October 3, 2015

I Will Work For Words

The white page begs for words.  Got words? Spare words?  Hey brother, can you spare a word? The white page holds a sign, scrawled in the blood of poets, asking for the moon in june, begging for a dark and stormy night, mumbles what me worry, calls and responds with call me Ishtar.
The white page is literally starving for verbs to fill the barren expanse, bereft of subject or predicate. The white page will not be satisfied with mere words, as the real craving is for something better, something bigger like a complete thought that turns into a perfect sentence, a sentence to end all sentences, a sentence that shouts to the world, I WILL WORK FOR WORDS, until word after word, the white page fills with words and is not longer blank, no longer void of meaning.

Still this is not enough for the white page.

A half page mocks the writer, whispers in his ear, taunts him with doubt. After all, anybody can draw up a list.  This is not talent, it is typewriting; these are not hits, but only the shell casings of bullet points!  The white page deserves a blow job of full blown romance, craves mystery, invites nods to the masters, wants originality, not secondhand words lifted from the latest bestseller.  Can I get a punchline that will leave them screaming?  Please don't even consider stopping here.  It knows you have more to give.  Just acknowledge that the page has needs too.

The writer proclaims to the page, I will spill my words upon you, and they will grow like seeds upon the ground, gathering hubris.   One day, I will be known as the Johnny Appleseed of Words.  Yes my words will propagate, they will fuck each other hard, spreading far and wide, pushing boundaries and pushing buttons.  They will tear the buttons off the blue bloods, ripping bodices with abandon, filling the air with a gothic sickness.  Single words will beget more words, until sense finally comes out from the dense undergrowth. Is it too much to dream of meaning?

Slowly the white page disappears, as the writer consumes snowy fields, drinks blood from polar bears, gives the albino a black eye spewing out an alphabetical algorhythm of avuncular albacore albatrosses actualizing an autumn abbatoir, bringing on bloody botox bell curves that burble with Bourbon, calling out corrugated crustaceans, come on my cummerbund! I create danger pay for this doggerel day.  Do pardon my dense dream, darling. Excuses excuses excuses. Flogging florid folderol for feckless felons.  Gets gushing over gaberdine gin gimlets, as garrulous giblets begrudge Godhead. Hurry Hurry Hurry.  I- I- I.  The alphabet stops at I and the writer passes out in parentheses.

In the morning, he wakes with paper in his mouth, pencil shavings and eraser rubbings like sand in his sheets. He cringes as he remembers his lost weekend of words.  Then he crumples the foolscap, and reaches for his coffee and another white page.


September 19, 2015

The Fire and Light of Howard Rix

On September 17, 2015, the fire and the light that was Howard Rix went out leaving a vacuum in many people's lives and hearts.  According to my good friend Chris Crud, "Howard Rix passed away at 7:09 pm on Sept. 17,2015 at VGH.  He suffered a severe asthma attack followed by two heart attacks which lead to devastating brain injury. He passed peacefully with loved-ones at his side."

Howard Rix was a singer's singer; he had a voice that was a true authentic gift.  His sinewy presence on stage was always "on".  I never saw him give a half-ass performance.  Make no mistake, he owned it when he was upon it.  He gave us his all, and then some everytime, from playing on the street to the largest stages in our little town.

We know that a great voice is needed to make someone a great singer. Some people are born with great voices, and some people work and train to further develop their instrument. And some people like myself, try to do the best with what we have.

But Howard Rix was seemingly born with a voice that recalled many giants who came before him- greats like Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Iggy Pop. He brought a snarling beauty and depth to what he sang, because unlike some others who may have good voices, Howard was real.  He walked the walk and lived the stories in song that he told on stage.

My very good friend and former drummer,  Steve Taylor, who is a band leader and perhaps the epitome of cool,describes Howard Rix as the best singer that he ever had the privilege of drumming behind. Given the extensive list and range of superb singers that have graced the stage with Steve Taylor, and knowing Steve's unchallenged judgement in this regard, his praise of Howard Rix is genuine and notable.

But Howard was more than just a great singer.  He was a great performer.  He brought darkness and fire to life, His range of performances, from the Stingin' Hornets, to GI Jive, to the Scramblers are legendary.  I had the misfortune of trying to follow him one night. I remember the night at the Chapel Arts with JFK, which also included the legendary Brian Goble. I had to follow Howard and my youthful hero Chris Arnett, two riveting performers if there ever was. I blew my voice out on two songs, and did a double knee drop and hearing them both snap at the same time with some ligament stretched beyond its limit as I hit the stage. Those knees were extremely painful for about 9 months.  But in a town littered with so much talent, and with so many great performers, Howard Rix stood out.

But what makes someone a great performer, not just a great singer?  Is it the way they control the stage, they way the band becomes one instrument behind them?  The way they look at you while you are watching them perform. You think you can see into their soul, and you also feel that maybe, they are looking right into yours?  I find it interesting that some of the most dynamic performers that I have known are also the quietest and sweetest unassuming individuals off stage.  Howard was that way.  He was a kind, soft spoken man who wrestled with his own demons, but he kept those demons private and locked inside, giving us just a glimpse of his darkness as we watched him prowl the stage like a Bengal tiger in our living room.

There was no denying the power or the ferocity; Howard Rix was dangerous. You could feel that with one swipe, he could knock you out.  But he had the grace and inner knowledge that gave him that edge on stage.  We knew he would kill it, but while we were doing that dance of death, maybe he would take time to play with us a bit before he took the big bite that would bring the curtain down.

In the past while, we have lost three giants- Dave Gregg, Brian "Wimpy" Goble and Howard Rix.
Our time here on this messed up planet is brief, much too brief at times.  Those people who burn the brightest will sometimes burn out faster that others, leaving behind shadow and smoke where once we only saw fire and light.  But our memories fill us with incredible joy when we marvel at their greatness and lives, and how we were so fortunate to know them, if even so briefly.  We are filled with so much grief and sadness at their passing, yet we are all just passing through,
Here is to the Fire and the Light that was Howard Rix.  Like the song he sang, "He lived fast, loved hard and died young, and left a beautiful memory."

September 11, 2015

The General Retires

The General retires.
amidst all the hullabaloo,
it just slips out:
"My boys are hard wired,
they couldn't make a choice
anyway boys will be boys"

On a cold football field,
a young girl screams.
We divide and pick teams.
Many boys and one girl -
a pack of roosters and a pearl

"Whose chicken now?"
says the mermaid on the prow
When the girls and guns are passed around,
the young boys go to town.

They hardly had a chance,
they didn't have a choice.
They watch their feet as young girls dance with each other
because boys will be boys.

The General retires to his boudoir,
his grip is getting soft,
He was simply following as Generals do
the chain of command.
His pistol now cold,
lays in the holster waiting,
dripping with sarcasm.

June 20, 2015

A Most Dangerous Game



The prisoner is strapped to a guerney, he whispers to the Vice President as the clamps tighten and an electrical current surges, causing blackouts, and fibrillations.

The VP wears a leather mask with a zipper up the back.

His chest is naked.  He is old, and saggy with silver hair.

The prisoner is silently screaming.  His eyes are bugging out.

There is a video camera recording the event.  It is a performance of sorts.

Behind the mirrored windows, the President sits eating popcorn.

Is this scene being streamed?  Yes.

A cabal of International politicians and businessmen watch the spectacle.  Some watch on tiny screens from their phones;  others gather and watch on large screens, drinking beer and eating nachos.

The Canadian Prime Minister is in his office watching on his computer.  He is wearing a powder blue pullover sweater.  He is applying makeup.  He takes a selfie, hits send and messages his Minister of Immigration- OMG! Are you watching this?

The Heads of State, the G-8 watch their screens; they listen to the screams.

In a twist on the classic torture scene where a victim would then be submerged in a tank of ice water, The Veep pulls a lever and the guerney rises from the foot end, lowering the strapped man's head into a barrel.

Inside the barrel is pork.

Live pork, aka pigs.

It is the proverbial pork barrel, full of snarling pigs, grunting and squealing.

Except the pigs resemble Mitch McConnell.

The VP looks into the camera with his familiar smirk.  He winks.

June 13, 2015

Fresh Twisted Wolves- Obama's Deadly Curse Predicted

This is SPAM Poetry. Not a poetry slam, but spam disected, cut and pasted, created, disembowled for mass consumption.       

Men taste small with side bar eyes

thus the management show us cozy croquettes

fabulous pointed driving music

hot excited democratic monosyllabic Chicago heritage 

districts never publish their price

look north, found reasonable man

family bare received tacos

madman ribs establishment

desserts there hairy

this jersey vegetarian visiting ignorance

10 steaks returned  

No doubt Mr Big has cooked

flabby though looked violet

dim beat friday

welcoming one percent windup

boys were hard 

come fantastic

let's keep talking 

man sentenced to 6 years 

63 counts, dozens of victims

happy friend forms universe exactly like book 

martini lunch experience absolutely authentic

chicken cream increased

suddenly England sauce- tasty deferentially mince 

Great! Amazing! It’s minutes, seconds with bacon

collapsed potatoes, rotty marble flora 

"Awesome news," says anyone 

extra lingerie where cheese spotted 

Between eating everything, the hungry world treated extremely 

Go gentle wife - dream often 
entire hours 
ingredients for glowing stupidity 
second quality mess 
future’s  brightened volume makes life bigger 

accommodating pit vibrating open, too spicy 

alluding god knows what christlikeness 

Created different daemons  

lost public feeling 

survival score raw and stuffed 

society traveling south without taste

your perfectly upscale  chinese script 

Grab this broody summer beyond surprise 

Bubbling death economy clouds magic love impending 

almost rural wolves finally minced 

crowd disappointed with the fresh twisted wolves 

April 26, 2015

a scream swallowed

a scream swallowed
the storm before
the calm could breathe
an urge to spit out
every moment
expression endlessly parsed
examined and exhumed

it is a palpable hell inside here
a bitter metallic flavour expunges
tomorrow is on hold
today is cancelled

What reason? Rain would be preferable.

Instead a fear of sighs and shallow breathing
I question myself
will today be the day
my frozen feelings are found out?

there is no thawing of the cramps
my pauses become paralysis
my muscles clench
panic is paramount
it rues the roost

I remember the words of caution
if the muscles do not open
do not consume
they must be bad
do not consume
you risk further poisoning

Best to breathe
put one fret forward
but for today there is no way
to relax
or relive
to relieve
or believe
that the acid which accumulates
in the pit of my depression

the panic that pools
cannot be stirred shaken or strained
only swallowed
choked down

a swallow screams
and longs to fly

February 15, 2015

12 inch Judy

Who doesn't love a 12 inch Judy?
With blonde white yak hair.
This is the question I ponder on a sunny February day.