Thursday, September 21, 2017

away the other way

went for my walk today
thought I'd walk the other way
so I wouldn't run into you
you can imagine my surprise
it was like I had just opened my eyes
and a whole different world
came into view
walking away the other way
from you

Wednesday, September 20, 2017


my conscience is clear
I don't want dirty money
if I have to be you
a smile as insincere
as your's strikes me as funny
since you don't have a clue

          gimme a handout
          you know I need it
          you know what I'll do
          if I don't receive it
          gimme a handout
          you know what I need

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

More storytelling...


song: Mockingbird

I just did what I was not supposed to do: make music

  • discouragement of music
  • self (mis)education of music
  • becoming a songwriter
I entered, and was not selected for the new folk competition. I was furious and, from that moment on, determined to get in the contest.
  • entering year after year
  • rejection year after year
  • entering and being selected to compete at Columbia River Folk Music Festival
  • invitation to play main stage at Kerrville
performance of "I Could be Great at Romance" (1 verse)

I worked everyday for my appearance in front of the Kerrville audience.
  • being on stage and performance
  • realization that I was being paid, etc, for performing songs that had previously been rejected.

What did I learn? That it's really fun to compete if you're the winner and that, ultimately, it really is only the song that matters.

But it is fun. And so is the feeling of victory and vindication.

Monday, September 18, 2017

born middle aged

I was born middle aged
I never had the chance to be young
I was born middle aged
I never had the change to be young
when you're born middle aged
bitterness is your native tongue

I never learned from no one
I had to figure out on my own
the stuff I never learned from no one
I figured it out on my own
nowhere was my destination
that's my "home sweet home"

Sunday, September 17, 2017

storytelling/music #3


musical background and (mis)education

  • writing songs
  • teaching brother
  • school chorus

what this did was make me in charge of my own education. 
  • library
  • radio
  • radio announcers
by my late teens, I had a self-identity as a songwriter, hard-won by perseverance and stubbornness. Reading a library copy of Guitar Player Magazine, I found a small item about a songwriting competition at the Kerrville Folk Festival in the hill country of Texas.
  • entering competition
  • losing competition
  • making it one off my life's missions
  • year after year of losing
I went from being young to nearly middle aged in 1992, when I entered the Columbia River Folk Music Festival.
  • competing and winning
  • chosen by festival producer
  • being booked for Kerrville
Preparing for appearance and performing
  • knowing everything by heart
  • bee charging
  • realizing the songs' non-placement in contests
  • the zone, of sorts
  • being paid, hotel, flight, tickets for forever
  • I'll never learn what winning is like. I did learn, however, about the luxury of air-conditioning in one of Kerrville's finest hotels. I set the temperature at 60 degrees and if I hadn't fallen asleep first, victorious and vindicated.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

I can't feel love

I feel angry
I feel sad
I wear my heart on my sleeve
like other people wear plaid
I feel emotions
you've never ever heard of
except for one:
I can't feel love

I feel empathy
I feel sympathy
I feel feelings up and down
every inch of me
now I feel like I've felt enough
but one's undone
I can't feel love

          I've tried and I've tried
          but I'm empty inside
          life has denied all its perks
          I've planned and I've pleaded
          for what I need
          but my heart refuses to work

I feel you
I feel me
I feel like maybe something
we were meant to be
but my fears come back
and always call my bluff
playing too rough
I can't feel love
I can't feel love

Friday, September 15, 2017

beginning of 3rd storytelling plan


I was not supposed to play music.

     1. brothers' future in music
           a) pedal steel and classical
           b) teaching guitar

     2. educational system
           a) Rejection
           b) no chances, no one noticed
           c) "self taught"


When you come from that kind of musical background, you can become defensive and possessive. And that's the frame of mind I was in when I entered my first songwriting competition.

      1. musical education, or lack of
      2. Wrote from an early age...but it was natural. I couldn't not write 

      1. I entered a new song and was crushed when I was not selected
          to compete. I couldn't believe that there were 20 songwriters                   considered better than me. The fools! The audacity!

       2. I tried, year after year, to get into the new folk competition...

       To be continued...

Thursday, September 14, 2017

private victories

you can't see it
but today I'm a winner
no longer a beginner
to the sunny side of life
I can't tell you
'cause you don't need to understand it
joy's in high demand and
I can't believe my eyes

          it's these private victories
          that pull me through
          little bits of something
          that would mean nothing to you
          I'd like to share them
          but that's something I can't do
          with these private victories
          and what they add up to

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

don't just stand there

stop hurting me
I beg of you
ain't there something
you can do
don't just stand there
idly thinking
I'm in quicksand
hey, I'm sinking
I am not waving
I'm drowning here
any second I 
will disappear
and you won't notice
that I'm gone
like everyone else
you'll move on

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

anyone but me

I wish I knew how it feels to be happy
I wish I knew how it feels to be free
I don't mean to be saccharine and sappy
I just wish I could be anyone but me

          oh, anyone but me
          any fool could plainly see
          the life of misery I must go through
          anyone but me
          now, you may disagree
          but that's because you have the life of you
          yes you do

I wish I knew how it feels to be a winner
I wish I knew how to never lose
everything I do I do as a beginner
I wish I walked in someone else's shoes

           anyone but me
           oh how happy I would be
           successful and dynamic, too
           oh, anyone but me
           that's my sad philosophy
           I'd be much better off if I were you

Monday, September 11, 2017

nail in the fence

when I was a kid
I ripped my jeans
and cut my hand
on a nail in the fence
my mom said God
was punishing me
and I guess I've been punished 
ever since

down on my knees
I said symphonies
of apologies
but I still believed
that love and hope
would never leave
but, man, I was so wrong
after years
of prayers and tears
of asking for
relief from fear
I look into
the rear view mirror
and I see it oh, so strong
the fact that I don't belong

         I still don't know what I did
         but it started as a kid
         and it still continues
         to this day
         my mom and dad were right
         I can't do nothing right
         and that is why I'm going away


I should've been born
white, rich and free
from any conscience
inside me
instead I'm guilty as can be
for crimes I didn't do
I should've been born
tall and thin
not this so-called body
I'm imprisoned in
too much fat
but too thin-skinned
I should've been born you

you should've liked
the songs I wrote
you should've heard
the words I spoke
another drink 
another smoke
I'm just a joke to you
you should've heard
the words I said
and not have ignored
them instead
of pretending
you were a friend
your dishonesty's poking through

we should've been
the best of friends
we should have let
each other in
now here I am
by one I used to trust
I try to say
goodbye to you
but words don't come
no sound rings true
and there's nothing
I can do
but witness memories
turn to rust

I should've been
the one you wanted
now I live
in a life that's haunted
by your goddamn memory
I can't explain
I search in vain
I need to use my brain
I must be free
I must be free
I must be free

Sunday, September 10, 2017

fine with everybody

today I'm fine with everybody
just for today you've all passed the test
I want you to know that everybody's somebody
and everybody's better than the rest

Saturday, September 9, 2017

I'm doing fine

I am sinking into the quicksand of depression
did I happen to mention
it's not the first time
ifI've learned anything,
it did not leave an impression
I ignored the lesson
still, I'm doing fine

Friday, September 8, 2017

walker-bound haiku

running out the door
is not the easiest thing
when you're walker-bound

Thursday, September 7, 2017

before the night is through

I don't drink anymore
I don't drink any less
maybe my answer is no
or maybe it's yes
but nevertheless
girl, I'm calling on you
you know you're gonna love me
before the night is through

I don't need anyone
and nobody needs me
and I got the rest of my life
to be free
but look at me baby
what else do I have to do
you know you're gonna love me
before the night is through

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

warning days

the sky is burning down
look out, the sun is red
and hazy and screams through the clouds
upon the lives we've led
these are the warning days
these are the warning days

ashes falling from the sky
like a cremation of the past
and present and falls for so long
breathing is a task
these are the warning days
these are the warning days

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

in the right direction

there's so much that I don't know
my brain has miles and miles to go
before it begins to find its heart
it's pretty loud in that brain up there
everybody's arguing, everybody's scared
and no one knows just where to start
I don't know much, that I know
I can't stop my brain from thinking though
all that matters is that I go
in the right direction

Monday, September 4, 2017

what I hate about growing old

what I hate about growing old
is people always talking 
about illness and death
I hate to be so bold
but I'd like some other conversations
in the time I have left

Sunday, September 3, 2017


I want to explore you
like you're the grand canyon
I want to abandon
all doubt and fear
I want to hear 
the memories you have hidden
no longer forbidden
new to my ears

I want to belong to you
I want to feel pure
safe and secure
no more lost and alone
I want to breathe free
I don't want to panic
I even understand it
I just need to go home

I want to know you
like a face in the mirror
with no traces of tears
hiding inside
I'm looking for secrets
I need you to tell me
or you might as well be
one more reason to cry

I want to explore you
but I'm circling in orbit
I try to ignore it
afraid of the end
I will go to the ends of the earth
just to be near you
if I could just hear you
if I could hold you

Saturday, September 2, 2017

we live our lives online

we live our lives online
we text instead of speak
attempting to define
ourselves in what we seek
we say we'll meet some place
look for some coffee shop that's near
but instead we live on Facebook
we pretend we have careers

we live our lives online
we don't have time for each other
our priorities are fine
but it's too much work to bother
we emphasis our coffee
keep up with Amazon's wish list
and if I want you off me
I'll just pretend you don't exist

we live our lives online
the impressions that we're giving
says everything is fine
in this lifestyle that we're living
yeah, everything is on track
better than it was before
our actions have no impact
but everybody's keeping score

and that's okay now
it's all just wasted time
this is the way now
we live our lives online

Friday, September 1, 2017

a peaceful morning

I had a peaceful morning
after night came to an end
it had never happened before
and I don't expect it will again
the light poured through the window
dust particles began to dance
and it was like I'd never seen them before
like they never had the chance
a breeze came through the curtains
birds began to sing
for a while I thought maybe
all was right with everything
for once, joy was my purpose,
my lover, my best friend
so I drank a cup of decaf
and then went back to bed

Thursday, August 31, 2017


I need the drugs to kick in right now
I can't wait an extra second
I need them to work
I don't know how
but I'll find out, I reckon
I ain't got no time to meditate
any time from now
is still too late
anyway, I'd appreciate
another refill please
a !title stronger than these
to relax this brain within

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

the conquering time

my anger knows no limit
my rage is the conquering kind
it holds me prisoner
in this cage of my own design
and when it overtakes me
I feel like I'm possessed
I never learned to study
and now it's time for the test

          c'mon help me out here Jesus
          show me what's up your sleeve
          no matter what I do
          I cannot disbelieve

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

this is not how stories were meant to end

don't tell me
you're scaring me
you were supposed 
to live a long, long time
the diagnosis
isn't completely done yet
you're still young
and in your prime

I tell myself
don't panic
I need a moment
to comprehend
it was going to be
just a checkup 
what am I
going to tell the children

          it ain't right
          it ain't fair
          you weren't supposed
          to go anywhere

don't leave me
don't desert me
this was not how stories
are meant to end
don't tell me
a day will come
when I will never 
see you again

          I don't mean to be selfish
          I hope you can see
          I am telling myself
          this is not about me
          this is not about me

don't tell me
you're scaring me
you were supposed 
to live a long, long time

Monday, August 28, 2017

solitary confinement

I can't be alone anymore
I've looked and I've looked
for something I can't find yet
every day is like the day before
I feel like I'm in
solitary confinement
lock me away
where no one can see
the parts of my brain
have learned to disagree
and I am forced to be here all alone
in the jail cell I call my home

Sunday, August 27, 2017

it was worth living in Texas

it was worth living in Texas
if only for the fireflies
tat looked like little lighted helicopters
hovering in Jack's back yard

it was worth living in Texas
if only for the smoked brisket
that Miss Rhonda would bring
for school celebrations

it was worth living in Texas
for the warmth of friendships
the flashes of hope
in my darkness of living

It was worth living in Texas
for te sound of Wendy's
voice and ukulele
singing Roy Orbison's "Crying"

it was worth living in Texas
where the hippies are older
but still sincere
still believing

now I live in Oregon
where the weed is good and legal
and the sky is gray and wet
except for July and August

it's okay
the weather's a whole lot cooler
Portland is liberal
most of the hippies 
are young and sincere

but I will always miss Texas
where life is worth it

Saturday, August 26, 2017


open up the email
check for numbers on your phone
I need contact
with somebody
pick up the receiver
"hi, nobody's home"
I'm looking for some contact
can anybody connect
me with a friendly face
I'm lost here in last place
in this human race
I am running in my walker

Friday, August 25, 2017

I don't care anymore

I don't wanna sing about peace
I don't want to sing about love
I don't want to speak about brotherhood
or sisterhood
or any hood thereof
I don't want to think about politics
it all makes me sick
the only thing that'll do the trick
is making the whiskey stronger
making the high last so much longer
man, you'd think I would be stronger
than I am
I'm in a fucked-up jam
'cause I don't give a damn, that's for sure
I don't care anymore

Thursday, August 24, 2017

fuckin' asshole so-called friend of mine

I thought you were my friend
how stupid can I be
I know now that you believe
that you're too good for me
I know now you were lying
to my face the entire time
go to hell, already
fuckin' asshole so-called friend of mine

I thought you were my friend
how was I to know
when trouble came into my life
you'd be the first to go
to you, being a honest
is a god-forsaken crime
go fuck yourself, already
fuckin' asshole so-called friend of mine

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

no trespassing sign

burn all these memories
every one is wasted time
there is no answer to be found
just a no trespassing sign
I put it up to keep out
the people I need most
I ain't saying I'm keeping count
but everyone has become a ghost

take away these stupid dreams
grow up and leave them behind
their reality won't let me in
all I see is a no trespassing sign
I search for peace in my own way
pull out my mental microscope
but my strength has chosen not to stay
and took with it my sense of hope


sky growing darker
moon overtaking the sun
only once, then gone

Sunday, August 20, 2017

sequoia (rewrite one)

I've lived in this city 
'most all of my life
the asphalt surrounds me 
where weeds used to grow
in this two-bit apartment
I watch time pass me by
and dream about places 
I never will know

down at the corner, 
an old pine tree stands
proud and tall,
out of place in this town
planted a long time ago 
by some stranger's hand
and for whatever reason, 
was never chopped down

          sometimes I sit 
          in an afternoon kitchen
          with a cup of hot coffee 
          and an unbroken dream
          and I stare out the window 
          to that big old tree
          and I swear
          sometimes it looks like sequoia to me

if a tree can claim space
on the corner of my block
maybe I've got a place
on this good earth below
maybe we're all just seeds
tossed in cracks in the sidewalk
putting in roots
and needing to grow

          sometimes I sit 
          in an afternoon kitchen
          with a cup of hot coffee 
          and an unbroken dream
          and I stare out the window 
          to that big old tree
          and I swear
          sometimes it looks like sequoia to me

Saturday, August 19, 2017

one more sequoia verse

if a tree can claim space
on the corner of my block
maybe I'll find my place
on this good earth below
we're just like seeds tossed
in a crack in the sidewalk
putting in roots
and needing to grow

Friday, August 18, 2017

just yesterday

I still see you
like it was just yesterday
after the parties
drunk at Denny's
talking shit
I still expect you
to walk in the door your usual way
needing to piss
too much beer
overdoing it a bit

          so why did you leave
          and why am I still here
          I don't know what to believe
          my eyes aren't clear

I can still hear you
like it was just yesterday
slide on finger
pick in hand
glass on strings
I still expect you
to get your guitar and play
Keith Richard
Lou Reed
you made Santa Paula sing

          so why did you leave
          and why am I still here
          there are things I can't conceive
          that you heard crystal clear

I can still learn from you
like it was just yesterday
you saved my life, you know
I still expect you
to share your magic 
and music
voices on the radio

          so why did you leave
          and why am I still hear
          I have no idea
          the answer's not clear
          why did you leave
          why am I still here
          I hope to be with you
          after I disappear

I still see you
like it was just yesterday

Thursday, August 17, 2017

this fuckin' world

this fuckin' world
Jesus Christ
can you believe
this mess we're in
you try and try
with all your might
and each time
it's harder to begin
maybe you just can't win
but giving in 
is a crying shame
and a secular sin
this fuckin' world
the fuckin' people within

this fuckin' world
holy smokes!
every single day
the rich guy steals
from the poot
and claims it's the holy way
I have no idea what to say
but giving in
can't be an option
we must have faith someway
this fuckin' world
I can only hope to see
people like you and me
taking responsibility
for this fuckin' world

we have to believe

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

another sequoia verse

if a tree can claim space
on the corner of my block
maybe I'll find my place
on this brown dirt below
we're only seeds
tossed in cracks in the sidewalk
putting in roots
and needing to grow

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

eternal valentine

let's synchronize our watches
to 3/4 time
let's make sure our phrases
are all perfect rhymes
I will be your 
eternal valentine
and you can be mine too

Monday, August 14, 2017

sequoia (last verse attempt)

if I could speak the language of trees
I'd ask how it felt to be so tall
I'd ask all about the old memories
and hear the questions it asks of us all
and if I could answer back
I'd nod and say "You're not alone"
we're all just weeds in a sidewalk crack
wanting and needing to grow

Sunday, August 13, 2017

orphan verses

if I knew how to answer back
I'd say "you're not alone"
we're all weeds in a sidewalk crack
needing to grow

where rich people
control our lives
in the name of freedom

pull up the blinds
open up the front door
take off your clothes
and say "hello, world!"
take my advice or not
either way you're done for
you better believe
that ain't how you win a girl

Saturday, August 12, 2017


I know your life is perfect
right on time
going as planned
entertainment on demand
but someday it's gonna crumble down
into grains of sand
and you're gonna need to hold
somebody's hand

          you may think you're down and out
          and not up to the task
          but all you gotta do is ask
          all you gotta do is ask

I know you got your burdens
but let me lay mine down, too
though now it's just a memory
I was once like you
I'd stand behind my foolish pride
to hide the pain I knew
and the more painful it got
the more I withdrew

          you can say you can't make friends
          and that smile's just a mask
          all you gotta do is ask
          all you gotta do is ask
I got my share of troubles, friend,
but tell me about your's
this world's touch
is hard and rough
and too tough to ignore
sometimes at night
I fold my hands
and my knees rest on the floor
I say to whatever's up there
"what is this sorrow for?"

          you can panic
          you can curse
          but now you can relax
          all you gotta do is ask
          all you gotta do is ask
          all you gotta do is ask
          all you gotta do is ask

Friday, August 11, 2017

holding pattern

I've been in this holding pattern so long
I'm running out of gas
aren't you tired of having to be so strong
well, I'm glad you asked
'cause I've been down so long
that it looks like up to me
plus backwards and sideways
is the only path I see

we've been in this holding pattern so long
we're running out of steam
I don't know how we ever got so wrong
with our American dream
we all search our hearts
for some sense to make it through
but we're still gonna destroy our world
if it's the last thing we do
it'll be the last thing to do

Thursday, August 10, 2017

in my dream

in my dream
I was young again
lying in the soft, wavy grass
in the field that had no end
my dog ran to me
ready to lick my face
glad that I was here.

I could die that way,
I suppose,
and it would be merciful
and sweet
like a whisper of wind
that refuses to stop

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

creepy little eyes

I never liked the city much
it's loud and filthy
in more ways than one
it's got scary people 
with creepy little eyes
and none of them ain't much fun
they look at you sideways
suspicious and snide
a predator waiting to strike
following your footsteps
and planning their plans
to do something you won't like

Saturday, August 5, 2017

trouble's following you

I've lost my sense of humor
and I can't find it
I've looked everywhere I know
I've looked inside bottles
and pipes and powders
anywhere money can blow

it's probably somewhere 
with my common sense
hanging out
enjoying the show
of watching me scramble
like a headless turkey
to a future remaining unknown

          oh oh oh
          I got nowhere to go
          oh oh oh
          there ain't nothing I know
          oh oh oh
          you better look out below
          trouble's following you
          trouble's following you

Friday, August 4, 2017

making excuses

lately I spend all my time
making excuses for you
I tell myself reasons
that I know aren't true
maybe you got lost in traffic
maybe your phone doesn't work
maybe your computer is broken
maybe you just think I'm a jerk

it doesn't really matter
whatever you do
I've become an expert
at making excuses for you
I'll forgive your rejections
I'll accept all your lies
I'll conjure up stores
with whatever logic applies

           the truth's right in front of me
           it's true you plainly see
           you're too good for me 
           and my problem is
           I completely agree

but still I waste my time
making excuses for you
seems I don't have the sense
to know when something's through
I hope someday I wake up
with a real point of view
but until that day comes my way
I'll be making excuses for you