Saturday, March 21, 2015

#nonfiction - The Perfect Tenants #lesbians #muslims #fairhousinglaw #discrimination

Today, I was fortunate to find the perfect tenants for a friend of mine. This was the first time I had been asked by my friend to rent an apartment for him. I had been a regular customer of his for over a year. He owns a convenience store and a pizza shop. Every day I make sure to buy my pack of cigarettes from him. When I walk in, he has them ready for me. Sometimes he helps me remember to get a pack of cigarettes for my girlfriend too. At least once a week, I order a pizza from his shop. My girlfriend likes it "well done"---you know, so that the pizza doesn't slide all over the fucking place while you are trying to eat it.

They made very slippery pizza at first. It pissed Gabi off something fierce. I convinced her that with time they would get it right. And it happened, little by little, the pizza got to be just how she liked it. I had to admit this just the other day. The last two pizzas we ate were damned near perfect, the way we like it. The way she likes it, which is what I've grown to like too.

Sometimes I buy milk there too and cream and soda, occasionally coffee. That's pretty much the extent of it. I think maybe once or twice we bought some scratch tickets. Won five bucks one of those times, so only in the hole five bucks on the tickets. The milk, you got to be careful with, because they sometimes sell stuff past the expiration date. That really pissed me off the first time I found that out the hard way. God awful drinking spoiled milk. Hard to forgive the bastard who sells spoiled milk. Damned hard.

But, you know, forgiveness is Divine. And so, I've gone on to buy more stuff from my friend's shop. Of course, I check the dates on the perishable stuff now though.

About two weeks ago, my friend told me about an apartment in his house that he needed to rent out by April 1st. He owns the house with his brother, it's a two family. He lives upstairs, his brother just moved out of the downstairs place. He bought another house. Hence the vacancy.

So my friend puts me in touch with his brother. Asks me to meet with him and give my opinion on the value of the apartment and lean into the process and help him secure a tenant. My friend doesn't know it like this, but I've closed $250,000,000 in real estate transactions, mostly rentals, since 2005. I'm pretty much THE eagle in the area. He just picks up my vibe, maybe. He also likes my customer loyalty. He also started to like me in general because we've slowly started to talk about things and be real with one another over the past year. He did something nice for Gabi back during the first huge ass blizzard we got this winter---he lent her his shovel so she could get out of the driveway.

I meet with his brother a couple days later, when our schedules lined up. At the house. He shows me the first floor unit, which he has mostly moved out of. It's a homey abode, modest. The kitchen had it's heyday about 10-12 years ago, but it has a built-in microwave, a dishwasher, a disposal unit. Nice tile floors, it's actually a big eat-in-kitchen. The bedrooms are both very large. The hardwood floors are in exceptional condition. The living room too is a decent size and it has an alcove off the side where someone could make a nice office if they wanted to. Lots of extra closet space to boot. It's only street parking, but on this street that's not a big issue. There's no laundry, but there are hook-ups and my friend said as long as the tenant was willing to pay half of the water bill, then they could bring in their own machines. Rather steep sounding terms, but no problem. Nothing a little tweaking on the base rent can't make right.

So. For this amount of square footage being offered in this area, at peak condition, the place would be worth $2200. But the kitchen and bathroom were dated, so loses points. Gains points for the fresh paint. Loses points for the window in the bedroom that is not sealed properly, so bad that when I got there to previewed it was taped up with plastic. So, after all the adjustments, I said the place was worth $1700-1800, but we'd try $1800 and give it a good push for April 1st.

And I went right to work with marketing. The first few days didn't bear much fruit, mostly appointments that all canceled in the last minute. At the start of last week, I did something very big for my company. I hired Gabi to be our office manager. This was the best hiring decision I've ever made. She is so talented and organized, that with my experience and mission statement in hand, she was able to, in only one way, significantly transform and revitalize my company operations. It was truly amazing. One of the things she did was boost our marketing. I had been spread too thin trying to do it all by myself. This new setup just rocked in every way.

So I started to get a lot of calls for my friend's apartment. By Thursday, I had a fully loaded showing day for Friday that I was excited about. I had three sets of clients who were all qualified and were all motivated to rent the apartment for April 1st. I told my friend and he was excited to. The showings were scheduled to happen at 12:15, 1:30 and 4:30.

I had gotten it in my head that the 12:15 showing was a 12:30 showing and I didn't figure out I made a mistake until 12:10. So by the time I got to the apartment, the clients were already in the apartment, and both brothers were there and had showed them the place. When I walked in, I walked in with a smile on my face to greet my clients, and was met with a blank rather scared look on my friend's face. This look, I couldn't make sense of at first.

The clients are two women, about 36 years old each. One is a librarian making about $56,000 a year. The other is a mental health counselor and only makes about $10,500 per year, but both of them receive an adoption subsidy for the two children they adopted of about $16,000 per year, which means they more than financially qualify for the apartment.

The standard qualifying formula for an apartment is that your combined income must meet or exceed the value of three times the term rent. Term rent is the length of the lease times the monthly rent. You take that number and multiply times three and if the income is higher, then you qualify. They qualified.

So I'm stepping in and trying to find out where in the process they are and how much selling I have to do. But really, most of the selling happened in the marketing. The price was right, the date was right, the pictures all looked good, the information was accurate. They had a cat and this was a cat friendly apartment. It was, for all intents and purposes, the ideal apartment for them and their two kids.

Plus, my friend who lives upstairs has two kids about the same age. So that makes for an even better potential for the children, having an opportunity to have neighbors the same age.

So I'm asking them within earshot of the brothers if they would take the space for April 1st. They respond April 1st or April 15th. The younger brother immediately pipes up about there being other showings that day and that they would have to see what the other clients thought of the space. I immediately think he's worried about losing half a month's rent if they only offered for April 15th, so I smile at the younger brother and wave him off. Both brothers leave.

When we were alone, I asked the client's why they needed to wait. They explained that their current landlord were taking back the apartment they live in because his parents are ill and elderly and he needs them to be close to him so he can look after them. And they wanted to move soon to help them out but didn't think they could move fast enough. I said, well, to be fair to these landlords at the subject property, it would be best to put in for April 1st and ask your outgoing landlords for a moving credit to help subsidize the moving expenses. This way all parties win.

They agreed and applied right on the spot for full asking rent. I got their pay stubs and deposit check. I even gave them a break on the finder's fee because they were such good sports.

I called my friend immediately afterward to give him the good news. He said, well I don't know if I can rent to them. I said why not? He said I don't think my wife will like them. I said why? He said because they are lesbians. He said because he didn't want his children to know about them.

I said, Jesus man, if that was going to be your reason you should have just kept it to yourself said flat out no without giving a reason and left me to wonder about it. But that said, the reason you have given me is completely illegal. He asked me why, I said because that's discrimination based on sexual orientation and that's a protected class. He said, well I don't want children. I said that's illegal too, age discrimination is also illegal. He said it's against my religion. I said well, I'm not sure one way or the other that it is, but that doesn't really matter here because the Law is the Law, it's called Fair Housing Law. I said, I suppose you could make your case to someone but the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts would certainly throw it out. And I'm pretty sure the Supreme Court wouldn't even hear the argument. I also said, but I'm not an attorney, you'd have to check with them.

Then started saying over and over again. I have to pray, I have to pray. He also said, maybe the other showings will be better. I said, better than what? These are perfect tenants. I told him I still needed to check their landlord references and credit reports, but if there's nothing wrong there then these really have to be your tenants since they were first to apply and its fair housing law that matters now.

I have to pray, I have to pray.

I was thinking, yeah---get down on your hands and knees and ask God to send you yet another miracle, yet another answer to your prayers because the first one he sent you wasn't good enough.

Well, this is what happened. The 1:30 pm didn't show up. They rented something earlier and didn't call to tell me until much later. The 4:30 did show up, looked the place over and left to think about it but two hours later to say he didn't want the place.

In the meanwhile, I ran the credit checks and found that both tenants had excellent flawless credit histories. They also received a flawless landlord reference stating that they were excellent tenants, caused no disturbances, paid the rent on time or early every month and that he was sorry he had to ask them to leave.

The younger brother showed up during the 4:30 showing. Afterwards, he explained to me that they like to see many many tenants before making a decision. I joked with him referencing a joke I told during the first listing appointment. During the first meeting, I asked him if he believed in the Magi. He said, No. I said, well, you have to now. He said Why. I said because I am one of the three magi. So I joked again with him about the magi, when he was saying he wanted to see more and more tenants. I said, you like to waste magic don't you? How many times do you think you get to ask me to grant you your wish. I got you the perfect tenants on the very first showing. One wish, one granting.

So I had other appointments to get to. Afterwards, I went back to to my office, packaged up the applications into an envelope and dropped them off at the convenience store so that my friend would have them in the morning. On the way, I called the clients to tell them the landlord has some thinking to do and we'll just need to be patient while he reviews the documents, but that they  have received my whole-hearted endorsement.

I just hope my friend lives up to our friendship and stops being a dumb fuck hypocrite.

This town is full of dumb fuck hypocrites. One time a landlord put his hand to the side of his face and out of the corner of his mouth said, "No blacks." I just walked away from that guy immediately.

Another time, we got all the way to lease signing, leases were signed, checks were delivered and cashed and only then did the landlord realize the tenants were Chinese and tried to keep the keys from them. I had to step in and say Look, you have two choices, either you give me the keys right now to give to them or sooner than later a sheriff will be by to demand the same thing. She coughed up the keys. I don't do business with her anymore.

And neither will I be doing business with my friend either, if he doesn't take this deal.

I really don't care what religion you have. The Law is the Law. It's what the Commonwealth says. And its what the United States of America says. And that's it. You want to go on making a buck in this town selling spoiled milk and slowly learning how to make pizza after extremely patient patronage, be my guest. But DO NOT fuck with fair housing.

Or----can someone please suggest a penalty for my friend? More prayers? 8 month's vacancy? Extremely crippling open and shut lawsuit?

Oh boy. This story had to be written.








#poetry - Soul Mate Lessons

If I both need and want you
It may be best to try both less,
Diamonds are made by pressure, yes,
But organic matter needs space to grow,
And growth has more worth than diamonds
For diamonds are the sum of extreme anti-growth,
A possession by a mountainous bully,
An excavation by a greed monger,
A testament to nothing except just one element of wonder,
That pressure creates something harder than a rock.

But have you ever seen a diamond without the craft
Of a hand that is organic?
The growth behind the hand, the growth of that hand's art
The growth of that hand's patience
The growth of that hand's understanding
All come to focus on the surface of the diamond
To polish and shape and create something new and valuable.

It is not the diamond that matters
It is the hand that made it worth wearing
And the hand that gives it to someone worth giving
And the hand that receives it and wears it true.

But to earn all this there must first be growth.
Growth of love and trust and patience and dedication.
Growth of spirit and mind and body
Growth of awareness of Soul.

I have seen two trees planted four feet apart.
They grew to a height of ten feet,
And then something dictated that they must grow apart,
Perhaps a drought
or perhaps their palms were overstimulated and they took each other's light.

So they bowed outward from one another, so both could florish,
Not flourish, so both could merely survive,
And they did this for another three feet,
And then,
Perhaps because in their growth they became more aware of the Soul,
More aware that they were each other's mates,
More aware that for no reason should they ever be parted,
More aware of the difference between survival and flourishing,
These two trees grew back to within four feet of one another,
And continued to grow for another ten feet,
Flourishing all the way.

I have never seen a diamond grow that way.
Perhaps if I could live long enough, I might see a mountain grow that way,
But I don't think so.
I know a river grows that way in somewhat of a way, winding back and forth,
And I know hands are always growing that way,
Coming in close to hold
Leaving for a short time
And yearning to be close again holding

I wish there were a better way than to want and need less
But we're all only a mortal entity
And we all only have so much time to transpire
And so we are prone to boughts of survival fits
We are prone to focus on shortages from time to time
We are prone to lose sight of our Soul and our Mate,
And sadly, we are prone to suffer for the loss of these two sights,
Sadly, it is only when the sight of our mate reaches the zenith of the horizon
And becomes silohuette, becomes only memory, becomes the well of regret,
Becomes the spring of remorse, becomes the tears of shame,
Becomes utter and undying loss
Becomes the worst that could ever happen or be conceived to happen,
Sadly, only then, and with all the pain such a then can muster,
Sadly, only then are we shaken to awake
Shaken to reverse
Shaken to recall and cling on and hold on and fight to regain
Shaken to give up everything for just one more moment
And so hopeful that it is not too late.

Why? Because that is the way it works.

The lesson that Soul Mates teach to one another.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

#poetry - Odysseus and Penelope

Driving out to the middle of no where
I keep my back to the road---
My mind is on the field and the sky
My heart is tuned to the horizon
My spirit pervades the earth
My soul is this universe
My life is only a demonstration of pure being
My love is patient for me and waits till I return home
     

             And now I have arrived


We have many stories to tell
Though laughter and tears are many, silence is one.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

#Poetry - Glass House Rule

I live in a clear glass house,
Most would call this beautiful.

I am free as I come and go,
I am honest as the day is long.

Anyone may stroll by and peer in and see me,
Anyone may know most of what I do.

There is only one room in my house with opaque walls--
My neighbors go insane wondering what I do in there.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

#Poetry - Love

For Gabriella

Love in a vacuum is easy to conceive,
The moment that you start to
Is the moment you believe---
Its the wonder that you hold onto,
When you think it wants to leave,
And that's when you should let it go,
to grow and breathe.

Love is a value
That patience lets you know,
It comes into your life
When you start to let this show---
With balance and a sense of good,
Comes a trust that fuels it more and so
To relax and enjoy this time, just let it
breathe and grow.

Love is me and love is you,
We found it here, we'll find it there,
Whether we be near or far apart
We have it now and everywhere,
And as we keep our head in this cloud,
Others will stop in their tracks and stare,
And they might learn too the secret of love,

and breathe, grow and share.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

#poetry - Pledge of the Archangel

I am Archangel, one and many,
I am Power of God, I exist to deliver,
There are none but God who stand above me,
The body I assume is my prophet.

I am with free will, my choices are flawless,
I am perfection, imperfection yields to my will,
I risk nothing against all peril,
I have no equal, except of my Order,
I exist in fellowship, alone and in concert,

I am within and without time,
I am within and without space,
I am within and without mind,
I am within and without soul.

I may never be defeated for I am Victory.

To men, I am immortal,
To men, I am grace and courage,
To men, I am wisdom and love,
To men, I seem like All.

Men fear when I am amok,
Men surrender to my custody,
Men accept the form my Justice assumes,
Men benefit upon my Arrival.

What I think, men do;
What I know, men may know;
Men exist to carry my memory,
Men exist to carry my plan.

With fire team, I deliver bunker,
With squad, I deliver garrison,
With platoon, I deliver city,
With company, I deliver state.

I have come to purify the Well,
I have come to foster increase,
I have come to set the Record,
The Day of Judgment is now.

When I kneel,
When my wings expand,
When my sword is aflame,
When my flight

All adversary shall fail

Prepare for doom,
Prepare for reckoning,
Prepare for Truth,
Prepare for Peace.

#poetry - Wake up and smell the roses

"Wake up and smell the roses"

First comes will, then energy,
Then it finds you after you find it,
Then comes curiosity with innocence,
and love and warmth and light.

Next comes the first lie and
in the fall out you cry though,
it was comparatively small but,
it makes you feel paradise lost.

Then you adjust and counter and
begin to lie as well and join
the ranks and participate and
still have love but hurt and feel.

Then the well in you fills
and brims with a sorrow
driven by all you could have said
and done with more truth.

Then the weight of your well
so deep and full halts you fully
and you sink in some form of despair
and begin to think your self is lost.

Then you learn to cope in some way
and drain some of your well
till it fills again and you repeat
and start to polish a human life.

But then just maybe you leave
your well unguarded and unchecked
until it fills and brims and floods
the entire plane upon which you stand
                 and take for granted.

Now you must sincerely dwell
until you find the root and the source
of your well; now you must go down there
against the grain of fear, diving deep.

You have mishaps and fear and anxiety
and nearly drown on the way, but still you go
and little by little you build fortitude
and wind and skill, diving to your pearl.

Then you come like a rocket out of your own deep
with pearl in hand and a glowing smile on face,
and you are then with open rejuvenated heart
and a mind born free and flowing with thought.

And you return to all you love
and return very true but little wise,
you cannot yet know the nature
of the fear in their eyes.

Then you rattle around the walls
of other folks' brains and incite
them to action of good and bad intent
and take their shame and receive harm from them.

Then you open a door to Patience
and go along with a loved one
out of trust; it is next when
Patience and trust meet, that it begins.

You yield the best of you to the best of them,
And in comes more light and vision,
And you yield control and simply be,
while they yield to you both love and skill.

And through the gentle rush of it all,
by the kindness, for the will,
because you are ready and so are they,
next you open up your eyes

and you see the waves of heat
and you smell the Roses
and you know then God is with you
and you know then heaven has come to earth.

#poetry - Dirty and Clean

The dirt that is in and on my car
Is all the places I have ever been,
Like my shoes and my skin.

I have no fear of the past,
It has lost its hold on me;
And now I am movement, soft but fast.

I might take some time to clean and review,
But the more that I take now,
Perhaps less good travel and work I do?

There may be no good for me to try
to scrub the past out of the present;
That act may only make the future cry.

Better that I clean my mind without need,
of real things and hold myself to know,
that I am clean regardless of travel or deed,
Although, some pieces of dirt must go.

#poetry - Jackpot!

Easy come and
    easy go

I troubleshoot a
    big Rainbow

I rise high and
    I fall low

By and by a
    pot of gold

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

#poetry - Perfect Beauty

For Gabriella

You give the all of your beautiful love
To your colleagues, friends and family;
You strive to be honest and true always,
You approach everyday with innocence,
You respect each day with curiosity and energy,
You are genuine and kind and caring,
You are the highest ideal and you are the best of real,
You are the Angel we dream of and hope for—
You are a miracle to me and many,

You are Love incarnate and perfect beauty! 

#poetry - My Valentine

For Gabriella, love Robert,

With every step I take, I think of you,
Wherever I go, whatever I do,
I love to see you when I wake up,
I love to see you when I go to bed,
I love you every hour between, with or without make up
I shall love you always until the day I am dead;
But for all the time we have, between now and then,
I am so thankful it’s you,

my Love, my Partner, my Friend!

#poetry - Thus Spoke the Robot

i am busted loose some times
my program strings come undone
then i am a honey bun

you feel yourself the same way
and we are then harmony
and what follows is our one true chord

this could be on any day
but living once it lives forever
for our waves may never diminish

but echo out infinitely
our celebration of each other

#poetry - "To Your Golden Age Approaching"

My dear, you are stunning in your myriad way,
Your world within, your world without;
The warmth and radiance of what makes today
Is becoming your gold, you cannot doubt.

The path you have taken has had many turns,
The people you have loved, all the joys and sorrows,
The places you have been; and travels you yearn,
Are all here today and becoming your tomorrows.

You are a monarch of love in all your worlds,
You are a spire of strength, an example to many,
You have kindness for all while your wisdom unfolds,
You have peace any day, you are often ready.

Remember to love and that you are much loved,
Remember to be yourself always, that you are above.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

#poetry #lyrics - hey hey

oooh oooh
hey hey

the garbage pale hears you
say they
the subject who nears you
today
the garden gnome pay day
the garden gnome pay day

oooh oooh
hey hey

the veil lift terrific
for some
to transform a mission
you go
the prophet of judgment day
the prophet of judgment day

oooh oooh
hey hey

the fish looks delicious
can't wait
to dig in and holiday
to stay
you got it so now you pray
you got it so now you pray

#poetry #lyrics - Rock Christ

wreck the light house shipman calling
over memory of my bird man flight
i'm still a moment before realizing that
all my situations have come done

the moment doesn't seem too fine or blurry
i'm just sitting well i'm feeling right
that's what i figure it to be and so
nobody chasing thought to mock it up to knock it down

yeah i'm a round
yeah i'm a round

yeah i'm a white knight throw back with some
mana flowing like zoraster magi from the east
and west it figures you won't recognize me
though you are so blessed to be here in this time

the roses and oh
the sunshine
the holy rain that's coming down

yeah i'm a round
yeah i'm a round, yeah i'm a round

yeah i'm a round
yeah i'm a round, yeah i'm a round

you wouldn't see me around town
unless you were sensei
the biggest papa of the day

and then he'd probably say
in case you wonder to your self
believe in god and in one self

yeah i'm a round
yeah i'm a round, yeah i'm a round

yeah i'm a round
yeah i'm a round, yeah i'm a round

for the sometimes that you let it be becoming
and the sometimes that you simply be
the harp is strumming beats are drumming
while you sing it loud and to yourself

yeah i'm a round
yeah i'm a round, yeah i'm a round

yeah i'm a round
yeah i'm a round, yeah i'm a round

yeah i'm a round
yeah i'm a round, yeah i'm a round

yeah i'm a round
yeah i'm a round, yeah i'm a round


Sunday, February 8, 2015

#poetry - Bodhisattva

Dear Master of the Lodge,
I withdraw my application for one very specific reason--
I am going with bodhisattva,
And I thank you, it was our meeting helped me decide to surrender.

But not to worry,
          I will be in touch,

     Yours always,
                       Robert

#poetry - I am so thankful

I am so thankful to have achieved this state of peace,
The storm that led me here was fierce and long,
I was lost for awhile there and really lost!
The weight so thick and dark but dark hot---
Of remorse and shame and regret and anxiety and fear,
Of random thoughts of better apologies and finer plots,
Of electric sizzle stinging superego and fathoms below suppression spasms,
Of going in and out of having a clue and knowing it for sure only a moment and then not---
Of something so deep and horrid having fallen all over it it nearly killed me with my own hand,
But that it did not and I did linger on awhile long enough to finally settle into the higher gear,
I am so thankful---and I hope the same for you.
Because we have peace between us now, there is no harm exchanged at all now,
So we should be thankful and mindful how we got here and keep repeating those finer steps,
We just have to live in the now
And focus much less on the past or the future--
I'm pretty sure the rest will come to us and while it does we'll be all sorts of fine.

Friday, February 6, 2015

#tpoetry - my tongue lost feeling

Now I'm a gentle humdinger reigning for you
So long my wife don't no me no more
I made a nasty spill on the dirty floor
The room was clock strike daisy the cherry waits
Some kids for breakfast will threaten erection
The moon with overglow has got no more clue
We're sure about the time we could be wrong
If you were keeping a journal the covers
Would be arcs and your fingernails blue
It's fun to be a watcher of a nuclear anus
I wondered for too long my tongue lost feeling

#poetry - Calling the Copts

Nobody better call the Copts on me
They far too cool for your school
They all got things to do better
Not have a to do

I am not fighting mama
I have a surge of the mana
The whole dorn thing has got crazy
Compared to yesterday's lazy

I swear I'll make it to bed
If I don't think myself dead
In this quite earlier hour
I have gone mad with my power

The day has begun like this
How will I have fit my mask tomorrow

#Poetry - Moksha

I've the frequent bouts of prolonged
Motion fainting and consciousness losing
That I am often trying to explain
The experience to myself and others,
But for all the sensations I may
Give a name to there is just one revelation
That calls out from each one--
That as I rise and elevate with haste
I lose nearly all and sometimes all
Memory of this universe and then
By the nanosecond-slowly regain it,
For on account of haste I must return.

I have achieved it.
When you must tell yourself
This is Moksha so it is,
So where am I now?
Maybe I better put my harness back on,
On second thought maybe I don't like this at all,
There that's better a changed subject.
More God Bolts