Buddy Cushman Art

engaging stories of hope and joy

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Me, the Bee Gees, and Books in the Basement


1977 Billboard Music Awards

Lonely days, lonely nights. Where would I be without my omen?

I think that’s how it goes. Down here in the basement, the sound of tiny paws scurrying within the heating duct, spiders in the west ground-level window, unsold books, unsold paintings, unsold greeting cards, all the company a young boy needs. And, of course, Barry, Robin, and Maurice. (And Andy)

My newest book – “Dictation from the Backyard” arrives today on UPS, they promise, 50 copies destined for collector status at some point far down the road, every page numbered incorrectly, off by one (not the loneliest number), allowable by a formatter glitch and yours truly missing the obvious on three separate “proofing” opportunities. You now what — I’m blaming it all on the nights on Broadway. Anyway, all these paperbacks spilling out onto the living room floor sometime the next few hours, potential magnets for dust, leave me rocketing with sadness and I’ll start a joke, and I’m thinking about stalking customers — “Well I had to follow you though you did not want me to.” As in, tag, you’re it.


I’d take a room full of strangers, yeah, they’ll be another “Book Signing” up at Papccino’s if they’ll still have me, it’s where I read these very poems up at the open mikeMany of my poems are about Massachusetts, lights out or on. Like a mining disaster, if you catch my cave-in. And what about caving to the obvious and buy a friend’s book and give it away, say, the 14th, poems, maybe show how deep your love is, it’s possible and all the while participating in someone else’s journey in a helping way, which Thoreau (another Bay State boy) told us all there ain’t nothing better. Buying all these Words.

I was meditating then,
That summer,
In a chair
In a spare bedroom,
But I took to meditating while standing
In the imperfect silence
Of my afternoon meadow visits.
Stand up on the edge,
Undercover through bushes and trees
The crowd unaware,
I’m still,
I’m empty,
I’m large,
Suntanned skin tickled, tricked by the breeze off the nearby sea
Aware of sliding sweat
Gravity’s friend
Down my back.
Aware hot tires rolling over tar,
Aware the soft slap
Of runners’ shoes, behind,


Run to me.





Coin Flip – Writing 101

Those brown, shiny coin-like things that I use to hold down my greeting cards – after chasing wind-blown cards darting and dipping across the street one too many times – I get asked about them a lot. This is what I tell people. “They are sobriety medallions. The number on the coin indicates a number of years of sobriety. You get them on those anniversaries. I was going to use small stones to hold the cards down, but I thought these were more interesting.”

Sunday mid morning, behind the Red Fox vintage store, in a space rented for $10 across the street from the farmer’s market. My 4 x 2 table is set up, covered with a beautiful purple cloth borrowed from my wife. The cloth mostly covered by the 15 original art greeting cards I sell, or hope to sell, reproductions of my original paintings. Not blowing off the table in the on-again off-again breeze that finds its way behind the building, anchored by the large gold coins.

“Your cards are so beautiful.”
“Why, thank you. How’s it going?”
“Pretty good. Have you sold many?”
“No, not yet.”
“Hmmm, I don’t see why not. I think I am going to buy some. I didn’t bring any money with me but I can go home and get some. How long are you here?”
“I will be here until two o’clock.”
“I love this one. Where is this supposed to be?”
“That is from a trip I took to visit my son in Alaska last summer. This is from a photo I took when we climbed Mount Healy, in Denali National Park.”
“I love it. These coins are really cool too.”
“I was going to use small stones to hold the cards down, which I learned the hard way chasing them down the street a few times, but I thought about these and decided it would look better. Do you know what they are?”
“Yeah, I think so, these are your AA coins right? You have talked with me about being in AA before. I think I have seen some of these in the past, a friend in Virginia had some of these.”
“I kind of thought that in addition to holding the cards on the table it might spark a conversation with potential buyers, maybe another reason to stop and look. In fact I had a woman tell me yesterday, out of the clear blue, that her mother was sober 29 or 30 years.”
“Wow, that is so cool…….I have been thinking about going to a meeting.”
“I think about it. It seems like I am drinking more and more lately, and it is kind of the opposite of how I am trying to live my life, doing things that feel really important to me, meditating and organic growing, community stuff.”
“Well, I can tell you where some meetings are in you want to know. There are different kinds of meetings and some might work better for people checking it out. I would take you to a meeting if you want.”
“Heck ya. I would be happy too.”
“Okay, I’ll think about it. Well, I’m outta here now but I will be back before two for some cards.”
“Okay, thanks. See ya.”