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.