Whiskey In The Jar – A Deconstruction (the Thin Lizzy version)
I have often wondered why when he encounters Captain Farrell while going over the Cork and Kerry Mountains (or are they the far-famed Kerry Mountains?*) the protagonist first produces his pistol and then produces his rapier. Surely the rapier is redundant once the pistol is produced.
(*In the Dubliners version, it’s “the far-famed Kerry Mountains)
Whack fall the daddy o.
Apparently people occasionally wonder what “whack fall the daddy o” means. Well it does not mean anything, it’s kind of like Irish scatting, what singers do when they run out of words.
I once wrote a sea shanty in which I used a variation on whack fall the daddy o. Here it is :
Oh. the herring were running wild and fast as we sailed out from St. John and the cod were plump as Mary’s arse on a Sunday morning after early mass with sausages on the griddle-o and rashers in the pan whack fall de diddle dairy oh whack fall de diddle dan.
This bar’s insured by Smith and Wesson Says the sign upon the wall Vern studies his empty beer glass Time slows down to a crawl
Audrey, the lank-haired waitress Watches from the bar Order something soon, she yells Or get the hell out of here.
There’s a special on at Wanda’s Ranch Tuesday night 2 for one But Vern doesn’t have the appetite He doesn’t have the wherewithal
There’s only one thing that he wants And he’s going to get it soon High Plains Sushi High Plains Sushi Hot Sake in a cup Five thousand feet above the ocean And he just can’t get enough
Two guys from the goldmine Old Arsenic and Rock Face Have journeyed up from the centre of the Earth To join the human race
But no matter how hard they try No matter what they do In the glow from the pool table They’ve still got that subterranean hue.
Something’s warming beneath a heat lamp Looks like deep fried road kill Beside a tub of mashed potatoes It’s making Vern feel ill
There’s only one thing that he wants And he’s going to get it soon High Plains Sushi High Plains Sushi Hot Sake in a cup Five thousand feet above the ocean And he just can’t get enough.
I spent a little time once in Elko, Nevada. There was a sushi restaurant in the town which served individual portions large enough to feed a small Japanese village. Elko hosts an annual Cowboy Poetry Festival. Interesting place. The theme over at dverse is food poetry.
This version of this poem appeared before as a dizain, one of those poems that keeps changing shape.
a ghostly whoosh echoes down the open pipe a toilet flushing
in a neighbor’s house uphill yes, we are all connected.
I hardly ever do this but here’s a challenge to all you poets out there: write a poem about plumbing. There are no rules, write about anything – an ode to your favourite plunger, a sonnet about a dripping tap, a haiku about flexible hoses!
Link back to this post if you like, so I can read your poems.
Myron volunteered once as a caretaker on an island in the middle of a lake in the High Andes, North of Puno, the Altiplano.
The top of the island was as flat as an anvil and every day he would climb up there from his lake side cottage to study the funerary towers of Silustani over on the mainland, using his large binoculars.
It was never quite clear to Myron what exactly he was taking care of. He had a house, a dread-locked alpaca and three guinea pigs. The guinea pigs were housed in a wired compound, inside the compound was a miniature mud hut with a thatched roof and three open doorways which the guinea pigs retreated through every time he approached. He thought that, perhaps he was supposed to eat the guinea pigs it was clear that they thought this also.
Located close to the funerary towers were the remains of an Inca temple worshipping the Sun God, at that time in his life Myron was losing faith in atheism and the Inca worship of the sun god had a certain logic to it. Without the sun where are we? Where are we, indeed! He wasn’t overly keen on human sacrifice but he had to admit that the Incas dealt with the blood well, channels and drainage being an Inca thing, knowledge they acquired along the way. Subjugate, assimilate, and so it goes forever.
Myron thought he would use this time to write but mostly he sat looking at a blank page listening to the tinnitus in his left ear roar and in the absence of his fellow human beings he began to think that the alpaca was judging him, the way it stared at him from under its matted fringe and down its long nose.
One night he found himself shouting abuse at the alpaca.
The next day he left for Puno and got drunk on gassy lager in a pizzeria on the ragged, dusty town square
NaPoWriMo eleven days in and I have nothing to show last night I rummaged through abandoned shoeboxes in the dusty attic of my mind (I apologize for those last two lines) and there’s nothing there, bro there’s nothing there………bro I’m moving in slow mo I’ve lost my mojo my get up and go I have met my Alamo or is it Waterloo? I’m running on empty no quid pro quo NaPoWriMo NaPoWriMo nineteen days to go nineteen days to go.
Scenes from a Restaurant in the Time Between Variants
the guys from finance hold their wine glasses by the stem and every now and again they do that swirl and sniff thing
the girl in the tight dress is two drinks away from feeling comfortable
a couple out on their first date have discovered too late that they have nothing to say to each other the long evening yawns before them
the bathroom door bursts open two bros wearing dark suits and built like refrigerators emerge, their eyes pulsing with guilty energy
it’s happy hour
cocktails are fifty per cent off and all the cocktails have jokey names Insane Moose Milantini Rogue Zamboni
nothing on the menu escapes description the Market Crashin’ IPA has a dry hopped finish with a touch of citrus the Failed Priest Sauvignon Blanc is full bodied with gooseberry and melon grace notes and that beet and feta salad we’ve ordered just happens to be a personal favorite of our waitress she loves that hint of sourness the cheese brings to the dish
she’s a dancer, by the way, lived for a while in Saskatoon.
In the city of Nha Trang, Vietnam at the National Oceanographic Institute among tanks cramped with circling neurotic fish (Hit the glass. Stop. Turn around)
there is a multi-colored specimen whose toxin, according to the description, renders its victims
“unconspicuous or even dead”.
Conspicuous behind glass further north in the Hanoi War museum
lie the dog tags of dead American soldiers
to a man young, buzzcut and hopeful.
This poem was written a number of years ago, after a visit to Vietnam. The news out of Ukraine this week, for some reason, made me think of that visit and what happens to a whole generation on either side of a conflict when leaders decide to go to war.
It appeared in Open Link weekend over at earthweal.
This is classic laconic Tom from his Highway Companion album. The song was produced by Jeff Lynne of ELO and that’s Mike Campbell of the Heartbreakers on guitar. It’s an uncluttered production and a simple enough song, but ,of course , “simple” is hard to do well. What makes it for me is the lyric.
The first line of each verse ends with the phrase “down south” and the next three lines rhyme with each other. It’s what Tom Petty does with those rhymes that makes the song stand out. For example:
Create myself down south Impress all the women Pretend I’m Samuel Clemens Wear seersucker and white linens
Women, Clemens, linen…..that’s about as witty and clever as lyric writing gets. Or this:
Spanish moss down south Spirits cross the dead fields Mosquitoes hit the windshield All document remain sealed
So take a listen and look out as well for Mike Campell’s tremolo guitar figure
My poem “Driving Home with Leonard” has been included in David L O’Nan’s anthology, ” Before I Turn Into Gold”, a collection of poems inspired by the work of Leonard Cohen. That’s the cover artwork above by Geoffrey Wren and the book contains some very fine poems and more wonderful illustrations by Geoffrey Wren.
Thanks to David for including me. The book is available here on Kindle and in Paperback. Check it out.
Also check out David’s Fevers of the Mind Poetry and Art Bloghere.
And your gravity fails and negativity don’t pull you through….Bob Dylan
Know your gym……Slim Volume
Gravity, Don’t Fail Me Now
two geezers pink and steaming towelling down after a shower discussing gravity how it is not fixed how it decreases with distance from the earth’s core how, if one was to climb to the top of Everest, since weight is the product of mass and gravity one would weigh less at the top of Everest and Slim’s thinking this is one fucking erudite conversation and he wants a piece of it so he points out that one would regain that weight on returning to sea level and one of the geezers replies yeah but you’d probably burn 10,000 calories climbing up and down the fucking mountain and a nearby jock encased in breathable fabric says shit, I’d burn that in 40 minutes on the rowing machine and Slim fires back wryly keep telling yourself that and the locker room erupts in laughter and in that moment basking in the unbearable lightness of banter Slim defies gravity and levitates above the bacterial swamp that is the locker room floor.
“A man who is tired of the gym, is a man who has been to the gym”. Slim Volume
Two bros on a mat one on his back hands clasped behind his head legs bicycling like a capsized fly; the other, the one with the green hair and the tattoos of a religious nature is grunting weights . Fly bro, it appears, is having girlfriend problems and is experiencing some kind of vague existential crisis, green hair bro listens carefully to his tale of woe and after some reflection says: It’s life, man, stop trying to understand it, no one can and then, as if startled by his own profundity, he repeats: no one can. Out of the mouths of bros….
in the background a bearded jock in a tight black T shirt his muscles packed with powdered whey his eyes a steroid yellow is down on his hunkers knees akimbo moving sideways across the floor like a slow motion crab across packed sand at evening.
I’m on the bedroom floor doing some stretches, above my head in the blue rectangle of the skylight an eagle soars.
I’m thinking about an article a friend sent about “solo polyamory”.
I start a poem: he was a sensitive guy he didn’t have the armory for solo polyamory he wanted to marry settle down maybe do a bit of farmery somewhere far away from the clamor, the goddamery of big city life.
Well, they can’t all soar like an eagle.
Apropos of nothing I think about my recent technology issues. Last week I spent an hour talking to a nice guy from Apple Help, he was in Arizona, temperature in the low sixties down where Fahrenheit still rules, I had iPhone issues which he did not resolve, he could not meet my iNeeds but as a result my IOS updated and every time I turn on the phone it asks me about my iPreferences my preference would be to turn on my phone and be left alone but call it coincidence, serendipity, synchronicity because of the update my Spotify app does not work so I decide to delete the app because every time I use it I think of Joe Rogan spouting bollocks about freedom and if, and it’s a big if, I ever meet Neil Young I want to be able to look him in the eye. Now I’m algorithm free and I’m listening to music on a chunky old iPod I found in a drawer and you know what? It sounds good and I picked all the songs myself.
I think of an opening to a poem: he walked into the room his eyes like fugitives looking for a window,
I think of a song title: Stuck in E Minor Again
I think of a song chorus: born in the wrong key there was always something different about me until you came along and changed my song now it’s all sweet harmony. Sappy, yes, but is it sappy enough?
I think of that eagle I think, what is that eagle thinking? I think he’s thinking this: Man, these thermals are good I could stay here all day. Hang on a minute is that a mouse on that garbage bin in the laneway north of King Edward east of Dunbar, they don’t call them eagle eyes for nothing. Forget the mouse, I’ve got soaring to do, soaring to do before the day is done.
In Brendan’s excellent post over at earthweal, he posits, among other things, that “our brains themselves have been disrupted by digital media.” He also says:
The mind must feed on wild sources; greening is both invitation and surrender. Dogen, again: “Are you going to improve yourself or are you going to let the universe improve you?”
The Trucker Convoy Protesting Vaccine Mandates Crosses Burrard Street Bridge
as seen from the park below the trucks look like toy trucks driven by children which is partly true given that the logic of their rhetoric resembles that of a petulant child and I’m being hard on petulant children
the blaring horns sound like the dying groans of white male supremacy the Canada geese look puzzled the crows go crazy in the trees.
Taking part in open link weekend over at earthweal