Sunday, March 31, 2019

Absence and My Heart

Never a good sign when old Connie Francis songs play in your head. Well, maybe if you're old Connie Francis, it's okay. I'm not. It's not. This is one of those days where I feel like I'm running out of passion.

Would I trade the internet for rock'n'roll? Well, yeah, I suppose I would. I'm not nostalgic. I'm aware that there's good music out there. For the most part, it's just not on the radio. I see good people everywhere. Well, almost everywhere. They don't seem to run governments very often. Banks, either. Churches. 

Where are the heroes?

Is the deck stacked against Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? Beto O'Rourke?

My memories of JFK are complicated and conflicted. While I idolized him, I also took him for granted. Until they took him away, that is. The only time in my life that I ever skipped school was to go see President Kennedy speak. He lived another week.

Those were the days when I was lucky enough to see and hear Shirley Chisholm, Buckminster Fuller, Dick Gregory and so many idols who will come to mind as soon as I walk away from the keyboard. Inspiration was in the ether.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

How Do You Like Me Now?

All the great music is soul music, the simple and the complex. Spring brings renewal. You can feel it. Love, though, is ancient. It's all connected. Am I rambling? 

Well, I write short songs but they're all of a piece. I'm just smart enough to know that I don't have anything important to say, but I've got all of the secrets of the universe for you.

The radio saved me once, now who's gonna save the radio?

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Scooters and Skates

Do you know a guardian angel when you see one? Everything exists if you believe it exists. Check all that apply.

1. Santa Claus
2. Democracy
3. Walking On Water
4. Evolution
5. Tooth Fairy
6. God Is On Our Side
7. Virgin Birth
8. Love Conquers All

Maybe it's better to end up a fool than to risk living life as a cynic.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019


Me? I'm a thousand volts, two thousand horsepower. I'm supercharged and bored and stroked. I could probably use a balance job, but then, who among us doesn't? Trouble is, I came into life with a governor. Rubber to the road problems, you understand?

A friend recently asked, "You don't consider yourself a poet?"

I tried to explain that I like velvet pants and lace on my sleeves. 

I'm no more a poet than I am a beatnik. A writer. An actor. 

This character was formed over such a long time that I can't tell much more about it than you can. Don't know much geography.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Burning Rubber

If they sold happiness, rich folks would buy it all. As it is, salesmen trick them with diamonds and "fine wine." They will determine which art is worth tens of millions of dollars, thank you.

The rest of us got jazz and, then, rock'n'roll because descendants of slaves invented those musical art forms for fun. They were free and we hadn't allowed those oppressed folks much of anything. Elvis came from what we called poor white trash, stock just a notch above the Negro in this culture.

Of course, white men "bought" the rock'n'roll business and turned it into a commodity. How much will you be willing to pay to see some really old British guys hop around onstage in a sports arena from forty seven rows up. 

That's Mick! That's Mick! I can see his wrinkled face on the big screen. It's gotta' be him! Don Knotts is dead.

Oh, I'm not against personal wealth. Wait- yeah, I suppose that I am. I seem to have spent most of my life denying that fact. I've always had my eye on the ones who need our help while trying to make sense of golden plumbing fixtures.

This new gilded age reeks of dishonor.

Here's to the women and men of means who are using their resources for good. Here's to my beloved rock'n'roll.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Break It Up, Break It Up

Don't ever fall out of love. Who am I to give advice on love, you may fairly ask. Well, sir, I hate to brag, but I'm something of an authority on the subject. The secret, if, indeed, there is a secret, is to leave expectations at the door. Everybody wants to be loved. No exceptions. If you love, though, expecting to be loved in return, hearts will almost definitely be broken. 

Oh, I have friends who have been together for ages. Some of them are happy. Most of them accept feeling secure.

Lots of songs that I can think of are about falling in love. I can think of a lot more about broken hearts. Not many come to mind about ten year anniversaries. 

You have to admit that I'm not bursting many bubbles here. The history books are filled with the tales of Marilyn's romances; FDR's affair; Angelina's flirting; JFK's dalliances. Honestly, I'm surprised that there has never been a movie about Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher and Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Poor Sybil Williams seems to end up on the cutting room floor.

Please understand that when I boast of my knowledge on the subject of romance, I am referring to my failures. I know, first hand, of every mistake that a lover could make. I'm not being rough on myself. I'm pretty sure that I did the best I could. For the times that I wasn't kind, I am truly sorry.

For those who do live in longtime bliss, I toast you. You know how lucky you are.

For the rest of us, here's to love. Here's to romance.


Saturday, March 23, 2019

Buy Me Something!

What do you do when you run out of stuff to want? Oh, sure, there's world peace and immortality and magic powers, but on the practical side, I've run out of things that I covet. I browse through eBay randomly, looking for an item to spark that familiar fire. The last few purchases I made were rocks. Yeah, that's right. Rocks.

Last week I bought a guitar online. I knew before it arrived that I didn't care about it, didn't need it. I've only owned one guitar, ever, that really meant anything to me. Getting rid of it was the best part of owning it.

My hot rods were the center of my life for awhile. Boy, do I wish I had them back! Yeah, I could sell them again.

Then, of course, I would have money. Well, that's the most boring of any of it- unless, that is, you use it for key lime pie or jalapeño M'n'M's. 

Do you suppose that my lack of ambition is the result of my material fulfillment or just pure d- laziness?

Friday, March 22, 2019

Sewing On Sequins

As I snuggle with my little three-legged pal, Skip, from across the street, I'm reminded that we're all missing something. Is a three- legged dog unlucky? How about a dog with five legs? What's fair? Fairer?

Pal, I'll have to argue that there's no such thing as fairer. Either it's fair or it's not. While I'm picking semantics fights, let me say that nothing's fair. Somebody's always got more. Somebody's always got less.

Before this becomes a physics fight, let me remind myself that I'm here alone. It wouldn't be fair, pardon the pun, to ascribe the other side of this squabble to you. There is no you. Well, I suppose if you're reading this dribble, you're you!

I need a drink.


Thursday, March 21, 2019

Here's Your Hat, What's Your Hurry?

Music will find its place. Always does. I was lucky. Rock'n'roll was the center of all culture for most of my lifetime. Elvis was more important than Eisenhower when I was nine years old. The Beatles were "more popular than Jesus," according to John Lennon in 1966. Less well remembered was his followup quip:

"I don't know which will go first- rock'n'roll or Christianity."

What passes for rock'n'roll has nothing to do with the music that I grew up with. Oh, it's not the art form that repels me when rap plays. Woody Guthrie and Louis Jordan made great rap records. Don't consider accusing me of nostalgia. Their best work was made before I was born. Now, if you want to talk about Nervous Norvus or Bobby Marchan or Ken Nordine- guilty, as charged. I like good rap. I like good music.

As for Christianity, I'm sure it will find its place, too. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Don't Let It Rain

Herman Blount was born in Birmingham in 1914, but Le Sony'r Ra, or Sun Ra to me and you, was born on Jupiter. I don't know that he ever said anything about when. He told us that he was on a mission to teach peace and love.

Ronny Elliott was born in Birmingham in 1947. He's never been to Jupiter but he's been to Cuba. If he has a mission, and he insists that he does, he's here to teach peace and love, too. 

Sun Ra was a musical pioneer and I'm merely a rock'n'roll journeyman. We've both stooped to purple velvet and gold lamé, though. 

Did Herman hear voices? How would I know? Maybe if you don't, you're just not paying attention.

Love it or lose it, whatever it is. Truth is, we're gonna lose it all. Nothing lasts forever- nothing except love.

Monday, March 18, 2019

The angels keep singing...

...but I don't listen. I tuned them out long ago. I know their every melody and I know just what they're up to. I stole what I could and I moved on. Funny, moving on's not my specialty. You've probably noticed.

This world has gotten too small for me. That's alright, we've pretty much worn her out, anyway. Is there really anything sillier than a man's arrogance? Any time that I'm lucky enough to look into the eyes of an animal, I'm reminded of everything that I care about.

Babies have it. Keeping it is the problem.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Too Much Time In Shoes (Not Enough Time In Love)

Advice? Well, the best I can do is- Ask someone smarter than I am. I have taken a long time to figure out not to argue with folks who are not as bright as I am. Fortunately, the ones who are brighter than I am realized quickly not to argue with me.

Don't turn your back where you're needed but don't look for trouble. You will always find it. Look no further than cable news. Most of us have a hole in our soul.* I'm tempted, of course, to say all of us, but I don't argue with the holy.

You patch that hole with kindness and love and forgiving. You don't just patch it once. It requires maintenance.


*the hole in my sole

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Lightning Bugs and Horeshoes

When I was born one of the Wright brothers was alive. Orville, as I recall. I was born on a Monday. Meantime, stuff has happened.

Once I sat on a bench at a bar with two friends as they fell in love. 

Other stuff has happened, too, but not much of it interests me.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Old Time Fraud

The Black Bush is too dear to mix with Coke, but I like it, and there's no one here to shame me. You could say that I'm set in my ways or you might refer to me as stubborn. I'll answer to either of those. It's beautiful out on the front porch. I inhale pollen by the bushel while I sip my Coleraine concoction and chat with the lizards. I suppose I got that from Grandma. She talked to every jaybird and tree frog that came around. Oh, I talk to Grandma, too.

You see, I do all the old man things, but then, I guess I always did. I've made a pretty good old man but I'm not really comfortable in the role. I feel like a phony. To be honest, I really never was very good at the young man role, either. When I tell you that I'm not like the others, I'm not boasting. I don't apologize, either.

Rock'n'roll tried to save me. I wouldn't be saved.

To live a life out of fashion is nothing to be proud of. Neither is ending a sentence with a preposition.

Monday, March 11, 2019

More Dreams

Twenty years down the road. She's an old lady now. Oh, she's beautiful. Elegant. She's an old lady, though. It's all measured in years. She is mindlessly perusing a love quiz.

"Were you ever adored?"

Here's your opportunity. Oh, you're not in the picture. You were never in the picture, really. Well, maybe there was that moment, but even that moment was mostly your imagination.

Let's face it- you never offerd anything. You never had anything to offer. Whatever you might have had was squandered long before she existed in your sliver of life.

Was she everything simply because there was nothing else there? I can't say. I don't think so. I've had a life with everything already.

She doesn't answer the question, not even to herself. She smiles, though. It was always that smile.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

A Sinking Feeling And Hope

Well, sir, I went to bed with the blues and I woke up feeling just fine. I've already set the clocks ahead and the ghosts in the house are confused. Me? I'm thinking- "You guys are having trouble with the concept of manipulating made-up time while I have to struggle with the concept of ghosts?"

Come this next record, I am going to make up for not writing in waltz time enough. 

Maybe I'll hold out for happy songs, too. Probably can't have it both ways.


Saturday, March 9, 2019

All The Kings And All The Queens

If my memory ever begins to fade, I hope it starts with the bad ones. Maybe it's already rolling. I seem to have mostly sweet memories. I'm pretty sure that some bad things have happened. I mean, let's face it, I've been here for a good, long time.

Nobody has come back from the dead and, as far as I know, nobody has come back from the future. Those concepts make for fine religions and movies. Seems queer, somehow, that it's so hard to keep the mind tethered to the here and now, doesn't it?

Maybe if I were better company, I would enjoy spending so much time with myself.

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

Thursday, March 7, 2019

To A Higher Or A Lower Standard

Everybody needs somebody to watch over them. Some of us rely on angels. Angels, like ghosts, I suppose, exist when you believe in them. Everyone needs a raison d'être, too- a reason to exist, to live.

As a tongue-tied, socially awkward, rambling, would-be Lothario, I have struggled to express my intentions. In a more perfect society, I would not have been allowed, by law, to flirt. Date. Dance. Certainly not marry. I have witnesses for you, character references. 

Poets may offer to tear out their hearts. Throw themselves over cliffs. My offers ring just a little too true. Heck, I scare me

Of course, I'm harmless but a few miles makes all that a little more clear and a guardian angel's work doesn't rely on geography. It's all done with wires. Smoke and mirrors. Love.


Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Wrapped Around My Finger

I've read about the smell of pennies but I don't really know what pennies smell like. It occurs to me slowly that I have spent way too much time worrying about this kind of thing. Worrying about anything, now that I think about it. Maybe I've run out of things to worry about.

All I really want is to lie on a fancy daybed, sip green Kool Aid, and listen to Little Richard. Maybe Duke Ellington. Maybe mango shakes. White Russians.

Who am I kidding? I'll be fretting about something before the sun goes down. That's what I do. I worry.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Mostly, They Don't Think Of You At All

Mired in the muddle of their own drama, most folks haven't made room for you in their dreams. Maybe another reason not to take any of this life too seriously? Could be that you really are the one that got away. Doesn't much matter if it never occurs to them.

Life is full of these mean jokes. If your god's not a real joker, maybe you're not paying attention. Maybe you've got the wrong god. Don't blame me. I don't even work here.

Ambition and art both run north and south. They don't intersect. If you sing for fame and fortune, I'm sorry. Sing for all the same reasons that the birds sing. Love makes the world go 'round but gravity pays the bills.


Sunday, March 3, 2019

Keep The Change

The loose rubies I keep with all the broken glass in the solarium. It all sparkles but it's been years since any of it brought me real joy. These are the days when I'm reminded that I know too much.

Oh, I'm not particularly intelligent. I don't pretend to be wise. The nature of mankind, however, revealed itself to me over donkey's years. Kindness and truth, always in short supply, have become exceedingly rare.

Now, don't bring me any religion that's not centered around laughter. Don't trust the guru who doesn't smile. You don't have to get the joke, my friend. Laugh at another one.

Don't wait for love. Love.


Saturday, March 2, 2019

Flattened By Force

Do you suppose that I write what they don't want to be obstinate or do you think that this might be the best I can do? I have a faint memory of a geometry test in the eighth grade. Our entire grade was to be based on a final exam that consisted of drawing blueprints of a home that we designed in class. I drew an igloo. We hadn't covered circles. 

Mr. White failed me. I thought it was a pretty good igloo.

My heart goes out to the women who have ignored me. I would like to tell you that I have good intentions. Truth is, I've probably not had many intentions. I hope I have been kind.