Friday, June 30, 2017

What Good Feels Like






Sometimes life gets too perfect. My reaction is to make up problems. I've been surrounded by personal loss recently. I've lost so many friends in the last twelve months that I've lost count. I can see that that reads as oddly selfish. Self-centered. 

My point is that we're all gonna die. It's nobody's bad luck. The selfish point of view is that somehow you've been singled out for grief. My friends and my heroes who have gone on lived wonderful, full lives. I don't have to dig far to see that my sorrow is for me. It's all a reminder for me that I've already lived a dream life. It's too late for bad luck. I missed any chance to die young a long time ago. Every dream has been fulfilled.

Love I have known and places I have seen. I've heard the sweetest music ever made. I have met the kindest people in the world and they have been good to me. Lots of them I have been lucky enough to consider friends.

For most of my life I considered suicide a symptom of mental illness. Once I ever hit rock bottom I changed my view and realized that everyone has the potential. Either the chemicals flowing through the veins help the electrical firings handle it or they don't. The pain can win that match at any time. With anyone.

For me, it has always been angels who I didn't even know were around. They all get tired of me thanking them. I don't blame them. I can be annoying. No, wait- I am annoying. My point, if in fact I have a point, is that I have acquired a big karmic debt. Kinda' like a school loan. I'll never get this baby paid.

The good news for me is that it is a privilege, an honor, to work on this budget. I have joy. I have love. I suppose that I'm about the luckiest guy who ever lived. I know, I know- I've watched too many old black and white movies. I'll keep watching them, too. I really love you.







Thursday, June 29, 2017

Left Off The Ark






My mom and my grandmother visited last night in a dream. It didn't last long but it couldn't
have been more real. I woke up crying my eyes out. They knew that we were parting company again. I wanted to lie and tell them that I would see them again soon but I couldn't.




Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Keeps Going Up 'tii It Don't






When I was a kid the great race car drivers at Indianapolis always said that if there was a wreck on the track in front of them that they drove straight at it, reasoning that at one hundred and fifty miles per hour or so that that was the least likely place for the cars to be when they got there. I doubt anyone gives any such advice now. By the time you see a wreck in front of you now it's in the process of becoming a memory behind you. If you're lucky. One hundred and fifty miles per hour is nostalgia.

If you're a young musician, I've got advice. See that wreck up ahead? That was rock'n'roll. Drive right at it. The New York Times recently wrote that rock'n'roll was dead. After wringing my hands, worrying about the inevitable demise since I was a kid, it just quietly gave up the ghost without many of us noticing.

Oh, there will be vultures peddling pop music, passing it off as "rock," for as long as young folks have disposable income and old fools are nostalgic. There are certainly working musicians out there who can still rock'n'roll, too. There's a millionaire from New Jersey and there's a fat man in New Orleans and a mean old guy in Memphis who come to mind. There's also the Georgia peach who helped start it all but seldom leaves the penthouse suite in Nashville. What time is it? I suppose that the Rolling Stones will be announcing a tour shortly.

Rock'n'roll was more than three chords. It was the magic that freed us all. It was a salve that brought black and white together in a mean land where the government couldn't do it. It moaned and complained like the blues before it and it bristled with joy in the same way that jazz had done. Rock'n'roll preached against hate and war and inequity like the great folk music that came before it. The first wave, Chuck, Little Richard, Bo and Fats and the boys were quickly joined by Elvis and Buddy and Jerry Lee. America couldn't contain it. It belonged to the world. The Beatles gave Great Britain its first full breath since the end of World War II. Jimi had to go over and come back to these shores to be noticed.

Let's not make this a sermon. I don't want to blather on about the Twist, the Summer of Love, psychedelia, folk rock, Mr. Dylan and all the other heroes and phenomena only to leave out your favorite. The one that changed it all for you. By the way, did I forget to mention Motown, girl groups, soul music and MTV? See?

The music business is hell. That's what happens when you mix art and business. Music, though, that's a different story. There couldn't be a better time for opportunity. While you're figuring out who you are and developing the one and only "you," the world waits. Not patiently. We could use a little "saving" here. Nobody paid any attention to that Times' obituary.

My life has been magic. I know that I've overused that word but that's the only one that will do. Who knows what they'll call it this time around. Who cares? It's none of my business but I want that for you, too.

Drive right at it, kid. Drive right at it.




Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Open Hearts Well Served





My heart will run this show from here on out. That's not all that new. I'll admit it. My only regrets come from veering off an obvious path. 

A lot of despair comes from overthinking. Nothing bad ever came from over-loving.

Love ain't chess. You don't plan your moves based on some strategy or anticipation of your "opponent's" tactic. You just love.

I love you.






                                           video


Monday, June 26, 2017

It's Always Right Now






He couldn't drive. The D.U.I. you know. I had to go by to pick him up. We were both playing short sets for some benefit. They tend to run together over the years. His little duplex apartment was tucked into what had become seedy, bordering on ghetto. As I tried to avoid the bicycle debris pulling up to his door, I heard my rear tire let go. I had run over some brake parts.

He had told me not to get out when I got to his place, that he would come right out. Well, now I was going to have to use his phone to call AAA. The old days, huh?

When he peeked through the front door I could see the chaos over his shoulder. I had to wait for him to put the one dog into a bedroom. A biter. He held the other one, the smaller one, by the collar as he yelled for me to come in.

There was no order to anything in the place. I wasn't expecting Architectural Digest but this was just sad. Books, records and old magazines were everywhere. The papers on the floor still had the dog waste on them. This was beyond bachelor pad culture. Well beyond.

Just above the phone was the only "art" in the place. It was a framed, black and white photograph. Of me. Neither one of us said anything.

I called AAA and we waited. Outside.

He took his life about a year later. Lots of us never got over it.



                                        

Sunday, June 25, 2017

On The Nature Of Love







  • Seems to me love's like water. You can see that it's there. You can feel it. You can't really control it, though. You hear stories and they tell you in school that too much of it will kill you. Maybe. I've never seen anybody complaining about too much of it. I'm not one to tempt fate but it seems like a good way to go. Love, not water.
One thing's sure- you can't do without it. Either one.

Greedy investors have been buying up water rights for a long, long time. Oh, we're not running out but if you can control folks' access to it, you can charge them a ransom for what we've always considered free.

Don't think for a single minute that the Koch brothers wouldn't buy up all the rights to love if they had any idea where to get it or how to store it.

Here's a secret. Don't tell them. It can't be stored. Use it or lose it. I suppose that we all tend to be frugal with it. We don't want to waste it or give it to somebody who won't give any back. I hate to admit it but I've been stingy with it, too.

There's good news in all this hippy-dippy gobbeldy gook. It doesn't take any effort. In fact you have to work to withhold it. Now, that's my kind of endeavor.

If you've gotten this far, I know what you're thinking. I don't care. I've always been like this. I'm not waiting for a Pulitzer or a Nobel Peace Prize. To quote my pal, Bill Kirchen, "You can't pay me what I'm worth, I don't work that cheap."

Pray for peace. Search for truth. Settle for love. 



Saturday, June 24, 2017

Beneath Me






In my lifetime I have watched hate and greed invade all facets of this American culture. When I was a kid, a preacher caught up in a scandal was out of business. He had "fallen" and was to be pitied but could no longer ply his trade. 

A banker, at one time, was on the street looking for a new career once his reckless behavior cost his customers their life's savings.

Crooks ran the music business from the time that I was aware of a music business. Generally speaking, though, they were crooks who loved the music. They might have been cheating their artists out of most of the money but they were buying them Cadillacs to show some measure of appreciation.

Politicians have always been suspect here. Any hint of scandal that ended up in the newspaper ended almost any elected official's career, though. Now, at the highest level, and I do mean highest level, we tolerate outright lies. Not only do we tolerate the lies, forty per cent of us approve of them.

When I was eleven or twelve years old professional wrestling was the pinnacle of melodrama. When the Von Brauners battled the Volkoffs, with the losers forced to leave town, I thought that the world spun around that ring. Two evil, Nazi brothers; fat, shaved heads, goatees, evil sneers, and to top it all off, a sniveling coward of a manager with an umbrella who certainly appeared to be Jewish. Gentleman Saul Weingeroff. And gay! He would, of course, climb cowardly into the ring and whack any opponent who seemed to have any physical advantage over Kurt or Karl during a match. Well, what the hell would you expect of a Jew? A gay Jew!

Now the boys were really up against it by the time that Boris and Nikolai Volkoff hit town. Need I remind you that we were only a few years beyond Duck and Cover in the public schools. The warts all over Nikita Khrushchev's face figured prominently in many of my end of the world nightmares. We still had artists and writers unable to work as a result of McCarthy's despicable actions.

Yeah, Nazis and Commies. I thought we had peaked.

It would have seemed ludicrous if you had told me that gutter culture could sink lower. If you had described a seventy one year old man who sported a spray tan of a weird orange hue with greenish-yellow hair swirled around on his head, who waddled when he walked and bellowed mean, vitriolic rhetoric in sentence fragments, and bragging that he was able to grab women by the pussy and get away with it because he was famous...

Let's not leave this picture unfinished. What if we had hours of filmed lies from this character. What if he had left court records of cheating people and breaking laws. What if he had proudly boasted of his infidelities and publicly humiliated the mothers of his children. 

You don't really suppose that we might turn over our government to him. Do you? Trust him with the nuclear codes? Stand by and watch him dismantle our state department and the agencies that protect our environment? Put religious zealots who don't believe in science in charge of our children's education? Dismantle our inadequate health care industry to concentrate even more of our finances into the pockets of a few American oligarchs? Hire on Wall Street crooks whose names we remember from wrecking our economy before?

What if he surrounded himself with weird, spooky old white guys who looked like they showed up for the casting of villains in the next Batman epic? Evil turtles and the like. 

I couldn't make this stuff up. I don't have the imagination.

Oh, I wasn't happy with the way things were going. I don't think many of us were. It might be beneficial for you to read up a bit on psychopathy. Mental health specialists have said that the preponderance of them in D.C. is staggering. I have to say that I used to wonder how they knew that, how they could quantify any such thing. 

Now I know. They just look around.

I'm still betting on good. On love. Sometimes I worry though, that we get the government we deserve.



                                        




Friday, June 23, 2017

What Have I Missed?





Lemme see here- over the years I've been lucky enough to see and hear Sam Cooke, LaVern Baker, the Rolling Stones,  Elvis, Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, Benny Joy, Johnny Preston, Clyde McPhatter, Brenda Lee, Little Willie John, John Prine, k.d. lang, Waylon Jennings, Guy Clark, the Drifters, the Platters, Marv Johnson,  Cowboy Jack Clement, Muddy Waters, Flo & Eddie, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bruce Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac, Ike and Tina Turner, Los Lobos, James Brown, Lyle Lovett, Ray Charles, the Who, Arthur Brown, the Grateful Dead, the Staple Singers, Minnie Pearl, Duane Eddy, Lucinda Williams, Sam and Dave, Dr, John, Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers, Taj Mahal, Tom Waits, Frank Zappa, Billy Joe Shaver, Moondog, Sonny & Cher, Junior Walker, Jackie Wilson, John Hiatt, and Big Joe Turner. I'm sure that I'm leaving folks out. 

I've played on bills with Van Morrison, the Allman Brothers, Wilco, the Band, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, the Shangra Las, Sly & the Family Stone, Jerry Jeff Walker, the Dave Clark 5, Sam The Sham and the Pharos, the Chambers Brothers, Steve Earle, Jimi Hendrix, Bo Diddley, Bill Haley and the Comets, the Gentry, the Knickerbockers, the Steve Miller Band, Billy Preston, Dave van Ronk, Tiny Tim, Alabama 3, Andre Williams, Wanda Jackson, Three Dog Night, Irma Thomas, Dion, John Mayall, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, the Flatlanders, Patti Smith, Rufus Wainwright, Chip Taylor, Nappy Brown, the Sir Douglas Quintet, Judy Collins, the Cyrcle, Pete Seeger and Canned Heat.

I have promoted shows for the Byrds, Derek and the Dominos, Donovan, Janis Joplin, Cat Mother & the All Night News Boys, Terry Reid, Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen, the Kinks, the Beach Boys, Pink Floyd, Mike Bloomfield, Creedence Clearwater Revival and so many that I've tried to forget.

My good fortune has had me accompanying Gene Vincent, the New Beats, the Coasters, Chuck Berry, Monti Rock III, Edwin Starr and countless heroes.

What was the best show I ever saw? Hank Ballard and the Midnighters. Tomorrow I might give you a different answer.

What was my biggest thrill? Probably Elvis offering to teach me karate. He didn't, of course. Maybe Speedo inviting me to a party in the Coasters' room. Honestly it's all been a thrill.

There are plenty of stories in there and probably more that I've forgotten, 

When it's time for an obituary, though, I'd go with:

He never saw the Beatles. He's never seen Bob Dylan. Never saw Hank Williams. He never saw Nervous Norvus.



                                    


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Flash Love, Smile Pretty






As I watch Americans continue to vote against their own best interest I am reminded that greed is at the center of our culture. From our treatment of the native Americans who greeted us right through slavery and, more recently, the LGBT community. The nineteenth amendment to the constitution in 1920 finally gave women the vote. Now we have decided that corporations are people and money is speech. We can't look to religion to get us out of this mess. The televangelists preach greed and hate to the desperate and the uneducated. There is nothing shameful in this country when it comes to bigotry.

What will happen with healthcare in the United States? Maybe I'm missing something here but, it seems to me that the voters are interested in their own best interest. I should say their perceived best interest.

Ten years of my life were devoted to saving the environment through government work. When my salary was eliminated from the budget, (I was told not to say that I was fired), I worried that it might dampen my enthusiasm for the environment. It didn't. It did, however, sour me on government. Oh, I'm a patriot when it comes to theory.

I will go so far as to suggest that good men and women still serve in the ranks. Unfortunately, bad guys have all the tools to see that good work will not be done.

Some priorities seem obvious. To me. Peace. Health. Education. Environment. Infrastructure. Culture.

Somehow I am managing to maintain what scraps of sanity that I still have. I will vote. I will resist. I will work for candidates and parties that play fair and don't cheat. I will not hate, yell, cheat, lie, insult, belittle or disrespect other human beings.

Cheaters win. I suspected that from time to time as a kid. I was told, as you were, that the meek would inherit the earth. Let's just take a quick glance at the top of the heap, shall we?

If I had answers I would type them right here. I will offer this advice- don't play their game. Let them cheat each other. When they flash money, you flash love.



                                        

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

What Do You Do?






When I told my friend that I was a son of God, he laughed at me. As I tried to explain that he was too, he was busy calling me arrogant and conceited. Delusional. It's more uncomfortable when I fill out government forms. Worse yet, as the men stick their hands out as they enter the conversation at a cocktail party.

" Hey. Ralph ..., eminent gynecologist. What do you do?"

"Evenin'. Hal ..., wealthy personal banker. Member of the Yacht Club. My dad was, too. Sometimes I dress up like a pirate and throw up on my loafers. Is that your Maserati? What do you do? How much you make?"

I'm trying not to be judgmental here. Doesn't look good on a son of God. To tell you the truth it would be nice if the pay was better. A little better.

I've sold stuff and I've managed folks. I've played guitar, mopped floors and written newspaper columns. I've put sauce in bottles and I've battled within the government for the environment.

The fact is, though, I don't really do anything.

Oh, I write songs. If you hum and whistle while you work, you write songs, too. Johnny Mercer was a songwriter. I write songs.

Hopefully this doesn't sound like I'm whining here. I'm not too bad a guy. My ambition has been saving the world since I was eighteen or nineteen years old. I might have bitten off more than I can chew.

Don't get too close to me- I'll get love all over you.




Tuesday, June 20, 2017

They Don't Know Any Better






Oh, to turn it on and turn it off. Sometimes I envy the ones whose emotional meters go from one to one hundred. I pegged the needle at about six hundred when I was a kid and I can't keep my foot off the pedal today.

Every child who wakes up hungry. All the dogs on the street. Every soldier who misses home in the name of some made-up god's war. The broken hearted mother in the nursing home who does have a memory. Lots of memories and no visitors.

Visions of the one-legged seagull who didn't seem to be able to catch any of the crumbs.

The payoff for the ones of us who came without insulation on the wiring is pure, perfect joy. It's in every cute kitten video on You Tube and every baby's laugh. Rock'n'roll was built on it. It manifests on love.

When I was a kid I dreamed of a compound where all of my aunts and uncles, all of my cousins and my beloved mother and grandmother lived and nobody ever had to leave. Ever.

I still wish I believed in heaven. I'm glad I believe in love.







Monday, June 19, 2017

Gods In Mirrors






There have been heroes along my path on every step of my journey. I'm not sure that I'm luckier than everybody else. Maybe I've just needed them more. I'm pretty sure that the heroes are out there when you need them but you might have to look for them.

A few smiles and pats on the back go a long way, too. I could name a few names here but I don't want to embarrass anyone. I wore a little pin from the '30's for awhile that read, "Kindness Brings Happiness." You take your wisdom where you find it.

So, here we are. The kid who couldn't make up his mind whether to play rock'n'roll, race at Indy or get a motorcycle jacket to be a good juvenile delinquent...

Now his hair is silver and he plays rock'n'roll. He found out that juvenile delinquents break the law and, great goodness, fight with switchblades. He got his last ticket in 1965 and that was for an improper u-turn at a controlled intersection. (Thanks, Patsy).

Mostly he babbles about peace and love to anybody who will listen. It's a small niche.




Sunday, June 18, 2017

Who's Jealous?






Well, at least I don't have any bad memories of my father. I saw him once. From a distance. For a few seconds. I was three or four. I talked to him once on the telephone. I was about fifty. Neither of us had much to say. He seemed nice.

I have no way of knowing if he is alive but it's not likely.

Happy Father's Day.


Sincerely,
Your beloved son,
George Ronald Elliott



                                  

Saturday, June 17, 2017

How Much?






Me and rock'n'roll, we're both getting old. When I was a kid and some geezer would brag about his years on the road with the Dorsey orchestra, I would try not to roll my eyes. Now I've got strings on some of my guitars older than the young lesbian guitar slinger that I have a crush on.

Some march to their own drum. For the most part I haven't marched to any drum at all. Sometimes I don't even march.

Ambition? Not much. I hope to be kinder. 

Folks don't change much. It has taken me a long time to figure that out. I love you.




Friday, June 16, 2017

Nobody's Passion Lasts Forever






Somebody can teach you to sing, play the piano. It's just a little math and two colors. Nobody can teach you to do what Jerry Lee Lewis or Beethoven have done. They can teach you to dance but you'll probably never defy gravity like Serge Lifar or Donald O'Connor did.

Sometimes I pity the ones who merely play the hand they're dealt. You know- June and Ward, Jim and Margaret, Ozzie and Harriet.

More often I wish that I was a part of something. I'd settle for a blood brother but I'm squeamish.




Wednesday, June 14, 2017

I'm All I've Got






Breathing air from the same atmosphere; drinking water that has been here for eons. Suddenly the clouds have lifted and I find myself with a special burden. A charge. Me.

My mind is housebroken, more or less, but it can't be left to wander free. 

Seems I've outlived the music business, at least that element that I despised, and now the music is mine again. I don't need to remind either one of us that the business was never too crazy about me, either.

My blood is still too red, my heart remains broken but the glass is at least half-full. Johnny Mercer and Hank Ballard, come in. I don't need your help but I won't turn you away.




Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Monday, June 12, 2017

Under The Bed






As the speed of history continues to accelerate, I'm listening to the slow songs. The sad ones. When we get back to the happy ones again, I'll be the first one on the dance floor.

Once karma makes sense on a practical level it gets easier to see the future. You can get in on the peace and love thing here or you can run the risk of appearing unfashionable. God knows I don't want to be unfashionable.

Give us peace on earth and end this dreadful, dreadful war.







Sunday, June 11, 2017

I'll Write The History






History is written, of course, by the "winners." We wind up looking back on straight vs. gay; Shia vs. Sunni; black vs. white; Yankees vs. Red Sox; Democrat vs. Republican, ad nauseam, through the lens of the victor. After a generation or two nobody questions the narrative.

They don't ask the poets to write the history. Not since Homer.

My records once graced the Top 10 on the Americana charts. Then the guys in suits took that genre and turned it into big business. Movies. TV shows. Satellite radio channels. Back to "cult artist."

That's alright. It's got an underdog thing going. You know- we had "that thing."

Well, friends, I have decided to write the history. While it's fresh. Current. While it can be verified.

Pompous? I'm a cult artist. I do what I want. My opinion, my point of view?

You bet. It's the only one I have.

While they're dropping like flies, I want to point out some of the people who have managed to make hate fashionable. I'm not going to waste a lot of my time digging up background on these villains. You know the history of most of them. I'm just gonna slander them by putting them all in the same pen and you can google any one of them later.

Let's just start with Roger Ailes. Of course that leads right to Rupert Murdoch. Jim and Tammy Bakker. Of course George Wallace was a pioneer and his protege, Lester Maddox, put some additional color, pardon the pun, into the mix. Oops, another pun.

The history that I'm outlining here is the fashion of hate in our culture.

Sometimes they're Democrats and sometimes they're Republican. My list would seem to indicate that they're usually white and almost always male. Well, in my history book here, that's because it's usually where the power lies. Another pun. I don't want you to be missing these.

Kellyanne Conway is way up there on my list and so is Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Right under Steve Bannon. Ivanka makes the list, right under Jared. Dang, another one!

Hate is fertilized with ignorance.

The sad part of this little ramble is that the folks responsible for separating us are available. Obvious.

Ultimately, love will win. Always. Every time. In the meantime people suffer. War rages. Families split.

The culprits who facilitate the hate for their own personal gain will eventually fall in disgrace. They always do. We'll always have Hitler and Mussolini for role models. Poor old Dick Nixon helped put a sympathetic face on the model.

Save the bonobo. Pray for peace. Search for truth. Settle for love.

If that seems a bit sketchy for a history blame my attention span. It's time to eat. There's a banana sandwich and a glass of wine calling me from the kitchen. We'll get back to this. Or not.




Saturday, June 10, 2017

Waiting To Say Goodbye






"Ronny Elliott and John Coltrane."

Two names you really don't expect to hear in the same sentence. The question had been, "Who have been your biggest musical influences?" I had just gotten into the car and the radio had just come on. I recognized the voice answering as Ray Villadonga.

I wasn't alone in the car and I didn't know whether to get out and run away or to bust with pride. As nearly as I can remember I tried to drive while shuffling my feet, talking loud, changing the subject and blushing.

The key to the mystery here is that I'm the "older kid." Ray grew up in his beloved Tampa with the fire of rock'n'roll in his soul. I was already out there doing what I do. For him it was all about the bass. Always has been for me, too.

The most recent recording release from my friend was Ear Flixs from a year and a half ago. My expectations are always big with anything that Ray does. This record just knocked me flat, though. I remember hugging him and telling him that I knew that I was going to like it but that I had not been expecting art. That is not a very good description of his masterpiece but I just didn't have the proper vocabulary to describe it. I still don't.

I've lost quite a few friends lately. Now I'm sitting here waiting for the call that everything is okay for me to come to tell my sweet brother goodbye. I never talk to him without him reminding me that he loves me. I wish I believed in heaven. It's hard for me to consider living in a world without Ray Villadonga.

I love you, Ray.







A Good Start






You don't come into the game with many chips. Wet, naked, blind. Some stranger gets paid to slap you on the bottom to get you to breathe. Then the luck of the draw really kicks in.

If only everybody could have the great fortune that I've had. It's all about the love from that point on. My mom didn't just love me. She lived for me. It was all love. And music. It was a fine line. Still is.

You might say that my music has never been right and you could definitely say that my love has been all wrong. Nobody has ever wrung more out them than I have. Oh, it's easy to boast about such ethereal claptrap. There are no tax returns that show any such results.

Now you may be invited to Mr. Zimmerman's house and there will be gold records on every wall. I'm pretty sure he drinks better wine than I do, too.

They don't give out awards for successful romance but, if they did, I wouldn't have any of them hanging, either.

Nevertheless...




Friday, June 9, 2017

Cuban Heels and Deadly Nightshade






Answers? Yeah, I have answers. More than enough. Matching them up with the right questions is trying my mettle. I'm luckier than most. Sadder, too.

Now, I don't want to buy the world a Coke. It's bad for them. Maybe a Topo Chico. 

There are always new heroes. Thank goodness. How about Reality Winner? Oh yeah and the three men on the Portland train? All of our disasters reveal levels of true humanity that we frequently overlook.

Never without hope, I wait for the call.



                                       

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Swampland






Less than a gleam in her eye. That's alright. I'm that dog that has caught too many cars as it is. I'll pour my own drinks and I'll pretend to listen to every word that I mumble. I'd use big words if I knew any. I know it's time to go home but I am home.

It's all songs but I'm wanting to live Zippity Too Dah or Wooly Bully at the least.

Oh, I don't feel sorry for me. It's just the rain, the gloomy weather. That Gene Kelly number was fiction. 

I love the lightning but I'm scared of the thunder.







Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Built For Speed






These days are becoming a little too sad for me. Everybody seems to hate somebody. Most folks manage to fit in, somewhere, all their lives. I've only been aware of my outsider status from time to time, usually when it's been pointed out to me.

When I write and blather about love as a commodity, I'm aware of how juvenile and naive I sound. If I cared I'd quit. If it paid well I'd be rich. I've not loved well but I've loved hard.

Where's my rock'n'roll?




Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Me and Ernest T. and The Prince of Wales






They're really rocking' in Mayberry, down at Highgrove House...

Now, Charlene Darling, there was a beauty. I know, I know- she was a fictional character. Aren't we all? I never knew whether to feel sorry for Ernest T. Bass or to celebrate his joy. Downhill romance with no brakes and the steering out is life with all nerve endings exposed. I feel sorry for the ones who never know the ride. Most folks, alas, never will.

After the hoopla, poor Charles was stuck with his beautiful bipolar princess, a fortune that would choke the queen's favorite horse, two perfect children and a job with good hours and a proper health plan. As we all came to know through the British tabloids, all he wanted was to be Camilla's tampon.

Be careful what you wish for.

Me? I wish I could quit ending sentences with prepositions.



                                        

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Quality Of War






"God is on our side."

Problem is both sides generally believe that. There are no good wars. Never have been. Never will be. There are wars that are good for Raytheon. Halliburton. GE. Northrop Grumman. President Eisenhower warned us in 1961 of, what he called, the military industrial complex- the armed forces combined with defense contractors.

This sounds disrespectful and I suppose that it is. Nobody wants to go to a military academy and spend their working life with no war.

Woody Guthrie famously wrote:
"I took a bath this morning in six war speeches and a sprinkle of peace. Looks like everybody is declaring war against the forces of force. That's what you get for building up a big war machine. It scares your neighbors into jumping on you and then, of course, they themselves have to use force, so you are against their force and they're against yours. Looks like the ring has been dragged and the marbles are all in. The millionaires has throwed their silk hats and our last set of drawers in the ring. The fuse is lit and the cannon is set and somebody is in for a frailin. I would like to see every single soldier on every single side, just take off your helmet, unbuckle your kit, lay down your rifle, and set down at the side of some shady lane, and say, nope, I ain't gonna kill nobody. Plenty of rich folks wants to fight. Give them the guns."

If we ever give up the dream of peace and love, we abandon our birthright.

Maybe I'm naive. I've been called worse. Beware of anybody peddling anything that can't be bought with love.





Orion's Rust Belt






Big banks. Big government.. Big business.  Big religion. The music business. NASCAR. The NFL. The WWE. Major labels and major networks.

Me? I deal in truth and I peddle love. I'm a small, independent contractor. I fail by any measure that I can think of. I wouldn't change a thing.

A smile for that homeless woman means more than any public office by my standards.

I don't own much but I don't need anything.

My imagination is about like everybody else's, I suppose. I just don't keep mine on a leash.

The longer I ramble here, the preachier it reads. Smug. Self-important. Condescending. I'm certainly not better than anyone else. I'm just happier.

I love you.







Saturday, June 3, 2017

Brilliant Save






Obsession with my obsession is becoming my obsession. You're welcome to call it madness. I would like to blame it on someone else but, truth be told, she has done nothing to encourage it.

My pal, Ed Brown, always said, "Youth has never failed to go to the dogs."

I don't really know what that means. He said a lot. I don't know what most of it meant. Everybody needs a hillbilly guru.




Friday, June 2, 2017

Training Wheels and Confidence






Maybe regrets are just duct tape for the soul. Lately I seem to be dealing mostly in the realm of "if only." My relative resistance to the compounding evil in the homeland seems to have collapsed today.

Maybe it's nothing but a signal to write. 

"Why do you write such dark songs, sad songs?"

That German music writer was the first person to ask. Write what you know, pal. Write what you know.



                                    


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Bottom Racing





Rimbaud claimed that you have to be born a poet. He suffered, in his own words, to become a seer. By the age of twenty one he was done. He never wrote again. 

By the time I was twenty one I had quit several times. I've given it up hundreds of times by now. There comes a point where you can't quit, where quitting is harder than hanging on.

Pay day is seeing the dawn before the sun comes up. Last night I was riding with Nikola Tesla and Arthur, himself. Nick was throwing fire from his hands and Rimbaud was carving curses in his arm with rose thorns. I was drinking rum from a Dixie cup. Do they still make Dixie cups?

Tesla called it energy. Rimbaud referred to it as love.

Writers, real writers, use words as weapons. Tools. Sometimes they rhyme. They move you. They change you. Scientists comfort you. They explain the world and help you find your place in it. They show you your insignificance and they tuck you in.

I'm no more a writer than I am a musician. I'm just an antennae for all the poets and scientists. The gods who don't have their own station.