Bless the Hateful

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To be oneself.

This is the most important, least exercised act of being a human. So much time is spent trying to be different, or cool…that everyone winds up being a drone in a herd of “individuals”. Oh, we can talk fashion…we can buck trends, we can point at “them”…and continue to chase the tail further.

To be true to your own thoughts.

That is the test of whom I love. Living your life according to your own desires, and living with the outcome is the greatest manifestation of being true. Sometimes it doesn’t work out. Sometimes it kills you. Sometimes your cup floweth over.

The greatest detriment to most individuals are those that are supposed to love and support them the most. Family, friends, associates, and the community they should thrive in. The fear of mockery, judgement or any variance of the norm weighs on the individual’s circle heavily. The “freak” tag is a hard one to wear. It can drive the strongest to insanity, lead to exile, and ruin livelihoods. I love the freak. I praise jealousy…it shows the freak’s work is worthy. The reward of greatness is largely “Hatorade”…jealousy expressed through hateful speech and hurtful actions. It is a powerful display of the righteousness of the freak’s struggle. The more someone is opposed, short of unwarranted bloodshed or rape…the more I respect them.

Hate.

Its power is much stronger than love. The bond of hate is much stronger psychically. It is in your heart. To have the power of hate is a great thing. It is to possess part of someone’s soul.

Everytime someone hates you…be sure to give thanks and praise.

To share one’s soul with you is a heady thing…and you should be thankful for the honor.

Then there are those that are there for the freak…those are the angels among us. The defender of the individual, the safe harbor of friendship for those that are above the herd…

Blessed are these angels.

 

“Man to man is so unjust, children:
Ya don’t know who to trust.
Your worst enemy could be your best friend,
And your best friend your worst enemy.

Some will eat and drink with you,
Then behind them su-su ‘pon you.
Only your friend know your secrets,
So only he could reveal it.
And who the cap fit, let them wear it!
Who the cap fit, let them wear it!
Said ah throw meh corn, me no call no fowl;
Ah saying, “Cook-cook-cook, cluk-cluk-cluk.”

Some will hate you, pretend they love you now,
Then behind they try to eliminate you.
But who Jah bless, no one curse;
Thank God, we’re past the worst.
Hypocrites and parasites
Will come up and take a bite.
And if your night should turn to day,
Ah lot of people would run away.
And who the cap fit let them wear it!
Who the (cap fit) let them (wear it)!

And then ah-gonna throw me corn,
And then ah-gonna call no fowl,
And then ah-gonna “Cook-cook-cook, cluk-cluk-cluk.”

Some will eat and drink with you,
Then behind them su-su ‘pon you, yeah!
And if night should turn to day, now,
Ah lot of people would run away, yeah!
And who the cap fit, let them wear it!
Who the cap fit, let them wear it!
Throw me corn, me no call no fowl;
Ah-saying: “Cook-cook-cook, cluk-cluk-cluk.”
… : “Cook-cook-cook, cluk-cluk-cluk.”
Throw meh corn (cook-cook-cook);
Me call no fowl (cluk-cluk-cluk)”

 

“Who the Cap Fits” Bob Marley

Fornever

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I just keep rubbing my eyes. I cannot figure out what is wrong. I don’t feel that I am any different, or that my life has somehow become invalid. My work still feels worthy. My thoughts my own.

I look around though, and can’t seem to understand what the fuck is going on with a lot of people I come in contact with. I don’t understand what it is that they DO. What it is they PRODUCE. They are sure selling whatever it is they sell to the utmost of their ability. I just can’t see what it is. All they talk about is margin. Skim. Profit…not insight, problem solving, or making the world a better place in anyway.

Nothing about tomorrow.

Musicians unpaid, filmmakers robbed, art lifted, secret crafts defiled, technology stolen and gifted, lifetimes overturned…by anonymous, unseeing/unseen thieves. These aren’t the people who created, who sweated, and gave birth to ideas and ideals…but they are the ones handing everything out for free. It’s like them kicking your backdoor in as you prepare dinner, ring the dinner bell, and invite strangers in off the street to eat your supper. Hell, they aren’t even the interloper’s friends…just random dipshits off the street looking for a free meal. They have nothing, because they have earned nothing. Yet, they give away what does not belong to them.

And for this observation, I am out of step. Old fashioned. In the way. An asshole.

“Hey, everyone is doing it…it’s supposed to be free…or, it should be.”

Yeah, that mentality is really fucking shit up. No one wants to earn anything…to produce anything. Everyone is a prospector. Like the whole universe has become LA, where they still make friends the old fashioned way…they fuck them.

The instruction manual would go something like this, I reckon….Don’t actually make anything. Get someone to front you cash, don’t create a new idea, but put a twist on something that already works, no need to risk or innovate. Get someone to actually make the idea a reality…for cheap, off shore, and bring it back here, creating a profit, however small, because that’s all you can understand. Hope it breaks/goes out of style immediately so you can sell the next iteration of whatever the fuck it is you are selling.

That’s all I seem to hear beyond the tight group of friends I spend most of my time with.

Get rich.

Quick.

Sailor Jerry described this in the late sixties…

“Burn the town down, and move onto the next one…”

There seems to be no tomorrow.

There is no more forever.

 

”Not talkin’ ’bout a year
No not three or four
I don’t want that kind of forever
In my life anymore
Forever always seems
to be around when it begins
but forever never seems
to be around when it ends
So give me your forever
Please your forever
Not a day less will do From you

People spend so much time
Every single day
Runnin’ ’round all over town
Givin’ their forever away
But no not me
I won’t let my forever roam
and now I hope I can find
my forever a home
So give me your forever
Please your forever
Not a day less will do
From you

Like a handless clock with numbers
An infinite of time
No not the forever found
Only in the mind
Forever always seems
to be around when things begin
but forever never seems
to be around when things end
So give me your forever
Please your forever
Not a day less will do
From you”

“Forever” by Ben Harper

Every Little Bit Hurts

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So many days leading into so many nights until they are all gone.

We are dead a lot longer than we draw our breath. They throw dirt on us each day…until we can no longer shake it off.

I got the news of my impending tax bill, and literally cried. Fuck it…I’ll keep breathin’ I reckon. Headed to Hawaii anydamnway. I can’t roll over just yet. I have missed so much by allowing what is worrying me in the future to ruin my present. Just like so many do. I am learning to eat around the turds on my plate. I heard a woman tell a youngster once…”If you don’t like the holes in your Swiss cheese, that’s fine…you just eat the cheese, and leave the holes on your plate, sweetie.”

What a nice way of looking at things.

I am finding my smile.

Finding my paradise. So much water has passed under the bridge since I felt the magic of the islands. It will be good to feel it again, and to see it through my Lady’s eyes…as she has never been to Hawaii. My Mother lives on Kauai, and we are going to be taking care of her dog ostensibly…but, really, she’s helping us get started on our life together in a really sweet way. The romantic memories will carry us far.

Watching everything pile up in cycles, it’s tough sometimes to pick up the pieces and start to work….the memories help. This photo was in another stack of memories…taken about ten years back in the oldest church in Kauai. A lot has changed, though the memories remain.

I start to worry, and then I realize nothing matters…

I saw a guy scooping water out of the gutter this morning in Berkeley. He was putting the gutter water into a larger jar from the cup he was using…in a real methodical fashion. He wasn’t official, but he wasn’t TOTALLY ragged-out either…it was a head scratcher. Instead of worrying about the story behind his actions, all I could think was…”Fuck, I’m gonna be okay…”

I’m gonna be okay…each day.

Until they are all gone.

 

“Every little bit hurts
Every little bit hurts
Every night I cry
Every night I sigh
Every night I wonder why
You treat me cold
But I can’t let you go

Every little hurt time
Every little hurt time
Say you’re coming home
But you never phone
Leave me all alone
My love is strong for you
I do long for you

I can’t take this loneliness
You’re giving me
Can’t go on
Giving my life away

Come back to me
Darling you’ll see
I can give all the things
That you wanted before
If you’ll stay

Every little bit hurts
Every little bit hurts
Every night I cry
Every night I sigh
Every night I wonder why
You hurt me
Desert me

I can’t take this lonliness
You’re giving me
I can’t go on
Giving my life away

Come back to me
Darling you’ll see
I can give all the things
That you wanted before
If you’ll stay

Every little bit hurts
Every little bit hurts
Every night I cry
Every night I sigh
Every night I wonder why
You treat me cold
But I can’t let you go

Every little bit hurts
Every little bit”

Written by Ed Cobb…recorded by every one since Brenda Holloway in 1964

Crooked Road and the Briar

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Seeing a loved one buckle and be dragged down hardens the heart and makes life a darker place.

It happens a breath at a time, a step taken…no one wants to shack up in hell. It’s a wide causeway to the depths…and a narrow one to righteous results. People don’t set out to be junkies, lose-out, or spend their lives in prison, but it is where so many of even the best and brightest wind up. So many more of us simply end up in less dramatic prisons…lives of silent misery and mediocrity in all we do.

At what point does someone become eligible for abuse? When do the stains start to appear on the pure soul? Those first words taken in anger?

The roots that twist around us pull us down imperceptibly…a breath at a time. Causing a step to be not taken. The course chosen for us. Not the course we chose for ourselves.

Silence stealing our breath.

Inaction plotting our course.

The world making our choices.

To mouth the words is to be cast down. One must act for oneself, and watch others make the choices that land them were they may. In very few instances are we able to intercede. In those cases, action can save life, and have heroic results for the beloved. So often though, we must watch those we have loved the most be dragged into that hell one breath at a time.

Silence stealing their breath.

Inaction plotting their course

The world making their choices.

I am thankful for the woman that picked the warm coat I am tucked into like a walking sleeping bag as I sit here in bare feet offering my prayers upward in meditation of those we have loved, and those we have left behind. We can only work with our hearts oftentimes, and I am learning to not only accept this, but appreciate and respect that. To allow prayers to be just that, a sacred request and expression of care…a heartfelt meditation. No more. Just a beam of love and hope.

Another way.

Letting go and letting God.

 

“Down the crooked road a ways
A child’s shadow hiding in the briar
Tending to a twisted heart that’s bent and broken
Wounded and abandoned left amongst the rotted root to rot
Moon, crimson moon
Rose Marie’s walking down the crooked road a ways
All aglow, her fair white skin
Portrait of beauty, angel to many
Hears the hush crying from the briar
Reaches in her hand to see what’s the matter
And is dragged through the darkness
Beneath the lonely cypress
The town’s beloved daughter
Carried to her death in the turbid waters
And set afloat downstream
Whole town erupts, bursts into flame
Parties go a-searching down the crooked road a ways
Find old Rufus there drunk and asleep
Fishing by the water must have killed our beloved daughter
Can’t hold back these waves of anger
Tie a rope around his neck
See if he still hollers
another innocent soul hangs over the briar”

“Crooked Road and the Briar” by Calexico (Joey Burns)

I Ain’t Worried

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Lately…it’s been about a bag of Skittles.

I am normally not big on crazy candy…oh, I have the occasional Snickers…but, HARDCORE candy? Not so much. Recently though, my Girl and I have been as y’all know…hittin’ the rinks on our skates and having a really nice time of it.

The ritual has come to include a bag of Skittles to the dome during the session. Me being me, I now have the liquor store full-on dispenser box of individual bags…I want my good feelings to last. I am packing some in my skate bag right now…ready for this week’s session.

Stoked.

I’ll have pics, and some stories next week. It’s a big time/sad time this season for rinks around California.

Today is DROP DEAD LEAVE THE BUILDING for Del Monte Gardens in Monterey…it’s over, and they are gonna demo the whole shot. End of the month is last session at Milpitas, and we lost King’s Skate in Sacramento in May.

I have been back in the garage…back in the studio…cranking out pieces here and there…and just ratcheting up for a flurry of work this year.

It’s on.

Here’s my first pair of custom skates I have made. My Lady’s Father helped, along with my buddies Josh, Bruce, and skateboard collector bros, Kray and Eggman in locating parts. My Girl kicked the wheels, and I had some killer ceramic swiss bearings laying around. The polishing and powder were done by my buddy Chris. I fabbed the plates and did all of the design and mounting.

So…it’s been about the little things…

 

“I ain’t worried about a god damn thing
I hear them talking. I ain’t listening
Listening
How many times did you tell me I was wrong
But I didn’t listen to you and I only stayed strong
In a world where people don’t hang on too long
I belong – I belong
Prove me wrong – Prove me wrong
I ain’t worried about a god damn thing
I hear them talking. I ain’t listening
Listening
Out come the wolves in the lunar light
Final flight you’re wrong, I’m right
Talk to me straight man, but be polite
You hear my scream cause this one bites
I ain’t worried about a god damn thing
I hear them talking. I ain’t listening
Listening
I’m Matt Freeman I’m coming in quick

I got a 64 Merc and a clutch that won’t slip
I don’t give a god damn what they say
I’m born and raised in the east bay
I ain’t worried about a god damn thing
I hear them talking. I ain’t listening
Listening
I take chances that most won’t take – Right
I get knocked down I won’t break
Get it clear and make no mistake
This town’s filled with rattlesnakes
Black Brown White we’re all punk rock
We’re the kings of the low income block
Worn out sneakers skinheads mohawk
When we all get together yeh the music won’t stop
I ain’t worried about a god damn thing
I hear them talking. I ain’t listening”

“I ain’t Worried” by RANCID

Oh yeah…Matt Freeman is super cool…I cannot speak on the claims of his Merc’s clutch, but he’s a neat dude.

Emily

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Art.

I have been looking again. Looking. Looking at what makes life. What makes my life, what touches my life, and what makes life…life. I haven’t pursued my fine art much over the years. I think I have been too sensitive. I want to feel appreciated and justified.

By whom?

I don’t know. I think I have been offended too deeply by the praise heaped on those that create work that is somehow beneath me. I don’t feel that some smears on a canvas make a work worthy of consideration, or a statement on society. I need to see some craft. I need to see a twist on thought…something to provoke thought.

Thought.

So, am I looking? Or thinking?

Perhaps by looking I am thinking…it feels that way. It feels like I am going to be in the studio again. I am cleaning my workspaces, I am building stereo systems to sustain my creativity in the workspaces. I am brooding. I am fucking. I am tasting. I am watching. I am crying. I am farting. A lot.

My mind is feeling the morning glints of sun dance through the leafy canopy in the backstreets of my past. The yearning. The disconnection. The beauty…the pain. I am feeling again.

My wife is gone. She is not my wife. She is my friend…and I am glad. Peace be unto her…and peace be unto me.

I am a man again. I am myself again. I have my dreams…and they are mine. Finally.

To have myself…is indescribable. It is still a bit much to take. It’s like having always seen my reflection along the roadway…my body was driving the car, but I was in the windows, on the tankers, across the granite that dots the road. Now I am in the car. I had been driving the whole time, but not responsible. Not myself…but doing damage nonetheless.

Humbled, happy, freaked-out…and ready to work.

This is Emily. She is an adorable child from the North Bay. The other girls are not her friends…the one in purple is a mouthy little thing…and made it clear she did not care for Emily.

Of course, we love Emily.

Emily is all of us.

In some way, in some place.

Emily.

Emily is art.

Art.

I am a portrait artist. I love the portrait…I will never be cool. It has always been about portraits for me. You can do them, or you are not a true artist. You can do any other form…after you render a proper portrait, and I will respect your work though I might not like each piece. If smearing shit on a wall is an option, not all you can do…I will consider your work. My work is not very strong right now…but I have been brewing for some time. I hope to reward my fellow artists who have been patient with my lack of output, and over abundance of criticism. I will shut-up. I will put-up…

We shall see…

What I consider.

Art.

Spanish Moss

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I am so in Love with Spanish moss. I Love to see it sway in the breeze. I Love to remember reading about it as a child in my Steinbeck books. I Love being a Man, and having a Life that reflects the dreams of my childhood. I Love to look out the bathroom window, and see it in the tree above the roofline. It makes me happy. When I am on the road, and it finds itself on the tonneau cover of my truck, it’s like a gift from the trees. A Wisp of the Tow if you will. I see the character of the trees at times…when I slow down and look. I often hear their voices, though I know it’s the voice of God. You aren’t supposed to anthropomorphize anything they say. I don’t think of God in those terms..in fact that’s just ridiculous…but, trees? Oh yeah…it’s like Whales, or other large, quiet beings of the Earth. God is definitely present, and there to ground us. All around us, invisible fingers weaving their breathy webs. Trying to make us see. Not to show us, but to have us see.

I have no answers about the reasons I am here, but I have some ideas about what I am here to do. My Life has literally been spared so many times, that I understand God wants me here to touch others. I threw my Life away so many times, only to have it come back more beautifully than I could-have-ever dreamed of it being. I know I am a fool, and each breath I have is a gift from God. It has been made clear to me¬†that I am not a great man, and I don’t feel I will ever be one, truly. Perhaps I may be blessed and do a great thing, but I shant be great myself. I am here to touch greatness, and help it along that much I do know. I have been kept alive because there will be someone who needs that little nudge to change things, to be truly great. Keeping my mind pure, and eyes open is all I can hope to do. God breath swirls around me constantly, I feel it always. I will be looking into the trees, watching the moss dance in the Sunshine, grinning…for how long, I cannot say. I hear a small, quiet voice until a physical one takes its place. I don’t know how long I have been gazing, but someone starts to address me. I cannot say what transpires then. Shifting gears from the ethereal to the real world isn’t always my best skill.

I often find people uncomfortable with me.

It’s not that I am trying to affect some wispy, cool, quirky spiritual presence or am really out there enough to enjoy being completely unplugged‚ it’s just that I blur a lot. From the soft haze of Love to the hustle of today. It’s why I need to roll. It’s why I need to be away, to separate. I found the Love of moving and solace of silence a few years ago and I need it more each passing day. It‚’s hard for those that care about me, but I need it.They see me staring out, and wanting to go. There is a worry in them. I cannot tell them I won’t Die, that I won’t leave this World, but truly, it is not my intent. The Away is what keeps me Here. It keeps my mind mine. It’s become the way I can be patient, and share. If I have my peace, I can BE. I don‚’t want the drugs. I don’t want much anymore if I can have the Highway. If I can see the Spanish moss. If I can cross the River.

The flicker of shadows on my knuckles. The glint of the Sun behind the moss. Seeing my floating expression in my rearview mirror. I sit in my truck. I feel the wind buffeting the cab. I don’t know how long I may have been staring. The salt on my windshield. Sometimes I get out and receive the gift of the Wisp.

To be quiet. This is new to me, and I have a deep relish for it. I am known as loud, abrasive at times and wild. I hustle for a living, and have been quite violent. Now, I need the solace. The silence. The shadows.

I read as much as I can. One of my favorites has been Dostoevsky. I relate to the pain, the humiliation. I have felt it so much. To have it so succinctly expressed is somehow a relief to me. I am not alone on my bitter pathway. I work toward the light. I hear God’s voice all around me.

When I am quiet. I shan’t ask him about the wisp of tow, for I expect you tease him with that question somehow. But I’ll find out from him why you hate Fyodor Dostoevsky from The Brothers Karamazov‚

As you know, I do Love the music‚ I will suggest one of my favorites. I think of it when I venture down the coast and look out over the rooflines…

“Let go darlin’
I can feel the night wind call
Guess I’d better go
I like you more than half as much
As I love your Spanish moss
Spanish moss hangin’ down
Lofty as the southern love we’ve found
Spanish moss
Keeps on followin’ my thoughts around
Georgia pine and Ripple wine
Memories of Savannah summertime
Spanish moss
Wish you knew what I was sayin’
So I’m rollin’ north thinkin’
Of the way things might have been
If she and I could have changed it all somehow
Spanish moss hangin’ down
Lofty as the sycamore you’ve found
Spanish moss
Keeps on followin’ my thoughts around
Georgia pine and Ripple wine
Kisses mixed with moonshine and red clay
Spanish moss
Wish you knew what I was sayin’
So I’m rollin’ north thinkin’
Of the way things might have been
If she and I could have changed it all somehow
Let go darlin’
I can feel the night wind call
The devil take the cost
I like the way your kisses flow and I love your Spanish moss”

 

John Henry…

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It’s always best when things are done out of Love. It is a little dust of that type of Love that drives me to point out “Down Home Music” each time I take a visitor through my adopted home town of El Cerrito, California.

“That’s the most important record store in the world.” I say bluntly.

“What?”! is invariably the responsibility as those that know me understand each of the thousands of recordings I have collected over the decades are strictly KEEPERS. Yeah, Down Home Music is THAT important.

Its history is very storied, and you can look all that up here on the intrawebz, and see everyone wedge their noses up Chris Strachwitz’s ass rightfully. He’ the kind of dude a lot of people like to act as if they had actually lived a life like his. You see em, glad-handing, acting like they know cultural icons personally (always name-dropping and kissing ass. Nah, I don’t care for building people up); so, Chrissy-Baby your rep will speak for itself here. Suffice to say, he’s brought a lot of music to the world. You really should read up on it if you don’t know the Arhoolie Records story.

Now, why I bring Chris up is, he owns the building that houses Down Home and some other cool folks, Flower Films. If you aren’t familiar with Flower Films, you should just do yourself that favor now and get acquainted with Les Blank and his work. He was a great inspiration to me as a filmmaker. Les came into my tattoo shop in El Cerrito 15 years ago, back when a tattoo shop in one’s hometown was an oddity. They weren’t the new nail salon they are today. He laid a couple of his films on me in VHS. The great “Stoney Knows How” about legendary tattooer Stoney St.Clair he made with help from Ed Hardy and Alan Govenar, the man who also wrote the great small book of the same name. I didn’t know Les history at that point. I was unaware that I was a fan of his work. I thought maybe I could get the word out about some of his films, like he needed me in some capacity, “Hey man, if there is anything I can do to help you with just let me know, buddy”.

He didn’t give me the “Hey, I ain’t rich, but I AM world fucking renowned as a filmmaker, pal, I have made it this sixty plus years without your sorry ass, so save it, sonny!” He just thanked me with a very slight eye-roll. Once I did my homework, and realized the depth and breadth of his footprint, well, I was a bit sheepish around him.

So, I became friendly with all of these folks hanging around Down Home. I cannot begin to explain all of the great paths that have crossed for me there in the past twenty years. Friendships struck, deaths announced, musical followings established, soundtracks fulfilled, musicians experienced live before their journey into the afterworld, you name it. It’s a really special place. Yeah, it chaps me a little to spend full pop on a Merle Haggard box set I can get for half price on Amazon. But, let’s remember now, I don’t know anyone at Amazon personally, and they really haven’t done much for me or anyone I know in the music business. So, I dig deep. Real deep when I can. Because I can’t describe the anguish losing this great outpost of culture would bring to me and countless others around the world. You MUST SUPPORT what you Love. I have been careful with my CD/Record buying the past couple of years, as we have a custom room in our house that is pretty much at critical mass. It pains me to not be buying more, and keeping the Down Home Music’s (steel drivin’, movin along at a stronger pace)

Down Home is the John Henry of my time. I need to hear that cold steel ring; Lord, Lord. I hope you do to, and that you will find your way to Down Home, and meet my friends J.C., Layuba, and when he’s available, the owner, John. They are doing the entire community a huge favor by swinging that old hammer day after day. So, don’t wait for Polly Ann to step-up for you to grab your own hammer and take a few swings before all that’s left is a steam drill, a digital download, and a whole lot of destitute musicians

Encourage your kids to stop stealing via illegal downloading from the artists they admire, and do the right thing, take a little ride in person, or give Down Home a call. You will be doing yourself a solid.

“John Henry was about three days old, sittin’ on his papa’s knee. He picked up a hammer and a little piece of steel; said, “Hammer’s gonna be the death of me, Lord, Lord. Hammer’s gonna be the death of me. The captain said to John Henry “Gonna bring that steam drill ’round”. Gonna bring that steam drill out on the job. Gonna whop that steel on down. Down, Whop that steel on down. A man ain’t nothin’ but a man, But before I let your steam drill beat me down, I’d die with a hammer in my hand. Lord, Lord. I’d dies with a hammer in my hand.” John Henry said to his shaker, “Shaker, why don’t you sing? ’m throwin’ thirty pounds from my hips on down.Just listen to that cold steel ring. Lord, Lord.

Listen to that cold steel ring.

The man that invented the stream drill Thought he was mighty fine, But John Henry made fifteen feet, The steam drill only made nine. Lord, Lord. The steam drill only made nine. John Henry hammered in the mountain. His hammer was striking fire. But he worked so hard, he broke his poor heart. He laid down his hammer and he died. Lord, Lord. He laid down his hammer and he died. John Henry had a little woman. Her name was Polly Ann. John Henry took sick and went to his bed. Polly Ann drove steel like a man. Lord, Lord. Polly Ann drove steel like a man. John Henry had a little baby. You could hold him in the palm of your hand. The last words I heard that poor boy say, “My daddy was steel-driving man. Lord, Lord. My daddy was a steel-driving. “Well, every Monday morning when the bluebirds begin to sing. You can hear John Henry a mile or more.You can hear John Henry’s hammer ring.Lord, Lord. You can hear John Henry’s hammer ring.”

John Henry…a bad ass jam, son.

Cryin’ Time

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Boots scraping on hardwood floors the lilt of a steel guitar making the twinge of life sink in. Pitchers of Lone Star are poured, okra fried, pearl snaps fingered, pepper sauce passed as the sad songs play on in the Texas barroom I find myself in. Sad songs make good times so much better it seems. I remember the scene above as I stared into a campfire in Montana ringed by cowboys professional and otherwise. Someone had rigged-up some music, and was playing our favorites by request. I was on a big Waylon Jennings jag, and one of the older cowboys started singing, Drinkin, and Dreamin, and damned if I hadn’t had that song stuck in my head all day. I joined him in singing, we were midway through the song before I opened my eyes. I realized we were belting it out, and everyone was clapping along as they warmed their boots on the hot fire ring rocks. The sad song was making for a good time. My sight was blurred from the bright fire against the pitch black night, and the music took me back to that barroom in Texas. Hot and humid, relaxed and familiar Texas. But, I was in freezing Montana with new folks, under a great streak of stars and yet I was right at home. Sad songs with good friends just make life sweeter, yes. Things touch me in the oddest ways sometimes, so I am thankful for music. It seems to be something that speaks to everyone in a way they can relate to. Each person has their personal tastes, and music can touch one and all if they listen. Oddly though, often I am told, Yeah, I like most music, except country.

I feel bad for them.

They don’t understand salt always makes beer taste better. In the case of good old Honky Tonk music, it’s the salt from your tears that make it so. Nothing makes love seem so right as a gut wrenching song from Bakersfield. Those Buckaroos knew how to make you FEEL it. The precious nature of Love, and the agony of loss. Nothing makes you appreciate something more than losing it. Sometimes, just hearing a tale of woe through a good old song is enough pain to make you grateful for what you have.

So, crack a cold one and grab up your copy of Buck Owens “Ive got a Tiger by the Tail” and cue up “Crying Time”……

Oh, it’s cryin’ time again, your gonna leave me,
I can see that far away look in your eyes,
I can tell by the way you hold me, darling,
That it won’t be long before it’s cryin’ time,

Now they say that absence Makes the heart grow fonder,
And that tears are only rain to make love grow,
Well my love for you could never grow no stronger,
If I live to be a hundred years old,
So, it’s cryin’ time again, your gonna leave me,
I can see that far away look in your eyes,
I can tell by the way you hold me, darling,
That it won’t be long before it’s cryin’ time

Now you say that you’ve found someone you love better,
That’s the way it’s happened every time before,
And as sure as the sun comes up tomorrow,
Cryin’ time will start when you walk out the door,
Oh, it’s cryin’ time again, your gonna leave me,
I can see that far away look in your eyes,
I can tell by the way you hold me, darling,
That it won’t be long before it’s cryin’ time…

Boots scraping on hardwood floors the lilt of a steel guitar making the twinge of life sink in. Pitchers of Lone Star are poured, okra fried, pearl snaps fingered, pepper sauce passed as the sad songs play on in the Texas barroom I find myself in….

Safe and Warm

into the void

Shit…good to be back with my breath intact…and a smile on my face.

I am up, sitting here sorting photos from last weekend. I visited my girl in the Monterey, California area. I have been seeing her for some time…and things were sketchy for a good while, because I hadn’t dealt with the end of my marriage to a woman I have a mountain of love and respect for. But, shit had been done for a long time…and neither one of us wanted to throw in the towel…as we were from broken homes, and didn’t want to go out like that. I felt I would be cursed if I moved on from my “good girl”…it was hard to see our time had passed, and it was time to let each other breathe free and find a new happiness.

Hard.

It looks like shit on paper, because my ex is older than myself, and my lady is younger than I am …and I went about the whole thing in a really backwards way. But, you can’t control the ways of love. So, I am just rolling with that…and am for the first time in my life coming from a place of satisfaction and contentment. I had a lot of guilt behind that…as it sounded like an indictment of my former wife….and that wasn’t the case. We have both changed a whole lot, and my change is meaning a lot of different things for me. One of which is a calm…one that I have never experienced. I can breathe in a new way.

It’s my breath.

I don’t owe anyone that…it’s God and me.

So many people have been really supportive of my ex, my lady, and me…so I know I am not the only one to have trod this path. The parting with sincere love and kind wishes, and continued support for the one I loved for so long…is a bittersweet thing for me. I am joyous, in tears, flying high, and punched in the guts with guilt all in the same moment often times. I know the intensity will lessen, but I am just being with it for now.

And that’s alright.

Thanks for the patience on this…and great notes of encouragement. If I let anyone down in anyway…if perhaps you had held my wife and I as some inspiration…all I can say keep each other close, and put your relationship above everything else if you intend to keep it forever. I have regrets…but my new joy and extreme love for my dear angel who I now walk down this road with washes away my shame, as my respect for my ex makes me smile and know this change is the only way I can honor my love for her.

This is the last full blab on this…just thought I’d get it over with, and return to our regularly scheduled programming…

My photos, and chit-chat, poetry, and musical reference…

The shots I was sifting were from the weekend trip to the last sessions for the Del Monte Gardens roller skating rink in Monterey. My lady literally grew up skating there, trained on a nationally competitive level in artistic skating at DMG for more than ten years. Her family’s involvement in skating goes back generations…everyone in her family puts it down on the skates, especially her brother who was THE National Champion boys artistic skater back in ’97….and her father who at 72 is a maniac on eight wheels. So we were there, visiting and skating on DMG’s really small rink…and it hurt to experience the loss. A family, a way of life, a place in time…all gone with the stroke of a pen. The building will be rubble next month. Milpitas is closing the same day…Two greats biting the dust at once. Just crushing.

Get out and skate…keep the wheels rolling, while there are places to enjoy. Down a Dr.Pepper /Mr. Pibb, crunch a bag of Skittles, hold your honey’s hand and enjoy what you have…

Had a trippy interruption from my sleep last night…

“Five hooded sweeps of darkness float onward, up the hill into the wild washed along on gusts of crackling leaves swirling forth…carried on a haunting tune only those of the night can hear. Those rangers of the night, called forth skills forgotten…an iciness only a thief could know. Beneath the silence, platelets so fluid and still, the vigilant cilia in the ears of the most alert hound’s laid languid in their paranoid cones of an informant’s lust. Never a rustle, just an unseen shadow hovering above the ground trod only by the rangers…of the night.”