©Jerry Walsh 2019

Keeping it together. When I didn’t have two dimes to rub together it was peace of mind to be able to keep it together. Sometimes I was out of my mind keeping it together. Keeping it together was essential to being out of my mind till the drug wore off. When I thought I was the most together person in the room I had to keep it together just to be heard in the crowd of cocker spaniels. Man, what a noisy vacuum. You don’t even have to hold your breath. That’s a lot of nothing at all.

If you couldn’t keep it together you were not welcome to hang around. When I was just trying to keep it together sometimes the wheel came off the wagon despite my best efforts. Here’s a hint, it’s only together as the least together of you. If you couldn’t keep it together you went home and worked out on whatever it was till you could comb your hair, dress up in the threads, and put on the air of arrogance it took to make it look together as hell.

When I wasn’t good enough to even be on the bill keeping it together was all I had to take home from the gig. But after a time even that was in the rear view mirror. Keeping it together is habit forming. Thank goodness. Keeping it together zounds easy, but it’s not. Keeping it together is hard to do, but easier than you think. “sun so hot I froze to death”… this zounds like a cacophony of contradiction because it is. Maybe that’s part of the thrill of keeping it together in the first place.

You can take pride in keeping it together. You can take comfort in keeping it together. You’re doing your part when you keep it together. You’re showing others the way when you keep it together. You’re on top of the world when you keep it together. You’re leading the pack when you keep it together. If you can’t even be on time you can keep it together. And if it isn’t good enough for whomever, at least you can keep it together. People like you because you’ll keep it together around them. And If everything goes to hell in a handbag, at least, you can keep it together enough to keep it together.

No god.
No politics.
Noo problem.


©Vince Pawless 2019

It’z a thing of beauty. She is a thing of beauty. The hillside is beautiful, the mountain is beautiful, the sky is beautiful. The trip is beautiful, the city by the bay is beautiful, the city in the desert is beautiful. Everywhere I look is beautiful. The flower is beautiful, the vase you put the flowers in is beautiful. The paintings my guitar maker does are beautiful. Beautiful sculpture, beautiful way of looking at the world. Beautiful prose, beautiful poetry, beautiful music. Beautiful end to a beautiful complication. 

The search for beauty, the struggle the writer endures to make something beautiful out of something plain like the truth. Beautiful design, beautiful result. Beauty launches fleets, beauty christens ships, beauty wages wars. Beauty stops the bullshit, beauty starts the dialogue, beauty is stunning. Beauty is a movement in the Star Spangled Banner. The beauty in the window, welcome to Amsterdam. The horse is beautiful, the horseman rides beautifully. The bull is beautiful, ask Ginger. Beautiful ranch, beautiful circumstance, beautiful night sky from there. 

Beautiful effort, ravishingly beautiful, shapely and beautiful, splendidly beautiful. Beautiful beginning to the rest of the world. Beautiful time, beautiful place, beautiful hour of the day. Beautiful darkness, beautiful morning, beautiful color against all the beautiful colors, which one is beautiful to you? Y’know somewhere out there is a beautiful girl with beautiful thoughts about you. If you can’t see that itz beautiful, perhaps you’re not looking. Now, tell me there’s not something beautiful about a little of every screaming thing in this ugly old world.

What she gives me is better than a pony.


©︎Vince Pawless 2019

Keep calm, carry on. Calm in the eye of the storm, were that it was always this way. Calm seas. Calm doctor, good bedside manner. Calm down, calm winds, calm weather. Calm attitude, calming skies, calming voice, calming demeanor. Calm day under the sun. Calm waters. Becalmed, be glad yer not pissed off about anything this moment. That’s why they call them moments. Peaceful calm, breezeless calm, bucolic calm. Harmonious calm, hushed calm, aloof calm, cool headed calm. 

Dispassionate calm, imperturbable calm, laid back kinda calm. If yer stoned yer calm, if yer levelheaded yer calm. Poised calm, relaxed calm, serene calm, unmoved, and calm, in a hush of the calm. The piece of mind in a calm, the peacefulness of calm, the stillness of calm. When you are becalmed you are dead in the water. Calm like a balm, pacified by calm, stands to reason. The quiet of calm, the sound of calm, a breathless calm, the love of calm, the soothing calm, the deserved calm, wish it would never end. At peace with calm, this’ll take some getting used to. Simmer down big fella, and be calm.

How far is far? Way far. How far
is good? This far. How far is better?
That far. How far is enough? No such thing.
How far is too much? That’s far enough.


©Vince Pawless 2019

I can’t believe you said that, I can’t believe you meant it. I can’t believe this is happening. I can’t believe itz done. I can’t believe you want me to, I can’t believe you want me to go away. I can’t believe I’m here, I can’t believe I could be taken so unaware. I can’t believe you won’t be here when I return. What are you, stupid? What are you ignorant, what are you ignorant and stupid? 

I can’t believe I can go on from here, my ass. I can’t believe anything. I can’t believe what I think I know. I don’t believe you, I don’t know who to trust, I don’t have a clue, I don’t wanna know either. I don’t care what you think, I don’t care what you say, it don’t mean a thing. Can you believe that? Can you accept that itz true? I won’t be here to take this kind of shit again. I can’t stand the dude in charge, I can’t deal with the inconsistency. 

I don’t believe in the teachings. I don’t believe in the book. I don’t have a handle on the situation. I don’t know the way outta here. I don’t know how I got here. I don’t know how I’ll get away. I don’t know if I can, I don’t know if I will. I don’t know if I really want to. I don’t think anyone has a clue. That’s alright, everybody has got cares of their own. And I can respect that, but I don’t have to stick around to listen to it. And I don’t believe in Beatles… John Lennon said that.


I turned my back on everything
and it was…peaceful.


©Vince Pawless 2019

Lost to the world. Lost, and not found. Lost to me is how the lives of friends go. Lost dog, lost cat, lost goldfish, lost elephant, that won’t be hard to find. Lost wallet, lost car, lost key, lost girlfriend, a joke Townes used to tell. Lost cause, lost generation, lost colony. Lost out, lost river, lost wax process, lost touch, lost feel, lost your number, Rats! Lost, but not as lost as you. Lost, but found eventually. Lost, but loster, but lostest. I don’t think those are words, but who knows. 

Lost in line, what have you lost? Lost in the order. Lost to them that think they know it all. Never been lost, never knew we were lost, lost in the woods, lost on the mountaintop, lost in the caldera of a volcano. Lost in the crowd, lost in the parking lot, lost in the theatre. Lost in the shuffle, out here where the street hits the sky. Lost because I forgot my cellphone. Never ever lost, never knowing that you could be lost. The army was lost, the band for the party was lost in Leuwarden. 

Even sitting in a cab we were lost. Are you lost? Lost the thread, lost the handle, lost the idea, lost the way home, lost and forgotten. I may not know where I am, but at least I’m not lost. Find the lost penny, find the lost inspiration, driving down the lost highway, the lost pirate man of war disappearing into the fog. The lost of the Mohicans. My friend got lost, your relatives were lost trying to find your house. 

Lost track of the time, lost track of who we were, lost track of the day. Lost track of the count, how many strikes? Lost mine, lost yours. Lost city in the jungle, lost city in the Yucatán, lost temple in the city, lost ship on the ocean, lost airplane in the sky, Emilia Earhart. Lost direction, lost the way home, lost symphony, lost movement, lost from the beginning. Lost painting, ask the Nazis. Lost, but not least, lost house on the right.

I rest so poorly that if I died in
my sleep it’d probably wake me up.


©Vince Pawless 2019

The words got in the way. I might could have been a wiz at maths, but seductive words got in the way. The words got in the way of progress. The words got in the way of fairness. The words got in the way of intelligence. The words got in the way of influence. The words got in the way of the message. The words got in the way of understanding. The words got in the way of the communique.

The words got in the way of economy. The words got in the way of practicality. The words got in the way of the adventure. The words got in the way of ambition. The words got in the way of compassion. The words got in the way of empathy. The words got in the way of forgiveness.

The words got in the way of awareness. The words got in the way of judgement. The words got in the way of knowledge. The words got in the way of intuition. The words got in the way of mastery. The words got in the way of reason. The words got in the way of the conclusion. The words got in the way of the idea. The words got in the way of the meaning. The words got in the way of the opinion. The words got in the way of sympathy. The words got in the way of the significance. The words got in the way of the viewpoint. The words got in the way of the mistake. The words got in the way of the handshake. The words got in the way of harmony. The words got in the way of the meeting of the minds. The words got in the way of the discord. The words got in the way of the disagreement.

The words got in the way of the bus. The words got in the way of the jet airplane. The words got in the way of the weightlifter. The words got in the way of the rocket scientist. The words got in the way of the speaker. The words got in the way of the listener. The words got in the way of the band. The words got in the way of the wordy. The words got in the way of them that needed the words in the first place. The words got in the way when I tried another way. The words got in the way of authority. So what? The words got in the way of a solution. The words got in the way of clarity. The words got in the way of sanity. The words got in the way of power.

The words that got in the way were lost. The words that got in the way stood like a wall between what was true, and what was false. The words got in the way of the answer. The words got in the way of your thoughts. The words got in the way of the numbers. The words got in the way of the logic. The words that get in the way have their own logic. The words get in the way of creativity. The words get in the way of their own creativity. Y’know when it finally comes down to it, that’s why I never got in to maths.

The prize for not working hard enough
is more work.


©Vince Pawless 2019

Really? Really small. Really gone. Really like all the others. Really large. Really fast. Really slow. Really wasn’t, really was, really worth it, really not, really will, really won’t, really big, really far, really close. Really lost, lost, lost. Really doesn’t matter, really won’t make a difference, really can’t stop, really won’t go, really can’t do anything about it. If it wasn’t really good I wouldn’t have suggested it to you. Really the bomb, really the cat’s PJs, really the style, really doesn’t say it, really wouldn’t help. I really need your help.

Really out of the pale, really out of bounds, really a wonder, really a disadvantage, really a benefit, you really can’t do better than this. You really don’t know what I’m talking about, do you? Really can’t see, really can’t tell. Really, it was the last thing on my mind. There really is a hundred miles left to go. There really is no better way to do it, but there could be an alternative. No really. Really didn’t know what to say. Really didn’t know what to do. Really been better prepared. Really had a clue about what was going on. Really close, really short, really green, really sad, really forgotten. Really on top of the world. Really was my idea, but I didn’t have a flip to do with it. No if, ands, or buts, I really mean it. If I really thought that, you wouldn’t be here. The really hard part, the really difficult thing, the really worst of it. It looked good, but it really had some problems. If I can be really serious for a moment, maybe really obnoxious. The running commentary is really off the wall.

A dog will make you live longer.


©Vince Pawless 2019

Don’t tweet on me. Don’t tread on me. Y’call that a tweet? Tweet, tweet, tweetlededum. Tweet like that again and they’ll take away your priviledges. Leave the tweeting to the professsionals, the birds. At least they’ve been doing it long enough to know what they’re talking about.

Tweet with the vision of an Ostrich. While the world goes to Hell in a rucksack tweet, unendingly, like there’s no tomorrow. Tweet like you mean it. Tweet like Magpies. Y’know, I always thought Twitter was a hat size.


I am a self correcting mechanism.


©Vince Pawless 2019

When I got sick it was all I could do to just get well, chicken shit sick, very sick, not very sick, but might could be. Not sick enough to miss work, sick time, sick leave, sick wagon, they were sick, anything, but sick, I hope he doesn’t show up, he’s sick, the bassist is sick, so hire the flute player. If I wasn’t sick maybe I’d go, but I’m sick. Sick movie, sick show, sick town, sick world, sickness in the family. If it looks sick, maybe it is. 

Sickness beside a river, sickness on the tundra, sickness among the troops, sickness in the trenches. She was sickly, so I worried myself to distraction. But, the sickly woman took good care of me even being sickly. The sickest people are the ones that see sickness in others. That joke was sick, that scene was sick, treat the sick. Treat the sick with respect, it’s called a bedside manner, and it used to come along with the package when you got sick. Now you only find it in retail. 

The sick should be represented, the sick should be cared for. I would be the first in line if I wasn’t sick. If you aren’t sick, try to be sympathetic to those that are. Everyone gets sick sooner, or later, so don’t think you’re immune. Yer immune system may well make you sick these daze. Maybe it’s the shampoo, or the mouthwash, or both. Where did I put my lead plates? 

If you were sick I would take care of you. If I was sick she would heal me. The world is self absorbing like a sponge, so there’s not a lotta time for your sickness when everybody else gets sick, too. The sick people in this line, the sicker people in this line, the sickest people over there. Don’t work nights, after business hours, or weekends, much less all the holidays you can fit in a calendar. If that’s what passes for care, pity the sick. Sick out, sick list, sick ‘em, sickness is contagious, sickness is profitable, good business. 

Sickness is newsworthy, sickness is legendary, sickness can be transmitted. Sickness by the cubic foot of air, by the fluid oz. of water, by the direction of your sneeze, by nasty, little molecules, sickness by the millions. Sickness is green, sickness is not discriminatory, sickness is lucky, or the lack of it. 

The sick need yer help, the sick need understanding. The sick need the law to reign in the vultures in the health professions. You can take advantage of the sick, you can run from the sick, you can hide from the sick, you can ignore the sick, till you become one of them. But you won’t get sick, trust me. Getting sick costs money, and money might be the only thing that gets you well, or just kinda well so they have someone to treat forever. Curing the sick would be unprofitable. Now, that’s sick.

Writing is like a cat
playing with a bug.


©︎Vince Pawless 2019

Be quiet, go quietly, quiet as a mouse. The snowfall was quiet, the quiet in the air, the rain fell quietly. I thought you would be quiet. If you can’t be quiet, if you can’t be silent, then beat it. You don’t know the first thing about being quiet, shut the fuck up. I’d say you should have to listen to yourself, but that’s not near quiet enough.

If you could just be quiet. Wading through the quiet, the time was quiet, the noise was quiet, whimperingly quietly, the only quiet in the room. Just sit there and be quiet, stone quiet, deafeningly quiet, startlingly quiet, uncharacteristically quiet, unpredictably quiet, annoyingly quiet, anything, but quiet. Have you ever been quiet? Being quiet should be a law. Do you ever intend to be quiet? If you’re quiet, or if you’re not, the bliss of the following quiet is a repayment for investing the time in your viewpoint.

Quiet mumbling of the crowd, quiet time, quiet moment, quiet song, quiet desire, quiet about it, quiet in-spite of it. The quiet in her voice. A quiet town, a quiet ocean, a quiet beach, a quiet answer, a quiet guitar, a quiet wind, a quiet blue. The quiet in a thought. How quiet it was, quietly wishing, quietly working, quietly wanting. How quiet it could be, when the band stopped the quiet was a reward. The quiet in the forest, the quiet in the woods, the quiet was enveloping like the branches of the trees. The quiet was far away like the wind above the clouds.

Quiet was all that I wanted, quiet was all I got. A place for quiet, the crowd was quiet. A quiet time, a quiet house, a quiet dream. A quiet determination, a quiet resolve, a quiet anger, a quiet objection, a quiet retort. A quiet person, a quiet picture, a quiet painting, a quiet answer, a quiet book, a quiet bomb, a quiet opinion. A quiet fish, quiet like the bubbles in the sea. A quiet fever, a quiet rustling, a quiet recollection. The quiet of the vacuum surrounding the planet. The quiet music, the quiet down the hall, the quiet in her voice. A quiet came over the room, an over-whelming quiet, as I’m standing quietly where it was plain, old quiet…people are uneasy with silence, they don’t know what they’re missing.

In another part of town the
outlaws are the good guys.