Lost Sheep

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Steve Hart
41 M Vancouver, WA

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  • Art Copyright Jimmy Ruska

    Untitled Entry

    Mood: Straightening things out...

    Posted on 2013-04-08 02:24:11

       A friend asked me what kind of music I play when I'm sad.

    My reply:
    For light problems I power through them with good tunes.

    About once a year though, when it's really ugly, nothing purges the soul like playing the really sad stuff, drinking, bawling and starting fresh.

    Of course the next day, with the head pounding, it all seems frivolous, which is exactly how I wanted it to feel all along.
    13 minutes ago · Like ·


    I'm alive

    Mood: Brain Fried

    Posted on 2007-07-18 17:50:04

       Here's a public apology to all of my elite skills friends. I haven't died, I've merely disappeared.

    I've been writing a lot lately, but I seem to have moved from poetry to guidebooks. I'm heavily involved in portlandhikersfieldguide.com, an online hiking resource for my local area. Most of the writing is telling people what various trails are like, but I work in a bit of poetic nuance now and then.

    I've also reentered the world of nature photography. You can see my work all over the Field Guide or some of the better stuff at http://s77.photobucket.com/albums/j72/stevefromdodge/

    I'll be writing poetry and fiction again some day soon.

    Some day,
    Gonna make it all right
    But not right now
    I know your wondering when...


    Long week!

    Mood: Tired

    Posted on 2006-10-20 14:39:28

       It's been a long, long week, but it's finally almost over!


    Jimmy Blue Eyes

    Mood: Buried

    Posted on 2006-08-22 18:25:17

       This is a piece from the Radio Program "CBS Radio Workshop" originally broadcast March 23, 1956. It's a spectacular piece of performed poetry. If you want an mp3, PM me.

    The Legend of Jimmy Blue Eyes

    In Storyville, where blues are born
    There’s a legend of a golden horn
    And a hard-lipped kid, blue-eyed and fair
    Who tried for a note that wasn’t there

    So come along, Padido Street
    Where the hot licks tickle dancing feet
    That shuffle in patent leather shoes
    Where Jimmy Blue-Eyes blew the blues

    Now Jimmy Blue-Eyes came on earth
    A child of hunger from his birth
    He played all day around the street of sin
    And they spiked his milk with Old Tom gin

    He second lined each funeral band
    Rushed the can when they made a stand
    He held their horns with love and care
    While his face lit up like a county fair

    He followed the tailgate players ‘roun’
    When the wagons rolled through, back of town
    And the only prayers he ever knew
    Were the kind a blue note trumpet blew

    He roamed the streets from sun to moon
    His bare feet beat to each talky tune
    As he crept through the gin mill swinging doors
    And the sawdust danced on the white tile floors

    He stole free lunch from bell house places
    And hustled a buck at the fairgrounds races
    He talked to dice like a lover can
    And he aimed for the life of a sportin’ man

    When Jimmy Blue-Eyes turned sixteen
    He joined Odd Jill, a blues song queen
    Jill dressed him like a special prize
    This Dixie kid with the soft blue eyes

    He’d twenty suits and a Stetson skimmer
    A box backed coat and a diamond glimmer
    A gold chain draped his fancy vest
    He went first class, he was the best

    Now Jimmy Blue-Eyes loved to dally
    At a card room down along Pig Alley
    He could riffle the deck with gambler’s ease
    Clean a cotch game like a breeze

    One night a player met his raise
    With a silver horn from better days
    Jim showed his win to his lovin’ Jill
    In her fancy flat in the morning still

    “Sweet Jill, I’m sure no fancy Dan
    But I’m a dead bang, natural music man
    I‘ll take this battered, silver horn
    And make it talk, come Mardi gras morn.”

    “Jimmy, my love, since I was born,
    I loved the music of a horn.
    You learn to make it weep and shout
    I’ll love you ‘till the starts burn out”

    “Why me and the blues are kid and candy
    St. Louis and Memphis and Mr. Handy
    If you stuck a pin in my heart it’s true
    A drop of my blood would come out pure blue”

    But summers came and winters went
    And Jimmy’s lovin’ heart was bent
    As ‘fore he hit that master blow
    His sweet Jill blew with Hot-Lips Joe

    Now Hot-Lips Joe, he had no peer
    He could shave the head from a glass of beer
    With a wail from his educated horn
    Just as sure as you were born

    The kiss off gave poor Jim a jolt
    He loaded up his blue steel colt
    And headed for the circus house
    To croak that double crossin’ louse

    Hot-lips Joe was holdin’ the floor
    When the Colt spit lead, type 44
    The bullet sang around his head
    Jim killed a tourist guide instead

    In sheer disgust, the gun he slammed
    Upon the floor and then he lammed
    Along the streets with jazz mad night
    While whistles blew to halt his flight

    And back at Minnie’s Circus house
    Hot-Lips Joe, that heart thief louse
    Cased the sucker on the floor
    And smiled and whispered “Never more"

    "No never more will Jimmy Blue-Eyes
    Catch me with a lead surprise.
    This hog wild kid is through, for fair
    A synch to dance upon the air

    Before he ever got a mile
    Poor Jim was nailed and brought to trial
    The old judge burned him with a look
    And up and hit him with a book

    In the cell where Jimmy, locked
    Steel secured and granite blocked
    He played a music, rich, apart
    The gift God gives a contrite heart

    Long summers came, long winters went
    And all of Jimmy’s time was spent
    To reach a chord, to cut the air
    To blow that note that wasn’t there

    The sun went down in Storyville
    When love went out with Jim and Jill
    First war came, then prohibition
    And a district went to quick perdition

    And diehards died on bathtub gin
    But the music lived like hidden sin
    To tickle toes in northern lands
    With the advent of the Dixie bands

    But New Orleans was much alive
    In the year of 1935
    Jim took the long road home at last
    The dark and bitter days were past

    Now when Jimmy Blue-Eyes hit the sticks
    He was the master of hot licks
    His trumpet clawed and tore the air
    In search of a note that wasn’t there

    He played the hottest spots in town
    Hell, he blew the ceilings down
    When his encores all were done
    They said “That man is Gabriel’s son”

    The chrome money fell at Jimmy’s feet
    In full blown gale of silver sleet
    He smiled and he played right on until
    His mind ran back to his heartbeat, Jill

    Now you show me an artist, fine or fair
    Who seeks a note that isn’t there
    And I’ll show a guy that most men ain’t
    He’s alone in the clouds, an uncrowned saint

    For he scatters joy to his fellow man
    Though he might wind up an also-ran
    It’s a drive past glory, fortune, fame
    It’s nirvana sure, but a heartbreak game

    When Jimmy’s heart and soul sent out
    The soft, sweet tones of his trumpet shout
    He blew it hot and low and high
    He hit the fringe of heaven’s sky

    The multiplying strains made naught
    He couldn’t reach the peak he sought
    He blew until the notes were bane,
    Elastic stretches of his brain

    He tried a Hungan and Mambo pills
    But they wouldn’t bring a trumpet trills
    He killed a quart of rye each day
    And it didn’t help for his high note play

    “Jimmy boy, your case is tragic
    You’d best resort to Mammy Magic
    She cooks a pot like jungle stew
    There’s conjure in her devil’s brew”

    Now Mammy Magic was her name
    A voodoo witch of power and fame
    Her spells as famous as the blues
    From New Orleans to Newport News

    “I tell you Jimmy on the level
    You got to see my boss the Devil
    You’re asking one thing I can’t do
    Despite the magic of my brew”

    So Mammy Magic cast a spell
    To summon up the king of hell
    He came in a flame of smoke and thunder
    That almost tore the town asunder

    He smelled like absinthe and smoke and mud
    His eyes were rubies, pigeon blood
    He stood erect in a manner bold
    And his tail was 80 carat gold

    So the red king made a deal with him
    And a secret locked inside of Jim
    Then with an evil art of old
    Red turned that silver horn to gold

    Jimmy Blue-Eyes walked on feet
    Which never touched upon the street
    He wore a broad smile upon his face
    For that never never note was his

    That long elusive note was there
    The most immortal anywhere
    But when he blew it, come what may
    He had an awful price to pay

    Oh Hot Lips had just come down
    From a long run in Chicago town
    He’d been the world’s top trumpet king
    For twenty years come one more spring

    The jazz folk down in New Orleans
    Dug folding money from their jeans
    To bet on Jim or Hot-Lips Joe
    To contest for the master blow

    “Money, marbles, chalk and beans
    On Jimmy, the pride of New Orleans”
    “Who’ll cover five G’s with cash, not pork
    It’s Jimmy Blue-Eyes for old New York”

    Most every parish up and down
    Bet scads on Jimmy’s horn renown
    The high and low of fortune’s birth
    Came on from every end of earth

    The joint was jammed and 88
    Was under the dukes of a solid gate
    Their sorrow sign hung outside
    And there was Hot-Lips Joe and his beauty bride

    Sweet Jill, the nightingale of song
    But dead wrong broad, dead wrong, dead wrong
    Playing the puff at a ringside table
    Sipping an amber, draped in sable

    Then Joe took the stage with a massive pride
    And cut his trumpet open wide
    He blew hot notes heard ‘round about
    He turned that trumpet inside out

    He blew till all the glass was broken
    He blew so hot the joint was smokin’
    His horn turned inside out and curled,
    The last note heard around the world

    When Joe sat down, the cheering sounds
    Bust tombstones in the burial grounds
    His look told Jim with unfeigned joy
    “Go peddle your papers, little boy”

    Jim took the stage and struck a stance
    Bold for a guy with a Chinamen’s chance
    He warmed the hot notes, let ‘em fry
    To a whispered tone, like strong men cry

    They felt his lonely bitter years
    As the horn wept soft, metallic tears
    Then quick, mad laughter with a cheer
    Go cry in your beer, go cry in your beer

    Now switchblade gashes and razor slashes
    Blend with whiskey bottle crashes
    Culminating in a wail
    From the foul, deep bowel of a tall walled jail

    He ran the scale of man’s emotions
    Like changing tides upon the oceans
    A harsh note cursed, another prayed
    Lord have mercy brother, I’m so afraid

    His horn sang smooth and educated
    And blue and true and dedicated
    The music of that Dixie man
    Was greater than the pipes of Pan

    The high soft sigh of a trumpet’s cry
    Can tell what magic words can’t try
    For the horn sings true as it only can
    Unmatched by nature, bird or man

    Man sings his heart with tongue or pen
    Words give and live through time again
    But his very heart and soul ring clear
    When a true horn speaks for all to hear

    The crowd sat frozen round a gaff
    Jim split the ceiling right in half
    He blew the walls down and the doors
    He raised the carpets off the floors

    Yeah, this genius boy from a land of cotton
    This disinherited, misbegotten
    Son of a slum in sin and gin
    Blew that scatter outside in

    And yet, he seemed like a tired life goin’ home
    From a weary earth in a heartbreak roam
    To that promised land of a fairer clime
    Out there on the other side of time

    "Play it for Jill, sweet. Play er high!
    And you're my love until I die"
    So Jimmy Blue-Eyes hit some bars
    And blew out half a million stars

    And then that never never note went clear
    Ten gillion miles to heaven’s ear
    And when it faded, died and broke
    That blue-eyed kid went up in smoke

    No some rounders claim they're in the know
    That Jimmy Blue-Eyes fries down below
    But in New Orleans, they’ll lay you odds
    He’s playing trumpet with the Gods

    For a deacon man was there who preached
    Before the last note cut and reached
    The edges of eternity and died
    “Father forgive me” his trumpet cried

    No matter where or when hot music blows
    If you've not have, ask dad, he knows
    Jim’s golden horn, the love of faithless Jill
    When blues and we were young in Storyville

    Now Jimmy Blue-Eyes came on earth
    A child of hunger from his birth
    They spiked his milk with Old Tom gin
    And he played all day around the street of sin

    So come along, Padido Street
    Where the hot licks tickle dancing feet
    That shuffle in patent leather shoes
    Where Jimmy Blue-Eyes blew the blues

    In Storyville, where jazz was born
    Is the legend of the golden horn
    And a hot-lipped kid with blue eyes and fair
    Who hit that note that wasn’t there


    Untitled Entry

    Mood: Tired

    Posted on 2006-08-16 11:27:14

       How is it that sitting at my desk with a cell phone at my ear, stuffing cold McDonald's in my face seems to sum up my life?

    Love & Success

    Mood: Relaxing

    Posted on 2006-05-07 19:22:52

       Lyrics by Bryan Free:

    twenty miles up vandeschere i’ll park
    inside the grass and watch the hillside get dark
    and rollin down my window I can feel
    the wild underneath burying my wheels

    and I guess I understand a little better now
    how lovin you is drowning in a field
    how I can break it down but I will never see out
    of this mystery

    so I left the hill for the orchards and the barn
    I stood and listened to the pounding of their hearts
    and I wondered if they thought about the day
    what does it mean
    what is this real estate sign that says for sale

    and I guess I understand a little better now
    how lovin you gets mixed up with success
    i get so afraid of selling you my failure
    i forget to give my best

    but i will never know you

    and i’m lying when i write this i don’t understand
    and if i fall in love it won’t be like i planned
    these aren’t my words
    they’re not my notes
    they’re not my songs
    they’re not my hands

    but i will never know you
    until i understand that i will never know you

    -Bryan Free
    "Love and Success"
    from the Album "Poison I Drank From"
    Also available for download at www.bryanfree.com


    Untitled Entry

    Mood: Off to a concert!!

    Posted on 2006-04-24 19:55:04


    “I know we're not saints or virgins or lunatics;

    we know all the lust and lavatory jokes, and most of the dirty people;

    we can catch buses and count our change and cross the roads and talk real sentences. But our innocence goes awfully deep,

    and our discreditable secret is that we don't know anything at all,

    and our horrid inner secret is that we don't care that we don't.”

    -Dylan Thomas



    Mood: The Usual

    Posted on 2006-04-19 15:49:06

       I'm playing with a new feature Jimmy's given us, the ability to sort our posts randomly. This will give people that have recently discovered me easier access to my older work. I've been too busy recently to post anything new. I'll keep my newest post listed as a featured work, so if you want the lastest it will be there.

    Let me know what you think about it.


    "The Spectrum"

    Mood: The Usual

    Posted on 2006-04-10 00:14:41

       As many of you know, I'm really concerned about the new "Comment Spectrum" and the effect it's having on people's comments here. While it's designed to help, I think it's really self-defeating. The system runs by having users assign a one time numeric score to all of another user's comments. There's no feedback and no way for the commenter to understand which of his comments are being evaluated. There's no way to learn how to improve, when you don't know which comment needing improving or how. Assigning a numeric value to all of the comments we've made isn't a helpful, encouraging thing; it's a judgement.

    This thing is really frustrating to me is the effect it's having on comments. I signed up for a site where people give quality one-to-one comments on poetry, not a site where people assign anonymous, numeric votes on other's comments. As the comments have dried up, the site has lost most of it's enjoyment value for me.

    If you concerned or interested please comment on the forum Jimmy set up at http://www.eliteskills.com/forum/topic/7/3206 If you're too busy to get involved in a debate, you can quickly vote if you want to keep it or get rid of it at http://www.eliteskills.com/ratingspectrum.php?u=Commentrating 0 is keep it, 10 is get rid of it.

    In any event, if you choose to comment on my pieces, please comment on my work exactly the way you feel, with no regard to the comment ratings. My records show that I've rated exactly one person and that one was a 10, but if this thing was set up properly, you could see that that ten was not a vote on a person, it was actually a vote to remove the comment rating system.

    Thank you,
    Lost Sheep


    To rhyme or not

    Mood: Thinking...

    Posted on 2006-03-29 01:15:04

       To rhyme or not to rhyme, that is the question. Actually, it's not a question needing an universal answer. It's a question each poet answers, or perhaps each poem. There's no right or wrong, no black or white, no dismal backwaters or holy nirvanas. In fact the question is not rhyme at all, but the entire interconnected world of rhyme, meter and form, from Haiku to Sonnet to Villanelle.

    Personally, I write for two reasons, to explore and to communicate. I want to explore my personal world and communicate what it's like to others. I want to make them see what I see and feel what I feel. I want people to laugh in the streets and cry in their bedrooms. I want people to see things in new ways. I want to make the rich frat rat see the homeless man as a man worth knowing. I want the retired man to know where a cutter's actions come from. I want the anti-abortion people think about the pregnant teens and the pro-abortion people to think about the babies. I want to expand horizons, to help people grow. I want them all to understand. I want them to feel.

    So how can rhyme help? Does shoehorning my words into a lock step form somehow make them more intuitive or relatable? Are words more "user friendly" in a ABAB rhyme scheme? It's obvious how rhyme can rip the soul out of a piece, if it's poorly done, but in the hands of a master, can it ever help communicate better?

    Or is rhyme and meter merely an interesting word game to play when we're tired of crossword puzzles?