Monday, December 30, 2013

Moms Demand Action

Speaking of Jackson Browne, here's a little piece I did from the Moms Demand Action rally commemorating the first anniversary of the Sandy Hook shootings. With part of a new Jackson Browne song about gun violence.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Three O'Clock And I'm Alone Again

Amazon gave me a free month of Amazon Prime and I've been watching tons of movies they have available to stream for free.

One of them was ROADIE (the 2011 movie starring Ron Eldard, not the 2012 short with Jack Black and Kyle Gass or the 1980 movie with Meat Loaf):

The movie itself is all over the place, but there are at least two fantastic performances in it (Eldard and Bobby Cannavale) and it's definitely worth watching if you've got the time.

There's a scene in the movie where Eldard (fired after more than two decades as a roadie for Blue Oyster Cult) and his High School girlfriend (now married to the guy who bullied Eldard in High School) listen to what at first seemed like a fantastic pastiche of pretentious blue-eyed soul.

Imagine my surprise to learn that the band Eldard was obsessed with was a real band, the Good Rats. And they were exactly the kind of band I might have been obsessed with when I was growing up - a woulda/coulda/shoulda been stars band from Long Island who never gave up their dream.

The song from the movie is far from flawless (but that just enhances its appeal in my opinion), but it drips heartache and yearning all through the performance. From 1976's Rat City in Blue, please enjoy the Good Rats (featuring the late, great Peppi Marchello):

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Four Christmas Songs I Never Get Tired Of

Ring those sleigh bells one more time

Darlene Love's "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)"

And these three:
Kinks "Father Christmas"

John Lennon "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)"

The Three Wise Men (aka XTC) "Thanks for Christmas"

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Forgotten Christmas Songs, Part 12

I almost forgot this one...

Perhaps because there is no good explanation for this.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Forgotten Christmas Songs, Part 11

From the delightfully warped mind of Capt. Sensible and friends:

Monday, December 16, 2013

Forgotten Christmas Songs, Part 10

Fun and Dumb

Not sure why this never really caught on, but... damn... that's catchy.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Forgotten Christmas Songs, Part 9

Please, just make it stop.

Take Wayne Newton, add generic disco beats, blend well with Christmas.

It's no wonder people drink during the holidays!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Friday, December 13, 2013

Forgotten Christmas Songs, Part 7

Ho, Ho, Ho, Surprise, Surprise

If I didn't know this was the flip side to the single of Elton John's "Step Into Christmas," I'd assume it was the work of some demented sub-Monty Python British comics trying to come up with the worst Xmas song ever.

Must be heard to be believed.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Forgotten Christmas Songs, Part 6

Great harmonies... which shouldn't surprise anyone given the lineage... (And the sax solo sounds pretty good too...)

I could have sworn this was Wilson-Phillips, but it's just Carnie & Wendy Wilson during the Wilson-Phillips hiatus.

Not sure why this one fell out of favor when so many crappy Christmas songs still get played, but here it is again. Just like it's 1993 all over.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Forgotten Christmas Songs, Part 4

I kinda miss 'em, I just don't wanna kiss 'em

This hasn't aged well... but maybe that's okay.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Forgotten Christmas Songs, Part 3

The Christmas you get you deserve?

Perhaps only the 1970s and a voice like Greg Lake's could produce this next song.

Its mixture of pseudo-profundity and vagueness seem perfectly matched to Lake's bombastic voice that seems to be saying something really amazingthat you can't quite put your finger on. (Which is all the more appropriate since the lyrics were written by Peter Sinfield, a poet, songwriter, and co-founder of King Crimson.)

I used to hear this all the time on the radio, but it seems to have fallen out of favor recently.

But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy it now... even if it's just a guilty pleasure.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Forgotten Christmas Songs, Part 2

Or... reasons why Glenn Tilbrook should not have a mustache and huge glasses.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Forgotten Christmas Songs, Part 1

Maybe this hasn't aged well, but it was everywhere back in the day and I pretty much never hear it these days.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Making Lists

I suppose it's finally time to listen to Christmas music.

So here's this:

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Excepting Alice

There's no Alice's Restaurant, but plenty of other shenanigans with Arlo Guthrie and the Muppets.

As you might expect.

Monday, November 25, 2013

We Can Change The World

I'm reading the new Graham Nash autobiography Wild Tales: A Rock & Roll Life on Kindle. There's a lot of multimedia included, so when he talks about the first song he sang with David Crosby and Stephen Stills, you can actually hear it.

It's cool sometimes to live in the future.

So from 42 years ago, here's Graham Nash:

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Always 17

Our past, our present, and our promise of tomorrow

The woman in this song, who was 17 in 1961, would be almost 70 today.

Or if she was 17 when Harry Chapin died, she'd be nearly 50.

So there's that...

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

George Harrison Hated This

Maybe it's not the original, but the harmonies are damn nice.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Clicks and Pups

We'll Stay Away From Crowds With Signs That Say No Dogs Allowed...

In an alternate universe, this blog would be called Clicks and Pups and would be filled with songs and stories about puppies.

Which, come to think of it, doesn't sound half bad...

No... not bad at all.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sliding into Obscurity, Two Feet At a Time

Do You Understand Me Now?

She walked into the room like she owned the joint.

Long legs, high heels, big hair.

Looked around to see who was there. She always looked around first.

Then she spotted a place. Checked her reflection in the window. Walked quickly and confidently over the table.

And plopped herself down.

Waited there. Watching. Biding her time.

Not anxious. Not eager. Disinterested, but eyes always on the door.

Always aware of who came in. And who went out.

She'd say later it was a skill of hers. A constant awareness without seeming to look.

And people approached, but she'd wave them off before they could even say anything.

Back then it worked. Back then, they were interested. Back then, invisibility was something she had to work hard to achieve.

These days, it's different. The awareness is still there.

But there's no one to wave off.

And yet her eyes keep that same look. Disinterested.

Even though that's no longer how she feels.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Armistice Day

Veteran's Day.

Used to be Armistice Day. On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

Used to be on November 11.

Made a Monday holiday starting in 1971. Switched back to November 11th in 1978. (Conveniently on a Monday this year for the best of both worlds.)

And yes, it means something.

And no, it doesn't mean supporting war.

And yes, there's a lot of things that are horrible about war. Many, many things.

But we'll leave those for another time.

For now, we honor those who served.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

I Know When To Stay In And Get Things Done

It's Not Really Words, It's Just the Power To Talk

I love this song more than words can express.

So on days when everything seems to go south, maybe it's just the thing I need to hear.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

So... Courage

This is making me nervous...

An outtake from Peter Gabriel's 1986 album So. Not finished then, polished off and finished in the past year.

Monday, November 4, 2013

And Then There's This

A reader sent me this link, a nice follow-up to yesterday's BBC Bob Geldof/Live Aid doc:

The end cuts off, but you get the idea...

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Nymphs Are Dreaming

Please explain this song to me. Seriously.

Thanks in advance.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Dance On the Edge of the Dark

We Got the Radio On...

We need black and white.

And music.

And a lot of other things.

But for now, this will have to do.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

She Could've Been A Killer If She Didn't Walk the Way She Do

She Opened Strange Doors That We'd Never Close Again

Happy Halloween.

Extra candy if you're dressed as Bowie. (From any era.)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Mention La Pieta

Life Or Death, Is Dinner Ready Yet?

A gorgeous, gorgeous live video from Jane Siberry back in the day.

Strange and wonderful, my friends:

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Is Mother Proud of Little Boy Today?

It's 8:15 and that's the time it's always been...

A small artifact from the first golden age of synth pop.

Yup, yup, yup, yup...

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Can't Say What We've Seen

Give Us Time To Work It Out

A friend sent me this video yesterday. And it reminded me how weird and wonderful Talking Heads were... and how much I always loved this video.

Maybe it's the marching-band-type drums.

Or the accordian.

Or the "city in my mind" imagery.

Or the endless romance of the open road in the middle of nothing.

In any event, enjoy:

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Things Fall Apart, It's Scientific

Sleeping on the Interstate...

You know you're not supposed to take the car out of state.

So you drive it all the way to the edge of the state. And you stop.

And you rest there. Sleep for a few hours at the rest stop.

Ignore the stories you've heard. The kids murdered at the rest stop.

The guy who opens his car door and finds a hook on the door handle.

The bodies never found... and the ones found in the woods.

You should really stay in a motel. But you won't be there that long.

You're heading further. Six hours past the border.

Six hours past where you're allowed to go.

To a small airport. A tiny airport to meet a plane that's late.

This is years before 9/11 and the security is lax. They let you keep the car by the curb for two hours. The guards come and talk to you, but they're friendly. They don't care if you move the car or not.

Times have changed since then. The small airport was rebuilt and expanded at a cost of fifty million dollars.

The guards now shoo you away if you park for more than five minutes.

The car companies now put GPS devices on their vehicles and know instantly if you take their cars out of state.

But the rest stop is still there. And there's still no sign of the guy with the hook for an arm.

And the guy who drove up there and went to the small airport?

You miss him sometimes. But he's long gone.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Can They At Least Hold Off Until Halloween?

I keep seeing Christmas decorations and displays in stores.



Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Or Maybe You Don't

Do I have to come right flat out and tell you everything?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Missed It the First Time Around

But here's something interesting I dug up on the YouTubes.

I'll take Tragically Lost Opportunities for 1000, Alex.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

One More Time - Imagine A Light

Once More, Into the Sky

I wrote this four years ago -- and edited it just a little for today.

Today is John Lennon's birthday. If he'd lived, he would be 73 years old.

That's almost impossible to imagine. And out of all the celebrities who've died in my lifetime, I took his death the hardest. (I never met him, I didn't even like all his music, but there was something about his spirit that I connected with at a very deep and fundamental level.)

In the same way, I connect with Iceland in a very deep and fundamental level. There's something amazing and spiritual about Iceland and it's reflected in their lifestyle, their music, and in their amazingly beautiful scenery.

Every year, Iceland holds a huge music festival in October called Iceland Airwaves. Every year I vow to get there, but I haven't made it yet.

In 2006, Yoko Ono started construction on the Imagine Peace Tower, on a small island just off the coast of Reykjavik, Iceland. Since this project combined John Lennon and Iceland, I followed its progress closely.

The "tower" consists of a wishing well, on which is written the phrase "Imagine Peace" in 24 languages. Under the base of the wishing well are more than a half-million handwritten wishes Ono collected from people all around the world.

In 2007, the tower was unveiled. Each year on John Lennon's birthday, the monument becomes a "tower of light" as 15 searchlights are bounced through mirrors and prisms to create a beam of light that stretches more than 12,000 feet into the sky. The tower of light is kept lit each year until December 8 (the day John Lennon was killed).

If you can't make it to Iceland, you can see live streaming video of the tower here.

Visit the official Imagine Peace Tower website online here.

Or take a look at a great time-lapse video of the tower from 2011 (complete with aurora activity around 12 seconds in):

IMAGINE PEACE TOWER from Yoko Ono on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

And I Said To Myself "What's Going On?"

From the golden age of synthesized drums and horns.

"I'm going west."

Of course. West was the way everyone went.

"You could come with."

I could have. But everyone was going that way. Why not North?

"Too cold. West."

Too soon. Someday it will be West. But for now it's North.

"That's gonna change everything."

And it did.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

And One Day It Was Gone

Yesterday's Oatmeal Day After Day

The store was on the corner.

Near a shady tree.

On a block where you could sometimes park. If you were lucky.

Across from the coffee shop that was always crowded and served huge pots of tea.

And the Thai Place.

And the other Thai Place.

It was one of those places people who liked spirituality and paganism and Druids would speak about in hushed tones.

She went in all the time. Bought books. Drank green tea. And breathed in the incense.

I waited for her. Outside.

Until that one day that I ventured inside. Smelled the Patchouli. Looked through the many different types of massage therapists whose cards were up on the cork board.

And in the back of my mind, I heard this song.

And thought of monsters. Dancing.

And while I could tell you I found her in the metaphysical section, anyone who ever went to that store knows the whole store was the metaphysical section.

I went back there today.

The bookstore's gone.

The Thai Place is now a trendy boutique. The other Thai Place is now a shoestore. The coffee shop closed, reopened as a different coffee shop, and now is a different coffee shop with hookahs at the tables on the sidewalk.

The shady tree fell down and the street is now permit-only, so you can't even park there.

The monsters no longer dance there. They've moved somewhere else.

I'm pretty sure they'd want me to find them.

And maybe she'll even be there. In the metaphysical section, naturally.

Government Shut Down

And so the federal government is shut down.

Proving again that a small group of dedicated idiots can wreak havoc on the world.

Meanwhile, from the bad old days:

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Live McCartney

I hope I can rock this hard when I'm in my 70s.

Seriously, this is so great it makes me take back half the mean things I've ever said about Sir Paul.

Paul McCartney Live Stream from Jimmy Kimmel Live on Myspace.

Monday, September 23, 2013


It snowed today in Anchorage.

I'm told that's the earliest snowfall there since 1947.

And while it probably won't stick -- not yet anyway -- but it reminds me of how much I miss Alaska.

And how the world just keeps turning no matter what happens.

Seasons change.

But in change there is hope.

And promise.

Of something. Even if we can't be sure of what.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Came Out With My Soul Untouched

I Swear I Found the Key to the Universe in the Engine of an Old Parked Car

Any Trouble, the great probably-should've-beens who had the misfortune of being on Stiff Records at a time when everyone else on Stiff Records was considered the next big thing, play around Bruce Springsteen's tempo on their debut album Where Are All The Nice Girls from 1980.

I'd never heard this before tonight, but here it is:

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Dreaming of the Past

I Was Shivering Inside

Long before Sigur Ros was a glimmer in the eye of whatever Icelandic lava-sprite birthed them, Bryan Ferry, Andy Mackay, Phil Manzanera (and sometimes Brian Eno) were sculpting sonic soundscapes that seemed to stretch forever through the wispy fog of memory.

And so... from early 1981, here's the only UK #1 single from Roxy Music.

Not sure why it's on my mind today... but it is.

Whistle amongst yourselves...

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Boom Goes My Heart

My simple wish: may you move deliberately in the direction of kindness and love today.

You'll ever totally get there. None of us will.

Don't let that stop you.

Just take a step.

From wherever you might be right now.

(Then repeat as often as you can.)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Vintage XTC promo

From 1999.

Although why it's centered around a haircut is wayyyyyy above my pay grade.

"I think the English are still pagans at heart..."

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Watch Video, Ignore Beard

Required Viewing

Watch this (and try not to be too put off by Glenn Tilbrook's incomprehensible beard - seriously, what was he thinking?).

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

It's Not Easy Being Green-ish

I've Heard It Too Many Times to Ignore It

No reason, really.

Just because.

And also this:

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day

Before Monday Holidays and BBQ

Long before billionaires who don't pay taxes decided that working people caused all our financial problems...

Long before there were protections in place to make job sites safe...

Long before paid vacations...

Or weekends off... or the 40-hour work week...

There were people fighting for fairness.

In between the day off, the sports on TV, and the BBQ...

It's good to remember those who went before us... and fought for what made the day off and the BBQ possible.

Just saying.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Made of Layers, Cells, Constellations

One Last Blast of Summer

The heat flies in from over the mountains.

It wasn't supposed to be this way. Wet, with flash floods.

It was supposed to be cooler. That's what they promised on the news.

Which, perhaps is why we never listen to the news.

Don't go to Rochester, they said.

I have to go, I responded. I've had the tickets for weeks.

Don't go. The vibe is weird. The vibe is bizarre.

It can't be bad, though, I said. I'd know.

You know it's weird.

That's just the heat. Just the blast from the summer. It's the humidity, not the weirdness.


You know.

You know it wasn't the heat.

And you went. And it was horrible. Worse than you'd imagined.

The lesson isn't Rochester. Although you stayed away for decades.

The lesson was something else. Something you didn'd want to see.

And every year, at the end of summer, or when it just heats up, you remember.

Fuck Rochester. Sure, there's that.

But when you let yourself breathe, you know there was more. Flying in from over the mountains. With the flash floods and the heartache.

Friday, August 30, 2013

New Paul McCartney

Who gnu?

And a bonus radio call-in interview on yesterday's New Music show at XRT. Click here for details.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Africa Is Choking on Their Coca-Cola

There is a rose that I want to live for...

Please enjoy these two songs from the end of the year that seem better fitted to the end of the summer.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Three Female Takes (With Bonus Haiku)

Clouds form in the sky

Miscreants Slink Along Roads

It's that time of year.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Should Have Been Huge

I've been on a Utopia kick the past few days.

Here, from the peak of their powers, is the band (Todd Rundgren, Kasim Sulton, Roger Powell, and Willie Wilcox) live in Detroit in 1981.

They shoulda been huge...

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Crying Now For Much Too Long

You Can Keep Your Krishna Burgers

Rat Scabies and the boys.

Because sometimes you just want to wreck things.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

My Real-Life Imaginary Conversation with John Lennon

They Look at Me Kind of Strange

I was sitting in a coffee shop.

Out the window were beautiful mountains that still had spots of snow on them in late July.

And this song came on over the sound system:

I found myself choking up. Wishing John Lennon were still around. Not that I'd met him. Not that I knew him.

"It's okay," he said in my mind. "Whenever you need it, you've still got the old records."

"That's not enough. I want to know what you'd have to say. I want to hear the music you would have made."

"Sorry," he said. "Can't help you there. But you can say things. You can make music."

"I can't make music," I said. And I sat there for a while listening to him sing and being sad. "Don't you miss it?" I finally asked.

"They say we're all energy. And energy can't be created or destroyed. It just changes form." Then he laughed. "Christ, I sound like George now."

I looked out the window. "The beauty reminds me of what was lost," I say.

"I get that. But it wasn't lost. It's just been transformed. Now you can be angry and feed on the energy of anger for years. God knows I did. Or you can see the beauty and go towards it. I know you gotta make your own decisions, but that's what I'd would do if I were you."

So I close the laptop and leave the coffee shop. Go out towards the mountains.

Imaginary John Lennon is right. Energy can't be created or destroyed.

So we may as well harness it.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Snow Was Falling, Drifts Were High


Late at night.

The roads closed ahead.

People pulled over. Sleeping in cars. Engines still running because it was cold.

And one diner. Open all night.

Long since out of pie. Long since out of burgers.

They had coffee (which I don't drink). And some other stuff with caffeine.

And I sat in a booth for hours. Crammed with three others, people I didn't know.

They talked. I listened. A little.

They talked more. I stared out the window.

Watched the snow.

And wondered. Waited. Watched.

Around 4am a State Trooper came in. Said the rode was open. Or would be.

The men stumbled from booth to cash register.

I stayed behind. Still happy to be warm.

Not wanting to go out to the cold car yet.

Not wanting to clear the windshield. Or wait for the heater to kick in. Or wait behind the trucks and the cops for the road to open.

The waitress came over. Brought me some toast. It was the only thing the kitchen still had.

Tried to give me coffee. But I don't drink coffee.

She eyed me funny. Looked me up and down.

"Maybe you should wait until first light then."

So I did.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Rock & Roll Songs Stuck in my Brain

Yeah, I'm still listening to that great Frank Turner song...

Which got me to thinking about Rock & Roll songs about Rock & Roll.

So off of the top of my head, here's a few:

Lou Reed shows how the right radio station can save your life with Rock & Roll:

The Kinks realize there's still rock left even after everyone says it's dead:

And of course, all of Chuck's children are out there playing his licks (if you need a fix):

Friday, July 26, 2013

Guitars and Drums and Desperate Poetry

Late to the party again

First things first: Go read Holly Hughes on Frank Turner.

She's right -- this is what it's all about. A call to arms for people who love music. And a call to the stage for those who want to make music.

Second, I know I'm late to this party... but at least I'm here.

Yes, Frank Turner sounds like Billy Bragg with a better voice.

Yes, his playful populism is infectious.

Yes, he sold out Wembley and yet I'd never heard of him.

Yes, maybe others invented the genre of "Atheist Gospel" before, but Frank Turner might just be the one who perfected it.

Go, check out his music. Listen, dance, enjoy, celebrate.

And feel renewed.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Into a Brand-New Car

All You Ever Do Is Run Away

She drinks.

You know this. But you can't do anything about it.

And she's moody.

Again, this is not in your control.

So when she does both....

And drives off...

Into the black night...

With no lights on.

You wonder if you should have stopped her.

Even though you know you could not have done so.

Maybe that's the real message. Maybe.

Or maybe her guardian angels work overtime those nights.

Keeping her safe. Until she realizes what she's doing.

And turns on her lights.

Monday, July 22, 2013

RIP Faye Hunter

This makes me sad on so many levels.

Apparently, Faye Hunter (bassist for Let's Active in their jangle-pop heyday) has died at the age of 59. One report says she committed suicide after years of being primary caregiver for her sick mother.

A bit more info here.

I always thought of Let's Active as a band from an alternate reality.

The didn't quite understand what most music was, but they had a slightly warped perspective that, with the right amount of energy and exuberance, could be shaped into something that was almost recognizable, always compelling, and always just slightly out of reach.

In a kinder, more just world, they would have been superstars. Instead of cult heroes.

And our society isn't well equipped to take care of cult heroes. Especially when their time in the sun is over.

Condolences to her friends, family, and music lovers everywhere.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Loving this New David Bowie Video

Which seems like it's almost a mid-70s Bowie track.

Now if only I could stop thinking he looks frighteningly like Ronald Reagan in this clip....

Friday, July 12, 2013

Claymation Attacked My Youth

Again and again and again

There's a band down the street rehearsing.

And every one of their songs sounds good.

But every one of their songs sounds the same.

And they don't really care about this.

They think they have a signature. They think they can create a brand.

They might be right. Music these days is more about branding than sound. Or music. Or instrumentation. Or singing.

They asked me what I thought one day.

And I listened. I considered carefully.

I scratched my chin like I'd seen wise men do when I was younger.

And then I told them they needed some Claymation.

They laughed. Told me there was no such word.

And went back to playing another ten songs that all sounded alike.

And they didn't even notice when I slipped out the back, walked down the alley, and stopped in at a local bar.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Happy Birthday Ringo Starr

Your Moments of Ringo

73 years old today.

And drums still loom large in his legend.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Now Available: No, Mr. Bond, I Expect Your Dreams to Die

My book No, Mr. Bond, I Expect Your Dreams To Die is now available.

Thirty-six personal essays, stories, tone poems, and other short pieces.

Conveniently packaged in both paperback and ebook editions.

Click here for the paperback.

Click here for the Kindle edition.

For more information, visit

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Want To Do Damage That You Can Undo

I've Got to Wait Here For Your Moon to Turn Blue

The chase is what matters, she said.

The phrasing of questions, the gathering of charms.

The feeling that something is on the way.

The haunting and sounding out.

I don't understand, I told her.

And her hips swayed. And she danced to the sounds that only she could hear.

And I listened. And it took a long time.

But eventually the sounds came through.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

To Sleep Perchance to Bryan Adams

There's Times I'd Been Mistaken

In the dream, I was at an airport.

I'd gotten off a plane.

Someone came up to me. And said "We've got to hurry, Mr. Adams."

I said he had the wrong guy.

He didn't listen.

And then I was in a limo.

And being helped into a suit.

And I was handed a guitar.

And pushed onto stage.

Where the band started playing. That big hit song.

And the crowd cheered as I walked up to the microphone. A roadie handed me a cord and I plugged in the guitar.


Because it was a dream...

I didn't worry that I couldn't play guitar.

I didn't worry that I hadn't picked up my bags at the airport.

I didn't worry that the real guy would show up.

All I could think of was that I hoped the pool was really empty and that I couldn't remember all the words to this song:

Thursday, June 20, 2013

It Must Be Summer

'Cause the Days Are Long...


At a party.

Wearing Cut-offs.

Hair in a ponytale.


Singing Too Loudly.

Drinking Too Quickly.

Dancing with me.


Out in the backyard.

Down by the rail lines.

Lit up by sparklers.

Monday, June 17, 2013

My Presidential To-Do List

A Singing Telegram From You In Tibet

Sure, there are many pressing problems facing this country.

But if I were President, one of the things I'd do in my first 100 days would be to declare a National Day of Celebration for Don Dixon and Marti Jones.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

So... This Exists

And lives at the corner of Horrible and Awesome

And it's a two-CD set (released with little fanfare in 2011).

Tremble in fear, my friends, tremble in fear.

Monday, June 10, 2013

New Sigur Ros

Fresh from their cameo in the Simpsons season finale (and their reworking of the Simpsons end-credit music), here's something new from Sigur Ros.

Moonscape, fjords, elves, and magic not included.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

No, Mr. Bond, I Expect Your Dreams To Die


I'm very happy to announce that my book of essays No, Mr. Bond, I Expect Your Dreams to Die will be available later this month (as both a paperback and an ebook).

For more information on the book, click here. And if you're on Facebook, please "Like" the book page here.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Without A Reason Why

From the Department of Wonderfully Bad Mid-1970s Videos

Start with a song from a martial-arts exploitation movie.

Starring George Lazenby, the guy who stepped in as James Bond in the movie Sean Connery thought was too sappy.

Then recruit a former prog-rock band whose first album featured a slightly rocking version of Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring."

Then film a video where the band is inexplicably playing in front of a desert highway. And intercut with scenes from what seems like the worst Holiday Inn gig ever.

And add a scenes where the band boards a stairway that should lead to a plane (that isn't there) from a company called Pariah Airlines.

Oh, and drown the whole thing with tons of echo & reverb.

What's not to love? (And, not surprisingly, this was huge in Japan.)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

In the Middle of Our Street

From the days where gloves with the fingers cut off were all the rage...

Hopes and dreams, kids. Hopes and dreams.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

In Which We Fight Off Rival Gangs And Take Total Possession of the Hill

Like There Was Nothing Ever Wrong For the Rest of Our Days

One day when you think back on this room, you won't be able to recall what it looks like.

Or if you do it will seem small.

Impossibly small.

But maybe it's just that your world was small. Impossibly small.

Until you pushed against it.

Broke through a membrane.

Realized there was more going on than the things you saw every day.

Maybe you sensed something not quite in sight.

Something that made you think you could see the lines. If you looked quickly. Or turned to the right angle.

Shafts of light. Passing between us. Connecting us all.

And the light's colors would tell you something.

Would tell you the relationship. The prism of feelings.

And sometimes. When you closed your eyes. You were right.

It was all... right there.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Highways and the Byways

It rained.

For the first time in a generation.

It wasn't supposed to rain.

It was supposed to be a charmed event.

But it rained.

That's not totally correct. It poured.

She wasn't there. And I thought at the time that was why it was raining.

That the rain was her absence. That only her return would make things right.

But the problem wasn't her absence. It was my inability to see that she was the problem.

So that night, with the celebration, with the crowds.

Came the rain.

It lasted for years.

I couldn't see it back then. But I could feel the cold wind. And the raindrops.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

More Weird Stuff From 1979

There's a story that goes with this... I'll share it later.

But, for now, enjoy this splash of out-of-time weirdness from Ron Wood's 1979 solo album Gimme Some Neck, a then-unreleased Bob Dylan song.

Friday, May 17, 2013


The girl at the convenience store checked IDs.

She couldn't have been more than 17.

A song came on the radio. She didn't know it. But she liked it.

"It's old, huh?" she asked.

I turned around. There wasn't anyone else in the store. So I guess she was talking to me.

"Yeah. It's old enough to be your Dad."

Years earlier, I would have been buying candy bars. Or the 99-cent fudge brownies.

But it was hot. And I was thirsty.

So I was buying water.

Nice cold water.

Thinking about how a song could be 35 years old. Not just old enough to buy beer, but old enough not to get carded.

By the 16-year-old clerk. Who knew enough to know it was old.

Old enough to be her dad.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Good Morning Wherever

Worry About it Later

She came from a place we'd heard of. A place none of us had ever seen.

But the sounds from that place echoed up and down the hallways.

And if she didn't tell us much, we filled in the details around everything she had told us.

And we imagined.

And we dreamed.

And she smiled.

Because that's who she was. And she didn't want to be unfriendly.

Years later, she was back there. We were not.

We weren't cool enough. Or she was always too cool.

Or something.

But when the wind would blow in the summers, blowing cool off the water after warm days...

That's when we all would turn east.

And remember.

And maybe wonder. If she ever turned west. From five (or sometimes six) hours in the future... and looked back on us.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Colorado State Policeman Trooper Cat

Because It's Uphill

Loveland pass has an elevation of 11,991 feet above Sea Level.

Denver, Colorado, about 60 miles away, is about 5600 feet above Sea Level.

That's an average grade of 2% for 60 miles, although the road at its steepest point is about a 15% grade.

So, no matter how you slice it, no matter how badly you're fleeing from a drug-deal-gone-bad, making it to Loveland pass in under half an hour is quite the accomplishment.

Happy 68th birthday, sorry it's a few days late...

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

They Had To Use A Special Computer As My Replacement

I never thought that words like "product" could ever leave my lips...

There's a road that leads out of town.

It's not paved.

Every spring it washes away. When the snow melts.

But you can find it in the summers. Never crowded. But always traveled.

It avoids the highway. Goes the long way around the hills.

It's not the kind of place they put on the website. Or in the brochures at the tourism council.

It's a road that's windy. Mostly ignored.

In the winter, it's covered in snow. And ice. And memories.

It might have had a name once. Might have appeared on maps.

But not now. Now, it's something you have to know about. You have to seek out.

But it will take you out of town. All the way out of town.

Just make sure that's where you want to go.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

And Then There's This

Which I'd love if Elvis didn't look quite so old.

And it didn't have Elmo in it.

But it's still almost too cute for words.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Good Height, Right Temp, Strong Flow

Just Like A Mad Dog You're Chasing Your Tail in a Circle

The shower comes on.


Part of the slow wake.

Stumble into the bathroom. Stumble for the light. Pee.

The showerhead is a good height. The water's the right temp. There's a good flow.


Good height, right temp, strong flow.

A morning. Like ten thousand others.

Good height, right temp, strong flow.

Another morning. Slow. Wake.

Stumble. Stumble. Pee.

Good height, right temp, strong flow.

Eyes? Check? Open? Not yet. Soon.

Soap always in the same spot. Shampoo. Razor.

Good height, right temp, strong flow.

Over and over.

Notable only for the changes.

The hotel where the shower's too low. Or the water's too hot. Or the flow's just a trickle.

But for now, it's clear.

There. Now. Like before.

Good height. Right temp. Strong flow.

These are the things. The patterns.

Stumble in. Stumble around. Pee.

Waking slow. Until.

Until the time.

When the eyes open.

And even then. Good height. Right temp. Strong flow.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Good height. Later.

Right temp. Later.

Strong flow. Later.

A million times. Each separate. Each completely different.

Good height.


Right temp.


Strong flow.

The same.

Water circles.


And out.

Draining. Leaving something. Something more noticeable in its absence than its presence.

Good height. Right temp. Strong flow.

And... out.

Monday, April 22, 2013

RIP RIchie Havens

When I was a kid, I bought the triple-record soundtrack to Woodstock. The one with the liner notes that all the flaws were left in the live recordings, saying "Consider them like the scars in fine leather, proof of the origin and authenticity of the material in which they are found."

And in the legend of Woodstock, there's always talk of Richie Havens. Out there with an acoustic guitar. Improvising an ode to something that hadn't yet begun. Something that would start. Something that hasn't yet been completed.

May it someday happen.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Thursday, April 18, 2013

RIP Scott Miller

This Just Sucks

As announced here, Scott Miller (of Game Theory and Loud Family fame and the author of Music: What Happened?) has died far too young at age 53.

This seems so wrong on so many levels... Please send all your best wishes, thoughts, love, and prayers (in whatever combination works best for you) to his family and friends). It's not enough -- it's never enough -- but it's all we can do.

Here's a rerun from two years back:

They Suggest Piano Lessons for Young Beauty Queens

The days got longer, the pants got shorter, and the sun got warmer.

And the plans started hatching. Where we'd go. Who we'd visit. What we'd eat.

Then the couples shattered, stretched, and broke.

And another summer had arrived. This one different. This one less carefree, more serious.

This time the end was in sight. And for most of us, it wasn't filled with joy and gladness. It was filled with doubt and despair.

The internships were horrific, hours of torture bookending endless drinking. More and more, conversations would begin with "Can you believe people live like this?"

The phone calls were more tense.

The concerts were harder to plan.

The standing Tuesday night Frisbee games moved to Thursday, then to Saturday afternoon, then to never.

The interruptions -- which had made each previous summer bearable -- now became something we dreaded.

There was a chill everywhere, even when it was over 100 degrees and the wind was blowing inland off the tides of shorelines gone.

The ones who'd already left were divided into two groups: the ones who admitted their unhappiness and the ones who could hide their unhappiness.

We didn't know what was happening... only that it was important.

And, as we struggled to wring the last drop of May out of the air, we couldn't wait for June to come. Everything would change.

Of course, back then, we thought we could come back anytime we wanted.

You could argue that Enigma Records was the coolest label in the world in 1985.

I wore most of the oxide off a 1985 cassette sampler from Enigma, driving far too fast on roads in 21 different states in a French car constructed (poorly) in Kenosha, Wisconsin. (Who knows, the tape might still be around in an old shoe box or still in the glove compartment that car, which I haven't owned since the 90s.)

I don't remember much about the cassette, but it had songs on it by Don Dixon, Game Theory, the Smithereens, the Dead Milkmen, and (if memory serves) Mojo Nixon.

If I had the tape right now (okay, and if I had a car that could play tapes), I'd get on the nearest highway right now, roll down all the windows, blast the rest of the oxide off it at high levels of volume, and drive approximately 123mph.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Hey Man, Let's Go Out and Get Some Wisdom

You Can't Make It Drink

It's a funny thing, intention.

You think you're doing something. You insist you're doing only that thing.

But you're not.

You're doing something else. The opposite of what you thought. What you insisted.

And if someone points it out to you, you object.

You rant and rave. You rail against it.

You don't want to hear it. Don't want to consider it.

You wear down anyone who points it out to you.

Until they give up.

Until they go away.

Until they think four times before bringing it up again.

You live your life with blinders on.

And insist you're the only one who sees the whole picture.

Needless to say, this doesn't help anyone. Especially you.

When this was recorded, George Harrison was too weak to play guitar. He was probably too weak to sing properly, but he sang it anyway. Eight weeks later, he was dead.

And Sam Brown just knocks this out of the park in the Concert for George. But you already knew that.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Bare Trees

It Was A Cold Night

The trees sway.

THey've always swayed, you say.

You might be right.

The swaying just seems more pronounced now.

Maybe it's the recent storms.

They took down a bunch of the smaller trees. Left an opening that wasn't there before.

Or maybe it was. Maybe. If you looked at it the right way.

The trick of memory makes it hard to tell.

The trick of memory makes you wonder if that fence was always there. If those birds were always around (and so loud).

The fog rolls in. Bringing with it a mystery about the trees.

The wind is still now, but still the trees are moving.

Maybe when the fog burns off we'll see.

Maybe the dead trees will come back again.

Filled with leaves. Bursting with mysteries. Covered in song.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

New Minus Five

Lights, Cameras, Girls, Guitars

Listen to this:

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Is It Any Wonder

Just watched Family Band, the documentary on the Cowsills.

Between the Cowsills and the Beach Boys, is it any wonder that family bands pushed onto stage by abusive dads lead to tragedy?

And that's not even counting the Jacksons.

(Although one of the Cowsills is married to one of the Bangles. So I guess the story has something of a happy ending...)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Something More Than In-Between

Probably Strange But It's Basically True

If I were a songwriter and all I had to show for a lifetime of work was this:

I'd be happy.

(And am I the only one who wants Marshall Crenshaw to cover this? Or Chris Stamey? Or Don Dixon?)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Craigslist Ads and the New Wave Songs That Love Them #13

Number Thirteen in a Very Occasional Series

You: the girl with the Polish dictionary, sitting at the Sidewalk Cafe in Venice.

Me: the incredibly handsome mime who had gathered a small but vibrant crowd just outside.

Your eyes met mine as I struggled against the wind and I could have sworn you smiled when I couldn't get out of that damn box.

After, I collected the money from the hat on the ground. You looked like you wanted me to buy you a drink. Something strong and Eastern European.

I walked away, not wanting to shock you with the existential problem of making small talk with a mime.

When I realized I was an idiot and came back for you, you were gone.

Since then, I've been haunting every borscht joint east of downtown.

Meet me on Sunday. I'll bring the pierogis.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Brittania Ruled the Rails

I can't embed this... but if you've ever wanted a tour of Swindon from Andy Partridge, click here now.

You're welcome!

But at least I can embed these:

Saturday, March 16, 2013

For Your Weekend Viewing Pleasure

Because There Is Nothing More Punk Than A Banjo

Please enjoy Dropkick Murphys on Letterman from last night:

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Born So Very Soft & Easygoing

Its Tentacles are Bland...

The dream was intense.

The events were not.

But the dream... it was intense.

And filled with danger.

Running. Threats. Malice.

Pure, unadulterated evil.

Oh, and fire.

Spontaneous, massive fire.

And I was running. Being chased. If I were caught... well, that would be the end.

I woke up sweating. Heart beating a mile a minute.

With one single thought: this was not my dream.

This was something I stumbled into. Something I took from someone.

Something that might have killed the original dreamer.

Because I wasn't being chased. There is no fire.

There are problems. And obstacles. And things I can handle.

I have an idea whose dream it was. But I'm not sure.

I hope you don't even remember it if it was yours.

I hope you slid into a different dream. A happier dream. A dream that made you smile.

Because if you did it would be worth my few moments of panic and sweat and heart palpitations.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Name that Accent

Where in the Hell Does He Think He Comes From edition

Seriously, who sings like this?

And what is this song about? Oranges?

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Monday, February 25, 2013

New Robyn Hitchcock

Love From London

Album comes out next Tuesday.

Here's a taste (complete with nice cello action):

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Fish, Living and Dead, Subtitled in German

I'm never gonna be 35...

The sun was coming up over a hill.

We were in a car. Driving towards the sun. I'd like to tell you what state it was, but I can't remember.

She had a sweatshirt on. From a university she'd never heard of.

She'd bought the sweatshirt at a flea market, drawn by the logo, which had a small fish in the corner.

I never would have bought that sweatshirt. Not if I hadn't been there. Not if I hadn't heard of it.

And certainly not if there was a fish on the logo.

We were heading to an abandoned village. A ghost town that had boomed briefly, then died.

A place where people fell in love, had children, made millions.

A place that was rumored to be in the running for a huge corporate headquarters that instead went to the Great Plains.

A place supposedly rich in minerals. But they could never be found.

A place with a fantastic lake that was ideal for swimming. Until the earthquake when it drained.

We started at 4 in the morning. The drive was only supposed to take an hour.

But we made some wrong turns.

And several roads were unmarked.

And there was a tree down at one of the intersections.

So it took longer.

We'd planned to get there before sunrise. Watch the sun come out over the rotting buildings.

Those were the plans.

I'd like to tell you that it was amazing when we reached it.

I'd like to tell you we had fantastic adventures when we were there.

I'd like to say that the abandoned village gave me insights that colored the way I viewed the world.

The truth is we never got there.

We never found it.

And on the way back, we stopped to eat.

And she left the flea market sweatshirt on a chair.

Lost to the vicissitudes of time, the tiny fish on the logo unable to find the lake that was no longer there and swim away.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Full Speed Ahead

Many more of them live next door...

If I ever have billions of dollars, I'm going to spend a healthy chunk of it hiring my favorite musicians to recreate my favorite albums live.

You might say that this would be incredibly self-indulgent.

And you'd be right.

But think how much fun it would be.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Jam On Uke

Because... the internet

Really, nothing says punk (or mod) like the ukulele.

And just in case you need to cleanse your palate:

Monday, February 18, 2013

RIP Tony Sheridan

To call him the "one-time Beatles frontman" is stretching the facts a bit...

... but Tony Sheridan certainly does loom large as an early collaborator.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

An Early Clue

A Little Teaser

The context for this will become clearer in a few months, but until then, enjoy:

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Quick Take


I guess when you've got a rave-up like this, there's no reason not to power through the whole thing in 90 seconds.

Proving that, at least for a few years, the Ramones had nothing on Ray, Dave, and the boys:

Friday, February 8, 2013

Who Said Anything About Love

From those long-gone days of silly video transitions, huge mirror sunglasses, and a time when Joe Jackson still had (a little bit of) hair:

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Hill

It's Getting Dark, Too Dark to See...

It had always been there. In the distance.

We'd paid no attention to it. For years.

But one night, one cold and snowy night, suddenly the only important thing was to go out in the moonlight and climb the hill.

It wasn't that big. It wasn't that steep. It didn't require training. Or oxygen.

But we knew it required effort. And scarves.

So we fortified ourselves. With booze. With warm clothing. With heavy socks.

And we set out. Eight of us. Piled into a car.

And we walked. In silence. In the moonlight.

Up and up and up.

It was deceptive from the distance. From where we lived. From the warmth of houses, schools, offices.

But once we were on the way, we couldn't turn back.

Yes, there was a path. Twisting. Turning. Not as direct as we'd imagined.

And after a very long time we reached the top.

And we passed around the bottle. Looked down on the town. Saw the lights from the houses and the long darknesses of the fields.

None of us spoke for a long time. And then someone said "I guess this is what it looks like."

Yeah. I guess so.

Not at all what we imagined. But somehow beautiful. In its own way.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Zombie Music

Is it just me or does this sound like it should be performed only when there's a full moon, only in a graveyard, and only by a backing band consisting of brain-hungry zombies?

Friday, January 25, 2013

And When She's Dreaming Sometimes She Sings in French

She's always been so hard to get around...

The stories cascade down, shaken loose from part of my brain.

The girl with the scratches from her cat who wore bandaids all over her face.

The impossibly beautiful girl whose smile lit up the back room of the restaurant at the party.

The girl with hair so long it could wrap around her body three or four times.

The summer I was working in the library and noticed that there were four women who worked there who seemed normally sized in most ways except for their insanely large posteriors.

The pre-internet spread of misinformation.

The post-internet spread of misinformation.

The misunderstandings.

The misappropriations of affection.

The way the rain prods the part of my mind that leads to dreaming.

The memory of certainty that is so much stronger than the certainty of memory.

And it coalesces. With a sudden realization.

That maybe the complexity of the girl you loved so long ago was all in your mind.

Maybe she wasn't that hard to figure out. You were just looking at the wrong thing.

And maybe, just maybe, she was mumbling gibberish, not singing in French.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Love and Wisdom and Compassion Toward One Another

Non-Musical Digression

In case you've never heard this speech, it's worthwhile. And if you haven't heard it recently, it's worth another listen.

A few quick thoughts for today, which marks both the (public) celebration of a Presidential Inaugural and the (official) celebration of the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr.:

May we all rise to the challenges we face.

May we all remember who we are as individuals whose choices matter. And as members of the community of human beings.

May we have the courage to speak from the heart and rise to the occasions as they arise.

And may we all realize that we are all flawed, but that our past (however good or bad) need not keep us from greatness.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Yelling at the Kids in the Back

Time is short and here's the damn thing about it

There's a catch in the voice. A slight hesitation. Nerves, maybe.

Let the feeling linger. And it grows.

It gets bigger than it needs to be. Bigger than it has any right to be.

Every decision either makes it bigger or smaller.

And every decision is questionable. Could go either way.

Any one decision is justifiable. It's just when you put them all together, well... it's not a pretty sight. It's not something you ever want to see.

And maybe the first one could have gone either way.

But by the time you get to 10,000 it's more difficult.

Much more difficult.

And by the time you realize the feelings that once helped you are hurting you, they're implanted. Ingrained. Hard-wired in your brain.

And the effort required to turn that wiring around gets more and more daunting as time goes on.

But what's the alternative?

Change or don't, the universe doesn't care.

But you do.

And even though it's daunting, each day brings a new chance.

A new decision.

A chance to forge new neural pathways.

And let the voice grow stronger. The nervousness get smaller.

Because if something's gonna linger, shouldn't it be something good?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

One Quick Thought

If hindsight is 20/20, does that make our (very faulty) memories some kind of cosmic Lasik surgery?

Hat tip to JB from The Hits Just Keep on Comin'.

And for good measure here are the other songs:

And this one formerly sung by "an old estranged fiancee named Paul":

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Missing Avenger Plane

Let it ring in the air...

A packed church. Overflowing.

A Thursday afternoon. Cold and windy.

Speaker after speaker. Trying to capture something that was gone.

First the lionizing. Which might be comforting to some.

Then hints of humor. And a few less than saintly anecdotes.

Attempts to bring all these different parts together.

Attempts to make sense of what happened.

My mind wandering. Thinking of the story of the blind men and the elephant as the service continues.

Late afternoon sunlight pours through high frosted painted windows.

Outside, trees sway in the wind.

Squint and it looks like someone trying to look inside.

Squint and it looks like the dead man everyone is talking about.

Squint and it looks like God.


Look closely and it's gone.

Look closely and the parts appear. Separate. Unconnected. Messy.

Leaving us to make sense of it.

Or at least try.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Color Green Is Oh So Lovely And Obscene

You'll Never Have the Damn Thing Out...

There's a story that goes with this.

I'll tell you one day.

But not today.

Today is for this.

Friday, January 4, 2013

He Got a Tattoo On His Arm That Say Baby

Running From the Man in Oklahoma City With a 500-Gallon Tank

"You should ask her out," they said.

I don't know. Doesn't she have a boyfriend?

"Yeah. He's on parole."

For what?

"Nothing violent. Nothing serious. But he gets jealous easy."

What is it with girls and bad boys? Wait, what happens when he gets jealous?

"Before he would've beat the shit out of you. But that doesn't seem likely now. He's on parole. He has to watch himself."

She's kind of cool... but I don't know.

"You should ask her out. It's not fair that all the assholes get all the cool girls."

Yeah. But also... no.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Sir Gawain, Green Knight Pays Extra

Bob and Wheel

I was reading Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. And the girl on the bus noticed. And she commented on it.

Said the Green Knight was a feminist parable. That the metaphorical beheading of womankind and the subsequent return in a year and a day was clearly a reference to menstruation.

Went on to describe the way each of the battles in the poem represented a different dysfunctional romantic relationship.

She spoke in great detail and with sharp command of the text. Each of her major theses was supported by multiple references to specific stanzas. And argument, like each stanza, was laid out so it ended with a bob and wheel. The "bob" was a short line, followed by the "wheel," a longer line infused with internal rhymes.

I don't even remember why I had the book. It must have been assigned reading for some course I was taking. I can't imagine I would have picked up the book on my own.

But I don't remember any of that.

I remember her necklace -- an oblong piece of jade on a silver chain.

I remember her scarf -- purple, with green stripes.

And I remember her description of the appropriate punishments for each of the metaphorical sins committed by the men represented in the dysfunctional romances she felt were represented in the poem.

And I remember how she smiled after she finished her analysis.

And how she gave me her phone number.

After her discussion of beheadings and combat, and sword-fueled menstrual cycles.

I folded the paper with her number in it. And I put it in the paperback. And I read the rest of the poem.

And lost the book.

Exactly one year and a day later, I was back on the same bus.

I remembered the conversation and looked around for the girl.

She wasn't there.

Which, looking back years later, is fine by me.