Friday 28 March 2014

remembering rose

"life is one big bowl of cherries
you just gotta know which ones to pick"

i remember her saying that

i'm alive, i think - i remember tings
i remember her - a distant memory

my name is Henry
i'm really old now - tied and tethered
no not rememberin much anymo - but

r e m e m b e r i n g   r o s e

i was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in November 1925 
a drifter like everyone else was back den

bein black folk was bein bad news
we watches de white man and we keeps watchin
 de white man till we finds out which way 
de white man's gwine to vote 
an' when we finds out which way 
de white man's gwine to vote 
den we votes 'xactly de other way

only wees not allowed to vote

i growed up in a family of 9 chillins
ma and pa - they be field workers on a plantation
 just north of the city wheres I livin

rosie was 14 when i met her at a dance
de friday night congregation at the church 
where many showed up in disrepair
i was 17 and fell in love immediate
cause that's what young folk do at that age
fall in love and well - have more chillins

rosey was a shimmer of light in my dark hallway
my lil minnie mouse is what i called her
so happy to be alive - tears of joy
she cried a lot - like a lil girl
all the time

human beins can be awful cruel to one another
that's just the way it is with some people
they get down on a thing when they don't know
anythin bout it

i was full throttle, foot on the gas, didn't know what to do
at least i had an idea - had my arms and legs
my sinful soul and my empty stomach
a piece of paper, pen and something to say
later on a smith corona typewriter

most importantly
i had rosalie - my tadpole in the river 
my reason to live

de great depression came early on

my brothers and me gatherin coal that fallen
off the trains so we could keep warm in winter
even tho it was never that cold
grits and beans for supper every night 
dad stealing the canned beans
from a delivery truck
run amuck

we got married in the church a few years later
i was grateful to god that it happened
but i was still lost

often sitting in the moonlight - drinkin moonshine
alone down on the dock - gettin plastered agin
cause it was cheap and it got de job done
we had a bunch of little-uns

r e m e m b e r i n g    r o s e


livin in a shack on the bayou south of the city
for the longest time, i wondered why 
the stars and shadows wuddn't
givin me anythin to go on

cravin the hair of the dog early on - just like papa done
booze and well - a departure from deliverance
i fell off de back of a tractor when i was 22
and broke my neck, got up and worked agin
a week later, cause we needed the money
yeh drunk - as always

then came the plague - small pox in '49
i was in bed for 3 months
wakin up in places hot and cold
from de fires of fermentia
to the ice of de arctic
sweatin' the storm

i felt so lonesome i most wished i was dead
de stars was shinin, the leaves rustlin in de woods 
on the edge of life and death

ever so mournful;  one time, i heard an owl
way off who-whooing about somebody already gone
and a dog howlin bout somebody dyin
nearby - his master leaving us

i recoverin after 2 of our chillins passin
ben at 7 and allie at 3 both in a month
it was a bad time - time passin
havin them visions and shit

we'd be catchin catfish and talkin - rosie and me
we swammed in de river naked and fell asleep arm in arm

like nothin' ever happened to us at all that night or de next

sometime you gwyne to git hurt, en sometimes

you gwine to get sick but every time 
you's gwine to git well agin

i swear to god it be de music that kept me alive
the memories of them dances on friday nights
just outside the church in back
the moonshine moonin and de spirits croonin

rosie got the cancer early on

it was a tragic tumble that terrified me
holdin my breath and stayin solid

such a good woman 
she'd be passin in '82
havin found herself in the 60's an all
havin found her 
reason to live 

hell, even takin wid dat musician in '69
the guitar player in that blues band down at the club

lasted a few days and then she be comin home
i let it go

i'm thinkin notin'
i'm thinkin' there's notin' left
i'm thinkin there's no reason left to live
and then comes sometin' special

cab calloway - befriends me still

they got these tings now
iPods, and de ninernet an shit
nursin homes - i sit here and i sit here
they feed me grub i can't taste
and i go back to basics

r e m e m b e r i n g    r o s e


kids are gone all growed up and far away now
i'm wonderin if dey be doin ok
i wonder if i'll ever see em

jesus - do they even know i'm still breathin 
still believin in sometin dey be doin

this world is still spinnin an i'm still in it
don't let them tell you

don't let em get ya'll down
don't let em defeat you
fuck up yer shit

my name is Henry and i still see you
my little minnie mouse - rosalie
dancin' in dat lil dress, wantin to mess 
wid you somtin

Friday 21 March 2014

american selfie

sweet dreams are made of these

this is just going to take a minute
you're intense and need a stabilizer  
a tranquilizer, a maximizer
just a little bump
to keep you
on toppa


a m e r i c a n   s e l f i e

that friendly - feminine voice - the voice of comfort 

relax - ok just shut
the f*ck up and listen
ok, your finances are low
and your blood pressure is high
we can fix all that

whispering - shhhh

 ok, we've developed this little cocktail
just for you and you're just right for the trial run
good news - i've just talked to my manager 
congratulations!  you're IN

yes - you qualify!

just be patient - ok not just yet

if you believe in the prescription transcription
it's new, improved and approved
you're doing just fine


oh right, your insurance may not cover this
do you have a back-up plan 
a contingency - i mean

credit card perhaps

who am i to disagree

there you go - are we feeling better yet
oh more - you want more - no
that's not how this works

who do i work for ?
not important

i get angry sometimes
assholes - all of them
no worries - i got it all in check
it's all about the reassurance
i've been recruited
by the best

trust me, it's all i ask
it's all going to be

rage/rape management comes with membership
and i'm an employee - yep big perks
ok like, you - can be just like

travel the world - and the seven seas

we've got this all under control
OMG like - i got this phone 
and can take pictures
of myself in like - high def
and post them on-line
with my friends

i can even have "friends"
that i don't even really have
how frikkin cool
is that


everybody's looking for something

so ok, enough about you - let's talk about

i gotta story to tell and gosh darnit
i'm gonna get this out there

the american dream can be real
you just have to believe
this is a slam-dunk

some of them want to use you

just follow along and remain calm
it's all i ask

your paralysis progress report will be available
on-line in just a few short weeks
- at - 
oh and your membership comes with 24/7 tech support

just sign in with your username
credit card number 
and password

we got you covered - you're beautiful
you're going to be

a m e r i c a n   s e l f i e

until then

just relax, strapped in
put on your high fidelity ear-buds
and drift into your familiar slumber
oh you like the "Beebs"
get the f*ck out


yes, you too can be a "belieber"
hey kids - just plug and play

medication is not that bad really
once you get used to it

some of them want to be 
used by you

it's like taking that little trip back home
and into that comfort carnival
that you've become 
accustomed to
only better

because we have this way
of making the pain go away
while you still maintain 
your 3 squares a day

hey mom - STOP EATING!

oh right, did i mention - there's a disclaimer
nothing important really
it's just this contract you need to sign
ok, right - right here 
on the dotted line

this is something you're deciding to do yes
it's not something that we can ultimately
be responsible for

i'm gonna use you
abuse you

 no worries - all ok, just relax - just surrender to the process
you're worth it - remember that we're looking out for you
we're on top of things

no worries


a m e r i c a n   s e l f i e

sweet dreams
are made of these

you're not alone - no, not just yet - but hey
there's a movie coming out soon - top shelf
and you my friend 

are in it