“Two eyes sharing many lives and many lives sharing but one goal
— to be free again”
Ricky J. Fico

bEYOND THE BROKEN DOOR

Beyond the broken door
those I could not ignore
Friends, though downtrodden
hearts far from poor
Beyond the broken door,
a flourishing garden
and hope,
washed ashore

Aerial View of Kauai

Beyond the broken door,
poverty, famine and war
Beyond the broken man
too far the distant shore
Within the broken man
rests the fragile core
I think I understand though
Our world begins at home,
the home nearest the shore

I’ve been called upon to revive my 3 manuscripts“Moods Over A September Moon”/ Beyond The Broken Door”/“A Prequel To A Life Worth Living.”

My 3 manuscripts follow my journey – from childhood to adulthood and the revelations given me that I have been called upon to share with You! I am offering here a very open window. You are welcome to this window. I ask of you to keep an open mind, an open heart as I had done throughout my own (sober) life.

Each one of us is inspired by forces beyond ourselves; each one of us finds inspiration through acts of others, through nature, through art, music – the list goes on.

Inspiration is a catalyst of growth, success, happiness and without it, we would be nothing but mere entities, devoid of soul, devoid of substance…

Ricky J. Fico

“Isn’t life strange / A turn of the page / A book without light / Unless with love we write…

[THE MOODY BLUES – ISN’T LIFE STRANGE]

EXCERPTS

MOODS OVER A SEPTEMBER MOON

Caught in the eye of the hurricane I was targeting to die /  Then caught by the eye of God, He targeted me to live!

A few people have told me that my story is a cross between Angela’s Ashes, The Catcher In The Rye and This Boy’s Life.

I don’t know about all that. All I know is that my story is one that I was born to write.

This is not only my story, but in large part, our story. This is a story about family, about sisters and brothers, mothers and fathers.

This is a story about struggle, failure, rejection, sadness and fear. This is a story about selfishness, greed and ignorance. This is a story about love, compassion, happiness and understanding. This is a story that I was born to tell. This is not only my story but, in large part, this is your story too. I know it, I just know it, probably more than I had ever known anything before.

Prologue

This morning, unlike most mornings, I’m at a loss for words. I’m staring at the blank screen, hypnotized by the blinking cursor. It is wearying heavy upon my eyelids. I’m falling . . . falling . . . falling. Now, I’m asleep.

Ah, a dream! Thank you, my dear God for such a vivid dream. And, the actors you had chosen to star in this dream — perfect. Simply, perfect!

Mother, dressed in white. Beautiful is she, her hair curling down the sides of her sculptured face. Father, with his Herculean physique, standing tall atop the pedestal. Marbled and chiseled, he plays the pivotal role.

Brother, my dear brother, giggling under the apple tree. He is tempted but he resists. I am grateful. I must watch him with a careful eye. Brother has a bigger appetite than most.

My older sister, the nursemaid to the world, wrapped in fine linen, cradling the infant, rocking the elderly. Smiling is she, I’m so proud.

My younger sister, drifting across the river, upon the raft of ancient log. A freer spirit is she, but knows not the current. At any moment it could shift. I am concerned. Big brothers must always be concerned about their little sisters.

Suddenly, I’m thrown backwards and there’s nothing I can do. I’m caught in the eye of the hurricane. I’m taken back to a different time, a different place.

So young is she, my little sister. So fragile is she, her seven year old little body unshielded from the burgeoning storm.
 
I feel so bad for Wendy, her world too, spinning recklessly through the cosmos. I wish I could do something, anything to bring back some balance, some certainty. But I can’t, my body weakened from hunger, my heart berated and scorned. I feel powerless now.
 
Mother, she is blind. Her world is in darkness now. A dark alley she travels, drawn to the neon of yet another beer sign in the distance. Drawn is she to the clash of beer mugs and the occasional drop of coin in the jukebox. Her world no longer includes her children, the two older ones and then me and further down the line, Wendy.
 
We are orphans now, left to fend for ourselves. My twelve years is topped by Lenny’s fifteen and Cara’s sixteen. Lenny and Cara, old and wise, know which road to take. Their road, though, is filled with potholes. I fear for them. Drugs, all kinds of drugs they now depend on to help them along.
 
Wendy and me, we hold onto each other, hoping that the storm would move far away from us. The thunder, it is so loud, so very loud and Wendy’s trembling, she’s so frightened. Her Cindy Doll is no longer comfort to her, it lays crumpled on the dusty floor.
Suddenly, I’m awakened. I look around and realize how grateful I am. The cursor upon the screen is still blinking, the keyboard below awaiting my fingers. Aha, that’s it! “Caught in the eye of the hurricane I was targeting to die until I was caught by the eye of God and targeted to live!” Perfect. Simply, perfect!
 
Mother, she’s been through a lot in her life, that’s for sure. And not only that, but she’s finally taken advantage of what she’s been through to give back; perhaps to make up for her neglect and abandonment when I was still a boy.
 
Today, she does what she can to help others, especially my nephew, the first one in our family who’s going to graduate college. Mother’s so proud of him. And so am I. I was supposed to be the first to graduate college but I stumbled upon a few detours, which sometimes happens in life I suppose.
 
Today, Mother doesn’t have much, a small apartment in the suburbs where she likes to watch the geese outside by the pond. Since Mother’s up in her age she doesn’t have too much to do nowadays, but maybe wait for one of her children to stop by and visit.
 
But that’s not too often though. I wish I could but I live two thousand miles away now. And little Wendy, she’s usually too busy. And Cara, she does visit as often as she could but she’s busy too working in the hospital and taking care of the sick and the elderly. Lenny though, my older brother, don’t know what to say about him. I heard that he lives not more than ten miles from Mother but I guess he has his own life to live.
Canadian Geese
Me, I live in Las Vegas now, perhaps to do what my father was supposed to do, so many years ago. Yeah, as a boy, we were going to move to Las Vegas because Las Vegas provided opportunity for a man like my father. But my father had other ideas I guess. Booze, women and who knows what else caused his plans to fall through though.
 
A few of my plans fell through too. Like killing myself. Yeah, I know, I shouldn’t talk like that but sometimes it’s more important to reveal the truth than try to hide from it.
 
I was planning to kill myself in Kauai, Hawaii on my birthday. I’d been to Kauai once before and I felt it was my “Heaven on Earth.” So, it would be a perfect place to kill myself. I had booked a flight to leave Chicago and arrive Kauai, September 12, 1992—the day before my final birthday. But something happened. I believe it was God Himself who stopped me from going through with my plans. On September 11, 1992, the day before my flight a massive hurricane hit Kauai head on. Of course, now all the airports would definitely be closed, no commercial flights going in nor going out.
 
It took me a while to realize what had really happened. Beyond the haze of scotch and the shock I realized that I was probably better off alive.
 
Although Hurricane Iniki left much destruction in her wake she did stop me from doing what I was intending to do—prepare for my own wake. And after clearing my eyes I became grateful, so grateful that on the night of September 11, 1992 I did something that my father was never able to do. I got sober. And being sober provides you with such a profound appreciation for life. So much that I did go back to Kauai, six months after the hurricane. But I went sober. I knew that what was harbored along her majestic shores was not my end but my beginning.
 
And today? I’m sitting here looking out the window and wondering, wondering about this: “To better see where you’re going it’s better to see where you’ve been .” I believe it was my father who once told me this; I’m not too sure. Maybe it’s something that I thought up on my own, I’m not sure, but whatever the case, it seems to make perfect sense.
 
 

My name is Roman Cicero. I had been homeless for a while now and this is my story. I hope not to offend anybody by my language or an occasional angry word. I am only human. I am not a preacher; I am not a saint. Like you, I have my ups and I have my downs. I am only human. I live on the streets of Chicago. It is by choice! Others I had met, they didn’t have a choice. Many were forced to the streets. This is their story. This is our story…

“What the fuck’s wrong with you?” This silly-assed question I hear much too often. Almost as often as this one: “Why don’t you get a life, you fucking bum!” Fuck them ignorant a-holes.

I’ll tell you what’s wrong with me. My shopping cart was stolen last night. Along with my bag of beer cans and the last of my personal belongings —a pair of baggies, two raggedy sweatshirts, a few pairs of crew socks, the old pair of combat boots, my toothbrush. And my canteen– the only thing I had managed to save from the war. I feel sick to my stomach because my canteen’s gone. That’s what’s wrong with me.

And why don’t I get a life. This is my life. And I’ll tell you one thing — to acquire this life of mine I didn’t beg, steal or borrow. Call me a bum, go ahead. I didn’t take anything away from you. You don’t support me. Your tax money doesn’t do a damn  thing for me. I am self-supporting. Like it that way.

And I have peace of mind, knowing that I don’t have anything to contribute to your bullshit wars, bloated bureaucracies nor do I help finance your Park Avenue Apartment or the upkeep of your chauffeured limousine. Go ahead, call me a bum. And I will call you an ignorant a-hole. Fair enough.

To use this city library’s computer I donate my time. A fair exchange. And before the library closes, I clean the bathrooms, take out the trash. I like to keep busy.

Lucinda the Librarian told me as long as I manage a bath every once in a while and contain the talking to myself to a whisper I am no bother. And she appreciates my help. And I appreciate hers. A fair exchange. Sometimes Lucinda lets me go around and put the returns away.

 
Thoughts by Ricky Fico