Archive for November, 2016

didn’t mean to disappoint you when I put the bottle down

November 27, 2016

zzzsober

Didn’t mean to disappoint you
When I put the bottle down

Hordes of losers livin’
Just to watch each other drown

Didn’t mean to disappoint you
When I put the bottle down

Now it makes y’all self-conscious
Just having me around

Didn’t mean to disappoint you
When I put the bottle down

I ain’t got a lot of interest
In the stinky side of town

Didn’t mean to disappoint you
When I put the bottle down

You can look inside a mirror
If you need another clown

Didn’t mean to disappoint you
When I put the bottle down

But I sure as hell ain’t sorry
For the daylight that I found

by Richard W. Bray

Crazy Seeking Crazy

November 24, 2016

zzcraycraylove

I need an angry noisy nutty girl
To thump my brain and wreck my world
A beasty batty nasty wife
To wrench my guts and ruin my life

I’ll find a gal who hates my mama
And cultivate some melodrama
I’ll never wonder why I chose
Someone to blame for all my woes

I need a crazy rowdy messy man
Drummer for a two-bit band
A needy stinky nasty boozer
A meth head and a hopeless loser

I’ll find a guy who hates my mama
And cultivate some melodrama
I’ll never wonder why I chose
Someone to blame for all my woes

by Richard W. Bray

complain, complain, complain

November 19, 2016

zzzcomplain

You just complain, complain, complain
Like you’re the only one in pain

You can go to a movie
You can run a mile
You can come back and see me
When you’re ready to smile

You just complain, complain, complain
Like you’re the only one in pain

You can build a treehouse
You can dig a ditch
You can go to yoga
And breathe instead of bitch

You just complain, complain, complain
Like you’re the only one in pain

You can go to confession
You can find yourself a shrink
You can tell the bartender
Who sold you that drink

You just complain, complain, complain
Like you’re the only one in pain

You can hug your pillow
You can have a good cry
You can find someone to listen
But I’m not that guy

by Richard W. Bray

goofy in the head

November 16, 2016

zznat

I feel my face smiling
All day long
And I can’t stop humming
An old love song

Flowers gonna bloom
The fiddler gets paid
Love is too dizzy
To be afraid

Every step I take
Is a leisurely stroll
And my head is all full
Of Nat King Cole

Flowers gonna bloom
The fiddler gets paid
Love is too dizzy
To be afraid

I’m probably crazy
In this melancholy world
Cuz I’m goofy in the head
For a brand new girl

Flowers gonna bloom
The fiddler gets paid
Love is too dizzy
To be afraid

by Richard W. Bray

I got a previous commitment to my self-respect

November 13, 2016

zzsucker

You think I’ll stand in line
Until it’s my time
To spend all my money
On some wine and dine

You cancelled forty-seven dates
So what’d you expect?
I got a previous commitment
To my self-respect

You went to the restroom
But you never came back
Then I saw you at a club
Making out with Jack

I’d really love to see you
But last time I checked
I got a previous commitment
To my self-respect

You call in the morning
Needing a ride
When you were kicked to the curb
By another guy

I’d really love to help you
But last time I checked
I got a previous commitment
To my self-respect

by Richard W. Bray

a billion things about you I’m never gonna know

November 12, 2016

my terrible luck (or constants and variables)

November 10, 2016

zzmouth

Can you see them?
See right through them
They have no shield
No secrets to reveal

Terry Hall, Our Lips Are Sealed

everybody knows
why I broke up with Ted
he’s so good at his job
and so lousy in bed

I probably told you
why I broke up with Ray
that silly mama’s boy
calls her six times a day

I guess you figured out
why I broke up with Bart
that hyperactive bowel
always makin him fart

it sure ain’t no secret
why I dumped Mr. White
his crazy sex fetish
and his sick appetite

I don’t have to tell you
why I kicked out that boozer
could never hold a job
such an adorable loser

the guys I go out with
they certainly suck
I’ll never figure out
my terrible luck

by Richard W. Bray

Seven Ways of Looking at a Line of Poetry

November 6, 2016

zzwaking

Anthropologists tell us* that “some time between 75 thousand and 60 thousand years ago” homo sapiens underwent a remarkable change (194). This event occurred “somewhere on the African continent (most likely somewhere in its eastern or southwestern regions)” (193). Suddenly, our already impressive brains developed the capacity for symbolic thought. Our ancestors, who heretofore merely consisted of roving bands of uppidy carnivorous weapon-wielding bipeds, were transformed into artists, shamans, scientists, and engineers. World-domination was now only a matter of time.

These new-and-improved brains rendered representational art, handicraft, metaphor, music, dance, language and poetry essential to our existence.

As Kurt Vonnegut notes, this spectacular transformation gave us not only the capacity and the inclination to produce Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony; it also gave us the capacity and the inclination to

burn people alive in the public square for holding opinions which were locally unpopular, or build factories whose only purpose was to kill people in industrial quantities.

I’m seriously into words. I have argued that it’s ultimately impossible to separate language from poetry because our ancestors began playing with words as soon as they began to invent them. Uttered phonemes are automatically poetic just like every basket and every arrowhead homo sapiens produce is a work of art.

Death and disruption at an early age hurt Theodore Roethke into poetry, as W. H. Auden suggests “mad Ireland” hurt W.B. Yeats into poetry. And oh what prodigious poetry Roethke did make! I’m going to spend a little bit of time talking about how to say the third line of a villanelle Roethke wrote called “The Waking” because my brain spends a lot of time thinking about such things.

A villanelle is a nineteen-line Italian form in which the first and third lines are each repeated three times. (I’ve written a few of them myself.) (A smartass once wrote on this blog that “the cool thing about villanelles is that once you’ve written the first three lines, you’re 42% finished.”)

Here’s the first stanza of Roethke’s “The Waking.”

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.

I told you the dude was prodigious, right? Anyhow, the first and third lines of a good villanelle must be firm and flexible as much heavy lifting is expected of them. Here are some examples:

Time will say nothing but I told you so.

(First line of Auden’s “If I Could tell You”)

(I think I made you up inside my head.)
(Third Line of Sylvia Plath’s “Mad Girl’s Love Song”)

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

(Third Line of Dylan Thomas’s “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night”)

Now back to “The Waking.” If a reader must read the same lines four times in a nineteen-line poem, the poet should provide her with options about which words to stress. Here are seven ways to say line three of “The Waking”:

#1 I learn by going where I have to go

Learning is about destination rather than free will.

#2 I learn by going where I have to go

The essential lesson is in the destination

#3 I learn by going (pause) where I have to go

The journey, so to speak, is the destination.

#4 I learn by going where I have to go

The lesson is in the doing.

#5 I learn by going where I have to go

The important thing is that the experience is educational.

#6 I learn by going where I have to go.

It’s imperative to take a certain route that is nonetheless educational.

#7 I learn by going where I have to go.

I find out what I’m supposed to do only by doing it.

Art inevitably pops up wherever you have people and it’s our sacred duty to make it available to our children. (But this isn’t another jeremiad about those sick, sad losers who think our children are merely their test scores).

by Richard W. Bray

*Ian Tattersall, Masters of the Planet

New Beginning

November 6, 2016

zzzidentity

The past is never dead. It’s not even past.
William Faulkner, Requiem for a Nun

Need to find a new job
A new city
A new wife
Gotta get away
From my dumpster fire life

There’s no new beginning
The past is never gone
There’s no place to hide
From everything you’ve done

Gonna dye my hair
Change the that way I dress
Start talking
With an accent
To escape this mess

There’s nowhere to go
The future isn’t new
It’s built on the past
And everything you do

I need a new name
And a new history
I can be anybody
As long as
It ain’t me

There’s no new beginning
The past is never gone
There’s no place to hide
From everything you’ve done

by Richard W. Bray

Profound Questions without answers by Don Bray

November 1, 2016

zzsniff


Strange creatures—earthlings–formed from unmoltening volcano indigestion,

Water and oxygen from rock chemicals recombined over millions of years

Mixing then arising earthling life–you and me.

We are given to farting and vomiting.

We are attracted to each others’ asses. We reproduce.

We like to sing and dance; not really knowing why we live, prone to war and susceptible to disease.

We create complex math and gods. Then we worship the gods.

Over time hundreds of American Indian cultures die and their gods die with them like “the famous 1,000 lost golf balls.”

Worldwide thousands of gods die.

People believe in the current god crop.

Earthlings won’t admit that they don’t know how they came to be and the gods can’t help.

Neither can science, philosophy or religion.

Discover meaning in the dazzle of life, or in the splendor of the cosmos.

by Don Bray