Saturday, August 15, 2015

Dog Days

Sit around, dream away the place I'm from,
Used to feel so much, now I just feel numb,
Could go out tonight but I ain't sure what for,
Call a friend or two I don't know anymore.
Sit and listen to the rain,
Sit and listen to the rain.

- Ryan Adams (Whiskeytown), "Sit and Listen to the Rain"

Monday, August 3, 2015

Those Were Different Days

"I never had any friends like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?"
- Stand by Me

We had just finished a double-header on a sweltering hot August afternoon. We dumped what was left in our water jugs on our heads and the losing trio would inevitably start bickering about blown calls that cost them the game. It was a time when the outcome of a sandlot baseball game was the most important thing in our lives. We would gather up our bats and gloves and walk down the trails alongside the Rouge River as we headed home for one air conditioned basement of Millwood or another, where summer nights of cold sodas and video games awaited us, the sun sinking beneath one of those pink August skies and the woods quickly darkening.

I knew those trails and those woods like I once knew the statistics on the back of my Steve Yzerman hockey card. When I went back to those woods this summer, just to see the old sandlot again -- a pastime that has sadly decreased in frequency over the years -- I realized that many years had passed since I had been back there, that place where we spent our formative years, and that I barely knew some of those guys now. And I wondered if I was to blame for that. The trails that we used to take to the sandlot through the woods were almost unfamiliar to me now, and I knew that no matter how much I wished otherwise, things would never be the same.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

To All Mothers of Rebellious Children

In my high school years I was really into Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. For my seventeenth birthday I got a big silver book of Dylan's lyrics and later a smaller book of Springsteen's, and I soon found that their lyrics were complimented by alcohol. I spent many a night back then drinking whiskey out of a dixie cup in my bedroom, the crickets chirping outside my screen window, mesmerized by the lines of All Along the Watchtower and Thunder Road. As college came and went I slowly lost touch with those books and those lyrics, like I lost touch with a lot of things as my drinking progressed over the years.

 It was 2013 when I discovered Jason Isbell's album "Southeastern," an album on which Isbell reflects on his newfound sobriety, right around the time I was getting sober myself. I had known Isbell as a guitarist and vocalist for the band Drive By Truckers back in college, but those were different days. Some nights, when I catch myself studying the lyrics to some Isbell song on my phone or on my laptop, it feels like deja vu going back to those nights in high school; I feel young again.

Nine to Five

- banksy

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Current Favorite Writer: Timothy Showalter

Heavy on the song lyrics lately. Doing lots of writing.

Black boots black jeans black beard
Walking down the street in the morning air
Then I lit up a cigarette and put my headphones on
And I listened to Van Etten sing
You gotta give out, give up, give out, give up, give out, give up, give in, give out, give up, give in
Give in, give in, give in, I was better than I felt in years
Then I looked to the streets and I looked to my fears
I know something was going round these tears
I was hurting people, so close to me
I spent those long years feeling so fucking bad

Take it even further back to darker times
When I drank too much and I took too much I lied to all my friends about who I was
But Caitlin listen to me now I'm all grown up
I spent two long years just losing my mind
Thank you Kristian for keeping me clean
And we're painted like the warriors. . .
You gotta heal. . .

- Strand of Oaks, "Heal"

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Independence Day

I was an Indiana kid, gettin' no one in my bed
I had your sweet tunes to play
I was staring at the map, feeling fire in my head
I had your sweet tunes to play
I was mean to my dad, cause I was mean to myself
I had your sweet tunes to play
Stealing smokes in my car, with the windows way down
I had your sweet tunes to play, your sweet tunes to play

I was sittin' in the bath, cleaning off the ash
But I had your sweet tunes to play
And I hated all my friends, I wouldn't let them in
I had your sweet tunes to play
On a long desert train, and a knife in my bag
I had your sweet tunes to play
Under the Market Street Bridge, burning one in my hand
I had your sweet tunes to play
Your sweet tunes to play

I'm getting older every day, still living the same mistakes
I got your sweet tunes to play
Your sweet tunes to play

- Strand of Oaks, "JM"

John Mellencamp.
Neil Young.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Isbell is God

Guess I'm doin' what I'm on this earth to do
And I don't think on why I'm here or where it hurts
I'm just lucky to have the work

And every night I dream I'm drownin' in this dirt
But I thank God for the work

And the day will come that I'll find a reason
Somebody proud to love a man like me
My back is numb and my hands are freezing
But what I'm working for is something more than free

- Something More Than Free