Category Archives: photography

FROM MUSCLE SHOALS TO BAKERSFIELD

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FROM MUSCLE SHOALS TO BAKERSFIELD

 

From Muscle Shoals to Bakersfield familiar vagabond spirits I meet

torch of knowing burning through opened eyes

we know what’s it’s like to live on the other side

to exist on the outside looking in

we know why others find comfort dwelling inside another’s’ dream

and why we choose a life

chasing freedom

 

From Tacoma to Portland, Maine

I recognize their kind

essence of life dripping like sweat from the tip of our nose

committing sins as if sins are our daily bread

forgive us father for we have erred time and time again

attaining knowledge from our trials

forgive us father if we have grown so much wiser

than the fearful kind who have faced no trials at all

forgive us father for we have sinned

time and time again

learned from our mistakes and moved on

aware that experience may darken the soul

light dimming with the passing of years

but if we allow wisdom to blossom from failures

there’s a special kind of light that burns

when we conquer our fears

 

From the harsh winters of Fargo to the tropics of Brownsville

we move on down this road with a song in our hearts escaping

these weary travelers disconnected

from mechanisms of society intended to control us

disconnected from those desiring to lord over us

to own us

we cut the puppet strings and paved our own road out of here

this song in our hearts escaping

our severed hearts finding a chorus to hold on to

these vagabond souls singing all the time rejoicing in

Whitman’s Song of the Open Road

Cello Heart

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My heart is a cello tuned in perfect fifths

take your bow and gently caress these heartstrings

coax from me dark emotions once latent

deep mournful sounds of an artic caribou searching

frozen woods for a lost lover no longer earth bound

with your bow play my heart, scratch this soul

evoke images of ruinous times

swirling grey smoke of smoldering dreams

crumbling brick on scorched black terrain

on my cello heart play the lonely song of a sperm whale

searching for companionship in deepest seas

play the tears of an orphaned child in some foreign land

hopelessness of a junkie lost in a roach infested dive

hot needle piercing the vein

with your expert bow play this cello heart

tithe my allegiance to your cause

tithe my time to the cause

tithe my pay to the cause

tithe my blood to the cause

tithe my tithes to the cause

play this cello heart

In Bloom

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Blood in the soil

blood of ancients spilt long ago

blood seeping

seeping through Time

roots of vines piercing

piercing Time

roots absorbing

blood of the line

infantile roots feeding

from toxic pools

vines producing

thorns, small and sharp

sharp like a knife

piercing

slicing

razor sharp thorns

protecting

defending the vine

preserving blood of the line

razor sharp thorns

protecting

Children in bloom

Vagabond

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He might be Woody Guthrie or Jack Kerouac

riding boxcars or on the road searching for a soul

Tom and his blood clan Joad

crossing the desert searching for work

any job will do

you can spot his hopelessness by that mangy, tattered look

You’ve seen him at highway rest stops and dive hotels

he’s the hitchhiker you didn’t pick up

the reason you avoid truck stops

He’s the graffiti on the side of a boxcar passing in the rain

fresh footsteps in new fallen snow

the one that looks like Jesus combing the beach

he reminds of freedom and he’s the reason you dream of leaving

When times become tight he finds solace in a bone orchard

dreaming of companions lost

taking refuge under the cover of the moon

a silver beam for a blanket pulled over weary head

When road stake runs low

he never wavers from following the code

 

I’m a vagabond on the roll

trekking far and wide, seeking anything I can find

to heal this fractured soul

On a black river of disconnection an asphalt ribbon carries me

from Smokey Mountains to Denver, seeking sanctuary

across red desert sands where grains are fused like glass

reflecting back this flight as destiny slips through my hands

When storms come and I’m seeking higher ground

winding through mountain passes where shamans dwell

I’ll shed my load in temples where secrets of ancients can be found

Possible futures I see

silhouetted against a perpetually moving horizon

and this driving thirst has been whetted

this thirst to push on, find answers that lay beyond

Destination unknown

this vagabond rides into a tangerine sky

so many days on the run

too many days I’ve spent

chasing the sun

Red Ball

Red Ball originally appeared in  Urban Hymns

 

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Red ball

I am a ribbon of light along the eastern horizon

gently peeking at this brand new world

gathering courage to rise

growing slowly aware

shattering darkness at dawn

I am a melting yellow sun at noon

spreading across the sky

unstoppable, unfathomable, impossible to look upon

dissolving shadows

reaching my zenith in late afternoon

I am the evening sun in twilight hours

final ribbon of light carrying the particles

pieces of everything complete

disintegrating into a red ball sinking into my horizon

dimming down, once and for all, dying out

particles of being absorbed into the night

Gypsy Logic

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Spirit is free flowing

like a river untamed

carving out a path

into territory unknown

disconnected from society’s shackles

set free, liberated

escaping the white noise

that holds me down

Spirit takes wing

soaring into the void

where a quarter moon rises

over a desolate field

an empty desert

above the hills that rise to the mountains

that give way to the sea

to that distant place

where there exists no more me

Secretly I yearn

for an empty highway

vagabond friends

the sun moon and stars

sleet snow and rain

‘cause there I know I’ll find

a sense of community

Searching

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SEARCHING

 

Sometimes I see you

just out of view

out of the corner of my eye

quick as a hummingbird in flight

and when I turn my head you’re gone

as if you were none

as if you were never there

vanishing into the air

 

Took the last exit

final train of thought so desperate

where the bridge had crumbled

and the road disappeared into rubble

trying to get to you

where a harsh wind blew

down a winding path

into desolation’s wrath

knocking on closed doors

not knowing what I’m looking for

but no one was home

in this land of desperation I roam

 

Changed my name a time or two

spinning bullets in a revolver so few

changed my address

another move in this game of chess

a new street in a new town

facing my shadow in a showdown

 

Tried a new scene

escaping old routines

changed my ways

hoping for better days

spent a lifetime

dodging Life’s mines

searching for myself

searching for you

Knocking on closed doors

never knowing what I’m looking for

but no one was home

in this land of desperation I roam

 

Rust Belt

Another excerpt from The Evolution of Disconnect:

 

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10.

The Rust Belt is spreading across America as more and more manufacturing plants move overseas. When I was laid off at a semiconductor plant in 2003 the final email I received (accidentally released too soon; see Broken Highways) described why this layoff occurred. I was struck by the emotion of the email which was blunt, but optimistic about the future of the company with an edge of excitement. To paraphrase the email, it announced that the company was building 26 new state of the art manufacturing plants in China. 26!!! Why would anyone in America be excited by that? The plant has closed its doors and sits empty, most likely to never reopen.

 

RUST BELT

 

Walking these streets

city in decay

buildings falling down

people falling down

in cities and small towns

all across the rust belt

Aggravation

corporate devastation

people in migration

nowhere left to go

decay touching every soul

nowhere left to go

living in the rust belt

Every street is a dead end

so many fences left to mend

people carry the weight

no longer masters of their own fate

misery cards dealt

living in the rust belt

 

Country Boy

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Like Hendrix I always had a little Voodoo Chile in me, country style.

COUNTRY BOY

Born outside a small town

a place of little renown

born in the backwoods

void of material goods

under a bad sign

a shooting star

over a blood red moon

where copperheads go

to shed their skin

where Mother Nature goes

to shed her sins

Jump up and down

fall on your knees

there’s a new song coming around

a new day dawning, you’ll see

cover your ears

cover your eyes

‘cause someday you’re going to hear

truth undisguised

and the cries of the masses

as awareness spreads

in random flashes

as superstition ebbs

liberating the classes

I’m a country boy

and all I’ve got is this beat up guitar

just another decoy

thinking I’m going to go far

I’ll play you something loud

or something soft and slow

something that will make you proud

something to soothe an aching soul

I was born on the night

when dogs lost their bark

and shadows grew afraid of the light

the same night Angels refused to hark

birds refused to sing

and we saw that the land was scarred with cracks

the night church bells didn’t ring

and coyotes turned their backs

on the rising moon

and other nocturnal things