balls

My four year old came down the stairs while I was making dinner. “Dad? What do you call the thing below my jingler.” “Jingler”, in our parlance, is penis.

“Well…” I said

“It looks like a bag!” he said.

“Well…” I said. “It’s sometimes called that, yes.”

“A bag?”

“Or a sack.” I offered.

“But what do you really call it – really?” he pleaded

“A scrotum,” I said.

“A scrotum?” He was not at all happy with that crappy word.

“Or your balls,” I said.

“What!?”

“Your balls,” I reiterated. “Like ball sack.”

“Mom!” he yelled, turning back up the stairs. “Dad said I can call it my balls!”

I know now that he asked his mom that same question and she said, as every mother does (who can), “Go ask your dad.”

Well… He’s got a word for it. And it’s a pretty common word. I think this was a win as a dad. I’m not sure though. Unless he brings it up in polite society as I would never do.

Where Comes Inspiration?

I was born in November 1963 which puts me in the last years of the Baby Boomers or the very first years of Generation X – depending upon who you ask. My older relatives then, those of my same generation, were boomers essentially and those to whom I looked for all things cool – music especially. So my sensibilities were formed around bands from the sixties and seventies – Beatles, Stones, Kinks, Hendrix, Doors, Floyd, Zeppelin, Byrds, and the like. My coming of age however really happened throughout the seventies (I was 7 – 17) and while that is a decade often derided for it’s music it actually introduced us to heavy metal, the ska revival, punk rock, glam rock, electronic, ambient, hip hop and new wave – a staggering line up of musical styles and movements to emerge in a single decade.

We knew at the time that the music was amazing but didn’t really realize that it was a sort of perfect storm winding up all around us. However it was extremely short lived and while buckets of great music have been made since, much of that is derived quite directly from one or more of those styles. Certainly all music is derived to some degree from that which preceded it, but a brand new musical style that leaps ahead and brings with it a new sound, corresponding fashion, attitude and so on, seems to be eluding us. Something is missing and I have no clear idea what that is. …

Certainly, the sixties and seventies saw generations of young people who had an almost grim determination to not be like their parents. There was a distrust of the System (Vietnam and Nixon both taught us that despite the fact that we elect these folks and that they are OUR leaders, they can be wrong, criminal and criminally wrong). There was a sense from civil rights and the women’s movement that ALL people need to be respected and have some sort of equal chance at the good life, jobs, education and so on. It was also not lost on us at the time that growing up white and middle to upper class in America gave us every advantage in the world and that nothing could essentially change that. We all took off with a fifty yard start in the 100-yard dash of life and success.

I don’t know this to be fact but it feels like much of that has been forgotten or never learned recently, The somewhat anemic Occupy protests were a welcome attempt but never galvanized around any issue and felt more like some sort of flash mob than anything else. The only other rage in this country right now comes from my contemporaries – those who also grew up with same advantages that most of the rest of the world (now and throughout all of history) would simply roll over and die for – and is inspired not by their sense of injustice for the poor, women, the downtrodden or any others, but because they feel they pay too much taxes. We, of course, pay the lowest of all western nations. What happened to their sense of gratitude and thankfulness for their lot in life eludes many of the rest of us.

However, maybe the next generation – those who are in diapers now – will grow up so appalled by the niggardly among us that they will burst out with something totally new. Maybe our self-righteous avarice will be exactly what they rebel against and bring back that desire and demand for real truth, fairness, justice for all and a return to a maybe mythic American way when people came together, compromised, helped the poor and wretched, and thought more about how much they have and how much they can share than how much they get to keep all to themselves. A time when your country and conscience came before your party. Maybe even a resurgence of the real Christianity that teaches us to give away our riches, rather than hoard them and complain when we are asked to give.

And maybe not.

I’ve always felt that greed is the basis if all evil. It will never go away. But maybe, just maybe, the next generation will see it for what it really is and at the very least use it to artistically blow our musical minds like The Specials, Kraftwerk, Eno, Sex Pistols, Bowie, and Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five did. Have at it, kiddies! We need you desperately.

Electric Strings

A balloon is mostly empty space
but then again so am I
gravitating toward the ground
yet she can float up to the sky.
I guess it’s her propensity,
and relative density
that leaves me here on terra firma.

But terra, too, is hardly firma.
The space between the particles
is vast as planets ’round the sun,
the distance of their orbitals;
and it’s not hard, it’s hardly there
just tiny specks, to say, is fair:
like grains of sand spread far apart
that hold up ox and man and cart.

Now let’s dig deeper, to the protons,
electrons, quarks and, now it’s, jeepers!
Electric strings that make us all,
harmonized, lest we fall
through the earth, like unballoons
thank God he plays the proper tunes.
Some dissonance, oh, lord, that harp!
We’re gonna die, He’s playing sharp!”

Imagine that. Imagine God.
We’re good at that. We wink and nod.
But others like to look much deeper
find their truths, each one a keeper.
String them together to fashion a rug
that holds us up so we can shrug,
ignore the beauty beneath our feet
and gasp at heaven’s phantasmal feat.

Rufus Cappadocia

Rufus Cappadocia beats the hello out of his cello
Wielding his bow whip – Whappity-Whap-Whap!
Scratching and clawing, pulling and mauling,
But lovingly like the guy in the O. Henry story.

I’ll bet that he’s sorry as soon as he’s done with
The smacking and whacking, backhanded slap hits,
He probably rubs her with oil so softly
And trembling hands and words that sound awfully
Like love songs.

A part of me wonders if she doesn’t like it
I’m judging by sounds that she makes when they’re fighting
Don’t judge me I’m not some sick sadist whose heartless
I’m quick to repel from violence that’s artless

But this guy can hit it, can hit it real good
Right in the sweet spot where pain meets the wood
And the vibrating strings where the pleasure reverbs
Through her beautiful body and elegant curves

And together they sing and both bodies ring
Flicking and clicking, plucking and

happy easter

“Jesus’ doctrines were the practical commandments, the truly radical ideas that immediately leap out in the simple stories he told and which he exemplified in everything he did. Not simply love one another, but love your enemy and forgive those who harm you; give up all material wealth; love the ineffable Being behind all things, and know that this Being is actually your truest Father, in whose image you were made. Above all: give up power over others, because power, if it is to be effective, ultimately requires the threat of violence, and violence is incompatible with the total acceptance and love of all other human beings that is at the sacred heart of Jesus’ teaching. That’s why, in his final apolitical act, Jesus never defended his innocence at trial, never resisted his crucifixion, and even turned to those nailing his hands to the wood on the cross and forgave them, and loved them.”

Try living up to that.