Let the Cold Wind Blow

Let the cold wind blow,
let the weak spots show,
let the gray hair go
’til it’s there no more.

Let the days roll by,
let the hours fly,
let ’em say goodbye
’til it’s you and I.

There’s just no reason
that I can find
to leave a bit of
this life behind.

Let the loose lips slip,
let the hipsters hip,
let the sinking ship
take a long, cool dip.

Let the world roll on,
let the foolish fawn
let both king and pawn
fade until they’re gone.

There’s just no point
that I can see
to let it bother
you and me.

Let the raindrops fall,
let the time just crawl,
let the engine stall
somewhere in the hall.

Let the earth just spin,
let them all back in,
let both thick and thin
come around again.

There’s just no reason
that I can find
to ever have you
off my mind.

15 JAN 2015

Daddy’s Little Girl

Sometimes it’s hard to know the right way to begin
Too often words don’t get me past the might have beens
The mistakes I’ve made that haunt me linger on
And it’s hard explaining just where I went wrong

Sometimes this life can be so bittersweet with tears
Too often what’s most precious to us disappears
Each choice we make can break the simplest dreams in two
And make it seem like giving up’s the thing to do

If I could change the past, and somehow make things right,
or make the sun shine through the darkest, deepest night,
turn all your tears to laughter and stop this spinning world
That wouldn’t be enough for daddy’s little girl.

Sometimes I think that you’re too young to understand
The way that life can break the best that’s in a man
Too often when I’ve tried, I’ve failed to live up to
The man I see reflected in your eyes of blue

Sometimes at night I sit and watch you while you sleep
The soft sound of your gentle breathing makes me weep,
Thinking hard on all the things your future needs
And I offer to your dreams this guarantee:

If I could change the past, and somehow make things right,
or make the sun shine through the darkest, deepest night,
turn all your tears to laughter and stop this spinning world
That won’t be enough for daddy’s little girl.

If I could pave your way, and make your future bright,
pull down the stars and let you hold them just one night,
dry all your tears so you could laugh in a new world
That wouldn’t be enough for daddy’s little girl.

There’s nothing I could do in this old crazy world
That would be enough for your daddy’s little girl.

19 DEC 2005

My friend Jeff Rachall was talking the other day about going Christmas shopping with his three-year old daughter, and how she was now at an age where you couldn’t sneak presents for her into the cart without her knowing it. Once they hit three, they become much more aware of somewhat covert actions, and are all questions — “What’s that?” “What’d you just put in the cart?” “Why are you hiding that from me?” and then, of course with curiousity piqued they are difficult to shake off so you can HIDE the things at home. I told Jeff it doesn’t get any better as they get older, because they learn all your hiding places and get MUCH better at wheedling the truth out of you. Anyway, I wrote this song thinking of Jeff singing it to his little girl, and maybe me singing it to mine.

You Can Come Home

One winter’s night a number of years ago in Boston, I was huddled in my small studio apartment on Boylston Street near Berklee College of Music. It was a cold December evening, and as I recall I was broke and in fact sitting in the dark because the electric bill had not been paid. I did have a battery operated radio, however, and a squeaky and somewhat effective radiator in the corner, as well as a number of cigarette butts with a few drags on them. In other words, not rock bottom, but pretty near the shoals.

I was listening to some late-night Grateful Dead program (I think syndicated, but who knows now), and they were playing “deep” cuts. In the midst of my depressingly cold scene came a hauntingly beautiful song — probably one of the most beautiful songs, in terms of sheer lyricism and fragility, that I had ever heard. It was I Will Take You Home, words by John Perry Barlow and music by Brent Mydland.

I have heard this song only once; that evening, and never again. But as soon as it finished on the radio, I picked up my guitar and wrote the following song.

When all the sad Romeos you call companions
have found their way back to the night;
and all your engagements for debutante stages
aren’t coming as fast as they might;
when the crowd you enamored decides you’re a scam
and finds some other queen for your throne,
and you’re trying not to weep, trying to sleep, trying so hard
to forget that you’re sleeping alone,

when your circle of friends fades to lines on the mirror
that tell you the years have gone by,
and your social connections just send their condolences
(sorry, they just can’t stop by);
when the world outside your side of which you’re so petrified
just might be nothing at all,
I’ll be around when there’s nobody else you can call.

When you’ve played Cleopatra and Anthony’s gone,
and your lovers have found other roles;
when the rest of the blessed have begun to confess
they’ve no need for your broken down soul;
when your audience turns from compassion to apathy,
leaving the theater bare,
and you’re trying not to weep, trying to sleep, trying so hard
to forget that there’s nobody there;

when you’re shunned like a leper by all the pretenders
you thought were your very best friends;
and the children you’ve raised turn their backs on you,
leaving you to wander alone ’til your end;
when you’re old and turned gray, and they take you away
’cause you can’t seem to find your way home,
I’ll be around when you don’t want to be all alone.

When all your imagined battalions of Galahads
fade back into the mist,
and you find your influence has faded to nothing
and you’re not so hard to resist;
when those princes on horseback find some other maidens
to seek out and rescue from pain,
and you’re trying not to weep, trying to sleep, trying so hard
to pretend that it’s all still the same;

when the dreams you were promised turn out to be nightmares,
and all of your hopes turn to tears;
when your vanity fades and you pull down the shades
and think back on the faraway years;
when you’re lost in the night, and even the cold moonlight
has left you, and you’re all alone —
I’ll be around when you need me to take you back home.

You can come on home.

1993

Samadhi

Fumbling to ecstacy
One nerve cell at a time
Approaching some nirvana
Piecemeal, by the inch, sublime
At the end of fingertips
Extended like a drawl
Until the whole skin breathes in
each moment’s alcohol
From the toes along the chakras
glowing honeyed fire
as the entire body vibrates
with divine desire
Waiting, the anticipation
as the space grows close,
is almost as good as getting —
well, not quite almost.

13 JAN 2005

Looking Back at Years of Writing

I seek an answer in the shadow of these years spent wandering and lost; in crumpled notebook pages that mark a trail of desperation and precocious notions, sex-crazed teenage dreams stained with cigarette ash and the half-mad scrawl of an anguished and lonely soul wanting only to belong to something worth belonging to, something real. I see behind these quaint reminders that the poet I have become has been now thirty years in the making — even at nine years old there were signs of a kind of infectious madness. Believe me, I have dissected my own work over the years with a sharper scalpel that any high-priced psychiatrist could possibly envision.

There is something that draws me to this earlier incarnation. Something that is antithetical to that which can be defined as an American experience. The experience garnered by growing up in America. That experience is the preponderence of ambition and the absolute lack of lofty ambition.

To give oneself without question or pause to a life of the mind, in a nation that worships the life of the body, to produce, to commerce, to practicality. That is the madness that I see forming in myself at an early age. The curse of having read, by the time I was 12, of the history of the entire world without having the limiting prejudice of American interests being of foremost importance. To wonder, at age 10 or so, what the Native Americans really thought of Columbus, echoed perhaps by Flip Wilson’s line “and the Indians paid not much attention to Chris and his boatload of Spaniards, being busy celebrating ‘Not Having Been Discovered Yet’ day…”

I search the landscape of the American mind, and I find no great philosophy to unify the innermost spiritual quest of mankind, but rather Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Eli Whitney — inventors of practicum to make this world, not the next, the happy hunting ground.

And I wonder about Thomas Jefferson. The line “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…” Certainly, it can be intepreted to mean that all humans are created, that is conceived in the same manner — in fact, in the exact manner of any of the mammalian species — by the coupling of a male and female of that same species for the purpose of generating offspring. In that sense, yes, they are created equal. Yet, beyond that simple act of conception, there is no real equality. And it is not that act that gives life — as there are obvious and numerous examples of human coitus that do not result in fertilization. Life is something else altogether; not bestowed by human parents, but rather by a cooperative massing of the energy of the universe into a particular manifestation. Once that manifestation announces itself vocally, it is indeed for the intents and purposes of reincarnation, alive. At any time prior it could, with the cooperation of universal energies beyond the scope of human manipulation, cancel its current mission and await a more fortuitous venture. But that is another point, altogether. As Krishna said to Arjuna at a critical juncture, when Arjuna was bewailing his required task of slaughtering countless relations and other worthy soldiers … you can no more in reality end their lives than you can create them anew. True life and death are beyond your control; you are merely an agent for forces outside your mortal comprehension. But back to the creation of equals. Certainly, in the studies of genetics that have been pursued since the time of Jefferson, it is clear that the concept of equality at creation is slightly in error. Genetics give one a stooped back, receding hairline, penchance for physicality, prediliction for speech, brain size shape and characteristics. Certainly creation as equals requires equals as parents. But that is another story.

Enough of this for now. I will return to this theme later.