Saturday, December 09, 2006

I Was Just a Kid

I Was Just a Kid

I was just a kid when I wrote this.

To the best of my ability to remember, I think it's about my first puppy love broken heart.

The two women who would probably think they knew who it was about would be mistaken, in all likelihood, because once my brief but tragically deep bout of puppy love was over, I put Donna out of my mind as completely as I could... and, happily, in those days I had a lot of distractions.

But when I was in the middle of it... oh boy. I felt -- repeat after me, kids -- like someone had reached into my chest and ripped out my heart. (There must be an endocrine gland somewhere in the human body which secretes a hormone that produces that precise feeling -- since that phrase pops up in every third account of a broken heart. But, cliche or not, that's pretty well how I felt.)

Now... in the song, the kid, the protagonist, my alter ego, appears to have somehow caused some sort of blip on The Other's emotional radar -- certainly he refers to it.

But the reality was a bit different, I'm afraid. Sure, Donna made some gentle but firm noises about how breaking up with me was hard for her, too, but it was painfully clear to me that she was moving on and not looking back.

And in a few months, she was barely a blip on my emotional radar.

You couldn't say that about the next two women in my life... they both owned me entirely -- in very different ways -- for many years after that... It seemed like whichever was farthest away haunted me. When one was in Morocco and the other was here... my mind was in Morocco. When the first was home and the second was in Germany... I fantasized about showing up on her doorstep in Bad Kreuznach. I obsessed.

And then they were both gone.

I didn't really know what to do or what to think...

In time, I kind of moved on.

Kind of...

I think this is the oldest song I've posted here. I used to consider it the second "keeper" I'd written. I think I performed it the very first time I played in front of an audience. (It was just a lunchtime open mic at my university -- but it was about five years before I should have played in front of an audience. I was pathetic. And I say that with the dispassionate distance that more than three decades of playing in front of all kinds of audiences brings. I was truly pathetic. Ya hadda be there.)

As I got a few more finished songs in my folio, this one got kicked into the needs-work file and... like so many denizens of that of that spottedly sunny but ultimately purgatorially gloomy kingdom... it never got finished. Until Now. I changed a chord (or maybe not... I barely remember) and I'm calling that done. It has almost no words? So be it.

[The photo of me in this post is actually about 15 years later, not long after I'd come out of performance retirement to begin playing again as a solo.]

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I Was Just a Kid

I was just a kid who'd memorized some lines
I never dreamed I would hurt you
you said we couldn't run from the pain that would come
now you wear that pain
and it suits you

we picked up out places in the game that went before
the path lay in lies to be burned through
if I could run back home I would lay me back down
and suckle at the breast of virtue

(C) 1972, TK Major

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Iraq Study Group Blues

Iraq Study Group Blues

I've been working with a new tuning on guitar and it's promising but I'm not there, yet.

That has not prevented me, mind you, from posting the results of those modest efforts about a week or so ago ("My Second Mistake").

Earlier today, I'd finished some vexing work and I'd sat down with the notion of feeding the gaping maw of A Year of Songs with a little recording... but I was having a heck of a lot of trouble getting going.

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Every time it seemed like I got a little momentum, I'd stumble over the finger picking or some basic left hand move. And my overall timing was enough to give a listener heart arrhythmia.

I took a quick break and while I was washing my face I had the radio on. I realized that National Public Radio was doing an hour news special on the release of the Iraq Study Group report and I'd meant to listen.

So when I got back to the computer, I clicked on my desk icon for the live Internet stream from my local NPR station. Since the stream is delayed by 20 or 30 seconds, I didn't actually miss anything.

I listened attentively but idly picked up my nearby guitar -- a typical move when I'm listening to public affairs or news on the radio.

When I noticed absently that my playing sounded a lot better now, I decided to pop the radio stream into my headphones and off the speakers so I could record and listen to the news special at the same time. In fact, while I often do, I didn't even put my guitar in the headphones, since it just made it a little harder to hear the radio stream.

I recorded one not quite 3 minute improv and thought it sounded okay -- but found out I couldn't listen to it and pay sufficient attention to the radio to follow the story -- which I was still intent on.

So I put it aside. As I was listening to NPR, I got the itch again and quickly hit the red button, playing for a little under two and a half minutes.

I'd barely paid attention to my playing and it was my perception that it was probably worse than the first. I put it aside too.

When the show was over I listened to the tracks. The first was indeed much, much better than I'd been doing earlier but it was still disappointing. But the second was almost acceptable.

So almost-acceptable that, with the notion that the theoretically interesting back story might just be enough to make it briefly interesting, I've posted it here in today's entry.

If you listen carefully, you'll likely hear the mosquito buzz of the news special in my headphones as I listen to it while improvising the single guitar.

With regard to the story and comprehension (as we used to say in my 7th grade speed reading class)... I'd say I'd get a 90 or better on a tough quiz.

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Sunday, December 03, 2006

I reach for the dream I was dreaming last night...

Big, Nasty World: Bird's Eye View
What can you say?

It is a big, nasty world and through most of its history, a lot of folks have thought things were getting nastier all the time.

Whether we're straying ever farther from the Garden -- or we're simply a pessimistic race drawn to the dark view -- I'll leave to the philosophers, moralists, and poets.

Me, I like to, you know, accentuate the positive.

Sure, things look pretty dark right now... the coastal cities will be flooded within the lifetime of the kids in our schools. The oceans will be depleted of significant food stocks even sooner. Probably most animal species alive today will be extinct in a 100 years. But not the cock roaches. The cock roaches will survive.

So, you know, we can look forward to that.

Some kind of continuity.

I know I'm looking at translating my AYoS blog into cockroach and burning special archive-quality compact discs which I'll scatter in land fills for the cockroach anthropologists to find.

I can just see the hard-drinking, self-styled adventurer cockroach who'll make the discovery of the first AYoS disc, which he'll excitedly write a series of academic papers about...

This I believe.

Or maybe not. Still... could happen. Prove it couldn't.

Anyhow, bottom line... we ain't here forever. Be alive now.

Big, Nasty World
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October 8. 2006 version
March 10, 2006 version

Big, Nasty World

I wake up each morning
and I reach for my bible
I reach for my razor
and I reach for my gun

I reach for the dream
I was dreaming last night
but each single morning
that dream is gone

'cause it's a
big nasty world
a terrible place
It's hard to stay alive
and it's hard to keep the faith

its a rotten world
a grim shabby place
but out of the endless depths of time
you're here today

I'm tired of living
and I'm tired of dying too
I'm tired of tomorrow
and all the shhh that I've been thru
I'm tired of forever
and I'm tired of yesterday
I'm tired of never
and the man the child became

'cause it's a big nasty world...

I used to love ya baby
and you know that's true
I used to love God
and you know that too
I used to myself
It was the hardest of all
I loved the whole GD world
but that was before the Fall

'cause it's a
big nasty world
terrible mean place
It's hard to stay alive
and it's hard to keep the faith

its a rotten world
a grim shabby place
but out of the endless depths of time
honey, you're here today

(C)1992, 2006, TK Major