Friday, December 31, 2010

This Old Year Slips Away



Goodbye 2010, and all who went down with you. Maybe later I'll feel better about the new one coming in.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

San Diego, Las Vegas, Cheyenne, Omaha, Chicago, Columbus, Rochester, Albany, Boston

It's like a small city's version of the Port Authority,
a confluence of streams
buses and trains from and to somewhere else,
but it's back in a time when you could
stretch out and sleep on a bench or
in one of those chairs with the coin operated television built in
without being molested
well, without being molested
by the police anyway.

You're down here with the other runaways,
in the same vicinity that is
but not together,
all alone.

You pretend not to recognize each other
and maintain a low profile.

You sit at the bus station's bar and
you nurse a single beer while pouring over
the Amtrack and Greyhound schedules
feeling a slowly building thrill
until you catch your reflection in the window.

You're disappointed with what you see, again
because how you look
is not how you started to feel
there for a second
and then you start walking
home
because it's almost dinner.

You're the second kind of runaway
the kind not going anywhere
while the others remain
in their charade
pretending someone
somewhere
is looking for them.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

End of December

Some are marooned
surrounded by snow choked streets
or awash in thick mud
waist deep in the kitchen
while others are just left standing
at the foot of a collapsed bridge
where they know understanding
will never occur.

I helped with the dishes this time
and thought about a girl's brown eyes
bright and alive with happiness
at a wedding
and I thought about the possibility of skin cancer
the gravity of a stroke and
the certainty that these graying people
will leave us soon.

I worried for us and I wondered
what happened to us and
I felt nostalgia for
that feeling of
us.

I thought that there are people now in the world
who look over their shoulders in sudden terror
repeatedly
during the course of their day
prodded by the persistent, not-so-irrational fear
of a drone strike.

I told him about the victims of the floods
one third of the population
and he said
"aren't they the enemy?".

There is no us
I fear
and then think
that in Winter
one just waits
for Spring.

Black Flag, Charlie Chaplin, and The Grind



Last night was a ball. For a Tuesday night there was a great crowd - very interactive. I can't speak today, but it was well worth it. I'll sing any time. I'll scream any time anywhere!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tonight: Black Flag!


My voice is pretty ragged due to a rigorous rehearsal last night for tonight's Black Flag set at Ralph's Rock Club. Yes, at mid-life I get a chance to vent my unresolved adolescent angst in a tribute to one of my favorite bands of all time. This should be fun.

I am not the man in the picture above, but I'll try my best to do him proud. Don't worry, I'll keep my shirt on.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Ayuda me, Senor

Last night I had a little time to think. I took a look around, thankful that my children are safe and warm and happy. I remembered a holy man and what he once told me about prayer. In general, when you pray you try not to ask anything for yourself. He told me that when you pray for others you avoid specifics and ask for health and help. When you're finished you say thank you, for everything.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Jesus: The Missing Years - John Prine



I could do without the audience laughter in this version, but that's just probably because I'm crabby. What a great song.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Solstice

I've become too sleepy to laugh much. That seems like a very minor tragedy, but it's a shame none-the-less, especially now during this the season of making merry. I don't know what to attribute it to - too much or too little of something, no doubt. The Christmas tree has been standing bare, but not unattractive, in its natural state in the living room for the last two weeks. Everyone is waiting for me to string the lights. Time is running out.


Tom Waits

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Anxiety Dreams

Maybe one day on
a list of far lesser poets
someone will wonder
what if anything
you did with your hours,
days and years in this
place

and what you saw
and how you felt it

And whether life was
light or heavy
for you

And if you loved
anything or
if you
murdered the only
hope you knew
with your own
guilty hands

And if you had children
and what kind of father
you were

What kind of man
are you?

Religious Feeling



To church they always wore their dress hats, both my grandmother and my grandfather, and overcoats and dress shoes, and she carried her big pocket book. I'd squirm and daydream and stare at the statues and watch for a sign like blood seeping from the wounds of Christ or momentary eye contact with a saint. She would always make sure I had a dollar bill to put in the collection basket and my palms would sweat as I waited. The words, so often repeated, frustrated me. The priest almost never reached me. The statues, the candles, the incense, the silence, the mystery - those did.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mid-December Haiku

ring around the moon
temperature falls, still,
winter's majesty

Friday, December 10, 2010

Closer To Knowing What I'm Doing

Not very long ago I was RIFed by my employer. Sounds like a violent crime that might take place in a public toilet or something, right? It stands for Reduction In Force and translates into laid off. I was depressed to see how much I have invested in my professional self and by how quickly I turn on myself when things get a little dicey. I'm now employed again by a different employer doing the same work for much less money, and thankful for it. Today in a meeting with formerly former colleagues, I told one of them I realized during my period of obscurity that my lot in life was not to live in the castle, but to storm it - now she probably thinks I'm nuts, but it's all a little clearer

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Raise Your Hopeful Voice



My daughter performed this song with her chorus tonight.

"Take this sinking boat and point it home, we've still got time" - a great line in a very nice song.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Six Good Things Seen (Inspired by Todd Colby)

1. The rising sun breaking the horizon casting an orange column of light straight up with my daughter.
2. A crow, wings fully flared in the wind, hopping down from the roof of a Tarrot reader's shop.
3. Bacon on a biscuit.
4. Swirling eddies of new snow flakes in the road.
5. Two firm hand shakes from two who wished me well.
6. An invitation to sing with The Black Flags.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sunday Morning Sit Rep

Up in darkness and off to work this morning, happy enough for the opportunity. There's a crew of kids in their late teens and early twenties hustling at the Dunkin Donuts pouring, warming, packaging coffee and food for the line at the drive-thru. There's another crew of kids in their late teens and early twenties hustling in Afghanistan waking up with their rifles to the cold and one less day-and-a-wake-up saying, "USMC, Bro. U Suckers Miss Christmas". The little ones on the homefront, they know without a doubt that Santa's coming, while too many of the older ones are hoping the hell they're right and wondering just how he's going to pull it off this year. Europe is freezing and derailed and Ireland is getting reaquainted with its heritage of hard luck. It's probably not the best time to study nuclear physics in Iran either.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Where's The Merry At?

Don't ask me, Mack, I guess you'd better make your own.

 So I conjure up some scruffy, good-natured looking bums who all bear a strong resemblance to Humphrey Bogart. Eccentric, you bet...misunderstood, sure... but they've got scruples, man- and character, and they'll share a jug with you without you even having to ask.

Me and Jimmy Stewart stand on the rail together looking down at the ice-choked river, seeing no other way out of our momentary troubles. But then cherubic angels whisper in our ears, and our hearts change, and then all the people of skid row look different to us - good and beautiful and kind - their hearts blossoming like flowers, and they take us in and make us feel instantly at home.

Jimmy Cagney throws his heater in the drink and leaves behind crime and rage once and for all, and with a solitary tear, he puts out a bowl of milk for some half-frozen kittens and gives his coat to a forlorn old man who's eyes then soften and glow lovably.

And look, there's Mickey Rooney as a kid and Spencer Tracey as Father Flannagan - they left a candle burning in the window for us - a symbol of their hopes and prayers for our safety, for our souls.

"Gee whiz, we knew you'd come home! We just knew you'd come home!" they say, throwing their arms around me, the Jimmies, and Ol' Hump.

Dawn

40 ounces
busted bottles
public housing
littered sidewalk
Rent-A-Center
maybe morning
will
bring something
new

Sunday, November 28, 2010

From Australia Way Back When

Bless This Job

My head is bowed in supplication. I am saying the words and making the motions and trying to maintain the appearance of normalcy and tranquility. We will act as though tragedy, bad luck and economics can't hurt us. We will all pretend to feel safe and warm, and in reciting the myth together, we will come closer to believing it again. I will act confident, like I have endless options at mid-life. It's the holidays, and we will participate fully in the illusion of plenty, mercy, grace and love despite what the rest of the world knows.

Friday, November 26, 2010

S.D.

Sitting up there in the darkness with the wind, the night sounds of buffalo and the distant lights of cars, motorcycles and far off towns, he started to fear that a mountain lion was stalking him. There was no real basis for this fear except for a sudden and complete state of alarm inside his mind and body. There was no finding the trail in the dark and the drop would be steep if his sense of direction was off, besides on the hill you commit to die before coming down prematurely. This is where Crazy Horse suffered for his vision, white boy, show some respect. At the moment of his despair, in a rising wind with lightning approaching, he stood and felt the flapping of large wings around his head. He sat back down now scared, humble, reverent and sick with the notion that they want to build another biker bar less than a quarter mile from here.


Stooges - Dirt

The Witch of November

Monday, November 22, 2010

There Are Some Remedies Worse Than The Disease

The You That I Knew

I.

So it seems that you didn't tell me, or anyone else, everything about you. You owe me no explanation, and I am neither disappointed or surprised. We do this thing alone, all of us, and how you walk your road is yours. I am fortunate for having walked a piece of it with you, am better for having known a part of you, and though still alone - I was somehow less so then. You're gone now, and I am still walking. What I know doesn't matter.

II.

I'm not angry with you, that's what I was trying to say, but I am worried. I'm worried that for all those years you kept a secret because you thought I'd think less of you if I knew the truth. Didn't you know it would have made no difference to me? But then you told me more than once you always hated labels and avoided using them on anybody. Then again you just might have thought it was none of my damn business, and that's cool too. What makes me sad is the possibility that maybe you were more like me than I knew - locked up inside, secretly looking in through cold glass, one thousand miles distant - and that would be a damn shame.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Update

I've been down and out for four days with a fever and some accompanying symptoms. It hit me really hard. I've spent the last four days sweating, shivering, and fitfully sleeping. I guess it's good that I'm not currently employed. I have never taken three days straight off for being sick in my life. This thing just took the spirit right out of me. I haven't written a word - no desire - besides it would be infected writing. A certain way to ruin an activity I enjoy is to do it when I'm sick - the associations remain forever. I can still think of so many former favorite songs ruined by listening while feeling terrible. My strategy is to turn the lights of, convince people to leave me alone and slip into a coma until my body works it's internal healing magic. I'm writing this, so maybe I'm starting to feel better, but my chest makes funny sounds.and I'm still feverish. Who knows, this could all be an elaborate procrastination scheme to protect me from the daily discipline of writing 2,000 words all month (my current sum total is less than 5,000).

Job interviews last week and two resulting offers. I'm going to accept the one for a little less money, but it allows me to continue the work I was doing, only for a smaller, and lower paying, agency. Just means I'll be grinding a way at second and third jobs for another year - nothing new, but I'm glad to have health insurance, etc.. If all goes according to plan I'll start Monday.

Below is a song that's been another anthem to me over the years. It's a getting through it song, whether you're dealing with illness, love sickness, loss, anger, betrayal, self loathing or just trying to write. It's no happy song, but I've found that it makes hell a little easier to endure. Singing this live on stage is about the closest I've come to having a direct religious experience. Listen to it in the dark. You'll be okay, as long as you know how to turn the lights back on.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Today's Quotable Brought To You By Jack

How come we can't go to Cracker Barrel?
Because we don't have enough money.
Well, get a bunch of money. BE LUCKY!



P.S. Jack says seeing this picture makes him nervous.

Tug of War With Davy Jones

Some folks juggle chainsaws, torches. cleavers and axes. Others folks juggle kids, a marriage, a job and the grind. I seem to be juggling sinking ships lately. As I throw one or two up to the surface another one slips past me down into Neptune's mysteries. Right now my novel is sinking past a depth of six thousand fathoms. That means I owe about six thousand words- but hey it's only words, right? - the little buggers.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

NaNoWriMo 2

Thomas Nelson stared at the phone in his hand. He was a professional man, a moderate, gainfully employed since the age of 14, respected in his field, steady in a pinch, the guy you want on your side when everything turns to shit. And then he laughed. And then he got back out of his car and pissed right there in the parking lot. And then he took another pull. And then Trent Reznor said, “you make me perfect” in a falsetto that made him nearly spit out the green liquor. And then he got back into his running car; put it in drive; flipped open his phone; read a text message from his former boss – tough day, tommy... stay +, you’ll always land on your feet; hit the gas in anger; texted back - GO FUC... and entered the highway in front of an on-coming car filled with singing teen aged girls. And then he went to sleep.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A little piece of my NANoWriMo project

She put her dollar in the box, made her song choices and sat at the bar. He considered her for a long while and that consideration mixed with his stream of memories just as smoothly as rum mixes with Coke. With the soundtrack to his life pouring from the jukebox behind him, he came to believe in short order that he was communicating with her and that she understood. The next song was White Room by Cream and it propelled him up and in her direction with exuberance.


"Hi, do you feel like dancing? I love this song," he asked too close, too loud, too drunk.

"No," she startled nastily, and she had this look on her face like he was crazy or criminal - some lower form.

It hit him like a slap that she didn't understand at all. She was probably twenty five years younger than he was and obviously devoid of a soul. It mixed with the booze and pissed him off, not the rejection really, but the lack of understanding. He danced alone then, out of pure defiance, and felt exalted and like wrecking the place all at once. When the song was over, he stood there sweating and breathing heavily for a moment until Tea Party let him know it was time to leave.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween

I'm not much in the spirit of the holiday, but the kids are looking forward to Trick or Treating tonight. I'm working overnight and just uploaded Microsoft Office onto this computer. At midnight, I begin the NaNoWriMo project. The idea is to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November, and I plan to do just that. It is a little tough to use the word "novel" and not feel like a fake, but that's my problem.

I'm still job searching, trying to figure out what my next career move is, and working part time as the clock tick, tick, ticks and my hair becomes more gray than brown. Writing every day should help me to focus in the coming month. I'm looking forward to starting and have only the vaguest idea of what I want to write about.

I'll try to post a piece on this blog every couple of days. Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Out Of This Gloom, Out of This Rut

Silver, Smoke and Cold

a bright moon on the rise
gleaming white-cold
clear skies frame silhouetted
naked branches
most of their leaves shaken
down now by rain and wind and
time.

wood smoke and a crisp bite in the air
 and silence and
... holiness...
if you leave it alone and
don't say
anything.

a hard frost will come tonight
winter's first stricken blow
while the last colors of Fall
endure
trying hard to be beautiful
in their time

hoping we see.

Status Update

I haven't posted in the last few days because I've been focused on my job search. I had two interviews yesterday, one with the same company that laid me off. They offered me a job in a different department for a significantly smaller salary than what I was making. The second interview was with the non-profit agency where I currently work sometimes. They want to basically hire me to do the same job I was doing at the other place for a much smaller salary. I haven't decided yet, and I'm still looking, but with three kids in this country you need medical insurance. Any sudden medical problem will leave you broke for life without insurance, and health insurance coverage for a family is going to cost you right around $15,000 a year. Employers are paying less and less of the rising premiums going forward. It's a trap, but it feels like security. Freedom is an interesting concept and still somewhere out there, away from here. Of course, there may be those reading this from other places in the wprld who understand freedom and its relativity very differently.

Anyway, thanks for reading.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

James Brown - Refuse to Lose

Meditation #1: The Lay Off

It's early yet, I was only laid off three days ago, but I can hear the marching boots of negative psychology in the near distance, getting closer. Contact with negative psychology at a vulnerable time such as this is to be avoided at all costs, it seems to me. In order not to succumb to terror, I think it is best to rewind to the meeting.

The first struggle is swallowing and metabolizing the news of the lay off - "your position is being terminated". In the moment, I was steady and solid. Hell, if I were the powers that be and had to make cuts my former position would be on the top of the list too. Organizationally, it makes sense. It's good business.

It's only business.

But then something gets past my guard, and I wonder is this code? Does "your position is being terminated" mean "we need someone better than you in that position"? So I ask the question, for the sake of my own professional development, if this is about my job performance please let me know. No, no - they reassure me - you have been an asset to the department it's just a cost saving measure. And I am relieved, but I've been nicked with a dart and hope the tip wasn't poisoned.

The first lesson is do not take the impersonal nature of a lay off personally.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Goddamn Man, I Didn't Mean That Hard

Well, I guess my instincts are still good. Today I walked into my supervisor's office for our weekly meeting and noticed a stern faced human resources person sitting at the table - "uh-oh", I said. They informed me that my position had been eliminated, the one that provides me and my family with a good salary (for once) and health insurance, and that about 99 other people in the company were getting the same news today. They told me about how to apply for unemployment insurance, COBRA, and EAP services. They told me I was a real asset to the department and that this decision had nothing to do with my work performance, my leadership style or anything else I had done or not done. Then they assigned an employed manager to escort me to my office to collect my personal effects and then to the front door and out into the cold October sunshine.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Next Time, Just Slap Me

So I go from my day job over to my night job and I lay my goodies on the desk - impulse buys from Trader Joe's featuring Jamaican ginger beer, a big chunk of blue cheese, some dried meats, green olive tapenade, bagel chips and milk chocolate. I am somewhat annoyed when a fax comes through and tells me there is a woman waiting for me to evaluate her in one of the Emergency Departments; it seems she is depressed. When I get there,  I ask her what brought her to the emergency room tonight, and she's a year younger than I am though I would have guessed ten years older when I looked at her. She lays the reasons out for me dead pan - can't sleep, two jobs, recent divorce from an abusive husband, three kids at home that won't help, the town is about to put a lien on her house because she can't pay the property tax, foreclosure is imminent, her kids are acting out, a restraining order makes it impossible to talk to her Ex to figure out how to sell a house nobody wants in a down market, and today the electric company people came to her house and bullied her but couldn't get the $500 she owes out of her. When they left, she collapsed and cried for four and a half hours, something she's never done in her life, but it didn't help, so she came to the hospital because she didn't know what else to do.


The next time you see me moping around, don't say anything, just slap me.

Blue Cheese, Salami, Green Olive Tapenade, Bagel Chips and Ginger Ale

A fax is promised to set me in motion
when sleeping is preferred
in this haze of foul smells - damnit,
here it is now.

I have no cure for depression,
no remedy for vague thoughts of suicide, and
no innoculation against tears or fear or pain, but I will go
to bear witness at least and to
listen to what this girl has to say
and then to generate a bill
because the show must go on.

Cool air comes in through the window and sinks.
The lights are off.
Time to go.

From the Repo Man soundtrack

Yabba-Dabba-Doo!

Fate has a tendency to knock me and my puny finances on our collective butt every Fall. I got an estimate from my mouth doctor yesterday - close to $5,000 of work needed in the next year. This morning, right on schedule, my car battery thought it was a good day to die and did so. My son's birthday, our wedding anniversary, and Christmas are mad dogging me from a short distance away just waiting for their moment to jump me in. I still have a job - actually, I have two - so for this I should be glad. Fred Flintstone, he was glad, and he had a foot powered car.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Diagnosis

On a train from Fairfield to Grand Central Station, I sat alone and looked out the window. Four people in the seat across the aisle from me conversed in Spanish, and my attention drifted from the scenery to the conversation and back again. I found myself listening to the rhythm of their dialogue and understanding an occasional word. First I recognized corazon , a beautiful word that means "heart" in English.  A moment later I heard blanco - white. Then just a minute after that I caught flaco - which means skinny or thin.

My heart is white and thin...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Circus Elephants Transmit Tuberculosis

Driving home from work I noticed the circus wagons outside the local civic center. Barnum and Bailey's in town. There were a handful of protesters out there too. One young woman carried a sign informing me that Circus Elephants Transmit Tuberculosis. I can't explain why, but it struck me as sweet, sad, futile, foolish, bizarre, noble, tragic and stupid all at once. All of these causes, flags, banners, placards, chants, slogans, campaigns, struggles, jihads, riots, wars. All this passion, rage, love, hate, righteousness, hypocrisy, faith, belief. All these tiny truths, or half truths or outright falsehoods, existing in direct opposition to one another with their proponents invested to the hilt, ready to kill and to die. All this noise.

Shut Up!

All are worthy and all-important to someone, I suppose. I am nominally a proponent of taking a stand, I suppose, when in practice I do more shaking my head than anything. But it slapped me across the face tonight, it's belief  here in this circus that limits and divides us - our fantasies about the world. At least that's my belief tonight, here with a sour stomach and a plan to go to New York City for the weekend.

Meanwhile, any elephant that doesn't cover it's trunk around me when it coughs is going down. I'm fed up to here with it all.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

INFP

Carl Gustav Jung, Swiss Psychiatrist and Know It All, is labeling me from the grave. I'm a little terrorized and waiting on pins and needles for the authorities to come and remove me or something. Had to take the Myers-Briggs as part of a management seminar at work and was a little alarmed to see how accurate it is. I was also alarmed to see that most of my peers were almost polar opposites of me. That confirms and validates a few things for me down the years. But if Jung dares call me reticent again, I'll slap that damn pipe out of his mouth and the taste with it.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Thanks For Looking In

So, I'm gradually learning my way around this blog, and I've become part-time obsessed with the notion of whether or not anyone reads this, or listens to the music I post, and I wonder where they might be from and what they think. I guess maybe it's juvenile or desperate or something, but it's true, I do that. So I learned that you can see the number of "page hits" you get and what country the audience is from and what posts they read. It doesn't appear to be 100% accurate, but it gives me a sense that someone out there can hear me, and who doesn't need that?

It makes me happy to see Pakistan, Poland, Brazil, Malaysia, Russia, the U.K, Malta, United Arab Emirates, Germany, Japan, China, Chile and the U.S.A. But then I wonder if they actually look around, or do they just stumble in and right back out again?

What I am most pleased about right now is the fact that the most frequently visited post is a song I posted by Black Flag called My War which served me well as an anthem through some of my more turbulent years. It inspires me to post another one in a few days for those times on the edge of sanity, in the dead of a sleepless night also by Black Flag.

Anyway, if you're reading this - thanks for visiting. It means something to me that you did. I'd like it if you let me know you were here - post a comment, "follow" the blog if you want, send me an e-mail, tell me what you think or what's going on in your neck of the woods.

It's a big, big, big, old world.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

House Red

We'll drink red wine together, passing a bottle is best, and to me it will feel like passing blood between us - a sacred, ceremonial thing. My heart will open and seep forth, and you will understand, and there will be no need for explanations. We will feel everything together - the music, the night, the wind - and we will catch a glimpse of the beyond and believe. Everything will be stretched out before us and magic will protect us. By midnight I will be bursting with it all and ready for the sacrifice. Bear with me, I don't get out much.


This is something I posted on 6 Sentences a few months back while drinking a little wine after a long stretch of working too much. Sandra, thanks for getting me thinking about it again. Maybe there's more where that came from. I was thinking of the song below when I wrote it.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Bukowski - "Bluebird" read by Harry Dean Stanton

October

October begins in torrential rain thanks to Tropical Storm Nicole. Wow, there's a lot of water out there in a short time span.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

So Long, Lonesome

30. Windshield Wipers

September ends in rain
wipers going, window open, dampness

waiting at the light watching oncoming traffic
for a half mile in front, headlights on,
coming down the hill
depressing me

to a child this could be
a holiday parade, some wacky race,
but it feels like a mass evacuation,
some one's funeral

September, it ends in rain
just before whatever October
has in store
and the bite of dark November

I wish I had something lighter
to tell you

the streets are wet as are the
black trunks of trees,
the smell of rain, sound of your foot steps,
the dripping branches.

Fists in empty pockets,
you walked everywhere then,
always hungry,
thinking at least it's still warm.

You could feel your heart.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

29. Tangled Alright

Never know who you'll see,
one of these days it might be me.

When the mask drops or
the grip slips or
the invisible line is crossed or
someone turns on the lights.

It gets closer.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Low -Lullaby

28. Not Without Glory

Warm and humid today for Fall,
but it progresses relentlessly
despite the daily skirmishes
put up by a few stray
raggedy assed
rebels of summer.

The hard framework of the trees begin to show
grey and brown and stark against the sky
which has gone the color of war.

At night we close the windows
and reach for blankets.

It's dark now when we rise, and
getting dark again on the commute
home from work.

It's the struggle that makes me love this season.
All in vain -

Winter howls in the near distance
running it down like a pack of
hungry wolves, and
the long cold darkness
inches this way steadily
and unblinking to
snuff this.

In the meantime, these
warm days of Indian Summer-
brilliant sunshine and dry pleasant air
or gentle rain, the smell of earth
and changing vegetation,
under magnificently clear and painted skies -
moments of staggering beauty.

Fleeting...

It should probably just quit,
give in to looming darkness,
surrender to the cold - lie down, let go...
it's inevitable...

But every year the struggle blazes -
orange, red and yellow - bravely,
as though there were some chance,
until it is quietly and finally
overwhelmed,
not without
glory.

Like us.

27. Haiku For A Late September Morning

Rainy morning breaks
Bleary, Weary, and Dreary
Three Dwarves of today

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Goddamn Thing Keeps Stalling

You give the thing a violent shaking, cursing it, partly because the days and nights have conspired to seal you out, not overtly, but it's clear your access has been limited. Like a table of high school girls carrying on loudly as though you weren't there turning your questioning of crazy into knowledge. The leaves are gold in the warm dry air tinged with wood smoke and they fall intermittently to the ground already dry. It's too dry here now, you say to the dusk, who wants nothing to do with you, and you flash briefly on the whole area going up in a tornado of fire - the house, the neighbors, all. You cannot help but notice that half the world drowns while the other half burns. You'd better get the rest of the grass cut.

26. Infinite Samba



Brazil
is a place in my mind.
It sounds a little like this,
it feels a little like a soft
warm breeze,
and its gentleness is
almost too much to bear
if you think about it.

But you don't think:
you close your eyes, you listen, you feel
and this note of smooth beauty
just carries on and on - unwavering
unbroken.

Of course no one lives here,
and you cannot stay,
but it's a nice place to keep
tidy and tucked away.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

1984 - Let's Go Crazy and 99 Red Balloons

1984 was the year I graduated high school and left home. It was a bad year on the pop charts as I look back. Here's a couple that I thought were pretty good back then. I would not have admitted to liking Prince at the time, but I kinda did.



1984 - This Didn't Quite Make The Billboard Top 100, But It Was Certainly My Theme Song

25. Open House

My wife went to the open house at our
daughter's new middle school,
a school that she - so far - absolutely loves.

One of the teachers told the parents a story about how she
had the students come up with the classroom rules this year.
Our daughter's contribution was,

"Be excellent to each other".

The town where this school is located is
currently embroiled in national controversy
over a case of school bullying that
resulted in the suicide
of a 15 year old girl
last year.

I couldn't help but wonder
who made up the rules in
her classroom.

Friday, September 24, 2010

24. The Hatch

I'm not suicidal, or clinically depressed
(most of the time), though my writing
often reads that way.

I am not really planning to fake my own death
and relocate to Brazil, though I have said so dozens of times
and would love to see Brazil.

I think about running 100 mile races, hiking from coast to coast,
dropping out of the world
and walking the earth in some kind of pilgrimage
until I expire or something
magical occurs.

Sometimes I think about dropping silently off
the stern of the ship and just
bobbing like a cork out there as
the sun sinks down
below the smooth surface.

I need an out to hang in, that's all -
even if it's just in my head.

Especially if it's just in my head.

Awakening

It was 1982 or 83 when I heard this song for the first time in the middle of the night on a little left-end-of-the-dial community radio station (god bless those that remain). The two links below it are songs that came out of that same time period and made deep impressions on me. When you're an angry kid, unable to relate, the energy of this music spoke straight to my heart. If it didn't save my life, and it probably did, it definitely saved my sanity.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hof4EESpe_k
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIRCXJIAMJU

Thursday, September 23, 2010

23. Mansion Squatters

Spend your time envying what you're missing,
shift gears to the single minded pursuit,
and before you even have time to realize
you've got it,
you start worrying about losing it,
your new pastime.

Yes, of course there's
medication for that.

All the while something whispers,
Give it up, let go,
commit to madness,
walk away
and away and
away
and
away.

Can you hear it?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

22. Long Distance Call

He had someone call me today
after rummaging through his phone book
wanting to talk to someone.

He feels alone,
probably scared, wanting to recapture it all
before the light goes out.

Friendships are important to him -
were important to him -
how do you say it?

He's dying, actively,
this last month or so.

He's too tired to stay on the phone,
his voice is thin and too weak for understanding,

I tell him I wish I could be there,
he says he wishes I could be there too.
I tell him I love him,
he tells me he loves me too.

I have no more words,
I am too weak now for words,
and he is too tired to hear
them anyway.

Midnight Oil - Short Memory



This song came out in 1983, and this performance appears to have been given fairly recently. Regrettably, we have learned little from it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

1983 - I'd Have Gone Rockabilly If I Had Better Hair

21. Dining Alone

The man saying those bad things to you
is you, you tell yourself,
and that's a partial truth, but your white lie is forgivable
because taking control of it is the only way to cure it,
and you have to believe cure is possible.

There's a pound of ground beef sizzling
in the frying pan.
I smell meat and fire.
It makes me want to kill with my teeth.

You can get lost down this column of days and nights,
waiting for something,
being the unrecognized Prince,
it ain't long - the time - and you can get lost.

But it's so goddamn long,
too long to wait.
I'm going to kill something with my teeth.

Monday, September 20, 2010

20. Midlife Haiku

the barber shop: proof
enough - grey hair falls, squinting
to assess damage

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Art Form

They went to a street art fair today - a family day under partly sunny skies. The boys stood in line for balloon animals and watched blacksmiths and break dancers do their respective things. The man wanted to ask the chainsaw sculptor to sculpt him as a corpse and float him across the pond of self-pity and duck shit in the park, and maybe set him alight after dark. Fire entertains, and the lack of it, well, it simply bores. The boys were smiling, eating kettle corn, and the grey clouds went on whispering hideous. The balloon man asked the older of the boys if he wanted a fierce face on the octopus or a happy face, and the boy chose the happy one.

1982



19. I Didn't Mow The Lawn, Again

And just like that
the stuff seems to have run out - some neurotransmitter
or another, and everything is grey and still
in such a way that irritates
like someone staring at you when your resistance is
low.

I'm clumsy, prickly, no spark, no ideas -
no fire,
and because it seems to have run out,
I can't imagine that those things
will ever be back.

Then you get into feeling like it's too late,
a feeling you've known since 22,
or was it 12?

Sometimes you just have to leave it
alone.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

18. Apple Picking

Life is more than work
more than horror, more than pain
more than chasing a buck and paying your creditors
on time in hopes of getting out from under.

Life is more than conflict -
though it certainly is that too - all the goddamn time,
more than striving, struggling, worrying, suffering, bickering.

Life is also your boy playing flag football,
your girl taking pictures of the boy,
your youngest saying "this is the best day ever" yet again,
spilling coffee in the car, picking apples, leaves turning yellow,
watching your kids on the seesaw, drinking new cider together,
a petting zoo, playing volleyball not very well
with your wife and two older kids while the littlest
sulks on the stairs with his face in his hands
wanting popcorn just as though it was
the most important thing in the world.

All this is life too, not all bad,
not even half bad
and precious.

Friday, September 17, 2010

17. Transparent

A row of four trees with leaves still green.

I'm walking underneath
the sound of hundreds of birds
all talking at once -
a stock market rally, a protest nearing violence,
some total quality management team building initiative,
spirit pilots chanting honor to their emperor and to death.

The southern migration assembled,
and I never saw one of them.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

16. Sniff? Sniff? Is that You?

We spent a summer together,
he and I,
facing Alaska - come what may.

Carrying shingles and sheet rock in Anchorage,
days and nights of endless cold rain in Seward
sealed in plastic on the rocky beach
under socked-in Nietzschen mountain
peaks, a month and a half too early for the salmon
run and ill prepared to wait it out.

Seals watched curiously from the water
and called us greenhorns telepathically.

Facing pneumonia and inevitable starvation
we hitched down to Kenai and camped in the gravel pit
with territorial red squirrels and the skinny and fantastic
Thompson brothers who drove up from Texas
and, ultimately, a couple of hundred other migrants
waiting for the fish and work.

He used to talk about killing a bear with his jack knife, just to piss
me off, and though I knew what he was doing, it worked every time.

We danced the Stations of the Cross on our hill top for the entertainment of others.

We spontaneously danced with three moose
we almost bumped into on the trail in twilight,
all five of us running in place in dangerous proximity,
caught by surprise, unsure which way to run.

We spent a lot of time in the tent reading with our
backs to one another trying not to think about food.

One day I was doing just that and he sniffed.
A moment later he sniffed again, louder.
And then again even louder, until I looked at him annoyed.
He was calling me -that sniff was my new name.
I think I laughed for days over that.

And I'm laughing now hoping that
the visitor to this blog
from Poland is you,
old friend.

Sammy Ramone

Someone commented that my boys look like my brother and I as kids. I was the older one with darker hair, eyes and temperment, and my brother, the younger, was fair-haired, blue-eyed, smiling. Maybe that explains this tension between the boy and I - this difficult thing. He recently learned to tie his shoes, I didn't even know he didn't know, so I taught him when I found out. This morning he tried on a black faux-leather jacket, and with his bangs hanging down to just above his eyes, I told him he looked cool like one of the Ramones. He didn't know who they were, but he was pretty pleased with himself none-the-less, and that was nice to see.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

15. Stand or Fall

The scattered leaves of memory
suddenly whirl upward, and I can hear them -
many of them - browning and tattered,
crisp and crumbling interspersed
with an occasional brilliance
of color- orange and
maple red.

Like Mickey the Bus Driver who saw and
understood something about it -
going much further than he had to
to protect them and their bright and fragile parcel
from the cold slush and grimy snow
of winter there.

Maybe he wanted to be me then,
I was young and burning - hell,
even wanted to be me,
for once.

There's a cover charge for looking back.
A price to pay for what you say.
The dull and terrible cost of silence.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

14. Elders

The Alaska Native Elder,
Walter Austin, looked me in the eyes
briefly and told me the first thing
I had to do was heal myself of
Anger - the first negation of healing.
I didn't know at the time that doing so was a life's work.

The Lakota-Wasichu Elder,
Robert Morgan- man of many lives in
Massachusetts, Montana, New York City, New Orleans and Alaska
put his bear's hand upon my shoulder and told me
my job was to learn how to be a human being.
I didn't know at the time that doing so was a life's work.

The Yupi'k Eskimo Elder,
Rita Blumenstein, one of the world's 13 Grandmothers,
told me gently that medicine is a living thing
and it comes directly from the Eye of The Universe.
This medicine is also known as love -
and hearing that made me cry.
I didn't know at the time...

I miss them.

And I wonder who will
know what to do when they go?

1981- Devo and The Greg Khin Band

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIEVqFB4WUo&a=GxdCwVVULXehz8fJa4HNjdK66sXP6b6K&list=ML&playnext=1

Monday, September 13, 2010

13. Oh Sleep

13 is a tough number,
or at least a good
enough excuse
for why
I have nothing to write about tonight.

I'm home -
not working, with a
very strong chance of sleeping in my
own bed
uninterrupted.

And this in itself is worthy
of an epic.

Wars have been waged for this, and
entire civilizations have collapsed for
want of it.

Tonight I close with
the hunted thing.
I shall covet you no longer,
track you no further.

I'm already tasting the moment
I tear into you
and fall down and
down wrapped in your
tender
mercy.

1980 - Gary Numan and Christopher Cross



I couldn't get enough of "Cars" back then - didn't sound like anything else on the radio, and my discovery of punk rock was not far away. The next one is a little more tongue in cheek - we used to mimic the backing vocals for fun. It's a good song though, revisited.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ur8ftRFb2Ac

Sunday, September 12, 2010

12. Another Way Of Putting It

He lies out there
face down on the sidewalk
blubbering like some
pathetic
stage clown.

He's a grown man,
a drunken man,
and I am looking down
on the two police officers
who are looking down
on this maudlin
performance.

They're tied up now,
when all they wanted to do was drop him
at the shelter for the night.

He's wailing, can't walk under his own steam,
and he's not making sense
so, they have to wait
for an ambulance now.

One of the cops says,
"stand up !" , and I hear his frustration,
but he keeps a lid on it while
I am struggling to do the same -
the guy is very, very loud -
and I'm just a gawker in
the window.

I feel no pity for him -
only annoyance,
the way you might feel about a guy
trying to write a poem who
uses the word  "longing"
too damn
many
times.

1979 - Styx and Toto

The Knack's "My Sharona" was the big one for 1979, but I posted that not too long ago. Here's a couple of others that were significant to my brother and I that year.



Very honorable mentions:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBQ9dm7zaQU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qqp_sBq47I&feature=related

Jack says...

The real poet in the house is four year old Jack. He'll stay quiet for an hour or so, just looking out the window, and then he makes some sort of pronouncement. A few minutes ago it was, "cheeks and eyeballs".

Then he said, "for a snack, let's have cheese and crackers, grapes and elbow".

I think I'm just going to pursue journalism (reporting what he says) and let him tackle the poetry.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

11. 9/11

My 4 year old
closing his eyes for bed
tonight said,

"Never be afraid. Let there be hope."

1978 - Patti Smith and Sweet



Bethel, Alaska!

Hello, Bethel!! Thanks for visiting. I still remember well how Bethel felt in September - that cold edge in the wind, low grey clouds - a feeling of urgency with winter bearing down fast. I miss Alaska tremendously still.

In September, I miss everything.

Friday, September 10, 2010

10. Quit It

How do you know God's will?
What God wants of us?

Yes, I'm talking to you.

Because
somebody's wrong here.

And I think it's
everybody.

1977 - Steve Miller Band - Fly Like An Eagle



By 1977, rock'n roll had penetrated my psyche and I was well on my way to teen angst, frustration and  directionless energy. But the romantic was still there. Below are some links to honorable mentions from the charts that year that represent both sides.

From The Rock and Soul Side Side - Heart, Kansas, Stevie Wonder and The Atlanta Rhythm Section.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4nWy8pmIM4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pw6_VXPwm6U
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tH36ugGsy4M
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpPdLb69-qk

From the Romantic Side - David Soul, Barry Manilow (yeah, and I'm proud about it too), Crosby, Stills & Nash
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nSF1CF2deA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRWMixC5jpQ&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbM7AOi2eXM

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Wait Til Your Unconcious Gets Home

It scares the shit out of me to consider that the content, the color and tone, of my thoughts might have something to do with creating the outside world. I mean, we're all part of this thing - inhaling the outside and exhaling the inside, consuming as we are consumed. We make a contribution to the whole, right? So when we do really stupid shit like burn other people's sacred objects as a means of "standing up to terrorism" something happens to the world, right? Of course, when the world media hypes the threat of this cracker jack box full of kooks beyond all rational proportion, something even greater will happen to the world - if this logic is correct.


I hope it's not true that my thoughts can take the entire human race by the throat and give it a good, strong, five-minute shake because that just wouldn't be nice

9. Walking In The Sand

Unexpected,
this sudden feeling of falling.

A sensation of the
heart
firmly squeezed
and wrung -
just once.

You're a fool
for this
but still alive
after all.

1976 - Rhythm Heritage - The Theme From S.W.A.T.



Oh yes, the SWAT theme. My brother and I and a friend of mine used to do what we called "neat moves" to this theme. Wait a minute. No, it's not like that. And the moves were nothing like the quality of those demonstrated in this video. It was more like throwing ourselves around, diving over hedges, running summersaults and that kind of thing. We wanted to be stunt men. I was10 years old. I also wanted to be on Soul Train.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

8. This Year You Write Your Novel

I went into a bookstore tonight
with the intention of breaking
a taboo.

Nothing to get jailed over,
but I
was planning
on reading
a book about writing -
novel writing.

Taboo because I get
all precious
when I think about writing -
like it has to come completely
unsullied
direct from the source
without influence
or external
direction.

Raw -
no tricks
no technique

If someone teaches you how
to do it,
I think to myself when I'm precious,
than it is probably not
it
after all.

And I'd like to believe
I've got a little of it
in me,
you know?

Truth be told,
I'm a little afraid
I don't.

In the local section
I saw the cover of a book
featuring a portrait of a
familiar face.

The author is a former co-worker.
A clean, slim volume of poetry

Why so hard to accept
that you are
a writer?

Is it any harder to believe
than
you, of all people,
are a
psychotherapist?

Get to work.

1975 - Janice Ian - At Seventeen



This song staggered me back then, and it still does. Here is a song that was definitely not background music. Hearing her sing it is like reading a desperate letter from a friend or having the song whispered in your ear.

I posted Ballroom Blitz last week, that was the other big song for me that year. The expression of an entirely different impulse. .

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

7. Main Street

George's Flowers,
in business
on this block for 20 or 30 years
is suddenly gone
and the building is for
lease

The exterminator
a few blocks down
also very recently
closed
and that building is for
sale

Across the street
the Asian market and 99 cent store burned
but they gutted
the building
and seem to be trying to
rebuild

There are at least 10 churches
and a botanica
on this end of Main -
I was baptized in one of them

Half the churches
are in storefronts now,
maybe there's room
for two
more

It just turned 6 o'clock and
one of the fortunate ones
with a steeple
sings out with its chimes for a minute
and then
stops
self-consciously

I'm in the bar
across the parking lot
writing this and
drinking one, maybe two
but stopping there

There's a soldier wearing utilities in here
an old man with a dull eye and cane
and the bartender

For a moment they watch a man
in black and white
sinking in quicksand


The old man is talking to the soldier
loudly about crack (a competing religion)
crime, tornadoes and hurricanes...

"It's gonna happen!"

He says he carries a gun at night
and the soldier changes the channel
to CNN

Maybe they can tell us what's going on

When that fails
he changes it
to baseball

Jack Says...

"It's not hard being four. I want to stay four forever" spontaneously from the backseat while the two of us are riding home.

Strangers in The Garden


We went to Plymouth Plantation over the weekend to do something vacation-like before we are seized in winter's icy grip. There are basically two parts to it, a Wampanoag village and a pilgrim settlement, both staffed by people in period costume doing the work of the day - tending the animals, working the gardens, repairing buildings. In the Wampanoag village, two of our kids were making corn husk dolls with a Native man, and the third was walking around with me. I got the notion to take a picture of a sunflower and took a step into the garden area to do so.

" Are you a stranger?", asked a little barefoot girl dressed in buckskin, "because strangers can't go in the garden".

"Come on" she said, taking both of us by the hand "let's run".

1974 - The Loco-Motion - Grand Funk Railroad

Monday, September 6, 2010

It's This.

If you happen to be just tuning in and wondering about all this easy listening music from the 1970's and these numbered entries, well, here's the deal. I'm trying to write a poem a day during the month of September. September introduces Autumn, and Autumn brings with it nostalgia. This got me thinking about the background music in my life - how it kind of seeped into me, like it or not, and contributed to me becoming who I am . I thought I'd look at the Billboard charts and try to pick a song that made some sort of impression on me for my first eighteen years. I'm about 7 years in and it's been tough narrowing 100 songs down to one. Anyway, that's what's going on.

6. Labor Day

There are 47 minutes left
to the sixth day of September.
And midnight is the deadline
to have a poem typed -
good, bad or otherwise.

It's Labor Day, and I'm working an overnight shift
trading my time for money then
giving the money to
the entities that own me.
This is the economy
at work.

It's a bad trade,
but I don't see any options.

A part of me shivers a little
like, by saying that, I might
jinx it
and end up like so many others -
unemployed, losing their homes,
life turned on its head.

The other part of me
says,
SUCKER.

Today we stayed inside,
because any sort of movement
outside
seems to cost a fortune,

and I listended to the kids
laugh and fight

and remembered that
I am
fortunate.

1973 - Another Selection Because Rock Is Necessary, and Silly Rock Is Good For Your Health



I'm including this just because it rocks and used to get me in trouble on the school bus for flinging myself around, the lyrics are profound,these guys are Dutch and they made the charts. Some times when the people speak, they do so in wisdom.

Two for 1973 - Jim Croce and Paul Simon



1972 - Saturday In The Park - Chicago



There were too many omnipresent songs to pick with confidence in 1972, but this one fits the bill.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

1971 - Joy To The World - Three Dog Night



This seemed like it was always in the background back then too, and it was pretty hard to feel bad when it was.

5. Octopus Song

Occo-pusses never be in the su-u-un,

he sings over and over
with arms stretched wide,
operatic visage,
vibrato in full effect.

The spelling and grammar will come later.
The passion, the lyricism,
the use of metaphor
tapped directly from the
cosmic
unconscious
are here
now.

Jack is four years old,
and he is singing me
his song
first thing
in the morning.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

1970 - B.J. Thomas - Rain Drops Keep Falling on My Head



This song was in the background during most of my childhood. B. J. Thomas had quite a few hits during the 70's, and Burt Bacharach's songs were all over the charts.

4. Spared

Outside tonight, it's warm
and so humid
I believe I can swim through it.
Hurricane Earl hasn't done much here
but drag in half the ocean's moisture
stored in low-hanging
clouds like full cheeks.

It's been like this for eight hours
now,
like it's restraining itself,
waiting for the perfect moment.

I stood out there on the quiet, muggy street and
noticed the trees and shrubs
were
tensely attentive,
like they know something.

I listened to the trees to see if they could tell me about the weather.
I listened to the trees to see if they could tell me about our fate.

They knew I was listening
and tolerated me
as though I were a fly on the screen
which is right.

But they weren't telling,
and so I fell asleep.

Morning would bring sunshine
with drier
cooler
air.

Friday, September 3, 2010

To My 6 Sentences Friends in New Orleans This Weekend



I wish I could have joined you all and hope that the collective you find the time to get away from your writing long enough to GET DOWN.

If you get a chance, dance a little move to this number for me or, better yet, sing it at karaoke!

1969 - The Fifth Dimension



When I began this venture, I did'nt have a single thought in my head about The Fifth Dimension. I never would have realized they were such a presence in my life. I don't know whether I like this or hate it, but I remember loving the clean, trippy, space age feel of the beginning and the passion that comes later in Let the Sunshine In. I hope you enjoy it. Peace, Aquarians.

3. Welcome, Earl

The storm has arrived,
and I feel no distress
fifty miles inland
and comfortable here
on high,
dry ground.

This is just exactly how it is
for most of us,
isn't it?

Right up until...

Yet somehow we manage to believe
that we are safe
and okay

(unless we've been shown
otherwise,
then we struggle to ever
feel safe or
okay again)

because we have to believe
to go on.

The lion hasn't taken me
not because
I am
a father of three
or fierce
or deserving of reprieve.

It's only because
she
hasn't seen me
when she's
hungry.

What we call the Grace of God
terrifies.

These
delicate lives,
thin hopes,
brittle loves...

protect them,
please.

1968 - Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66 - The Look Of Love



I'm becoming a little obsessed with this. 1968 produced several songs that are definitely bricks in my foundation. It was impossible to choose one over the others, but when I listened to this I remembered this song making me feel kind of "funny".
I knew being in love felt like this.
There are many other versions out there. Dusty Springfield had a particularly nice one.

1967 - The Fifth Dimension - Up, Up And Away



The 1966 Billboard Top 100 churned and spun through my dreams last night. What an interesting contrast and statement of the times. The number one song was The Ballad of The Green Beret as the country answered the call of the war drum and rose to stop communist aggression. Other wholesome songs like Born Free, Strangers In The Night, You're My Soul And Inspiration were on the charts at the same time as the Rolling Stones with Paint It Black, and  19th Nervious Breakdown and Donovan with his Sunshine Superman.

I went a little crazy trying to figure out what to play. It was a good year for catchy garage rock hits - 96 Tears, Wild Thing, and Dirty Water - all songs I came to love a few years later, but my world in that first year was probably shaped more by the radio in the kitchen - my parents' music.

So I decided to leave '66 represented by Sunny and move on to 1967 because, if you can't sort out the past, you can at least run from it.

The Fifth Dimension was ubiquitous during those years. This song definitely echoes across time to me. Sometimes it's straight forward and optimistic, and other times it's surreal and part of a horror movie soundtrack.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Soundtrack

Did you ever stop to think about the music of your life? Not just your favorite songs, but all that stuff playing in the background all your life. Love it or hate it, it's a part of your superstructure and is partially responsible for who you are today. Since Autumn - the season of memory, nostalgia, longing, and maybe some regret - is upon us, I think I'll take a peak at the Billboard Top 100 from across my early lifespan and post a song a day here. Not necessarily because it was a favorite, but because it's built into my superstructure.


So we begin at the beginning, 1966, with a song that struck me as the real thing a long time ago, and it still does today.




Sorry, if you want to hear the song you have to play the bottom one - copyright stuff I guess,  and I couldn't figure out how to delete the top one without reposting. How inconvenient!

1979 - The Knack - My Sharona

This song was iconic back in the corn field running days, but it didn't have the spirtual quality of night running. It was more of a day time song for jumping around and raising some dust. It captures pretty well the manic frustration of that age for me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F69Kg65kt6s&feature=related

2. Run

Fall carries memories.

Running
through tall corn fields in darkness,
dew wet grass,
bright moon,
crisp night air,

heart pounding,
the rows of stalks a blur,
my blood sings,
I all but fly.

Rendered
pure and open
all the way
to the cold stars -

the only eyes to see
and
know
how much
this
means

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Virtual Choir

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7o7BrlbaDs&feature=player_embedded

1. Sombrero

September begins
and the weather is like this:
tense
with a strong chance of hurricane
by week's end;
the kids are scattered in three directions
for the first day of school;
the temperature
will reach the high 90s;
and the leaves are turning
orange,
red
and
yellow.

I'm collecting images in my
head
that
I wish I had photographed
instead.

This morning it was this hazy valley
with silhouettes of rounded
blue mountains as a backdrop, 

a bend in the railroad tracks lit
by slanted rays of the rising sun,

and then a homemade traffic sign
warning of turtles
crossing
along the next seven miles of road.

But there was no time to stop.
There never is.

A cat sitting bolt-upright
near a cut in a grassy field,
staring down,
waiting.

The cat is orange,
and I've seen it in
that very spot
before doing
that very thing.

An ornate black sombrero
falls down
from somewhere and
comes to rest
up-ended
on the sidewalk.

No one rushes after it -
nothing else happens.

I don't know whether
to laugh at the
absurdity
or
fear the
consequences.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

An Informed Citizenry?



Here's a recent report on the state of the United States. Yes, the video was made by the New Left - but the people spoke for themselves. I have to try to console myself by thinking that people getting involved is a good thing, right? Even if they have no idea what they're involved in ...

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