Rock Accountant

Dolly Parton

I did not expect Dolly Parton to call me Mr. Boff.
She couldn’t fill the venues I had for her without the help of a strong opening act.
She took this in stride. I suggested Merle Haggard, and she dispatched me to get him with her approval.
Getting hold of Merle wasn’t straightforward. He didn’t seem to have a manager or agent. I had to go through his drummer.
Haggard was a convicted felon. He had spent a good deal of time in the San Quentin prison. His band, “The Strangers,” was irregularly populated by musicians who happened to be on parole when his tours began.
Asked once what his biggest mistake in life had been, he blurted slyly, “Pulling my jobs in small towns.”
Merle did his own deals. The money I was offering him had his attention.
Not often a fool, I know that thieves attend pleasantly to people who have cash. I did not expect the negotiation to be hard, so I was annoyed at meeting him first.
I headed down to one of his shows in the South. It was a small show where he was headlining.
After he finished, he sent a guy who put me on his bus.
The drummer introduced me, and there it was again, “Mr. Boff.”
We sat in his living room. A hairless animal cuddled next to him. I assumed it was a dog. It growled and snarled non stop at me.
He wanted to make me feel he saw through me. It was the same look he projected from the stage. He had removed his black hat, so it did not work.
Everything about him was wrinkled and mean. I liked him instantly.
We both knew I was paying him too much money, so it could not have been called an authentic negotiation.
What he said to me caught me off guard, “I’m sorry, Mr. Boff, I would like to do it, but I can’t.”
I needed him, and I pressed for why. He said,” I don’t believe the Good Lord means for a man to open a show for a woman.”
I went home.
I called Dolly and told her what happened. She said she would call me back.
She got back to me quickly to say Merle would do the dates. I asked what he said?
She said, “Not much, he just agreed after I told his guy to tell him that the “Good Lord” Dolly Parton was on the phone.”

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Unlike Themselves

I am unnerved. Shortly after publishing a stinging rebuke of kale on FaceBook, a giant off-stage hook removed the picture I had nailed to it. Someone clearly wishes to be paid handsomely for its usage. (See below)”Certain people fume when I malign kale. Some attack me, not cleverly identifying themselves to me as simpletons. These same people vote in general elections. They raise children not much unlike themselves.”

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No meat Rock and Roll

I have worked with and loved vegetarians. They are not better people and are easily frustrated by irregularities like leather belts and shoes. On rock tours, they grow weak during the midwest portions in America because they can’t find anything to eat but mutton, gizzards, and rhubarb. They can not play Germany.” ( 1976 ) Regis Boff

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If You Can’t Watch

Every death,

comes with its particular

novelty.

While birth

plods into life

with sloppy

inaccuracy,

tumbling incoherently

through thick,

sticky afterbirth,

shackled to incomprehension.

Still,

we guess birth

to be miraculous

while it’s endgame,

death

is reviewed as a misfortune

accompanied by a chorus

of “if only’s.”

and the tardy

howls of loss.

But of what good is the marvelous

if you can’t watch?

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Drugs and Polkas

I grew up with Polkas playing on my dad’s radio. Unlike rock, Polkas, never benefited by having its own signature drug. Having traveled through old Czechoslovakia, I tied one or more on with “Slivovice,” that transparent brain reducing eastern European alcohol. But it is neither heroin or LSD, let’s face it.

Remember, I spent twenty-five years going from one concert to another where bands played the same set. Drugs, for me, were a way of taking that music out of my head, not enhancing it.

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Waiting for you

Do memories

cast loose

by your life’s end,

wait bewildered

for you

to come back home,

Like pets at windows?

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Little Lifetimes of First love

The little lifetimes of first love

All whirling and crashing

about your heart

like hungry snowflakes,

all different

all the same,

till one

does not melt away.

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Never knowing If We Are A Song


There is only the hum of being alive.
Nothing affects this even handedness.
Certainly not how long you are allowed to sing.
Eternity is a grooved spinning record,
and we go round and round,
forever guessing if we are a song
or simply the melody.

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In Times of Vinyl


“There was a time, child, when we bought vinyl albums expecting every song in them to be great. Radio could play songs longer than three minutes.
These collections were often written and performed by the same person. I don’t exactly remember the first album of this kind I heard, but I know my instant reaction was to do drugs, grow my hair long, and dress in outfits that resulted in the grateful early onset of my parent’s Alzheimer’s.”

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A tidy arrangement

Women neither invent nor love machines. If you put a woman in a garden, she will grow what she needs—enough zucchini to feed her family, for instance. A man in that same garden will concoct a harvester to pick the vegetables in a number that the garden will allow. He can’t abide by just a few zucchini. She doesn’t have the time or inclinations for abundance—a tidy arrangement.

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“And I Said”

Every morning,

We open our eyes

and say

“Let there be light”

Steeler Lesbians

Only gay men can be kind and talented. Heterosexual men can be either one or the other, but never at the same time.
Young girls always enter a clumsy period of ambiguity regarding themselves. This is triggered because they are all attractive for a while. It holds them back. But it is fun and sells cosmetics.
Beauty loses interest in itself after children or more than two husbands. Lesbianism is the obvious sensible choice for most after these events.

Men scarcely communicate unless the subject is vast, like the universe or the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Women have no big themes. They are not philosophers and never allow silence to invade their relationships. Just watch them during football games.
Lesbians generally are better at office football pools.
This fact has forever puzzled me because I know a very wise explanation is hidden somewhere just beyond my reach.

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Words that Hate Poetry


Poetry is the last thing
That would occur to letters
that were mulling around
hunting for something to say.
Words would testify
that gathering to rhyme is
only for holidays.
Good writers are uncomfortable
leaving only a verse,
one that is unsure
of where it’s period might fit in.
But I prefer this short shit,
cause I mostly don’t like
the reader anyway.

Bad Poetry |

Having babies and getting fat


I stayed home with my children when they were born. I got fat. It took twenty-five years to slim down. Women have been working on staying slender after childbirth for fifty thousand years. I was unprepared. I handled the problem like a man. I had a heart attack. Tidy

Burning Ants

I spent hours chasing ants on my hands and knees, trying to burn them with a large magnifying glass angled to the summer sun’s rays. I had built fires this way in Boy Scouts. I used twigs, not ants, for th
The ants often adopted a “clump together” stratagem in their insect terror, which was a bad move.
In retrospect, there is cruelty in children that blends agreeably with innocence.

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He climbs on me

He climbs on me at night

to do bug things.

“Remember our first time?”

He whispers

in his mean humming voice

of warm August night locusts.

I come apart.

“Always,” I whimper back to him.

He handsomely smoothes his antennae,

draping them over our pillows,

always the leading man.

“Are you ready to die?”

He hisses, like small talk.

“Yes, I will die.”

I plead.

He is pleased, and I am safe.

It knew I wasn’t going to tell.

I wrapped him in thick brown paper

and ran straight home

and froze my rape.

I could not leave it there.

Not knowing where it was.

At breakfast he asks,

“So what shall we do today?

So casually that I am confused.

He touches my hand,

his carapace hard and unalive.

I try to stop my thumb from caressing his shell.

In small back and forth dread familiarities.

“What would make you happy?” I say

He grins and I exhale.

I told him tonight his grubs live in me.

I feel them clawing for a way out.

Praying daddy longlegs scraping and burrowing for air.

His head on my stomach listening

and whirrs insect songs to them.

I stroke the needle hairs on his back.

I know he loves me.

My deceit holds no estate in him.

I have vanished.

My deceit holds no estate in him.I have vanished

into what has hurt me.

Life forbids I feel nothing at all.

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Curves and swing

If you notice a curve in your path

it never hurts

to put up a swing

and wait for the ones you love

to catch up.

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Wives and the Return to Bodice Ripping

My wife and I have substituted the daily relationships we had with our now college rooted children with a revivifying blend of Netflix, Amazon Prime, and a splash of HBO and Showtime.

We are revisiting our initial dating patterns from now long ago without any of the thoughtful incorporation of each other’s feelings. If viewed from a distance and with a cold eye, our marriage is now dependant on how rapidly a new season of our favorite programs come available.

As a fatalist, I constantly fret that Hollywood will not keep pace with our romantic hybrid. My ever-optimistic wife concerns herself only with “which” and never “if” new shows will come along,

By the time we had finished “Game of Thrones,” I had bought a long-handled, two-headed ax and had our dog scared shitless that I was coming for him. I had also knitted a flattering hair shirt. My wife had chained our cat in the basement for random and destructive fire-breathing , ( it incinerated the parakeet).

The twenty-three-year run of “Breaking Bad” provided three extensions to our house from the windfalls from my sale of bright blue methamphetamine to my now high strung neighbors.

This month we are watching “The Tudors”, so I am guessing it won’t be long before I take on a couple of new wives and spend my days ripping bodices.

Why We Still Call Them Bodice Rippers - Racked

Women masquerading as Steelers fan

The life of a woman consists of one adventure which can be multiplied by coupling with one or more men. This product, in and of itself remains essentially unvarying except for the occasional very unexceptional children or, perish the thought, dangerous ones.

All else is filled with chatter and worry. The life of the man is an continuous exploration for avenues to be competitive without killing or being killed prematurely each other.

This only applies to men who are Steeler fans. All other men are actually women.

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Ducks on LSD

Always that same LSD story, you’ve all seen it. ‘Young man on acid thought he could fly, jumped out of a building. What a tragedy.’ What a dick! Fuck him, he’s an idiot. If he thought he could fly, why didn’t he take off on the ground first? Check it out. You don’t see ducks lined up to catch elevators to fly south—they fly from the ground, ya moron, quit ruining it for everybody. He’s a moron, he’s dead—good, we lost a moron, fuckin’ celebrate. Wow, I just felt the world get lighter. We lost a moron! I don’t mean to sound cold, or cruel, or vicious, but I am, so that’s the way it comes out. Professional help is being sought. How about a positive LSD story? Wouldn’t that be news-worthy, just the once? To base your decision on information rather than scare tactics and superstition and lies? I think it would be news-worthy. ‘Today, a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration. That we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. There is no such thing as death, life is only a dream and we’re the imagination of ourselves’ . . . ‘Here’s Tom with the weather.’”- Bill Hicks

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Rock’s Greatest Manager

Bill Curbishley, on the right, is the manager of The Who. If he had chosen to, he could have managed The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and Lynyrd Skynyrd as well. He quietly changed the live music touring business, but what he enjoyed most was robbing deli’s with me on off days.

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From Out of a Box

How can a photograph be art when it is confined by randomness?

A song comes out of nothing. A painting is as much the hand on the brush as it is anything that is or has been ever “there”. Movies manipulate atmospheres and the medium simultaneously. But th

A camera’s image becomes art only when interpreted in the aftermath. Are photographers more critics than artists?Could it be that there are no artists at all, only reviewers?

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Taylor Swift and Pete Townshend

Taylor Swift savages boyfriends who cross her. There is a hazard to getting close to such a girl.
In vague comparison, if you fucked over Pete Townshend, it was time to renew your passport and run.
I listened to his music long before I knew him. When I was in college, I wouldn’t have been able to name the band individually. It just wasn’t something I was concerned with, and I don’t think this was at all uncommon. They were simply The Who and maybe my favorite band.
The hardest band to remember their names were Lynryd Skynyrd. I had to practice so much I got blocks. It is why I only got to know Ronnie well.

“Can I have a word?” Townshend says to me by the hotel phone around midday.
Like some rare birds, he was an uncommon sight until late afternoon at sound checks. It was not a settling experience to talk to him one on one before then. For me, at first, it was a reasonable cause for dread. He made me uneasy. It took years to work that shit out.
Bill, Jackie, and I were having a laugh in a hotel room working out a logo/poster for the upcoming Canadian leg of a Who tour when his call came.
Canada is big and mostly settled by moose. So far, because the shows started in Montreal, we had a drawing of a giant green frog, with a chunk of Canadian​ bacon in its​ mouth, hopping on each city they would play. The amphibian was wearing a Royal Canadian Mounted Police uniform, and he had a beaver under each arm. The bacon was my touch because I grew up eating it. I thought of it as an example of my favorite form of art, topical and bursting with ridicule.
But that phone call dampened me, so I headed down to his room.
He did not look well. He had his tea. He could remind me of a bloodhound waiting for a proctology examination. I expected the worse because I had passed his security guy in the hallway, and he barely recognized me.

” Did you give me money last night?” he said without really looking up. I got the feeling that if I lied, he would be pleased.”
Yes,” I said.
“How much?” He actually​ groaned when I told him.
“Fuck,” was all he said
“Who was here?” I asked.
“It doesn’t matter. I must have passed out.” He seemed to sigh, but he might have been still gasping in shock.
“Want me to put Jim on it?” I said.
“No, it’s gone, thanks.”
And I left.

Joyster & Friends: Monika Schaefer – True North Strong & Free? (12-15-16) –  Renegade Broadcasting

My Career

My career incorporated moving each day from one bunch of people to another. The populations of these audiences ranged from 250 to 150,000 individuals. In each instance, almost all of them wished they were me. That never helped.

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The Death of Kong

The stark contrast between watching someone who you love die and watching that same person die if you hate him is an exhibition opening all over the United States today.
When I was little, I was torn apart by the death of King Kong on the Empire State building as machine guns shot him from the biplanes ( the ancient black and white film version.)
He fell victim to loving the wrong girl.
Most of my friends in the movie theater applauded his massacre. I could barely watch. Even in the story’s remakes today, it still cuts me. Watching Trump pass on is the same for me.

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A Close Election

You are always safe in a crowd of apes as long as one side doesn’t achieve numbers, leading them to believe they can win the war. Please let this be a close election.

Gorillas in the midst of a play fight: Young apes let off ...

Into The Ground and Beyond

What if every leaf that falls is the tree’s space probe to explore what is the ground?

Did you steal my Money?

“Could I have a word?” Townshend said to me on the hotel phone around midday. Like certain rare birds, Pete was seldom sighted before late afternoon for sound checks.

It was not a settling experience to talk to him one on one before then. In my case, it was fair cause for dread. He made me uneasy and I him at first. It took years to work that out.

A couple of us were having fun working out a logo/poster for the upcoming Canadian leg of a Who tour .Canada is big and mostly settled by moose. So far we had a sketch of a frog with a greasy slab of Canadian​ bacon in its​ mouth hopping from city to city outlining where they would play. He was dressed in a Royal Canadian Mounted Police uniform and in chase of​ a tubby beaver. It was in a time that people could laugh at themselves.

The bacon was my touch because I grew up eating it. But that phone call dampened me, so I headed down to his room with my bag .

He did not look well. He had his tea. There were no headless bodies and only his security guy who was desperately trying to focus his eyes on the sofa.

”Did you give me money last night?” he said without really looking up. I got the feeling that if I lied to him he would be pleased. ”

Yes”, I said.“

How much?” He gutturally​ groaned when I told him.

“Fuck,” was all he said

“Who was here?” I asked.

“It doesn’t matter I didn’t know them. I must have passed out.”

He is dangerous to try to read so I didn’t.

“Want me to put Jim on it?” I said.

It’s gone, thanks.”

And I left.

Paul McCartney and Brian Wilson

I think there is something particularly human in repetitiveness. As I age, I more understand the working relationship between creativity and forgetfulness. I am just creative enough to see that. If I were more, it would never occur to me. Regis Boff
FaceBook sends things I have posted back to me in their “memories”. My guess is it makes me appear small in the eyes of the very few who show any interest in me.
Below is such a recall. It makes me cry a little. Regis Boff

From Brian Wilson’s autobiography:
Today (October 11), Brian Wilson releases his long-awaited memoir, I Am Brian Wilson. In this excerpt, he discusses the influence of two of the Beach Boys’ only true rivals in the ’60s: the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. And also, how bandmate/rival Mike Love helped him to finish “Good Vibrations.”
~
The one that really got me was Rubber Soul, which came out at the end of 1965. Rubber Soul is probably the greatest record ever. Maybe the Phil Spector Christmas record is right up there with it, and it’s hard to say that the Who’s Tommy isn’t one of the best, too. But Rubber Soul came out in December of 1965 and sent me right to the piano bench. It’s a whole album of Beatles folk songs, a whole album where everything flows together and everything works. I remember being blown away by “You Won’t See Me” and “I’m Looking Through You” and “Girl.” It wasn’t just the lyrics and the melodies but the production and their harmonies. They had such unique harmonies, you know? In “You Won’t See Me,” Paul sings low and George and John sing high. There’s an organ drone in there, a note that’s held down for the last third of the song or so. Those were touches they were trying, almost art music. What was so great about the Beatles was you could hear their ideas so clearly in their music. They didn’t pose like some other bands, and they didn’t try to stuff too much meaning in their songs. They might be singing a song about loneliness or a song about anger or a song about feeling down. They were great poets about simple things, but that also made it easier to hear the song. And they never did anything clumsy. It was like perfect pitch but for entire songs. Everything landed on its feet.
I met Paul McCartney later in the ’60s, in a studio. I was almost always in a studio back then. He came by when we were at Columbia Square working on vocal overdubs, and we had a little chat about music. Everyone knows now that “God Only Knows” was Paul’s favorite song—and not only his favorite Beach Boys song, but one of his favorite songs period. It’s the kind of thing people write in liner notes and say on talk shows. When people read it, they kind of look at that sentence and keep going. But think about how much it mattered to me when I first heard it there on Sunset Boulevard. I was the person who wrote “God Only Knows,” and here was another person—the person who wrote “Yesterday” and “And I Love Her” and so many other songs—saying it was his favorite. It really blew my mind. He wasn’t the only Beatle who felt that way. John Lennon called me after Pet Sounds—phoned me up, I think the British say—to tell me how much he loved the record.

But Paul and I stayed in touch. Another time not too long after that he came to my house and told me about the new music he was working on. “There’s one song I want you to hear,” he said. “I think it’s a nice melody.” He put the tape on and it was “She’s Leaving Home.” My wife, Marilyn, was there, too, and she just started crying. Listening to Paul play a new song let me see my own songs more clearly. It was hard for me to think about the effect that my music had on other people, but it was easy to see when it was another songwriter.

Columbia 1967 to 1971

I think the protests caught everybody off guard though Columbia College was well ahead of the national curve. The nature of the place was to question everything, learn from the debate, and build skills. It felt abrupt that argumentative and embarrassing exchanges became personal and sometimes violent. It must have felt like a stain to the professors and administration at first. The place has a history of the mind overwhelming violence and is proud of that. Schools had become a haven from Vietnam, and Columbia was no different than the rest. You did not have to die if enrolled. The tearing apart of that shelter took real nerve. We were all very young men ( All male school at the time). We were among the first to act on our conscience. We figured out that something was very wrong. That was no small realization at the time. It was dangerous to resist. Columbia, above all else, was brave. A bridge from our academia to the outside world let something new and savage inside. Clear sides formed. Words could no longer settle anything. Fifty years later, my life still never pauses to be grateful. Discredited are the divinities that demand gratuity. Gone are parents who held my hand for a while. Even my excellent luck is not a thing to tip a hat too. There is only one place I wish I could be again because it was perfect. Columbia College the way I found it in 1967.My class seemed to be trying to tear it apart. In my last two years there, it seemed to collapse entirely. My college disappeared overnight, and I had not enough time or wisdom to regret it. Violence does that.I understand now what a college should aspire to be, memory—where you can find all truth and none. I know that school is still there. — 

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Watching Attractive People have sex

I only want to watch attractive people have sex. As a youth, I was curious about what beautiful gay people did to each other. Once I got a handle however on the structural opportunities they brought to the table, the identical disinterest in unattractive homosexuals repeated itself.My riddle is that I am not attractive myself yet I still demand what I see and sexually touch to be beautiful. All men are this way. Ask them.The Early man simply sniffed out beauty. It was a successful system, and we multiplied notwithstanding our repulsiveness for millennium. All that ended with the advent of perfumes.In the early fifties, all human sexual aromas were drenched by the French liquid, Chanel # 5. This perfume instantly made billions of unpleasant people sexually uninteresting. Men immediately, in their perspicacity, associated beauty strictly with their eyes and only so, from then on.Of course, this was the last thing old Coco Chanel thought she was doing when she came up with her scent. She thought it would level the playing field for hideous people. It did not.

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Please repeat

How fun it is

to say again

To repeat the preferred

episodes of my life

over and over.

I remind me

of how wonderful

I have been at times.

Wonderful and happy.

I have had sadnesses,

of course,

but those are now

all by themselves

unnoticed.

There are still the quarrels

in me

over whether time

was wasted .

I think we all have those.

My life is floating timelessly

on the petals of my past.

Memories are all you can ever be.

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Getting Even With Women

Blindingly handsome gay men are mankind’s only effective retaliation against women.

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My Future

At my most recklessly honest and envious, I have to accept that my son is my only opportunity to see a future for which I can not last.

What Everything is Not

With every poem,
there comes
a sad confession
that it is not
a hundred page
novel.

Something Big is Gone Forever

Every black person
freezes me,
at that moment
when I was five
when my mother
is screaming at me,
“Look at what you have done.”
Her favorite vase,
shattered
at my feet
dropped
on the floor.
I can’t lookup.
I can’t put it together.
Something big
is gone forever.

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Why Women Kiss Men

Women never allow silence
to invade
their relationships
with other women.
Soundlessness would,
if permitted
remind them of men,
and this,
they somehow understand,
would lead to a kiss.

Neptune does not echo

We are forever guessing
if we are a song.
Nothing is soundless.
We suspect
but are never sure that our noises carry.
My whistling
may reach Neptune.
But Neptune, like God, does not echo.
Birds don’t care so much
for their songs.
They care about eggs and nests
and the size of baby new wings.
Cicadas lullaby summer evenings.
But the night doesn’t pick up
their theme
and begin to dance.
Flies whizz their little ditties
by our ears.
And we brush them away,
like eavesdropped insults.
The flowers
exhale their perfumes​
into the winds to
blind the dazzled slave bees.
Nothing disturbs the evenhanded blizzard
that is being alive,
but the drama​ of surprising death,
and the odd collisions with love.

She sits among her snowflake suitors.
All sincere,
Each different,
Each the same
all waiting.
Until she finds
the one that echoes her song.

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PUBLISHED: June 30, 2016
FILED UNDER: Unnoticed in Clever Worlds
PUBLISHED: January 1, 2019
FILED UNDER: Unnoticed in Clever Worlds

The Twitter Poet of Avon

When the Poet of Avon, Mr. William Shakespeare, awoke this very morning, he stumbled headfirst into brevity. Twitter.
In doing so, he doomed all other English playwrights, a mostly sterile ladle of plagiarizing snakes, to drone on while in morbid awe of him for all eternity.
The notion of premièring himself on this afternoon, as the writer of fewest words, flung him into malicious merriment. “I am now and forever will be a port-wine reduction sauce of succinctness.
“My genius is the tabernacle of the truncated,” he gloated,” I will leave the breadth of things to the freshmen.”
“Verily,” he bragged, (too loudly, for his mother, now overhears him while hiding behind his bedroom door), “and forever, my works will be posted with nails onto trees in twenty-six words and less and will be known to the audience as “tweets”.
Hearing this vow, his mother, the severely verbalized Mary Arden Shakespeare dismays.
Mary was a woman who could trace her long-windedness as linearly as an erection, back to the most crucial exercise of unnecessary human print, “The Doomsday Book.” She feared her son was maneuvering into a near-criminal puddle of abbreviated verbal sulkiness.
She slumped, legs splayed into bunches of skirts, muttering miserably to herself, (wholly in Old English, to her credit), “I will not allow him an eternity of pithiness of verse.”
But Bill speeds by her determined to stop his life’s drudgery of taxing inventiveness before she can interfere.
“Romeo and Juliet” was already rewriting itself in his mind as a love story that lasts only as long as a stick of sassafras chewing gum.
“Romeo has the scheme, parents will be sorry; R. fucks everything up, big mess, J. is an idiot The End,” was all it needed to be.
Shakespeare sprints to Stratford’s Speaker’s Corner to announce the new course for England’s scholarly conversation.
“Forever on,” Bill bellows to a gathering crowd of the muddy, toothless, and lice-infested, “My tragedies and comedies will come to you now nailed on trees. To be read as “Twits.”
“Be it known that if it must be said, I will say it from inside the prison of twenty-six letterings or less. And all will carry a dollop of gruel for authenticity. Henceforth to be understood as my “gruel tag.”
“My histories, poems, and essays will remain on my Facebook page.”
William Shakespeare.

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Do they sink as deep?


I skip

old flat words

on you

like the stones

I tossed at ponds

when I was

a child.

They bounce the same.

Do they sink as deep?

Bill Graham, The Who, and The Grateful Dead

I saw this picture of Bill Graham posted by Lisa Seckler- Rhode this morning, and it grabbed a memory from that section of my mind that is usually only aroused by drugs.
We were doing a deal with him for The Who to play San Francisco sometime in the late 1970s. He was bawling that we were not paying him enough, a not unfamiliar theme.
It can be exposed now that concert promoters never got what they said they did on deals with the Who. Usually, we took most of the money in exchange for our permission to lie about it for face-saving.
Predictably Graham’s negotiating tactics relied chiefly on whining and screaming.
When doing deals with him in the old day’s Bill Curbishley, the Who’s manager would be on his suite’s phone, and I would be in the bathroom on an extension. No cell phones.
In Graham’s standard, and there are pictures, we put the phone on a coffee table between us and could still hear him screeching.
He was a formidable adversary. He controlled San Francisco. Few promoters had the courage to stand up to certain bands — the Who had become too big to lose.
That said, when I started with Genesis, he did me endless favors, which he did not have to do. He was infinitely and deeply kind.
The other variable was that the band (The Who) loved him, so we never really fucked him. No doubt, he did them many favors too early on.
The conversations about these shows actually went on and off for years, Always breaking down somewhere.
We had settled on the Cow Palace in San Francisco for two shows.
The contract between us was one of a kind. It was one sheet of paper because we could not agree on anything.
The shows represented at least 250,000 tickets( most likely far more, I can’t recall), to be sold at an agreed ticket price.
Our biggest apprehension was that The Grateful Dead wouldn’t leave the stage when the Who were set to begin. They sometimes just played and played, on and on.
The contract read, ( and I still have it somewhere), The Grateful Dead can commence their show anytime after dawn and must leave the stage at sunset.
The Who will guarantee The Dead X. 50% payable on return of contract. That was it.
These were fabulous shows— in the sun in a beautiful football stadium. Everybody had a backstage area, The Who, The Dead, the press, self-important assholes, various Indian tribes, and bicycle gangs. Nothing could have been more fun.
They indeed started very early and played all-day. Everybody was nice to each other.
They were a fabulous band. I seldom knew an individual song unless it was about trucks, cocaine, or Uncle John’s band.
In the greatest trick ever pulled by a rock promoter, without telling us, Graham raised the face ticket price ( which he printed) one dollar, hoping to keep the money.
When confronted, he replied nearly in tears,” But you were stealing from me” — again at the top of his lungs.
One of a kind. We took the money.

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Concrete Fields of Play

Dark grey winters would finally unclench into light grey springs in Pittsburgh Pa where I grew up and went to high school in the middle sixties. I played football.

Our field was enclosed with black cyclone fencing. It was built entirely on concrete and was attached to our school like an athletic bedpan. Every other spring a caravan of heavy loaders filled with dirt would enter through a special gate that was theirs onto this field to refill it.

People who lived in the neighborhood would show up and sit outside this fence on the cement spectator stands connected directly to our field like a giant stone Legos.  These folks came because it was something different. We would steal peeks from our windows when the teacher had his back to us.

We did not get new dirt every year, as erosion was nearly impossible, it being jailed in the field’s cement encasement and besides, dirt was not cheap. The pitch must have lost some of its volume from the unavoidable adhesiveness of our uniforms, cleats, and eyes and ears. A lot of the valuable dirt went down our mother’s water drains at home every night.

We would start practice for football in the hot and dry late Augusts before the school year started.  Oil trucks had come the week before to spray the dirt dampening its dust. Through the first few weeks of practice we would come home much stained and slick.

Many of us grew what the coach called “carbuncles” on our backs. I remember them as sort of elephantine pimples. It had to be from the oil of course. I still remember my coach telling me to tape a raw slice of potato over them at night to draw out the bad stuff. It did work just so you know.

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Neptune does not echo

We are forever

guessing

if we are a song.

Nothing is soundless.

We suspect but are never sure

that our noises carry.

My whistling

may reach Neptune.

But Neptune, like God,

does not echo.

Birds don’t care so much

for their own songs.

They care about eggs

and nests

and the size of baby new wings.

Cicadas lullaby summer evenings.

But the night doesn’t pick up

their theme

and begin to dance.

Flies whizz

their little ditties

by our ears.

And we brush them away,

like eavesdropped insults.

The flowers

exhale their perfumes

​into the winds

blinding the dazzled slave bees.

Nothing disturbs the evenhanded blizzard

that is being alive or the drama​

of surprising death,

and the odd collisions with love.

She sits among her

snowflake suitors.

All sincere,

Each different,

Each the same

all waiting.

Until she finds

the one

that echoes her song.

Pin by Katie Bell on LOVE :) | Kissing in the rain, Love rain, Cute  photography
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