Sunday, September 25, 2011

Perfect endings .... are where you find them

The British rock band Queen was composed of Brian May, top; Freddie Mercury, bottom; Roger Meddows-Taylor, right; and John Deacon, left. This photograph was not supposed to be here. My words were not suppose to be here. This post was simply going to be two versions of the song, "The Show Must Go On," by Queen. But, as often is the case, my mind began to tumble up and down, back and forth, and then my fingers began to type.

A personal note

The first time I saw the rock band Queen perform on television, I was in a bar with friends. The band members were dressed as women, complete with makeup. After a few words among us, I threw my half-full bottle of beer at the television and scored a perfect hit. A cheer went up in the bar.

The owner of the bar knew me. I was an after-work and sometimes evening regular. He brought me another bottle of beer and said, with his typical smirk a bit wider than usual, "This one will cost you $500." I laughed, took out my wallet and peeled off five $100 dollar bills. Oh, to be a punk kid again.

In any event, the $500 bottle of beer turned out to be worth it in many ways, not the least of which is that the broken television still is mounted on the wall in the bar and bears a sign which reads: "The only perfect pitch ever thrown by Fram." Local myths and legends can live a long time.

Within a few years, the members of Queen were less often seen in their feminine finery and, over time, this band became my favorite among all those which roamed the air waves the next few decades. I will not get into Queen's lead singer, Freddie Mercury's, choice of lifestyles, but I will say the only thing that mattered after a while was his unbelievable talent as a singer, song writer, musician and on-stage presence. That is the way life is supposed to be, I think now, but did not then, a few years earlier in that bar.

Trivial as it might sound, one of my bigger regrets in life is that I never saw the band, with Freddie, live on stage. Now, it is too late.

As for the music posted here, both versions feature "The Show Must Go On" performed by Queen. In the first, a series of still photographs of band members is shown with the song. The second is taken from Maurice Bejart's ballet celebrating the life of Freddie Mercury and ballet dancer Jorge Donn. It was filmed at the Theatre Metropole in Lausanne, Switzerland.

I know as much about ballet and dance as I know about flowers, which is nothing. But, there are times and places in a person's life when you do not need any knowledge, much less any expertise, and all that is required is to look and to listen and, maybe, to let your emotions drift free while being glad that you are where you are at the time you are because you are in the midst of a magic moment. So it has been for me a time or two over the years. I hope for a few more magic moments.

This piece of writing has been ended three times already, but I keep adding onto it and I still want to say this: There exists myth that people are formed as children and remain within that mold their entire lives. I have no doubt that is true of many people, but I call it a myth because I believe experience and education -- as vast and available as they have become -- cause many people to change and to evolve from the "mold of their childhood."

As Hamlet told Horatio: "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

I have no doubt "the experts" usually are the last to figure this out. They have become so specialized in their fields of expertise that they develop tunnel vision and are incapable of seeing the actual ways of the world or the people who are in it.

If you have no idea what I just said, neither do I. We are even.

The Show Must Go On

Empty spaces - what are we living for
Abandoned places - I guess we know the score
On and on, does anybody know what we are looking for...
Another hero, another mindless crime
Behind the curtain, in the pantomime
Hold the line, does anybody want to take it anymore
The show must go on,
The show must go on
Inside my heart is breaking
My make-up may be flaking
But my smile still stays on.
Whatever happens, I'll leave it all to chance
Another heartache, another failed romance
On and on, does anybody know what we are living for?
I guess I'm learning, I must be warmer now
I'll soon be turning, round the corner now
Outside the dawn is breaking
But inside in the dark I'm aching to be free
The show must go on
The show must go on
Inside my heart is breaking
My make-up may be flaking
But my smile still stays on
My soul is painted like the wings of butterflies
Fairytales of yesterday will grow but never die
I can fly - my friends
The show must go on
The show must go on
I'll face it with a grin
I'm never giving in
On - with the show -
I'll top the bill, I'll overkill
I have to find the will to carry on
On with the -
On with the show -
The show must go on...

Friday, September 23, 2011

The first time .... will not be the last time

The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

The first time ever I saw your face,
I thought the sun rose in your eyes.
And the moon and stars were the gifts you gave,
To the dark and the endless sky, my love.

And the first time ever I kissed your mouth,
I felt the earth move through my hands.
Like the trembling heart of a captive bird
That was there at my command.

And the first time ever I lay with you,
I felt your heart so close to mine.
And I know our joy would fill the earth,
And last till the end of time, my love.

The first time ever I saw your face.

(Note: Johnny Cash modified the lyrics
of this song to suit his own taste. These
are not the original words of the song.
Beyond that, you wish to understand
a moment of perfection? Then listen.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Drifting toward an endless sea

Since I do not have any recent photographs of myself on a raft (my last one burned in a grass fire when I was around twelve or thirteen), I drafted this 1920 painting by N.C. Wyeth of Robinson Crusoe on his raft to illustrate a dream I had a few nights ago. Of course, the raft of my dream was not laden with supplies and was on a river flowing through a desert, but I think this painting will serve the purpose just fine. The paramount question of all this might be: Who is sitting, unseen in the painting, behind the mound of supplies on the raft?
This time around the horn

I have been experiencing a variety of dreams recently and, although there seems to be few around here who like to comment about possible interpretations, here comes still another one:

I was floating down a river that was neither deep nor wide, and the land all around was desert -- rolling, wave-like, barren hills of sand dunes. I was looking ahead to where the river emptied into a delta with many streams, and then coursed its way into a vast sea beyond. I was dirty and bearded and my clothes were in tatters. (Yes, no doubt it was me; that describes me perfectly.)

Then, the dream shifted to a panoramic view, as though in a film, and I was watching myself on the raft from a great distance as it entered the delta area, drifting on toward an endless sea. Only then did I notice that there was someone else on the raft, too, sitting behind me. The distance was so great I could not tell who the other person was and, abruptly, the dream ended.

Again, since there are few (if any) willing to suggest an interpretation for my dreams, I will offer my own for this one: I have joined with another individual, at least temporarily, on a path. This is represented by the two of us drifting along aboard a raft on a river.

The river is shallow and narrow, meaning either or both of us could leave the raft and wade ashore if we wished to do so. But, the land is empty desert, which offers little incentive to actually do so.

Still the land, empty as it is, is there, and might be the best choice given the vastness of the unknown sea upon which the raft, with the two of us drifting upon it, is about to enter.

So ends the dream and one way of looking at it.

But, with this dream and a rather meaningless sixteen months behind me, I have decided to fall out of the tree and to begin actual plans for an idea I have mentioned here recently but had not previously committed to doing: On December 31, either someone will arrive here -- or I will arrive somewhere else -- to observe the start of 2012.

Ian Fleming wrote: "You Only Live Twice." It was a novel. From my point of view, I am pushing maybe a dozen lives in real time -- and, I am only counting this voyage around the horn.

Friday, September 16, 2011

A signature of America, lost love & no roses

This gun shop advertising 5,000 firearms in stock, in rural, southern Minnesota, is located by a town with fewer than 1,000 residents. It has been there for decades. Some people, no doubt, shudder at the thought of the right of an individual to own firearms. Some political systems fear the concept. No matter how a person or a state feels about this constitutional guarantee, it is reality in many regions of America and part of life the way it goes on, day-to-day, in this neck of the woods. It is a signature of free people, a signature of America. The photograph, incidentally, marks the first one I have used with a post that was taken with my Blackberry. I did have a "real" camera with me, but I guess I was feeling lazy and I also wanted to email the photo immediately.

A tale of love & revenge

As I have mentioned before, I bought my first camera at age five. Actually, it might have been around the time of my sixth birthday. The money had to have come from somewhere.

From that time on, it was not unusual for me to carry my trusty camera here and there, usually to birthday parties or similar events, to record the momentous events in my life and the embarrassing moments of others.

About now, you might ask, what has this got to do with loves lost or lost loves or whatever. Getting to it. I am getting to it.

During a class trip of sixth graders -- all around age twelve, give or take a few months -- at the close of the school year, I carried my camera to capture the events of our magical adventure.

This group I grew up among, you might recall from previous posts, was made up of small town and country kids from rural, southern Minnesota. Our idea of a hot date at that point in time was sitting side-by-side Saturday night at the local theater, possibly having pop or ice cream after the film, then country kids riding home with their parents while city kids hung out until the town shut down for the night.

You might also know, if you have been raised in such an environment, that every class of students had its own group of girls publicly acknowledged as among the most beautiful "women" in the world. Our class had six such princesses of the universe. No boy dared approach any of them unless summoned. Any boy blushed various shades of red should one of these girls notice him looking at her. You get my drift.

Well, as these young majesties lined up for me, the kid with the camera, to take their photograph on this class trip, my creative forces came to a peak. I had them sit down in a line, place arms around one another and lean to one side as far as possible. It looked silly, but everyone loved the idea.

At the last moment, I grabbed the hand of one poor girl who was not among the most beautiful in the galaxy, but who was one I had my eye on, pulled her to the end of the line and placed her among the others. She resisted at first, but I was stronger. I pulled her along. The smile she gave me was radiant. No one among the class lovelies objected. After all, it was my camera. In that manner, Kathleen became a "made member" of the class queens and my first real girl friend.

For the next few weeks, she and I sat side-by-side in the theater on Saturday nights, eating our popcorn and holding hands. I bought her what we called a "friendship ring." Actually, I bought two, when my first purchase turned out to be too large for her finger.

All good things must come to an end.

One Saturday night, while I was sitting with some friends waiting for Kathleen to arrive from the country, her brother tapped me on the shoulder. "Why is Kathleen sitting with Jerry?" he asked with a smirk and a taunting tone to his voice.

I turned and looked. She was. To make this all the worse, Jerry was only a fifth grader.

I shrunk down in my seat.

A minute or two later, Kathleen tapped me on the shoulder. "Here," was her only word as she handed me my two friendship rings. I was humiliated in front of not only the sixth graders in the theater, but also the fifth graders, the seventh graders, the .... well, you get the picture.

Kathleen and Jerry lasted two or three weeks, if I recall correctly. Jerry dumped her like she had dumped me. It took me a few years, but I got my revenge on Jerry. I dated his sister when I was in tenth grade. She was in twelfth grade -- an actual senior. And, by then I had a driver's license, a car and a favorite parking place.

As for Kathleen, I did not need to get revenge. I did not understand then what happened to her next, and I still do not, but she was ejected by the other sixth grade beauty queens from being among their numbers. She was literally shunned by them, virtually ostracized by them, which meant, since these girls ruled the school hallways, everyone who worshipped them also black listed Kathleen.

On the other hand, I was asked by Sharon -- one of the original magnificent creatures -- to sit with her at the next Saturday night movie. This began an "affair" that lasted with us as a couple for nearly the entire seventh grade school year. Our romance ended when her parents -- like so many others -- fled the farmlands for the big city, and took her away from me forever.

After that, I concentrated on football and hunting for two or three years. I had concluded women were too complicated and beauty queens were too expensive.

Don't Come Knocking

You're everything I could want
There's no house you couldn't haunt
You're the key that could keep me in
You're the sense, under the skin

I won't bring you roses
I'll bring myself instead
Time only is time
For what is meant
Not what was said

Don't come knocking don't come knocking
Don't come knocking at my door
Don't come knocking, knock, knock, knocking
Don't come knocking no more

You're a dream I could wake up in
You're a fight I shouldn't try to win
You're the door, I'll always leave open
You're the heart that's always hopin'

Off a tree-lined avenue, in a college made of stone
I'll sit there not dreaming, I would rather live alone

Don't come knocking don't come knocking
Don't come knocking at my door
Don't come knocking, knock, knock, knocking
Don't come knocking no more

All the stars in the sky
They can't light our way, oh no
All the maps, and all the charts
All the dreams…
Dreams …won’t… leave… you…

Don't come knocking don't come knocking
Don't come knocking at my door
Don't come knocking don't come knocking
Don't come knocking at my door
Don't come knocking, knock, knock, knocking
Don't come knocking no more

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The life of fire & ice

After a long, hard, strenuous week sitting in front of a television and a computer, eating various chips and drinking assorted beverages, an exhausted White Bear rested under the shade of a tree Friday afternoon, doing what else, but enjoying assorted beverages while playing with his newly acquired buddy, White Puppy. Since White Puppy has not had his photograph appear in a post, the little dickens commanded me to find the camera and to remedy this oversight on my part. So, the oversight is now remedied. With that, the little dictator ordered me to fetch some ice for his drinks, and I gave him a fiery glare. Hence, was born the notion of once again contrasting these two insurmountable and elemental forces of Nature: Fire and Ice.
To return or not, and why

The twists and turns of life are ironic. Last year, in September, I was pleased with my life (if not exactly happy or enthused about it). I had no responsibilities (which probably explain much of my mood back then), I was looking forward to a few events/activities and I was living by a lake watching autumn arrive. This year, these aspects of my life are one-hundred-eighty degrees in the other direction -- and, my mood right now reflects it.

I have a habit of returning to the same poets, the same writers, the same painters, the same musicians, the same battlefields, the same myths and legends, the same concepts of perfection and beauty, the same ideals of fairness and justice -- returning to everything except the same places, the same locations, the same memories drifting in time.

This is because, I believe, a poem or a song or a concept does not change, while a place does change and a memory does fade. I look for things which are constant while I constantly am in motion pursuing a dream which probably does not exist in reality. A paradox.

Someone asked me yesterday who I was. I have no idea, depending upon the concept behind the question. I know where I have been and what these experiences have molded me into, but I am not certain if that is who I am or, merely, a fabrication of random chance events formed by the paths I have walked and the people I have met. I am fire and I am ice. I am an constant unconstant. I am certain she wanted a more definitive and simple explanation (like maybe my actual name), but .... I also am illusive, if nothing else.

So, here again, we return to another constant in my repertoire of poetry:  Robert Frost and "Fire and Ice." Here again is Enya, with its own interpretation of fire and ice. Here again is Apocalyptica, not with fire and ice, but, any melancholy music will do today and the magic of the wolf is part of it if you listen closely. When I think about it, the graphics accompanying the piece, "Romance," are reminiscent of fire and ice.

While Frost writes about the end of life in his poem, another poem, an Old Norse epic -- the "Poetic Edda" -- has the creation of life beginning when a drop of water from the ice of Niflheim collides with a flame from the fire of Muspelheim and causes an explosion to create the universe and the Earth, with life upon it. The "big bang" theory has existed since before the dawn of recorded history. Imagine that -- if you are able.

Fire and Ice
by Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Perfect Strangers .... then and now

Perfect Strangers

Can you remember, remember my name
As I flow through your life
A thousand oceans I have flown
Oh, and cold spirit of ice
All my life
I am the echo of your past

I am returning the echo of a point in time
Distant faces shine
A thousand warriors I have known
And laughing as the spirits appear
All your life
Shadows of another day

And if you hear me talking on the wind
You've got to understand
We must remain
Perfect Strangers

I know I must remain inside this silent well of sorrow
A strand of silver hanging through the sky
Touching more than you see
The voice of ages in your mind
Is aching with the dead of the night
Precious life (your tears are lost in falling rain)

And if you hear me talking on the wind
You've got to understand
We must remain
Perfect Strangers

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Love .... it's just a kiss away

Gimme Shelter

Oh, a storm is threat'ning
My very life today
If I don't get some shade
Oh yeah, I'm gonna fade away

War, children, it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
War, children, it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away

Ooh, see the fire is sweepin'
Our very street today
Burns like a red coal carpet
Mad bull lost its way

War, children, it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
War, children, it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away

Rape, murder!
It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away

Rape, murder!
It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away

Rape, murder!
It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away

The floods is threat'ning
My very life today
Gimme, gimme shelter
Or I'm gonna fade away

War, children, it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away

I tell you love, sister, it's just a kiss away
It's just a kiss away
It's just a kiss away
It's just a kiss away
It's just a kiss away
Kiss away, kiss away

Something special ....