I've always wanted to catch a bullet in my teeth. You may have noticed that I'll use any excuse to wear a turban. I've got a crystal ball here in the house. I don't roll it out very frequently but I think about it a lot.
There's a play in the works, a book that I've been running through the tunnels for decades and I'm ready to start a new record.
What about the things that really matter, though? I'm waiting on other folks. That's okay. They have futures, too. Love is patient and love is all we have.
Being dragged across the cosmos is the good part. Don't ever be so arrogant as to imagine that you're in control. Enjoy the ride.
Anarchy appeals to me at my core. I like to think that every person should be free to do what he or she thinks needs to be done. Of course I'm aware that there is always someone who's going to sneak into the locker room to steal everybody's lunch money during phys ed.
Okay. We need laws. We all want to prevent drunk driving and armed robbery. Who are we going to allow to come up with our rules? Why do we always seem to turn over the reins to self-important jerks who represent interests other than the people's?
We can't afford a revolution every time the cycle starts again. You can certainly throw the rascals out but are you really moving forward by replacing them with new rascals?
Let's turn our attention to loftier matters. If there is only one true religion then a whole load of others have everything wrong, right? Maybe Marx was onto something when he famously said that "religion is the opium of the masses." Of course he also called it "the heart of a heartless world" and said that it was "the sigh of the oppressed creature."
Me? I'm an optimist. The glass is at least half full. Nevertheless, very few of those guys in D.C. have any interest in me or my well being. They don't want me to revolt, of course. They want me employed so that there is an economy to provide them with power and wealth. War, corruption and planet-destroying industry is perfectly acceptable if a payday is attached. Unfortunately, for every Grover Norquist or Jack Abramoff who heads to the beltway to seek his power and his fortune there is at least one Ralph Reed, Jr. who plays the easier game and drafts the Lord into service to build his own empire. Can you believe that those three scoundrels were once roommates?
Let's play rock'n'roll. Let's love each other and help one another and work to fix the earth. If that other stuff is to be properly fixed, I'm convinced that we're waiting on evolution, not revolution.
Maybe all evolution is slow. Surely mine is slower than most. I have a trunkful of names that I've been called. I do the best I can and it seems that it's not too good. I look forward to the future. It's what we have. Sometimes the beauty of everything around me blinds me, at least temporarily.
It's time to start a new record and I'm raring to go. This will be the one. I promise. Some force is sending beautiful melodies through my heart, those that I believe will melt the stars. Love. That's what we're here for.
Road rage. Just the term stirs up a queazy feeling, doesn't it? I just experienced some reverse example. The car in front of me had a handicapped plate and I could see that it was a man around my age with a baseball cap. As I got closer because we were approaching a speed bump he began waving his arm out the window as if to signal that he was slowing. I never got more than a couple of car lengths to him. By the next set of speed bumps he began to motion wildly. I could see him waving his arm in the air and could tell that he was trying to get a look at me in his rear view mirror. We were on a residential, two lane street and he was driving between 15 and 20 miles per hour. The signs posted along the road listed the speed limit as 35. I was in no hurry. It wouldn't have been wise to pass and I didn't mind. Every now and again he would brake completely and sit still in the lane for a few seconds.
When we came to a pedestrian crossing he very kindly and lawfully waited for a young girl to cross in front of us. When we came to the next one about 10 yards further he stopped and I could see that he watched me once again in his rear view as he idled for about half a minute. Okay.
Finally we went through a traffic light and the street changed to four lanes. He sped up to about twice the speed and left me in the dust.
So I have had my anger management exercise for the day. I passed. I hope the old guy's alright.
I'm not sure but I think this may be the first time in my life that I find myself completely satisfied. Knowing that I'm in exactly the right place is exciting and empowering. For once I love the beautiful weather. Those mockingbirds are singing right outside my window when I wake up and I know they're singing to me. For me. I'm gonna use those melodies if I can catch them. They took 'em from somewhere. Woody said that it's the folk tradition.
Looking back, I guess I've overhauled this thing at least four or five times. I never go for anything other than just exactly who I am or, at least, who I think I am. Elvis provided the model for the first one that I can remember and I suppose that's still the main operating system.
Of course the Beatles forced an update. I guess Father Time makes me think that it's time to roll out the new, improved program.
I've heard rock'n'roll that was so sweet and so perfect that it changed the world. If you're The Boss I guess you can push it to six hour sets and maybe jump off balconies instead of amps. Oh, wait. James Brown did that decades ago. Last century.
No, I just want to get right down to the core. My "act" disintegrated years ago. That's really me out there on the stage now. Somehow I need to let even more show. I long for an intimacy with an audience that lasts beyond a show. Maybe that's why I waste my time and yours with this dribble.
I'm fixing the rest of my life, too. I finally get it. You don't make it happen; you let it happen.
When you let go of ego and preconceived notions it becomes easier to rid yourself of old, bad habits. I guess that I have always thought of myself as "right" somehow. I suppose that we all do to some extent. How, then, do we ever explain the concept of changing our minds?
All that baloney about learning everything you need to know in kindergarten, remember that? Well, I never went to kindergarten. Really. To think that I may have ever hurt anyone based on my ignorance and pre-conceived notions is rough.
I am working to open my mind and I'm sitting back to watch my heart open wider. Let's end war and feed the hungry. Let's take care of the ones who need our help. I don't want to put on a tie and go to an office. I want to change the world. Let's listen to rock'n'roll and let's love like crazy. We're in charge here.
Oh, I've heard him yell. Once in a minivan going into Okemah from the Oklahoma City airport he was hollering on his phone at his agent who couldn't get some kind of Obama event straight. It's never mean, though. My pal, David Amram, has all the attributes of a child, that is, all the innocence that we come with right out of the package.
Innocent! Wait a minute. Wasn't he one of the beats? Didn't he hang out with Kerouac and Ginsberg and Corso? Isn't he the same guy who was the first composer in residence for the New York Philharmonic and Leonard Bernstein's closest friend? Didn't the state department send him to Eastern Europe with Louis Armstrong as an Ambassador of Jazz? Yeah. Big deal. That's what I thought 'til I heard that he had been with Lord Buckley the day that he died. Now we're dropping names.
David Amram is a genius. Yeah, he's classically trained and probably one of the all time French horn artists. The thing about David, though, is that he's a soul musician. He communicates with music and with love. He knows that stuff at the molecular level. He radiates both. That's rare.
Marilyn was all that, too. Those folks are special. They're never tough.
I always thought of suicide as a product of insanity. Only a crazy person would kill himself. The first time that I ever had the blues so bad that it looked like oblivion was the only way out it changed my view. Now I almost feel sorry for anyone who hasn't gone to the bottom. It's a swell reminder of how beautiful life is.
In water aerobics this morning I was right next to the infants in the life saving class where they somehow manage to train them to flip over onto their backs in the water. When you hear their sweet, innocent crying you're reminded of everything that life is about. It's all about the babies. Our job is to love and protect and take care of their world.
Marilyn's memory reminds us that we let a lot of our precious ones down. David's legacy is a reminder of what love and innocence can be.
Use your love. Don't hoard a bit of it. There's a shortage out there.
It's not what you've done, right? It's what you do with the rest of your life. Isn't that why we scramble to make new year's resolutions?
Too many sweet souls have invested too much love and care in me for me to let anything slide. I promise you that I'll never take any kind of performance for granted. I remember watching Billy Preston come running offstage after tearing a Tampa audience to pieces. He collapsed into the arms of his roadie and another guy wheeled a small oxygen tank over and put a mask on his face. After a few whiffs, they helped him onto his feet and shoved him back out onto the stage. He whirled and spun and brought joy to the Jai Alai fronton with "Will It Go 'Round In Circles?" So only a handful of us saw the real highlight of the show.
Love? Never seem to have gotten it right. I will, though. I will.
My advice, don't let your daughter marry a poet. They don't make any money and they don't have much of a station in life. On the positive side, wait... maybe it is the positive side, they love. They love relentlessly and they love with all they have.
I don't have a daughter. I suppose that if I did I would hope that she fell in love with a poet. Make sure that you invest heavily in love for your retirement fund.
You hear it from the time that you're a kid: "First thing you know, you're old. You can't believe that a lifetime has slipped away." Yeah. It's fast. Gets faster.
There aren't many benefits, not that I can see. My beloved rock'n'roll was built for kids. I have to say, though, that I always knew that Big Joe Turner knew more than we did. I thought the young John Lee Hooker was good. The old John Lee was phenomenal!
Now I'm hard at work putting away all anger. Wish I could say the same for heartache and heartbreaks and regrets. Maybe I should write a book.
The walls in my house are chartreuse and pink and other colors that don't move off of the Sherwin Williams shelves all that often. When I was a kid I sometimes "layered" my baseball caps, too. Who says that you have to wear them one at a time? They're not the boss of me.
Have you ever noticed that we go to the islands and gasp at the beauty of the brightly colored shacks and shanties. We come home and paint our fortresses beige or taupe or some other shade approved by the neighborhood association.
Life's too short as it is. Don't wear black just because some self-appointed hipster in Brooklyn got the idea from some self-important bore from Germany who found an old photo of a beatnik in the village.
In 1965 I was sent out by the band with all of our money to bring home material for our new outfits to be made. I came home with yards and yards of fuchsia crushed velvet. I'm pretty sure that they huddled to consider a new bass player. Wouldn't have gotten their money back. Well, those suits were a bigger hit than the band. I wish I had mine back.
Don't wait for St. Patty's. Wear green today. Chartreuse, in fact. Pair it up with two caps, one fuchsia. Wait til you see how good you feel. Tell everyone you see how special they are and love with all your heart.
It's always been easier to acquire junk than to part with it. I look at pictures of my old hot rods and wonder, "Would I like to have that back?" Yeah. I could sell it again. It's time to get rid of everything that has accumulated. If I kicked the bucket tomorrow somebody would be stuck with a major headache.
Seems to me that I need a guitar, a pen and some paper and a couple of dishes and cups. Oh, I guess I should keep a couple of chairs, towels and my I Pod, too. You don't have to tell me that it's not gonna happen. I know. I am moving in the right direction, though. From now on more going out than coming in.
Give your love away in great big doses. You'll never run out.
Ol' Sisyphus and that rock. It's finally starting to make sense to me. Starting over is life. I guess we struggle for comfort and stability. It always seems that security is just around that next corner. Poor Otis sang about needing it. Suddenly he was rich, famous. The folks adored him all over the world. Then that stupid plane went down in that big old lake and the big man was gone. He had his first number one record right after he died.
My quest for something meaningful consumes me. It's always just over that hill. I always destroy it. I'm not even sure what I'm chasing. There's never been a hellhound on my trail. I always hear the siren calling. Nobody ever said I was smart. Well, my mom did but she thought I sang pretty, too.
If show business isn't built almost entirely on the narcissistic principle of taking yourself seriously, then what is it? If I don't promote myself I won't work. If I don't work I'll starve. Well, I may not literally starve but I'll be a drag on someone else.
I don't want to promote myself. I never have. On the other hand I want to work. I want to play my songs for folks who will come and listen. I want my songs played on the radio so that I can communicate my thoughts.
Somewhere in history Jerry Lewis made his living falling down, speaking in a fingernails on the blackboard Brooklyn accent and crossing his eyes while tugging at Dean Martin's lapels. I loved him. All six year old boys loved him. Then he and Dino split. The French decided that he was a genius. He hasn't been funny for a long time.
When Elvis changed the world as a skinny white kid at Sun he was as surprised as the rest of us. He quickly became the first Elvis impersonator and eventually died of a broken heart, estranged from even most of the sycophants.
Never burdened with even a hint of success I never know whether to be ashamed of my work or to consider myself above the fray and try to convince myself that I'm an artist. Even writing this dribble sets me up to invite kind folks to write me and tell me that I'm swell.
I am special. I learned that from listening to Lord Buckley. Everybody's special. That's what he said. I'm gonna write more of these songs and I'm hoping to play them for you. That's what I do. That's who I am. I do even worse at the other parts of life.
Nostalgia is not big business for me. Oh, my past melds pretty well with my life and I have great memories going all the way back to my earliest years. It's just that I choose to live here, now.
I have a warehouse in my head of memories and I can bore you half to death with stories from my past. Regrets? Yeah, plenty. I try to run that tape back just to make sure that I don't keep reliving my past.
The notion of working hard to remain obscure and avoiding any prolonged success was pointed out to me a long time ago. What can you do? Oh well. Keeps me humble, I suppose.
As long as there are bad guys out there who will steal your lunch money I will believe in laws and religions. I overheard a lady in my water aerobics class announce with a shudder that the anarchists had decided to skip Tampa and the RNC because of bad weather.
Really? Bad weather?
Did she think that the anarchists got together at one of the member's house and voted to stay home?
Does she have a dictionary?
Life is swell, isn't it? Give us peace on earth and end this dreadful, dreadful war.
If it glitters I've owned it. She left that note on the windshield, "I guess you won." I never even recognized the romance. Cult artist? What does that mean? I never know if I'm being insulted, patronized or complimented. Well, I'm pretty sure it's not usually meant as a compliment. Be careful what you wish for, right?
Okay, then, here we go. World peace and a new hairdo, kinda' like that one that the guy in the movie with Robert DeNiro has.
The ringing of the phone woke me up. It was a phone solicitor from Men With Erections Lasting For More Than Four Hours or something. They're having a truck in my neighborhood next week and they want my old clothes. Well, in fact, they don't but they think they do. My girlfriend would be thrilled if they took them all away but I don't think any charity cases would wear them.
The mockingbirds were singing and I was having weird dreams. Jamaica wouldn't get up. She's too happy on her new bed. The beautiful weather puts me at risk for the blues but I'm feeling too good to let anything muck up my brain chemistry today. I seem to identify with the lizards trying to soak up the rays on the sidewalk.
Some days I worry that none of us make things any more. Today I'm just thankful that somebody ever came up with 4/4 time. Yeah, I know that it was around way before Earl Palmer ever took a breath but just listen to the opening of Keep A Knockin', will you? Great God!
All I know about love and life I learned at the movies and from television. I know what you're thinking. You're right. I don't know much.
Growing up down the street from the Palma Ceia Theater I sat through The Rose Tattoo at least six or seven times. I still have no idea what that picture is about. My idea of a married couple is still Ozzie and Harriet or Rock Hudson and Doris Day. My idea of lust is all formed around some version of Brigitte Bardot combined with the sweet innocence of Annette.
Spending time with someone who doesn't want to be with me is my idea of hell. I didn't learn that in Sunday school. That one I learned in life.
Always hated that song. Always made me cry. Still does.
The shrink on the radio yesterday warned me about shrinks. Now I've had some fine experiences with therapists and, crazy as I am, I feel like I am further down my own road because of the help that I have received. His point was that most psychiatrists today push prescription drugs for depression as their weapon of choice. Psychotherapy has fallen out of fashion. Again.
This guy's idea is that the love and support of family and friends is where we're likely to get our help these days. Well, I don't have much family left. Don't get me wrong. The aunt and uncle and assorted cousins scattered around the South are wonderful. I never get off of the phone with any of them without being reminded that they love me. I just don't get to be with any of them, to talk to them in person.
Now I have another family. I'm like a giddy thirteen year old on the internet and I'm not a bit ashamed of it. Saved me once.
Oh yeah. There's that, too. I have found someone who completes my life. Family. Someone who can use all of this love I have. Once again I am tempted to question my good fortune but I don't dare.