Thursday, February 28, 2019

Next Time I Dance

This blog is analogous to my long music career. 

"Don't you want to be famous, Ronny? Don't you want to be rich?"

Oh, I had moments when people in my life told me that gold records and teeming crowds were right around the corner. I'm pretty sure I always knew better. 

Here's a secret: the socially awkward want to communicate. We're just not very good at it. I suppose I sang when I wasn't quite able to talk. I played when I couldn't bring myself to ask Alison to dance. I wrote songs to express my feelings that I didn't dare reveal. All I had to do was make 'em rhyme.

Once, while visiting some forgotten blog site, a pop up appeared, asking, "Start your own blog?"

Sure! Why not?

After six or seven years, I do most of my communicating here. I didn't know back then what I was doing. Still don't. I've told a handful of folks, that I can't see, about every tear and every guffaw and every loss over those years.

It must have been the third grade when I started scrawling Alison's name on my notebook. Did I want her to notice? Did I hope that her friends might tell her?

I don't know. Probably.

These days I bare my soul and slip in messages like notes in bottles tossed overboard into the worldwide web cosmos. Do I pray that her friends will tell her?

I don't know. Probably.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Lightning Struck The Lovely Assistant

Did I remember my love shot this year? Oh, who am I kidding?

They said he died of a broken heart, unable to work in his beloved New York City. The coroner seemed to agree. He ruled it a heart attack. The cops, of course, were suspicious. Cynical. My friend, who had been with him that afternoon, mentioned Puerto Rican girls and an eightball.

The revenge of the buffalo and the snowy egret creep through the land of the unwashed and the unwanted. I do my version of praying in the Church of the Living Swing. With radio on life support, it feels like I should be wringing my hands. Instead, I find myself wanting to see it put out of its misery.

Hot dog, buddy, buddy.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

An Open Letter To Morgan

Dear Baby Boy,

Since I never had children, maybe you will shoulder the burden of my advice. I don't claim to be good at this. I just care and I'm captivated by your beauty and your perfection.

You're lucky like I am. You were born into a loving family. Every single person that those impossibly blue eyes struggle to fix in focus adores you. In baby terms, that makes you rich. Really rich. Over time, folks will try to teach you that being rich has something to do with money. Cars. Houses. Prestige.


Hopefully, somebody will put away a copy of this unsolicited dribble and in fifty years you'll run across it and remember that. You love now. In fact, you love perfectly now, right from the factory.

What they call growing up is hard and it's complicated. Things will hurt your feelings. People will hurt your feelings. That's just part of the game. You come from unnaturally kind people. Every one of them will be anxious to show you. Some of us will be dying to tell you tales of the kindness of some of the ones who have gone. Funny stories, too.

By the time you are capable of reading this, the world will be a very different place than it is now. Some things will be the same. Those things will always be the same.

You will crawl and then you'll walk. School will begin to show you that there are other people in your world. After what seems like a long, long time, you will fall in love. This is the very best part. There is no preparation for this. Oh, I talk about it all the time. I write poems and songs about it but I can't come close to explaining it.

Around this same time there will be pressure to "grow up." Don't let testosterone, yours or anyone else's, get in the way. You come from extraordinarily gentle people. Strong, gentle people.

The world will need your kindness and your strength. There will always be living beings that need you. Be generous with your love and your time and your attention. Don't worry, you'll never run out of any of it. You're never wasting time when you're loving.

There was only one time that I ever talked to my own father. I was already grown and it was by telephone. I'll leave you with the line that he used to close our short conversation: "You be a good boy."

With all the love in my heart, your cousin,

Monday, February 25, 2019

If I Had The Words

Thou shalt not steal. I'm not big on thievery, gun or fountain pen. If I had the vocabulary, though, I would steal her heart. Oh, I would rhyme and I would soar and I would explain the mysteries of the universe.

What chance would she have?

Maybe I should just buy a lottery ticket or lose twenty pounds.

What about law school? Breath mints? A new car? 

Nobody's passion lasts forever. That's what I've heard. Pretty sure it's already been forever.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Last Of The Kentucky Buckshots

Then it's settled- we ride at sunrise. I have tilted at windmills for all of my long life. Now, good and evil battle it out all around me. For me, the decisions come down to love and power. Feel free to substitute "money" for "power."

As a kid, my path was pre-determined. Yours, too, by the way. I knew right from wrong. It was reinforced and supported, mostly with love. Occasionally corporal punishment was added.

"Ronny, go cut me a hickory switch."

I would bring Grandma the flimsiest little twig that you can imagine.* Then I would cry my eyes out while she brushed the pitiful sprig lightly, ever so lightly, against my tiny legs. The crying was all about disappointing Grandma.

Maybe I'm the luckiest guy who ever lived. I've done a few things for money. I've done most things for love. I spent all the money. Wasted it by most consideration. I've still got the love. Every bit of it. You keep money in the bank. You keep love in memories.

Rock'n'roll is my currency. Dividends are paid in joy.


*No, no smaller. Much smaller.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Well Shook

Everything I do, I seem to do better by myself. Oh, I'm not bragging. I'm not even happy about it. I'm an only child. Never met my dad and mom worked. Didn't go to kindergarten. Never fit in and never knew it.

Legally blind hindered sports attempts, but let's face it, how much would you have expected of me at 20/20? Rock'n'roll came along and saved me once. Over the decades bands broke up. Seemed like the end of the world every single time. I've never been able to do it the right way, anyway. Not for money. Success. Airplay.

Romance? Well, sir, I'm Kareem Abdul-Jabar or Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart before I'm Casanova. Finally, I realize that I'm better off by myself at that endeavor. Every break-up always seemed like the end of the world, too.

I'm not complaining. I'll sit at the counter to keep from asking for a table for one.

Drive safely and take care of my heart.


Friday, February 22, 2019

Welcome, Sinners

Sometimes I refer to myself as a patient man. I know better.

"Whatta' I want?"

"Peace and love!"

"When do I want it?"


Seems to me that the cosmos has conspired to teach me patience. Now, dreams don't die. Sometimes they move seven hundred, or so, miles up the highway. If loss brings despair, maybe patience brings hope.

So the radio signal grows weaker and the muse fades from a gossamer dream to a sweet geographic void. Somehow, with a heart full of hope for whatever the future brings, I smile for her fantasies.


Thursday, February 21, 2019

Heart Medicine

All I know about the future is that it won't be anything like my plans. You have to leave before you can come back. Somehow, hate is fashionable again and hate breeds hate.

Preaching peace and love would seem to be inelegant.

Somehow it's all familiar to me. I'm most "at home" when I'm out of fashion.

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

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Panther Milk and Collard Greens

Dancers dance and jugglers juggle. Preachers preach and politicians lie. Babies cry. Bus drivers drive buses and soldiers kill. Babies laugh. I love.

If I ever told you that I put much effort into anything, I lied, and I'm surely no politician. Chasing dollars just seems mindless to me. Fame? What's it really good for? I'm sure that I have a definition of success here, somewhere. Ah, sweet sadness- take me, I'm yours.

It's not really goodbye.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

They Don't Just Leave, They Just Don't Leave

Over time- lots of time- I have come to accept the idea of physical loss. When Jamaica left me a year ago, the heartache crippled me. I knew that she was gone from here, but her place in my heart was safe and it is secure. Her barking woke me up one morning last week. Oh, I'm not crazy. We can just call it a dream. 

Maxine has been gone nearly seven years and Lottie gave up twenty-something years ago. Here I sit, crying tears of sorrow between tears of joy as I run through fields of love.

Sometimes they just leave. Me? I don't know if absence makes the heart grow fonder. Hearts have limits. Right?

Monday, February 18, 2019


If I had all the tea in China, I guess I'd drink that, too. If I've learned anything at all in my time here, it is that I'm just along for the ride. As I mull life decisions of the ones that I love, I realize that their judgements impact my life. 

So many of my songs predicted my course throughout my life. I have written so many lines that failed to make sense to me at the time that I put them into song, only to live out the reality later. Sometimes right away. Sometimes years later.

The Buddhist concept of harming the beloved by loving improperly is the centerpiece of life's puzzle for me. I suppose I'm gonna have to go back and listen to some more of my old songs.


Sunday, February 17, 2019

Knew It All Along

Dogs like me. Kids like me. I don't have a dog and I don't have a kid. Do you suppose that the universe conspires to grant me the solitude to write my masterpiece. First off, what the heck is a masterpiece?

In my head, it's all jazz and it's all mirrored hallways. Valentine's Day came and went. They all do eventually. If there are no voices in your head, maybe you're just not paying attention. I hope to wake up one day believing in heaven. That one day I don't wake up, I suppose I'll find out. Or not.

What kind of world would it be with no Tina Turner?


Friday, February 15, 2019

Around The Block

There's no pride in naivety. That's alright. I deal in illusion. Reality has never held much interest for me. As I watch those geezers mist up over their glory days, I thank my lucky stars for failure. Hey- if life gives you sour grapes, make bad wine.

Heaven? Well, I've had heaven. Most of my souvenirs are in the form of memories.

Don't hoard love. It has a shelf life.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Bleach and Vodka

Just don't ever take any of it too seriously, especially yourself. Me? I chased after it all until I couldn't get it. Then I didn't want it. Now it seems to chase me. Turns out Sunday school has served me well.

As an unsophisticated bumpkin who frets over rhymes, I feel uniquely qualified to espouse a lifestyle that centers on peace and love. 

What frustrated teachers as a distinct lack of ambition, I always wrote off as an aversion to competition. My heroes were ambitious, if I am to believe what I read. I'm not. Never was.

Oh, I'm not bragging. If you call it lazy, I'm not about to defend myself. Without a muse, I'm a goner. I've always cried over goodbye. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Old Stars

Can you explain to me again how a star burns itself out and a hundred years later I still watch it twinkle and shine. If I can't communicate with poetry, maybe I just don't have anything important to say.

My plan to make plans is a reminder of just how little control I have over the random events that make up my life. Remind yourself regularly that it all has an end. Love hard.

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

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Long Ago and Far Away

Dancing with liars will keep you on your best behavior. Dreams left me for a while. Oh, I kept dreaming, but everything was mundane. Now, am I the Benjamin Braddock in my own life movie? Ernest T. Bass? Have I kicked drama? 

Maybe it's time to accept things as they are.

Then again, it was probably that time a long time ago. My watch seems to have stopped.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Dreams and Stories

Who inherits the memories? There was a time, not so long ago, when I worried about what might become of my stuff once I'm outta' here. It dawns on me that it doesn't really matter. There's too much stuff in the world as it is.

The memories, now- that's another story. I feel like I tell stories that keep a part of my mom right here. My vocabulary is weighed down with archaic terms from my grandmother. I ramble on about Jamaica and Angel when nobody's around to listen.

Well, sir, I've seen Loch Ness and I've talked to Minnie Pearl. I've found myself in the middle of the mandala from Piedmont Park with the help of synthetic psilocybin. Clayton Moore gave me a Lone Ranger mask. Electric Lady still smelled new when I recorded there and my mother held me up to the bus window to shake Roy Rogers' hand. I saw the most wonderful hoochie koochie dancers that you can imagine and the experience brought me religion. I held Jimi's Marshall cabinets from the back in case he whacked them. He didn't.

To the great love of my life I revealed that I had once worked for the Russian mafia.

Ghosts have teased me and angels have sustained me. I was around for the joy of the birth of rock'n'roll and I mourned the end.

Maybe the memories are just more stuff, I don't know.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

My Brighter Dark Side

I have to admit that I'm suspicious of anyone who has never considered taking his or her own life. I don't consider myself a morbid guy. I'm not depressed, although, of course, I have my "glass half empty" periods.

If there was any kind of chance in my shaky belief system of reuniting with the folks that I have loved and lost, or any of my departed four legged friends, I would take the bus outta' here today.

We all live with memories that we call ghosts. Sometimes, angels.

There's a void that we call loneliness that can only be filled with new memories. Here's to the lonely. Here's to new memories.


Thursday, February 7, 2019

The Boss Of Me

Now, I've been the boss and I've been the worker. I've had some fine supervisors in my time. Producers. Editors. Managers. Agents. Brokers.

I believe that I can speak for all of them when I confide in you that I can't be bossed. There are, I'm not proud to add, women from my past who would use the term "pig-headed" to vouch for my assessment.

Oh, well.


Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Don't Start Me Thinking

Words are pretty much my only tools and, to tell you the truth, I'm tired of 'em. My thoughts become prisoner of a limited vocabulary and I grieve over what I am unable to express. 

Music helps. Every now and then a melody will express something that words can't handle. Beethoven. Lennon-McCartney. Glenn Miller. Dayna Kurtz.

There is so much more in my heart that I long to convey. Keeps me going.


Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Plant Seeds

Grace. I've never done anything with grace. It should come naturally to me. I've been around it all my life. Now dreams and rockets go up in smoke and I've learned to enjoy the show. 

Cursed with a good memory, I pore through old stories and old sweaters, looking for a second dose of satisfaction. How on earth did I get here?

I dry my palms and count my lucky stars. They're all my lucky stars.

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

Monday, February 4, 2019

Kindest Wishes, Warmest Regards

We worried that television would ruin our culture. Our love/hate relationship with the medium has taken some queer twists and turns over the decades. By 1949 there were nearly one hundred TV stations in the United States. In 1951 I Love Lucy  went on the air and the deal was sealed.

The movie industry worried that television, an "inferior" entertainment form, would spell doom for their business, just as radio had once fretted over motion pictures and newspapers had feared radio.

In fact, most historians agree that Walter Cronkite hastened the end of the Viet Nam war by merely telling us the truth on network television. Crusty, old Ed Sullivan brought us, first, Elvis and then, less than ten years later, the Beatles, to insure that rock'n'roll would change our culture and everyone else's, too.

When SpongeBob SquarePants upstaged Maroon 5, while five million bucks worth of fireworks couldn't stifle the yawns, television documented some kind of end of rock'n'roll, too, at last night's Super Bowl. I would be a lot more broken up about making any such statement if the poor old thing hadn't been on life support for so long. You do remember 50% of The Who boring us all to death a few years back, don't you.

As a consumer raised on television, movies, radio and newspapers; as a charter devotee of rock'n'roll, I feel qualified to put forth the notion that scale has greatly diminished all of them. I honestly don't know whether to feel sorry for a kid who will pay big money to see a skinny seventy-five year old hop around on a gigantic stage, surrounded by other aging millionaires, one hundred and two rows away, or share his excitement over his witnessing some form of history.

"How do you even know that it was Mick?"

"I could see him on the giant screen behind them!"

Well, now television is no longer limited to three networks. As I suddenly find myself working to catch up on the first season of Sex Education on Netflix, I see signs of change that even I might embrace. Keep in mind that this is a show that is meant for viewers fifty years younger than I am. It just happens to resonate personally for many reasons.

What's next? NFL? NASCAR? Be afraid, Simon & Schuster, Warner Brothers, Paramount, WWE-
be very afraid.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

A Puddle Of Protoplasm and the Religious Right

Just how desperate for affection do you have to be  before you beg? Why do we live in a world so short on love when everyone is born with a boundless supply? Somehow, I always thought that lonely had a limit. 

When I was a kid I always heard of "bottomless wells." That was a thing in rural Alabama. I remember asking Aunt Noot and Uncle Murray, "Is that a bottomless well?," wherever we went. It was a concept, like ghosts and haunted houses, that made for a kid's nightmares.

Here's to the lonely.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Long Gone

There was a day I would have had her. Oh, I don't mean to brag. I was socially awkward then, too. I just didn't know. I'm not quoting from some old blues song here, my love was like a heat-seeking missile. When it hit me, whatever it is, nothing else ever mattered. I didn't eat, couldn't sleep. I spoke poetry. Not good poetry, but real poetry. Inspired poetry.

Now I write songs that will never be heard.

In human years, most things are behind me, good and bad. In butterfly time, I've just begun. Physical beauty is fleeting. Nobody seems more oblivious to that fact than the young, beautiful ones. Now I don't much care what anyone thinks of me as long as they don't think I'm unkind.