Tag Archives: writer

Thoughts In the Belfry (a folk song)

What follows was written in chunks from beginning to end one morning yesterday. The melody followed, and my notes are included here. Song to come shortly.

Thoughts in the Belfry

part one

Oh to con society and figure on sleep.
Oh to be a weary man who can’t very well see
what is rush houred now,
what is lost in the clouds
And he can’t seem to shine his soles to be better off now.

Wing my lids and shattered tongue and teeth in my mouth.
Resist my mind and open lungs to be ran out of town.
‘Cause it’s breathless and bold,
it is both new and old,
and the seams are ripping past the point of out of control.

Sleep inside a martyrdom and wish on the stars.
Weep for lies, corruption, shadows, and the cycles of Mars.
For the planets align
and their signatures signed
as the past is washing, dried and hung on the lines outside.

There is wanting on the corner store to a shelter in place.
And the people screaming wash and fold in the center of space
are all asleep at the wheel
and delivered from steel
as their shadows slip and gauge the light of all that is real.

(rising melody)
Please beget no singing birds at the crack of all dawns.
And don’t regret your slinging heart, it is found and it’s pawned.
‘Cause the sleep in your eyes
is forgotten with pride
and the circle of the day is just the passing of time.


Wear no hat, St Peter, you are withered and freaked.
Your cap and gown don’t graduate from their weathered antique.
And the eagles on poles
were never kept in their role
and the songs you sung were always just a way to console.



My oh my, young woman, you are pretty and sleek.
And after wine your face turns red and you cower in sleep.
From the depths of your mind
comes a series of rhymes
and the smoke it coils ’round and ’round you every damn time.

Sing for children wiping out on roller skates.
(melody above the previous)
Cry for minutes so divine, yet coupled with snakes.
‘Cause the evil is tried
and the world’s on its side
as jolts of electricity have my skin fried.

Come with me, St Peter, St Geronimo too.
Come with me, we’ll travel far in the weight of our shoes.
As the books are described,
with their words all inscribed,
’cause the end is growing nearer–at least the stillness of night.


part 2

Sit with me a while and I will tell you a tale
of a worried man who can’t pretend that there’s beer in his pale.
He is drunk and disturbed.
And he is perfectly sure
that his country’s on fire and it surely will burn.

Have a drink, St Katherine, your baby is fine.
Smoke with me I wanna know all that’s on your mind.
Or just be on the way
to wherever you stay.
Yea, it seems to me the roads are froze, they shatter and shake.

Pick me up, St Martha, oh I believe in you.
Take me out for supper, man, there’s nothing to do
but be quick on the draw
as Jesus twice falls.
Your dogma is a strangle on the city of Paul.

(quietly now)
Find me in the cedar, Michael. Find me on high.
I will count my blessings as you figure me trite.
‘Cause you banish alright,
and your sword’s at your side,
’til finally there’s nothing but the stillness of night.

So God becomes escapable and the water is black.
The springs and pools polluted will be drained and sold back
to divinity’s hands.
It was a well-devised plan.
To steal is fine as long as you’re a company man.

part three

Teach me how to rattle off a series of sleek.
Help me learn how flowers grow as we lay in our sleep.
We belong to the trees,
to the rivers and streams.
For all along the city was a weight on our dreams.

Play with piano, cello, and be joyous and sing.
Play like you were meant to when your mother said, “Please
will you get your guitar?
You’ll be famous, a star.
I’m so proud of the way you keep on playing all the parts.
Oh yeah.”

Mother, I miss seeing you in purple and gold.
Royalty drips off you and it is written in stone.
And the tricks of the mind
were just insanity’s chimes
waking me from the depths of my insidious mind.

Father, please be careful as pandemics increase.
Curve your speech to match the spike in patterns and pleats.
Yes, your blue jeans are dry
and God’s on your side.
I say bury me in a Beatles shirt with pennies on my eyes.
With pennies on my eyes.
With pennies on my eyes.

Sisters be original in finding your peace.
Watch as angels flutter by on the flashing TVs
with a major insight
to a world on its downside.
Don’t fall off where the sidewalk ends, St Francis will cry.

(quietly now)
So it’s over in the evening when the weather subsides.
It’s over in the morning when the hunger resides.
I am over and done.
I have played and have won.
And the beginning’s just a story of the end that comes.
And the end is the beginning for the newness of love.


I Am a Patchwork Quilt

Suppose disintegrating into the soil
is the best next place to be,
surrounded by dirt and its worms chomping through.
It’s more there to me than it is to a student of suits.
Yet in an encompassed environment, stemming wood
from its fruit, we go laughing and brimming all cute.
Still disguise yourself, child.
The ecosystem is futile.

And all inside a wildebeest’s throat,
my all-time favorite sharpened toes
kick my own shins raw and tattered.
Who doesn’t know how that happens?
Who doesn’t play in the sand?
Who doesn’t want to ride into town on horseback,
all among the cowboys, dribbling.
Drooling at the sight of majestic hands clapping.
I am a patchwork quilt.
You are driven by fate.
We’re both late for work.

And speaking of work, my my.
Mine is somewhere inside
a place I never thought I’d be.
Seeing how the other half be.
Hearing all the garbage streets
wrapped in finer things.
To places I’m sure I’ll never see.
It frightens me.
But I giggle through grease
and match with a smile and pleasantries.
Caught with a neck pointed east,
dying to leave.

But to know there’s a fever to bear
makes me believe in a memory there
of a county fair,
where I saw tractor pulls,
ate fries
and drank beer.
I’m ready for planks to be planted.
I’m ready for trees and the like.
I’m searching for words, always.
And quietly.


Interestingly, as the year begins to turn over,
and winter is beginning its five-month grip
on the weather,
I am in no more trouble than I could be.
My mood is beginning to waiver, yes–
I have to better watch my temperament.
My shoulders ache,
hunched against the wind
cold and biting.
My hands go dry like sandpaper,
my beard is thin like straw.
My open eyes are blinded by
a frigid rain.
35 degrees is no temperature
for precipitation.

False idols stumble about.
I am inundated with news
that the president is somehow
still popular with
half the country.
Half the country
is stupid
at best

Worse, the overwhelming wish
to block it all out
All the isms.

Perfect doctrine rarely slips its wrist;
rarely bends and twists;
rarely plays its part in leaps and flips.
And the only murmur here
is something ripe and rendered clearly,
now my hopeful nature strikes again.
I clench my fists.
I reel and wreck the gist of every story told
I forget as quickly, yes
I forget.


It is irritating to recall my hometown.
Like a cause and effect puzzle–
Where were you when, and then
What happened?
Rural Ohio isn’t much to discuss.
It is open fields of soy and sod,
It is gamesmanship with guns.
It is a small child,
Who looks younger than his age,
Learning to shave at 12
And dance at 16.
My hometown remains unchanged
Through it all.
The skies reach far
But they can’t see the corpses.

Ohio is filled with the dead,
My dead.
It is my Father fast asleep
With his right hand resting in
The sign for I Love You.
It is my mother and her tears
And our laughter through it all.
Ohio is a fading memory,
An outline of a house
With captions on its lawn.

Chatham was and is a ghost
Of some shortened depiction of sawdust and grit.
It is people speaking with southern accents.
We have no accent,
It is studied.
It is true.
But talk like you want to.

Chatham is my classmates whispering.
Do not debase my struggle
Even if you can’t see it.
My struggle reaches back through Chatham, Ohio
And into infinity.
My struggle pulls me forward
Through clouds
Of pot smoke
Daily hits of
My struggle is the
Poles of the mind
Twisted from nights spent alone.
My struggle is a lasting faith
Forever left to be undone.

Ohio, you are cold and ancient.
Your politics resign
To be just a flickering of caustic wit
Breathless and benign.
Ohio, you make each return
A drift through the pathetic.
And yet with family still there,
Enriching Ohio’s present,
I visit,
And stare into Chippewa Lake
Until it quivers.

To Havens Racked

Oh, with fantastic shivers, run
Beside a candle dripping upon
The table ‘neath the shelf above
A chair you sit, too dear
It’s backward, yet sincere

And for the forgotten, it’s been said
There’s nothing more to distinguish in it
A portion of reconciled air
Of putrid soil and debonair
You whittle off a casual glare
For serpents drifting
Shifting fair
For tabernacles filled with blood
And priests aligned with death
I don’t believe they’re worth their breath

So find a clasp and shudder out
To gross indifference to your shouting
Loud beneath a cavernous room
Ceilings drifting
Dregs in doom

The Greatest Album of All Time: The Stage Names by Okkervil River

Our life is not a movie or maybe. Beyond what contrives to be able to be a cold wreck of dawn when the cities were towns. Just forget what’s begotten aloft and brought down.Unless it’s kicks you gave me. Unless it’s tricks you played me. Unless it’s patter with the crowds. Unless it’s mixed to shame me. My goodness. Is there a hand to take hold of the scene? Or are we wilting on the screen? Or are we tilted on a dream? It’s always complicated. Never orchestrated.

But I find myself in Georgia or Carolina in my mind. Savannah smiles either way, and pulls the veil of night over my canopy drifting, and shifting all the time. Plus ones would fade the mystery, and then knowingly move on. And a girl in port could use no sorely advocated mile, but a shortening of choruses belie a frightened pornographic panic, yeah you can’t hold the hand of a rock and roll manic. With the stage names all embarassing, you dribbled for the chords. To title track John Allyn Smith would have him raise the sails forever off to other shores in some form or another, I’m sure.