Tag Archives: nostalgia

Reducto Nostalgia: quatorzain

Some folks who wax nostalgic will believe
that all the future’s answers can be found
back in a yesterday that never was
which lingers, like some land of make believe:

a place where truth and justice are dispensed
like manna from some wise heavenly host,
where doubt somehow is the only unknown,
and right and wrong are both clear and well-defined.

Like paradise, a place they’ve never seen,
just around some past or future bend,
this sentimental halcyon of yore
becomes the drug evangelic shills
use to addict, and thus enslave, the world.

14 APR 2017

Share This:

New Directive: glosa, glose, gloss

Back out of all this now too much for us,
Back in a time made simple by the loss
Of detail, burned, dissolved, and broken off
Like graveyard marble sculpture in the weather – Robert Frost

Back out? How far? To what remove?
What will that further distance prove –
that some great reset of the clock
will change the past, and thereby block

the entropy and slow decay
that brought us to the present day,
where we bewail our world’s demise?
How could that fate be a surprise?

The detail wasn’t burnt or lost
without our knowledge; we helped toss
those leaves onto the burning pile,
convincing ourselves all the while

that an ideal of greater good
was possible, if we just could
change everyone else without first
changing ourselves. That bubble burst,

and now we cry alack and woe.
We knew then how this thing would go:
that words like fate and destiny
sound empty, but our vanity

insists we cannot be to blame,
and seeks an Other we can name
as the great cause of the dismay
we see as the threat of the day.

Those better days of halcyon,
in truth, ’tis better that they’re gone;
Just ask the disenfranchised then
how golden was that age of men,

how green their grass, how free their reign,
in that time we think free from pain?
If you would enshrine some day gone
as when the world was good, dream on!

Back out? ’Tis but a wistful dream!
Instead: become, instead of seem,
a human soul that wants to grow
beyond the boundaries you know.

24 MAR 2017

Share This:

The Simple Life: a bucolic

The simple life, that free from care
and vain illusion we once led,
in whose embrace our flourishing
and true existence found their height,
and with such grace evolved from beasts,
abandoned filth and savage ways,
escaped the snares of worldly pride
and sought for truth in nature’s maze.

Such self-absorbing righteousness!

That such conceit we still embrace,
and seek as blessing, ignorance,
employing rusted tools, like faith,
to end mind’s curiosity
and in its place, raise slavish kings
who vilify a need to know,
and would in place of growth and life
sow stagnant rot along the rows.

Such self-deluding avarice!

To see the world, not as it was,
but in nostalgic make-believe,
a children’s picture book of lies
that in beasts’ mouths puts fancy speech,
and names as princes, lords, and queens
those fools who mock the sciences.
What folly, to convince the world
that free and soft, it ever was.

Such self-important bull!

There is no sweet and simple life,
and yet, those stories will outsell
the honest, plain and dirty truth:
that the world is rough and raw;
that those, when you seek bread, give stones,
are at least dealing straight enough
to offer tools, not empty air.

25 JAN 2017

Share This:

It’s Our Fault

If the world was better in your youth,
and kids had much more sense;
if things once great have gone to shit,
and nothing makes much sense,

you only have yourself to blame:
your parenting did this.
How damned convenient it must be,
what ignorance and bliss,

to vainly praise your parents’ ways
and how well you turned out.
Explain to me the reason why,
because I have some doubt,

why nothing that you learned so well
you passed on to your kids,
and how, despite your efforts,
our whole future’s on the skids.

2 APR 2014

Share This:

The soundtrack to our lives

Watching the Michael Jackson memorial in bits and pieces in between work, I noticed that so many mentioned his songs as the “music they grew up to”. And it made me think of two things:

First, I’ve always said the music you listen to is the soundtrack to your life. But thinking about it today, I realized that as a musician I deal with that differently than maybe a lot of non-musicians. You might think key moments, and the songs that are associated with those times, are like “the song that was playing when I lost my virginity”, “my first slow dance”, “music from that summer by the pool”, “my wedding song”. Maybe. But for me, the key music always involves my being a musician – the first song I performed for a girl, the first song I wrote, the song I wrote when my father died.

Second, “the music I grew up to”. Because it transports you to a different time, a time of “innocence”. Because you don’t listen to music anymore? Because music changed and you never did? Because you just “don’t understand kids today and their music”? REALLY? The first record I ever heard was Elvis. The second, the Beatles. But those records don’t inform or make who I am any more than Bauhaus’ Bela Lugosi’s Dead (the first time I heard it) or Mozart’s Piano Sonata No. 4 or Keith Jarrett’s Koln Concert or James Brown Live at the Apollo. Unless the movie is over, or you’re in a constant state of flashback, the soundtrack (which has to play at the speed of now, or die) is constantly changing. It evolves, or your storyline (and your character) never do.

I’ve always hated nostalgia, “oldies” radio formats, and revival musicals (like Grease or High School Musical X, that dare to presume that anywhere near the majority of people had a positive experience in high school, regardless of the decade they attended). Like Satchel Paige once said, “don’t look back…something might be gaining on you.”

I think it was Chris Rock who said that the music that is the most important to you in your life, that you remember the most fondly, is whatever happened to be playing at the time you first had sex.

Is that true? Personally, no.

My soundtrack is on an entirely different level.

Share This:

Solid Gold

Shall I repeat again tonight the songs
you heard last night and many nights before,
and soulless, mouth the words you sing along,
pretending love for money, like a whore?

Are these the only tunes worth your applause,
a tired set of worn nostalgic charts
you need pay no attention to, because
the words you have all memorized by heart?

Who needs a band to churn out these stale rhythms?
What point the years of study, toil and sweat
to learn an art that fades into a living,
a dream that drowns in years of sad regret?

It’s not as if your ears have ceased to listen;
more likely that you’ve truly ceased to care
if what you get for free is often missing
what makes it worth the time spent getting there.

And what good are your minds, if not for learning
what lies beyond the same old box you know?
When the old wood is gone that you’re now burning,
there will be no more forest, lest you grow.

Shall I repeat again the same old chorus,
because it makes you think the world unchanged
from when your life was once young and euphoric,
instead of grown decrepid and deranged?

There is no spark of life in your nostalgia.
It wastes new minutes pining for the old;
destroying youth’s creations, hope and beauty,
and building for them tombs of solid gold.

20 DEC 2007

Share This:

Back to Natchitoches

Big city living can be so unforgiving:
people running ’round everywhere.
Good chance your neighbors don’t care
if you ain’t got a dollar to spare.
Everyone looking for the next thing cooking,
but ending up hungry and mean –
man, that’s just not my scene.
I’d much rather just kick back and lean
against the front porch.

Honey, don’t you wish
we could go back to Natchitoches,
live that sweet, simple life once again:
hanging with a few old friends
where the winding of the Cane River ends?
Wouldn’t it be nice to walk under the city lights
with that bright Christmas moon up above?
You and I could fall in love
all over again.

Big city bustle, the heartache, the hustle
of keeping ahead of the game
seems a mite bit insane
to anyone with half a brain.
Everyone crowded inside of a powder keg
shouting to hear themselves talk
behind their doublebolt locks.
I’d much rather just take a walk
through the pine trees.

Honey, don’t you wish
we were back home in Natchitoches
living the sweet, simple life once again;
hanging out with some new friends
where the winding of the Cane River ends?
Wouldn’t it be great
out at the pier on Sibley Lake
watching the lazy summer sun going down?
Where else is it so fine
just being in love?

Some tie their fate
to bright lights and the interstate,
hoping they’ll get pretty far.
Me I’ll stay satisfied
down by the riverside
my wagon hitched to a star.

23 NOV 2005

Share This: