Poetry: How it was

 

we were wine drunk in a sad state
rain fell softly, our feet bare in tall grass
we discovered and devoured everything
it was a time, I wish we could go back to

a place that no longer exists
nothing is the same
we are not the same
like rain runs off an old tin roof

we did our best
we were all winging it
without a book of instructions
we loved and tried and cried

sickness taught us about mortality
and of time
of right and of wrong
of a balance of life based on mystery

life gave us as much as we took
we were brittle, we were broken
we looked deep to encompass pain
to draw a circle around it and around us

the circle around us, that was grace,
I, just a boy, you, a girl, we
to each other, every boy and girl
we had ever had and lost

we wanted to leave, to not exist,
to go leaving no tracks or marks
to be forgotten and not followed,
we yearned only for us to be

we wondered how to live
for ourselves and for life and
because we believed
in each other as one spirit

we wanted to see the sky,
to go home, but how ?
we did not think past us
over our shipwrecked lives

everything was falling and not falling
the next toehold in life was
sore tired hearts and bodies
of the children we were, we are

we lost, unsure of what was real
we didn’t know what to do or to write
or to say or to ask, to only feel a sad
liberating acceptance of a deeper sadness

we were stripped of a dignity in life
of all things tried and failed
all the love we’re ever given
can be invoked long after it’s gone

I’m here
we are here
in this moment, this place, a time
when once there was this: us.

©Bill Reynolds 1/21/2019

Look both ways, but love the past we’ve lost to the cosmos.
Those gaps are gone, sadly.

Poetry – City Boy on the Farm

That Summer on the Farm

It was hard work, that summer
filled me with memories
and lessons about life,
living close to nature, those feelings,
a life lived as few city boys knew.

The smell of manure spread on the fields
the milk cow faces up-close to touch
the unlimited number of stars in the sky
first seen by me at fourteen.
Few city boys knew or saw.

The noises of the day, the life,
the tractors, lifting bales of hay
with a hook. The smells, our sweat;
and the taste of fresh raw from-the-cow, milk
and garden peas right out of the pod.
Things learnt, few city boys knew about.

The quiet of an amazingly still cool night,
the sleep of a man who is still just a boy,
the sun in the morning when the cock crows
the waking of nature and all that is life.
Amazing stuff, few city boys know.

The smoke from the fires
the good feeling of hard work finished,
the wait for tomorrow’s harvest and
the craziness of good friends.
Things this city boy soon knew.

The past not forgotten,
the touches, the pain, the
cries and the laughs all
implanted like extra brains in
my heart and my head, parts of me.
Few city boys will ever know.

And there it will stay
till one lucky day — it happens,
I’ll be back on the farm when
I’m finally a boy again, in an old man’s body.
What every city boy knows is true.

©Bill Reynolds

Look both ways in the farmer’s fields.
A man is forever a boy, so mind the gap.

Song Lyric Sunday – New

I Want a New Drug
Huey Lewis and The News

While I was driving home last Friday, I was trying to guess what Helen’s song lyric theme for today would be. It is New (as in New Year).

Some people would mark me a fan of the blue-eyed soul genre. The list of artists who fit that category seem to fill my iPhone. I selected “I Want a New Drug” by Huey Lewis and The News; written by Huey and guitarist Chris Hays. I think this is more of a pop rock-soul dance tune.

An early 80s success, this is what Lewis had to say about writing it:

“I was driving to my lawyer’s office when the idea came to me. I busted in his door and said, ‘Bob, give me a pen and paper!’ I then literally wrote down almost all the lyrics. When we tried to write music to it, we kept missing it. We had a version of it that Mario and I wrote together, but it just wasn’t good enough. One day Chris called me and said, ‘I got it!’ He came to my house and played the lick, and I sang my little lyric and we put it on tape. It was five minutes.”

There was a bit of litigation over the Ghostbusters (you can hear why) issue, but that was reportedly settled out of court.

The words are in the video clip. However, I’ve added text because the fast-paced beat moves them by quickly. The theme is in title, verse, and the name of the band. Three versions of this dance song were released.

Oh
I want a new drug, one that won’t make me sick
One that won’t make me crash my car
Or make me feel feet, feet, feet thick
I want a new drug, one that won’t hurt my head
One that won’t make my mouth too dry
Or make my eyes too red

One that won’t make me nervous
Wonderin’ what to do
One that makes me feel like I feel when I’m with you
When I’m alone with you

I want a new drug, one that won’t spill
One that don’t cost too much
Or come in a pill
I want a new drug, one that won’t go away
One that won’t keep me up all night
One that won’t make me sleep all day
One that won’t make me nervous
Wonderin’ what to do
One that makes me feel like I feel when I’m with you
I’m alone with you
I’m alone with you, baby

I want a new drug, one that does what it should
One that won’t make me feel too bad
One that won’t make me feel too good
I want a new drug, one with no doubt
One that won’t make me talk to much
Or make my face break out

One that won’t make me nervous
Wonderin’ what to do
One that makes me feel like I feel when I’m with you
I’m alone with you
I’m alone with you, yeah, yeah

Songwriters: Christopher John Hayes / Huey Lewis
I Want a New Drug lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

If you’re wonderin’ what to do, look both ways.
Bust into your lawyer’s office to mind the gaps.

Click graphic for link to SLS page.

Song Lyric Sunday – Veterans Day

Helen’s SLS Theme prompt for today is ‘soul,’ but because it’s Veterans Day (old Armistice Day), I’m going my own way with a poem which has had many beautifully-set musical adaptations.

This famous poem was composed by Pilot Officer (and Poet) John Gillespie Magee, Jr., an American serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). He wrote it during August or September 1941, three months prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Magee wanted to be a poet and he emulated the writing style of Rupert Brooke, for whom Magee wrote The Sonnet to Rupert Brooke. The famous poem, The Soldier, was one of Brooke’s most inspiring World War I poems.

Magee was born in Shanghai, China in 1922, to missionaries. His father was American and his mother was British. He came to the U.S. in 1939 and earned a scholarship to Yale, but in September 1940, he enlisted in the RCAF and was graduated as a pilot. He was sent to England for combat duty in July 1941, where he wrote the poem High Flight. On December 11, 1941, Magee’s Spitfire collided with another plane over England and Magee, only 19 years of age, died in the crash. His remains are buried in the churchyard cemetery at Scopwick, Lincolnshire. (Bio & photo courtesy of USAF)

High Flight, a gift from my wife the day I earned my wings when she was married to a lieutenant almost a third my age, has hung on my office walls for 45+ years. It is a nicely decoupaged (by her) script on a carved wooden plaque.

The High Flight video takes less than one minute and sounds great.

High Flight by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

“Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds –
and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of –
wheeled and soared and swung high in the sunlit silence.
Hovering there I’ve chased the shouting wind along
and flung my eager craft through footless halls of air.

“Up, up the long delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace,
where never lark, or even eagle, flew;
and, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
the high untrespassed sanctity of space,
put out my hand and touched the face of God.”

(This poem is in the public domain.)

Happy Vet’s Day.
Look both ways and check six.
Mind gaps with your head in the clouds.

 

But, if I had gone with ‘soul,’ it would’ve been Lady Marmalade by (Patti) Labelle – Hey Sister, Soul Sister; click the link to hear the fab song written by songwriters Kenny Nolan and Robert Crewe (Lady Marmalade lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC).

 

Click graphic for link to SLS page.

Poetry: To My Spirit Love

“A poem is never finished, merely abandoned.” Or something like that. In this case, I have kept this poem in the files of my computer for more than a year as I worked and reworked it. Time to let it go.

With the blessing of Mary Oliver, as I learn to write poetry, I try to write as the masters do or did (I copy, or emulate, them). In some such cases, I re-write a poem line by line. In this case, I simply rewrote the poem with more contemporary English vernacular, changing words and lines to my liking. I hope some spirit of the original piece remains. Sadly, I’ve lost track of the original poem: perhaps it is from the Bard’s R&J. I confess to an embarrassing lack of recall.

Sorry. I tried.

Maybe someone will comment, “this may be from….”

To My Spirit Love

Would you be the love in my heart?

Then take the hard-path from deep in you, to us.

Can you be my Lover, and still be true to who you are?

Turn over your passion with love and with lust

Stay loving and gentle in all the ways deep within you

Be true to you but bring all your grace into us.

Rag off caution and care, pour love and praise on me.

Satisfy me with all the love and devotion in your heart

Remain true to yourself and loyal to our blissful passion

Bring your best love to our spot and love me today

Would a love goddess so heavenly bless me?

Shall our endless love be your heart’s eternal duty?

©Bill Reynolds, 11/8/2018

Look both ways in love.
The best hoped for outcome is seldom considered.
Miss not the gaps,
those unseen and unfilled spaces upon which we so often trip and fall.

Dialogue: What They Said

Note: click on highlighted links for videos and songs.

He:      ‘I’m very sorry, Baby. I would never intentionally hurt your feelings.’

She:     ‘God damnit, Billy-Bob, you don’t even know why, do you?’

He:      ‘Whatever it was, I deeply regret it and promise never to say or do it again.’

She:     Screamed gibberish and threw her full glass of white wine at him, smashing it on the wall over his head.

Cat:     Ran and hid under the sofa.

She:     Poured herself a glass of red wine (doesn’t like red, gives her headaches).

He:      ‘Come on Judy, calm down, you know how much I love you.’

Cat:     Hissed very loudly.

Alexa: ‘Oh shit, Billy! Playing Gunpowder and Lead by Miranda Lambert.’

She:     Turned beet-red and walked toward him, grinned, and poured the red wine on his white shirt.

He:      ‘Jesus Christ! Now what?’

She:     Quietly uttered a ‘fuck you’ as she turned, grabbed her purse on her way to the front door, which she slammed so hard the curtain fell to the floor.

He:      Walked to the closet to change his shirt. Dropped the wine-stained one into hamper, picked up the curtain from the floor and reattached it. Took a short heavy glass from the cupboard and put in two ice cubes. Opened the liquor cabinet and poured two fingers of his best Scotch, then returned to his seat. He quietly sipped his Glenlivet 25.

Cat:     Jumped into his lap and began to force paws deep into his legs while fully extending claws to dig painfully into his skin.

He:      ‘Ouch! Stop that pussy cat. Alexa, play something soft and comforting.’

Cat:     ‘You did that on purpose. Her name is Jane. You called her Judy, your ex’s name. You’re such a dickhead.’

Alexa: ‘Ok, Billy-Bob, the jerk. Playing Please Don’t Go by Absolutes…jackass.’

He:      ‘Alexa, I said comforting, not sad and miserable. I feel bad enough. Play some Enya.’

Alexa: ‘Enya also thinks you’re a jerk, but playing Watermark for assholes.’

Cat:     ‘You called her mother a pain in the ass. Her mother hates you. Now Jane hates you. I think you are hoping for makeup sex. Good luck.’ Purrs and curls up into his lap.

Alexa: ‘She will kill him for sure this time. His sex life will soon be a memory.’

He:      ‘Alexa, stop talking to the cat. Add flowers to my shopping list.’

Alexa: ‘Ok, thrill-kill-Bill, adding three-dozen red roses and her favorite candy to your shopping list. Would you like me to call that in for you?’

He:      ‘Would you two please be quiet. I need to regroup. Why am I talking to a cat and a computer?’

Phone buzzes with voice mail.

She:     ‘Fuck you very much. And, I’m never coming back.’

Alexa: ‘Ok Jane the wonderful, playing Fuck You by Lily Allen. Please don’t leave us here alone with this asshole.’

He:      Takes another sip of Scotch, closes his eyes, and begins to snore.

© Bill Reynolds 10/27/2018

Look both ways; we are never free of consequences.
Mind the gaps; they are never forgotten.

Song Lyric Sunday – Give

Helen’s Song lyric prompt for today is give. I immediately thought of a song I had not listened to in a while, a classic twelve-bar blues number called Give Me One Reason, written and sung by Tracy Chapman. I had a hard time deciding between two videos, this one and another in duet with Eric Clapton.

The hook lines in the lyrics are woven throughout the song…

“Give me one reason…”

The lyrics are not in the video. I suggest watching the video without reading lyrics for full affect; but I put them below, so you can read them as you listen if you want. Great blues song.

Lyrics

Give me one reason to stay here
And I’ll turn right back around
Give me one reason to stay here
And I’ll turn right back around
Said I don’t want leave you lonely
You got to make me change my mind

Baby I got your number and I know that you got mine
But you know that I called you, I called too many times
You can call me baby, you can call me anytime
You got to call me

Give me one reason to stay here
And I’ll turn right back around
Give me one reason to stay here
And I’ll turn right back around
Because I don’t want leave you lonely
you got to make me change my mind

I don’t want no one to squeeze me, they might take away my life
I don’t want no one to squeeze me, they might take away my life
I just want someone to hold me and rock me through the night

This youthful heart can love you and give you what you need
This youthful heart can love you and give you what you need
But I’m too old to go chasing you around
Wasting my precious energy

Give me one reason to stay here
And I’ll turn right back around
Give me one reason to stay here
And I’ll turn right back around
Because I don’t want leave you lonely
You got to make me change my mind

Baby just give me one reason, Give me just one reason why
Baby just give me one reason, Give me just one reason why I should stay
Said I told you that I loved you
And there ain’t no more to say

***

Songwriters: Tracy L Chapman. Give Me One Reason lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Look both ways for love. It can give you what you want.
Mind the gap, ‘and there ain’t no more to say.’

Click graphic for link to SLS page.