Official Frank Serpico Blog
Monday, August 08, 2005
Hello to all my brothers and sisters in my extended global family. I feel fortunate to have met all of you through your loving, caring and supporting email letters. My heart goes out to all of you. Those of you in law enforcement who are fighting the good fight, I am proud of you and honored that in some small way my life has inspired you to become members of the force. I am inspired by you in return, thank you. It is a great calling and one fraught with danger not only from outside forces but tragically at times from within.
Thank you for your patience with the infrequency of my website postings, I’ll try and bring you up to date on what I have been doing over the past few years.
At the time of this writing it is 4:30 am. I have been up for a while and had a fresh brewed cup of coffee with soy creamer -- organic coffee beans, it’s my morning ritual. This morning just a hand full of blueberries I picked yesterday, usually I have a bowl of organic oatmeal. I am living in my one room cabin in the woods for the summer.
I have done a few selected speaking engagements. I have played African drums for about 5-6 years now - djembe and ashiko -- oddly enough a couple of the guys in my drumming troupe were state troopers. I took some ballroom dance lessons from tango to swing. Danced for a couple of years but that quieted down when I broke up with my young and talented dance partner due to a change in life styles. I then tried my hand at acting. My acting bio read something like, Paco started his acting career as an undercover cop in the streets of New York where he played many convincing rolls from a doctor to a derelict. I played the Arab in Saroyan’s, The Time Of Your life. I got to sit at the end of the bar for practically the entire play with some philosophical lines like “no foundation all the way down the line.” I played some old tunes on my harmonica including an emotional solo. Not to give the ending away but guess who took care of that nasty cop in the play... . The critics said I was better at playing myself than Al was. LOL, no offense Al.
I portrayed Gonzalo in Shakspeare’s Tempest. Hey, I didn’t know he was Neapolitan like my dad. I played my only role as a detective on stage in Ten Little Indians. I think Agatha Christie must have been racist -- the original title of the play was "Ten Little [the "N" word.]" My all time favorite role was playing Johann Most in Howard Zinn’s Emma. Zinn himself attended and gave me the compliment of my acting career. I would like to return the compliment and say that he is one of the great leading figures of our time and doing a wonderful service to humanity. I also created and narrated a puppet show inspired by a story my father told me when I was a little boy, called King Cool. My latest challenge is learning to play the Shakuhachi, a Japanese flute made from root bamboo. It was originally played by monks as a form of Zen meditation and has quite an interesting history. I am told it takes years to master. I first heard it’s haunting sound in the streets of Japan as a teenager on R&R from duty in Korea. Well, at 69, I figured I have to do something with the rest of my life. The main reason is that I believe that 99.9% of TV and radio is brain washing for the masses to keep us from thinking for ourselves and getting us to part with our hard earned money to buy a lot of stuff we don’t really need. So I decided to turn it all off and start an inward journey, part of which is “Suizen” which is the practice of Blowing Zen. There is a great book out by that title, it is my belief that Suizen is a form of meditation that takes place while playing certain traditional melodies that were handed down through the ages. There is a passage in the book in which a monk states “The mind is so cluttered and always wants to be somewhere better, always traveling into the past or future, always comparing, if the mind is clear it acts like a mirror and gives an immediate and undistorted view of the world and not an interpretation.”
So I have been walking every day a couple of miles to an old farm house where the owner allows me to use an old empty grain silo as my studio. The resulting sound is awesome even for a beginner like me and I lose all sense of time in there. Mornings as I get to the top of a quiet country road a big orange ball of fire rises over the horizon to greet me. For awhile I had almost forgotten that such a wondrous blessing happens every day. Sometimes on my walks I notice people throw litter from their cars on to a deserted country road. Empty containers and leftovers from fast food joints, you know the one I mean. It seems that people who don’t respect their bodies don’t respect their environment either. Makes sense don’t it?
Well it was good talking to you. I’m off to catch that sunrise. They say that it is wiser to take council than to give it, so I’ll do both -- remember breathe deep, exercise, eat healthy, stay fit and think good thoughts.
New York, 2005