or walking. But, as you may remember my boots were all torn up from all the hiking in Manhattan and they were twenty-year-old boots. These heavy Vibram sole boots were hurting my blistered, sore, tired, aching, miserable feet. NO. Walking was out. Walk down the tracks? How far? To the next station? Then what? NO. I stood by the tracks and along came a big ole passenger train with light blazing, horn loud and long. And the thing just stopped right in front of me. I stood. Yeah. I stopped a passenger train in New Jersey. I thought about walking to the conductor and asking to get on. Too afraid. So, I stood. Then behind me I heard a motor, and saw some lights out of the corner of my eye. There was a Jeep like vehicle with the lights on top. Amtrak police. Two big ones with bellies and hams for hands. I was sure that they were Native American. How and why I knew this, I am not sure. I am sure now that I might be wrong. They approached cautiously and seemed afraid of me. I looked at their worn black boots. They asked my name, put their hands on me and asked me if I was OK and did I want to step on the tracks and what was I doing out here and was I trying to hurt myself. I told them only my name and then I said I was a Federal investigator and I said, “Miranda.” They snapped the cuffs on my wrists and said we’re not going to hurt you Steven, we want to help you and I had heard it all before. I knew I wasn’t going to jail, but to the hospital and I was furious because I hate the hospital. It was going to be a rough rough ride. How would I get home? But, to these fucks, these smelly, burly, swarthy men I was just a nut on the tracks, a wacko with fears to be dumped into the system. They went through my pockets and my wallet for ID and played with their computers and yakked on their radios. They had me, and they were sure keeping me. I would once again face the shrink. No train ride for the literate graduate student who had all but finished his thesis. No access to the great books on his reading list. Far from home, computer and laptop, yes, I was to embark upon a new lesson in keeping my head down. But, I don’t want to keep my head down, I thought. No, I wasn’t honest about being a Federal investigator and I think the reason I said it was cause I didn’t believe in the current US Federal Government, and I did believe that a new revolution was in the air. I thought that because there were big time eastern feds invading Cincinnati because of race riots, I’d just investigate New Jersey. It doesn’t make much sense now that I write it down. Rolled full of frustration, difficulty with this new fangled medication, and just overwhelmed with a great sense that no fucking cops or medical professionals were trying to help me. No, they were trying to control me and I went one hundred per cent paranoid and keeping my head down was all I could manage. All I needed was sleep, medication, to be home, a little help dealing with those stupid fuckers at the Algonquin. Could you get me on the right train, please? It would be weeks before that would happen. We whisked along a gravel path then were up on a freeway, off at a ramp, into a driveway. They walked me into a crisis center with lights and sterile smells, like ammonia clean floors, fluorescent lamps. (Too many.) Soon I was strapped to a gurney after a questioning session that seemed frighteningly brief where I said, “Miranda.” The police said he said that before, maybe something about his Miranda rights, or something, and then the nurse said we’ll take care of him and I prayed, and waited and tried to say something. I don’t remember when I started talking, but it was after I was strapped down. In restraints. I’m not saying what they did was wrong, or right, but it seems to always happen that way to me. I’m a big man and they get worried about me, and instead of locking me in a cell, they take me to the not so normal place. I didn’t know where I was. I think they told me then, it was Trenton, New Jersey. I hadn’t gotten far, but at least I was out of New York.
Strapped down sweaty. Bloody finger wrapped in white handkerchief. I sliced it open climbing out the window of the train. Not serious. Harë Krishna. I fucking chanted a mantra outloud. They don’t ask a lot of questions. The cops gave them enough I guess. Mind racking and rolling, running up and down the corridor, just my mind. Looking around I’m in some crisis center. Rolled, strapped sitting halfway up on a bed into a room. A private room. Then there’s this shaved head dude with lots of piercings and tattoos visible…do I remember that right? I cursed at the fucker. Told him I’m an Israeli prisoner. I’m an Israeli prisoner. I know you fuckers want my blood. I’m chanting Krishna chants. Yellow walls, black wheels on my bed, leather cuffs. Humane restraints. Don’t struggle. Fluorescent overhead lamps, heavy steel doors. He’s sitting outside my door, which is open. Hours pass as an Israeli prisoner chanting Harë Krishna. No doctor. Nurse offers OJ and crackers. Dry mouth. Glad I don’t have to pee. Smelling my sweat. It’s hot and I’m in black gabardines, yellow cotton button down and heavy boots. Linen and silk Nat Wednesday jacket, very natti. But now I’m getting angrier and no sleepier. Eventually the skinhead guy is gone. Or I’m moved, something shifts. Two ugly nurse types come in after I’ve been shouting. I’ve been shouting at every sound I hear. I’m sure I can beat the fucking computer. I’m fucking pissed. They don’t make mistakes. This nursing pair, nerdish and straight come in, one has the needle. As she comes to my feet, I time a perfect kick and knock the syringe out of her hand across the room. Panic time. I see spots as I write this. Piercing stars in my vision. It’s scary. Then more people. A man in starched white shirt, badge, black boots, big leather belt with shiny buckle. I’m sure he’s one of the fucking Russians. It’s because of Romanova they’ve got me. That’s it. He’s going to force me into the Bolshoi ballet. I don’t mind, but on my timetable, with my choice of ballerina. But, no that’s a delusion, and he’s pulling my pockets inside out and I’m holding my money and keys in my right hand as he yanks off my black belt with the burnished silver buckle. He holds me down with his hams of hands. He’s bursting over me, unshaved, stinky, bad breath, and sweat, pungent. I struggle and they inject me into the thigh through the gabardines. Fuckers.
Then I wake up walking into a lobby, holding up my loose trousers while they take my pack and money and keys and give me back my clothes and with the two books and toothbrush and I’m on a ward of a state mental hospital. Glad the Russian cop is gone, don’t want to ever see or smell him again.
Trenton State Hospital
When I think of Trenton State Hospital I think of Craig. And the guy whose name I can’t remember who was a rude bigot, but of course he was mentally ill. We all were; they don’t make mistakes. Hiram was a former minor league baseball player, had thick glasses, bad teeth, huge swollen lips and talked about his now gone, younger wife. There was the gay black guy who lent me toothpaste after mine was stolen. He was hilarious. He claimed to have been there twelve times. A prankster, there was a story he told, confirmed by the friendlier female staff, that he had, on an earlier admission, contacted the coroner’s office from the ward, reported his own death and then laughed up a storm when men came with a body bag to take him away.
Let me describe the layout. I was in a dormitory style room with five other beds. My bed was closest to the toilet. This meant that in the middle of the night when others would leave the water running, or the light on, my sleep was necessarily interrupted. It also meant thieves went by my wardrobe. There were six plywood wardrobes and the beds had drawers underneath the mattresses. Of course, it held some convenience for me, too. If I had to pee in the middle of the night, I was right there. The floor was tile, and although it was cleaned twice a day by the custodial staff, it was always gritty. Especially when the weather was rainy. The outdoor areas where we recreated, and smoked, were not all paved. I didn’t smoke, which allowed me to observe a phenomenon not altogether pleasant. I found it disturbing. To explain this phenomenon, I must describe Craig and in some way the other twenty or thirty odd men who made up the population of Three West.
I think Craig had been displaced in time. Similar to Kung Fu Sam, back in Cincinnati in front of the coffeehouse, Craig had very dark skin, was thin as a rail and looked very fit as he shouted in his public voice. Coming out of the shower he displayed a six-pack that I envied. I think he could have been a town crier in a different world. He paced and walked more than anyone else on the ward. He announced the smoke breaks before they were scheduled and paced and picked up followers. He would repeat the cry of, “Smoke time, smoke break,” sometimes starting ten or fifteen minutes before the scheduled time. He never missed a scheduled smoke break and often engaged in a bit of a shouting match with the staff because of his early announcing. It was something to see, and I’m sure became very annoying for the staff because it happened day after day, every few hours. I would trail outside after the smokers just to be with the trees and smell the summer. It was most pleasant in the early morning when there was dew on the grass. In the evenings there were real prisoners in orange jumpsuits who policed the butts with rakes.
Three West was a long hallway off a lobby area with a nursing station encased in glass or Plexiglas. There was a med-dispensing area with a halfdoor off to one side and a small sunroom where haircuts were given, and an activity room with a spinet, a TV, a radio, art supplies and tables. The nicest staff member, whom I’ll call Julia, worked there. She was a dark skinned black woman with cornrow braids and a great attitude. We broke ice when she offered to braid my hair and complimented it. I’ve always been a softie for a woman who wants to play with my hair.
In the main area there was a silver half-globe on the ceiling which had hidden cameras for security. The day area was right outside the door of the dorm. There was a TV, which played constantly, and an array of tables and chairs, not quite sufficient for everyone to sit at once. On more than one occasion staff members slept there in front of the TV. There was a little Indian man who often sat barefoot on the floor even though there were posted rules against it. Other patients included a white Trenton police officer, who seemed always to get privileges, go figure. He had a burr cut, was big and overweight, and sarcastic. Apparently he suffered from depression. At first, I was sure he was there to investigate me. He arrived a day or two after me, and left a few days before I eventually did. His name was Chris, and behind the tattoos and the puffy cheeks, turned out to be an OK guy. Chris tried to negotiate a later bedtime for the men during the NBA and NHL playoffs. For the NBA, with Philly in the finals, trash talk filled idle time. The staff could be heard discussing wagers, and nightclubs where Iverson was alleged to have been seen. The New Jersey Devils won the Stanley Cup and Chris managed to help a few of us see some great hockey late on Fridays and Saturdays. Driver, a half-black, half-Puerto Rican staff who was way into trains, models, history, and current usage was one of the ones who let us watch. There was a black staff member who put on the dog to come to work with his gabardines and gold chains, named Danny, and he also bent some rules for Chris. Danny was a blues guitarist and singer. We talked songs a lot. There was one staff, Buster, who seemed to be a kid, black with cornrows and tattoos; he acted the gangster role when he was awake. He had a mean streak, and actually scared me when I was worried most.
Tom was a light skinned younger black man, who rapped with vigor and ambition. He had a roly-poly body that burst and bulged out of his T-shirt. Tom’s whole presentation was loud, aggressive, defensive and redundant. He sought argument with Buster over who the great rappers were on TV videos and he rapped enough that he claimed to have had a recording deal, but his story was sketchy and he was in the hospital. Buster and Danny teamed up to put Tom down. There was Emmanuel, a dark-skinned fellow with a round shaved head. I loved him as a person because we could talk and he had some status there somehow. He was low key, in his thirties, had a Ph.D. in biology from a Japanese university. A Nigerian by birth, he was having a helluva time with a girlfriend and a career with his depression. We talked about Lance Armstrong’s book, It’s Not About The Bike. Emmanuel and I shot baskets some together outside, and sat on a bench watching others in the hot humid summer of New Jersey. His dissertation was about pest control for rice growers. Very gentle and soft-spoken, Emmanuel gave me a copy of The Temple of My Familiar by Alice Walker which was the only book from the hospital library that measured up to my literary standards as a possible replacement for a text on my reading list. I was concerned about that. To stay sane, I read.
Let me describe the doctors and the professional staff because it’s not funny but it is. You know, when you find yourself in a place that is entirely designed against your having any credibility you’re on a limb if you claim certain skills, knowledge, or ability. To her credit, Dr. Nuñez, who looked Japanese or Korean, kept me on Geodon, the new medication which I wanted to work so badly. She moved it to the morning, after breakfast. Now, I was sleeping enough. But, in the interviews with Stu, whose role I never knew, Betty, the Social Worker, who seemed frighteningly lacking in competence, a sense later confirmed by all my supports and friends calling long distance from Cincinnati, and Dr. Nuñez I felt like I was teaching a foreign language. For example, I told them I was a graduate student at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and that I lived in Cincinnati, and that I was a writer. I then, in my light delusion, claimed to be working on Chinese and Japanese imagistic poetry, meditation and game theory. Eventually, though, I told them I was working on a thesis for a Creative Writing degree. It was scary to talk about writing an autobiographical fiction, or memoir, about my own schizophrenia while trapped in a state mental hospital nearly a thousand miles from home. I explained that I had a reading list and asked if I could go to the library on the grounds to see if there were books on my list. But, communication was slow and difficult.
Once I mentioned that I play harmonica in a band called The Freddies. They asked what the other instruments were. I said, there was a bassist, a mandolin player, a guitarist, who sang and played kazoo and harmonica, and a dobro player, in addition to second harmonica, me. None of them had heard of a dobro. They asked me to describe it and spell it.
With Stu, who was a short frizzy haired character with thick lenses in his late fifties, I had a conversation where he said they had my height listed as six foot seven. I’m six two. He was so short that he couldn’t tell real from imagined height. When I asked in the team meeting around this table with drawings on the wall, (All hospitals have artwork on the walls and Trenton was no exception, although I remember none of it.) if I could have my belt back, they approved it, but Stu would never get it for me. It wasn’t until I asked a friendly technician, Brian, one morning at six-thirty when they woke us and I was dressing myself that I got the actual belt. This was after at least ten days, and Stu saying, “sure, sure,” several times.
Also, I haven’t mentioned the women’s floor, which formed a right angle with the men’s from the nursing station and was of equal size and similar layout. The washing machine and dryer were at the end of the women’s hallway. All the staff on the women’s floor were women. Some of them worked on the men’s floor, too. At shower time in the evening, a sheet was hung over the fire door in the hallway to indicate that there were men or women in dishabille. I went to shift my laundry from the washer to the dryer while the women were showering. Seeing the sheet hanging on the doors just didn’t register. I got chewed out pretty good and apologized profusely without much positive gain. The second time I did it, I got a real dressing down. Somehow, I just wasn’t able to stay sensitive to such fundamental issues. The staff woman said, “Don’t you have a sister or mother? How about a little self-respect.” I told her I had a mother, but no sister, and I was terribly sorry.
They had these team meetings. There were two teams, blue and green. Green team had team meeting on Tuesday and blue team had team meeting on Thursday. But the week of Memorial Day the meetings were cancelled. I was struggling with the idea of how long. How long would I be a patient in this place with the pale green walls, the dark green padded chairs and the lush grassy enclosures? It soon became clear that the staff was just as happy to be rid of me as keep me. But, I did not trust anything, or anyone. I had telephone conversations with friends in the hallway opposite the nurses station on the pay phones. I observed the way things worked out for other patients and I knew I had to be careful.
The bigoted guy whose name escapes me (I think I am still angry and depressed at his ego ridden pain.) was calling black staff and patients niggers and the Chinese man with long black hair a chink and there were other derogatory slurs that he just pumped out as he stumbled about in an overmedicated state like a drunken fool. He would go to the bathroom at night and leave the water running in the sink and the light on. I would have to get up and turn off the water and the light if I wanted to sleep. The Chinese man, Chang, who didn’t talk much, slugged the bigot in the face once. The bigot was on what they called “one-to-one” the whole time I was there. That meant a staff member was assigned to watch, or follow him always. This attention spurred him on. He thrived and shouted and accused. Then he would be escorted to the quiet room, drugged more for a few hours, then groggy and stumbling was back among the rest of us, bitching redundantly. His case was painful to watch, and there were fights that he provoked, but the real sad case was Craig. The bigot, I hope because I tried to be sensitive, never complained about fucking hippies.
Craig’s team meeting came and they postponed his release. He had already started planning for a discharge and when the release was postponed he blew. He just started shouting, “Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck-fuck-fuck, fuck, FUCK, FUCK, FUCK.” For ten minutes, and he was so angry and so continuous they warned him a bunch of times, until he stood there in the hallway in blue shorts and blue T-shirt, anger steaming and soaring out of his lips with the energy of all the nights and days in Trenton State Hospital. They knocked him down, dragged him into the quiet room, restrained him in leather restraints and injected him full of tranquilizers. He was quiet. There was a quiet over the whole ward. Then things drifted into a somnambulant echo of Craig’s “smoke-time” call and we went outside into the warm weather.
There was a guy I don’t remember to describe, who told his story of the team deciding he could go home, and having a discharge time, and then being told about a fax that didn’t get processed, torn off the fax machine, somewhere in another county, and that postponed his discharge several days, or a week. So, I didn’t have faith in any plan. I knew I had been told by Betty the social worker that when she had a train reservation, and I had a discharge plan for aftercare, and when all the ducks were in a row, the T’s were crossed and the i’s dotted, etc. But, I kept asking. I told them that I had credit cards and money and couldn’t they discharge me to a motel in Trenton until my train was scheduled.…But, Dr. Nuñez said “No.” And, it seemed that talking to her was getting a little easier.
The worst thing about my stay. The awful secret. I needed Metamucil or some other fiber therapy to help with the constipation caused by the medication. I told the Dr. and the nurses. They offered me Colace, which is a stool softener. I was not interested. I had heard it had some negative side effects and I couldn’t see why they couldn’t give me fiber therapy. The food was very starchy and low fiber. By the fourth day, I had hemorrhoids pretty seriously. My rectum was bleeding as if I had been cut by shards of stone in the food. The pain and constipation continued and I told the Chaplain. Through her glassy blue eyes and white complexion she said, “All I can do is help you with your anxiety.” I said, “The pain makes me more anxious. Could you go to team with me to help talk about fiber therapy?” She said, “No.” And yet she did acknowledge that fiber therapy was something she had heard about.
Once I had a discharge date only a couple of days away I saw an attorney who said my court date was two days after my discharge date. The attorney was helpful in giving me hope. He assured me I would be discharged. The quality control officer walked outside with me and made notes on a form. I mentioned the constipation briefly, not as a complaint but just to let him know. I knew by then that I had to keep it low key.
The whole key was reading. I could take the meds only when they gave them. Once it was nearly thirty-five hours between doses and I was sure I needed it bad and they were testing me. I called a lawyer friend at home. He was the one whose advice I had sought back when the cook at Tink’s had started me on my crazy journey with the pebble in the chili. His girlfriend said, “Steve, get a book and read.” In the next five days I read six books. I was never without a paperback tucked under my wrist. The cheap novels saved my life. I could calm my thoughts by simply diving into a book. I was so scared. I was so scared. Her brother has schizophrenia. In a weird way, I think she saved my life with that comment. When I had only a couple of days left a new arrival offered to get me books. He called his family and got me a copy of Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood. It was on my list for the degree. A pure victory. I could finish it on the train ride home.
ContributorSteven Paul Lansky
Steven Paul Lansky is a novelist, musician, poet, radio DJ, and educator. He lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.