2017-So Long Suckers….

31 Dec

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As I wait for the foul year of 2017 to sunset, sink into history and fuck the fuck right off I listen to Buddy Guy’s “Damn Right, I’ve Got the Blues” and that may be the song of 2017 for most of us with semi-caring hearts, intellects, sense of compassion and an appreciation of an outdated concept called “facts and logic”. I was fortunate enough to see Buddy Guy live this year…now I see it as a foreshadowing to this last minutes countdown of the year. It was one of the greatest live shows I’ve ever experienced, at 80 the man is a machine, a force, a true original and the last of the pure greats. Most people that pass for musicians or singers/entertainers cannot enter the universe that Buddy Guy inhabits. Talent does not lie or require lip-synching or costume changes. I had the most wonderful partner for the show too. She held tears in her eyes at the raw talent and joy of witnessing Buddy Guy. She is beautiful, the show was beautiful and the blues is beautiful. It felt important and sure enough…three months down the river….I understand why.

Love has been up, down and difficult this year for sure and why shouldn’t it be? The number one question on dating apps now are “Did you vote for Donald Trump?” or the strong weed-out statement of “If you voted for Donald Trump we are NOT compatible” and why not? Get that out of the way quick because if you did vote for the greedy vulture than it says a lot about your character and I doubt we would fall in love, apparently many others feel the same. The current political climate makes love very challenging, just as it can be challenging to be in a sustained good mood, especially for a political junkie such as myself. It has been just a bullshit political/governmental year from the get-go. Anyone who thought Trump would change for the better if we just gave him a chance, I hope you are making a resolution to not be so gullible in the new year. The pig changed alright…for the worse. It is painful to see the depths of their depravity sometimes. It is like they (Trump, his supporters and the politicians going along with him) have the singular aim of hurting/taking away from as many people as possible. If your bank account does not have nine zeros behind the first number or the bank manager doesn’t know your name or you don’t have a private jet…well you can get fucked but they will brand it as the “lower income assistance program”.

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And people fall for this. I made the mistake of getting into a drunken argument with two Trump supporters the other evening, normally I can engage in an intellectual fist-a-cuffs with anyone of any class or caliber, however, the strong drink and time of evening had me tied on the ropes before I opened my mouth because nothing worked except to resort to name calling and hoping that Trump hires their wives or daughters to work in close proximity to the swine then see how much they love him when the women in their lives are on the receiving end of what that pig deems as his due because he is a reality star. I was left feeling broken and dumb. Facts, logic or reason do NOT work with his supporters because they do NOT believe ANYTHING other than what he tells them no matter if video evidence or written evidence or Trump himself whispers it in one ear and denies it in the other. He supports neo-nazis…he denigrates our own intelligence agencies in support of Russia….he fully supported a highly probable child molester…No problem, not true. They will follow even against their own family, friends, profession or best self-interests.

This is what our country faces now…permission to be cruel and hateful…the permission to deny reality…the permission to be dumb…the permission to be gullible….the permission to have rights taken away…the permission to be cheated and then to be thankful for it. What is happening in our country right now mostly benefits only the rich and corrupt yet coal miners, construction workers, good human beings believe they too will be lifted by the grace of his greedy, greasy, tiny hand and become the 1%. Baby, there is only so much room in that club and it has reached capacity so too bad…so long suckers.

But we were talking about love weren’t we? Yes, indeed we were…you see how Trump fucks even this up? Love can be difficult, that’s true but it can be easy too I suppose, at least it seems that way. But oh well…what can a poor boy do? Except to sing in a rock n roll band. Or perhaps open more cans of beer, order a pepperoni pizza, buy yourself some sunflowers, and brave the cold loneliness and shout at the midnight Fleur-de-lis and fireworks. I can’t conjure anyone in these final hours of the year so…all I can say is we will see what happens in 2018 on the love front. Buzzfeed quizzes all say it will be my year…they also said I am a 14 year old girl who should live in Switzerland, will eventually have four daughters and if I was a drink, I’d be an iced chai with a shot of rum. So who am I to judge? The sun will rise again…and the weather will warm…new elections are coming…someone may want to fall in love with me again and they might buy me sunflowers.

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Pour a glass of dumb optimism and pass out head first into the new year. Good things are bound to happen. Well, that’s the message I’m sticking with in this End of the Year screed for you. That’s what I would like to portray. Enough with the negative, that is unfortunately too simple to find these days. Onward into 2018, like a pie to the face…that can be funny and fun no?

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Look for beauty. Have fun. Get weird on occasion when the moon is only full in your heart. Be fierce. Be a 14 year old buzzfeed girl. Be a voter. Be kind and considerate. Be a lover. Listen to the blues and smile. These are some sincere lessons to practice in 2018. See what happens if we can just get some of them in. There were some wonderful and weird times in the past year and I found myself reunited with some and drifting away from others. And so it goes. Maybe, just maybe by following some of the statements above things will be a bit different. I like to think things and circumstances can change.

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So, in summation…Don’t shy away from weirdness….stay angry…stay involved….the United States is not normal right now…let’s not pretend it is. Fuck those people. Be creative…be open…let’s see what we can make happen….let’s just see what happens…but for now I need to open another coldie because even though the year isn’t ending great hey…who knows how it may begin 108 minutes from now.

Damn Right, I’ve Got the Blues….thanks Buddy.

C. Drake, New Years blues baby

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Fairytale of New Orleans

24 Dec

The wind and weather took a turn to the colder side of life but no matter….we have one another, if only in the technological sense. It is Christmas eve and Santa just hit Delaware according to NORAD, which I follow religiously on Christmas eve. In fact, it is probably as close to religion as I get throughout the year. I am proud of that because Santa at the very least makes people happy and is very prompt. We can rely on the jolly old elf. I like that and if you do not, then don’t question that lump of coal in your stocking tomorrow morning…you earned it.

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Santa has different priorities here in New Orleans. He deserves a well earned break from packing up his sleigh and doling out toys and wishes to the slobs of this world. I mean if you really think about it…Santa has to arrive at Mar-a-lago and deliver something other than a sack of horse shit to the trump family. You have to give Santa credit because what can you possibly give a family of cowardly, greedy, Russia-loving, hyenas for Christmas? Perhaps he just feeds his reindeer Tijuana Taco truck chili and does a flyover of Mar-a-lago…that is a fitting Christmas gift for the trump family…I like to think that Santa is an individual of high ethical standards and stands by who ends up on what list. And if Santa needs a bit more than egg nog to get through another season…well who am I to judge? I sometimes need a little extra just to make it through the five-o-clock news.

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Sometimes all we need is a little bit of kindness and Otis Redding. I like to believe that that is true and do my part to make it so. I hold doors open, I say “good evening”, I don’t litter and listen to Otis at least once a day. I don’t think the rest of the world listens to Otis as much as I do, nor do they find the healing nature of his songs. Oh well….I don’t need to see a bunch a hipsters with their giant goofball beards, skinny jeans, wool hats, ironic tee shirts, creepy mustache wearing, IPA drinking, organic latte ordering, vintage bicycle riding and horrific screenplays playing Otis on their Ibuds. Fuck those people. If we can claim anything with certainty…it is that Santa is genuine and authentic and he throws coal at people such as these. Above all else….Santa appreciates great music…that’s why so many christmas tunes are awesome.

Santa is now touching down in Toronto, Canada and that is getting pleasantly close to my time zone. This is an exciting and beautiful moment when millions all across the world share a common feeling (besides the embarrassment and hatred of Donald Trump), the anticipation and joy of waking up to wishes coming true. That is true beauty folks. That is something we tend to lose as we get jobs, dogs, plants, stock options etc.

I think I’ll end with some Louis Armstrong christmas tunes…that seems right and appropriate. Satchmo can capture almost any emotion and make us feel something other than we are at the moment, in a good way. Sometimes we have to go way way back to move forward. These days can be rough and unforgiving….this I know….but they can also be magical and full of joy…just like christmas morning…..this I know.

Anyway, take a moment and be like Christmas Eve Santa Claus in New Orleans…take a moment, have a drink and just take all the weirdness in…and enjoy.

Happy Holidays,

I’ll keep the love light burning,

C. Drake, the top elf

Read this review: this could be what you have been waiting for

19 Jan

An astounding review written by Matthew J. Hall for Screaming with Brevity, check them out at the link below. I usually do not push products or propaganda here, however, there is a time and there is a place and the eve of president pig’s inauguration (not enough whiskey in the world makes that thought tolerable), I found this review and this book, which just may be what you/we need in these gross and twisted days that are ahead. Something real, with no bullshit, total sincerity and extremely relatable. The book is available at epicrites.org and amazon I see.  Read and let someone else take the hits for at least 70 pages.

C. Drake, Burning the Evidence fan

http://www.screamingwithbrevity.com/review-burning-evidence-todd-cirillo/

https://www.amazon.com/Burning-Evidence-Todd-Cirillo/dp/1926860586/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1484887624&sr=8-1&keywords=todd+cirillo

A Review: Burning the Evidence by Todd Cirillo

Todd Cirillo’s Burning the Evidence, published by Epic Rites Press, is one of those rare collections where the poetry begins before the first page is turned. The front cover’s photograph captures a darkened place, illuminated by a woman holding an un-capped and ignited Zippo. The flame only provides the slightest impression of this mysterious woman’s right breast, a partial yet clear right bicep in a short-sleeved and striped garment and three fingers holding the lighter, the index fingernail is varnished, electric pink. Had I not been given a review copy of this book I would have purchased it on the strength of its cover design alone. And I would have been right to do so. Much like the woman of mystery, the poems she represents are stripped of the details that rightly belong to the reader. Cirillo’s Zippo woman becomes my Zippo woman as I unintentionally begin to complete her features and personality. Like any meaningful relationship, the one between writer and reader is burdened by obstacle and compromise. The following poems are clearly the work of a well-practiced writer who has learnt how to massage his reader’s agenda into submission, making clear the path for his own. He is a poet who understands the intimate and somewhat tenuous bond between writer and reader; an author who not only recognises, but utilises, the wide range of memory, emotion and opinion a reader brings to a book.

In place of the back cover’s usual blurb and praise, there is a well-chosen poem from the book, which represents the overriding theme and the pared down style of the poems within.

Today’s Forecast
The day began –
it was sunny and warm,
blue sky and barbecues blazing.
Then the wind, rain and darkness fell.
Hail shattered windshields
leaving glass thrown
up and down the street,
pieces of trees were everywhere.

I stood and looked down the block –
it reminded me
of every great relationship
I’ve ever had.
(Today’s Forecast, quoted in full, from the back cover and p 58)

I audibly groan when I think back to all the time I wasted during my early literary efforts, reading all those bloody articles on various “writing” blogs, pertaining to good writing. Almost without exception, all of those articles lamented on the woes of writing about writing; a contradiction in terms by very definition and one that, thankfully, Cirillo defies as he writes about writing poetry, reading poetry, day-to-day poetry and indeed, the poetry that comes along once in a lifetime.

In the poem, I Fell In Love With A Poet, our narrator – as the title suggests – recalls his dalliance with a fellow poet.

…her words are so good
that I will end up
stealing them one day.
Not whole poems,
but a word or two,
a line she says
when we wake up
in the hungover morning
or as she reaches over me
for a cocktail napkin,
pen in one hand,
burning cigarette
in the other
without spilling her drink,
the coolest person
in the place.
(from I Fell In Love With a Poet, p 14)

A truly terrible combination; two poets together, an unholy union of hellish personality traits resulting in this beautiful poem which brings to mind words from T. S. Eliot, immature poets imitate; mature poets steal.

Cirillo’s women are, without exception, femme fatales. They drink, smoke, tend bar, hook up with weird and destructive types and on occasion, shoot a .357 Magnum with deadly precision.

Pretty Smile
It’s a strange moment
when the bartender
smiles at me
from the other end
of the bar.

I never know
if it’s because
she wants my money
or my number,
or because
she knows
she can get both.
(Pretty Smile, p 20)

True to the mystery of the front cover’s woman, this woman’s only definite is a pretty smile, allowing me, the reader, to fulfil my part of the deal by the completion of her particulars; she is a few inches proud of five foot, brunette, has a mischievous glint in her brown eyes and, like God, is capable of giving and taking away.

You would be misinformed if I were to describe this book as a collection of bar poems, but wherever you are in terms of page number, you are never too far away from one of Cirillo’s bars. They are the type of bars that no longer exist in my part of the world; visiting them in Burning the Evidence has been a wonderfully nostalgic affair. They are the taverns, pubs and bars that the heartless, money-hungry fucks have driven out of business. They are now in the hands of the greedy whose only concern is a profit margin. These are smoke free and classless. They are dressed up as family joints, which means that every time you leave your bar stool for a cigarette in the rain, you trip over a jittery seven-year old who’s running around, wired on processed junk and sugary drinks. They don’t even have a fucking jukebox!

Cirillo’s bars are where men and women go to smoke and drink in the company of like-minded people, and the bartender knows how to pour a drink and talk, or pour a drink and not talk, depending on the order of the day.

“Do you have a drink menu?”
she giggles to the bartender.
“No” the bartender responds.
“You don’t HAVE a drink menu?”
“No honey, we make it up as we go along.”
(from Shot and a Beer Joint, p 25)

While alcohol and romance are staples within this work, there is far more to this book than idle drinking and gratuitous sex.

She asked me,
“What do you write about?”
In a moment of total honesty,
I told her,
“Booze, broken hearts and blowjobs.”
(from Cash Ain’t Always King, p 56)

There are more broken hearts than blowjobs in this collection and while booze is a constant, it is never the sole focal point. In the poem, The Only Sound Tonight, the poet pays tribute to loneliness, acknowledges its sovereignty, its power to come and go, dominating as it pleases. In, Don’t Forget, friendship is Todd Cirillo, Burning the Evidencecelebrated; real friendship, of the type where knowing that you are sharing time and space, breathing in the same air as a particular person is compensation enough for all the dreary days gone and those yet to come. The poem, Who Knew, is as much a tribute to the ubiquitous she, as it is to the blues and its ability to heal. In the title poem, Burning the Evidence, a piece about the odds being stacked against the creative mind, we find an artist who knows that it is better to be killed by that which you love, than to live with all that you hate.

Perhaps, our only option
is throw gasoline all around us,
flick the Zippo
high into the air,
burning the evidence
of ourselves
to become stars.
(from Burning the Evidence, p 40)

Burning the Evidence is about intense moments of friendship. It is for those who need a little dysfunction in order to function. It is a platform for shared experience. It is made up of love poems, but the love here is a sickness, a drug, an addiction. And Todd Cirillo is one of those recovering addicts who always wants more. Not because he doesn’t know better; regardless of lessons learnt, he can’t help but open himself up to that hard-drinking poet, who has a cigarette clasped between her lips, an uncapped and ignited Zippo in her right hand and a .357 Magnum in her left.

 

 

***************
Title: Burning the Evidence
Author: Todd Cirillo
Publisher: Epic Rites Press
P
ublication Date: January 2017
Price: $10.00, paperback
Page count: 70

 

Ride On-2016 in the rearview

31 Dec

So 2016 was a bitch of a year…ending in full Animal Farm mode, “all animals are created equal, some animals are more equal than others.” And brother, we sure as shit got the prize pig who will now be our president walking on his hind hooves and acting like the barnyard is his alone. Fuck, it is a bummer just to think of it. But that is what we have tonight; breakdowns and travesties of personal and country wide proportions for many years to come.

So what can a poor boy do? Enjoy the sultry evening, cold beverages, and with any type of luck, good company. Step out into the streets and see what gives under the neons tonight. The world can be your oyster; even if it is a rotten one. You gotta put something into the soup to make a meal…isn’t that what they say? Or at the very least I will buy a stranger a drink to create a small kindness into the year…start out with karma on my side. Yeah…I like the sound of that. Buy now so I can cash in the karma chip down the road when I really need it, when the tightrope is about to bust. Yes indeed. Got to keep on keeping on.

Ride on….that is my mantra for the new year…thank you Bon Scott. “got myself a one way ticket, going the wrong way.” AC/DC

Happy New Year folks…don’t let the bastards get you down.

C. Drake, thumb in the air

I’m Big in Japan

23 Dec

a-82294-1320092727-jpegSometimes you just have to put 1,000 miles between there and here. Occasionally you have good reason to do so, other times it is just for the sound of the engine, the clicks of the tires on the road, mile upon mile with only your eyes wide open, Tom Waits riding shotgun, and the thoughts in your mind. This is one of those trips. A high speed roll to the only spot in the country where the weather is full of sunshine and the temps are pushing 85 as the rest of the country freezes its ass off in ice, snow, below average temps and suckers are shoveling or scraping ice off of their cars every time they want to go somewhere. The stupidity of this never fails to make me laugh. “I love a white christmas” some say…yeah, well then you belong in the tundra. Me? I prefer sand over snow. I prefer a cold beer out of a cooler than a cold beer out of an ice block in the driveway.

Sometimes, I need to go to an island or some place that is surrounded by water, where animals can be cute or killing machines, depending on the time of year or the circumstances you meet. I enjoy watching water; still, waves, ripples, white caps. I am enthralled by the uncaring nature of water. If you sit on a dock or a sandy shore and just watch the water at night, dark, foreboding, creepy, and try to get one toe in, then move slowly up to the ankles, knees, waist and gather enough courage to dip in and move around…that’s accomplishment, particularly if you enter a land of sharks, gators and sting rays. But that is the deeper and darker fun. I found that watching dolphins makes life a little better. It doesn’t fix everything but for a moment…it straightens life out. Allows you a moment to freeze and focus and feel content. Like diving under water, that moment you rise and break the surface. Must be what resurrection feels like. That instant you break through the surface and breathe. That is accomplishment and I have accomplished much these past few days. I look at the stars above while floating….floating….ears have muffled by the water; up down, up down, in out, in out. I enjoy swimming at night with a beer and only the heavens above, pleased that we are the only two dancing.

In a couple days I’ll throw another 1,000 miles on the truck again and wander to another location where they will serve my kind with enthusiasm and kindness and I will be happy. Though, even if I’m a bit lonely, I’ll have a story to tell to someone.

I may not do everything right in this world, but I’m cool with Tom and hey, I’m big in Japan.

C. Drake the merciless

The Return to Paradise

20 Nov

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“The time has come,” the Walrus said, “To talk of many things”

She told me that on many occasions, many moons ago. I think of it now as I listen to Sunday drinkers enjoying the first cool evening of fall. I have no reason why the line popped into my thoughts but it did and now so did you. And then I have to continue to follow this wicked uninvited thought pattern to the idea of where did we go? Where, in fact , did I go? It has been a hot minute since your shining narrator put the words onto the page for our enjoyment but that has all ended this evening. Yes indeed, the donkey is ready to kick!

Perhaps in the excitement of love and lust, we become lazy. Something happens when we know what’s for dinner on Thursday night at the beginning of the week eh? In all of the joy and glorious sex we drift, let our guard down and float upon words that were written yesterday. If they were good enough to get me here, surely they must be good enough to get me to tomorrow…ho ho, that’s not how it works Bubba. But what do I really know? I just admitted that I haven’t written anything here in quite some time, so why trust what I say? Because I am saying it now and today, “yesterday’s got nothing for me, old pictures that I’ll always see” Axl Rose sang that and he is right. Never underestimate the prophecies of Axl, the man has come through for me on many a strange and terrible time and I, for one, give him credit. Maybe it has something to do with the amount of writing I’ve actually done since she left, which has not all been inspired by her but jump started, yes.

So what has been happening with all that time in between? Sailing the seas, trekking the deep woods, following the Mississippi Blues trail, watching the waves, catching the last glimpse of sunlight over the asphalt of a Winn-Dixie parking lot in the panhandle of Florida, writing some, marching in parades, chasing iguanas and tequila shots in Mexico, road trips with no end, injuries and ultimate decisions, conversations without connection, loss of contact with close friends and hopeful late nights with new ones, home runs and horrible choices, happiness and chasing ghosts, goodbyes to people who have passed on, danced, mixed drinks for 15 girls in red tutus, combat boots and glitter, read about the history of the pyramids, smiled at the super moon, sipped sweet tea on summer porches, swam next to a sign that read Beware Alligators, moved forward, looked backward, ate lots of crawfish, Uber’d it Uptown, sat dumbfounded on a shitty election night, helped some in need, been used, walked the streets in Christmas pajamas, been called “a good man” and a “true bastard”, yet remained a true sucker through it all.

But this wasn’t really about me was it? It was about her.

good to be back,

C. Drake, paradise found redux

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Happy New Year…High Five

31 Dec

IMG_2214Hello hello….here we are counting down to the end of the year and the beginning of the year…you are with me right?  Of course, I appreciate your company.  I hold a fifth of vodka and some cold beers for the cold night but hot music.  I am preparing myself for the end of the year stroll to the river to see Crazycloud and others, including massive fireworks and free bands from New Orleans because we have the best musicians in the world; which will coincide with reminiscing about the past year and speculating on the year to come.  I am confident that there will be some weeping followed by loud, “yeah fuck it man”‘s and high fives all around throughout the evening.  People will hook up and people will break up, people who have just broken up will hook up with people who have just broken up and they will all think it is the beginning of something better….until the sun or the dogs wake them up and leave them wondering in the morning.  “Uh-oh”!!  Hahaha welcome to the new year bitchface!!  How’s the head and heart feeling?

And I my dearest darlings am not above them…in fact, I will be one of them.  Good for me, bad for me…who knows?  I don’t judge.  So, in preparation for that stroll, I am listening to old tunes, particularly Guns N Roses, which seems a fine New Years Eve choice for some twisted and simple reason, drinking old beer, calling old friends and writing new words for you all.  I have the luxury of deciding between three lovely companions for the festivities.  I am not bragging, believe me…as out of the one really sane and stable one, the bookworm, the intelligent and creative, though not as stable one, the northerner, and the absolute creative, sexy and sexually adventurous, yet of the train wreck variety, Nola K, I have chosen the train wreck of course.  The northerner, wanted to go out, wear a nice dress, have dinner, hold hands and kiss politely at midnight, the bookworm, would have drank more, cussed a lot but expected a truly together experience.  Which are both very lovely experiences to have and to hold but my course is one filled with a very loud, unstable PBR swilling, cock grabbing, emotional Hot Mess of a thing that will probably involve broken glass, many scratches, make out sessions, screaming, me hiding and/or running out a back door at some point.  but what a way to begin the new year….just like the last year!

Sometimes I look into the mirror and say that boy must be fucked up in some way.   Call me a pig, slut, outrageously creative and free spirited…anything but boring.  But I’ve made it this far…so fuck it…perhaps I do it in style….I’m part of the too much fun club and you are not, high fives all around…good gawd, it’s starting already.  It was a very good year, with the exception of the losses.  I returned and found home, which has been a long time coming, thus fulling the gypsy prophecy of my birth…”Lord knows, I’m a voodoo child”, traveled thousands of miles across this magnificent landscape, saw the moon rise in 15 different states, fell in love, wrote many words, some quite good, danced to, not only my inner voice but many many incredible bands, begun new relationships, told tremendously creative half-truths and many more full ones.  But in order to do that I had to leave my BFF, Gypsy Punk Rock Mama along with all of my closest and truest friends of the last few years, lose a true love, leave safety and security, comfort and the notoriety in my place.  I don’t regret it at all, in fact I do not think of it….I only think of my friends and how I do miss them and wish they would move here as well…or at least visit on a regular basis because “I prefer a feast of friends to the giant family.”  Thanks Jim Morrison.  They, I miss most.

It’s a bit rainy and slightly cold but I’ve got a fire in my heart…and probably one starting in my place in the wee hours before dawn…so…whatever your year has been…fuck it…whatever the new year brings…fuck it….High Fives all around.

Happy New Year,

C. Drake, New Years baby

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