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February 19, 2017

MAUD’S SONG (DUET)

The verdict came down “Guilty” On my first offense,
The jury wouldn’t listen to my plea of self-defense,
They said I should have chatted with the man who shot at me,
And sent me off to Huntsville, To max security;

I said to Maud, “Get goin’, I’m going to set you free,
Put on your boots and cowgirl hat, Find something more than me;”
Maud said, “We made a deal forever, Don’t try to turn me loose,
We vowed till hell froze over, I ain’t goin’ to vamoose;

We promised through every sorrow, Through all the storms and strife,
I ain’t leavin’ now or ever, I’m stayin’, I’m your wife.”

I said “ Listen to me, I’m telling you the truth,
You won’t make me happy, Wasting all your youth,
Pain just ain’t what life’s about, You’ve got happy things to do,
Life is short and precious, Girl, Your life belongs to you;

Life ain’t no dress rehearsal, You get no second act,
I’m gone from you forever, You’ve got to face the fact;
If you want to do the right thing, Here’s what you can do,
Forget you ever knew me, ‘Cause I’m forgetting you.”

Prison was a hell-hole, Where evil men can thrive,
You morphed from man to monster, If you wanted to survive;
You’re tested every moment, And treated like a slave,
If you’re human you won’t make it, You’ll be headed for a grave;

The bull-horn always blaring, Made my head feel sore,
Every day a battle, Like fighting in a war,
Faces sneered and threatened, You knew you were alone,
It sucked away your goodness, And turned your heart to stone;

Maud had written to me, And she had tried to phone,
I didn’t ever answer, And it cut me to the bone,
She came and tried to see me, Most every visit day,
I said she was a bother, And had her turned away.

She kept writing country music And playin’ on the stage,
Groupies came to concerts, And fans of every age;
They heard her on the radio, Strummin’ her guitar,
People loved her yodelin’, And Maud became a star;

When the warden said, “Your time is up, go out and breathe free air,”
It didn’t matter to me, ‘Cause now I didn’t care,
I was simmering and silent, Twenty years had made their mark,
I hated every sunrise, My soul was something dark;

On a flat-bed truck outside the gate I saw a country band,
Maud was giving orders, The “mike” was in her hand,
When she saw the gate swing open, There wasn’t any dread,
She shouted at the cowboys, “Here he comes!” she said.

Maud had on her cowgirl hat, Quite a sight to see,
She began to sing a country song, Some words she wrote for me:

“The years have flown, My Darlin’, Like leaves are blown from trees,
No sense to try to catch ‘em, They’re swirling in the breeze,
We’re not lookin’ backward, Like some fools chased by Fate,
We’ll twang the beat-up banjo, ‘Cause it is not too late,

Not too late to climb a mountain, To struggle and to sweat,
Or pick a spot along the trail, To watch a red sunset,
Not too late for splashin’ barefoot Along a sandy shore,
Or watch the seagulls diving, Or hear the ocean roar,

Not too late to see the bluebirds, Comin’ back in spring,
Or hear thrushes in the bayou, When they start to sing,
Not too late for laughter, Not too late for song,
We know what we are after, We know where we belong;

We’ll make new beginnings, No matter where or when,
Music is our magic, Hon, And we’ll be young again;
We’ll take back from Mr. Time, The joys that we’ve dreamed of,
It’s not too late, My Dear One, It’s not too late to love.”

Maud had kept my pick-up truck, I told her I would drive,
She cuddled close beside me, It was okay to be alive,
With this crazy woman, The trip was goin’ to be a fling,
I looked out the side-window, And saw bluebirds on the wing.

I wondered about the road ahead, And forgot about the past,
With Maud and country music, Life just might be a blast;
I thought about the song she wrote, Tears made my eyes glisten,
A lucky thing for fools like me, Some women never listen.

Copyright © by Jim Douthit 2017

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January 30, 2017

Ol’ Shep

If you got a dog like my ol’ Shep, You’ll never be alone,
Shep don’t need no riches, Just an old soup bone,
He’s always glad to see me, Friendly as a lamb,
Never tries to judge me, Takes me as I am;

I was playin’ hands of five-card stud, Doing the best I was able,
But I lost two-weeks’ paycheck At Bailey’s poker table;
I guzzled too much Guiness And got a little woozy,
Then got a little side-tracked, Flirtin’ with some floozy;

I got home ‘round 3:00 A.M. And parked my pick-up truck,
Thought I’d find the door locked, That I’d run out of luck,
But the front door was standin’ open, Much to my relief,
So, I took off my cowboy boots, And snuck in like a thief;

I knew if Myrna heard me, My name would sure be mud,
(Ol’ Shep was there to greet me, Always my best bud)
When I turned on the hall light, And looked around the room,
The whole durn place was empty, Quiet as a tomb;

Myrna had cleaned the place out, Took everything we had,
I must’ve sure done somethin’ wrong To make her awful mad;
Myrna had up and flown the coop, I wasn’t sure what for,
But right then I knew that Shep and me Would be sleepin’ on the floor;

She probably wasn’t happy, That was plain to see,
Myrna wasn’t patient, Like a woman ought to be,
I thought she had religion, And hung on when things got tough,
You suffer to get to heaven, Hell, women know that stuff;

She should’ve been more grateful, I treated her like a queen,
I bought her a brand new dust mop, And a good used washing
machine;
I got her a stove for Christmas, And an ironing board last week,
I thought she read the Bible, That she’d be mild and meek;

Maybe I ain’t perfect, But I ain’t gonna mope,
Women ought to be loyal, Ought to know how to cope,
Myrna had some girlfriends, Always on her case,
She started gettin’ uppish, Like she didn’t know her place;

She was workin’ waitin’ tables, And thinkin’ about her rep,
She should’ve been more humble, Behaved more like ol’ Shep;
Now and then I think of her, When I’m at the park,
Wonderin’ why she left me, Then Shep will start to bark;

He tires me out from playin’, He’s got a lot of pep,
I ain’t had no luck with ladies, But I’ve always got ol’ Shep.

–January 2017

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January 22, 2017

COME ON WITH ME, MYRNA

Come on with me, Myrna, Leave that poker table,
The dealer is a shyster, ‘Cause winnin’ is a fable;
Every night in Vegas, We watched them tinhorns lose,
Throwin’ caution to the winds, Swillin’ lots of booze;

Gamblin’ is like dreamin’, And sometimes dreams come true,
But you got to play the cards you’re dealt, Life ain’t a sneak preview;

I never tried to run through fire, Or shoot kewpies off a shelf,
When I stepped out on that stage, I was bettin’ on myself;
So, Honey, let’s just bank on us, You yodel and I’ll croon,
You and me can beat the odds, We’ll sing and shoot the moon;

Twang that beat-up banjo, That’s what I love to hear,
I’ll tune up my ol’ Gibson, And load the travel gear;
Put on that sexy skirt you got, You’ll really make a splash,
I’ll wear my ol’ cowboy shirt, Just like Johnny Cash;

We’ll play the honky-tonks and bars, And the Clark County Fair,
Some rodeos and ball rooms, And hotels everywhere;
We’ll be winners, Myrna, When we play and sing,
Makin’ music ain’t a gamble, It’s always a sure thing.

–January 2017

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January 16, 2017

COME WITH ME, MATILDA

Come with me, Matilda, It’s tough here on my own,
Bring that beat-up guitar, I’m no good on stage alone;
I don’t want to sing a solo, Let’s have some harmony,
I can sing the bass notes, While you sing melody.

Your voice wakes up memories, As only you can do,
When you’re yodeling and hummin’, You make the old songs new;
Keep swayin’ to the rhythm, And strummin’ that guitar,
When the cowboys hear you singing, You’re going to be a star.

Come with me, Matilda, We’ll try some unknown trails,
You’ll like it on the open road, Freedom never fails;
You’ll love the limelight, Honey, Don’t you pout and fret,
When you play in front of footlights, You live without regret.

Music is our world, Girl, We’re born to sing and dance,
Life is just a one-shot deal, We get no second chance,
Your folks will try to keep you, When you try to scram,
But we’ll escape their humdrum, Like prisoners on the lam.

It’s us and music, Sweetheart, While we’re young and strong,
When heartaches try to catch us, They’ll find that we’re long gone.
We’ll be happy, Darlin’, Working as a team,
With our love and laughter, Living out our dream.

–January 2017

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I DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO LOVE YOU

I didn’t know how to love you, Never knew what to do,
I never let me be me, Never let you be you;
You were like an angel, One that I couldn’t touch,
While I was longing To hold you so much.

Love was a dance, girl, I couldn’t go with the flow,
My steps out of rhythm, Too fast or too slow,
I couldn’t get with the music, Never heard that old song,
Didn’t know the right notes, dear, And could not sing along.

You wanted me near you, I tried to believe,
But I stayed in the shadows, And caused you to grieve;
I didn’t tell you my feelings, Afraid of your frown,
Didn’t let you love me, Feared weighing you down.

I didn’t want to be needy, And hid my heart on a shelf,
I should have been selfish, And thought of myself,
You offered your kisses, You wanted to share,
I should have been bold then, And taken the dare.

I was false to you, dear one, Not honest or true,
Never let me be me, ` And never let you be you.

I didn’t know how to love you, Didn’t know what to do,
Never let me be me, Never let you be you…

–January 2017

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March 12, 2016

When much could yet be said and done,
With November flocks you fled and flew;
(The pity Time can’t be outrun)
Gold memories, Mom, will not be you.

In the mist, the duel of joy and strife,
And secrets that I knew not of;
The struggles proved your love of life,
And gave to me a life of love.

Thoughts of you can soothe–or swirl
About my mind and heart, Sweet Girl…
But look! A new day has begun,
You’ll always be my morning sun.

–for Kathi Assar, on the death of her mother,
Kathleen Niemer.

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Who’s this of shaggy head and fearless brow,
With backbone and the posture still of youth,
(Not like a willow that will bend or bow)
Who long has sought the path that leads to truth?

On hearing wiggle words of evil hissed,
(By philosophs who hide behind their lies)
He stands and faces monsters in the mist,
With ugly creeds whose grins and guile disguise.

Marxists cease to promise Paradise,
Kant’s witchdoctors lurch toward distant shade,
Where dreary dogmas reek of sacrifice:
Rackauskas has unmasked their foul charade.

The thinker can’t escape adversity,
His wisdom won’t be stricken from the chart;
In fleeting hours he fights for liberty;
In blood the love of freedom holds his heart.

October 2015
Related stanza for an e-mail to the Group:

If shaman chants assuage the tyrant’s lust,
Or mystics lure the innocent–so what?
A leader may appear that men can trust,
Someone to hoist the flag–or maybe not…
Clouds of darkness loom–we cannot wait;
No perfect moment beckons to begin,
Oyez! Only ”never” is too late,
With geezer wisdom we can fight and win.

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She surely was the Golden Girl,
With sparkling duds and hair aswirl;
With her long legs and dancing feet,
She felt the distant drummer’s beat.

In concert hall or dim canteen,
Her song and laugh would steal the scene;
Hushed house or to raucous roar,
She’d traipse and tap across the floor.

The fandango and the samba,
The can-can or the reel,
The cha-cha or the mamba,
Her moves with toe and heel,

The tango and the conga,
The salsa or the shake,
Her body’s lissome shimmy
Would keep the men awake.

Not one to wait for things “just right,”
For her ‘twas always opening night,
For her no dreams of “The Ideal,”
Which oft’, she knew, obscures the real;

She never cast a backwards glance
When it was time to sing and dance:
Props misplaced, the script unclear,
The piano tinny, the pay austere;

The director sloshed, cue cards gone,
The show, says she, will still go on.
Kathleen will watch the setting sun
At peace away from dance hall din,

When the goddess gig is nearly done,
She’ll not ask what might have been;
Instead, with a last twirl and twist,
She’ll laugh and dance into the mist;

We’ll smile a bit, and we will cry,
The curtain’s down, Sweet Girl.
Good-bye.
Oh, to have lived a life so bold,
With precious memories left to hold;

Not blaming fate, or cursing cost
Of wasted years and youth we lost.
Congregations shout, “Encore!”
Kneeling, as they pray for more;

The tragedy of vanity:
To trick or cheat reality;
Existence is a one-shot deal,
Not a rehearsal, no appeal.

Dreamers travel in a trance
And never find each day’s romance;
They pine for heaven and sing the blues,
(The dancer has no time to lose).

To be (she asks) just to survive?
Awaken now to thrill and thrive!
Shake a leg, escape your cage,
Ready or not, step on the stage.

“Curtain’s up!” (we hear Kathleen)
Footlights beckon, don’t hide unseen;
Audience seated, it wants to know
Who you are in your solo show.

Every morn the spotlight sun
Focuses on “Number One”
When you choose to take a chance
And hit the boards and start your dance.

Your drama is unique and new,
Only you can be like you;
You are, says she, who you are:
The Star.

This poem is to the memory of Kathleen Neimer, the mother of my friend Kathi Assar, Ph.D. Kathleen died on November 9, 2015. A great lady. She was a former Vaudeville dancer and lover of life.

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Farhang

His face content enough for now:
No frowns upon the furrowed brow,
No tears of sorrow or regret,
And from his mouth no curse or threat.

Memories of a homeland lost,
What the heart-ache? What the cost?
The past looms darkly like a morass,
A crumbled world, like broken glass;

Injustice reaches like a snare,
When faith was futile and fate unfair.
Slipping the bonds of yesterday,
Into the Tucson night he’ll stray,

And gaze at stars for sights sublime,
Like ghostly galaxies that spin and race
Toward the blurry edge of Time,
To a place that has no place;

Finding riddles for us to chase:
What can be outside of space?
A cosmos finite–but how so?
–Answers that we cannot know.

(Certainty may be his aim,
Casting shadows is his game.)
Mysteries that we can’t avoid:
Matter uncreated, undestroyed;

(Churchmen ask us to pretend
That existence has an end)
Enough!

Such airy puzzles he’ll postpone,
And return to his lair in the nano-zone,
To ponder the wispy fringe of matter,
Where established laws of nature scatter;
Where quarks and pions whirl and whiz,
(Yet are the perch of all that is?)

A chaotic realm we cannot see,
The eerie foundation of reality.
Where one must think outside the box
And everything’s a paradox;

(The scholar sifts the facts from fiction,
Yet likes to play with contradiction.)
A backward glance at the rosy dawn,
With hungry heart, he hurries on;

His quest for knowledge just begun,
He snoops for truth, below, above,
And grasps how ruthless the fleeting sun,
How little time to learn and love.

A spirit free–a man of the mind,
A friend like this you’ll seldom find.

Written for Christmas 2015, this poem is about Frank (Farhang) Shadman, scientist and friend, who adds to the lives of all who know him.

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A REJOINDER
At first it was vague,
A false warning of harm,
But as events now unfold
It deserves an alarm!!

Here comes a bad story
Of how things in our town
Were made to happen illegally
By our King The Clown.

It’s gone on long enough,
We can’t stand no mo’;
The Mariner is wondering
When it’s his time to show.

Yes, The Clown has done stuff
And he’ll do still more;
No one seems to stop him;
We may send in the Corps.

Who did this fine piece?
I want to thank him;
Who could it be
But our good friend Jim!!

–Frank Hayes, Patriot

To Jim from Frank Hayes

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