ANY IS MORE

If you have character you have the world by the tail, just doesn’t get better than that. Character is reputation, reputation is character, the kind of reputation you would like to have. Character leads the pack, character is going where the pack only dreams of going. Character is an end game, character is a desire, character is a vision, character is a wish, character is coveted, character is like a new pair of shoes, just feels good having them on your feet.

Just feels good having character in the way you live. You’re never alone when you have character to rely on. Character is a direction, eventually forward and onward. So character is a companion, character is a destination, character is a logic, character is a place. Character is not for the faint of heart, but character is a signpost in the middle of nowhere, maybe the only signpost. Character shows up when you least expect it, character shows up big when you’re losing. Character is under a microscope when you win.

Character won’t lead you astray, but character might just lead you out of the woods. Character won’t cut and run, character won’t leave you flat, character won’t forget your name. Character can’t be lost behind the fridge, or in the garage. Or left in a cab. You can wear your character on your sleeve, you can wear character like a hat. You can wear character with any kind of clothes, you can wear character anywhere you damn well please. Because character, as free as it is, is not common.

So character truth be told is, actually, not free. But character is worth whatever price you have to pay for it. You work for character, you strive for character. You think you are charactered like no one else, but you might be surprised to find character is shared among more than you ever might suppose. Character makes the world a better place, character makes the world go ‘round. Character is a prerequisite to respect, the character comes first, the benefits come later. The character goodness gave a cricket, crickets with character are righteous bugs. The character of a people, the character of a place, the character of a kind. The character that she left in the dressing room, he was some kind of character. Whatever it was it probably was worth it, because character is sublime, and character is golden.

When you need character, character is a breath of fresh air when there is no character to be found. But there is no limit to character, there is no amount of character, you either have it or you don’t. Character is black and white, so there is no quality of character, only confidence of character and that makes you a little taller that day. Character is a sidekick, character is a buddy when you’re lonely, character is a way out of the deepest voodoo. Like a life jacket, like a flotation, like something that will help you keep your head above the water line, so to speak.

Character is essential to a goal of most any kind. Character will help you do another lap, character will help you go the extra mile, character will help you finish the race. Character will help you do the deed, character will make short work of the worst job. Character will stand you when nothing else will, when the shit hits the fan. Character will make you a better leader, character will help you keep that lead. Character will make you a better follower. It takes character if you finish first, or last. Sometimes it takes more character to deal with a loss than a win.

Character might tell you when to quit, character might tell you when to step aside to let another character as worthy as yours take things to another level. Character is a piece of mind, a little character is like a lot of character because any character at all is enough, character times character equals character. If you have character it shows, if you don’t have character it shows.

Character doesn’t stop at the property line, character doesn’t stop at the city limit. Character is what makes it worth a flip, character is a goal to be pursued. Character is not a surprise, character is a surety. If you enjoy character, you enjoy seeing your character work to help, somewhere, anywhere. Character keeps the wheels turning, and the boat floating, the clockwork ticking, and the world turning.

Character will keep you from worrying about character at all. People with the most character talk about it the least. Character is a comfort, character is a confidence, character is an advantage, character is the best advantage out there. Character is subconscious. So it works anywhere, even when your battery is low. Character will help you from regarding character too seriously. You can try too hard to show your character. You can profess to have more character than you really have, even though any is more than enough. And while I’m at it, character beats talent every time. My mother gave me my character, my father tested it.

BETTER LATER THAN

Better later than to have never loved, better later than to have never tried, better love on that girl, better get off your duff, better stop, better start somewhere. Better quit, better my ass, better be good, better not, you’re better if you’re bad. Better if you don’t sing, better if you don’t say, better if you don’t stay. Better when your done, all the better, better get on out of here, better than the rest, better than none, better because you say so, better if you’re there.

The crust is better than the pie. Better if you have a cat, better if you have a car, better not wiggle, better not cry, better not breathe, better not leave, better if you tag along. Better if you take the lead, better if you settle down, better if you get along, it sounds better, because it is better. Better to bed, better to rise, better to take my hand, better than that, better than the Joneses, better than the rest, better in the warmer time of year. Think better, live better, love better, think better of me, think better of myself, feel better.

Better not shout, better and better, better than not, better than some, worse than others. You better go now, better with a beer, better on toast, better on principle. Better be better, better not pout, better be good, better quit being jealous, better not let them know who you are. Better than, better off, better said, if it’s better, wish it would be better, but that it was better. Better when, better if, better not tell, better and better. It’s just better, for want of a better solution, better seen and not heard, because it better be good, better, or worse, better is better, the original is better, but I’ll never tell.

Better to be on the road, better to be out of range, better to be on top of it, better stay out ahead of it. Better guitar, better piano, it’s better if you think it is, all you have to do is think better of it. Quit fucking around do it better, better stand your ground, better think better thoughts, better stay out of jail, better do something about it, better jump on it. Better in the morning, better when the sun shines, better late at night, better at sundown.

More expensive is not necessarily better, love is not better, or worse, it’s just better, so don’t miss it, feel better, look better, sing better, be a better person, be a better husband, be a better wife, be a better companion. Come on down when you feel better, if you do what I say you’ll feel better, if you do what I want I’ll feel better, maybe. Better hat, better shoes, better than last year, better than you’ve ever heard, better on the face of it.

Feel better inside, I hope your foot feels better, better them than me, better is a feeling, better is a placebo, perhaps. Better get out of the way, better not stand on tradition, better get to moving, mo’ better, better is better, better than that, better than you think, better than you might want, better than you could handle. Think better, live better, say better things about one another, feel better, better than beans, there is nothing better than beans. Better than anything I’ve ever had before, better on the run, better at home, better than you think, better than you know, better for you, better and better again.

Better when you smile, better when you laugh, you feel better when you give it to somebody that could use it. Don’t let it get the better of you, those were better times, these are better times, keep at it and it’ll get better. If you thought you could make it better I’m sure you would, or would you? If you tell me I can make it better, don’t you wanna feel better?

Better hold on to what you got, better make a change in your attitude, better if you try, better things await you. It will just be better, better isn’t necessarily better, if it’s not any better, it won’t get better, he doesn’t think it will get better, but what does he know? Better not miss the boat, better get your reservation early, better show up early, better not be late, though it’s better that you are on time. See you when you’re better, I’d like to go when I’m better, or when you’re in a better mood.

Better is a quality, better is something to strive for, better is how you should think of yourself, better is how you should think of others, and in so doing make the world a better place. So glad to hear that you’re doing better, let’s work together to make it better, because we’re a team it just makes it better, better is a belief, better is a faith, do it even if it doesn’t look like it will make it better, it might just make it right.

UNIVERSITY

Work the program, find work in the city, work it out, work on it, work it down into something manageable. The work was the reason, the work became the reason only after a lotta work. Work place, got it working again, make it work again, make it work one time. It worked like a clock, it worked like a charm.

It only worked, it might have worked, it wouldn’t work unless you did it the right way, lemme show you. Don’t work, didn’t work, stopped working just when…should work. If it doesn’t work send it back. I thought it was supposed to work, that only applies if it works, they got warranties for that kind of nonsense.

The workings of a clock, the workings of the machine, iron works, cement works, rock works, bring a friend to help you get it in the car. If I could find work, work’s not hard to find, doing work is the hard part. If you think about it, it’s more like a fear of labor than the labor itself, funny planet. Work will save you money because you can’t often find time to buy things when you’re at work. At least something works.

Complete Works, Selected Works. Recent Works, abysmal works, required works, test on Tuesday. Work will keep you alive. Work will keep you awake, work will keep you busy, work will keep you involved, work will keep you engaged. Work will pay you for doing the damn work in the first place, eggcellent. Work is expected, work is daily, work is on the books, work is on the way, work is a good time, work is shit, work is on time sometimes.

Work is a drag, work is a pit, work is a dream, work is a daydream, work is a bore, work is a trade off, work is a bargain, work is vacation if you do it right. Work is a job, work is a fire truck, work is hanging on the side of a building cleaning the windows.

Work is building a dam, work is fixing the dam. Work is, work time, work for, it works, but the second hand is off. Worked for a few years, only worked when I thought about it, and that was all the time. It was working so we left it alone, if it ain’t broke.

So I wrote a show of spoken word and musical improvisation in Santa Fe, NM and played it with three other musicians in New York City. Just wrote another one. It’s all over except for the work. Even though it might not work, shit work, funky work. Work that doesn’t pay, work that passes you by, work that someone else does. I probably wouldn’t do that work. But, work is heroic, work is admired, work is for the working stiff, working is the best part sometimes.

Work makes you feel good, work makes you feel wanted, work gives you something to do. Work takes up the time you’d rather spend somewhere else. A little work won’t ruin your life. A lack of work is good work for no one. So honor work, look for work, stand work, do away with work altogether, and the beer is free. Strike work, good work, yeah, do it again. I only hope my work is as good as yours.

Work with your head down, work with your heart, work with what you got, work with determination. Work on your stamina, work on your game, work on that backhand, get back to work, get a better job. A lotta work, a little work. Don’t think this through, just do the work. It’ll take a lot less time.

No work, hospital work, something works, maybe, work both sides of the street. Work both ways, work ethic, work force, work in progress, work into the ground, work like a beaver, work like a charm, work load, work of art, work off, work on. Work yer fingers to the bone. Work yer nerves, work your tail off. Work order, we can work it out, work over, work down, work someone over, work someone out of he picture, now that’s art.

This just won’t get it, but we can probably work something out. But don’t count on it. Work station, work stoppage, work till the end of the set, then you might be looking for work. Looking back at your work, looking forward to work, send the kids back to school. The glory is the work, especially when you do it again, to be able to do it again. Coffee before work, ride with you to work, working at work, imagine that.

Work through it, work it up, play it at your next gig. The work was magic, the work blew me away, the work blew me through the wall. My work, your work, our work, great work, do it again. Do it for as long as you like, do it for as long as you can, same diff. Known for your work, your work precedes you, noted for your work, adored for your work, forgotten works, sloppy work, tired work, slow work, shop work, poor work, top work…stop work.

The most important thing in an artist’s life is the work. The closest thing in an artists life is the work. The most time spent in an artist’s life is the work, the most mysterious thing in an artist’s life is the work. The worst thing in an artists life is the work, the hardest thing in an artist’s life is the work, but the most rewarding thing in an artist’s life is the work. The only enduring thing in an artist’s life is the work. So, work your life away, bravo. Work before play, work before love, work. Work before you eat, work before you put your clothes on, work when you’re trying to sleep. Work before you leap. Work before anyone knows your work. Work if you never find work at all. Anyway, I hope this works.

And unless you’ve forgotten how to do a little work, even if it doesn’t sell your novel, work might still end up in a worthy place like an archive at a University.

BIG ENOUGH WORD

Did I not say it loud enough? Or maybe I should repeat myself: No. Was I not plain as the nose on your face? No. Did I not make it perfectly clear? No. Hell no. Don’t get me wrong, no is not so much what I say as what I mean. But people just wanna see how you say no. People can’t believe you’d say no. We have no people. We have no bananas. We have no kitties.

No is a convenience, no is a protocol, no is a social norm. No is the easiest way to end a conversation. No is the easiest way to end a relationship. No just might start another. No walking on the grass, no spitting on the sidewalk, no pissing in the yard. No quibbling, no stopping, no speeding, no standing, no parking, no waiting, no money, no help, no information, no dancing, no problem. No can do, don’t argue, no noise, no talking in line, no sharps, no flats, no encore, no election, no leaves in the winter, no shade in the summer, no halftime at the Super Bowl.

How could you say no to a lady with obsidian eyes?

No is not a negative, no is a civilized game changer. No can be delivered somewhat casually, but no is serious business. No wonder, no body’s business, no water, no wildlife, no art, no guitar, no musical instruments of any kind. If everything got mixed together there would be no vein of gold. No sweat going to hell cause itz all downhill. None for me, not a dime. Not an answer to be found, not a person to be found, not a penny to my name. Never say no, never say never. No is an excuse.

No more, no time, no daylight savings time. What time of day is it? No watch. Not around here, no ski lift, no breathing underwater, no color in her face, no is final, unless it’s not final. No dumping, nobody gives a care, anything is better than nothing, no way, no how, no deal, another no deal. No vote, no lo contindere, no confidence, no support, no is neither a negative if you say it like you mean it. No is an opinion, no is a quick way to turn you off. No paper in this can, no bottles in this can, no household garbage, no bikes on the sidewalk, no walkers on the thoroughfare, no cans, no jars, no breaks, no rest, no rest for the weary, no right, no wrong.

No was what she said, no was what she meant, there was no love left in her. There was no love in the city, there was no love anywhere, no flowers please. No armbands at South By. No freebies, no backstage pass, none of you will get in here, no exceptions. No will put a stop to that short and sweet. No putting your hands in the cage, no putting your hands in the machinery.

But there’s always something from nothing, even if they say no we’ll climb over the fence, even if they say no we’ll drink from the well, even if they say no you might not hear them, so just go on about your business like nothing happened. No cats, no dogs, no children, no one over 65, no one under 65. No dinner, no sleep. No, but maybe.

What is it you don’t understand about no, what is there to misunderstand about no. No is the end of the line, no is a new beginning, have the character goodness gave a cricket, just say no. It won’t get any better until you say no. Stop saying no all the time, stop saying yes when no is what you really mean. No is a relief. No says more about him than his whole damned book.

Nobody, no one, no time, no way, no sound, no smile, no laughter, no hope, none for me, none for her, no flowers, no bad thoughts, no good intentions. No thinking you’ve done the right thing. No one got told what to play. No one got told when to say it.

I said, no thinking. If you start thinking then Geoff will start thinking, and if Geoff starts thinking then David will start thinking and if David starts thinking…and David is a professional. No way out, no way in, no way around it, no is the only word you’ll hear from me on the subject, no frills, no extras, no coupons, no interest for 90 days. No drugs, no alcohol, no just might be the only way out of here. There is nothing left to say, but no.

No just won’t get it. I can’t get no. No, no, no. No doesn’t mean anything, but no. Screaming no, know your enemy, know your opponent, not at all. No means no. No small amount, nothing, no right back at you, nose job, nose in someone else’s business, know where you are going, going nowhere. Know where you’ve been, know the ropes, know the time, know which way is up, know how to get to town, know how to get your ass out of town. In space there is nothing, well, not a lot of much of nothing.

No is the last straw, no is the end of the line. No, but you can never tell. No, but if you wait around for a while they might just change their mind. None of the above, none of the aforementioned, nothing of anything at all, no back, no sides, no dessert, no coffee, no carbs, no smoking, no cutting in line, no gluten, no night shades, no crackers, no bread, no red meat, no eating anything with eyeballs.

No health plan, no income, no more patience, no more time, no more. Just when you thought there would be no more, no video, no audio, no place to put anything, no air, no water, and all the boards did shrink. No land in sight, no horizon, no sun, no rain, no wind, no food for the poor, no food for thought, no stopping the monster from outta town, no means no, no to hatred, no to greed, but I digress.

And even though no just might say it, no is not a big enough word.

STORM THAT MAKES NO SOUND

Storming into a bar, again. And I been storming all week. I just need to get off this tack. Storm clouds, storm front, storm in the sky, storm on the wind, going and blowing, storm indeed. Rain? Man, this is a storm. Get outta the storm, pal, if it storms, when it storms, will it storm? Just when you begin shearing the long grass it storms.

Stormin’ and swearing, swearing and stormin.’ Storming into town. Close that door, man, it’s storming outside. It’s storming in here, it’s like a hurricane between my ears, storm in the wind. It was storming so I could not see, it was storming so I could not hear, it smelled like a lightning storm. I was madder’nhell so I stormed off, and that pissed me off too, so I stormed some more.

I was in a sandstorm, the sandstorm was a wall of dust, you drove into the wall of dust, the lights went out and it got really quiet, a sandstorm near Ludlow in the Mojave, when the dust cleared I drove away from a junkyard of debris, a pile of potpourri, and sixteen tons of twisted steel.

Global dust storms blanket Mars. It was storming so it was hard to breathe, the storm was black, but the storm was yellow around the edges like a tornado, the storm swirled, the storm pushed, the storm rode, the storm shuddered, the storm stuttered, the storm lay in wait. The storm whimpered, the storm whined, the storm wandered.

The storm will tear the roof off of your home, the storm will tumble your car down the storm drain. The storm will ruin your weekend, the storm will ruin your life, the storm is powerful ju-ju, the storm is big trouble. The storm scowls, the storm tickles before it stings, storm tickles before it stickles. The storm blows itself out.

A storm huffs and puffs until the storm is blue in the face. Storming eliminates complacency, storming keeps you wide awake, it may be a little desperate, but at least it’s not boring. The storm in someone else, the storm in you. A storm of sunshine, a storm of flowers, a storm of laughter, a storm of sadness, a storm of welcome, a storm like an Olympic sized swimming pool, a tempest in a teacup, a storm of gaiety.

The storm is in your head, the storm of indignancy, the storm of the righteous, a storm of reality, the storm before the calm, the calm before the storm. Storm of all storms, the mother of all storms, the seventh sister twice removed of all storms.

Storm of noodles, the storm in the noodledome, a storm of happiness, a storm of a celebration, a storm of well being. The storm will flood the streets, the storm will cut the power off, the storm will poison the water, the storm will storm like cats and dogs. The storm split for the coast, the storm out on the water, the storming of the waves.

The storming of the drums in a Japanese orchestra, the storming of the drums out on the battlefield, the storming of the drums will jet you up, the storming of the drums. Storm alert, waders in the storm, writing in the storm, trying to get to the club in a storm, trying to get a cover charge in a storm, I hope anybody will show up, no one came last time I played a hurricane.

Heat inverted huge storm. Biblical storm, bigger than that storm, stand in the storm, from out of the storm, away from the storm, face the storm, the center of the storm, can’t get away from the storm, can’t get relief from the storm, can’t get a break from the storm. What storm?

That storm. Inside the storm, beside the storm, running from the storm in a car, running from the storm in a bathrobe, running from the storm on a freeway, so is everyone else. A towering storm, a storm like no other, a storm in her heart, a storm in his eye, a storm over the scene, looks like a storm coming. If it wasn’t for the storm, I’d be outta here.

The storm will rain your plants to the ground, the storm will rain your hopes to the ground. The storm speaks, the storm hides, the storm runs, the storm stalls, the storm slides, the storm grinds, the storm waits, the storm grates, the storm pauses, the storm sits, the storm parks itself right over your tent.

The storm scared the hell out of ’em, the storm was spooky, the storm has a nasty personality, the storm is conscious, the storm is out of it’s mind. The storm strafes, the storm rakes, the storm makes, the storm quits, the storm goes the other way. The storm doesn’t know where it’s going, the storm ain’t telling where it’s going. The storm is sneaky, the storm ravages, the storm demolishes, the storm breaks, the storm kills, the storm is responsible, the storm goes south, the storm goes where it wants to go, the storm is a loner. But storms get together, and turn into bbigger storms.

The storm will stop. The storm thrashes, and crashes, but then all of a sudden, in the echo of thunder like a sigh, the storm stops. And when the storm is over the sun comes out. Nothing makes a sound, but leaves dripping, and the noisy clear water torrent in the creek.

THAT’S ART

Art is invisible, art is a myth. Art is a rumor. Art is untouchable. But for the art sale, art barn, art walk, art market, flea market art, bargain basement art, cheap art, art for free. We’ll pay you to take this art. Art today only, art on Sunday, drive down Canyon road and see some art, art in a retail outlet, art is a hobby, or it’s a reason to believe unless it’s not, art store.

You really don’t know what art looks, or sounds, or feels like until you see it, hear it, touch it. Water colors, finger paints, art on the wall, art on a turntable, art like a silk tie with the painting of a bird or a naked lady on it. Art is a pretty girl, art is a car, art is a quilt, art is a waste of time, though it takes time to make art.

Art is everything to someone and nothing to some others. That’s not art. Art is jealousy, and art is big business. You call that art? The art went sailing over their heads. Art is a scrawling on a rock wall in the dark of a cave. Bring a flashlight. Art is a reason for doing it at all. You can never tell who might think this is art. Art on a back street, art on the side of a building, art on the Santa Monica pier, art in a foyer, the old gas station is a piece of art, the Brooklyn bridge is art.

The arrangement of flowers is an art on an easel. Or you can tour the Louvre in a quest for art. Many arts. Art for art’s sake, art is in the eye of the beholder. Art reaches out, art strives to, the art means something, art hangs on the wall, art stays in the background, art is upfront and personal, art is an insult, art presupposes, art considers itself the end all, beat all.

Art goes to the heart of the matter, art goes to the art of the affair, not everyone can do art, or sit up close to the blackboard, not everyone cares if it is art. Art is the expression of a lower life form. Art on a subway embankment, graffiti on a train, art like a landfill, art where you least expect it, art because you can. The art of tomorrow is trash today, trash today is art tomorrow. Garbage in garbage out.

Someone’s art is someone’s throwaway. Is there a measure of art? How do you know when you’ve had too much art? Can you get enough art? Can you sell enough art to pay the rent? Is art the only way, is art the place, is art a place? Is art for you? Do you like art? Is art a secret only they know? Would you tell me if it was art? Would you know if it was art? Can you bear to just look at art without copping a feel? You are art. Yer a babe, I just happen to have a background in art. I just wanna touch you like I just wanna touch the Mona Lisa. But I’ll tell you truly, I only like the Mona Lisa because she smiles at me.

But art is for others, though some is for us. Art for the masses, art for the individual, art for the army, art for the navy, art for the arty. Art wouldn’t matter except for the crap that people pass off for art. But who really knows art? Who would you you buy art from? Is art the same for everyone?

Are all Van Goghs painted equal? Are all Van Goghs as famous as all Van Goghs? When was the last time you saw a Van Gogh? Art for art’s sake, art for my sake, art for all of us. Art that makes a point, art that leaves the point over in the corner. Art for no damn good reason. Art for all the right reasons. Art doesn’t matter, except where there is no art. The art was lost. The art was found in an attic in Beaumont, at the bottom of the sea, in your closet, or in your minds eye.

In your eye my ass, write it down, paint it, make it look like something it’s not, make it look better than it is, don’t change a thing, enjoy it for what it is, if it ain’t broke… Let someone else decide if it’s art, I mean, what do you know? What can be said about art? What needs to be said about art? The art was right, the art was all wrong, but don’t cry over it, because there will be more art tomorrow coming from places you would never suspect, from places you don’t know exist anymore than they know you and your art…exist.

A ball of yarn, a ball of art, a ball of thoughts all tied up with an arty little bow. Cartoons are art, pen and inks are art, oils are art, cars are art, guitars are art, tools are art, severing tools that go down drilling pipes are art. In other words, if it’s not an art it’s probably a protein.

And lest I forget, women are, perhaps, the highest art, oh yeah. The way the wind blows can be art, the way someone breathes can be art, the sky is art everyday when the sun comes up, or goes down in the evening. Waves are art, the child is art, the mother is art, the good fellow is art, the smell is art, the color is art, the way you move is art, the sound is art, a smile is art, the frown is art, but who’s to notice?

The boat is art, the landscape is art, Paris is art, Oslo is art, pizza is art, when in Oslo have the pizza. Museums are full of art, schools teach art, big business supports art of some kind. Everybody wants to be an artist, what they don’t know won’t hurt ‘em when everybody is an artist anyway. If the good lord wanted you to be an artist he’d a growed one on yer thumb. The musical set you play is art. There is no standard of art, there is no monopoly of art, there is no quality of art, there is no field guide to art, there is no map of art, there is no one place where art is from.

The way you do business can be art. The way you tell off that accelerator pedal with a pencil dick can be art. The way you work alongside others can be art because they are such assholes. Insects are art, spiders are art, breakfast is art, dinner is art, grandma is art the way she can make a pecan pie from nothing but flour, baking soda, and lard, you are art. When I grow up I’m gonna be a artist, and inspire others to be as arty as me.

When we speak the words come out like a painting. Silly art, art is art, industrial art, sanitized art, art for the masses, art for a political party, art for the party on Saturday night. But just because I say so, does that make it art? What about anybody else? So if everyone is an artist in their own right, why are there reviewers to read to tell you what art is? Are you just lazy, or arty.

Art can’t, art won’t, art ain’t, art is. Do some art, some do art, display your art, stand up for your art, reach for the art, go out of your way for the art, pay for the art. Pay the artist, get him off your back. Recognize the art, recognize the poor fool that did the art. Give your friends art for a special occaision. Art is an enrichment. Art is an opinion, and an opinion can’t be wrong. But, and this is a big one, deny there is any art to it and somebody will beg to differ just to show how clever they are, and how wrong you can be. That’s art.

EVEN THE ROLLING STONES

I grew up with the the music of the 60’s. Way back there at the beginning, it said something sexy about you if you were fluent in the lingo, and looked good in the threads. So you dressed, and acted the part daily. If you spoke music you always got attention.

And everybody liked music, and musicians like nobody trusted politics, and politicians. The clock marked time in minutes and seconds of the last release of the latest popular group. There were a flock of different ones every year. As soon as one would drop off the charts and out of the public eye, another would rise through the wreckage of the Top 40 like a phoenix. Songs were anthems and radio stations were like bullhorns in the hip parts of town.

In the clubs nearby the music wailed nightly and you lived, and worked up the stairs somewhere close by as the sixties fell away in the rear view mirror. You got most places by bicycle in those years as you started paying your own bills. But, there were new songs, new books, and new paintings every morning down in that part of town. Some days they were yours.

In that forgotten part of town, the lawns were a wilderness surrounded by rusting chain link with back streets lined with broken down cars here and there, and shattered glass at the intersections. So the rents were cheap. Perfect place to ignore the Jehovah’s Witnesses at the door and write with your head down. But if you wanted to get your works in print and on vinyl like the Rolling Stones album that season you had to muscle in at the very bottom.

So you scored the gig at the local bar. You grew a Godiva head of hair. That way the gigs you could get on the other side of the tracks would better appreciate your striking resemblance to the circus of pop stars that made the scene in the first place. In time though, you ventured outside the cozy confines of your town.

And you needed more than curls to get the gigs. You needed a booking agent. Then you had to have a manager to get the booking agent to get the gigs. As it turned out, you further needed a recording label, or a publisher to get the manager to get the booking agent to get the gigs. Having show biz people in your behalf was like a fashion statement, you rarely made enough money because of it to keep the same apartment for long. So, you sold a lot of fireworks on the side. The couch circuit was a real deal. If you didn’t wanna pay, or couldn’t afford to pay the percentage you booked it yourself.

So the journey was the bliss. And I’m not talking about the interstate. Five tour buses and a 50 man crew would put a severe hitch in your economy of verse. Five tour buses and a 50 man crew had nothing to do with music, or verse.

The lyric taught the language. The highway taught the road. If you told your wanderings well, and trained yourself to write more, what began as a song on an AM radio when you were a kid became a worthy lifelong endeavor. The reward was to be able to do it again in both hemispheres. And if you could reach the nice couple that showed up in the rain just to hear what you had to say you would always have something to offer. It was wise to be so advised. Especially worthy things happen all over this planet and are covered by a half a foot of soil in the blink of an eye. Even the Rolling Stones

THANKS FOR THE HELP

Help that cat…

Don’t let it worry you, help is on its way. Help is what we need. I know, you couldn’t help it, but that doesn’t matter now. The help that you could use. The help that you thought you would get by now. So help it along, help them get by. Help yourself before you help someone else.

Help some, help others, help them get down the line, help stop the wrong, help out, help because, help in spite of, help because nobody else will. Help me get my feet back on the ground.

Maybe I could make it if I could just get a little help. So, don’t help. A lot of help, a little help, a cry for help, a world of help, the sound of help, it looked like help, but it wasn’t. Not enough help, not any help at all, help it along, help it go away. No really, I could use some help, put your finger right there.

Don’t need any help, don’t want any help, don’t stand around helplessly, don’t come around here asking for help. If you need help call a cop, dammit. I couldn’t get any help, so you won’t get my help, there. Help me with this TV set, help me push this car, help me pay my bills. The help I got didn’t amount to much. I could help, but I probably won’t.

I could help keep trouble away, a helping hand, a helping heart, help get the wasp out of the bedroom. Don’t put off helping, don’t ignore helping, you’ve got the time, help out. Call the help line, give help and don’t ask for anything in return. Help the animals, help the bugs, help the environment, help the needy, because you can’t help it, because you wouldn’t help it if you could.

Help it along, please help, why don’t you help. I wish they would help, help, go help someone that could use it, do you really think they can use your help? Just when you thought it was all over except for the crying help arrived. Help showed up, help is on its way, help inch it up a little. Help stop it from hurting, put a band aid on it.

Just when you least expected it help came out of nowhere. That was the kind of help we needed. The help file, the help button, the help, where in the world can I go for help? If I didn’t need your help I wouldn’t ask for it. You can’t get help till you pay for help, because help isn’t free. Help doesn’t grow on the trees. Help isn’t just anywhere, help is in a menu on somebody’s computer.

Help is a big deal when you need help, help from an angel, help from the devil him, or herself. Help from the place you expect it least. Thought I was a goner till help arrived. When help arrives, if help arrives. Can you just give me a little help? Don’t stop helping, let someone else help. Help from the helpless, helpless to do anything about it, helpless to send it away.

Helplessly hoping. Helplessly trying to make it better. Anything, but helpless. Everything for the helpless, anything for the helpless. I wish I could help, then why not? Helping makes you feel better about yourself, help is a therapy. Help only happens because you’re helpful like being helpful when you’re needed, like being helpful when there’s no one around, like being helpful when no one else could help. You can’t be that helpless. Hell, I’m not that helpless.

Looking for help, grousing about for help, beating the bushes for help, seeking help, if that’s what you call help, maybe I don’t need your help so bad after all. Thanks for the help.

NOT THE LEAST BIT

Talent ain’t what it’s cracked up to be because talent is an opinion. And opinions are like the leaves on the trees. When the wind blows they all turn the same way. Talent is subjective, talent is an excuse, talent is for the taking, talent is green with envy.

Talent is overblown, talent is confused with something else, or many else’s. Talent is lazy, and hides from the steady pursuit of excellence which is a talent. Talent is on a marquis advertising talent. Talent can be confused, talent can be ignored, talent is a liability, talent is a sham, talent is an exaggeration, talent is a boast, talent is a ruse, talent is a lie, talent is a guess. Talent is a wager, talent is a dream, talent is a millstone around your neck. Talent is an advertisement in a magazine, talent is a way to get you to buy the ticket, talent is an advice from a friend. They say talent is rare, but that’s what they want you to believe.

But no one really knows if what they see is talent, or something tricked up to look like talent, they are talented at that, too. You never hear the word talent if you’re talented. You don’t wanna break the spell, you don’t wanna let on, you don’t wanna let them know who you are.

Still, an appetite for talent only comes along here and there. But talent can be made, talent can be bought, and talent can be engineered to look like talent. But talent can’t be taught and talent can’t be easily steered, because talent is headstrong and talent is singular as far as the talent is concerned. Though it’s really something that comes with every single person, you just have to look for what your talents may be.

Try your talent on something difficult, work your talent on something that needs fixing, make your talent benefit everyone you see. Decide what your talents are. Make your talents benefit you. If talent won’t get it, figure it out the old fashioned way…work at it till it’s done, and everyone thinks you did it because you’re talented. You’ll do more before 9 o’clock in the morning than the US Army.

Talent is an edge in an argument, some people are just good at being ugly, talented at being an ass. Back when I was talented. Sometimes it won’t make any difference even if you are talented. Talent show, talented monkey. It’s not that the talented monkey looks like a man, it’s that the talented man looks like a monkey. Talent my rosy red butt. Talent ain’t the reason you’re here, you’re just good at something. Same diff.

I live for her talents. Take me home, I’ve got a talent I’d like to show you. She’s got the most admirable of talents, maybe two. Talent doesn’t. Talent won’t. Talent is not everything, but a little talent will go a long way. A talent for finding talent. You get awards for talent, but all you have to know about awards is that Mozart never won one.

You get respect for talent, you get money for talent, you get doted on because you’re talented, talent will get you a date, nevertheless you get just as forgotten after a while because someone comes along differently talented than you. Talent helps, talent works. Talent will take you to the top, of what? You can ride talent like a pony, till the pony throws you off.

Some talents are for a lifetime. Some talents are for a moment in time. A talent can come from your heart. A talent can be skin deep. A talent can be abused. The talent the world gave a planarian. No talent at all, no talent because, no talent anywhere in sight. He was more talented than me. She was more talented than him. We all suffered a lack of talent when it finally came down to it, so we did something else. Smoke this, you’ll grow wings on your feet.

Throw some talent at it, throw some hard work at it. Throw the precious talent down, or out the window, and go get a paying job. That’s a talent, too. A talent for trouble. A talent for staying away from talent. A talent for staying out of trouble, yahoo. It didn’t look like talent, but we treated it like a talent. So he acted like he was talented though he didn’t know what the hell he was doing. Let him have his talent.

So talent is a fancy, and talent is a confidence, and the tolerance for talent only comes around every once in a while, or so they say. So talent is misunderstood, and talent is rewarded, but talent is not something you can put your finger on. Why be talented when you can be well with less talent? This is the bottom line with being talented. You can be ever so adorably talented, but not be the least bit talented at paying your rent.

NEVER START A BOOK

No beating around the book. Write a book, read the book. Books and wine,
books and bread. Books in the hall, books in the car, books on the table.
Books in the bookcase, books in a paper bag.

Books abound, books cost, books weigh you down. Books float your boat,
books turn you on. Books leave you flat, books disappoint you. Books turn
you on to stuff you didn’t know. Books let you sleep, books when you don’t
sleep. Bookseller, book binder, book stop, book mark, book jacket. Rack of
books, bevy of books, wall of books, or two.

Room full of books, shelf full of books, how many books? Who knows. The
holy books, the ends of books, the only books, the other books, the
picture books. The coffeetable, the window seat, the shelves in the
kitchen, every available space, every room in the house. Every time I go
to the mailbox, special delivery, delivery on Sunday, delivery from UPS,
delivery from FedEx, delivery from Amazon. Day time, night time, anytime
now. Maybe it’ll come tomorrow.

Book check, for the book, of the book, make the book, girly book. When I
write my book. When I found the book. Curl up with a good book, curl up
that book and put it in your pocket. Book me a room, book the band, book
‘em Danno. Booking your trip, booking your gig, rocking n rolling. Booking like a bandit, booking like a fast car, booking with determination. Book up the time. Book down to the bar. Book it. Don’t wait for me to book it, if he can book it.

Leave the book on the table, leave the book in the car. Take the book with
you, hold the book up, nice picture. Scan the book, skim the book. Bring
books back. A book is just a book until you like something about it.
Something about that book, the worst books sometimes make the best movies. I have friends in books, some have their own books. Some are writing a book, some are editing a book, some are touring their books. Some are not.

Sometimes a book is all you have. You can like books, you can stand books, you can endure books, you can loan books, whether you want to, or not. You can share books, you can buy books, you can pawn books, but I don’t know any. A book like an album, a book like a bible, a book like a bestseller. A book like a brochure, a book like a codex. A book like a compendium, a dictionary. A book of fiction, like a novel, a book of novel fiction, a thesaurus, an encyclopedia, a volume, a tome, a chapter, a hero, a villain, the love interest, a scroll, a speller, a book of books, a good book, on the books, turn the pages of a book.

Turn the pages of the book. If you can’t get the hardback get the paperback, the paperback is cheaper. When it comes to the internet it will be free, imagine that. Something worth everything that doesn’t cost anything?

Off print, print both sides, times Roman, justified, both sides, 200 pages, 600 pages, 6000 pages, which volume do you want? Is it on microfilm? Do they still have microfilm? Is it seasonal? Is it a cookbook? When will you get the book? When can I get the book? That book, the one with the cover. I guess they all have covers unless they’re manuscripts. Do they have pictures, or illustrations? The monograph, the omnibus, the agenda, the record, which one is the good one? Which one do you like? Which one do you like the most? Which one should I get? Which one is free? Two, for less than that.

Books rule someone’s life, books rule many people’s lives, maybe it’s because they’re predictable like a mystery, like the imperceptible mechanism of a clock, but without the hands. Maybe it’s because they don’t talk back, they just tell the story, and maybe they have a story to tell. One worth your time, one worth the buck. That’s not very much to pay for a good book, is it? Some of my best friends are books. But I wouldn’t introduce my sister to a book. Y’can’t trust ‘em. Book on round the corner, and get me a paper, and a beer. D’ju ever notice you never start a book in a bar? Why do you think that is?

Who booked this tour?

Yes, I contributed to the whole mess.