Just wrote tomorrow’s post,
One ranting against the conservative propaganda
Of the news that is playing on the television.

It’s not my choice,
But hell, everyone likes what they like, right?
It started to get into my head, finding a way towards my soul

So I decided to combat the angry fuel
With some really loud music in my headphones,
Drowning out what I think are divisive voices

With some inspiring music,
The kind that grabs your fingers and lets them type frenetically,
With purpose, with a waving of your body, with integrity.

An old friend stopped by the blog today,
She knew me at my worst, helped me through the hazey periods
And knows what it’s like to find solace in music.

This poem is inspired by the big sounds of “Yell Fire,”
A song I’ve probably heard a thousand times,
A song that had me jumping in the rain twice, TN and NJ

It’s a callout song, a call to action song, it’s unapologetic,
Raucous, meaningful, and so important to me that
I never tire of the energy it gives.

It’s like a three cheese sandwich after a day at an animal rescue,
The sandwich, not fully vegan, not fully humane, but a start, and the
Next couple of hours will be manageable because of this repeating song.

On deck? Wilco…Theologins? Spiders?
In the hole? I barely know her…that was for my friend…sorry mom…
Nope…reading some Jabbar, that’s music enough.

Down at one end of the street
Where the renters have taken over
In the next to last house
Overlooking the dunes,
The 80s are alive and well,
A huge speaker is blasting the electronic tunes
Without concern for anyone else on the street.

Way up at our end of the street,
Across the way, where a year rounder resides
The garage set up which usually provides the sounds
Is competing with Human League’s “wanting, baby,”
With a little sophisticated wailing from Josh Groban
That offers just a little competition, only a little, maybe
As it’s only heard when the Karaoke singers don’t know their words.

Two houses, two different vibes,
One musical connection,
One that says my music is what I want to listen to
And
I’ll make sure I can hear it
Even if that means you have to listen to it as well.
Thank goodness for headphones, this is the summer of Dwight.

The last few days have been a walk down my musical memory lane, back to a time when it was more lonely and painfully quiet. I got by listening to Neko, Hayes, Lindell, and Anders. Things seemed like they would never get better and then it all changed about the time I heard “She Left Me for Jesus.” I figured out that being alone is only hard when you’re not sure of who you are. Once I realized that and accepted who I was, you stepped into my life. It was something at first, the music being a connection, the 80s have that effect on people, I suppose. I overplayed my hand thinking you’d think me cool for listening to Ben Harper…I do still like him…but I don’t think you ever really did. In the end, it’s all worked out. Thank goodness.

Embarking on a solo afternoon,
There wasn’t a bit of trepidation,
No fear of falling,
No mask, just me, my dog, and streaming tunes
Hours of streaming,
Upstream,
Downstream,
Old tunes,
New tunes,
Those that brought up old memories,
Those that could make new ones under the right conditions,
It’s been awesome.

Dinner has passed,
Friends are doing dishes, drinking margaritas,
And whatever else they do on Saturdays in May
When the temperatures are low,
The tensions are high,
And the crowd is all home.

Not me,
I’m stretching out,
Done with “a ghost is born,”
Done with “The Clarence Greenwood Recordings,” and
Deep into “The Story of the Ghost,”
All start to finish, a proper listening for sure.

My father is rarely doing nothing,
He’s always puttering around,
Making this, fixing that, reading, chess playing,
Even though he believes the computer cheats,
A possibility I suppose.

I don’t have the same skills he does,
Energy? Yes. Dexterity and vision? No.
I’d prefer to shutdown during a run
Letting my brain drift to nowhere
Unless, of course, I’m writing.

The pandemic, though, it’s making things better,
I know, how could I think that,
I don’t mean in a healthy kind of way,
This has been a disaster, but I once was told,
“Life is what you make of it.”

Yesterday, I made it bad, dark, gloomy
Until my birthright kicked in and doing something became real.
A little motivation from a friend,
A dip into the well of music streaming, and
Before long the mood was gone, the time passed, life began again.

Songs, some familiar, some never before on my radar,
A smattering of music from whatever genre
Made for a fairly irreverent list of songs
Making fun of spiritual soothsayers and judges
While proving tonal DNA runs deep in the recording industry.

Just as the genetic code from our parents does,
Puttering provided the energy to stop feeling sorry for the day.
The time, wasted, maybe, I’ll say put to good use
Because the psychology of getting over sucky moods
Depends on how you go about things.

I have a playlist,
It’s called Flossing,
Not so much like teeth,
More for that mental purging
That needs to happen from time to time
All too frequently lately with
Life’s stresses hitting,
Death’s appearances.
Music seems right.

I save these tunes for those times
When my soul is empty,
When nothing but anger
Seems to be burning inside,
The dirty fuel inspired by
Rat bastards who make life miserable,
Sometimes that being just me,
Since I don’t seem to be able to not give a F#*^.

So back to the playlist,
A healthy mix of hard driving blues
And deeply disturbing songs
That never fail to make me feel better
With their haunting sounds,
Grinding guitars, and baron-like claw grip.
Each pulling, pushing, and stomping
Insignificance, doubt, and consternation
Into a place that lets me get back to living right.

All day long I’ve been singing New York,
The Lou Reed album,
One of my favorites,
A first CD back when I hardly had any,
The grit, parred down sounds,
Hard without the hairspray,
Folk with more of a cool factor, and
The lyrics,
Ah, the lyrics, narrators speaking a truth,
Telling stories on the edge,
Cutting, biting, fearless.

As I ran around dead people,
And I thought of how crazy these times are,
When the vision of Night of the Living Dead
Popped into my head,
I passed Bayard Taylor, a local author of note,
His grave something special,
An ostentatious expression of self-importance
Or some kind of family hanging on
That seemed to fit with Lou’s words,
“I’m sick of you,” not really you Bayard,
It was just timing, your big stone running
Right into Lou’s big stones,
And the kick in the crotch this virus has brought.

After yet another gray day,
I’m back at the keyboard, plugging away with my thoughts,
This time stoked by a proper listening to New York.
It’s hard to keep my focus,
I’m not dreaming of being a doctor, sort of got that one,
Or a layer, but I do fantasize about being on a boulevard
With a huge crowd of people not worrying about shit.
Maybe next month,
We can hope.
In the meantime, it’s nearly as good dreaming with Lou Reed.

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.

 

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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)