Poetry: Outback Cowboy

Where ignorance is king,
where men wear silly expensive hats
and spurs and can hardly put
a coherent sentence together,
that, what I just said is not true,
these cowboys are on top of
their game.
I am always confused
if you’re wearing spurs,
where’s the fucking horse—
or cow? Always confused.

I want to sit on my back porch
on a rainy Wednesday night
with a cool porter
and listen to Seger
and write a poem
about how I feel. About life
or death. About important shit,
like vanishing telephone poles and
parked cars and garage doors
and the Stepford wives or
Beatles and Stones and old dogs
eatin’ chicken bones.

I’m not a branded Texan,
ah got no gun or rope,
no horse, nor spurs
in my immigrant collection.
Just Bob; this notebook,
a few memories and
confused convoluted feelings
about everything except the rain.

And boring people
who are interesting, and interesting
people who are not and why
none of that matters.
On my back porch,
where ignorance is king
an’ old Bob can still sing.

Look both ways when you wonder about what you think.
Look for gaps in cowboy hats, that’s how the light gets in.

Nostalgia and Longing

NMy wife doesn’t like one (or more) of my favorite songs: Night Moves by Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band. I thought it was our differing tastes in music (she’s country, I’m rock and roll), but one day our son pointed out why. It’s a ‘guy’ song. I also realized that we each look back in time with different memories. Never mind that she really does not enjoy the raspy-voiced shouting of old Bob. The song, written and recorded by Seger in 1976, is a coming of age tale about adolescent love and an adult memory of it. It strikes memories of my times in the early sixties.

For the past twenty years, I have learned to live in the moment – to let go of the past and disregard future problems. So, for me to admit that I long for, or crave anything from the past would be contrary to my philosophy of life. Like anyone, I would certainly enjoy repeating pleasurable experiences. But I can’t. I suppose that is what makes them nostalgic. However, I must admit to my instinctive fondness for a decade from the past. A longing is a desire for a person, object, or outcome. I suppose that we all have them, but desire can get us into situations we would rather not be in – trouble.

nostalgiaDuring the 1970s I graduated from college (many thought impossible), I re-entered the Air Force as an officer, I completed flight training, all my children were born, and I turned thirty (I thought that impossible and I sadly became untrustworthy— relates to the famous “don’t trust anyone over 30” adage of Jack Weinberg, activist of the 1960s, now 76). I usually listen to the music of the 70s. While I enjoy those songs for their own value, the music also often brings with it memories and feelings that can only be called nostalgia. Sometimes, it makes me feel profoundly sad. I’m not sure why, but I suppose it has to do with something that will never be again.

john_travolta_night_feverIt was the decade of great music, great movies, and great TV. The politics were interesting. How often do we get to see a president resign? I am working on a historical-fiction novel, set in the 1970s. We had Star Wars, ABBA, and the Beatles break-up. Elvis died. Everything was either brown or orange including the shag pile carpeting (ok, add yucky gold). We had platform shoes, Charlies Angels, Mork and Mindy, metal drinking cups, portable hair dryers, Holly Hobbie, Lava Lamps, and the most outlandish fashions ever for America and England. Who could ask for more? We typed on typewriters, went to Tupperware parties, and air conditioning was a welcome luxury. And who did not have an 8-track?

“I woke last night to the sound of thunderBob_Seger_2013
How far off I sat and wondered
Started humming a song from 1962
Ain’t it funny how the night moves
When you just don’t seem to have as much to lose
Strange how the night moves
With autumn closing in.” ~ Bob Seger, Night Moves