As the sun went down and day became dusk i began to write….
A Story Unwritten
There’s many stories I’ve shared over recent years, and many left to tell.
I’m sure the future holds tales yet to be had before they too are written and told.
Lately, I’ve been thinking of a definitive one I lived that scarred my soul.
It’s one I haven’t been able to bring myself to write ..until tonight.
It has almost all the elements of a blockbuster; an iconic setting thats absence has made an indelible mark on history. It’s erasure has brought even more recognition than its existence drew.
I can picture the towers, the day the steel fractured, melted and showered
Characters so conflicted that their reality couldn’t be manufactured in fiction.
A plot line so poignant it’d make the agnostic orthodox.
A story entrenched in emotion; an ending with no resolution robbing the leading roles of healing and absolution.
In this, there’s no moral parable just heartaches that are unbearable.
I continue to walk the streets of our clandestine meets, peering in windows and seeing the mirage of our reflection. Her arm tucked under mine, wandering with no direction. Happy to be, she tucked into he.
No longer physical walls to touch to give tangibility to remembrances and a path to heal. I live in the refuse of defused dreams.
As I set my pen to paper and thought of where I’d start, I heard the last words that had broken my heart.
“Joel, Joel, I love you” she said.
A Joel Hunter Borrelli Snippet
Middle-Aged Men and Muses
She was dressed fashionably like most wealthy woman in the West Village were. It was the first thing I noticed about her when I walked into The Black Derby, a small restaurant I’d been introduced to on West 4th near Bank St.
One long leg was tucked under the other. She was wearing jeans, high heeled brown boots and a cream colored turtleneck sweater. A loose tan belt with an oversized bronze buckle ornamentally wrapped her at the waist.
I think I looked at her from the boots up first. I was a fan of the outfit. It was a combination I’d have appreciated no matter who was wearing it.
The New York Times was spread out in front of her along with some binded document she was flipping through and marking up. She sat at the first table to the left as you moved into the dining room from the bar.
Her hair was blond, long enough that it fell about six inches past her shoulders and natural enough that you could see the few grays, one of the only hints at her age.
She had high cheekbones. Her eyes were almost turquoise. The small lines around them were the only other sign of maturity. The sunglasses she had with her were on the newspaper and I couldn’t help but think what a sin it was when she used them.
Several tables were open still. It was off hours on a Monday afternoon. I don’t know what gave me the impetus to be brave and bold enough to be so obvious taking the table beside her, but I did.
It was probably a subconscious effort to dilute Catarina from my life. The problem with middle-aged men is we fall in love with our muses. Nonetheless I had been looking for a replacement.
As soon as I’d slid into my seat, she looked up and gave me a smile that immediately made me want to tell 17 year old Joel miracles do happen. I’d been making up a list of encouragements for the younger me.
I ordered a Fortaleza with one ice cube. I noticed she smiled at me again. She smelled so goddamn good I was almost delirious. It wasn’t even like perfume. It was cleaner. Like she took a bath in a tropical rain forest.
When she had her head down crossing out something, I stole another glance. It was an expression that I caught, It caused an ignition to cognition.
Two things happened almost at once. I realized who she was and that the document in front of her was a script.
Wasn’t this what I was trying to get away from?
She looked up before I could look away. Now I smiled at her. She smiled back and our eyes locked. She must have sensed that I recognized her.
The waitress walked back in with my drink and turned towards her. Then I heard the familiar voice I’d only heard on film. “I’ll have what he had” is what she said.
“And I’ll buy it” was out of my mouth before my brain thought it. She smiled again. “I accept”.
Whoever I was at that moment was not the guy who walked in a few minutes ago. “Is it good?” I asked. She arched an eyebrow. “The script, it’s a script you’re marking up, right?” I continued.
“I think it’s good. I wrote it. I’m making revisions” she didn’t say it defensively, not in any other way than pragmatically. That didn’t take away from my feeling I’d blown it. It dissipated when she went on, “I think, today, if a woman my age wants a role that resonates, she’s got to write it”
Before I could respond she asked the question I’d come to dread most. “What do you do?” Men are defined by what they do as much as women have been defined by the way they look. Ask Chris Rock, he’s made it part of his act.
“I’m a pitchman” I answered. She smiled again. “I’ve never heard that before”. “Yea it’s not a common job title on LinkedIn.” I replied. “What do you pitch? She asked “Lately just a lot of myself” I answered quickly. This time she not only smiled again but she laughed. “You’re funny”.
Sometimes you’ve got to dive into the deep end. “I’m trying to write more myself actually”. I didn’t have time to regret it. “What do you write?” She asked.
“A lot of what I call Snippets, like shorts, musings, ramblings, lyrics and I’m sure a lot of misfirings. That may be my best genre ...misfirings” She laughed again. “And the pitchman part?”
“I made the mistake of tying my fortunes to life” was my stock answer to myself so I offered it to her. One more time she laughed. My confidence was building.
“Read me something” she gently demanded. So I recited my piece Entering the Ether. As I read it she leaned in towards me. It was almost an effort towards intimacy.
“Are you Buddhist?” She asked.
“That’s funny my friend Anka said it was sprinkled with Buddhist dust after reading it.” I answered. “It is. It is.” She replied.
I’m not sure how it happened. We’d both had another drink or two. I asked her if she smoked. She looked at me in a disappointed way. “No, no not cigarettes” I said “Pot. Pot. Good pot.” She looked relieved. “Yes”. “I’d love too” she said.
We smoked outside. We were in a cab or an Uber. We had dinner in a dimly lit place. We sat in a booth. She sat right beside me. She kept placing her hand on my leg when she laughed.
It was when we were in her loft on Laight Street in TriBeCa, on this colorful, close to the floor, Jean Paul Gaultier coach that I’d only seen in showrooms, I began to remember who she was married to.
That was the last thought I had before her lips were on mine. It was primal. I liked control. I wanted to taste her. I always received pleasure providing it to my partner. She seemed to feel the same way.
She was in my arms and her head was on my chest as she slept.
I remembered telling a movie producer friend of mine recently how a woman had emotionally cut me so deep it exposed bone. He grabbed me by the shoulders, hugged me and asked “Do you know why we don’t date actresses Joel?” I was so hurt I’d only shook my head, no. “Because they’re actresses” he said.
Albert Einstein said the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.
I was insane.
A Joel Hunter Borrelli Snippet 10/30/18
Through long walks in the city,
at times with tunnel vision I did see; only people in fragments of the human condition, life in its fragility. Mortals on the edge of survival populated my vision,
all that appeared in front of me.
An internal radar set to poverty, sickness, hunger and those not sane, a heat map for just who was suffering and in pain.
Through long walks in the city,
at times with tunnel vision I did see; only people engaged in random acts of kindness, in the practice of compassion, souls demonstrating empathy.
An internal radar set to caring, love and hope, a heat map for humanity.
Joel Hunter Borrelli 01/01/19
A Joel Hunter Borrelli Snippet
A Photographic Memory
A photographic memory for all my first kisses.
A photographic memory for even the near misses.
A photographic memory for the look in their eyes.
A photographic memory of the times led to bed;
thoughts of seduction still lie in my head.
A photographic memory for taking the lead.
A photographic memory of the ache and the need.
A photographic memory for the trust led to lust.
A photographic memory using the gas and the clutch.
Shifting the gears of their passion then tapping the brake.
Leaving them to arc, tremble and quake.
A photographic memory of the time to recover.
the energy now spent,
depended on each lover.
Joel Hunter Borrelli
A Joel Hunter Borrelli Snippet
A Casualty of Dreams
I had become an assemblance of bruises, nicks, cuts and gashes. The wounds and damage that come while trying to lasso stars from the earth.
Dragged along the ground when the rope of ambition and the energy of inspiration catch the corner of a constellation and the world is spinning too fast.
Joel Hunter Borrelli 2/7/18
Entering the Ether
I was convinced it was only a matter of time before it happened. I just didn’t think it would be tonight. As I stepped onto the sidewalk bordering Madison Square Park, off 5th Avenue, I began to transition. Almost immediately I knew I was being pulled into the vortex.
I questioned myself. Was this just the strongest sense of deja vu you could go through? I took these same steps Sunday. As soon as I focused I realized the same people were posed on the same benches the same way as they were in the early hours of the day before.
The threesome, two guys in their early twenties looking straight ahead and talking, the girl twisted sideways towards them listening to their conversation while she focused on her phone. The homeless guy wearing the same hat bundled up on the same bench the same way. The Hasidic teens with the same animated actions giving me a rerun of what I’d already seen. The same people with the same posture planted in the same places I’d passed under a different phase of the moon.
I had entered the ether.
As I continued I started to recognize the faces of strangers. They all became familiar to me. As we passed each other their stories penetrated me. I felt their heartbreaks, heartaches, hopes and happiness. Their sorrows and sadness, failures and conquests, their dreams and disappointments became as real to me as my own.
All of a sudden I felt my energy ebb in empathy. It was like being an oyster of humanity filtering out the toxins of others experiences, cleansing the pollution from their purpose.
They all smiled as they passed as if they recognized me too.
My breathing slowed. A calmness set in.
It was all I could do to continue to stand. What do we sacrifice for salvation was the last thought I had before I succumbed.
Joel Hunter Borrelli
The Most Dangerous Man on Earth.
I was tired and had too much tequila. I probably shouldn’t have even taken the subway. In hindsight I might have been better off in an Uber.
I noticed his arrogant expression as soon as I sat across from him.
Whether or not I keyed in correctly on his attitude didn’t even matter.
I was intoxicated and angry. I hadn’t had time yet to face my sorrow. I was full of misplaced rage. I saw him look at the three young females that had gotten on at the same stop I did with a predatory look. I wasn’t in the mood to even give him the benefit of the doubt. I needed a release for my anger.
I saw what appeared to be a lecherous smile cross his lips when I decided he’d be a victim of his own intentions.
I laced my fingers together and before he knew it...in two steps across the subway car... I cupped my hands behind his skull and drove my knee into his nose.
The blood was everywhere.
I pulled my knee back and drove it with full force into his jaw..twice ..until I heard the bones break in his face. Some of his teeth along with copious amounts of his blood were on my pants and on the floor of the subway car like some type of 7-Eleven freeze drink spilled.
People screamed but none would approach me. I was normally a man of peace but tonight I was a man of retribution and not even my own philosophy could pull me back from the brink of physical destruction.
The others did nothing but stare at me as we pulled into Grand Central. I exited and made my way back to the apartment.
I was a germaphobe and hated to have other people’s fluids and DNA on me.
I couldn’t wait to clean up when I got home and get some rest.
I’d feel better tomorrow I thought.
A Joel Hunter Borrelli Snippet 12/18/18
Cleaning Up After Candace
Candace had asked me to meet her at the GW Bar inside the Freehand Hotel. I knew a lot about New York, I’d walked many, many miles and spent many years exploring her nooks and crannies, avenues and alleys but there were still things that fell beneath my radar. One of them was the Freehand.
It was on my side of the city, I’d walked by it too many times to count inroute to all the somewhere else’s I enjoy nearby. The Gramercy and Flatiron neighborhoods practically drew me for some purpose everyday. On some level I probably planned it that way.
So it took my by surprise when Candace made the request because I’d passed it without being familiar with it. The week before I’d taken a picture of the restaurant on the first floor, Simon and The Whale, and posted it because it appealed to me. A mixture of lighting and location. That’s how my life was, I never knew what was going to take me back to where.
Now that I was approaching it with a different lens I saw it differently. Once I walked through the door I immediately regretted not being here before, and by the time I hit the second floor I knew I’d be here more.
As I got older, I found myself repeating a lot of the same shit to myself and everybody else. In this case it was the affirmation and confirmation that boutique hotels were the new niteclubs.
The place was a scene without being pretentious. It was what The Bowery Hotel had been before it became “The Bowery Hotel” which now seemed to be the New York City edition of the Chateau Marmont without the vegetation.
I was used to places that procured their staffs, it seemed, out of Central Casting but the Freehand seemed to curate their customers from there as well.
I immediately noticed I wasn’t part of the majority, I was male. I didn’t mind.
I couldn’t find her amongst the sea of temptation. I texted her that I was there. She replied she was seated by the window. I spotted her. Long black pleated skirt, black laced boots, a white blouse and a black bolero jacket. Red hair cascading everywhere. She looked even better than I remembered.
“Whatcha up too?” She asked. I always appreciated the abbreviated verbiage she fell into that brought us back to high school.
“The same. Searching for my soulmate in the eyes of strangers” I said as I kissed her cheek.
“I saw” she said.
I looked at her questioning.
“I spotted you when you reached the top of the steps, if your head was turned anymore it would have fallen off” she went on “it’s good to see certain things don’t change”
We both laughed.
“How often do you come here?” I asked.
“Not often. Last time I was in town a girlfriend recommended it and we stayed here”.
I felt the same pangs of jealousy and envy I’d always felt when she mentioned a girlfriend. She knew I immediately understood. Candace had friends that were female and then she had girlfriends.
I’d had girlfriends. I’d had a wife. Candace might have been the only person I’d ever considered a lover. Now it turns out we both had the same taste.
As I looked around again I laughed. I’d bet the odds were tilted in her favor of charming one of the lovelies to enjoy her lair versus mine of doing the same tonight.
Candace was the first female to introduce me to lust. When she made love she did it with the all of her. It wasn’t so much a sexual act as an experience in ecstasy. Physical, spiritual, psychological demanding, draining and rewarding without measure. She was like an athlete when it came to affection and to be her partner you’d better be prepared to compete.
Years ago I was stung when we’d agreed to meet up at an event after she flew in between assignments and she disappeared with my date.
Candace was a music journalist and spent her time interviewing famous musicians at venues, in hotels and at clubs around the world. Like they say, it’s not bad work if you can get it.
She’d started her career off on a whim. She seduced a famous singer, who let Candace interview her and who then wrote a hit song about her. I don’t want to out the singer but if I named the song you’d know it.
She had a talent for encouraging people to emotionally expose themselves in interviews and the results invited invitations from other entertainers seeking the same type of favorable exposure.
Since she was a classically trained musician and singer herself it probably helped her connect to her subjects.
A tequila turned up in front of me without my asking. She saw my curiosity. “I ordered it from the waitress when I saw you walk in” she said. “You still enjoy tequila don’t you?”
I smiled. “Of course, where’s yours? Don’t you still enjoy it too?” I asked. “I do” she said “but this afternoon I’m trading it for tea.”
“Cheers” I said as I tipped my glass towards her. “Cheers” She replied as she lifted her cup.
I tried not to be obvious looking around again. Then I noticed the waitress smile at Candace and Candace smile back. If a smile can be sensuous hers was . I was trying to be a gentleman in my prospecting. She was shameless in hers.
She’d asked me to join her for a reason. I could tell by the first text and confirmed by the second. It wasn’t that she insinuated any urgency, more that she was confirming my commitment to meet.
I decided to drill to the core. “What’s up anyway?” “Everything alright? “No” she said.” I was taken off guard with the rapid reply and the tone of its delivery. Candace normally had more courage than a corrections officer at Rikers.
“You ok? What do you need? What can I do?” I asked, beyond concerned now. She looked down for a moment. She looked up. She looked out the window for a few. Then she turned back towards me with discernible tears forming at the corners of those eyes that I’d let lead me into dreams.
I reached for her automatically. She practically fell into my arms sobbing. I don’t want to say I was panicked but I was. Candace was not someone you’d associate with fragility or vulnerability. She was a survivor. If she was hurt in life she’d bury it so deep she couldn’t find it.
A few people around us noticed but probably attributed it to an excess of alcohol.
I moved beside her in the window seat. I had one arm around her and held her hand with the other. She didn’t say anything else for awhile. She blotted her tears with a tissue and regained her composure.
Then, she turned towards me and said “I know the gravity of what I’m going to ask of you. It’s not something I’d do if I didn’t have too. It’s not something I’d ask if I didn’t need you. And what I need to ask is something only you can do”
I searched her eyes as she looked at me. I was trying to make sure I understood. I thought I did. It was in her phrasing.
“Candace, I’ve loved you since we were thirteen. No ones had a hold on my heart for so long. I may not be connected to anyone the way I am to you. I no longer do what I think you’re asking me to” she knew what I said was true.
She shook her head that she understood. But we both knew, for her, I’d do what I had to.
“Who is it?” I asked. “What did he do?”
“It’s not a he. It’s a she” Candace replied
This was going to get complicated. In all the years I spent contracting, enforcing and inflicting the harsher aspects of karma, I’d limited my assignments to he’s. Nobody ever even asked me before to handle a she.
“Where? Here or LA?” I asked.
“She’s here now, but splits her time between London and LA” Candace stated.
“How long is she here?” I was trying to get an idea of time frame and location. I wasn’t keen on coming out of retirement and applying my skill set in another country.
“Til Sunday” Candace answered. It was Thursday.
“And when you say here Candace, you mean here in the states or here in New York, in the city? I questioned.
“Here.” She answered. Sometimes everything is in the emphasis. “Here as in here? At the Freehand?” I asked a little more taken back. She nodded.
I immediately started to scan for security cameras. I was sure they were everywhere. At the very least I passed some on the way in. People don’t realize the ability of facial recognition software. It’s one of the reasons I retired. I recently read that in London a person can be expected to be caught on a surveillance camera 300 times in a day. I’m sure New York City is the same way, maybe worse. It was another reason for me not to go to London too.
It’s when I noticed that Candace had placed a hotel room room key on the table in front of me, I knew I was already committed.
Before I could even calculate my next move Candace said “Make it look like an accident.” The tears started again at the corners and then dripped down her cheeks. I blotted them away this time.
I leaned in towards her, hugged her and whispered into her ear “She’s in the room?” The reply was a soft confirmation, “Yes” Candace added “She’s not going anywhere. She can’t”
I saw the waitress and motioned for another drink. I held up 2 fingers. I wanted a double but didn’t care if she brought me two.
It was an acquired skill set. Perfected by practice. Execution and disposal. The latter being far more difficult than the former.
Candace and I spent years, most of the eighties and a good part of the nineties as passionate lovers consuming massive quantities of cocaine. There was a time when we’d wake up having breakfast on the ocean of one coast and dinner in a restaurant in New York on the other.
It felt like we knew everybody. What we knew more than anything else, we didn’t want to be poor. Candace came from money. I didn’t. When her father died leaving her mother in the cold and his mistress all his money, she’d only known the privileged life and wasn’t keen on living differently.
We were both similar in that we were gamblers. Not the casino kind. We were willing to take risks. She was beautiful and had talent. I, well I only had ambition.
I’d had the luck and misfortune of saving Tommy Ruggerio’s youngest son, David, from getting his ass kicked outside a bar in Bay Ridge Brooklyn one night from a bunch of goombas who had no idea who he was and neither did I.
The goombas were drunk and dumb and didn’t like that David was a handsome kid with a drop dead looking girlfriend and a nice car. They wanted to pick a fight. I only stepped in because four against one didn’t seem fair and it didn’t appear the kid did shit. In fact he didn’t do anything. The funny part was they were a bunch of wannabe’s and they didn’t realize who they wanted to be was who he was.
I must admit I’ve always had a short fuse even when it was a bit longer. My temper was far larger than my size warranted and the bass of my voice was a few hundred pounds heavier than I was. It was a potentially lethal combination and I mean potentially lethal to me.
I was brave but not stupid. I was a gambler also in that I was good at calculating odds and they weren’t in my favor jumping in to protect the kid that night. David and I were both about the same size which was about half the size of each of them.
I’d adopted the philosophy early on that being proactive was a far better strategy than being reactive. I shot the biggest one right in the stomach. He was stunned. Then he fell over sideways and crumbled into a ball. His fat fuck friends all of a sudden became world class sprinters.
As it turned out there was a witness. A DJ I knew who worked one of the clubs in the Catskills. He was from the neighborhood. He knew who David was and that he was Tommy Ruggerio’s son.
A few days later the DJ , Rockin’ Rick, is in Rocco’s, a deli with a reputation on Bath Avenue in Bensonhurst. Tommy’s at the counter talking with the Old Man and Rick can’t help himself. He says “Tommy your boy David’s lucky my friend was outside The Dog on 3rd Avenue the other night some dicks were getting dumb with David”
This was in the day before everybody had a cell phone and people weren’t GPS’d to within feet of their actual location because they had one in their pocket.
In order to find somebody it took leg work.
I’d always leaned towards privacy and though I kept an apartment on West 69th Street, off Columbus, in the city, only a handful of people knew. Most people assumed I was in residence at the family house in Harrison or the one in Hunter.
So I’d have to admit to being surprised when I got out of the elevator and stepped into the lobby of my building the following Wednesday, saw the doorman nod towards someone sitting on the couch and met Tommy Ruggerio for the first time.
I did a lot of work for Tommy in the following years. He always respected that even after establishing the Wall St. operations, I still wasn’t afraid to get my hands dirty.
It was based on this skill set and experience I’d have to rely tonight. I didn’t want to ask Candace much more. The less I knew the easier a polygraph. Wiseguy humor.
“Candace when’s the last time you used your credit card here at the hotel or the bar? Do they have it? Did you run a tab or bill it to your room?” I peppered her.
“I haven’t taken it out of my wallet” she said.
“Are you sure?” I came back
“Yes, Yes” she knew where I was going.
“Is the room registered to you, only you? I asked
“Does anyone know she was with you?” I was trying to cover bases quickly
“No, her husband thinks she’s at The Canyon Ranch in Tuscan on a yoga retreat “ I’m not sure if I actually rolled my eyes and she saw it or she assumed it because she then blurted out “she’s been my “yoga teacher” (finger quotes and all) for six years in LA”.
I still was sitting beside her one arm around her holding her tightly. I leaned towards her once again. “Candace, get your stuff together. Go to the rest room, get your self together and get out of here. Come back later. After eight”
A few minutes after I watched her descend the steps and saw her exit onto the sidewalk from the window and then hail a cab, I came out of retirement for a friend.
A Joel Hunter Borrelli Snippet 11/1/18
Saving Sally - (Part 1)
I had to prepare to call Scott back. The last conversation we had on Sunday had me worried.
I closed the door of my office so Rachael, my new assistant, didn’t hear. She was my friend Bruce’s niece, neither of us had yet told her how I made a living.
Earlier I offered a guy outside Dunkin Donuts $2 for a cigarette. It’s not that I couldn’t buy a pack, it’s that if I did, I’d smoke it, the whole pack. I didn’t want to be a smoker again, but I knew for this moment I’d need the nicotine.
I moved from the desk to the couch I’d spent too many nights sleeping on lately.
MSNBC was on in the background.
I looked at the time. it was 9:15am. I might as well take a moment to see what Stephanie Ruhle was wearing today before I made the call.
I spent a few more minutes watching her than I should. It reminded me of an event the other night among the deep blue of Democrats. Most of the people there were from New York’s theatre world. I made mention of my attraction to Stephanie and half the women in the place confessed to having a crush.
Between her, Nicole Wallace, Rachel Maddow, Katy Tur, Kasie Hunt and Hallie Jackson, you knew someone at that network knew what they were doing. No wonder their ratings exploded. Men and women in a political fever and a sexual fervor.
I’m not sure if that many Fox viewers got as worked up over Sean Hannity or Tucker Carlson.
I hit contacts, found Scott and called him. One ring. Two. Three. Four. I was getting antsy. Then, “yeah” he answered low. I immediately pictured him in bed wrapped in a blanket. The shades pulled.
“What’s Up?” I asked as cheerfully as I could muster. We were friends long enough and knew each other well enough I knew he’d find the sarcasm in the optimistic sunshine of my delivery.
“Nothin” he answered flatly. I could almost feel the dampness of his house. The air conditioning there came with a mist strong enough you’d wonder how the place wasn’t covered in mold and mildew. I could feel the darkness of his depression.
“I tried you last night, you didn’t answer” I said “Where were you, what were you doing?” I asked
He coughed. For awhile. After a minute he replied “I was making a list of easy ways to die”
“Should I be concerned?” I inquired in an effort at understatement.
My issues in life were money and love. His was only love. That might have made it worse. While I had to invest time in fighting for survival, his time was only invested in what he’d lost.
“I think I’m going to go away” he said. “Maybe LA, or Rome or Costa Rica”
“Just get away by myself”
I couldn’t help but answer the same way my brother Roger once answered me in a similar situation.
“Why do you want to go away with the person you hate the most?” It really wasn’t a question more of a statement.
I couldn’t find my lighter. It wasn’t in my pocket. Now I couldn’t find my pot either. I was trying not to panic. I wanted to smoke this Parliament I procured.
The pot, the one hitter and the lighter were on the corner of the desk where I’d emptied my pockets earlier looking for the same thing.
I lit the cigarette and placed the lid of my coffee on the table in front of me to use as an ashtray.
I started my pitch. “Scott, I’ve got a job I could use some help on. It’s not something where you’ll need to get your hands dirty”, “I may be in over my head on this one, really I need a body man with MacGyver skills. Someone I can trust” I explained. “That leaves only you and Tommy and Tommy can’t do it”
I was already anticipating his resistance. I wanted to take care in framing the proposition as I really needed him ..which I did..but not have him feel I was recruiting him to get him out of his broken hearted funk.
I was surprised when, after a moment, he replied “Where do you need me? When? For how long?”, he quickly added, “ I have to make plans for Norman,” Norman was Scott’s Bull Mastiff.
They say that a lot of people look like their dogs. Scott and Norman had the same build, the same pedigree if you will. I always liked to see people’s faces when Norman pulled Scott for a walk around their neighborhood.
Many crossed to the other side of the street. Between Norman’s over excited gait and generous drool and Scott’s stream of expletives, they were their own tornado. You didn’t want to get caught up in their spin.
“I heard about Tommy” He said. “I wish there was something I could do”
“I know. We all do” I replied.
“The fact is I need you yesterday. With everything going on with you I was hesitating before I asked”
He didn’t say anything. I immediately regretted the reference to Sally.
“As quick as you can make it to the city and I’d expect we can prep and take care of this in 2-3 days if all goes smoothly and longer if it doesn’t” I told him.
Scott knew better than to ask me the details of the job over the phone.
“Ok” he said. “My sister should be back from Florida today. Her and Lucas can take care of Norman. He’s got a girlfriend next to Jenny’s now.
“Who, Lucas?” I was confused. I thought his nephew was still seeing Theresa . I was just with them at his graduation.
“No, Norman” Scott said.
“Well at least one of us dogs is in a good place relationship-wise” I replied.
“Ain’t that the truth” Scott laughed.
I hadn’t heard him laugh in weeks.
“I’ll be down there tomorrow as early as I can”. He almost sounded relieved.
“Thanks Scott” “I’ll see you then”.
As soon as I got off the phone I wished I had another cigarette. I’d wait til he got to the city before I told him it was Sally that we needed to save.
A Joel Hunter Borrelli Snippet
Saving Sally - Part 2
After Scott hung up I went back to watching Stephanie Ruhle and got worked up over the days politics and the cut of her dress. She was wearing another off-the-shoulders blouse.
Some days the only way I knew what time it might be was by the host on MSNBC.
I called Racheal into the office. I don’t know what Bruce was thinking having me hire his niece as my administrative assistant/receptionist/sober buddy/sometimes driver-providing medical oversight on the diabetes that threatened to kill me. I’m not one to be threatened.
He knew better than almost anyone how irresponsible I was. He knew I was a well intentioned character with a deep flaw.
Why did she have to be smart AND pretty AND 27? I’d recently raised my dating band range on Tinder & Bumble to 29 from 27, admittedly I was raising it on the higher end of the band too, and, as it happens, getting more satisfaction.
I’m agnostic but at that moment I almost became orthodox. They say God has a sense of humor and at that moment it was either God sending me a message and having a laugh or Karma catching up.
I saw my reflection in the mirror.
It was at that moment, I saw the grizzled 51 year old man looking back and realized Racheal probably wasn’t stressing herself about being attracted to me, having sexual fantasies and worried about falling in love.
I was more confident at that moment she hadn’t been investing many, any, moments picturing me naked.
It was going to be hard to have her be under the umbrella of all those responsibilities and not have her really know what I did.
I’d try to protect her. I’d protect her. She fell under my umbrella of responsibilities. She was also female and I know, #metoo and all, but I couldn’t be convinced that being chivalrous was wrong.
After all, like the one who’s name shall not be mentioned used to say, “Darling you are noble and gallant”.
She’d been out of my life for a long time now. I let the words stay. Those anyway.
I saw Racheal appear in the mirror behind me. That’s a hell of position to be caught in. Just staring at yourself in the mirror. Not grooming, not doing anything but looking at yourself. You might not realize it until it happens to you. Like it did me, just then.
“Yes, Joel” she said with a smile
I just turned around and started. “Racheal, I’ve got no big plan here. No exact strategy how this is going to work” “if it’s going work” ..I felt I had to reframe it.. “I mean, don’t get me wrong, I want it to work out”. I stopped for a second to gauge her face before I rambled on, ya know, without a strategy or anything.
She still was holding the same pleasant smile. Almost, for God’s sake, with the look of a mother letting her son talk about some awkward topic and providing encouragement for the comfort.
Or. Jesus Christ was that an empathetic smile?
I went about it from another angle with a different approach.
“Racheal, for the most part I live my life in the open and I’m pretty transparent. I’m a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kinda guy”
I continued. She kept smiling.
“At parties or events I like to share a little information about myself, or if I’m meeting a woman I haven’t met yet, I like to frame my financial situation at the outset. I find it helps me.”
I continued. She kept smiling.
“Racheal, I like to tell them that if I were to find a home I liked, that I wanted to buy, and it was going for 5 million, I like to tell them that I’m no accountant, I’m not a CPA, but if I do a quick run of the math in my head, my available assets, my overall assets minus my debts and my exposure, I’d find myself short 7 million”
I delivered the story straight as I always did. With no hint of humor. I’d delivered it the same for sadly almost as many years as it was accurate. A long time.
In the most sophisticated circles with the most comfortable crowds, there was often a beat before the humor translated along with the reality. Amongst prospective dates and sexual mates it often prompted a nervous laugh. Amongst others it often lead to an uproar.
Racheal, well Racheal was amongst others and it seemed her laugh began deep inside her even before I finished.
It appeared Racheal and I might get along.
A Joel Hunter Borrelli Snippet 1/22?19
My Mistress Manhattan
My mistress, Manhattan, was the longest relationship I ever had. We’d been seeing each other since I was in my teens. I’d put many miles on my feet courting her.
I admired that her curves were in all the right places. I enjoyed her many moods. I appreciated her quiet hidden streets and alleys as well as her outspoken broad boulevards.
She was as comfortable dressed to the nines on the Upper East Side as she was dressed down in the Bowery.
I liked that no matter what hour it was, if I wanted to go out, she was ready and had something new to show me.
She seduced me with her feminine fragility. She won my trust with her displays of maternal strength.
I was drawn to the contrast of her maturity and the youthfulness she demonstrated constantly reinventing herself. Always evolving and growing while remaining true to her respected role.
Her bridges and tunnels were like fingers open on a hand, welcoming her relatives, neighbors and transient travelers.
She was a democrat and at times a socialist. She was blind to bias and bigotry. She accepted everybody. It was her contagious warmth that welcomed those from around the world. Her reputation reverberated around the globe. People risked their lives to meet her.
I took pride in the intimacy of our special bond. She allowed me to be a voyeur and an eavesdropper. I was the audience to her street theatre. After all these years she’d finally instilled in me enough confidence to be an exhibitionist.
it was to this courage that I knew I’d owe her most.
Joel Hunter Borrelli 10/10/18
He kept stealing glances at her. From the moment he first saw her he’d been attracted by both her form and her function. She was art and architecture. She’d greeted him with the air of ambivalence that sometimes signals mutual attraction.
She had felt the heat of his eyes on her. Warming her. Melting the cold exterior and creating the spark that she knew could lead to a fire in her core. He penetrated her soul with his thoughts.
She was more disciplined than he was. In fact, he wasn’t disciplined at all. When it came to emotion, when it came to passion, when it came to lust, when it came to life; he lived without restraint.
When he looked in her eyes he could sense the sadness and desperation of experiences that would make others cower. They seemed to have strengthened her.
Her past created a resolve that resulted in actions most would consider brave and she only saw as necessity, if she even thought about it at all.
The first time they were alone she felt compelled to make the most intimate of confessions. One that she felt would dissuade him from pursuing her. She wanted to get the fact out of the way. She didn’t want to allow herself to fall for him and then be hurt ...again.
She wanted to make the case, plant the seed for why she couldn’t be with him. At the same time she knew she had made this most personal admission to a stranger. A stranger she’d felt could protect her from herself and everyone else.
He was born to protect those that were vulnerable. It was his asset and his liability. His strength and his weakness. Protecting gave him a purpose he was unable to find elsewhere.
Maybe, in some strange karmic way, his need to protect some came from his profession. His reputation had been made on breaching others sense of security. Inflicting fear. At times disposing of those who voluntarily played the dangerous game but ran out of bargaining chips.
She felt his darkness, his danger and the dichotomy might have been what drew her to him.
She was pragmatic. She knew her protecter couldn’t be a pussy. She needed someone with more strength than her.
Joel Hunter Borrelli 01/09/19
A Joel Hunter Borrelli Snippet
It may not be easy writing someone out of your life, but I was determined to literally give it a try...I needed a salve for my sadness.
“What makes a man want what he cannot have, crave what only hurts him?”
It seemed like Catarina ended up everyplace I was. The places I went to where she wasn’t, I’d been to with her before. It was my own fault, the result of my giving her the Joel tour. Memories now that cut to the core.
When she moved to the city I walked her through different neighborhoods on different days and especially during the nights. We’d walk and talk, window shop and wander. We’d take pictures and film bits.
We’d find places to sit and smoke pot. She always liked to roll. We’d sit by the water, on the steps of Brownstones in the West Village and on the shipping platforms of warehouses that’d been converted to lofts in TriBeCa. She’d tell me about her past life and loves. I listened to what she volunteered. I rarely asked questions.
It’s funny how one can defy their own philosophy. A Joelism I often repeated was - I must have missed the class that teaches people how to breathe while their head is buried in the sand-. But when it came to Catarina, I was conscious of what I didn’t want to know. Practically making a choice to be blind.
She’d entered my life in a storm, in a fit, in a collision. She left the same way.
For the 4th time.
But the last late time it was me that felt like he crashed.
It turned on a dime.
Maybe it was because it had been so good it turned so bad.
I’d have to admit I took a deep breath when she said she was joining me to get out of the city.
There had been no warm in the temperature of our relationship it ran either hot or cold. When it was hot it would melt your heart and when it was cold it would freeze it.
It was this range in our dynamic I was worried about. As it turns out not without good cause.
Anytime we were together I was never sure if we’d see each other again. It had been that way since the first honeymoon phase of our relationship halted.
I’d fallen in love with so much about her. Her accent. Her speech patterns. She delivered her sometimes disassociated train of thoughts in rapid fire fashion. One time in the beginning I turned to her and said “You never ask me much about myself.” She replied “Well, you don’t say much so I keep talking”. She smiled. I was smitten
I loved the fact that after delivering a monologue on a myriad of things in a one sided conversation, she’d turn to me and go “What else?” As if I’d been the one talking. Or after making a statement or assessment or just upon completing her thought she’d say “it is what it is”
It wasn’t until version 3.0 of our relationship that I heard her use my name for the first time. She asked me to join her as she filmed a commercial. Somehow I became part of the crew. Maybe because it was in the presence of others I heard her say “Joel” asking me to help with something. I didn’t realize up until that point she’d never called me anything but “Darling”
The last night we spent time together, she was at the stove cooking a piece of steak with a sliced onion, and I turned to her and asked “Say my name, call me by name” “Joel” she said the way no one else could.
I’d come to love her comfort level with coming over. She’d text me “w r u? What r u doing” if I replied I was home she’d say “Maybe I could come to you”.
She’d text me at all hours. We were both insomniacs. If I replied, which I almost always did, then acknowledging I was awake, it was likely followed by the phone ringing. She’d want to talk no matter the time.
There were 8.5 million other people in this city and it was all hollow if I wasn’t sharing it with her and I didn’t want her to share it with anyone else
She was everything I wanted minus everything I needed. For me the equation still had a value even if logic said it shouldn’t.
When I wasn’t with her I found myself alone even in the company of friends, lovers and strangers.
In version 3.0 of our relationship she came to my apartment and she fell into telling me about someone she dated.
I told her I wasn’t capable of the relationship she wanted. Again, she looked at me hurt and wounded. She was quiet.
As we went downstairs in the elevator together she laced her fingers in mine, pulled in close on my arm and whispered in my ear, “I’m not going to lose you.”
She didn’t understand I had to let her go.
Versions of this same exchange would repeat on and off.
Catarina knew I cared for her. She didn’t like I didn’t chase her and told me so. I wasn’t like the others she danced with toyed with teased and tempted.
I knew Catarina needed to be chased. I was sure it was because she felt a void. An emptiness. A feeling from her youth that there was a lack of love and security. She’d been responsible for herself for years now.
She was proof that life was full of irony.
What she wanted most was to be loved, to be someone’s world, but she couldn’t trust the love of just one person to sustain her. She needed options. To be adored. To be wanted, to escape the loneliness. She was trying to protect herself from abandonment. The fact that she was beautiful practically made her more insecure never sure of others intentions yet also what she leveraged to attract them.
On the other hand I couldn’t chase anyone. Maturity had brought me the wisdom of the wounded.
Version 4.0 of our relationship was instigated by an invitation I received one Saturday to join her at an actors expo.
Later that night, after dinner, we parted in the rain. She kissed my cheek and crossed the street still saying goodbye. It was a busy corner of Madison Avenue in midtown on a Saturday night. I yelled over the noise of people and traffic, “You heard me right? Even when I don’t like you, I love you!” She smiled back and gave me the thumbs up.
Catarina was calculating. It was that which caused the problem this last time.
We went from ecstasy to anger quickly. When she told me about plans she’d made, her story started to unravel. She cut me so deep emotionally she’d exposed bone. I wasn’t capable of shifting mental gears so quickly.
She was a beautiful brilliant talented opportunist and I attacked her with prosecutorial statements.
We were in her car. She was driving. She kept clamping her right hand over my mouth to mute my hurtful words from scarring her. I couldn’t stop. She tried with such vigor to stop me, her fingernails cut into my cheek enough to draw blood as she tried to cover my mouth. She was using such effort to stifle the destruction. I couldn’t stop the verbal damage.
Then our argument became a knife fight to see who could cut the other deeper. Even if I won I’d lost. I’d made the deep cut a gaping wound.
Now weeks later I still couldn’t stitch it back together in order to heal without her.
I tried to dilute her from my life by dating like it was a competitive sport. The day I returned to the city I double booked myself for brunch in two different neighborhoods a few hours apart. I dived into dating. I had my share of admirers but they didn’t have a hold on my heart.
I couldn’t stomach hurting her even though I knew she’d intentionally hurt me too. Others in her social circle might have been exposed to her emotional highs but I’d been exposed to her emotional lows. I’d been cursed by an empathetic and protective trait I couldn’t shake.
She was a survivor. She was independent. She was fragile, vulnerable and scared.
I knew I wasn’t the only one she called Darling. I knew that I’d lived in a fantasy of what could be that didn’t correspond to reality. I knew I wasn’t the only one she sought for support but I needed her to know -
I texted her:
“You're always welcome in my world even when I don't want you there. Even when I don't like you, I love you. I offer you refuge in my arms even when my heart breaks to hold you”
Her reply was a quote from The Crucible that crushed me:
“I may think of you softly from time to time but I’ll cut off my hand before I ever reach for you again.”
A Joel Hunter Borrelli Snippet
I’m watering became a refrain
evidence of the love that remains.
The liquid seeped out of my eyes, and drained down my cheeks, pooling in places as water meets.
Prompted by nothing other than my own thoughts,
memories now became the battles I fought.
A Joel Hunter Borrelli Snippet 01/06/19
Bleeding in Words
A poem by Joel Hunter Borrelli
Writing my wounds
Seasoned in sorrow
My mind absorbed with too many yesterday’s and not enough with tomorrow’s.
Bleeding in words
Hemorrhaging in phrases that were heard
Filling passages with regret.
Life’s full of questions
No answers yet.
Love, the strongest emotion
Is the easiest to break
It fractures and scars
It takes what it takes.
Leaving me in pieces
An assemblage of parts
Less light in life’s aperture
When you have a broken heart.
Joel Hunter Borrelli 10/26/18
When I Submit
I wrote this for myself and then used it as a tribute to my brother.
When I Submit...
When I submit and leave this world of grit remember me with prose and wit.
Memories of our days will yet stay. Memories of our nights; close your eyes they’ll remain in sight.
But most of all my loves, know that I’ll be with the stars above. When you want to touch me, walk into a field in spring, see me in the blossoms, the new life of everything.
This journey has taken all my strength. I’ll have lived my mortal length. Do not mourn me for I have passed. The love I have for you is what will last.
I’ve been broken here. The fix wasn’t on this sphere. I’ll be amongst the globes in space, where time is different and there is no haste.
I’ve only believed in love and dogs and they are quite the same, in the way that my agnosticism might they both have tamed.
If you lose the light and have lost your trust, turn your eyes towards the sky and remember we are all just stardust.
Joel Hunter Borrelli
Superman’s Ride Came Today.
My brother Roger, aka Superman, passed today. Roger had ten lives in the past two years.
The disease came for his sight first. Within months he experienced blindness.
Roger belonged to the car culture as long as anyone who knows him can remember. Hot Rods, Muscle Cars, Classics, Corvettes, Classic Corvettes, Cadillacs, Classic Cadillacs, Chevelles Junkers, ..etc.. Many dozens if not hundreds of cars passed through his hands. Along with boats, dune buggies, golf carts , anything with a motor that moved attracted him so that he had to own it or at least sell it for more. He’d go anywhere in the country to pick up a car. Losing his ability to drive, when he spent decades building and rotating his car and toy collection, with many projects left to complete, was and remains heartbreaking.
The first amputation took part of his foot.The others took more.
After they amputated his leg 7 inches beneath the knee he came out of surgery catatonic. When I went to see him he was suffering and in so much agony I could’ve killed him because I loved him so much.
He came back to himself after several weeks making me glad I hadn’t acted as rashly as I had been inclined.
Dialysis, of course, began to become a necessary additive to his routine. Every other day for four hours.
Then he got an ulcer on his toe on the other foot. While they were looking, examining and poking around they found some lung cancer too. What was too close to what which meant they couldn’t do whatever so they only did what they could.
Ultimately they took the other foot too til he’d require two prosthetics that would be aligned at the same distance beneath the knees.
Roger spent the better part of two years in and out of the hospital. I can’t tell you the whole time he was happy-go-lucky; he wasn’t. At the same time, as many of his family and vast network of friends could attest, he was capable of a lot of humor and a lot of reminiscing.
The past few weeks have been hard and maybe Monday, after returning home harshest, but yesterday, on the phone, my brother was the old Roger, he’d eaten a hearty breakfast, was in full voice for my conversation my sharing news, laughing and in conversations with others he was the same way.
Last night, I fell into an exhaustive, semiconscious state.I felt my energy drain. The state of my being wasn’t reflective or a result of anything in particular. I’d rested well after Saturday’s show. I thought to myself, my brothers getting ready to transition.
He left this world this afternoon.
His wife Dawn has been the Superwoman to his Superman, going beyond what most mere mortals do caring for each other. For this I’ll always be beyond thankful and beyond grateful.
His bravery made him Superman, his sadness human. His friendship made him loved.
Joel Hunter Borrelli 12/5/18
My sisters ride came last night and she left this world.
At the end of August I went to visit my sister, who’s been suffering from pancreatic cancer, in the hospital. She related to me a dream she had about my brother Roger when he was catatonic after one of his amputations. Still the older sister she was worried about my brother while she faced a likely terminal disease.
I took a little artistic license with the dream my sister shared that afternoon and immediately after leaving her wrote the following:
The Army Jacket on the Bridge
The first time she met him on the bridge in her dream she couldn’t understand why he was wearing an army jacket.
Another night she dreamt the same dream but this time he was also wearing fatigue
pants. She was so caught up in catching up with him she didn’t bother to ask.
The next time the dream returned, he was wearing the army jacket, the fatigue pants and now a combat helmet. She couldn’t help but ask “Why?” “Why are you dressed like a soldier?” He looked at her as if he thought she should have known. “I’ve been to war” he said.
Soon after the dream came back. She was prepared for his appearance. As she began the bridges ramp she smiled as she saw him midspan. Then a sudden gasp of shock stopped her. She caught the reflection of herself in the water below, she noticed she was dressed like a soldier too.
Joel Hunter Borrelli 08/28/18
Based on and influenced by a dream shared by Rebecca Rivkah Borrelli Brown.
My sister was a warrior.
Blood & Muses
I needed another muse.
Someone else that added color to the palette of my creativity.
The last muse blew in. The first piece I wrote about her I titled La Tempesta, the storm.
I couldn’t be so lucky to have the next reservoir of inspiration come in with the wind, but maybe.
The problem with outsourcing your incentive is the price. You normally have
to pay with your heart.
You were always trying to recover the price of pain you paid to produce the product.
It never comes.
The emotional blood spilled trying to translate feelings into art that’s tangible you’d need a transfusion to replace.
Joel Hunter Borrelli 09/17/18
The rat a tat tat kept repeating in my head as I was trying to make sense of it in my dream. It kept repeating and repeating until I reached a sober enough level of consciousness to recognize the knocking wasn’t occurring in my dream. It was at the door.
Nobody I know would need me with such urgency. Nobody I know even knew I was here, right? Wasn’t that the point of going on the lam?
The rat-a-tat-tat continued, even louder. I was trying to stitch together the snapshots of last night that populated in my impaired brain. The memories began to form a movie-like trailer. I started to fear what the feature performance might have looked like.
My instinct was to try to muffle the noise of the ever louder knock by using the pillows as a baffle. It wasn’t working. I started to think someone wanted my attention and their persistence might be more enduring than my patience. Plus my head was fucking pounding.
I forced my eyes open from under the covers and the pillows. The light was so bright it was almost painful. What fucking time was it and where were my fucking clothes?
Rat-a-tat-tat. The sadistic fuck kept at it. “One fucking minute!!!” I bellowed and regretted it as soon as the words escaped. I’d provided confirmation I was there. Now where were my fucking pants?
Joel Hunter Borrelli 09/14/18
She had a throaty, deep and smokey voice. Her laughter erupted the same way, from the depths inside of her. It was wrapped up in an electric personality and topped off by a smile that never seemed to leave her face.
We were living the fastest life at the youngest age, working in bars before we could even legally drink. In our mountain haven there were times Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager would have been envious.
Our paths crossed again over the next few years. We’d all migrated towards the city, suburbs and the Hamptons. Then she ended up at a bar in Scarsdale next to me.
I can’t tell you how many nights I spent mixing groups of friends from all areas of my life there as she tended bar. I knew I vied for her affections among those with more money and thereby it seemed more muscle.
I can’t tell you how many nights I shouldn’t have left there to drive home. A different day and a different time but the same danger. When you’re young you’re ignorant and think you’re invincible. It turns out I was nothing more than lucky.
I’ll never forget the night I knew I’d lost her. We’d closed up the restaurant and bar she worked at on Garth Rd. and headed to The 808 on Scarsdale Avenue.
She rode with me in the Mustang. I recall telling her, in an inebriated way, how much I cared about her.
If you don’t know Scarsdale, it’s one of the wealthiest towns in the country, and The 808 was a dive bar that could have been used as a film location if they needed the look of a rural roadhouse.
It might be where my devotion and dedication to dive bars in fancy locations began because I still prefer the paradox today.
When I think back on it, I do so through the eyes of someone who’d already drank too much before, in a near perfect recollection to the manner in which I’d walked through that door.
Tommy and his crew walked in behind us. I knew there was chemistry between them but for the likes of me I didn’t know why.
But Tommy it turned out was playing chess while I was playing checkers.
It didn’t take much but it meant a lot. While I was trying to gain my bearings after too many Grand Marniers, Tommy played the juke box.
It took me a minute to realize why she was smiling at him and him at her. Both shared that flirtatious look that can bond one to another on the spot.
Then I heard it. He played Sweet Melissa by The Allman Brothers.
He won her with a quarter and I was the one who felt he lost a fortune.
Joel Hunter Borrelli 10/19/18
“It was a place that if you didn’t know where it was, you wouldn’t know it was there” Teresa said about a restaurant she was familiar with. We both laughed. I knew exactly what she meant.
It was a place you weren’t going to come across unless you were lost.
It struck an immediate note with me.
I was used to venues like that. One of my favorite places on earth was off a back road. And other than the locals and a few small signs off the main drag you could’ve described it the same way.
I think back on those times I was coming out of the city into the Catskills on Thursday’s, Open Mic nights. Never knowing which musicians were going to turn out and what vocalists show up. Emil dressed in drag sometimes or as Austin Powers on others. Jenny offering to make you something to eat long after the kitchen closed. Smoking on the deck, listening to the force of water move boulders in the creek when it rained. I yearn to step back into the carefreeness of those times.
The excesses of the nights are still hard to feel bad about. Often I feel like it’s the most familiar happiest place I’ve ever known outside of home.
Joel Hunter Borrelli 9/6/18
from Gypsy Love
“She was a gypsy not just in regard to where she lived but who she loved.
She greeted each new place as “home” and each new love as “the one”. It wasn’t an act. It was exactly the way she felt at the time. Time and time again
Those men who gained her attention and affection would never be the same. She injected more passion into minutes than other women did into lifetimes.”
Joel Hunter Borrelli
In a prison of a penthouse
From this perch the birds that I could see
Filled me with longing, envy and jealousy
Darting back and forth in front of my windows,
taunting me that they were free.
Joel Hunter Borrelli 7/7/18
Analogy of Reality
The Weight of Emptiness
The weight of emptiness is the heaviest burden to carry.
There is a density to nothingness.
It’s the voids in love and life that become a crushing mass to shoulder.
The gravity of loss can cripple you.
The laws of physics are inverse when it comes to emotions.
Joel Hunter Borrelli
Wee Hours Wandering
When you walked the streets of the city in the wee hours of the weekend it seemed almost everyone you came across was a little off kilter, had a bit of a stagger and rocked back and forth a little when they came to corners.
Rats the size of mongooses scurried between the garbage piled on the sidewalk and the spaces they created in the real estate others paid so much for.
The crowd leaving the velvet roped club at Gramercy Park Hotel’s Rose Bar gathered outside smoking cigarettes and saying extended goodbyes with acclamations of many repeated inebriated “I love you”s before going their separate ways.
So many different accents heard and foreign languages spoken you knew if you were anywhere in the world it was New York.
There seemed to be certain rules. The dress code was black for men and women. If there weren’t so many lights you’d think it was a form of camouflage. Women no longer wore bras and men seemed to be abandoning socks.
I was coming up on my lucky corner, a place I’d been picked up at twice, not in the bar but right outside in the street by forward females. That kinda stuff becomes seared in your brain.
Outside a cab was waiting for a guy who’d already opened its door but the girl he was with wasn’t done with him yet. She had her lips locked on his, kissing him with the lust born in liquor. Love that comes when alcohol is an additive. It made you wonder why they were parting. How were they parting. Passion wasn’t meant to be postponed.
It made me lonely tonight. I’d passed on my chance for companionship. The only company I was likely to have now were memories. Anyone remaining at this hour to initiate a conversation with was most likely intoxicated insane or both.
The amount of Uber’s on the avenues thinned out and most of the taxis now had their light on parading for whatever passengers might remain.
In a different decade I’d have headed for the decadence, haze and hedonism of an after hours club.
I toyed with continuing my travels but tomorrow had turned into today.
I headed home.
Breaking News!!!! Sewer main rupture floods D.C. swamp!!
Eyes of a Witness
I recognized him immediately. He still had that hardscrabble look that one gets from being brought up on the wrong side of the tracks in an already poor town. The kind of town were the lack of employment leads people to have a lot of time on their hands which they don’t seem to spend wisely.
I know these types of towns. My family roots might be from one of the wealthiest counties in the state and the country but the johnny-come-lately I was to the family unit had me being brought up in one of the poorest.
I knew almost all the towns in the counties between the mountains where I grew up and the city. Until you hit the suburbs they seemed to follow a pattern. The closer the river; the poorer, the more desperate. There weren’t many sailing regattas or country club cotillions in these towns. Just a lot of Stewart’s and Cumberland Farms. Places where people did most of their shopping in convenience stores.
He was about 6ft, he was thin like an addict, and tanned from outdoors, leathered even. His face, around the right cheekbone, had an impression and a scar that seemed to come from an impact that hadn’t rebounded or been rebuilt.
His hair was worn long, but not as long as when he was younger. His most notable feature had become part of his name, how he was known. The “Grey” in Danny Grey wasn’t his last name, it was for the color of his eyes. Deep grey in the most unusual way. Now they matched strands of his hair too.
He hadn’t lived this long without having his own set of survival skills. His upbringing didn’t make him stupid. He’d learned there was ignorance among the educated. Many times it was how he made his money. Doing what they didn’t know how.
He knew just about everyone you’d think. He’d been around for years and when anyone needed a set of hands they seemed to find him. He’d done enough of enough that he knew more than most.
He managed to navigate a life between the villages in the valley and the main streets in the mountain resorts when they were in season.
As the local bars opened and closed or moved you’d find him fixing, painting or carrying ice for whoever owned what at what time. You never knew if he was being paid or doing it for free and sometimes neither did he. Or you’d come across him at the lumberyard or hardware store in the company of one of the contractors or tradesman he was helping.
In his own way he was a facilitator and a bit of a historian. He could tell you who died of what and when. He was like Rainman when it came to death.
This particular night I was seeking him out about one I knew he’d want to forget. He had been a witness to an excess of alcohol, anger and ego that resulted in a murder. It happened one night at Tommy V’s long ago.
Eyes of a Witness A Snippet by Joel Hunter Borrelli 8/6/18
Down Off Pike St. – A Prelude
I didn't want to be dangerous but I was.
I was down where I shouldn't be doing things I shouldn't have been.
It wasn't going to make a difference anyway. I wasn't going to be back this way again. How I made my exit wouldn't matter.
Still I'd be foolish not to pay attention to the shadows that appeared behind me and reflected in the windows as I walked.
Even though my pace was brisk, I felt better having my right hand in the pocket of the sport jacket I was wearing. I rarely carried a gun but tonight was different. I knew that it was going to come down to one decision maybe two.
Life becomes different when circumstances lead you to a narrow path. I was out of options 2 days ago and I've been biding my time ever since.
I laughed to myself when I thought about her. That’s how I got into this you know, all in a matter of weeks. I wasn’t even looking at her that night. I only knew that she had dark hair. I couldn’t tell how old she was. I looked towards the door. The air changed. I felt her presence beside me and then I heard it. Her laughter erupted from rumble to roar. How could anyone be that fucking happy I thought.
By morning I realized she was a paradox. She had an accent you could breathe, a scent you wanted to drink and a voice you could almost taste.
Joel Hunter Borrelli 02/01/17
I"m a writer of abstract snippets, short stories, lyrics, and other works of word engineering and misfirings as well as a raconteur of my Forrest Gump like life. My particular genre appears to be middle aged male angst.
I've had a career turning the headlines of global economies and politics into investment fortune telling; trading commodity, currency, indices and interest rate futures. There is no more capitalistic, eat-what-you-kill, way of making a living. No better forum to hone your sales skills than when you're pitching high-risk investment opportunities.
I've built books of business providing corporate transportation and event management services to the Fortune 500, to firms engaged in investment banking, private equity, entertainment and media, fashion, law, advertising, public relations, crisis communication, the arts and government. In order to service the work internationally, I built global affiliate networks that are widely used today. I was Uber, before there was Uber.
I'm always looking for projects that stir my interest and compensate me fairly at least, hopefully generously.
I pitch myself @ www.ajoelhunterproject.com
I expose myself @ www.joelhunterborrelli.com
A Snippet from Joel Hunter Borrelli
She understood immediately. As soon as he walked through the door. She recognized the expression. It happened so often it was now common. She was already anticipating the question.
He couldn’t seem to get the words out fast enough.
They came in all the time. The hollow cheeks. The confusion. The panic. You could see it in their eyes. The desperate look of somebody whose mobile device has lost battery life.
It almost came out as a cry. “Do you have a plug?” he asked.
Crippled by Technology.
Joel Hunter Borrelli 5/18/18
Inspired by actual events and semi-autobiographical
Adapting the Latest Technology
Frustration losing power with my mini iPad and my iPhone finally pushed me to have some elective surgery. I just had a microscopic "paddlewheel" implanted in my femoral artery.
It's calibrated to multiply the velocity of normal blood flow enough to power modern mobile devices.
You can place the USB port almost anywhere on the body that's comfortable. You can place it somewhere discreet or, in my case, I placed it strategically so I can have a creative tattoo around it. I want it to be a little "shocking".
For the minor inconvenience of outpatient surgery and being early in this unconventional approach to powering mobile devices, I won't have to worry about charging my iPad or my iPhone again (as long as my heart holds out).
Joel Hunter Borrelli
A Job Like Any Other
I was tired of killing people. it wasn’t the profession it was made out to be. It could be financially rewarding depending on whether you were working by contract or by retainer. Most of the time though it was a job like any other. Similar to many people partcipating in the "gig economy" of the twentyteens, I was trying to balance my creative pursuits with providing. It wasn't what I had been doing. I didn't think this line of work would be disrupted and replaced by technology like the other two careers I had were.
I considered myself a Buddhist and I must confess there were times that certain assignments didn’t sit well with me. I understood the practicality of human disposal, most times its for the greater good. I didn’t fool myself or pretend to be altruistic about it. I knew there was a side of me that enjoyed applying efficiency to the executions. The tedious tasks required for the cleanup and sanitization may be what's put in the most Zen state I've ever achieved. I approached it with as much mindfulness as a monk washing dishes, chopping wood or carrying water. If you think about it the responsibilities of the job are not in conflict with my core beliefs or the general philosophy. I mean if you take into consideration reincarnation or more likely a metempsychosis, you were just extinguishing them in this realm. In a way just being the catalyst for them to move onto new experiences.
Joel Hunter Borrelli 05/09/18
A Snippet from a short.
In the mountains, in the carefree days of my youth, taking the elixir that loosens the tongue and frees the limbs, with every atom of oxygen and full of joy, I'm blowing into the trumpet of life to celebrate the moment and to call in the future.
In the mountains of my memories, having reached a certain age, taking the elixir that loosens the tongue and frees the limbs, with every atom of oxygen and full of melancholy, I'm blowing into the trumpet of life to preserve the moment and ask the world to pause.
Joel Hunter Borrelli 3/28/18
(I wrote and posted A Respite on 3/28/18, on 4/1/18 on my way to a reading, I came across the gentleman in this photo blowing into his trumpet on 7th Avenue in Chelsea. Though not in the mountains, it was a little sign. I have no idea who the gentleman is.)
Goldman Sachs and a Brazilian Wax.
I was known to give advice, to those who sought it, on a number of topics from financial markets to philosophy. Most knew the topic I never gave advice on was relationships.
Even though lately I barely had the patience for myself, I found myself thinking I wanted to test the relationship waters. I already expected to be proverbially stung by a jellyfish, the cure for which they say is to pee on yourself, or depending on the location, be forced to ask someone else to pee on you. Given the current political climate the analogy alone is going down a rabbit hole.
I was a 51 year old single man, except for the marriage. I wasn’t bad looking and I wasn’t particularly good looking but enough woman swept right on Tinder; I felt there was potential.
I began to think I needed a strategy. I had years of prospecting, marketing and sales experience, how could I put it to use? I was schooled in isolating the right audience, reaching the right target market for products and services. I considered where I was in life, what I wanted, what I liked and what type of woman I needed.
So that’s how I found myself at the wine bar next to the Broad Street Bikini and Brazilian Wax Boutique across from the offices of Goldman Sachs.
A Snippet by Joel Hunter Borrelli 6/26/18
I needed a drink. A pre-party cocktail. I was honored to be invited to the premiere. It was going to be the right group of people in the right place. The problem was I’m not naturally sociable. As I grew older I mostly saved the intimacy of conversation for those I’ve known for decades. I knew in order to dilute the discomfort I’d have to spark my alter ego with tequila.
Caterina was supposed to join me but she canceled at the last minute. It didn’t really bother me. I may have dodged a bullet. I knew a bar on the block before. As soon as I walked in I saw her. She had an air of independence. I walked behind her and took a position to her right. I noticed her shredded jeans, her age; early thirties, and what appeared to be bourbon she was drinking.
As soon as the bartender saw me he recognized me. He brought me the Trago without my asking. An Irish bar with great food that stocked some of the best tequila in the world. It certainly wasn’t The Barney Stone.
The minute the glass hit the mahogany she motioned to the drink “Conor its on me”. “Generous but not necessary and I can’t allow it. What's that you’re drinking?” I asked trying to get the upper hand on chivalry. I’ve never let a woman buy me a drink not even most men. It was a fault.
25 minutes later and after she bought me two of the most expensive shots of tequila in the bar, she had her arm in mine as we walked out the door towards the party together. I never told Caterina that I had a date within 30 minutes of her canceling. She’d have caught on fire. She liked her option of who to be with but she hated anybody else to be with me.
In the elevator, we introduced ourselves. “I’m Joel and you’re either brave or crazy or both. And you?” She smiled “Sinthia with an S” she said. I made her spell it twice.
A Snippet by Joel Hunter Borrelli 6/21/18
"-When she met her mark she zeroed in,
she was a master of deception.
Even when you swore her off,
she pled her case for redemption
Every minute with her was like no other.
The days in-between were another thing altogether-"
Joel Hunter Borrelli - From Caterina in the upcoming "Ciao Darling"
"Caterina knew he cared for her. She was coming to realize though he wasn't going to chase her. He wasn't like the others she danced with, toyed with, teased and tempted. He was...
Joel Hunter Borrelli - from Caterina in the upcoming "Ciao Darling"
Cobblestone Streets, Neon Lights and Lightning Strikes
I was always drawn by the same place. No matter where I started off, no matter what neighborhood, I always ended up on this narrow cobblestone street. The place was an aberration. A dive bar here, where the loft apartments were coveted by an international crowd of trustfunders, hedgefunders and assorted overachievers.
It was years since I walked through the doors. Years since I was recognized and welcomed. My own Cheers for gods sake. The lighting of the place hadn’t changed. It was just the way it always was.
I couldn’t tell you why tonight was different than the other nights. As I walked up the crooked steps I couldn’t help but think “Would lightening strike me in the same place twice?”.
A Snippet by Joel Hunter Borrelli 6/2/18
This One Time...
There were a lot of bars in this neighborhood. For as long as I can remember the average age of the patrons was early to mid twenties. The area drew those just out of college, not too far a distance from their sorority and fraternity days. Many continued to share apartments with some of the same people. They all seemed to be about 3 degrees of separation from one another. It was a gathering of those who knew each other from their hometown high schools reunited in the city after college, college pals. their friends and siblings. That would be enough to spark a dynamic dating scene, when you add Tinder you ignite an explosion
I found it fun to see them paired and grouped at tables picking up on snippets of conversation and trying to determine the relationships that brought them there together at that moment.
But now, at this hour, the bars were beginning to close. If you peeked in you’d notice that the stragglers all seemed to have an intimate relationship with the remaining crew, wanted to initiate one, or were too intoxicated to leave.
I saw the three of them as soon as my feet stepped over the corner of the curb onto the block. They were standing outside each having a cigarette. Two guys, one girl. Their posture and animated gesticulations implied they’d imbibed enough to be impaired. They were having a good time.
As I was walking by them, the one aiming for the redneck look with an untrimmed beard and barely a mustache, says to the other two “So my buddy and I...” and I immediately start to think about the texture of the many tales in life that begin in variations of the same way, “This one time my buddy and I....”. Then I began to think about a particular one of my own.
Joel Hunter Borrelli 6/30/18
On fumes I pulled in to the last service station before the exit. I found it ironic I couldn't even make it off the highway without having to add fuel. I had never been good at coasting. I imagine I'd have been worse at gliding. I wouldn't even know how to move forward if I wasn't facing the current.
Joel Hunter Borrelli 03-06-18
To my middle aged male friends: the key to feeling younger - leave the house bearded wearing a hoodie and Vans.
If one more European Supermodel, that’s half my age, asks me for my number or to take me out, I’m going to blow a gasket. :)
The problem with having a short fuse is normally the only one you blow up is yourself.
Sink you emotional, spiritual and intellectual fangs in every day and extract life!
Have you ever hit the nail on the head so much in an analysis of yourself you feel the puncture wounds?
***please note updated amenities.
Development Opportunity. Looking for partners with liquid capital ($$$) to make a purchase offer:
Cleared open parcel of land bordering FDR Drive - East River and 1st Ave. Next to the United Nations. Looking to develop 8-10 modular double-wides with partially covered entryway mini-decks and foundational pressure treated lattice work.
Amenity plans include 4 wheeler, jet ski and small boat parking for each unit as well as community clubhouse with craft lite beer keg on tap, artisanal burrito bar and above ground pool w/ stained and treated deck.
Just added: Steel outbuilding storage available to all homeowners for any of their non-working “vintage” vehicles, motorcycles and other recreational toys in need of repair as well as spare tires, used tires and extra motor parts.
Private resident and guest(s) patio with picnic tables and oversized umbrellas, fire pit and regulation horseshoe pitch and...New York City’s largest bouncy house(!!!) for parties, meetings and events.
Noble Gallant & Gone.
I couldn’t have dreamt it.
I couldn’t have written it but I will.
As the leaves turned the storm blew in.
I knew I had tempted fate again.
She was a beautiful storm, a dangerous storm she was a tornado & a hurricane.
Why did I do it?
Why had I tempted fate again?
I’d been through these storms before.
This one blew in from across the sea.
Picking up force she hovered near warm waters,
by the time the storm arrived here, her gusts were gale force winds,
that spoke to me in my native tongue.
I got picked up in her cyclone, caught up in her spins.
With her need for energy to keep her roll and her role
she used me as her fuel.
She called me noble, she called me gallant, she fed my ego, she fed my soul
But the storm was wicked and out of control.
Had she played me for a fool?
At first the storm faltered,
as storms often do.
Then the stars that had aligned suddenly shifted position
and were altered.
The moon rose, the waters grew,
the storm picked up and headed out to sea.
devastation, damage and debris.
And as she spun in another direction
forgoing my protection,
she moved along the shore.
You see I was a storm myself,
then the stars aligned
and what had calmed me to a gentle breeze
filled me full of strength once more.
As I was noble and gallant in a storm
those winds now gone mine had just begun.
I look for her return
as the ides of March introduce
the spring, a calmer storm is often blown.
I’d welcome her embrace again
‘twas her winds, had stoked my own.
Joel Hunter Borrelli 01/21/17
Joel Hunter Borrelli