sub-morphine alt-country songwriter

(Some) Poetry

somewhere above a mountain poem

Somewhere in the hills
where the snow climbs up the mountains and tree tops, and the isolation speaks
a quiet breath of hollow spirit. There are only a few who know how
to listen anymore. I am going. I am gone. Where a man is not judged
by the lack of control
he has over his own destiny, but instead by his soul. My mind like the landscape,
my madness is the road
that winds deep into the hills, far beyond the silence of morning. I am looking for peace. But first I must go where there is no difference
between the wash of blinding snow in front of my eyes and
the darkness of my own mind. I must know
that I am in good company
when I am only with myself. And everyday I have to relearn to trust
and forgive myself for that. Like the drifts over the road, my course and my footsteps,
the engine, the coffee, the exhaust, scarf and gloves. I’m not afraid to be out there. But eventually, the tree limbs will break under the unbearable weight of ice and snow. Silence screams
and naked as I am. My mind beams. I wanted to come home.
Sorry if I let you down. The train came
the bell rang, the whistle sounded and then the cars, very slowly
pushed away from the station. My suitcase is there. I am there. I am gone.

**************************

Christmas Lights and a Pay Phone

christmas lights and a pay phone

if I only stay awake a little while longer
I’ll remember how she was tender to me
and sweet
but that our time is done
I might say that love got the best of me
her love is gentle like a flower
but dead petals blow over the cold ground.
I could still make her smile,
that is all that tonight’s gonna take from me
you can have her
just give me a little while.

*******

a fog day

I woke up. It was Sunday. A fog day. I let it get away. I let it slip from the tips of my fingertips.
I make a terrible living.
It feels great. Most of the time. Cars pass by.
I’ve been in love with you. I have.
It feels great. Most of the time.

I make a terrible waffles.
But I make them for you.
They taste terrible. Most of the time.
Doesn’t mean I don’t love you. I do.
It feels great. Most of the time.
To be a terrible waffle maker. But I do it
over and over again.

(cough) My pup is curled up against the white painted cabinets. He
is asleep on the painted blue hardwood floors. He has found his corners
in this house. He does it for me. He’s a restless sleeper, and
he’s constantly moving all over the place in his bed.
We have that in common.
We both can’t sleep at all. This love. This life. This world. Always
tossing us around. This world.
It’s for something. It’s for something. I swear it damn it.
After all. This life.
I am sure of it. It was for something.

I woke up. It was Sunday. I let it slip from the tips of my fingertips.

I am a terrible mess.
But I make it that way
for you. It may not be just the way you like it. And.
It looks terrible. Most of the time. But
That doesn’t mean that I don’t love you. I do. And
It feels great. Most of the time.

Can I tell you something?
Can I tell you something please?

I have terrible clothes. But
I dress my best for you.
I look terrible most of the time.
That doesn’t mean my hair don’t shine.
Doesn’t mean my eyes don’t shine.
Doesn’t mean my teeth don’t shine.
I feel great. Most of the time. Even when my hair is a mess.
Can I tell you something?

I’m a terrible fighter. I am. I shouldn’t fight at all.
I should just sleep all night through
with my eyes closed. I fight my best in the afternoon. Right after lunch. That’s when
I’ll take a punch. I fight the way I dance. Terrible.
I love to dance. I hate to fight. So I’ll take a punch. But I won’t give it back to you.
Most of the time. But around you,
most of the time, I’m just trying
to be cool. After a fight,
I’m just trying to be sorry.

I’m a terrible fool. I am. Most of the time,
But I do it my best. I do it for you.
I may do it terrible. But doesn’t mean
you don’t have to do it like I do. Most of the time. You
do it your way. You do it
however you want to. I just happen to
do it like a fool
when I’m around you. But at least I do.

I am a terrible thinker. I am. I shouldn’t even be allowed
to think these terrible
thoughts. However beautiful they are.
And you are in them. Most of the time.
You are when you say you are. And how happy you are.
Most of the time. I shouldn’t be allowed to say.
Most of the time. But
I do.

I watch the bird
follow the plane
and the plane follow the sky. And
there I am. I do not know why.
But I do.

***********

These shorter days are beauty to me. Winter dusk. The sun falls low to the horizon before my mind has a chance to try again. The day is done. The sky is swept clean. The golden light of the sunset just above the tree tops and the valleys and swallows the black of the land. No second chances today. No giving back. Just take it. No giving yer self away. I’m standin’ there last night, lookin’ out at the magenta sunset just wonderin’ about nothin’ in particular at all. Just standin’ and starin’. At the big bright golden sun hangin’ in its final moments of another day. Another chance. Another halo. And inside I’m going mad. I’m going clean. And I’m going forward into the night like it’s another chance at a dream.

********

May be 
the exceptional man can change direction
in midair, thread the needle’s eye,
and come out whole. But even the hero
who stands up to chance has to feel
how far the world will bend

until it breaks him. ~ Lawrence Raab, The Hero’s Luck

Yesterday’s blues get
chewed up like old shoes, and in
with the mornin’
howls the silence of the fog
sleeps late, wakes early
everything about this mornin’ is makin’
you look more purty.

I’ve been burnin’ it, my dear.
long and dark as the night
It wore me thin
but as much as our hands grip tight
I let it slip. But now I’m lookin out
and holdin’ on to you again.

I got this feelin’ that goes through
my body, all the way from my thoughts
to my toes. And with me ev’rwhere
it goes. Hard luck. But getting luckier. And even
good company knows
when their trip is done. It’s done.

I gotta be dreamin’ again
I gotta be dreamin’ again
I gotta be dreamin’

********

Tejas – July 20, 2009

Even the nights are too hot to breathe….

the air sticks and hangs around the edges of the door frames….

coming through the cracks like a fog or some horror movie disease ….

that attacks your skin, face and lungs.. ….

….

I wake up in the middle of the night, humming tune. I sleep hard after a few drinks. But like tonight, with no drinks, I’m fertile and woken often by thoughts that are not subconscious.  And there is stress too. You know the think air of stress.  But you can’t worry too much these days about being behind in your bills. It’s not really your fault. and me, I just pretend like I don’t have any. But we don’t eat very much. The kitchen is bare. The refrigerator drips condensation onto the floor. The seal is broken. The light flickers when I look inside to the emptiness.  No condiments.. just a couple sticks of butter, some red pepper sauce, a bag of coffee.

Song.

….

I spilled this one the other day.  … when the colors of a man they just bleed away….even the crow has got nothing to say.. don’t matter how hard it was for me to get here.. I’m with you. I’m with you. I’m with you now. ….

….

It is Sunday morning.. I just saw a car accident on Highway 35.. a block from my house on the central eastside.. A highway that is full of cars. The accident must have backed up traffic from here to san Antonio.. Big black dodge pickup hit a minivan. The minivan hit a red Toyota sedan.

I think, because it is Sunday, sunny and only about 92 degrees, no one is agitated.  People stand around like pioneers. migrating north.  More concerned is the police car.  The accident front to rear on about 3 cars didn’t hurt anyone, but it looked bad enough to scare the piss out of them.. and probably anyone else who saw it close up.. There is a coffee shop on that corner. It isn’t open. Owl Roast Coffee. They started this remodel of an old gas station, which at one point was also a Scuba shop.. but it has now been well over a year and they haven’t sold a single cup of coffee, far as I can tell. So unless this is some front to a business, or some fine folks with a good idea and not enough money,, I think all they got now is front row seats to a very congested highway.. I drink my coffee black.

I drink my coffee black. I wake up and I write. the hot air from tejas, a state that I don’t understand, clings at my windows. I am open about tejas. It is open to me. we have a relationship… probably pretty similar to Jesus and the Devil.  Except we don’t know who is who.  I can say this… The inferno is not of my creation.. The inferno is very clear about it’s intentions, trust, and passersby.. Clearly.. tejas is a borderland.. a spirit as much as a territory.. a land before destination.  I am here… Finding peace it its swimming holes only rarely.  The green branches and vines that reach over the ivy and trails..

College girls run.    Women run.      Dogs Run.     Fat men walk.  Homeless sit.. That is the timing of trails..  Hour hand. Second hand.  Culture exists here. More than most places in America. Mostly because of the mix of influences. People come to tejas. Tejas does not go to people. It staples its stamp on everything. Cars, Trucks, License Plates. Businesses. There is a culture wanting here. There is a working culture. Labor workers. There are business men who will build over a piece of creek, garden or an old home in a blink because they see $$. There are people who will buy despite this injustice to “tejas” even though they are proud to be here. Proud to cultivate. Proud to invest. Proud to share. Proud to drink local coffee. Proud to buy local vegetables. Proud to walk in the parks. Proud to drink beer in their front yards. Proud to garden. Proud to compost. Proud to sleep..  Proud to tear down and build up again.  I saw 50 three hundred year old oak trees cut down to build a condo. The locals complain. They turn in their stomachs. They bitch. They drink coffee and get tattoos. We all bitch about things here. Sometimes it’s too hot to live.

A mural along 5th streets back alleys by the rail road tracks reminds me of Austin’s Mexican culture. It stretches a full city block.. Bright reds and greens and yellows on the faces of people and their clothes. The air between me and the mural swelters like the air above a fire.. All the images dance in stillness through the air.

Remember me and don’t forget me. It says.  It’s the middle of the night when the train passes on the tracks that are covered by the long grass. A man comes up to me selling jumper cables. I don’t want any. I have my own.  This makes him angry. And  I laugh and get into my truck.

Time will tell me

why I’m here

and you tell me

what you’re needing to hear.

I’m back.. Wherever I came from.

Music is up and down. I sing songs. I have busked for extra dollars.  I have travel to Conroe, San Antonio, Amarillo, Lubbock, Denton. Towns where people love you and you don’t know why. But they don’t wait. They don’t whisper. People in Tejas whisper and dust falls from their lips.  They cry and mud forms on their cheeks.  They laugh and their skin shines in the sun. I travel north.. Towns like Durango, Telluride, Ouray, Ft Collins. Boulder.  I know them. They are covered with trees.. and Microbreweries. People drink early. They go to be early. Filled with plump beer.. Those towns are fun. They don’t spit. They don’t burn. I have not yet been to Terlingua.  I’m looking at October like it is a friend I will meet. That is the charm of keeping a calendar.

White Stone. White Stone. White Stone.

The man who lives across the street from me died.  He was old. His dog was older. They were partners. He would sit in his pickup all night and drink beer. The back of his pickup was filled with at least 500 empty cans of Icehouse. He would sit. And stare down the road. The dog sat on the grass outside the door to his pickup.. Rusted brown dog. Rusted blue truck.  He died. And now a no trespassing sign hangs on the gate acting more like an invitation to an empty house. The fence is tilted, worn gray, and broken slats tilt into one another.  The man was charming because he was as reliable as an oak tree or a neighborhood stray cat that sits on the roof of cars. His ghost is still there…with an Icehouse in hand.

Dead grass. Dead Leaves. Dead Flowers.

Tejas … a Dead Flower Motel…

a place.. for being everywhere

….

For Rent… I now have a band in Taos.. The music is much different from the full torque alt-country music that my band makes in Austin.  We formed without planning, and more like a poker game.  I know of a gig. You know of a gig. Let’s play the gig. Now we have a game. Let’s go to Durango. ….

It was February. Hard rain all over the adobe surface of City.  I was in Santa Fe, lost in a mess of hard rain, bad directions and traffic.  In the Safeway grocery store parking lot, a girl young in her twenties, wearing skins and a coon skin hat, asks me for a smile. I give it to her. gladly.

Taos is just up the hill. Follow the road yer on. Rain turned to snow, and snow fell hard. Like a million birds swooping from the sky.  Not like heavy deep and quiet mountain snow, but New Mexico frozen rain that turned white and lightning continued to flash behind the curtain of lace snowfall..  Lightning out of the snow clouds. A complete white out on my windshield.  Cars pulled off the road. Traffic moved at walking speed. Light. Dark. Water. Road. White line. Hills. Casino lights. Gas Stations. This stretch of highway is just an accomplice to an outlawed memory of travel.

Up hills. Highway splits.. Cuts the adobe. And turns down into the valley. Pass the river. 6 inches have fallen since Santa Fe.

Up a mountain.  Down a mountain.

Welcome to Taos.

In a gas station, the indigenous laborers are inside buying coffee, sodas, cupcakes and cigarettes.  The work day is done. I need a few more dollars of gas to finish the trip.

The world is beautiful as white is movement.  People are cult. Culture is art. Think heavy banks of white snow line the road. Traffic lights flash yellow. Red at times. Pick up truck slips out the gas station. I buy gas. And stand in the slush water of gas station rainbows at my feet. My boots soak. My jeans soak to the shins.

Welcome. 6pm. 35 degrees. I need an extra layer of skin…..

The Adobe Bar at the Taos Inn. Firelight. Margarita. Adobe walls. Native Art. 2 feet of snow. And tortilla soup. Where am I not? This music is still as a chicken coup. Frozen like water in a gutter. Skilled. Like snow decorating the sky over an empty sidewalk.  I see pavement. Cactus in desert. Yellow glow. Turn table. Travelers drink. Rich ones. Poor Ones. Tourists in Taos stick out like bright pink and white flags. Mothers and daughters wear matching snowsuits. Locals locale. Our three piece siloouettes the crow. Lapsteel and Mandolin.

….

Black light is the shadows twin.

One more drink..

Midnight comes quickly.

We load gear in the alley. Flashers on.

Snow 6 inches high on the roof top.

Hope the stars see this. Foxtrot lives forever. Black Rodeo.

Streetlight yellow against snow.

Midnight. Empty streets.

Midnight. Broken fence.

Frozen Puddle Midnight. Ice is quick here.

Midnight.

….

Let’s get a drink at the bar in town. After that, follow me, I have a sofa for you to sleep on.  It’s at my friend Sarah’s house. She’s cool. We’re going to ski in the morning. You can sleep late…

I don’t sleep that much.  The morning is bright as the sun reflecting on snow.

Snow covers the town. I have to leave. Gotta get back to Santa Fe. Snow becomes slush. Dirt roads become mud. I remember you.

Morning is for lovers and travelers.  Today, I am the latter. Going out. Going out. Going out.

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