Monday, June 28, 2010

I just got back from a great journey from Boulder, CO down through Taos, over to Sante Fe, up though the four corners, Navajo land and the painted hand wilderness, Canyon of the Ancients, Lowery land, Pueblo III and Anasazi and B'lisi and Hovenweep Windlerness, Durango and all along the Animus, back road in to Ouray then Telluride, stopping by Little Molas Lake and really not remembering anything as breathtaking as that. And this summer all I can think of is the Galloping Goose train and how it must have felt to come barrelling down from the San Juan Forest with a wagon full of beer, butter, wheat and whiskey. But what more is there for a southern fellow to do when he is out by himself with a spinning mind at 12,000 feet, nowhere to be and a stack of county road maps.


Indian Peaks, 29 degrees

This June, this second month of summer,
I walked in to a high mountain town to hide
away for as long as needed, and let my body
turn back to snow. This is the white-lightness
of escape, and no one knows how it feels to be
damp, hung in a cedar, watching moose near
the edge of this glacial lake, mirror plane above
such deep cool well of more than thirst, enough
for a man to fall from the tree for, to fall from
where he was hung, drift down with a slow dive
of gravity, not fast enough for pain. Now the white
suit melts, now I am back down again and the phone
rings in song set by my daughter, and lunch is mine
to make, man alone at home, with a window to look
out from and that distant feeling of being in the wrong
place, nothing right yet, but with night coming, and that
is the best time to become light again, become snow.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ezra Pound

Taking Leave of a Friend

Blue mountains to the north of the walls,
White river winding about them;
Here we must make separation
And go out through a thousand miles of dead grass.

Mind like a floating wide cloud,
Sunset like the parting of old acquaintances
Who bow over their clasped hands at a distance.
Our horses neigh to each others
as we are departing.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Bob Dylan

The following is from Vanity Fair Online:


Inside Dylan's Brain

By Duff McDonald

People have long wondered what goes on in Bob Dylan’s mind. But if you pay attention to what the recent Pulitzer Prize-winner says and plays on his XM satellite-radio program, Theme Time Radio Hour, you can actually get a pretty good idea. Here, by cataloguing the themes has chosen for the episodes, the artists he has favored, and Dylan’s other preferences and quirks, Vanity Fair has constructed a revealing portrait of America’s most enigmatic musician. Below is a near-exhaustive, up-to-date list, expanding on the version printed in our May issue.

The Voice

Ellen Barkin

The Themes

Weather, Mother, Drinking, Baseball, Coffee
Jail, Fathers, Wedding, Divorce, Summer
Flowers, Cars, Rich Man/Poor Man, The Devil, Eyes
Dogs, Friends & Neighbors, Radio, The Bible, Musical Maps
School, Telephone, Water, Time, Guns
Halloween, Dance, Sleep, Food, Thanksgiving Leftovers
Tennessee, Moon, Countdown, Christmas, Women’s Names
Hair, Musical Instruments, Luck, Tears, Laughter
Heart, Shoes, Color, Texas, Trains
Fools, New York, Death & Taxes, Spring Cleaning, Hello
Youth & Age, Days of the Week, California, Classic Rock, Cadillac
Head to Toe, Smokin’, Dreams, Party, Countdown
One, Walkin’, Around the World, Lock & Key, Mail
President’s Day, Doctors, Danger, Birds, Joe
Heat, Cold

Artists He Plays

Nine times: George Jones

Eight times: Tom Waits, Dinah Washington

Seven times: Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys, Louis Armstrong, Van Morrison

Six times: Buddy Johnson, Elvis Costello, Frank Sinatra, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Louis Jordan, Muddy Waters, Porter Wagoner, The Rolling Stones

Five times: Anita O’Day, Buck Owens, Howlin’ Wolf, James Brown, The Stanley Brothers

Four times: Bessie Smith, Big Joe Turner, Billie Holiday, Charlie Poole, Chuck Berry, Ella Johnson, Fats Domino, Fats Waller, Irma Thomas, June Christy, Little Walter, Loretta Lynn, Los Lobos, Prince Buster, Randy Newman, Ray Charles, Slim Gaillard, Smiley Lewis, Sonny Boy Williamson II, The Beatles, The Carter Family, The Everly Brothers, The Louvin Brothers, Wynonie Harris

Three times: Bo Diddley, Bobbie Womack, Charlie Parker, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson, Elvis Presley, Ernest Tubb, Etta James, Hank Ballard, Hank Penny, Hank Snow, Harry Nilsson, Huey “Piano” Smith, Jerry Lee Lewis, Jimmy Rodgers, Johnny Tyler, Joni Mitchell, Lefty Frizzell, Lou Reed, Memphis Slim, Merle Haggard, Milton Brown & His Musical Brownies, Otis Redding, Ricky Nelson, Roy Brown, Roy Orbison, Ruth Brown, Ry Cooder, Sam Cooke, Sir Douglas Quintet, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, The Clash, The Drifters, The Ink Spots, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Lovin’ Spoonful, The Staples Singers, Wanda Jackson, Warren Smith, Webb Pierce, Willie Nelson


The Allen Brothers, The Bailes Brothers, The Chambers Brothers, The Clancy Brothers, The Everly Brothers, The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Lebron Brothers, The Louvin Brothers, The Maddox Brothers, The Mills Brothers, The Monroe Brothers, The Neville Brothers, The Osborne Brothers, The Stanley Brothers


The Andrews Sisters, The Davis Sisters, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Sister Wynona Carr, Sister Rose

“Little” People

Little Eva, Little Johnny Taylor, Little Junior Parker, Little Millette
Little Milton, Little Miss Cornshucks, Little Richard, Little Walter, Little Willie John

The Playboys

Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys , Vince Taylor & The Playboys , L.C. Smith & His Southern Playboys , Jimmie Revard & His Oklahoma Playboys

The Years

—50% the songs he has played were recorded before 1960.

—Only 9% of the songs he has played were recorded in the 1980s or more recently.

Guest Commentators

Six times: Penn Jillette, Tom Waits

Five times: Billy Vera, Deke Dickerson, Elvis Costello, Richard Lewis

Three times: Jack White, Jimmy Kimmel, John C. Reilly, Luke Wilson, Marianne Faithful, Matt Groening, Peter Wolf, Ricky Gervais

Poets References

Aesop, W.H. Auden, St. Basil, Bertolt Brecht, Gwendolyn Brooks
Charles Bukowski, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Gregory Corso, Stephen Crane
e.e. cummings, TS Eliot, Robert Frost, Ted Hughes, C.S. Lewis
Christopher Marlowe, Sylvia Plath, Alexander Pope, Rainer Maria Rilke
Anne Sexton, Shakespeare, Gertrude Stein, Jonathan Swift
Alfred Lord Tennyson, Dylan Thomas, William Butler Yeats

Authors Referenced

Cervantes, Anton Chekhov, Herman Hesse, Oliver Wendell Holmes, James Joyce, Jack Kerouac, Marcel Proust, Edgar Allan Poe

Playwrights Referenced

Molière, George Bernard Shaw

Movies Referenced

As Good As It Gets, An Affair to Remember, The Ballad of Cable Hogue
Barfly, Blow, Blue Hawaii, Blue Velvet, Bonnie & Clyde
Casablanca, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Charlie Chan’s Greatest Case
Chinatown, Coal Miner’s Daughter, Coffee and Cigarettes
Cool Hand Luke, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, For a Few Dollars More
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, The Godfather, It’s a Wonderful Life
Life of Brian, The Maltese Falcon, Oh Brother, Where Art Thou
The Lost Weekend, The Night of the Hunter, Night Train, Paper Moon
Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, The Player, Raising Arizona, Rock & Roll High School
Rocky III, Runaway Train, The Shawshank Redemption, Sleeping Beauty
Snow White, Spinal Tap, Strangers on a Train, Streetcar Named Desire
Sweet Smell of Success, Taxi Driver, The Ten Commandments, The 39 Steps
The Wild Bunch

Television Shows Referenced

The Beverly Hillbillies, Chico and the Man, The Ed Sullivan Show
Hee Haw, Josie and the Pussycats, The Honeymooners
Leave it to Beaver, Lil’ Abner, Welcome Back Kotter
Sanford and Son, Roots, 60 Minutes
The Simpsons, The Sopranos, The Tonight Show, The Wire

History Lessons From Bob

Famous Electric Chairs (e.g. Old Sparky and Gruesome Gerty)

Famous People Who Were Cheerleaders (e.g. Ann Margaret, George W. Bush)

Famous People Who Were Valedictorians (e.g. Cindy Crawford, William Rehnquist, Weird Al – “I wonder if William Rehnquist gave the same type of speech as Weird Al. Somehow I doubt it.”)

Famous People Who Had Burials At Sea (e.g. Steve McQueen, Ingrid Bergman, Vincent Price, Jerry Garcia)

History of the Wobblies, the U.S. labor organization

People Who Died While Playing Cards (e.g. Wild Bill Hickok, Al Jolson, Buster Keaton, the gangster Arnold Rothstein)

Famous People Who Drove Cadillacs (e.g. Pope Pius XII, Teddy Roosevelt, Bill Clinton)

History of Constantinople

Useful Tips

How to Hang Dry Wall

What to Pack When You’re Traveling

How to Walk Like A Runway Model

How to Give Yourself Dreadlocks


“Hope all you listeners won’t accuse me of cronyism just because I occasionally play records by people I know.”

“The distinctive voice of Aaron Neville. A lot of people think we sing the same.”

Re: Gene Autry’s Cowboy Code—“I’m not ashamed to say that I live my life according to that code. Quite a man, that Gene Autry.”

“Fred Astaire, the smoothest dancer known to man.”

Re: Berna Dean—“Here’s a woman who sure doesn’t sound like she sleeps alone.”

“John Lee….one of those guys that always sounds better without a band. Thirteen bars here, eleven bars there, nine there. Doesn’t matter to him. Nobody can do more with less than John Lee Hooker.”

Re: Endless Sleep – “This next song is not for the faint of heart.”

Re: Johnny Hicks – “A man who sounds like he’s got a smile in his voice.”

“America is certainly the great melting pot. Where else could someone like Slim Gaillard sing a tribute to matzoh balls and gefilte fish? It’s the kind of thing that makes me proud to be an American. Sing it, Slim.”

“It’s a quarter of a million miles from earth to the moon, and there’s no one I’d rather go with than Dinah Washington.”

Re: Six Pack to Go – “One of the great beer drinking songs of all time.”

Re: Leadbelly – “One of the few ex-cons who recorded a popular children’s album.”

“A lot of people who play one kind won’t play with people who play another kind, but me personally, I never understood any kind of border patrol when it comes to music.”

“Some people call Bob [Seger] the poor man’s Bruce Springsteen, but personally, I always thought Bruce was the rich man’s Bob Seger. Love ‘em both, though.”

Re: Red Headed Woman – “Boy, you hear a record like that, and you wish more Rockabilly bands had trumpets.”

Re: How You Gonna Get Respect—“A political statement you can dance to.”

Re: Eddy Dugash and the Ah-Ha Playboys: “Sometimes you just play a record because you like the name of the band. I love the name of this band, but I also love the record.”

“Not all songs about crying are necessarily sad.”

Re: Robert Parker’s Barefootin’ – “The man who wrote the national anthem of shoelessness.”

Re: Jimmy Lewis – “He sounds as bad off as a rubber-nosed woodpecker in a petrified forest.”

“Willie Nelson’s tour bus runs on cooking oil….I’ve toured with Willie…sometimes late at night you can see us, I’m filling up my tank at the gas station and he’s filling his up at Denny’s.”

“I always liked songs with parentheses in the title.”

Re: Dinah Washington’s Manhattan – “If there every was a love song to a city, I’d say it was this one.”

Re: Prince Buster’s Taxation – “Like all great artists, he was able to turn things that bothered him into three minutes of musical pleasure. Like here.”

Re: Porter Wagoner’s Skid Row Joe – “Next up, a very sad song. A recitation. A sermon. A speechifying testification. From Porter Wagoner, telling a tale of a sad man down on his luck in the dirty part of town.”

Re: Tex William’s Brother Drop Dead – “Some people die too soon. Others, you’re kind of hoping. Tex Williams has a song for such a situation.”

Re: Sinatra singing Summer Wind—“West Coast weather is the weather of catastrophe. The Santa Ana winds are like the winds of the apocalypse. But the summer wind that Frank’s singing about may be a little lighter. Come on in, Frank.”

Re: Charles Aznavour—“The Frank Sinatra of France…sings in six languages – French, English, Italian. He’s written over a thousand songs…I only know about half of them.”

Re: Memphis Minnie—“Me and My Chauffeur Blues. One of the great blues songs of all time, one of the great car songs of all time, one of the great chauffeur songs of all time, sung by one the great old ladies of all time - Memphis Minnie.”

Re: Joni Mitchell—“Joni and I go back a long ways. Not all the way back, but pretty far. I’ve been in a car with Joni. Joni was driving a Lincoln. Excellent driver. I felt safe.”

Re: Howlin’ Wolf—“This next song is entirely without flaw and meets all the supreme standards of excellence.”

Re: Hank Williams—“One of the greatest songwriters who ever lived was Hank Williams, of course. Hank could be headstrong and willful, a backslider and a reprobate, no stranger to bad deeds. However, underneath all of that, he was compassionate and moralistic.”

Deep Thoughts

“I don’t trust a man who doesn’t tear up a little watching Old Yeller.”

“All of our shows are for truckers, if not about truckers.”

“They say the earth’s warmin’ up. Be careful of that global warming, and wear your sunscreen.”

“Music City USA – one of the only places where a banjo player can make a six figure income.”

“You know, every shut-eye ain’t sleep. Sometimes you’re sleeping in the ground, taking a dirt nap, saying the big Goodbye.”

“The Harmonica is the world’s best-selling musical instrument. You’re welcome.”

“Sometimes when you look at a menu, it’s hard to decide what to get. Life is like that, full of difficult choices.”

“Lipstick traces on cigarettes can get you in trouble or remind you of the wonders of the night before.”

“Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me…as opposed to when you grow up and you learn that…the pen is mightier than the sword. The world is fill of little contradictions like that.”

“I leave you with the words of Benjamin Franklin. ‘He that is of the opinion money will do everything may well be suspected of doing everything for money.’ Thank you, Ben. Peace out.”

Bad Jokes

“My friend’s wife is a really bad cook. I broke a tooth on her coffee.”

“I once had a friend who said liquor will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no liquor.”

“A giraffe can go a long time without water. But he wants to see a menu right away.”

“I gave a bald-headed friend a comb. You know what he said? ‘I’ll never part with it.’”

“I don’t condone [blonde] jokes. I just repeat them in the public interest.”

“I want everybody to go out and paint their cars red and white tonight. We want a PINK CAR NATION.”


Mint Julep
Four mint sprigs
3 oz of bourbon
1 tablespoon of powdered sugar
1 tablespoon water
Put the mint leaves, powdered sugar and water in a Collins glass. Fill the glass with shaved or crushed ice and then add bourbon. Top that off with more ice. I like to garnish mine with a mint sprig. Serve it with a straw. Two or three of those and anything sounds good!

Rum and Coca-Cola
Let me give you my recipe for a rum and Coca-Cola. Take a tall glass, put some ice in it, two fingers of Bombay rum, and a bottle of Coca-Cola. Shake it up well and go drink it in the sunshine!

1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup vinegar
5 tablespoons Worcestershire
1 tablespoon butter
½ small onion
dash black pepper
cayenne pepper
1 ½ teaspoons salt
half cup water
Mix it all together in a large pan. Bring it to a quick boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 10 minutes. You can also figure out your own secret ingredient and dump it to the mix. I like about three fingers of Tennessee sipping whiskey.

Figgy Pudding
4 oz of plain flour
a pinch of salt
4 oz bread crumbs
4 oz shredded suet
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 oz dark soft brown sugar
8 oz chopped dried figs
finely grated rind & the juice of one lemon
2 tablespoon milk
2 beaten eggs
“Sift salt and flour together, then mix with all the remaining dry ingredients. Add the figs, lemon rind and juice, milk and beaten eggs. Beat them well. The mixture should have a soft dropping consistency. Put into a greased two-pint pudding basin, cover securely, and steam for three hours. I like it served with heated golden syrup topping, and a generous pour of custard. Makes me hungry just talking about it. My engineer Tex Carbone likes vanilla ice cream on it. I don’t understand that at all.”

The Perfect Meatball
3 minced cloves garlic
¼ cup vegetable oil (for frying)
1 pound ground meat (equal parts beef, pork, veal)
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
9 Saltine crackers, finely crushed
½ teaspoon salt
black pepper
dried basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup water
1 egg
1 teaspoon tomato paste
“Heat the oil over a low heat in a large Dutch oven. In a big bowl, add the meat, garlic, cheese, crackers, and spices. Mix lightly with your fingers. Don’t be shy—get into it. In a small bowl, whisk the water, the egg, and the tomato paste. Add the egg mixture to the meat mixture. Mix it lightly with your fingers. Form it into drum shapes, or balls. Cook in batches, over medium high heat, until its browned on both sides. That will be about five minutes total. Serve ‘em up with some potatoes, or some spaghetti, or just make a sandwich out of them. You're gonna love 'em."

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Rumi - Love Dogs

This is just brilliant. It moves me beyond words. So, in honor of the official ending of my marriage to a truly wonderful, kind and remarkable person, which becomes final tomorrow, here it goes:

Coleman Barks reading Love Dogs by Rumi

I need words like these to believe in.

Friday, January 11, 2008


I am off to the the mountains with a bit of Hemingway and a fire-starter log. Cold. Wet. Way out of the city, thank lord.

Does anyone remember that story "a clean, well lighted place?" I think that is the title. I don't know if there is a more perfect short story.

We should do away with these long tomes. Enough is enough. Much can be said in a page or two. And there is never enough to be done.