Fred

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Soundtrack “Just For The Record” by Ruston Kelly

Dear Jeanne,

Thanks for the invitation to attend Fred’s celebration of life event. Unfortunately I will not be able to attend. On August 3rd I will be thinking of you and Fred. Fred was a rare breed, a man of principle, integrity and one who always made a stand for the less fortunate. In these troubled political times we could use more activist and hell raisers like Fred. He was a force to be reckoned with and one not to be trifled with. I’ve always been a sucker for uncompromising son of a guns and men who go down swinging.

He loved his family, enjoyed his beer and was a damn good fisherman. Fishing is a great sport for a beer drinker, cause there’s plenty of downtime waiting for a bite that can be filled with relieving one’s thirst—-“If ya know what I mean” heh heh. A wise man needs time alone staring at a rushing river to watch the passing of time. He can once again find himself there—————so I’ve been told.

I think of you and your family often. I spent many a hot summer day at your Briar Lane home, swimming in your pool, hanging out and cracking stupid jokes——(somethings never change). God, weren’t we some of the fortunate ones to have grown up there within those loving walls of our Briar Lane neighborhood. Sometimes when I go back to Yuba City I cruse by the old neighborhood and put the pieces of “then and now” back together for a moment. When I was young my mom use to shake her head and say “Where does the time go?”. I too don’t know where time goes, but I know that it only knows one direction, forward——-with or without you.

Thanks for being such a good role model and a tolerant adult durning my squandered youth. You were an excellent teacher, therapist, and a strong woman who’s priority has alway been family first. I fondly consider you to be my second mom and me your insolent step-son.

So, have a great day reminiscing about Fred and all the things that made him unique and special. I’m not sure if I was anyone special to him, but I do remember him planting a few lip locks on me that kind of took me by surprise (damn near made me question my sexual orientation, heh heh). He surely wasn’t one to hide his emotions, and that I respect. So much wasted time spent worrying about what others think. Life, like love has a precarious shelf life, so curse the assholes and kiss those who bring ya smiles. And Fred, god bless ya and your ability to make us smile and cause the conservatives to stammer and become a-gasped at your choice swear words……I can hear ya now saying “Fucking hypocrites”. You’ll be missed, but we’ll carry on as you’d expect us to do.

I’ll leave you with this quote I like by Charles Bukowski and one I believe Fred would appreciate.

“For those who believe in God, most of the big questions are answered. But for those of us who can’t readily accept the God formula, the big answers don’t remain stone-written. We adjust to new conditions and discoveries. We are pliable. Love need not be a command nor faith a dictum. I am my own god. We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state, and our educational system. We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.”

Love Victor
AKA Brud

Amazing Grace In Reverse (exploding popcorn)

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Soundtrack “Son Of A Highway Daughter” by Ruston Kelly.

I messed up again, got drunk and pissed everyone off, let myself down with a thousand discarded and broken pledges, I’m wanting morning light at this 3:03 am, its the darkest of corners to turn in the middle of the night, the sheets have become untucked and tangled, the room is stuffy and hot, I’m mad at the likes of me for being a poor version of what I might have been, I’m pleading with the dark shadows and demons to stop coming round and convicting me with a movie reel on repeat, revealing me and all the stupid shit I’ve ever done, my sanity meter is starved for another quarter, for a shard of clarity——the walls are closing in=====Oh my god, where are you now, my holy ghost has gone MIA

I’m nervous all the time, my breath stale beer and bitter nicotine, people can see through me, I never learned how to be coy or clever, my bravado has caved in, I’m teetering on being too far gone to come back again, I no longer belong anywhere or to anyone, everywhere I go I feel out of place, people stare at me like I’m a two headed monster in a nickel and dime freak show——can’t you see, that under all this ugliness it’s still me

I’d call you, but at this hour it would be a selfish thing for me to do——-I wish I’d never worn you out with my rants and ramblings, I’m afraid I’m gonna drag you down with me—— a drowning man with arms flailing, we played hide and seek one too many times with our emotions, and what was once found is now lost. it’s Amazing Grace in reverse——-I’m sorry I painted you into my landscape, you’re far too pretty to be sketched within the same canvas with the likes of someone like me

Holy shit,

People want to choose relationships the same way that they pick out corn on the cob. They secretly peel back a small portion of the husk and take a quick peek to see what’s on the inside. They take a hurried look around to see if anyone is watching and then hastily decide if it’s a keeper or a throw back.

I wonder what becomes of the cobs that have been discarded and left behind, their husk pulled down exposing all their flaws, for all the world to see. Maybe some are fed to the pigs while others are sent to the popcorn factory.

And now you know why popcorn explodes—–

Wishing On My Sun—-Waiting On Second Chances

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Soundtrack “Empty” by Ray LaMontagne

There’s a fleeting secret hidden between night fading and morning coming on, it’s an experience not constructed of time———or belonging to anything. It’s hard to describe the color of that sky——it’s not a color, so much as an attitude, it’s a hello and a goodbye wrapped around one another, it’s traces of an emerging promise, it’s disguised in the sketches of grace, with its few stubborn stars not letting go of their reign in the sky. And in this eternal briefness the air is fresh and new, it taste of second chances and everything is right and as it should be. There’s no holding on too——-or———letting go of——it is——as it is—-it is—-as it is—-it is——as it is——it is——-All that unravels comes back together again—-is this universe falling apart or coming together? Who’s to say if your universe is the same as mine—–but for now we share this empty space in time.

In the city, there’s that transcendental moment just before all the lights go out in the tall buildings, it’s in the dying breath of street lamps losing their power to separate shadow from substance. It’s when being alone feels right. A city silenced is a beautiful thing to be a part of——-

Once, while camping, I awoke and built a new fire from the remnants of last nights dying embers. The air carries within it the sweet sappy scent of smoke, as the kindling pops and snaps, the dew drops glisten on the tips of lush ferns——-I’m not in need of anything. I’m aware, of being aware. I’m a part of everything and everything is a part of me. The chill in the air stirs an awakening in me stronger than a double espresso. The moon hangs his sleepy head over the horizon and says goodnight to the breaking morning.

Almost imperceptibly the sound of singing birds begins to fill the silence. The rising sun filters through the Jeffrey pines casting shafts of light between the tree branches. All the little floating specks of dust stand out in this light, each a universe within itself. I don’t wish on falling stars, I make wishes on our rising sun, that faithful star that returns to us each morning——In this immaculate light, anything and all things are possible. There are no wars, no hate, no religions, no heroes, no villains, no tomorrows, no yesterdays——there is only me compressed within the walls of this orgasmic moment.

I’m learning to love myself, like it or not, I’m eternally trapped within me———thank God I enjoy my own company.

Pardon The Cello

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Soundtrack “Learned A Lot” by Amos Lee

Today they would’ve called us geeks or nerds
But when I was a kid we were the misfits, the oddballs

The ones who ate lunch at the ketchup smeared cafeteria table
None of us had cars or the money to eat off campus
all we had was acne, braces and Walmart clothes

Individually we were vulnerable and easily bullied
but as a pack we were freaks of nature to behold, a beautiful mess
We were the ones that were too short, too tall, too fat, too skinny, too smart, too shy, glasses too thick, too this, too that, and all the things that come after “too”

The one gift of being “too” is that it allowed us the freedom to not give a shit
about what others thought or said
We carried our band instrument cases with pride
The weirder the case, the better, and I think the french horn was one of the more cryptic ones

The cello was the Yeti of all cases and sure to turn a few heads on the bus
You could hear the hushed voices saying “What the heck is in there?”
Making its way down the narrow bus isle, banging the case into the bullies heads
“pardon me” spoken with mock sympathy

We found the halls best sonically suited to practice the Messiah
And we sang with gusto as the football players, cheerleaders, skaters and preppies filtered by
Some would actually stop and listen, while wise asses would goof off by making fart noises from down the hall

We read fantasy and SIFI books, we were proud Trekkies
We were at home in our daydreams and fantasies
Yes, we were virtual kings and lords of the video games we conquered
We were kids doing kid shit, in no hurry to be cornered by grown up responsibilities

The girls in our clan didn’t fit into the strict rules of fashion and make up
They were smart and had a good sense of humor
They allowed guys like me to give them a ride on my handle bars
crashing into the tall weeds, an accident becoming the prelude to an innocent kiss—–maybe not an accident??? maybe not so innocent???

All the pretty girls were constrained and selling their souls to be popular
They seemed in a hurry to grow up fast and become dissatisfied adults
with Republican biases, expecting to be privileged, smiling smug, indifferent, clinging to their 401 K’s, mouthing simple answers to complex questions, marching like a minion to Fox News and its right wing christian hypocritical drumbeat, dismissing everything and everyone outside their protective bubble of good paying job, new SUV and nice house in the suburbs, with their gardener Jose, whom they never asked to verify his citizenship or green card along with Juanita their maid

for them being an adult was just an extension of high school, sacrificing ones self to fit in with the most current trends

Occasionally I pull out my old battered cello and squeak out a wobbly rendition of our school fight song

These Days

Soundtrack “These Days” by Gregg Allman.

He said he’s now a Christian
Another poor excuse for me to scale
He sent me a letter with biblical quotes
Two thousand year old words laden with emotional quicksand
Everything neatly arranged into his boxes of good and evil
I wonder where I’d fit in—–these days

I miss that old friend, this new one no longer laughs at life’s foibles
His company makes our past feel irrelevant, like noticing dings on my car door
I’m reminded that time can be ruthless
Isn’t that just like me, turning the past over and over in my hands
Another shelf-life expired, I’m learning to throwout what’s soured
And this relationship has devolved, leaving a bad taste in my mouth

It took me a long time to get to this place
Sometimes it feels as though no “there” follows this “here”
Old friend, more shadow than substance
Everyone peddling their rendition of love
As if such things came with instructions and warranties

I went back to my fathers house
With him no longer living
That house is just dust and empty rooms
Like leaving a voice message on a dead mans answering machine
Pick up, please pick up, only the mumblings of a disembodied voice

I had to lose my soul, my mind, my self,
I had to lose my everything
To find a voice
The price of loving someone
Is equal to the pain that comes with losing them

Tao

Sound track “Beloved” Jesse Cook

After a million miles
It’s still running through you
A blinding light deafening a sky of jealous stars
We knew a round love in this world of flat earth-ers

Backyard tire swing, like a pendulum of gone by days
Pool chlorine mixed with honey suckles, the smell of summer
July laid out before us like a thousand unused Saturdays

Your cities are lonely
A careless milky-way evicted from time and space
Other people’s suns drenched in nothingness
Other worlds out of reach
Physics, another flawed human endeavor
Didn’t you know that the numbers never added up

Where’s the revolutionaries
Where’s our freedom fighters
An entire population of fools staring at smartphones
A generation of selfies, ego sponges

Angry, ignorant tweets, dissonant wind chimes
Where’s this generation’s John Lennon and George Carlin
Who’ll shame these fuckers
Hypocrisy is the breaking news
Truth has become negotiable
Climate change compromising happy endings

I’m the soundtrack of pissed off
Is everyone else drunk or high on recreational weed
Democracy a chess piece for the rich
Check mate, ponds against kings

Living in virtual bubbles
No longer “We hold these truths to be self-evident”
No more “We the people”
Wall street thieves and politicians
Who can tell the difference
Divisiveness is the cost of doing business with the greedy

Your birth was not an accident
Don’t let this one precious life play out like a sitcom laugh track
Be angry, fight complacency, believe in your power
To be about it, is the way