Monthly Archives: August 2009

Face to Face

We reconnect through wireless means –
no strings attached, just memories
like wisps of smoke we can’t inhale
without a self-accusing stare.

Like ghosts, we shuffle wall to wall
and watch as life unfolds somewhere,
where we could be, on different paths,
some roads less traveled, others not.

We fondly look in retrospect
at days long gone, and former lives;
our innocence, perhaps, our joy –
some part of us we think now lost.

It’s just illusion that we weave,
this semblance of the village square
that in an instant may be gone.
It’s really just us, standing there.

And what do we have left say?
Not much. We share our politics,
or random thoughts about the world
that make us feel as if we care

beyond this circle in the dust
of wild electrons spinning ’round
that gives us substance in this mist
and makes us seem alive again.

26 AUG 2009

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Gladrags and Cold Bags

Pop Hymes, drummer extraordinaire, Natchitoches fishing legend and general all-around bon vivant, is fond of telling jokes, particularly ones that focus on musicians in some way. For example:

Three guitarists arrive at a studio to audition for a band. The first one is called, goes into a side room and finds the rest of the auditioning band waiting. He does his thing. When he’s finished, the listening drummer shakes his said and says, “sorry, man, you’ve got too much loft.”The first guitarist is not sure what that means, but understands the rejection. He returns to the waiting room, and signals the second guitarist to go on in. The second guitarist completes his audition, and this time, the bass player grimaces and shakes his head – “sorry, dude, too lofty.” Likewise rejected, the second guitarist confusedly goes back to sit down. The third guitarist finally goes in for his audition. When he’s finished, the lead singer says, “Nope. You’ve got desire, but your performance suffers from loft.”At this point, the third guitarist goes back outside and joins the other two previous guitarists, who are waiting to see if any of them got hired. One says, “I don’t know what these guys want. They said I had too much loft! What the hell is loft?”The other two guitarists describe their experiences too. None of them can figure out what “loft” is. So they decide to find out. They return together to the audition room and say, “what is loft, anyway?”The drummer shakes his head, laughing. “It’s not loft. It’s LOFT. Lack of F***ing Talent.”

This reminds me of things my father used to say:

“You should probably sing tenor. Ten or twelve miles away.”

“Why don’t you take a solo? So low we can’t hear it.”

“You ought to be in Hollywood. The walk would do you good.”

And my favorite …

“You should be on the stage. It leaves in five minutes.”

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A definition of punk

You know how you can tell if it’s REAL punk music? And not stadium punk, pop-punk or some other homogenized derivative? Real punk draws you into thinking and reacting to the world personally, as an individual. Not as one of the lighter-lifting masses, but as a unique voice of dissent. You may be singing the same lyrics as the person next to you, but you’re separately digesting their meaning.

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It’s all exposed online, you understand.
My life is more or less an open book:
my birth, my education, then my work,
and shared, too, all too soon, sickness and death.

The details that might make my trip unique
are no more poignant, pithy or sublime
than those comprising your own story-line;
if you want juicy gossip, look within.

This fascination with the small details
that keeps us all so spellbound with delight
as constant updates try, in little bites,
to feed our self-important appetites:

where does it end? And can such urgent lives
except in death expect to find much peace?

10 AUG 2009

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Working on a Building

You are what you are because of your past daily habits. Day by day you must make or
break your body. You either build it up or tear it down. –
Angelo Siciliano (Charles Atlas)

The way we live our lives is not one choice

that made, concludes the match or casts the die

beyond a moment’s span or single day.

Like a deep breath once taken, it expires

and needs to be renewed, or else will fail;

and like that ring inscribed “this too shall pass”

that brought a sense of balance to a king:

when happy, knowing there was coming sad,

while in great sadness, finding seeds of joy,

so the decision that we make each day

to sow new life (or increment our death,

as Henry Miller put it so damn well)

determines who we are – not for all time,

but for each precious second of our lives.

07 AUG 2009

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Other Colors Besides Black

I often wondered, when I was a goth
(did we have that name back in ’85?)
about the downward spiral of the world;
and contemplated shadows, where I thought

the secrets of the universe were kept.
From chiaroscuro, I firmly believed,
a balance quite long-lost could be restored.
But just how deep I thought, I question now;

it could be I was restless, young and bored
with trying to achieve so-called success,
and plotted revolutions in my mind
that would require no real degree of work.

With who I used to be, I’d like to share
a lesson learned from twenty shadowed years:
there are so many colors besides black;
the only limits are imagined ones.

05 AUG 2009

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No Time But the Present

Time was when I used to write a sonnet a day – for about two years, if you care to look back through the archives here. 

I think it’s time to kick start that old tradition. You know the saying “There’s no time like the present”?

I could pretend that life is fine as is:

an endless string of cloudless, sunny days

that start and end in some exquisite bliss,

a smile that finds my face and somehow stays.

And yet, to just imagine such a place

seems such a boring, pointless waste of time;

to think that at least half the human race

is waiting to retire there, is sublime.

For most can barely make it through a day

without expecting more, right here and now;

Eternity? Quite frankly, there’s no way

to even fathom it. I think, somehow,

that what we have right now is all we need.

You use it, or you lose it. Guaranteed.

04 AUG 2009

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