Wednesday, April 27, 2016

George Harrison-NPR Commentary

George Harrison stopped being a Beatle yesterday. According to him, they would each "go on being a Beatle" until they died. Surrendering to his extended battle with cancer, he left the stage as he had played on it...quietly.

George became a part of my life, on February 9th 1 964. Sitting Indian-style on the floor of my childhood home, I was spellbound by the sounds that sprang forth from our '58 Philco. The "Fab Four" had exploded into the American consciousness and though I was only nine years old; it was the beginning of a life-long love of music.

My love affair (AND borderline addiction) was further fueled when I bought my first, cherished piece of vinyl a year later. Columbia's release of Meet the Beatles made millions of lyrical revolutions before it was retired and replaced by a copy I still possess. Through the transformations from vinyl, to tape to compact disc, (I've yet to break my reference to them as records) The Beatles' complete anthology has been the cornerstone of my music collection... And with every release, George's inimitable, and sometimes, melancholic, strokes of the guitar captured my heart and moved my soul, shaping and reshaping my reverence for music.

 The Beatles were legendary for their masterful integration of each one's unique talent, a fact that sometimes makes it difficult to separate the part from the whole. My admiration for John and Paul runs deep; however, while they commanded the frenzied infatuation of the girls at school, I saw and heard something in the ever-evolving and unmistakable sound of the Beatle's lead guitarist.

I remember caressing the body of my beloved first guitar and pouring over my newly acquired Beatles songbook, suddenly seized by a sense of awkward unworthiness. Certainly it would be blasphemous to even attempt to play his work. These days, my dusty guitar sits silently in the corner of my music library. I am content, and still in awe, to hear his music played as it was written.

Comfortable in the shadows of Paul and John, George interwove his distinctive sound throughout the Beatles' music and beyond into his solo career. Here Comes the Sun, Give Me Love, What is Life, Something.. .the words to each song are forever inscribed in my head. One of his last songs, When We Was Fab always reminds of the "quiet Beatle's" poignant sense of humor.

 George Harrison's career is highlighted not only by his musical contribution through the Beatles, but includes his adventures with movie-making, his successful solo career, and his trailblazing leadership organizing the Concert for Bangladesh. 

In the end; however, he liked to describe himself as a gardener saying he lived simply, planting flowers and watching them grow. In his autobiography he remarked, "I stay at home and watch the river flow."

Yesterday, as the river flowed, George Harrison left us. He departed, leaving us with a rich tapestry of music and memory, taking flight with faith, on a journey home to a God who had long guided his life on earth.

Godspeed, George.
Now, my guitar gently weeps.

Caution! Under construction

Having a little trouble getting all the elements working right. Hopefully, I can develop the right layout and color scheme over the next couple of days.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Daddy's Education

Steep stairs down into hell.

Blue-striped mattress, your prison cell,

Submerged in the dark, drowning in your fears,

Glacially cold and seared by your tears.


Bloody nose crusts over under the rafters;

A million miles from a soothing hand—

Too young to understand.


The world cannot hear your hopeless cries,

As your caretaker dangles your freedom as a prize;

He holds you;

Defines you;

Reminds you,

Three days now—

No good, worthless, SICK.

“NO, Daddy!”


He brings you a red rose as an apology.

Say what he wants and you are free.

Broken like a toy, you finally agree—

Innocence is gone; truth, an irrelevancy.


Nine years old and your future is planned,

A million miles from a soothing hand—

You’ll never be able to understand.


Cement a smile on your face as you are freed

Ascend into a life that used to be.

Secretly scarred.

Psychologically marred.

Invisible injuries.

Never good enough to please.

Damaged for the rest of your life.
“yes, Daddy.”


Gray trees rise frozen-lonely from a landscape of ashen snow.

Sentenced to endless winter, where arctic shards bitterly blow

Away my crimson days of pleasure. Was love so long ago?


Quickly comes Christmas, my friends must hurry home—

Sad-relieved-retreating—to the lives that are their own;

Well-meaning are their whispers, “She needs her time alone.”


A glacial space wraps ‘round me, the mantle of my pain.

No spring could ever warm-to-thaw, this icy-bleak terrain.

A snow-blind soul and mementos; are all that now remain.


The heavens hear me cursing, broken and bereft,

“How could meteoric brilliance, be burned up by cold death?”

This is not the life I’d chosen; just the one I have been left.


Your life force still has passion, blood-fused into my brain;

Your memory is a moment entwined with joy and pain,

Reminding me I’ll never touch your blessed face again.


The blizzard wind screams a refrain that chills me through and through:

I never will recover from the fire of loving you—

I never will recover.

Point of Origin


Her energy was an electrical arc,

erratically spiking, and with each spark

she blazed with the brand of her legacy—

She’d been slashed-and-burned to the third degree.


Inflamed by shame she was a brilliant torch;

radiating emotional heat set to scorch

anyone near, so she drove them away—

Her fiery pain raged more intense every day.


She’d been damaged, long ago, beyond repair--

She was igniting a world that would never be fair.

It was bloody arson that seared through her soul,

engulfed in self-hatred, she burned out of control.


When her oxygen was gone, she dwindled

to just a flame that could not be kindled.

Incinerated hope lay in charred remains

along with a small girl—doused in blame.

The Noose

Pernicious ply of nylon, finch yellow, knotted, wound

around the oak beam mighty, jerked taut the tethered weight.

A passerby heeded the sound, “Had an icy branch just shattered?”

He did not hear the strangled gasp, or pause perchance to see,

the swinging of the lethal line bearing broken, bound, its dead.

What waste torment can render, when hope surrenders guard.