Lou’s Seven Things He Is Thankful For

Not 6, not 8…7

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about people that have nothing to be thankful for. Every time I do, I come to the realization that those may be the people that are thankful for the most things. The other day I saw the happiest group of people getting out of a beaten down conversion van. They were singing songs in Spanish and were most likely from Central America. Not one unhappy person existed in this mix and that was a pleasant shocker since many times while observing conversion van loads of Central American immigrants you’ll see that one sourpuss (usually an elderly person) with that nasty expression that makes it look like they don’t want to be there. Looking at these people, it is hard not to share in their happiness. I’m taking this moment to sit down and mention seven things I’m currently thankful for…

1.) Being able to enjoy watching football without playing fantasy or gambling

Earlier this year I stopped gambling. I also stopped playing fantasy football. If you asked me a year ago if I would’ve enjoyed football without being able to gamble or without playing fantasy I simply wouldn’t believe you. But after all these years with so much to lose from watching it, I’ve realized it can actually be pretty fun watching the game without having to worry about losing your shirt.

2.) Episode VII

I don’t consider myself a ‘fanboy’ more the casual Star Wars fan. How could anybody not be excited about these movies? I’ll take Star Wars over Comic Book Franchise any day of the week. The tweet by fanboy Kevin Smith with tears in his eyes after visiting the set says it all: “All I can share is this old Bantha Track subscriber’s tears and snotty nose of joy. The FORCE is with this movie.”
3.) 88.5 WXPN

Earlier this month, 1969 was named the best year for music. Fan-votes like this one is the type of stuff the folks over at this public station do. They are truly all about the music which is why I have no problem offering up financial support when I have the money.

4.) Not letting my life be dictated by other people

This is in relation to doing what I want to do versus doing what is more socially acceptable to do. The writing on this blog is evidence. As social media offers us a peek into people’s lives many feel a need to keep things more private. People always ask me why I blog about some of the things I blog about. I even have a friend who will joke to me (every time something goes wrong in their personal life) why don’t I just put it on my blog and share it with the world. If other people had it their way, I wouldn’t write at all!

5) Corner stores

Five dollars spent right
At my corner store buys a
Feast fit for a king:)

6) Cheap gas

Gas should never go above two dollars ever again. Sounds crazy considering back in college I would’ve thought gas rising anywhere near two dollars would be enough of a reason to start a war. Being somebody that practically drives for a living, the low cost is an added bonus. Now if only I can find a way to save the money I don’t spend.
7) My readers

I don’t care what anybody says…any writer that tells you they are not thankful for their readers are lying. In my opinion, that’s the reason you write: for people to read your work. They may not always like what you have to say, they may even despise everything you say, but the fact they take time out of their day to read anything you write makes it all the more worth it. So to all my haters: thank you!
Of course, double-thanks to the ones that enjoy my blog. If it wasn’t for your support, it would be much easier to give it up.

Lou’s David Bowie Listening Experiences vol.1: Black Star

 

“How many times does an angel fall?”

Heading down Point Breeze Avenue to pick up a Fia and drop her off at Guardian Angel’s safehouse out in Southwest Philly, the last thing on my mind was whether or not the chilly night would subside to the soft croons of a new David Bowie single. In my mind he hasn’t put out anything as good as the Berlin Trilogy since the Berlin Trilogy, right around the time of my birth. It’s shocking that David Bowie is even alive and it would be selfish to expect for him to even dream about attempting to hold a candle to that 1976 ‘Station to Station’ Thin White Duke recording musical treasures in some elusive recording studio lost in space. It was nothing more than just another Friday night and all I wanted was for Guardian Angel to stop calling me. Pulling up to the corner, Fia had garbage bags full of clothes piled up high off to the right hand corner of 21st Street. I’m not even halfway parked before my darn phone goes off for the third time in five minutes.

Guardian Angel. Send her straight to voicemail. It’s her frantic pleas for her vulnerable friend along with the promise of a twenty dollar tip that had me off the couch on a Friday night in the first place. Why else would I be filling my backseat with bags and bags of unfolded thriftware?

Fallen Fia. She’s a goddam mess. The bags below her eyes droop as does the oversized hoody that cover her pale freckled face and the extra large sweatpants that cover her soft lazy body.

“You got a cigarette?”

I knew she’d ask. After lighting one up she broke the brief second of silence as a new song starts on the radio and I slowly turn it up to drown out her conversation.

“This is some, you don’t even know. Do you? I’m done. He couldn’t handle it.”

Great! A fight with her husband. I’m surprised he didn’t try kill me when I loaded her stupid trashbags into my backseat. They have four children. Too bad she can’t handle them. Her ambitions were knocked down with the first child. By the time the fourth one came around, the heroin addiction destroyed any obligation. Now she has her ‘recovery’ as an excuse to make any little problem she has other people’s problems. Like her interruption of my otherwise quiet Friday night for example. Come to think about it, I’m surprised her husband didn’t have a good bye cake and hundred dollar bill for the early trash pickup.

Fia mumbles: “I don’t need to be with anybody.” The music is slow and dark.

Doesn’t she realize she was just set out to the curb like a piece of garbage. Thankfully she couldn’t dupe me into giving a shit about her nonsense this evening. I could read right through the utter waste of my time this was and had a cruel temptation to laugh at her expense. Holding that laughter in however was good way for me to practice social discipline. I tried to listen but the music took over.

“You know what, Luis? I’m done with love. I never want to love somebody ever again.”

She couldn’t have placed that plea more perfectly. The tone of the unknown song transitioned into something more accessible for the common ear. I had no problem turning the volume up a little more. Even Fia shut up as she put her cigarette out and moved her ear close to the speaker.

“How many times does an angel fall?” Wait a second, is that the sound of David Bowie’s voice?

Or, better yet, is that the Thin White Duke. I don’t remember hearing this on the remastered ‘Station to Station’ release. It sounds good enough to go on what is probably my favorite Bowie album. We fly down Lindbergh Avenue, seats pushed back to keep the trashbags of Fia’s life from flying out of my half-open back windows. Just when I thought I’ve heard all of Bowie’s catalog then it hits me, could this be the first time in my life that I’m hearing a brand new outstanding Bowie song debut on the radio? Or is someone tricking me to think that he’s still capable of making new music this good.

As a one-two punch ‘Love is the Drug’ by Roxy Music follows what the announcer exclaims is the brand new Bowie single: Blackstar. Did he just say? Yes, a brand new Bowie single! It sure made the drive more pleasurable to Guardian Angel’s place out in the Hood. When I got there, the large soul sister was laying on her couch Jabba the Hut style screaming at the grandchildren she raises. They watched me carry all of Fia’s bags to the door. I love watching people play stupid especially knowing they have no money or intention of paying the twenty dollar tip. At least I wouldn’t have to put up with Guardian Angel blowing up my phone until next week. As for Fia, she was back home again two days later. The news made me feel a lot less guilty about blowing off her desperate need for attention during that ride home in exchange for the always satisfying David Bowie Listening Experience.

Check out David Bowie’s video for his new single:

Black Star

 

Lou’s ‘Lou Questions’ Vol. 1: Lou who?

 

“Self-indulgent.” “Obnoxious.” “Not interesting.”

Before moving any further, let me set the record straight: I did not name ‘the Lou question’ the Lou question. That would be credited to an old friend named Lou. I guess you could consider him the real Lou. Especially considering that he never once ever deviated from saying his name. Everywhere he went, to everybody he met, he was simply ‘Lou.’ It was short for Louis. The Italian name: ‘Louis.’ For this, ‘Lou’ was never once abandoned. He owned it!

I should know, I witnessed it first hand. We roomed together during Freshman year of college. By request. We were the only two Lous on campus. People recognized us. They’d walk by our room and say things like “well now what do you know’ after realizing they were in the presence of two Lous. So it should come as no surprise that this would be the time where one of us abandoned our own name. Lo and behold it was yours truly, turning his back on the universal use of his own name, the decision where I stopped always being ‘Lou.’ It was really no issue at all. My name is Luis and not Louis. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to make the argument against anybody with my actual name, ‘Luis,’ even being permitted to use the popular shortened nickname. Case in point, how many Lous do you know in Spanish speaking countries? (not a Lou question) My abuelito (Mexican grandfather) died midway through my first semester. He was Luis the first. Another excuse to abandon Lou, as a way to honor his legacy.

For some reason, though, Lou always called me Lou. I think witnessing how I would occasionally abandon the name kind of pissed him off. It probably made him think I was untrustworthy, and by the looks of this, could you blame him. He was your prototypical old school Italian-American. A man’s man. Stand up, really one hell of a guy. And he wasn’t afraid to show it. The ultimate example being how he coined the term ‘Lou question.’

A ‘Lou question’ is pretty much a slight sliver of doubt upon the obvious. The kind of questions you ask while doing useless things with groups of people like sit on the beach. One classic question, for example, that one of my buddies always likes to bring up when imitating me is: did you think Elvis Presley got a lot of girls? Questions like this. The type of question where you automatically assume the answer. Ones with answers so obvious you almost feel like you’d be idiotic to attempt pondering them. More of an ice-breaking non-sequitur than anything close to a question. It would seem as no surprise that a guy named ‘Lou’ would name the question a ‘Lou question’ about another Lou in order to let the world know that his persona, or brand of Lou, is in no shape or form associated with this type of verbal rubbish.

Today this similar guilt of association is represented by yet another Lou, this time the Lou being the Biggest of all Lous, I’m talking about a Lou like none other: my dad, Big Lou. If you ever come to my parents’ house on a Sunday in the Fall, you’re bound to hear a plethora of ‘Lou questions.’ Do you think the NFL makes a lot of money? Are people gambling on football in Vegas today? Will there be a lot of people out on the night before Thanksgiving? Is Santa real? And so on and so forth. Every time these random musings are uttered, my dad (Big Lou) has no problem pronouncing the now oh so common: ‘That’s another Lou question!” Disassociating his brand of Lou, not wanting anything to do with having these questions appear as a hallmark of his brand of Lou, very similar to the actions of my old friend Lou back in college. He even goes so far as to make up Lou questions but find ways to deflect credit from the name’s source. Classic example from this past weekend in the Cervantes father-son text chain during the Ohio State-Michigan State game, he sent out a text in classic fashion stating: “Here’s a Lou question. Do you think Kirk Cousins (current Redskins quarterback and Michigan State alum) is rooting for Michigan State?” As always, you’ll get a chuckle, on rare occasions, a ponder.

Over the past week I have gotten some feedback over the blog from several of my readers. One of the commons themes in these reviews was that these pages come off as: ‘self-indulgent,’ ‘obnoxious,’ and ‘not interesting’ to a high number of my few readers. In the academic literary circles, scholars and poets take things very seriously when it comes to somebody naming literary styles after themselves. In my case, it’s the Lou haiku. Any professor will tell you how if an actual literary critic did not coin the term than it loses value. This along with the constant self-promotion of my views of the world irks many of these people. At least that’s what they want me to think. As a response to my most vocal critics, I have only a simple Lou question to ask. Maybe you’ll chuckle, maybe you’ll ponder, hopefully you’ll answer it.

Do you think my harshest critics enjoy reading this blog?

Lou’s Mind vol. 1: Overcoming Anxiety

It Starts With

A couple years back a group of friends had an argument about what friend they would least want to be. In the end of the argument, your humble author, won the title. Nobody wanted to be me. The reasoning was my failure take advantage of what life has to offer compared to most people. And that was when I had a decent job.

Three months ago I was laid off from that job after ten and a half years. Before I move forward, don’t feel sorry for me…it was my fault I didn’t do enough to make myself more appealing to the company that took over my company. Complacency and job security will do that to you some…scratch that: all the time! Lesson learned.

Though I’d be lying if I told you some of the moments I’ve experienced have not been pretty rough psychologically. It may have even been reflected in this blog once in a while. The ‘woe is me’ posts, and trust me, the last thing I want to be is a sad sack piece of shit that uses social media as a pity parade. After all, I’m an adult…more specifically, I’m a grown fuckin man. However, no matter which way you put it, losing a job is stressful. Especially when you enjoy not living in utter poverty.

If there’s one thing I can say about life at this moment in relation to jobs in this country my answer is depending on the industry you are in it’s either feast or famine. But I don’t want to make this a political post about how most of the country is ‘under-employed.’ And I don’t want to come off sounding like a victim even though I seriously considered writing a post about ranking the best bridges to jump off of in the Philadelphia area if you wanted to kill yourself. Because life, you see, goes on. So…in honor of living to see another year, I’m going to take this post and use it to tell a story involving a form of self-therapy somebody once showed me as a tool toward overcoming anxiety attacks. Hopefully it may help anybody that actually reads this blog. If not, well, at least it helps me.

Five Things

It was her car, it was her parking spot in the heart of the city, a Center City garage and it was her adderall that had me counting the minutes on the old round clock hanging behind the cashier at the parking station. You’d think I’d be content with the downtown corner apartment over-looking City Hall. Maybe even envy my luck for finding a lady lap of luxury that comes with world renowned breathing expert: Miss BettyBetty Mulberry. All the aura, all the barstoll pageantry, all the adhd medication and I still find ways to fail at listening.

(Oh, BettyBetty!
I think that smart drug we took
During our morning

Journaling is freaking us out)

Was in my head when she began to distract the poetic thought.

“Lou! Lou!!! Are you listening to me!”

“Yes. I’ll get the tip.”

BettyBetty turned and faced me as her dirty Prius pulled up behind her.

She reached into her thousand dollar leather fanny pack and grabbed five 20 dollar bills.

“Here…I don’t want people to think I’m paying for you” was what she said while handing them to me and I proceeded to give what ‘was’ the last of my money, the five dollar bill, to the valet.

We got into the car. It was silent. My mind began to wander.

Hopeless romantic.
Isn’t it what you wanted?
Someone dying for

A piece of your attention.

(Still silent…Iemme change that last line, imma-go-on!

A little piece of
Your attention once and a
While. Concentrate.

Happiness barking.

(No, that doesn’t go together. Maybe it can be the title.)

“Pull over! Pull over!” (Whose voice is that? I’m not finished yet)

Happiness, Bar King,
Starts at four o’clock today,

BettyBetty shook my chin, “pull over in that alleyway, right there on the sidewalk.” Again, she ruined it. We haven’t even driven two blocks.

“You’re anxious, I want to teach you a lesson.”

Anxious because she can’t shut up.

“Look straight ahead!”

This better make her day.

“Now look at one object and focus on it.”

Already a fit of anger was coming on to me. Sure I get a little dizzy while I daydream but it’s nothing a little wordplay can’t fix. She should know better then to play with my head like this.
“Ok. What do you see?”

I looked up between the buildings.

“Describe one thing.”

This was irritating me. BettyBetty could tell and began to do her breathing exercises.

I hit the dashboard and screamed “busted fire escape.”

The first thing that came to my head was obviously whether or not it was title worthy. Oh it is, maybe this could be a song my brother could write music around. I was envisioning a song of love.

“It’s a song about love. That object’s a song about love.”

BettyBetty shook her head. “You can’t see a song. Describe what it looks like.”

And it was there that I responded: “There is a song in that. It’s a trick. That fire escape goes nowhere. You can’t escape, you can’t escape…”

She snapped her fingers. “That’s enough. Now describe four more. And be serious, this lesson might could save your life one day. I want physical appearance, colors, shapes.”

I marked off an American flag, a streetlight, an atm machine, and a fire hydrant. As a bonus I believed BettyBetty was certified nuts. In less than a year she was out of my life.

We both decided it was for the better. She has since went on to perfect her breathing techniques and I continue to make a poem out of everything I come into contact with. It’s a coping mechanism.

Today I’m on the road and about to make my way back in Philadelphia via the once-feared Walt Whitman Bridge. As I’m getting onto the bridge in the left lane a car to my right swerves in front of me releasing for a brief second a glimpse of what it would feel like being stuck on the bridge and having a panic attack. The inside of my hands become sweaty (gasp! a sign). I adjust my seat (a common pre-panic attack practice) put my windows down and turn up the radio. In the distance I see many cars slowing down near the middle of the bridge. Wait a second, the cars are stopping. I wasn’t even a quarter of the way up the bridge before realizing I was about to be in a traffic jam at the center of the bridge.

Chills run down my spine. Could this really be happening. This uncontrollable worry on an inescapable bridge. What if there’s a fire! Better yet, what if I have a seizure? That word escape, where is the connection? Tension builds around my chest, my arms get numb. Questions begin to pester me. The radio is fuzzy. My car sounds like it’s going to break down even though it was serviced the other day. It eventually comes to a stop right in the center of the bridge that horrifies me and I get into full blown panic mode. There is a desire so big to get off this bridge that it begins to hurt. I look over and see what looks like a ladder attached to the bridge but after giving it some thought realize it goes nowhere. It’s inescapable!

“Busted fire escape.” Did I say that? Who said that. “Now find four more things and describe them for me.” BettyBetty. Her voice. It’s coming thru my radio. My car pulls up behind the car that had cut me off. I get a good look at the driver. He looks Asian.

“Asian driver.” I pause waiting for BettyBetty’s soothing voice. The radio is staticky. “I said: Asian driver.” However I get no response from BettyBetty. “If I had to pick he looks Vietnamese or Thai.” I take a couple deep breathes. By this point I’m fixated on his car. “New Jersey license plate. Yellow like the state flag.” What’s that three, four is an easy one: “white Hyundai four door sedan.” Now time for number five.

I take a deep breathe and make my way into the right lane. Looking out of the passenger window I have a bird’s eye view of the body of water, the “Delaware River!” down below. That anxious vertigo creeps into my head. That feeling of weightlessness. Helplessness. This ailment. Panic anxiety disorder. Right now it’s not defeating me. I’m breathing in.

And I start rethinking . Busted fire escape, huh. That’s clearly a product of anxiety. Creating mind traps. I go back to that moment with BettyBetty. Go back to my state of mind that early afternoon and while stuck on the bridge named after a famous poet, I reach into the inventory of my mind. Now it’s time to finish what I started several years ago in my head during that moment.

Busted Fire Escape

Hopeless romantic.
Is this not what you wanted.
Someone dying for

A little piece of
Your attention once and a
While. Concentrate.

Happiness, Bar King,
Starts at four o’clock today.
What? Afraid you’ll be

Late to your party.
Fear is not something to play
Around with these days.

It prevents you from
The wonderful feeling we
Call independence.

Show me a shackle
And I’ll trade you a busted
Fire escape. Fair?

For in a building
You can roam freely at your
Own expense, life’s pleasures

Are only a knock
Away. Just remember if
You play with fire

You’ll go down in flames
With all of your temptations.
Why do shackles get

A bad rap? Most times
They do nothing more than help
Us up after we fall down.

I ran through buildings
That caught fire, got lucky,
Made it out alive.

Nothing is worse than when
We find ourselves burning down
To the ground with it.

I see a busted
Fire escape, it hangs by a thread,
It dangles alone.

It’s old. It’s rusty. It waits.

 

Lou’s Muse vol. 1: Poetry in Drag

Yasss! Come thru (drag lingo)

I have a muse. Every writer needs one. Or so I’d like to think. She’s smart and hilarious, two great qualities for anybody to possess. But what’s best about these particular qualities in relation to this particular  person is that they’re hidden by how beautiful she is on the outside. When we’re out together in public, a lot of wandering eyes come her way. Deservedly so,  she’s an absolute knockout. Making it even more of an honor to hang out with and have actual conversations with her.

Today’s poem is not about her. It doesn’t need to be. While the muse’s main role is to be the source for inspiration, it doesn’t necessarily mean she has to be the subject.

Annie

The sun will come out.
Tonight is your chance to show
You shine without it.

Under the make-up
How can anyone resist
A rootin tootin,

Heartbreaking, whiskey
Shooting, beer guzzling, social
Lady like yourself?

Your song selections
Are well thought out, your dance moves
Well choreographed

And your routine would
Also work great for sailors
Overseas. Now, your

Halo takes up too
Much room in the basement of
Bob and Barbara’s.

It deserves to have
An audience, like the song
By Shania Twain:

“The best part about
Being a woman is you
Can have a little

Fun.” There’s no harm in
Performing, dancing, taking
Pictures with fans or

Walking down the street;
Even if some people think
There is. You happen

To be stronger than
Those people. Who needs the sun?
When the clouds roll in

With darkness, when night
Seems eternal: we forget
About the sunlight.

You shine without it.

Lou’s Words on Words vol.1: Capturing the Subject

Painting a picture with words

When I was a middle-schooler, I took art lessons. My favorite subject matter to paint was anything involving landscapes. The open range suits my free-thinking personality. If you know anything about art history, you would’ve probably dubbed me: ‘the left-handed modern day Grandma Moses.’ For the most part, landscapes can be more forgiving when it comes to lack of detail considering most of the time there is usually more than one central element. On the other end of the subject spectrum are still-lifes and portraits. During my years taking art lessons, these were the lessons I hated the most; particularly the lessons that involved composing large facial portraits. Over time, I began to lose patience with art lessons as a whole. All I wanted to do was put my story together on the canvas. Drawing a still life or another person was such a drag that painting became a turn-off. Add this with the fact that I refused to put in the extra time to get better and you see why I eventually stopped taking lessons.

Despite putting down the paint brush, I still had a yearning inside to create art. Writing has been my medium over the last twenty plus years. The craft is challenging however I have no issues with putting in the extra work to get better. Like painting, the broader topics (story landscapes) are much easier for me to piece together versus the finer details(character development). As an exercise, I use poetry (specifically the LouHaikus) as a way to help build my characters. To me, poetry is the best way to capture the moment and I have a blast using a poem as a character building block. Below I’m giving an example of a poem I used as a way to help develop one of my characters. I usually don’t share stuff like this but for some reason I thought sharing this exercise may be of help to any writers who read this blog. Capturing the subject is mandatory for anybody that wants to develop a good story.

Gaming Girl

On her bed there lies
A sunken treasure lost in
An apartment room

Where the day values
Diamonds in video games
More than store items.

Who needs valuables.
Listen to the sound! Button
Clicks. Does she ever

Notice them during
Phone conversations. Rapid,
Like all her comebacks:

My favorite thing she
Does on the phone is scream. It
Tells me her day’s been

Made by these diamonds
In video games. Now she’s
At peace with the night.

Her treasure is safe
As it sinks into the bed
And gets lost again

In an apartment room.

Lou’s Tribute to Allen Toussaint

“I hear you talking about your troubles/Everybody’s got their troubles too…You can make them burst like bubbles/If you know just what to do:)”

Some people in this world like getting up in the morning and turning the news on their televisions. I grew up in a house where the morning news was a sign to get out of bed. Every once and so often you knew an event of utmost significance transpired if the man turning on the news (my dad) would scream. I have many a memory of big events like when the United States took Noriega out of power in Panama, the Berlin Wall coming down and bogus snowstorm updates to name a few as a result of his mania. This morning was a rare morning where I got out of bed and turned the news on the television. Usually I look it up on my phone. In Philadelphia I like the morning news team on Fox 29 which consists of a ditzy yet completely stunning ebony goddess and a very odd middle age man that reminds me of a character from the movie ‘Anchorman.’ Is there a better way to start a rainy day than the comedy provided by the ambivalence that comes with ogling at one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen all while chuckling at the silly antics of this crazy Philadelphia morning news man. I say ‘no’ and while chowing down on a bowl of Life cereal, it would be hard to find anything that could beat this moment of morning prep.

Until you find out one of your favorite artists of all-time has passed away.

Last night Allen Toussaint died after a performance in Madrid. If you don’t know who he is, I can guarantee you’ve heard his music at some point; he’s a musical chameleon. The influence of this true New Orleans son touched many different genres. Below I’m going to link a couple of his songs.

*I have a hard time picking a favorite when it comes to his music. I love it all. For a good dose of classic Toussaint I advice streaming (or buying) the 43 track Allen Toussaint Warner Bros. Songbook!

1) A great funky Toussaint 70’s studio cut     Worldwide

2) Though I prefer the Toussaint performance, Glen Campbell’s version did reach No. 1 on the Pop Charts long ago                                                                      Southern Nights (performed by Glen Campbell)

3) One of the great collaborations he did with Elvis Costello post-Katrina                                              Ascension Day

4) Another performance of an even better classic from the same album collob (River in Reverse) covered by late Little Feat frontman Lowell George                                                                   What Do You Want the Girl to Do?

5.) Wouldn’t surprise me to find this on some friends’ personal Top Ten lists                                                Sneakin Sally Through The Alley

6.) Another Toussaint song covered by several jambands…it was initially a Little Feat track                On Your Way Down

7.) Arguably his biggest hit depending on whom you talk to                                                                                     Yes We Can Can

8.) This one got his foot in the door…and while I love the original version for some reason I felt like linking the one with Dolly Parton                                      Working In A Coalmine

9.) The man did what he loved up to the very end       St. James Infirmary

10.) And who can leave out Jerry covering a tune      I’ll Take A Melody

11.) Finally…I leave you with this suitable track                             When the Party’s Over

RIP Allen Toussaint…the world has lost a bit of its soul today with your passing:(

 

 

 

 

Lou’s Events He Has No Business Paying Tribute To Vol. 1: The Sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald

“The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead when the skies in November turn gloomy.”

I woke up this morning and watched an hour and a half long documentary about the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald. When your last name is ‘Cervantes’ you take special notice to anything Don Quixote related. ‘The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald’ is a song on the album ‘Don Quixote’ by Canadian master songwriter Gordan Lightfoot. When I started getting into the music of Gordan Lightfoot about a decade ago, I was also very into drinking craft beer. One of my favorite beers was the Edmund Fitzgerald Porter by Great Lakes Brewing Company. I’m not going to lie, it was my love for the beer which drew me to getting into the folk song. All these years enjoying this great beer and I never took the time to read the label on the bottle. The events are rather recent; today is the 40th Anniversary. It goes to show the effect a good piece of art (or a good beer in its honor) can have on the mythological history of the event. If you’re having trouble understanding this notion than give the song a listen and try telling me how it does not make you think of an event that happened in the 1870’s instead of the 1970’s.

Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

 

Lou’s Poems Vol. 3: Hippie Bagel Girl

The Mystery Girl Poem Game

I’ve made a decision to feature a weekly poem on this site. My structure is simple…stacking haikus to tell a story or paint a picture. It’s an exercise in structure. Nothing more, nothing less. Today’s entry is about a random girl I run into at a place where I get food once in a while. I think most of my poems will be written about women…they tend to make better muses than men. Also, the small handful that actually read this have told me the mystery girl posts gives them something to look for when they’re out in public. It’s almost like a Where’s Waldo.

*one added note…a Lou haiku contains one line that evades structure which is usually but not always the last line of the poem

 

Hippie Bagel Girl

I want to hear your
Drug stories, especially
Those close to the heart.

Tell me about your
Doctors: were they there for you
After deciding

It was time to walk
Away. Or am I jumping
To a conclusion?

My mind must have been
Influenced by the Janis
Joplin fashion choice,

A great way to start
The work week: honoring a
Cultural icon.

Until you ask me:
“How did Janis Joplin dress?”
If only I knew.

Unfortunately
Jumping to conclusions is
My biggest downfall

When considering
Most of them involve strangers
Wanting to have no

Parts of me at all.
So tell me a drug story,
One close to the heart.

A little sip, a
Little toot? A good doctor
Is a start. Did the

Percocet become
Heroin; the Mary Jane,
Crack cocaine. Surely

It is good to know
If you run or if you’ve ran
Over mountaintops

Besides flour and cream cheese.

Lou’s Love for the New Dr. Dog video vol. 1: Badvertise

“Here today, gone tomorrow”

Bunny ear antenna television in my neck of Philadelphia gets 3 and 10 but not 6, a Spanish channel, Fox, a traffic cam and the two channels entirely dedicated to 24 hour blocks of pre-Nineties network programming. If you were to ask me to paint a picture of insomnia in words it would be a screenshot from a black and white spaghetti Western where the colors of the infomercials airing every fifteen minutes or so slowly begin to fill in the subtle backdrops. It’s funny how much of a psychological influence being glued to a television screen all night can have on your mind. As the clock turns, it becomes more and more difficult to pay any attention. Meaningless programming: is it for entertainment or merely to take the place of dreams. After all, they both wade in similar waters; they’re alligators in the psychedelic swamp, these nocturnal illuminations whose hope dies with every morsel of morning daylight that trickle through the faded curtain over my morning windowpane.

Gene Autry’s cowboy hat. Was it made of rubber? Its significance melts away as the reflection of daylight begins winning over any broadcast. What kind of convoluted secrets was that Stetson holding back anyway? None worth losing a night of sleep over. Show me all but a handful of Westerns and I’ll break down all but a handful of plots despite seeing hundreds of them. When you get lost in the midst all-night programming, most times, the context is merely an illusion.

Dr. Dog’s new video ‘Badvertise’ is a great depiction of what lurks on twilight television. Ample servings of mindlessness drummed up by repetitive commercials. They only ruin the dream if you fail to let them become it. At the very worst, they represent intervals of time; at best, they sell you with hope. It’s hard to deny their influence especially when considering the impact television has had on the national mentality for almost seventy years. The re-worked version of the song from an earlier demo is loud and hits you like the sound of these late night commercials. Always a notch or two louder than the programming until you get to that point in realizing that these commercials are the actual feature. Take a second to check it out as they give the world a glimpse of what it’s like wading through the waters of their Psychedelic Swamp.

Badvertise