Sunday, April 30, 2017

from here on out

I don't need anybody
to tell me what to do
I don't need nobody
especially the likes of you
I can hear with both my ears
and you don't have to shout
I'm taking care of myself
from here on out

it's amazing the people
who know the best for me
they've been flapping their gums
my whole damn history
with mouths full of shit
of that I have no doubt
I can take care of myself
from here on out

          from here on out
          I'm taking care of myself
          from here on out
          I'm maintaining my mental health
          I'll find a different direction
          plan a separate route
          I'll take care of myself
          from here on out

so I've got a one-way ticket
away from your excuse for a life
I'm already gone
and I don't have to think about it twice
I thought you were my friend
what the hell was that about
I'm taking care of myself
from here on out

Dublin, Ireland


nothing but lies

sitting in the shadows 
with shades of sorrow in your eyes
like you're imposing on the world
simply by the fact that you're alive
your parents beat you down
and kicked you around
and kept you down
and cut you down to size
and no one ever told you
they controlled you 
with nothing but lies

I don't know how it feels
when the ones you're supposed to love
are filled with hate
and blame you for their empty lives
and you're the alibi for their mistakes
you weren't allowed to hope
your mom and dad made sure you wouldn't try
and nobody ever told you
that they sold you
nothing but lies

you came into the classroom
you couldn't even look me in the face
your clothes hid the bruises
but the truth is
they'll never be erased
but you deserve life and love
and more than to merely survive
in a world where no one told you
they tried to mold you
with nothing but lies

I'm required by law,
as your teacher, 
to call up DPS
why no one contacted them before
is anybody's guess
but I know firsthand the warning signs
through I've tried to block them 
from my mind
you can come in from the cold
where they told you nothing but lies
if you look inside your soul
you'll know they told you
nothing but lies

Dublin, Ireland

Thursday, April 27, 2017

I ain't running anymore

after a lifetime of running around
like a chicken without a head
it wasn't till I met you that I finally found
a new way of living instead
I've been alone almost all of my days
that's been completely my own damn choice
but since the first time I heard you calling my name
I look around for the sound of your voice

          I always stood by 
          the bright red exit sign
          or behind an open door
          but once I saw you
          you've taken over my mind
          and I ain't running anymore

I once thought that trouble was my middle name
in letters you can't erase
now it's a new game 
I don't feel the same
and I know now that's not the case

          I always believed 
          life had tricks up its sleeve
          but now I disagree, that's for sure
          but once I saw you
          each day feels like Christmas eve
          so I ain't running anymore
          no, I ain't running anymore

Wednesday, April 26, 2017


Hey, man, I thought I'd write you a letter. I almost never write letters but I thought I would because I forgot to buy postcards and anyway, letters are longer and I could use some writing practice anyway, even though I've been writing my ass off since I've been here.

I'm in a little village off the Atlantic shore called Gleanncholmcille. It's in County Donegal. It's amazingly beautiful, and strangely reminds me of home -- I mean "home" as in the place I grew up. I mean, my hometown beach isn't as spectacular as the one here. Port Hueneme, California doesn't really have rocky cliffs, and of course it's not green like Ireland. But the Pacific is also amazing, I think. Also, there are a number of paintings here that are almost exactly like my ones my father painted. I mean the style. I don't know a whole lot about paintings, but the styles are eerily similar. I look at the paintings a lot, though. They comfort me.

I've had a really good time here. The group is 12 people and I like them all. My friends Matt and Nancy are the ones who run the retreat, and I love both of them, of course. The others are songwriters like me, or spouses who are creative and interesting in their own right. Everybody is very supportive and very emotionally generous. I feel privileged to hear all these songs written from the heart. I'm deeply in love with writing songs. It's what I was fuckin' born to do. That is why I'm here on this earth. I don't doubt that. Ever. I don't know if it's explainable.

So that's what brought me to Ireland, music. Ireland seems to have a respect and love for its culture and history that would be unimaginable in the USA, especially in the current political climate. I went with some of my new found friends to a pub in Donegal town, and it was packed. It was a Friday night and there was a singer/guitarist and and an accordionist and it was fuckin' stunning, man. The singer sounded like a healthy Shane McGowan. Or maybe just a sober Shane McGowan. Anyway, everybody knew lyrics and everybody was singing and it got rowdy and people started dancing spontaneously. It was like a movie.

One of Matt's friends from Ireland is a songwriter named Eunan McIntyre who is just fuckin' amazing and a real nice guy, too. He writes these songs that can make you fuckin' cry, man. And talk about a voice! I feel incredibly blessed that I got to hear his music. I bought a couple of CDs from him, so I'll play him for you when I get back. 

Emotionally speaking, I'm doing much better here than I have been doing back home. Because this, for me, is my idea of paradise. I'm not so fuckin' isolated, of course, and the priorities are music and friendship. And Guinness. There are times that are not easy because -- well, I have some mental health issues, as you know, and they hitch a ride everywhere. I'm always surprised when people like me and accept me. That ain't nothing new. I expect to be rejected all the time. I'm always afraid that I'm talking too much and God knows, I'm always walking on eggshells. Even when I'm by myself. It's stuff like this that's the reason why I see a therapist. It's like I'm always afraid that everybody I know is going to participate in a gigantic intervention to let me know that everything I do is unacceptable and that they are all going to desert me. 

And that way of thinking crossed over the Atlantic Ocean with me, which means that I'm projecting those qualities to everybody I meet. Which isn't necessarily true. And I know that intellectually, but, you know, it's stuff so fuckin' ingrained that I can't convince myself otherwise. But, even though it's here with me, it's milder and it's not keeping me from doing anything. Believe me, it's like a hundred times milder here in Ireland that it is at home, at least. You know me back home, man, it's one fuckin' emergency after another. And rage at the smallest fuckin' thing...I'm not doing that here. I know this is temporary, but I am grateful.

Songwriting and working on songs is going spectacularly well. I can write for hours here, and I find myself writing just for the fuckin' fun of writing. The rewriting is going better than I could've imagined. Songs are coming together and I'm gonna record a new album, probably this summer, hopefully. As painful as my life has been since the fuckin' accident, the creativity, the songwriting, it's fuckin' exhilarating, man. It feels good. It's what I was born to do. It's also a great defense mechanism. 

So I'm going to go out in the living room and listen to people playing music. Maybe I'll even play something myself. I'll have a pint for you.

See you when I get back
your friend farmboy

put me to sleep (rewrite)

put me to sleep
sing me a lullaby
with vials of morphine
entering my veins
put me to sleep
I'm not yet a butterfly
I'm an ugly old caterpillar
yearning to change

I just want to rest
get me my medicine
I need something stronger
to calm down my nerves
watch some TV
I miss David Letterman
giving those morons 
what they deserve

          put me to sleep
          any way you know how
          I'd do it myself
          but I don't know how

put me to sleep
unplug the machinery 
I'm tired of struggling
to breathe through the night
put me to sleep
you don't know what this means to me
soon I'll be history
and I'll be all right
nurse, do one more thing 
please turn off the light

Gleanncholmcille, Ireland

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

I saw a snail

I saw a snail
in her shell on a rocky wall
I waited for the snail to move
but she wouldn't go nowhere at all
it was a beautiful snail
with a shell of orange and brown
I even wrote it a haiku
but I forgot to write it down

I saw a snail
relaxing on the side of the house
I've never relaxed in my entire life
maybe the snail could teach me how
maybe I could bribe her with snacks
maybe I'll write her a song
I could take a few polaroid photos
but I forgot to bring my camera around

I saw a snail
the most beautiful snail of all time
if I wanted to see it forever
I'd have to keep it in my mind
I don't need to record this, I thought
I don't need it on Facebook to see
maybe this snail is best as a memory
to pull out wherever I need

Gleanncholmcille, Ireland

Monday, April 24, 2017

sailor lost at sea

the waves go out
the waves come in
and that's the way 
it's always been
back and forth and back again
over and over and over
exactly like 
my love for you
a mystery 
without a clue
not even Sherlock Holmes
could prove
the love I long to show her

          did you know you saved my life
          you showed up in the nick of time
          even in the black of night
          you are the light
          that always shines
          badly broken and abandoned
          no companion have I known
          I was a sailor lost at sea
          until your love became my home

the waves come in
the waves go out
it makes no sense
to keep a count
the movement's what
it's all about
there's no way of going backwards
I had no way
of being free
until you softly
said to me
you deserve
some dignity
those were your exact words

          did you know you saved my life
          there was no one who believed in me
          even in the black of night
          you are the light
          by which I see
          badly broken and abandoned
          no companion have I known
          I was a sailor lost at sea
          until your love became my home

Gleanncholmcille, Ireland

Sunday, April 23, 2017

breathe again

I need to learn to breathe again
I want my lungs to fill
with oxygen as my best friend
I'll pay whatever bill
'cause breathing is important
better done than not
I need to learn to breathe again
'cause somewhere I forgot

happy I'm here

I had a good night's sleep
in a Dublin hotel
from 5 p.m.
till 9 in the morning 
the coffee is strong
and my spirits are well
with Donegal waiting before me
I don't like planes
and I'm scared to travel 
it's safety I crave
'cause my nerves unravel
but I'm standing brave
on this gray bus bench gravel
I'd usually be shaking in fear
but today I'm happy I'm here

my life in the states 
is best left unmentioned
my default setting
is stuck on bad luck
my anxiety's screaming
demanding attention
and that's why my life sucks
but I'm not addressing
those problems today
they're all so depressing
I'll throw them away
I'm all through with messing
with the whole USA
and Guinness is my favorite beer
today I'm happy I'm here

in a couple of days
I'll see Matt and Nancy
and meet a bunch
of new songwriting friends
I'll look at a world
I normally can't see
postcards nobody could send
and I'll take in as much
as my soul will allow
my heart will be touched
by the musical sounds
as I place my trust
in the here and the now
raising a pint in good cheer
today I'm happy I'm here
every worry has learned
that it must disappear
today I'm happy I'm here

Dublin, Ireland

very same sun

the very same sun shines on you
as it did upon your dad and mom
your best friends and your neighbors, too
and all the people you came from
for seconds, minutes, hours, days
years, decades, and centuries
the very same sun shines on us
even our so-called enemies

the very same sun warms your skin
like it does the ones you love
echoing the warmth within
the hearts of those your heart's made of
winter cold melts into summer
when the days are ending late
the very same sun shines on us
even those we're supposed to hate

when you're crying out in sorrow
and hope hides where it can't be found
point your compass towards tomorrow
point your feet on higher ground
troubles, trials, tribulations
evaporate like morning dew
when you feel you don't belong
the very same sun shines on you

Donegal Town, Ireland

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

It's always solitary confinement

Man. it's been a long time and I've been going through these mental illness type of shit and it's been hard, man, I been desperate. And I'm going to Ireland tomorrow.

Tomorrow? Already? Are you ready, farmboy?

(sighs)  Very ready. I have some very small things that need to get done but I'm packed, I got meds, plane reservations, CPAP machine, international electric plug thingies, passport, nerves and Klonopin. I'm actually more relaxed than I thought I'd be.

Saying that, I've worked hard for it, and I'm trying not to be an emotional mess about everything. My therapist called to cancel because his kid was sick and I cried for a fuckin' hour because that's what I've been looking forward to. That was supposed to big the big reward, the highlight of the week. And of course I can't blame the therapist or his kid. There's no choice there. But, man, so many things have been going so wrong for so long now that...fuck, I don't know. I'm trying not to be angry, I'm trying not to be emotional. I want to be calm and rational and resilient and flexible. I want to be not afraid. 

I'm scared shitless, man.

I know, farmboy.

I wish I had somebody to go with me. (starts to cry)  I don't know why I always have to be by myself. I don't know why. It's so unfair. It's always solitary confinement no matter where I am.

Are you going to be okay, farmboy?

Of course. I'm always fuckin' okay.

But are you really going to be okay?

I am. I'm going to Ireland. And it'll be all right. I dread the trip. But I can't wait to be there.


I will text you
I'll email you
or any other choice
I need to communicate
but I don't want to hear your voice
time is precious
time is money
time is here and now
I want to live
but ain't it funny
I have no idea how
how to appreciate
what's served on your plate
why is this need so great

Monday, April 17, 2017

ain't dreaming

I keep trying
I keep trying
but it ain't doing me no good
I keep hoping
keep my eyes open
I know this neighborhood
and I know the secrets lost inside it
the ones that shun the peace and quiet
I look in my brain
I see a riot
and it's coming right at me
look doctor, can't you see
I ain't dreaming
I ain't dreaming

Sunday, April 16, 2017


it's hard
it's hard work
it's the hardest work you'll ever know
it's always
been so damn dark
but you won't remember that
after you've seen the glow
of the sun
and the fireflies
and the rising of the moon
it's hard work
but it's worth it
coming out of the cocoon

you're angry
your mind's on fire
your brain's attacking everything you are
it's been darker
than the devil's deep desire
while you've been endlessly searching 
for that northern star
to guide you
through the night
but the sun will be rising soon
I promise
you'll get used to the light
coming out of the cocoon

will try to control you
but don't even let it near
it's as natural as breathing
you can't make it disappear
ah, but courage
remember that guy?
he's been with you since the womb
he knows you're ready
hey look, a butterfly!
coming out of the cocoon
you're ready
spread your wings and fly
out of the cocoon

it's hard 
it's hard work
it's the hardest work you'll ever know

Saturday, April 15, 2017

hey there death

hey there death
I'm looking you in the face 
you should look into getting
some wrinkles erased
a little nip and tuck
some imperfections replaced
how you doing, old man?

Friday, April 14, 2017

full speed ahead

let me out
no turning back 
this can't be my future
I've worked too damn hard
to live like I'm 
your hired hand
there is no understanding 
this time
all I'm demanding 
is what rightfully 
is mine
there's no taking back what's been said
fuck off
to me you're gone
I'm moving on
full speed ahead

Thursday, April 13, 2017

my suicide note

I've had miles and miles of bad mental health
so much I just have to mention
you should have bought
a lot of stock
in suicide prevention
right now you'd be a millionaire
owner of hotlines galore
making cash tax free
from trash like me
who don't want to be anymore

had me down my razor blade
cyanide with lemonade
if only I could have stayed
in my mama's womb
jumping off a ladder
with a rope around my neck
when your brain's busy betraying you
you just say "what the heck!
DJ, could you please
play " Loser" by Beck
I need to hear that song right now
I think I'm gonna be sick

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

farmboy's hall of blame

I know you all came here to be entertained
you want laughter and tears and expensive champagne
I know I shouldn't be self indulgent 
I'm ashamed
but please enter and visit my hall of blame

first, I blame the schools
for doing me completely wrong
your contribution to my isolation
discouraging my song
for the ways that you ignored me
and taught me to obey
as well as fearing anybody
old enough for the PTA

second: the adults who decided
I was not worth talking to
and further in
and further in
and further I withdrew
till there was just imagination
coming in to replace
the spaces where adults should have been
my childhood erased

third: welcome to my catalogue of
various mental illnesses
my history of taking but not knowing
just what pill this is
I don't know if I'm the thief
or one of many witnesses
but I keep going down, down, down
what a never ending pit this is
what a never ending pit this is

fourth: to my body
that I never really got to know
ruled by my pal asthma
and the lengths it would go
to make sure I couldn't move
and that I always fell behind
wearing my mental illness
disguised as fat on the outside

fifth: that would be my memories
who hold me hostage and desert me
and remembers everything
about everyone who ever hurt me
and of all the wrongs I've ever done
the guilt will never leave me
and the judgements of everyone 
who would never really see me

speaking of guilt...

six: the Catholic Church
that taught a wretch like me
the rituals that fit so well
with my spiritual OCD
maybe you also encouraged
the need to be somebody else
by condemning me to a future
of always doubting myself

number seven: the times then
were backwards as could be
holding on to standards
labeled 1953
you hit them and you scold them
and make sure they stay in line
and then sit back and watch
the unraveling of thier minds

to be continued... maybe...

Monday, April 10, 2017

inconsequential celebrity gossip

it's a fine line between genius and whacko
and I should know
I used to work in motion pictures
a long, long time ago
when everyone still smoked tobacco
and worked towards a common goal
now it's all turned into
inconsequential celebrity gossip

I was a guy on the lighting crew
I looked like a Cuban Sinatra
I worked with bulbs twice as hot as Mojave
a long, long time ago
and if you were a star I would shine one on you
with your date and your chaperone
now it's nothing but
inconsequential celebrity gossip

          remember me?
          my name is Pete
          and I worked in Hollywood seven years
          with directors that do not have names like Scorcese
          who use language that'll make you cover your ears

it's a long way from L.A. to New Hampshire
but it's my only home
my family came to its soil
a long, long time ago
I don't miss that factory town
that's for damn sure
but it sure was great while it lasted
before it became
inconsequential celebrity gossip

Sunday, April 9, 2017

saving my own life

good morning
I can't go to work today
there's something wrong with my mind
if I came in
I'd just be a jerk today
and the projects would all fall behind
I'm hearing voices in my head
and they're cutting me down to size
they're saying
that I'm almost good as dead
so I'm saving my own life

I was driving
to the nearest liquor store
to get the medicine I crave
there was this new bottle
that I couldn't ignore
and I thought I'd be brave
so I bought it
took it home to pour
took a sip and I damn near died
it was water
I'd never had it before
but I guess I'm saving my own life

Saturday, April 8, 2017

you grow everywhere

Inspired by a Facebook post by singer/songwriter Chris Kokesh

you're driving on the 405
through Los Angeles
vehicles are slowing down
and it's making you pissed
and it feels like everything you do
is just the same dead end
soon you're thinking
any sense of progress is pretend
well, my friend
you can't defend
that like your car,  your life 
is going nowhere once again
it's just bad luck 
you're only stuck
soon you'll be somewhere
where the traffic doesn't suck
no matter where you are
there's no need for despair
life's always changing
you grow everywhere

you're growing when you're miserable
believe it or not 
you're growing when the moon is full
and your attitude is shot
you're growing like a daydream
that's decided to come back
you're growing like a wildflower
through a sidewalk crack
you're right on track
it's a natural fact
that your soul's always shining
like a brand-new Cadillac
no matter where you are
let the wind blow back your hair
life's always changing
you grow everywhere

Friday, April 7, 2017

right now

right now the voices are not talking
buzzing in my brain like a billion bees
I'm walking a precarious tightrope
between normal and emotionally diseased
I'm not used to my mind this quiet
not attacking and abusing me
I know it's just a break
but I'm grateful for the time I'm free
right now
right now

right now the wind is rough and chilly
there's a scent of open chimneys in the air
right now my skin needs the crispness
of wind where there once was hair
drive me to the ocean
back to my old hometown
where life was free of the memories
of how all the shit went down
I don't need that
right now
right now

but that's of no concern today
I'm even beginning to feel a little pleasant
so I savoring every microsecond
of living in my non-depessive present
I'm sure in a while I'll be back to myself
where I'll pay for my mind in the clouds
but, man, ain't that sunset beautiful
that's all that matters right now
right here in the hear and now
my mind is clear
right now
I don't need to disappear
right now
I'm just here 
right now
I'm just here

Thursday, April 6, 2017

get me off facebook now

I'm mad
I'm really mad
I'm the maddest I've ever been
How mad am I?
I'll tell you why
I've got this madness within
I'm so mad I'll do
what I want to do
and I don't care what's allowed
I just have one request from you
get me off Facebook now

     get me off Facebook now
     still my stressed out brain
     I don't care where or how
     help my rage to be contained
     I'm using exclamation english
     and I don't mean holy cow
     get me off Facebook now

don't let me post to enemies
that I've forgotten to unfriend
and political discussions  
that only lead to bitter ends
I've had enough
hose me off
I'm throwing in the towel
I've got an urge
that I have the purge
get me off Facebook now

      get me off Facebook now
      just be my babysitter
      there must be a way somehow
      to disallow
      Instagram and twitter
      I've got a stupid stubborn longing
      to be holier than thou
      get me off Facebook now
       (I really mean it)
      get me off Facebook now
      (hope no one's seen it)
      get me off Facebook now
      (sorry to dump here)
      get me off Facebook now
      (insert line about Trump here)
      get me off Facebook now

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

radio help

I am desperate
I am fucked up
I don't know 
what messed my life up
all I've heard is
I should buck up
and hide anything I feel
I am cursing 
I am crying
I want to tell
this world goodbye and
there ain't no use denying
mental illness is real

          radio help
          you gotta understand
          I need someone now
          I'm drowning on dry land
          and I can't protect myself
          radio help

I ain't healthy
I ain't pleased
I've prayed so much
I got bruised knees
but it all comes down
to this disease
that's made a home inside my brain
this shit should be
illegal, man
I'm thinking like
a feeble man
call PBS
David Eagleman
maybe he could explain

          radio help
          you gotta understand
          I need someone now
          I'm drowning on dry land
          and I can't protect myself
          radio help

I hear you judging
talking your shit
instructing me to
"snap out of it!"
as you can tell
I'm really pissed
'cause you call yourself a friend
so you can go and
fuck yourself
take your out-of-date ideas
off the shelf
and congratulate 
your mental health
and shove them up
your motherfuckin' ass

          radio help
          you gotta understand
          I need someone now
          I'm drowning on dry land
          and I can't protect myself
          radio help

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

my suicide plan

I would walk 
in the woods,
with my walker, 
the best I could
late at night 
when there wouldn't be no one
I would take
a look around
put my backpack
on the ground
open it up
and take out my brand-new gun
and I'd put it
to my head
pull the trigger
there, I'm dead
a death too gruesome to mention
maybe heaven
maybe hell
I don't know
who could tell?
but finally I'd get some attention