She read her cards and wouldn't say a word. Let it be known that she saw elements in my future that wouldn't fit in song. Wouldn't rhyme. That's alright, mama, I don't believe in legal representation. I'm something of an anarchist. I try to be kind.
If fortune is measured in shoes, I'm rich. I'm not particularly proud of it. I'm sorta' the Imelda Marcos of inarticulate hillbilly writers.
Pack light, you won't need heavy clothes in the South. All the real business is done in dark parking lots. I've seen movies. Do hoods still carry knives? I'm not afraid of the dark any more but knives still make me nervous.
And rain- did I mention rain? Seems like it will never quit. Until it quits. Then you start to wonder if it will ever rain again.
Can't say that it's good to have you back or that I've missed you. I suppose I knew that I would see you again. Board up the windows. No reason to worry the neighbors. Guess you might say that I'm struggling with a tropical depression.
Is it my imagination or is Kim Jong Un enjoying his job more than our own great leader is enjoying his? And Kim's sister- does anybody know if she's seeing anyone? (Asking for a friend).
"You're too hard on yourself," was the way she put it. In fact I've been too easy. Once again it's time to make some changes. Usually it comes from some woman pointing out all my shortcomings. I'd be lying to you if I said that I'm not a little tired of that one.
Maybe I'll never be the man that my dog thought I was. That's okay. She was one of my teachers and I've had the best. Sometimes they speak music and sometimes they speak love. The lesson is so simple and the answer is so elusive.
Breaking news! There's only one heart. You break it, you bought it. You don't "get over it." Maybe, if you're lucky, you patch it up and you get on with life. Buddy, if I had wisdom I would surely share it with you. I have figured out that you soldier on with that one goldarned heart, no matter how tattered she gets.
Some of us hurt more. Hurt more often. Don't miss a goddamned thing. We're the lucky ones. We don't leave any cards on the table.
Every single day I send these messages like a fool stranded on an island puts the notes in the bottle. If I'm lucky, she gets them. Knows they're for her. If she's lucky, she doesn't.
Peace of mind isn't really very fashionable these days, is it? That's okay. I'm not either. Sometimes I feel lucky that I'm aware of just how little I know. Seems funny because I'm fascinated by the folks among us who are so very proud of their ignorance. Science, I'll remind you, is currently out of style, too.
The songs, though- I remember every word. The good byes. The endings.
Maybe my legacy is destined to be the never is, never was, never will be. Dreams die hard. Mine do.
Every drawer, every chest, every cabinet has memories that are far too sweet to be considered sad. If only I could remember what little boys and little girls are made of. One thing I know- their hearts are right. Supple. Pure.
Now, I'm in the love business and my goal is to save the world. I've been at it for awhile. You laugh but the world's still here. I don't claim to be good at it but, then again, they haven't locked me up.
Probably explains why I don't like to go places where they shake my hand and ask, "What do you do?"
Just exactly how elusive is this "happy" that I hear about? If I don't chase it, it seems to hang around. Sometimes I detect it in the room. It seems to hang around puppies and babies. I've noticed that. Whining drives it away.
You can't buy it. The poets have always known that.
Here I sit, dangling participles, while the world spins donuts without me. I mean I'm in this world but less and less am I of this world. It hurt my feelings for awhile. To quote Guitar Slim, "I done got over it."
Art? Well, sir, that's what dreams are made of. The reality business is a hoax. A scam.
I've been to Scotland and I've been on the radio and I was happy once and I'm not sure I'm over it yet.
This holiday is hard on all of us who miss a mother. It's really rough on me.
When you do what I do for a living, folks are always giving you photographs of yourself. That always meant that all I had to shop for on this day was a frame. A frame and a card.My mom was happiest with pictures of me. She never seemed to get enough.
It never occurred to me that one day I would get them all back.
You may have noticed that I blog every day with nothing important to say. Honestly, it's just an excuse to use all these photographs.
I surely miss my mom. Happy Mother's Day and lots of love to all of the beautiful mothers and grandmothers and step mothers. You hold the most important job in the world.
Buddy, if I had sources, I would surely protect them. One way or the other you're gonna end up alone, you know. My nerves are bad tonight. I feel like I miss everybody I've ever known. Well, almost everybody.
Looking back, my work has made me happy. Really happy. Do you suppose that success would have made it better? We'll never know.
"The joy in your soul means more than what you earn."
Patience has never been my strong suit. I tend to think that the world should be inhabited by human beings at least as bright as I am. What on earth must the smarter folks think about all my rambling and blather?
When I think of the joy that I have encountered on this sweet old planet, it doesn't take much insight to realize that money has had very little to do with it. Kids don't know anything about money. Not until we "fix" them. Kids have fun. They know joy. Most of my memories of childhood bring me happiness. Listen to babies laugh.
If you're a regular here, you know just where I'm going next. The snootiest poodle in the gated community could care less about your hedge fund. Oh, you can paint his nails teal and get him a rhinestone collar but, admit it, he'd rather hump the mutt down the street and roll in the mud than pose with you for those selfies for social media. He doesn't really care about a ride in your Range Rover. Well, no more than he cares about a ride in the maid's old Camry.
Let me get this straight- there are professional warriors who work on the rules for war. I heard a consultant on the radio this morning refer to ethics issues with war. He seemed very proud that his unit didn't shoot and kill a young girl who his unit suspected of scouting for enemy combatants. Apparently she was about eight years old. Do you suppose that it would have been alright to shoot and kill her if she had been nine? How about twelve?
It seems that most of our war rules come from the Geneva Convention. We keep losing wars and yet, somehow, none of our guys are ever charged with war crimes.
Do you suppose that maybe all of the war rules are written by countries with sophisticated weapons? In other words, anyone who can afford to buy armaments from the U.S. or Russia or China. Let me remind you at this point that armaments and military equipment is our major industry and has been for decades.
Please don't assume that I am against ethics or rules. If they have a suggestion box, I've neatly typed, "No War."
In case anybody needs suggestions for replacing our number one industry, I have suggestions for that box, too. Education. Healthcare. Environment. Infrastructure.
Life begins. I have waited for this moment. Why now, you may ask. How would I know? Who cares? It was a long fuse. I'll admit that. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Maxine and Lottie, all the dogs and cats and all the women who held on for as long as they did. Let me express my gratitude for the ones who knew better, too.
Oh, it's not having everything that makes me lucky. It's knowing that I have everything.
As my friend, Leo Almerico, says, "Don't kiss a gift horse in the mouth."
Searching for truth is a full time occupation. If you do it right. It can be good for your self esteem, too. Somehow I think I've always believed that it was some woman's role to take care of my loneliness. I've told you before, I'm a slow learner.
Maybe it's better to wait until the happy melodies come along.
When Bruce Hampton died a year ago I should have known that I would hear from him eventually. Oh, don't roll those eyes- I don't believe in that stuff either. I always make exceptions for Bruce, though. I don't have a choice.
Oh, yeah, he did his birthday "trick" when we met. Upon introduction, his first words to me were, "Glad to know you. When's your birthday, April 21st?"
"I thought so. Mine, too. Hitler's, too."
Well, of course his birthday was really April 30th. Hitler's is actually April 20th. He certainly knew those two. How the heck did he know mine?
The fact that he lied to me immediately was another facet of his charm. Harmless lies. Insignificant lies to make a better story. This charismatic blob of love was nine days younger than I was and wiser by some measure that I still don't understand.
Bruce's charm was his art. We would go for a decade with no contact and I would never question the friendship. When we were together it was as though we spent all of our time together.
He passed out, onstage, at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta during his 70th birthday celebration last year. I had, of course, just played my 70th birthday celebration nine days earlier. Now Hampton was gone. He had frequently spoken in interviews about dying onstage.
Now for friends of his, this is just one more personal story. We all have them. The good part, the Hampton part, is his return. He has shown up in dreams for the last two nights, explaining the role of the artist.
Both nights have had what seem like long, involved dream scenes. On both nights I have awakened with a clear memory of the story, fallen back asleep and continued the dream.
Me? I wasn't born with many tools for an artist. To exacerbate the dilemma, I'm far too lazy to learn skills to impress. My obsession to communicate overcomes my shortcomings. I do what I can do to tell people about love. If I could sing on key or properly tune a guitar, I would merely be a musician.
To make things more complicated, I'm shy and find it difficult to talk to people I don't know.
When I climbed out of bed to get this down, I remembered most of what Bruce said, at least from the last segment of the last dream. I knew who had been with him, too. Now the specifics are hazy. It's as though he spoke using his heart more than regular, verbal communication. Now that I think about it, he always did. I just never realized because of all of his yack, yack, yack. Those lies, those tricks- they were just the light show.
Maybe I could have worked it smarter and made some money. Sold some records. How many other people do you know with no regrets?
As I read through this babble, I am very much aware that I've told you nothing. Then again, if you're an artist, I've told you everything.
After one broken arm, one broken nose, one broken foot and dozens of broken hearts, I find myself remarkably intact. You'll find yourself more malleable than you once thought. Tears take care of most of your problems.
Loss and release are two sides of the only coin that matters. Never mind heads or tails. Rock break scissors is merely a distraction. Maybe it's all a distraction if you do it right.
Kings without hearts await some future. Me? I either live or I wait to start living, depending on when you ask. There's enough love to go around. Don't try to save it.
Lazy people don't dance much. You ever notice? If you ever decide to get rid of somebody, tell them that you can't live without them. Maybe it's best not to have big plans for your life. It's never going the way you plan. Who plans for loss?
Is it bad luck to be attracted to escape artists?
Remember that time she took me by the hand? She probably doesn't. I'll never forget it. Some memories fade. Some just burn.
Today would have been my mom's- ninety fifth birthday. I'm not sure if I'm more like her every day or if I just recognize it more every day. She was far too sensitive for her own good. Everybody treated her with the proverbial kid gloves. Every stray dog broke her heart. She loved more and she loved harder than anyone I ever knew.
She expected me to be perfect and I know that sounds difficult. Thing is, she thought I was. Everybody deserves that from a mom.