Saturday, 3 July 2010

A SONG FOR YOU - Leon Russell & Friends (1971)

The Pittsburgh Phantom and Me By, Shawn M. Cohen

A heartfelt message to all my readers of, "The Pittsburgh Phantom and Me", By, Shawn M. Cohen, author of this blog and the book to which these excerpts belong to.

Today I am sad to learn that the rules of blogging by some publishers of written books, may consider this blog as my book (because of the content, excerpts) being an "already published" item. That may mean that I would not be able to submit "The Pittsburgh Phantom and Me" as a manuscript for Publication, in the first instance, only as a "reprint" as a book to be sold and marketed in the world.
Now, please don't misunderstand, because I myself had to get my own head around this and took advice from two different editors and book advisors. This means that this will be the last time I will be writing excerpts of my book, and that also means I will give myself and "Phantom" the dignity it deserves to be published worldwide, and have an audience that all my hard work, and Art's continuous love and influence deserves.
The publishing world is a true mystery to me! I can speak to the dead, foresee the future, as a Psychic Medium, and yet, I stumble myself through the writer's journey! It has been a delightful and emotional journey with all the love and support coming from my readers and their comments, and encouragement, and so I am forever grateful to you all.
I will be blogging now about the process of writing my book and its own journey as it makes it to the final stages of , after nearly 5 years of intense research and uncalculable hours of writing, rewriting, and onward to its final draft for submission. I hope you will stay with me, and enjoy the snippets of the writing adventure along the way. Meanwhile, for all your love and attention, here is just another little episode which happened along Art and mine's journey through love.

Autumn came in with the leaves falling into the most spectacular display of color. I always loved this time of year. The air was fresh, crisp, the sky filled with scarlett and gold, hanging off every branch of tree. Driving into see Art, after hours in the Encore II, downtown, I had on my pink jacket with the white fur around the hood. It was a lined cotton jacket, I was not quite ready to get out the winter woolens. Art and I were so very much in love. We had spent months in blissful delight, laughing, loving and having fun together while fooling the entire public with our secret relationship. Art wanted to announce it to the world that we were together but it was me who told him it was better for us both if we were discreet. That upset him, but he knew I was right. The Press might have a field day, not to mention my parents! Along side that we would be endlessly teased by the people who we worked with, and all I needed to hear was some loud mouth say that I was, "sleeping with my Boss." Art told one bartender, named Bobby, a newcomer to the Encore but a friend of Art's. He was also younger but not as young as me. When I confessed my age to Art he almost fell off the bed! After the shock, I finally asked him his age, it was 48. My parents were 4 years older than him. But it didn't even affect me. That was the night we decided we didn't care, it didn't mean anything to either one of us, and as Art said to me, "Well, you have always been older than me, huh? Between the two of us, you are definately the older one!" He wasn't wrong there either, Art always kidding around and being playful. I told my best friend, Robbie. That was all who knew of what was going on between us. We worked together most nights, along with those precious hours after the Encore closed we spent upstairs, in the make shift apartment he was living in at the Encore downtown. Tonight, I would be taking that elevator ride with him upstairs again to his private domain. To a rather rand sack room with a mattress on the floor, some blankets and pillows, his boxing memorabilia all stashed away in one big cardboard box, his shirts hanging off the back of restaurant chairs, cigars in the ashtrays, his clothes astrew, no heat and of course, his music and Hi Fi system. His best buddies; Sinatra, Matt Monro, Elvis, Aznavour, all there waiting to be turned on, creating his romantic moods we dreamed to. We had made love to them all, but there was always something more he wanted to show me.
I knocked on the big door of The Encore II as usual at 2:30 am. Art opened it with much joy on his face, "Come on in, Baby, where ya been, been waiting for you, come here." He grabbed me, kissed me then picked me up. "Art! Put me down, right now!!" I yelled and laughed at him all in the same time. "No, you're mine now, and you can't get away!" I was hanging with my butt in the air over his shoulder, and he slapped my butt. "ART! I mean it, put me DOWN! I'm getting dizzy, come on, NOW!" Art was walking around the empty Encore II with me hanging there like he had a small sack of potatoes over his shoulder! He just laughed. "Promise me something and I will think about it!" he teased me.
"Ok what is it?? I promise!" "Ah, but you didn't hear what I was going to ask you, did you?" I was now hitting his back with my arms, "PUT ME DOWN, NOW!" I screamed, light headed and laughing. He was still adamant..."OK, OK, but where I want you!" and he walked over to the bar and gently swung me over his shoulders to his arms and sat me on the bar stool. "ART! what are you doing?!" I unzipped my jacket which was up around my neck and took it off, pushed my hair out of my face, and watched him giggle as he watched me fix myself.
He went behind the bar and got us both a drink. I noticed that there was a big black baby grand piano on the floor by the stage. It had been brought in for Duke Ellington who was scheduled to play there this week. Art had put our drinks on the bar, and a song came on the radio which had been playing. He walked out from behind the bar, and went over to the baby grand. He stood there , leaned on it with one arm and looked at me. Really looked at me with so much love in his eyes. As if Divinity itself was there, to bear witness, the next song came on the radio, and Art started to sing it to me. He never sang but "said" the words, which was his way of singing. I watched him, mesmerized. The song was by Leon Russell, and it was the first time I had heard it. Art sang this entire song to me, which was:

"I've been so many places in my life and times,

Sang a lot of songs, I've made some bad rhymes.

I've acted out my life in stages, with ten thousand people watching,

But we're alone now and I am singing this song for you.

I love you in a place where there's no space and time.

I love you for my life, you are a friend of mine.

And when my life is over, remember when we were together,

and we were alone and I was singing this song for you.

You taught me precious secrets, the truth, withholding nothing,

You came out in front while I was hiding.

And now I'm so much better, and if my words don't come together,

Listen to the melody, cause my love is in there hiding.

I know your image of me is what I hope to be,

I treated you unkindly, Girl, but can't you see,

There's no one more important to me,

Baby, can't you please see through me?

We're alone now and I am singing this song for you.

We're alone now and I am singing my song for you."

Art told me that night that he would always love me. He made me promise him that I would remember this song all my life, and his love for me. I promised him right then and there. "Yes, Art, I promise." as he stroked my hair and looked into my eyes. I did not think that our time would be limited but it was. We stayed together , up and down, for 3 years, under so much duress, till eventually the pressure would get to us both. It was never our intention to hurt other people but we lived and loved in the times when divorce, age differences, were still very upsetting, people's judgements were less forgiving. I stayed with Art until things got very difficult for us both and by 1979, I was mourning the unexpected death of my first boyfriend, Glen, he was all of 25 years old. That shock reeled me into another zone. I had seen his Spirit on a bus in Copenhagen, Denmark. It was a place I escaped to from all the pain in Pittsburgh and I did not know he had been killed. It would be the moment that would change my life forever. Art still begged me to come back to him, but I knew his daughter needed him more. Or so I thought at the time. I left Pittsburgh for California to begin the path of my own discovery. It would take me to a Metaphysical University, where I would become a Professional Psychic, Counsellor and Healer, Holistic Nurse, Astrologer, and Past Life Regressionist. I graduated with a BSc.Metaphysics, and as a Liscensed Vocational Nurse. That was 1983. I had left Art to the past and his life in Pittsburgh.
However, having studied and worked with my dreams as part of my own psychic development for years, and having travelled and worked in many countries as a Psychic and Metaphysics Teacher, opening up people's consciousness and helping them to heal their souls, by 1994 I was tired. My mother had divorced long ago, was happy and well living in Florida, so I went home to spend some time with her. One night, out of the blue, at about a month shy of age 38, I had a dream about Art. I had also wondered why so many of the men I had met and dated just were not right for me. I had thought about my "Soul Mate" and wondered, "where could he be?" and then I had a dream about Art. "Oh my, Art! Art!" Just to say his name again made me feel warm inside. "I wonder how he is doing? He would be about 66 now, " I pondered this. I wonder if he still lives in Pittsburgh? I called directory inquiry and gave his name and sure enough, there was his phone number! I braved a call to him after not speaking to him for 14 years. He was absolutely delighted to hear from me and arranged to meet me in Florida, across the State where I was currently staying with my mother, in Hollywood, where his old friend and another Encore bartender lived, one who did not know about us, but was now learning. Art was so excited and insistent, so we met within a couple of days. Here is one of the photos that was taken on the day we met again and that is what you see above. We were happy, even though it was, on that day, 100 degress F. outside in the Florida sun! I had become blonde, and a little rounder around the edges since Art last saw me, and had my hair was tied back and up off my neck, sunglasses on too, because of the heat! It was March 3rd, 1994. April 6th I would become 38 years old. Art still looked good, handsome as ever, even at age 66.

The story continues between us. Art Swiden passed away in his sleep on August 23, 2004. He was 76 years young. He had seen a double by pass operation on his heart and had had his voice box removed from cancer in 1999. I had come back to London when Art told me he thought my psychic work was "the Devil's work", as he had become a "Born Again Christian", but had neglected to tell me that when we met in 1994. His last words to me on the phone were, "I never want to hear from you again!" I felt betrayed and so angry with him, I never wanted to speak to him again, either. He was still living with his wife, the one he did not love and only returned to when he got sick and seemed to think, by accounts of his friends who revealed this to me after his passing, that he had "nowhere else to go."
For me and for us, our story begins on a whole other level, after his death. Art Swiden laid in an unmarked and unpaid for grave for nearly three years. I did not know this until my return to Pittsburgh, where I see to it that he is buried with the dignity of not only a great human being but a great boxer deserves. This, too, was another beginning to our never ending story.

If you have enjoyed my excerpts, then you will see why when the book is finally published. This is where Our Story as two Soul Mates continues and Art contacts me from Heaven and the astral plane, first, to let me know he has passed on. He wanted to set the record straight about us, his feelings for me and so much more. Because of Glen's death, when I was 23, I became a Psychic, my own gift of psychic ability opened up. Because of Art's death,when he contacted me at 49, I became a Medium. Because Art wanted to speak to me so much, I was opened to this understanding that there truely is no death, and love is everlasting, for all Eternity. I want to thank all who helped me in my research and to my beloved Art for still being there, in all ways, while I hit the keyboard daily. It has been a true joy being here with you, my readers and friends. Look out for my book in your favorite bookstore one day in the near future, and if Art has anything to say about it from where he is, it will be "One helluva film!" Peace, Love and Light to you all, Ms. Shawn M. Cohen
July 3rd, 2010, London, England, U.K.

The Pittsburgh Phantom and Me, by, Shawn M. Cohen. Copyright 2010.
These excerpts are from the book I am currently writing of the same name. All events are true, but some names have been changed to protect people's privacy. All video content is copyright to their perspective composers, artists, performers and no copyright infringement is intended.