What is it that I’m doing
With all of this first-person revelry?
Stories of my experiences,
Poems from my perspective,
How am I worthy of such a public rehashing?

I’ve not done anything grand,
Nothing of fame,
Barely anything for myself,
So where do I get off writing about me?
I don’t know…

I went to school for a long time,
Somehow I survived it
To find a career in education.
My political views and religious bends
Have matured over the years

That’s interesting, right?
I’ve raised a family,
Been through the wringer
In a few ways,
Even grown to love Philadelphia.

You see, it’s the interest meter is rising,
No, I know, the Nielsen ratings are not so high
Where my life story is concerned,
But I hope the words spice it up a little
Taking you somewhere different.

Letting you see some of you in what I do
Have done, what I’m writing about,
Because maybe I trigger something you remember,
Something you have done, thought, or dream of
And you smile, laugh, or best of all cry.

That’s it right there,
Why I write in the first person so much,
I’ve got a lot of education, but I don’t know all that much
So I’m sticking to what I’m good at,
Figuring out me.

How do you get from
Chicago IX
To AC/DC
With nothing more than
“Fans Also Like”
As a travel guide.
Let me tell you something,
It’s like a Steve Martin/John Candy adventure.

So here’s how it was,
I listened to Malcolm G, again,
Hoping to get my writing chops fine-tuned.
Maybe he helped,
Views and likes are the judges on that, I guess,
But in my search for a story
I decided to listen to

Chicago IX.

And I thought, how many songs
Would I have to listen to
By groups only found in “Fans Also Like,”
To get to AC/DC.
I wish I had written them all down,
I’d have an effen novel right there,
Probably close to eighty-thousand words.

I toiled in the 70s pre-disco clicks for a while,
Falling back into the supergroups of the sixties
And all the mind-bending vibes I grew up with.
The blues took over, grabbing my soul with deep claws,
I kept going backward, getting all the way to Robert Johnson
Where I felt like I might be at my crossroads until
Keb saved the day
Somehow getting me into 90s country,
The dudes…and they leached onto me
Like they had some slick producer orchestrating the list
So I would never get out of Nashville.
I jumped to the women, none of them helped,
I was country and again, just about to quit
When a text came to me from the depths of homebound madness,
A lip quivering message of surviving this pandemic
And trying to keep positive as the pestilence rages
All over the world,
Sa’Tan let me know, others were struggling with the toil
Of doing the right thing
And I found new energy in the devilish one’s predicament.

Hootie, I mean Darius, was my ticket out of Nashville,
And after another twenty or so minutes of clicking in the MTV era,
I stumbled into hair bands.

AC/DC had to be right there,
Vince Neil couldn’t do it. Sebastian Bach couldn’t do it.
Hell, even David Lee Roth couldn’t get me out of my
Self-imposed house of horrors.
Then, with KISS playing in the background,
After an interminable spin through obscure hair sort of metal bands
A fan of someone, it could have been Autograph or Krokus
Liked Jon Bon Jovi.

Oh, God, Bon Jovi, not my favorite band growing up
Click…
Van Halen…
I put “Running with the Devil” on, repeat at that,
Clicked “Fans…”

Effing AC/DC!

Looking back, Malcolm’s lesson today,
“Follow Your Curiosity.”

There you go.

 

img_1094

How about these last few weeks,
Sheltered,
Shutdown,
Shut-in,
It’s all a bit maddening,
Tragic,
Too much to believe.

After a day of online meetings,
Juried discussions,
And all around bashing of sanity
Where I couldn’t muster the energy
To run,
To ride, or
Even read a book,

I had to get out.

I grabbed my headphones
And took off for a walk,
Solo,
No dog,
Just me and my music
Which today was a start to finish listening
Of “Born In the USA,”
For reasons unknown at the time,
But man, what a decision,
And who can really know why in the moment?
Experiences need time to percolate
So later they can resonate
On some other level.

The songs did their trick,
Taking away an edge, letting me get back
To the nightly routine,
A little learning, a little writing, a little Netflix…
Only after the learning, my mental flossing
Still felt incomplete.
The edge was returning
And I wasn’t thinking German detective shows
Would do anything to keep my emotional blade
From sharpening.

“Hit Spotify, dude. Clear things out.”

Gladwell said, “Research, to get off the direction
You THINK you are going.”

At least that’s what I think he said
When I was learning.
And if he didn’t mean that, what happened next
Was just an accident, not the process of
A master’s teaching.

I’ve got an idea struggling to get out,
Something about high school, being a senior,
Born In the USA is out,
A bunch of us go out,
And the idea stalls there.

Research…

1984-85…Risky Business…Second run theaters…
Survivor…the music group…I Can’t Hold Back…

Research…

YouTube…just as I remembered it…yep…
Trains…North By Northwest…Drama Class…

Research…

Your blog, stupid…some Bruce posts…
Music is all over the place…it’s important to you…

And here I am,
Old school, wired headphones plugged in
Jamming to Eric Clapton with concert volume
As I work on the kinks in my brain,
Motherless Children on repeat,
Maybe six or seven replays now
And each time he stretches those strings
I feel like he is wringing out the white matter
In my brain
And bringing me back home.

Now, I can move on in this playlist.

************************************
Mental Flossing Therapeutic Protocol (as prescribed by this doctor…)

1 complete listening to “Born In the USA” while walking alone

2 lessons of Malcolm Gladwell’s Masterclass

Writing to the following playlist:

I’m Goin’ Down (Springsteen)
Yell Fire (Franti)
I Can’t Hold Back (Survivor…more on this soon…)
Forever Man (Clapton)
Motherless Children (Clapton…six or seven repeats…flow will hit!)
Good People (Jack Johnson…three repeats)
The Beat Goes On/Soul Bossa Nova (Emilie-Claire Barlow)
Let’s Face the Music and Dance (Diana Krall)

 

It’s the start of poetry month,
That time of year when we all
Get to wax poetic,
Howl at the moon,
Scream with delight,
And rhyme all of the time.

Only this year, it’s different,
We are mostly stuck inside,
Poetically reminiscing about being about,
Cursing with the setting sun and rising moon,
Yelling at the adversity,
Struggling to find sense in the madness.

It’s April, no fooling,
Coronavirus will be here for however long,
How about some beautiful words,
That might bring a giggle,
A nod, or most importantly
A distraction from the latest routine.

I’ve had many books in my life
Few have stayed with me,
A mystic’s guide to golf,
A copy of the Tao, and
An anthology of outlaw poets.

I’ve listened to many podcasts in my life,
Few have stayed with me,
A writer’s illumination of moments,
A psychologist’s search for mastery,
And a writer’s examination of history.

Two collided today,
Unleashing a hope that my mini crossword
Success rate is not an indication
Of declining faculties, but more a
Lethargy of white matter, temporary as it’s been

For after listening to Gladwell
Wax poetic about puzzles, context, and ketchup,
The strings in my brain, those neural pathways,
Began conducting energy, again, finally,
Which led me to Netflix, My List.

For weeks, I’ve been avoiding commitment,
Unable to muster an attention span
For anything lasting more than about ten minutes,
But in My List was a movie that was not just
For watching, it would require reading, too

As my Spanish, to put it en pocas palabres,
Is limited and Neruda was to be presented with subtitles.
Tonight, I was inspired to watch,
To read, to feel the rhythms in Pablo’s work,
The power in his aura.

After watching, the frenetic pace of inspiration
I felt earlier in the day,
Settled into a reflective moment
When I remembered the poetry anthology
Gathering dust on a shelf. So long ago…

I will sleep well tonight,
Knowing tomorrow will be filled with poetry,
Whether it be work and finding beauty
In distance learning or home and the calm
Of family and renewal.

img_1089

My dog’s rib cage is the best
Not quite the shape of a potbellied stove
But round enough
To fit right in my hand when I’m petting him.
His snore is close to the best
Just a rasp,
A determined sound
Letting me know he is done for the day.

He’s done…