Over 16.

August 12, 2017 § 4 Comments

Young, we set out like those brash southern boys so eager to join the fray they were afraid the war would end before they saw action, whupped Yankee butt.

Some, too young for the fight, chalked the number 16 on the sole of a boot so that when asked if they were over 16, they could swear they were without lying.

Surrounded by friends, they paraded out of hometowns.

Mothers and sweethearts waved and blotted their eyes with cloth handkerchiefs.

Some of those aspiring soldiers carried rifles, some knives, and some a canvas sack home-packed, as if the boys were picnicking, not going to war.

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Busker’s Lament.

July 16, 2017 § 1 Comment

Buskers, those street musicians wearing tragic hats and faded jeans, are the filter feeders of the music world, gleaning pocket change and an equivalent amount of attention from a busy, going-somewhere audience.

The signals that let listeners know, “Hey, this is a big act! These guys are hot!” are absent.

No band bus.

No stage.

No entourage.

Just a guitar, a shaker or two and that gaping guitar case, begging for the recognition of loose change, and the occasional buck that has to be kept from blowing away.

It’s a hunger that will never be filled.

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Mind and matter.

June 21, 2017 § 4 Comments

Mind offers an opinion.

Then another.

And another.

That’s what a whirring machine like Mind does. There are so many factors to take into account! Past experience, prejudices, things read in the paper, the weather, how my hair looks today.

Mind is a more-is-better opinion generator, a fun guy, but one who never stops talking.

Today I want to speak up for Mind’s silent partner, Body. If you want an opinion rooted in the present state of things ask Body. And you do have to ask, because, like I said, Body is silent. And rarely in charge.

Mind makes most decisions in this partnership, bossing Body around big-time.

Mind says, do this, and Body does. Body would add a “Yes boss, whatever you say boss,” but Body exists in a language-free state (one of the reasons Mind disrespects it).

Mind never asks for Body’s input, and when Body tugs at Mind with the need to, say, rest, Mind gives Body a quick pep talk. Suck it up! When the going gets tough, the tough get going!

Mind has little respect for Body—that dumb old hunk of meat.

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In the moment.

June 15, 2017 § 2 Comments

There is a way to live in the moment that does not impart the peace and sunlight of Zen.

In this relentless present there is no calm, no oneness with the universe.

A place of isolation and aloneness, this endless “now” goes by the name of Poverty.

Those who live in poverty in this affluent country stand perpetually in the snow looking through a brightly lit store window at all that is out of reach. And the needle of time barely moves.

The poor try to luck their way out, but poverty is the scratch-off ticket that never yields to luck, but is ditched instead in the convenience store parking lot where it lies with it’s worthless brothers soaking up the rain. « Read the rest of this entry »

Back Home.

May 28, 2017 § 4 Comments

For me, songwriting usually begins as a back-and-forth with my guitar. Noodling around, I find a loose thread of melody and give it a tug to see if a song is attached.

Then a bit of lyric comes, the melody choosing the subject it will take for a ride. Little by little, the song reveals itself. The message of the song may be powerful, emotional, but the process isn’t. It is the equivalent of doodling, or casting a line into dark waters to see if anything bites.

But once in a great while a song wells up. It pours out as if from a reservoir I didn’t know I was carrying. This uncontrolled outpouring is always triggered by an emotional disturbance so profound it overwhelms the logical it’s-okay side of my brain.

Back Home is that kind of song. (The title is the link to the video).

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Ripe.

April 19, 2017 § 9 Comments

Ripe is sweet and thin-skinned, juicy-wet and delicious, and chances are you’d put it in the trash or compost bin without taking a bite, because to taste delicious you have to get past ugly.

Ripe is bruised and it leaks. You can’t stack it, that’s for sure. Where one piece of fruit touches another, ripe darkens and weeps; you’ll never find ripe in a grocery store.

Instead you find perfect.

Grocery store fruits and vegetables are firm, smooth and unblemished, but not ripe. I don’t fault grocery stores. Unripe stacks well, it has a longer shelf life.

When you bite into grocery store produce it crunches, and delivers a hint of flavor, a preview of coming attractions.

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There is something embarrassing about death.

April 2, 2017 § 4 Comments


If you forget to lock your car and it gets broken into, indignation masks embarrassment. You have, in a way, issued an invitation.

Die, and it provokes the question, what door did you leave unlocked? How did you invite death in?

Perhaps the dead look forward only, but if they glance back, that unlocked door is probably easy to see.

Too much sugar, cigarette smoke, a failure to look both ways, a blithely ignored message written into the genes, a job too stressful.

If only…. I sure wouldn’t do that again.

But dead is rather final.

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