Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Thought Grinder

I am beginning to wonder if I've ever had an original thought. 

Then again, that might have been it.

Seems when I am exposed to things like music, literature, movies, politics, whatever, my mind goes into some sort of chameleon mode. It's like my brain says "Oh, I'd like to try some of that, please" and struggles to absorb the new medium, and then all my thoughts come out through this mental thought grinder in a pidgin version of a new language but it sounds more like baby gibberish. 

I think I've been doing this for a while.

I came out of a movie once and acted like Harry Callahan for weeks. People were not impressed or amused. Harry Callahan was a loner and did his job well but nobody understood him or loved him or could get close to him and he told everyone to fuck off. I liked that. My friends did not. I came out of the movie " The Deer Hunter" and when my sister asked me how I liked it I said "Where's the nearest liquor store? I need to get drunk". I wanted to punch somebody, and thats not like me, but it was for a few days. That movie put me on edge, "The Exorcist" had me crossing myself for a few months, and Robert Duvall movies make me act like some pompous but secretly noble cowboy because I got it into my chameleon brain that's how real men acted back in the day. I watched a Bob Dylan biography and wrote a protest song. I have nothing to protest about. That's some goofy shit.

Some things make my chameleon brain excited and happy, and some things get rejected after further review.

An old friend told me recently he didn't want to hear my whining and complaining any more, specifically about his God. He thinks I called him stupid for believing in those things, but I don't think he is stupid, I just don't understand why intelligent people choose to suspend their logic and reason and disbelief when it comes to that fairy tale stuff. I know plenty of good people who seem to behave correctly in what they do and how they do it, all without threats of eternal damnation, which is an old fashioned way of saying "Believe what I tell you or fuck off." Good people know how to be good. I was saddened when he told me he wouldn't listen to me anymore, but such is the day in which we live, which is a fancy way of saying "Oh well" or "whatever" but I hate saying that and I will never say "It is what it is" because I think thats just a fancy way of saying "I don't have any fucking idea". And the reason for my pointing fingers at people who should be smart enough to realize that Man created God and not the other way around and saying to them "What the hell! Really? Still?" was I discovered Christopher Hitchens and I thought, "Shit, how did I miss this guy?"

It was because I have not been paying attention. 

Christopher Hitchens told people what he thought and if they didn't like it he told them to fuck off. Simple. Brilliant. Harry Callahan would have smiled at him and nodded quietly and taken another sip of his Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. It's a liberating thing to tell people what you think, but it will cost you. I wasn't ready for that. Coming out of Sunday Mass feeling like you know what to do and why is no different from me getting excited when I discover a voice that rings in me like the lost bell of truth. But I guess it doesn't matter what you let your chameleon brain convince you is right. Act like Dirty Harry or talk to burning bushes, it's all the same.

There's a lot of yelling these days, everyone yelling at each other, great whooping sessions of yelling with folks saying you've let the wrong things into the thought-grinder of your chameleon brain and when not yelling at each other and telling each other to fuck off people are holding up banners with great proclamations of their truth and your lies. But there is no black and white, which is a fancy way of saying nobody really knows what the right things are to put into the thought-grinder of your chameleon brain.

I understand how all this can make you not give a single shit about anything...I really do. 

I have never been more aware of things than I am today, and it makes me feel bad for all the time I've wasted by not paying attention.  Well, now I am paying attention and there are more than a few things they would have me put into the thought-grinder of my chameleon brain that I find questionable, but I guess that is what everyone is yelling about.

I think I need to do this more (sorry, old friend). 

Writing seems to exorcise the demons, which is a fancy way of cleaning out the thought-grinder in your chameleon brain until the next thing comes along. I'll put it out there for all to see (what good is penance without a public flogging?) and the kids will be embarrassed and shake their heads and think Dad is losing it and the ex-wives will breathe a sigh of relief and my old friends will say "Hmmm, sounds like he is letting 'Trout Fishing in America' into the thought-grinder of his chameleon brain and my new friends will say "but I thought he was one of us? "

Probably not.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

More Coffee (Choruses for Jack, Part One)

***  #  ***

We’ve’ve got time
or money
but never both.
How come?

***  #  ***

$20 cash
plan the day
on a half tank of gas.
I can make it.

***  #  ***

Funny how things line up
over and over again.
I guess her and I were closer
than I thought.
The same in many ways
some not so good.

***  #  ***

I would never have expected 
this here and now.

***  #  ***

We can send men to the moon
but the setting on the toaster
is never right
no matter how often you fuck with it.

***  #  ***

Morning...still dark...
too much booze before bed 
makes for lousy dreams 
on a restless night.

***  #  ***

The twitch
that comes when you pretend 
trouble ain't there
is back.
I'll call my trouble by a different name
with a different view
in a different light
and see if that helps.

***  #  ***

The girl next door
doesn't cry anymore
like she used too.
I hope everything got better for her
not worse.

***  #  ***

I’m told Little Bobby Lawn Boy
is mad all the damn time.
I don’t know what he’s mad about
but I don't blame him one bit.

***  #  ***

Do you think
for a moment 
every moment?
Try not's hard. 
To meditate is to find the off switch 
and stop the mind,
to write is to chronicle the chatter.

***  #  ***

The day is free for the taking, 
what will you do? 

More coffee.

Ken Owen,   Van Niddy Press,   February 2013

Don't Tell Them

Don't tell them
i'm scared too death to go back
where it's sucks your life away
just to earn money
you're too tired to use.
Two drinks and you're done
with no joy in tomorrow’s possibilities.
I was lucky to get out when I did.

They probably wouldn't have me back anyway.

Don't tell them
i'm bored to death
making that incessant rackety boom-bash
behind songs no one is really listening too
fast or slow.
They pay me OK sometimes
at least I got that...

When he said 
“Don’t swing so much”
I thought
well then, why me?

Don't tell them
I think of death
we all do it
and wonder what they'll do 
the day you leave.
I ain't afraid
they shouldn't be either.
Just one person left I need to see
before I go.

I can make it.

Ken Owen,   Van Niddy Press,   February 2013

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The New Federation Blues

They're coming for me
tell them I'm ready
bring it on, bring it on.
I can take what they give
but my days ain't many
soon be gone, soon be gone.

Lone dog howls
cries in the night
wail and moan, wail and moan.
Know how he feels
with no help in sight
all alone, all alone.

But I'll stand
my ground like a freeborn man
I'll do all I can 
when the hard time comes.
Here to stay
gonna live my life my way
they'll carry me away
but I won't run,
no I won't run.

Look behind
miles and miles of smiles
no regrets, no regrets.
Straight ahead
troubles and trials
place your bets, place your bets.

Locked and loaded
target on my chest
blood from stone, blood from stone.
End of days
seek the final rest
headin’ home, headin’ home.

Now I'll stand
my ground like a freeborn man
I'll do all I can 
when the hard time comes.
Here to stay
gonna live my life my way
They'll carry me away
but I won't run
no I won't run.

Lived my life
no slave to desperation
won’t be long, won’t be long.
When I’m gone
begin the celebration
sing my song, sing my song.

They're coming for me
tell them I'm ready
bring it on, bring it on.
I can take what they give
but my days ain't many
soon be gone, soon be gone.

Now I'll stand
my ground like a freeborn man
I'll do all I can 
when the hard time comes.
Here to stay
gonna live my life my way
They'll carry me away
but I won't run
no I won't run.

Ken Owen,  Van Niddy Music,  February 2013