Uphill Walk

Posted: October 24, 2014 in Everyday Life, free verse
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Walking the long path, passing unshaded windows and smoking chimneys,
Puffing frozen breath into the northern breeze
with mittenned hands tucked into my coat’s flannel pockets.
I turn neither left or right but look straight ahead not wasting a moment,
only counting the sidewalk cement seams and avoiding the thin icy patches.
Staying warm by not moving a muscle above my striding legs.
Sealing my coat collar with squeezed shoulders and arms
and a buttoned neck allowing no heat to escape.
I think of little more than keeping warm and moving forward,
Step by step, shortening the distance with each.
Not letting the barking dog or scampering  cat crossing my path divert me.
Passing frosted store fronts exclaiming two for a dollar
and buy one get one free that are of no interest
to my watering eyes and red stinging ears and cheeks.
I keep moving forward, cutting street corners
and smiling only at the winter faded keep off the grass sign.
Finally opening the brass handled doors,
I’m blasted by boiler heat and blinded by fogged glasses,
Hearing bells that signal the end of my winter uphill school walk.

DSS

Because He Can

Posted: October 22, 2014 in creative writing, Everyday Life

Here’s to Stan the common man
Stands alone because he can
The man who has the callused hands
Eats meat – potatoes and spam in can
He’s weekend’s biggest football fan
Rides to work in a mini-van
Purchased through the installment plan
Paid in cash, no stock purchase plan
Never heard of Kazakhstan
Not well-known for his attention span
Married first to old wife Diane
But caught in bed with Marianne
Told to load the moving van
Two big boxes and an electric frying pan
Here is to Stan the common man
The man alone just because he can.

E.

Spell It

Posted: October 19, 2014 in creative writing, poetry
Tags: ,

Just stopped for a moment to write a short note
Please pay no attention to a thing I wrote
Half of my words will be spelled terribly wrong
Whether a note, a poem, verse or a song
So late tonight when I am snugly in bed
Not jumping sheep but words will be in my head
Not an i before e except after c
Not two vowels in a row the first will be
The poor words that I spell will all look so bad
My spell-checker will question what idea I had
Will suggest a few words as if any will do
Or will just answer back…..”please give me a clue”

DSS

Come Together

Posted: October 18, 2014 in Music, Sixties

What makes a good song?
I really can’t answer that, but I do think I can recognize a good one when I hear it. A good song is one that while you listen to it you are carried away in thought. So deeply in thought that even if you vow to listen to the lyrics and try to memorize them , you just can’t do it. Because while you listen, even intently, your mind is carried away by it and before you know it the music is over and you’ve been in la-la land imagining, visualizing or dreaming in another place. Listening to your favorite music technically to catch the lyrics is the worst thing to do, you will never hear it the same again.

An example, the Beatles “Come Together”. I loved that song and music. The first 15 years that I listened to it, I had no fricking idea what the lyrics were. It didn’t matter, I listened to it and I loved it without understanding what the hell they were talking about. It carried me away whenever I heard the beat, the rhythm and the blending of the words, the weaving word play. And then one day in 1985, my children had reached teenage hood. “Come Together ” was playing on my local oldies station.  Both of my kids were reading in the living-room with me and my daughter pipes up, “what do they mean by that?”

“What do they mean by what?”

“Those lyrics “Toe-jam football”, what the heck is he saying, am I hearing that right? What does that mean?”

I was trying to raise my kids right. I exposed them to “good music” every chance I got. The oldies station at home, cassette tapes in the car while traveling. I admit I was probably a “60’s music Nazi” when I had command of the radio or tape player. That’s what they called me under their breath and while they were alone in their rooms listening to that crappy 80’s shit. but by 1985 they had a little bit of an appreciation for CCR, the Stones, the Beatles and DC5. They were miles away from Pink Floyd, the Animals or Van Morrison. But they were developing an appreciation. That weekend, it was the Beatles and I was holding court.

You have to remember in 1985, there wasn’t much of an Internet. Lyrics weren’t at our fingertips like they are now. The closest thing to Wikipedia was 6 blocks away at the local library. Or 30 miles away at Walden’s Bookstore. It was hard to find information at that time. Even of the two sets of encyclopedias we had, one was going on 20 years old and the other was a cheap set my wife got at the grocery store with trading stamps. The lyrics to “Come Together” were not going to be found in either of them and probably not at the local library either. The only way to get lyrics would be at a music store if the song was popular or maybe on the back of  original vinyl album cover which I didn’t have, Abby Road, I think. But we did have a pirated tape with “Come Together” on it. So the only way we had to do it, we transcribed it with pencil and paper.

So, for their musical lesson for the day, we stuck in the tape and listened to “Come Together” together for a little while. Rewinding, listening, fast forwarding listening, writing down the words the best that we could understand them. About 30 minutes of that and the kids “got bored” and recessed to their rooms to listen to more of their 80’s shit. But my wife and I persisted and transcribed a pretty accurate copy of the lyrics.

When we were done, the kids noticed that the damn song wasn’t playing anymore and one by one emerged from their rooms. There on the dining room table was the full handwritten , scribbled musical transcript of  “Come Together”. And for a couple joyful hours we all sat together as a family and read, and laughed and memorized every word of  John Lennon’s screwed up but beautiful inter-imagination. I am very proud to say that to this day my two children, my wife and myself know ever word of “Come Together”. Well, my remembrance is sometimes a little foggy but give me a line and it comes right back to me.

But damn it! The song hasn’t been the same since. I know all the words. Everyone has a different idea of the meaning of the song. But even Lennon said it was gobbledygook just put together by him and later Paul while in the studio. It started out as a campaign song for Timothy Leary when he was running for governor of California against Ronald Reagan. But Lennon couldn’t get into the politics of it all and just sang what popped into his head. It didn’t matter, Leary went to prison for possession of marijuana and the campaign was forgotten. But this song meant a lot to Lennon. It was a “free write”, a song put together with no meaning and only words, proof that a writer can put together a melody and words and the listener will do the rest. They will be taken away in their own imagination and place their own meaning to what they hear.

Here’s the Beatles version. This sounded much better mono, on over the air AM radio. The cleaned up sterile versions on YouTube sounds nothing like they did over a mono car radio with only a front and back speaker or from it’s first release 45 record on your cheap mono record player with the subliminal scratches.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XHFjW-NnZw

Here  is what I think is the best Lennon live version. This is the only Beatles song that he would sing solo after the break up of the band.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5oID2_1FPI

 

DSS

In those types of times

Posted: October 16, 2014 in poetry, politics, Sixties, war

To my children,

“your parents experienced the fear of possible world war with nuclear warheads during the Cuban missile crisis, their favorite president was assassinated, then his brother too, as well as Martin Luther King. They saw their friends and their brothers killed in Vietnam daily on the nightly news. They saw college students killed by their own National Guard, and civil rights protesters attacked with fire hoses and worse. The 60′s, art and music were people’s way of lifting their spirits in those types of times. “

We hid under school desks
slept to burning visions
Watched as dogs attacked
and hoses washed away the denied
But for every bad there was a good
a song, a film, a painted picture
For every bad man there was a good
a speech, a quote, an epitaph
Old men were called the greatest generation
We lived helpless through their rule
They called us Boomers
We wrote hopeful songs
and made the realistic movies
They call us Boomers,
Now, although old, is our time.
What happened to OUR time?

DSS

Good-bye Columbus

Posted: October 13, 2014 in science
Tags: ,

On this day, Columbus Day 2014, perhaps it is appropriate that in North America millions of its New World population are threatened by a disease,  brought by a people from another continent, that could conceivable wipe them out.

E.

C. of E.

Posted: October 12, 2014 in science
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I had a fascinating conversation the other day with a friend. He was talking about a book he had read at one time about Feng Shui. He was wondering if I had ever heard of it. It is very interesting. Feng Shui is used to determine the orientation of buildings and things in relation to the stars and later the points on the magnetic compass. It has a major component “Qi” that is either a positive or negation life force which has a role in the energy that objects reflect.

Feng Shui….. I don’t know very much about Feng Shui, but I do know physics. Within physics there are laws and in the laws of physical science there is the law of conservation of energy, C. of E. I call it. According to Wikipedia (my current speedy authority) “The principle of conservation of energy states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, so this energy does not disappear.” Hm m m… that sounds a little like Qi.

Also the laws of energy states that we turn one kind of energy into other kinds. For example when we wind a clock, watch or a main spring we’ve converted our chemical energy into kinetic energy of motion and stored that same energy in the tightly wound mainspring as potential energy. If I could turn the clock off and keep it from running, my energy would be stored inside that clock as long as that spring was never unwound. Hm m m… sounds like Qi in Feng Shui.

Think about the other chores we do that stores our energy as potential energy which never or only slowly is released. Driving nails to hold boards together with a hammer, riveting to hold metal together with a hand squeeze riveter or pushing back untamed un-managed rose-bush branches to train them to climb a trellis. Our houses, hobby projects and other handmade things are bursting with our energy or the energy of those that built them. It is a scientific fact. Wikipedia says so. If we could see the energy that has been stored by us or others that built our homes and vehicles, it would be causing them to glow very brightly as they sit stationary in our neighborhoods and parking lots.

Maybe that’s the personality we instinctively feel in ships, airplanes, cars, motorcycles and cozy little cottages. That may be what sparks the urge to christen them and call them he or she. They should be very familiar to us because they are our energy, they are what we put into them, they are us.

DSS