Monthly Archives: January 2013

What Sailors Know

When crossing an ocean (or a life)
aboard a small craft
there are a great number of things
that need your attention.

Learn to sort these things into three bins and you will be a lot happier:
things that require your immediate attention,
things you need to keep an eye on,
and things you can’t do a damn thing about.

–Tristan Jones

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When War Ends

“War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.”

John F. Kennedy

To Do List

fix
the upstairs toilet
before it ruins
the ceiling plaster
in the office below

tell the ones
I love despite
everything I’ve said

write
the substance
of things
before
the mind tires

Wild Horses

indigent pebbles
forged in distant stars lie here
kicked up by horse hooves

The Great Complainer

I am a great complainer
That bears the name of Christ;
Come, all you Zion mourners,
And listen to my cries;
I’ve many sore temptations
And sorrows to my soul;
I feel my faith declining,
And my affections cold.

I wish it was with me now
As in the days of old,
The glorious light of Jesus
Was flowing in my soul,
But now I am distressed,
And no relief can find,
A hard, deceitful heart
And a wretched, wand’ring mind.

It is great pride and passion
Beset me on my way,
So I am filled with folly
And so neglect to pray;
I am so weak I stumble,
And so I’m left behind,
While others run rejoicing
And seem to lose no time.

–The Complainer, traditional American shapenote hymn. ca 1835

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Ornaments

night’s fires banked down now
holding the days ornaments
strings of salted words

She’s Mine Now

Walking through a vintage guitar store
is like walking through my entire history with women.

Some are all flash and crash–
a newer Martin is like the girl I took to homecoming–great, but not someone I would drive cross country with on a nickel, camping and picking up odd jobs to pay for beer and our serious rock climbing habit.

Some are way above my pay grade–
a ’59 Fender Stratocaster, all original, PAF humbuckers, everything, is like driving up the coast with the girl who took me for more than I was at the time, auburn hair flying from her top down Camero, tight jeans, wicked grin, flirting with every guy we met from Cannon Beach to Coos Bay. She will drain your summer wages and leave you, head spinning, thinking what the fuck.

Some are sweet and quirky and have a mellow soul.
A 1959 arch top Gibson ES 350
is the honey haired opera student with the plump ass and the voice of an angel on LSD.

But this one, oh my, oh my, this one–
a 1966 candy apple red Fender Telecaster, she is the girl with the red dress on.

Muddy played a red ’57 Tele,
Keith’s “micawber” is a ’53.
Jimmy Page recorded “Stairway to Heaven” on a ’66 Tele.

Albert Collins, Roy Buchanan,
Steve Cropper, all the way through
Merle Haggard and Bob Dylan
to Brad Paisley.
They all played early Telecasters.

So here is the problem.
Mostly, I love them all.
But the ’66 Tele–like Hank Williams said to the man he stole his future wife from: stay away from her.
She’s mine now.

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