My heritage on my Father's side is Welsh-Celtic. What else can I say, Frodo? I've heard it said that we all have our demons. Monsters, who raise their heads and block our paths as we pursue our hopes, dreams, beliefs, or personal growth. Maybe we have a ring of power to dispose of -- Frodo would know about that. In order to progress we need to look inside of ourselves to find that courage, heart, or even a bit of majick. The question is -- what do we do at these times? The answer is -- draw and trust our sword!
Our life's experiences weave themselves into our own personal tapestry. Each is similar, yet very different. We each have our own particular hue to the lens through which we view the world and it's balance -- love-hate; good-evil; beauty-ugliness. What have you seen through your lens? I'll bet you've seen some of the same things that I have! I'm influenced by many poets. Ideas, style, form and such seem to stick in my head and come out later in my stuff even when I forget the source. But one of my greatest influences is song lyrics. To me, Dylan, Neil Young, John Lennon, John Mellencamp and many others are poets, at least sometimes. And I some times write a song, hearing the beat and melody in my head while typing, though not always. But this is one of them. I like the way it starts out slow and thoughtful, but then speeds up almost irreverently.
"Appalachian Outlaw Blues"
Are you possibly a man, born, raised, and living in one of the most poverty-ridden areas in America -- the hills of Appalachia? Well, me neither, but if we were I'd bet, at times, that it would feel like this. My wife is from Maryland, so also is her Dad. We live in Florida, and a few years ago when he retired he wanted to move down here near us. So we went up to help him move. Driving home down I95, somewhere around Winston-Salem we caught, on the raido, a talk show dealing with the plight of the poor in Appalachia. It moved both of us. Appalachia is like a third world country locked within the borders of the U.S.A. We also became aware of a Catholic Priest named Father Benning who has devoted his life to the poor Appalachians. I'm not Catholic but we give a little money each year to the Christian Appalachian Project, Benning's Ministry to build schools and such in the hills there. Benning has sent me a few books containing stories of the lives of actual people there in Appalachia. Two of their major struggles are illiteracy and blatant poverty. It's these influences that this poem was born out of. It's really more real than not!
"The Upper Side of Down"
I wrote this recently late one night, while drinking, as sometimes usual, like now. I had just written a melancholy poem called "Quiet Song." My sweet wife -- and proof reader -- liked "Quiet Song," but with a strange look on her face.
I said, " What's the look?"
She, who has won the Miss Positive and Sweet American Girl contest for several years running, said, " It's cool and clever, but it's so dark, why do you write so much dark stuff?"
I objected. I didn't think it was dark at all, just real. But I've heard the same from others before. So in response, this "Upper Side Clowning" thing just squirted out of my keyboard.