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dotsJournal: dots
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Mood: Straightening things out...

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 ·

...Created 2013-04-08 02:24:11

dotsJournal: I'm alivedots
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Mood: Brain Fried

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,
somehow
Gonna make it all right
But not right now
I know your wondering when...
(Nickelback)

...Created 2007-07-18 17:50:04

dotsJournal: Long week!dots
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Mood: Tired

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

...Created 2006-10-20 14:39:28

dotsJournal: Jimmy Blue Eyesdots
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Mood: Buried

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



...Created 2006-08-22 18:25:17

dotsJournal: dots
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Mood: Tired

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?

...Created 2006-08-16 11:27:14

dotsJournal: Love & Successdots
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Mood: Relaxing

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


...Created 2006-05-07 19:22:52

dotsJournal: dots
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Mood: Off to a concert!!






“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

...Created 2006-04-24 19:55:04

dotsJournal: Randomdots
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Mood: The Usual

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.

...Created 2006-04-19 15:49:06

dotsJournal: "The Spectrum"dots
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Mood: The Usual

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

...Created 2006-04-10 00:14:41

dotsJournal: To rhyme or notdots
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Mood: Thinking...

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?






...Created 2006-03-29 01:15:04