Thursday, April 2, 2020

2 Minutes. Go!

I feel like I should write a song,
But no one wants to hear it.
It’s long and convoluted, probably lacking spirit

And the melody’s all fucked.
It’s got no catchy breakdowns,
And the chorus is never the same twice.
 
It ain’t hummable. It sure ain’t nice.
 
I want to write a battle hymn,
But I’m goddamned tired of fighting.
I’m tired of arguing and lately;
I’m getting sick of writing.
 
No one’s listening see,
And I know how I feel.
I’d rather be stuck in an echo chamber than a hamster wheel …
Maybe.
 
Maybe I want to burn the whole fucking thing down.
Maybe I want to cover the world in bubble tape and kiss the babies.
Maybe I want a time machine, but hell, man. Times are rough.
We’re all tired. We’re all scratching itches we don’t want to talk about.
 
No one wants to hear that song. That story. It’s an old one. And it’s never been good.
 
I’ll just strum this C chord and pretend I’m understood.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

2 Minutes. Go!

Scowl

I’ve seen the best minds of my generation flirting with rebellion to drown in stagnation, scrambling, screaming through urban nightmare flash, chasing feeling in a world of anesthetic whiteness,

who were born too young to dream, choking on the dregs of the greatest generation, boomed into solitude by nascent parents, gnashing teeth against the ideals of their fight,

who skipped through the flashing, neon-dusk, telling stories of monsters and missiles and things that pass out drunk in the night,

who were told to dream big, then sent to institutions that taught them to have reasonable, bite-sized dreams, dreams that can be discussed in an elevator ride, over drinks, in the “safe nature” of a suburban golf course in the morning through a haze of lite beer and politics,

who crashed cars and parties and crashed hardest after years of baiting Nancy Reagan, getting off the train, these street kids, hustling change to change into powders and pills and bags and sometimes rent money, pouring desperation into Daddy’s Volvo,

who slipped through grimy punk rock clubs, slumming forties in parking lots, waiting for the beer to warm in sun-drenched sand,

who went to wars that we pretended weren’t wars,

who fought soldiers we pretended were enemies,

who died for rich men who were in conflict with rich men half a world away,

who went to lie on foreign soil in the oil-black night while Presidents smiled with bone-white teeth,

who found love in forbidden rooms, where Jesus never stayed, turned into a weapon by the ideologically barren suits selected by foreign powers to weaken the power of the citizenry,

who stumbled into flashing hospitals dragging unresponsive friends with pinprick pupils and hooded sweatshirts covered in blood and beer and bravado.

I’ve watched the country of my forefathers tarred and feathered, redesigned for easy sale, slipped under rugs of scandal and intrigue, left to rot on the vine of a dwindling independence, soft and brown and hollow in the sun while the sow bugs squirm,

and I have watched in horror, mind wrapped around the fruits of deceit, our inheritance chopped up and branded while old folks go bankrupt trying to die, while poor folks tell their children lies that they hope will help them sleep, eyes shut tight against the glare of nuclear dawn.

Friday, March 20, 2020

2 Minutes. Go!

Sunlight

The dust motes flirt through the gaps in the curtains; the air is ripe with potential. The trout are surfacing like a promise that things will never change, even though you know they will. The fish, the sun, the smell of wildflowers on the breeze. These spring salutations are what keep us going. Be like the dust motes; they’re just dancing.

Warm on your skin, the sun is the comforting arm of a loved one. The sun is holding you up. It is revealing the whole world in golden splendor. And the sun belongs to everyone. Rich, poor, black, white, happy or sad. The sun don’t care. It’s just there.

So let’s sing a song of wonder. Point our voices toward the heavens and call the sun right down. Say, hey man, it’s cold down here. It’s lonely. We need every ally we can get. Bring on the sun.

 

Clowns

It’s time to hit the voting booth, let’s send in the clowns. They’re painted up and ready, white teeth behind fake tans and optimistic hairstyles. How many of them can you pack into this little car? How many riders can we fit on this bill? How much bullshit can I shove down the throats of the working class?

Send. In. The. Clowns.

They’re juggling half-truths and taking pie charts to the face. They’re all together and it’s one big race. There’s money to be made, motherfucker. It’s ace.

Send. In. The. Clowns.

This one’s short and this one’s fat and this one’s a woman and this one’s black.

Send. In. The. Clowns.

It’s all a ruse. It’s all a con. It’s suspension of disbelief and it’s gone all wrong, but they’re coming for you – won’t be long…

Send. In. The. Clowns.

And when it’s all said and done … when they tear the big top down … hell, you can’t complain. You bought your ticket and you got your show. We’ve got overhead. We’ve got to buy more face paint. A trillion dollars’ worth. You wouldn’t want us clowns to go away, right? That’s right.

Send. In. The. Clowns.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

2 Minutes. Go!

Tell the smallest boy to go and warn the others; set up a perimeter and stay focused. Don’t let doubt run you out. Don’t let anger warp your vision. You want your eyes clear so you can see the SIGNS. Hear the whistles. Please don’t throw me into all that thistle…

When the white man barks, you throw him what he wants – don’t matter if you agree with it, you got your pick of octogenarians. Sure, if they were animals we would have shot ‘em by now, but they’re propped up with money, lies, and backroom bargains. Shit just bounces off their Teflon teeth. What, you think you got what it takes? Try it. An old man with marble teeth will stick his finger in your chest because it’s been too long since he got his ass handed to him.

Gather all the lies about you; never let the people doubt you. You are bulletproof as long as you keep on smiling, keep hedging, and keep using thirty words when you should use three. Go ahead and switch your style as you move about the country. Chameleons are hard to pin down.

Talk about how you respect women and they’ll never suspect. Talk about how you grew up learning hard lessons. Even if you didn’t. The people who actually learned hard lessons will be too tired to call you out. Make up a patriotic reason your kid died. Funnel money to the daughter you want to fuck.

What if they take their faces off?  Scalpel around the edges and the orange hair goes above the aviators and Clorox smile. The bodies are swapped and no one knows who to vote for. How much you want to bet it wouldn’t make a goddamn difference? They’ll never swap out the folks behind the curtain.

So, go ahead and get outraged. Get passionate. Get loopy. Be irrational. Vote! Pretend like you’ve got this shit on lock cause, son, the reality ain’t gonna sit so well. 

Thursday, March 5, 2020

2 Minutes. Go!

Ready. Set. Go.

Open up the shit tap. Let. It. Flow. You might just want company, but I. Can't. Go. I've been reaping mad rewards that I. Ain't. Sow.

What's it got me? Spry dichotomies. You can step to us, but accept that there's a lot of me's.

I just saw a blackbird, bitch was crazy loud. I've got lots of friends to call, but I'm. Too. Proud. I'll sidle up beside you, but no touching allowed. By the time you get to Memphis, I'll be lost in the crowd.

And call me when you're crying, when you're dying, lying low. Curse me when you wake up and ain't got no place to go. Tell my story when I'm gone, the folks have a right to know. I'll be floating like a spider silk when the cold wind blows.

Don't you lose no sleep about it; I'll be good and gone. I'll be sitting on the devil's shoulder, singing him a song. And you won't shed a tear for me, no, you'll be strong. The days are sad and lonesome when the nights are long.

Burn a candle by the window, girl, and smile when you sing. Open up the shutters to the wonders that they bring. Tie yourself in circles like a silly, drunken string. You've made it through the winter, and it's almost time for Spring.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

2 Minutes. Go!

Fear

They’re never going to hear you. They want you to shout so they can single you out. Best bet is to keep your head down, pretend you just can’t hear the sounds. The tallest blade of grass gets whacked by the mower blade. Ask Martin Luther King, Jr. Ask Kennedy. Ask Malcom X. Ask Lincoln.

Naw, they don’t want to hear you. They want to solicit opinions so they can weed out the dissenters. Here, take this census... Do you own property? No, a renter? Fill out this form. Do it properly. We’ve adjusted it so you don’t have to fit into as many boxes. Then, we’ll take y’all out like a million small poxes.

Stand on this soapbox, but, boy, don’t slip. You’ll hit so hard, you’ll never recover from it. You’ll suffocate under the happy notions and rallying songs. No one said anyone was doing anything wrong. We’ve all got different opinions, carefully carried by our minions.

Vote if you want to. It will make you feel good. But it might not effect the changes it should. Not happy? Stand up. Be counted. All this turmoil can be surmounted. You just got to stand inside this box real quick…trust me, it’ll be a gas.

 

Car

Yours isn’t nice enough; you must be poor. Yours burns gas; you must hate the environment. Yours is so clean; you must have your shit together. Old fries on the floorboards? You pathetic piece of garbage trash. Why you need a sports car? Compensating? Why do you drive that old piece of shit; ain’t you got no ambition?

You put stickers on your bumper, and I hate you for it. You have no brand loyalty, so that makes you a car whore. Why do you hate technology, mine has a built in laptop. Stick shift? Luddite. Automatic? Soulless heathen; do you even drive, bra?

Nobody could love somebody drives an old hoopty like that. No girls are gonna ride in your Mustang. No real man would drive a Mini Cooper. What kind of crazy lesbian drives a truck? Aren’t you supposed to have a Subaru Outback?

You ride a motorcycle, you selfish, stupid dirtbag? You ride a bike, you hippie piece of liberal garbage? You take public transportation because it makes buying heroin easier, huh? You don’t have a car?

Go back to Russia, Commie.

 

Redemption

I’m gonna show everybody. I’m down so low, I got nowhere to go but up. Or sideways, but I ain’t going sideways; I’m chasing salvation. I’m fixing to blast the stain right off me. I’ll buff that shit out and make it shine; no one’s got a long enough attention span to press rewind.

Haven’t you been listening the preacher? It don’t matter what you do – you just got to own it, ask forgiveness. What you want to do is rack those sins up early, so you can atone in plenty of time. You want to make them sign that non-disclosure agreement. You got to get ahead of that bad press coverage.

Yeah, you’re a dick to your kids, but you’ll be a great Grandpa. I know, I know, you’ll quit drinking tomorrow. Look. This is America. It doesn’t matter how you run the race. It don’t even matter if you cheat. What matters is how you look on the platform. Shiny? People like shiny.

The afterlife will sort things out. Figure out who gets saved and who gets tortured. Let go and let God, son. Redemption is for sale everywhere; you just got to know where to look. I’m waiting on the Rapture. I read about it in this big, black book.

Reparations are overdue. We’ve annexed the country for the chosen few. Yeah, second chances sound real nice, but what the hell are you gonna do?

Thursday, February 20, 2020

2 Minutes. Go!

Pie

The sun filters through the lace curtains, lands on the doily no one is allowed to touch. The light bounces off the old, scrubbed mixing bowls. The light twists the sounds of the morning: chickens, grumbles, early morning throat clears and tired farts. The sounds of the world waking up.

On the table, beneath a layer of steam, there are wonders. There are biscuits, freshly made and topped with sausage grave and sunnyside eggs. There is bacon. There is a pan of crisped up potato, and there is a jug of orange juice next to the coffee. The orange juice is from concentrate. Everything else is fresh. 

There is a peach pie. This is the crowning glory. There it is, fresh and made from scratch. Around it, there are strips of leftover pie crust covered with sugar and cinnamon. Grandma called these pieces “Indian Strips” and when you’re young, you don’t think about what that means; where that name came from. You just eat until you’re too full to eat anymore. And then you go fishing.

 

Sleeping

You close your eyes and reality shifts. You are lost between two worlds, each viable, each filled with happiness, confusion, betrayal and regret.

You swim through the images in your mind, gasping. If you open your eyes, you will be forever lost, forever wandering, forever chasing what you think of as sleeping. You have convinced yourself of the veracity of dreams.

You are living multiple lies, and several trips back to the well can’t solve that. Returning to the source ain’t gonna work for you. You need to find your own idols to destroy, boy. This ain’t the scouts.

You try to tell the world your story, but the world. Don’t. Care. You try to find your old t-ball coach, but he’s. Not. There. You are corrupted, your files are compromised. You have stretched yourself between two worlds because you could not choose, and, in not choosing, you made the biggest mistake of all.

To sleep. Perchance to never wake again.

 

Sadness

There are broken songs in the corners of the room, shards of rhyme and meter. You cast them away from you, but you only change their form. They will live in snippets that get locked into you; they will end up in the legs of your old trousers; whole choruses will hide under piles of dirty laundry.

There is heartbreak oozing from the pages that fill up your bookcase. Your computer is shouting at you. You are lost in a maze of self-doubt and haunting melody. You are facing a barren wasteland.

Outside, there is sun and hope. Inside, there are old food dishes and movie snippets. They dance around the middle school memories that stalk you in your sleep. You can learn so much about yourself from the traumas that you keep.

The TV wants you to know that you are alone. The New Yorker gives you more than you could ever need to read. The food you eat will keep you from dying. What more could you ask for?

Joy?