th High-Strung & Knife-Happy Hillbilly Blues Revue

RSS

Posts tagged with "mine"

Jul 1

"I keep hearing something that sounds like, “The innocent have nothing to fear…"

"If you don’t have anything to hide you don’t have anything to worry yourself about."

The torturer’s patois…

…and it occurs to me that, in another time, these are the same people who would bring their children to a public hanging and buy a few inches of the hangman’s rope for a souvenir.

They live in lovely cottages in suburban Dachau.

They righteously teach their slaves reading so his precious soul can be set free in the glorious red-ink words of Christ.

They concern themselves with the translation of their bibles into Navajo and Urdu and Tagalog.

They are never astonished to discover that rich and poor enjoy different access to, protection of and security from the law.

It’s a complicated and dangerous world, they say…and they should know…they helped to make it that way…and keep it that way.

He says the words, and his smile twitches under a magnificent handlebar mustache, and he turns the screw on the cunning machine that breaks your seditious bones.

She’s the one who reads your mail and then makes furtive phone calls to the authorities…

They are poisoners and thieves. Robbers of dignity and privacy. Sycophants and scabs and toadies. They are the Vichy, the collaborator, the stoolie and the fink. Iscariot and Iago. Benedict and Brutus.

I know you by the words you use.

…and the innocent have everything to fear…and everything to lose…especially from those who say things like, “The innocent have nothing to fear from the law.”

youdidwhatnow: Coal miner through the lens of B. Anthony Stewart. 

     Some of my earliest memories are of my grandfathers sitting at the kitchen table while my grandmothers started fussing with cast iron and coal and fire to start washing them clean again with hot water… I miss those moments from my life somehow. ..awful as they were. …

youdidwhatnow: Coal miner through the lens of B. Anthony Stewart.

Some of my earliest memories are of my grandfathers sitting at the kitchen table while my grandmothers started fussing with cast iron and coal and fire to start washing them clean again with hot water… I miss those moments from my life somehow. ..awful as they were. …

(Source: youdidwhatnow)

They’re All Long Days Anymore

Lemme just say this here…since I can’t seem to say it anywhere else in my life…I just wanna say:

"AAAAAAAUUURGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!  Motherfucker!!  Blue-balled, baby-raping sonofabitch!!  Cocksucker!!  Groceries satan-tailed-fucking, coffee-hating, cheese-sniffing, turkey-raping, pie-eating coupon-clippin’ pillow-bitin’…GGLLUUUURRGGHH!!!  Motherfucker?!!!

Fuck Fuck! Fuck!

Good and goddamn you, you stupid sonsabitches…

I wouldn’t piss in your ear if your brain was on fire…

I hope they make you wear polyester in Hell…

You’re not a “colorful local character,” you’re an asshole…

Why the fuck do I live in a right-to-work state?  These people are Gene Wilder’s morons…Roald Dahl’s Twits„„

Fuck…shit, fuck twat-sore nanny-goat, you creepy motherfuck, sell your goat at market and buy back the motherfucking meat…

Lambs…we’re all lambs…

Gyros…sheep and goats…

His eye is on the sparrow…

All of God’s critters got a place in the choir…

Thank you for letting me express that.

…I really really needed that…

…om…

…om mani padme hom…

…Lord preserve us and protect us….

It’s why we drink whiskey for breakfast.

Amen.

     We buried my Grandma up at Lindside in Monroe County, West Virginia today.  It’s been a week full of high highs and low lows.  I mean…I’m trying to buy a house.  The inspection went better than I could have hoped.  It looks…good.   
    We’ll close on April 2nd if everything goes right.  It’s a big deal.  The only other time I bought a house, sixteen months later Katrina blew through New Orleans and destroyed everything I owned that was in it…and the house…and the car in the driveway…and the house next door with the Live Oak out of my backyard.  I was on vacation in West Virginia so all I had with me was a guitar and a weeks’ worth of socks and underwear and shorts and t-shirts…um…and a bunch of books.  My friend Amy saved my cats and drove them to her folks’ house in Tennessee.  I stayed in Asheville, NC for a while and ended up in my Mom’s attic here outside of Raleigh.  I got to Raleigh seven years ago…
     So I have this weird disproportionate anxiety about buying another house.  Dunno if I can tell you why…
     I looked for eighteen months and finally found something lovely that I could almost afford (with a lot of help).  I love this house.  I swear I’m not remotely superstitious, but the fact that the house is on Myers Av. and that my Grandma’s Mom was a Myers was sort of oddly comforting to me…or maybe just encouraging, somehow.
     She died on Tuesday.  My Grandma.  I’ve been going home every couple of weeks  since July to see her and sing to her and talk to her…though, mostly, as optimistic and friendly and welcoming as she was, she didn’t really remember me…but she loved the music and she was gracious about it and if she thought I was imposing on her she never let me think it…
     I sang at her service today and my hands shook so bad I couldn’t hold the chords and I started weeping in the middle of the song…
Well, I broke up a little anyway…weeping kind of brushes up on my manly manhood in a way I don’t like…it was embarrassing, you know, because I’m a trained professional, but I was purely there with her for a minute and the feelings were clean…
     I sang her “Save a Seat for Me.”  I learned it from Nat Reese.  He died last year…so I reckon now I’ll sing it for both of them…
     That was me today - the gospel-singing hillbilly atheist carrying one sixth of a terrible burden from the chapel to the hearse in a black suit with a pink shirt and tie.  Pink probably wasn’t her favorite color…she probably liked a lilac or a lavender better…but they dressed her in pink before they put her in her tacky white and bronze coffin…and pink was definitely her husband Frank Niday’s favorite color…I wore a pink shirt and tie to his funeral too.
     And we drove in a long procession through Mercer County and briefly into Virginia and out to Monroe County.  I rode with my cousin Rachel and her husband Aaron because I like them best and so I could smoke in the car.
     It was windy.  Beautiful and cool and windy…
     We laid her down to rest on the hillside at the Bradley Cemetery in Lindside, West Virginia next to my Grandfather Franklin.  Frank’s first wife, Stella, is buried there.  And her cousin Opie - who was my Grandfather’s older half-brother. 
     Opie’s daughter, Thelma, is buried up there too - I mean, Hell, all of them are buried up there and they all have great stories…
For instance, Thelma designed this intricate bucolic scene of rolling-hill-farm-life in West Virginia for her gravestone and when it was done she was so proud of it she had it carved into black granite and kept it in her living room for the five or six years before she died.  It sort of broke my heart to see it on the hill and not in front of her fireplace.
     She married into the Booth family.  They always claimed that theirs was the family that owned George Washington Carver when he was a slave - if it’s true…well, ick…and, okay, sort of cool for the historic association to the family when all the rest of the circumstances are vile…and if it’s not true…?  Well, you’ve got admire the repellant audacity of the lie…
    And there were Sarvers and Hamiltons and Nidays and McGhees and about a dozen Andrew Jacksons…
     Joseph Addison Niday is buried up there.  He was Frank’s Dad.  People called him Joe-Ad.  I have a little cousin - I guess he’d be a second cousin since he belongs to my cousin Rebecca…she named him Tristan-Addison…it makes her insane when I call him Tri-Ad…he’s four…
    I met Thelma’s sister Vernie for the first time since we buried my Grandpa up there back in 1987.  I was sixteen then.  She’s a bad-ass like Thelma was…fearless and funny and generous and a little mean…I guess I have a little thing for much older women…
     We stood over Stella’s grave and argued about how many of their children died in childbirth…let me say that differently…for the most part they all died in childbirth or within weeks…Vernie was sure Stella died having the first child…but Thelma told me she helped at three of the births and I have papers for one of those and two more…somehow out of all of this we’re sure of five kids…there’s some evidence that there were as many as four more (probably only three, but maybe four)…
     We’re going to get together July 15th and talk some more at the Bradley Family Reunion - but I’m going to go up sooner so we can show each other our genealogies and compare them…meeting her as a grown-up was the best thing that happened to me today, I think…
     While I was gone someone hacked my performing-work e-mail and sent ads for Viagra and time-shares and mail-order-brides and whatever else other kind of bullshit to everyone in my address book…
…they spammed people who hire me for things from my address with my signature on the bottom…
ugh.
     I wish I had someone to share this with.  I reckon this is what it feels like to be lonesome.
     I think we have the same nose.

     We buried my Grandma up at Lindside in Monroe County, West Virginia today.  It’s been a week full of high highs and low lows.  I mean…I’m trying to buy a house.  The inspection went better than I could have hoped.  It looks…good.   

    We’ll close on April 2nd if everything goes right.  It’s a big deal.  The only other time I bought a house, sixteen months later Katrina blew through New Orleans and destroyed everything I owned that was in it…and the house…and the car in the driveway…and the house next door with the Live Oak out of my backyard.  I was on vacation in West Virginia so all I had with me was a guitar and a weeks’ worth of socks and underwear and shorts and t-shirts…um…and a bunch of books.  My friend Amy saved my cats and drove them to her folks’ house in Tennessee.  I stayed in Asheville, NC for a while and ended up in my Mom’s attic here outside of Raleigh.  I got to Raleigh seven years ago…

     So I have this weird disproportionate anxiety about buying another house.  Dunno if I can tell you why…

     I looked for eighteen months and finally found something lovely that I could almost afford (with a lot of help).  I love this house.  I swear I’m not remotely superstitious, but the fact that the house is on Myers Av. and that my Grandma’s Mom was a Myers was sort of oddly comforting to me…or maybe just encouraging, somehow.

     She died on Tuesday.  My Grandma.  I’ve been going home every couple of weeks  since July to see her and sing to her and talk to her…though, mostly, as optimistic and friendly and welcoming as she was, she didn’t really remember me…but she loved the music and she was gracious about it and if she thought I was imposing on her she never let me think it…

     I sang at her service today and my hands shook so bad I couldn’t hold the chords and I started weeping in the middle of the song…

Well, I broke up a little anyway…weeping kind of brushes up on my manly manhood in a way I don’t like…it was embarrassing, you know, because I’m a trained professional, but I was purely there with her for a minute and the feelings were clean…

     I sang her “Save a Seat for Me.”  I learned it from Nat Reese.  He died last year…so I reckon now I’ll sing it for both of them…

     That was me today - the gospel-singing hillbilly atheist carrying one sixth of a terrible burden from the chapel to the hearse in a black suit with a pink shirt and tie.  Pink probably wasn’t her favorite color…she probably liked a lilac or a lavender better…but they dressed her in pink before they put her in her tacky white and bronze coffin…and pink was definitely her husband Frank Niday’s favorite color…I wore a pink shirt and tie to his funeral too.

     And we drove in a long procession through Mercer County and briefly into Virginia and out to Monroe County.  I rode with my cousin Rachel and her husband Aaron because I like them best and so I could smoke in the car.

     It was windy.  Beautiful and cool and windy…

     We laid her down to rest on the hillside at the Bradley Cemetery in Lindside, West Virginia next to my Grandfather Franklin.  Frank’s first wife, Stella, is buried there.  And her cousin Opie - who was my Grandfather’s older half-brother. 

     Opie’s daughter, Thelma, is buried up there too - I mean, Hell, all of them are buried up there and they all have great stories…

For instance, Thelma designed this intricate bucolic scene of rolling-hill-farm-life in West Virginia for her gravestone and when it was done she was so proud of it she had it carved into black granite and kept it in her living room for the five or six years before she died.  It sort of broke my heart to see it on the hill and not in front of her fireplace.

     She married into the Booth family.  They always claimed that theirs was the family that owned George Washington Carver when he was a slave - if it’s true…well, ick…and, okay, sort of cool for the historic association to the family when all the rest of the circumstances are vile…and if it’s not true…?  Well, you’ve got admire the repellant audacity of the lie…

    And there were Sarvers and Hamiltons and Nidays and McGhees and about a dozen Andrew Jacksons…

     Joseph Addison Niday is buried up there.  He was Frank’s Dad.  People called him Joe-Ad.  I have a little cousin - I guess he’d be a second cousin since he belongs to my cousin Rebecca…she named him Tristan-Addison…it makes her insane when I call him Tri-Ad…he’s four…

    I met Thelma’s sister Vernie for the first time since we buried my Grandpa up there back in 1987.  I was sixteen then.  She’s a bad-ass like Thelma was…fearless and funny and generous and a little mean…I guess I have a little thing for much older women…

     We stood over Stella’s grave and argued about how many of their children died in childbirth…let me say that differently…for the most part they all died in childbirth or within weeks…Vernie was sure Stella died having the first child…but Thelma told me she helped at three of the births and I have papers for one of those and two more…somehow out of all of this we’re sure of five kids…there’s some evidence that there were as many as four more (probably only three, but maybe four)…

     We’re going to get together July 15th and talk some more at the Bradley Family Reunion - but I’m going to go up sooner so we can show each other our genealogies and compare them…meeting her as a grown-up was the best thing that happened to me today, I think…

     While I was gone someone hacked my performing-work e-mail and sent ads for Viagra and time-shares and mail-order-brides and whatever else other kind of bullshit to everyone in my address book…

…they spammed people who hire me for things from my address with my signature on the bottom…

ugh.

     I wish I had someone to share this with.  I reckon this is what it feels like to be lonesome.

     I think we have the same nose.

My Friend Jean Hanna Davis sent this to me via Faceworld.  Her daughter included me in a project she made for school about blues in West Virginia - me and my friend Nat Reese were featured.  This makes me good and real goddamned proud.  She’s a hell of a good girl and a fine singer in her own right…Jean ain’t so bad herself…
Joe is Jean’s husband.  Hanna’s somewhere between nine and fifteen (not my fault…every girl under thirty looks like she’s fifteen to me)
Jean Hanna Davis:




I just saw Hanna’s completed project. Here’s her bit about you —obviously, she talked to Joe and not me as she was writing it. This is exactly as it appears on her poster. It’s not for an English class…Enjoy!
Bullfrog: The Blues Singer
"Bullfrog is an amazing blues singer from Athens, WV. Just to clarify, his name isn’t actually Bullfrog. His actual name is Willard. But anyway he sings Piedmont Blues. This type of blues can be found mostly in North Carolina. Piedmont Blues are the happy kind of blues. So my idea is that people of North Carolina are happy and have nothing to be sad about. So along the way, somebody came up with The Piedmont Blues. Like, you might make up a blues song when the power is out or you are sitting in the waiting room at the doctor. But Piedmont Blues is happy so all of Bullfrog’s songs are happy. I have met Bullfrog many times because him & my mom play at festivals together. If any of you are wondering, this report is by Hanna Davis. You can google him but he is not internationally famous. He is just regionally famous. But give him a couple of years."
She doesn’t know how big I am in Switzerland and Israel and Belgium…if she’d asked me I’da showed her our sales reports in Europe and the Middle East…
On the other hand…our sales in Belgium are about the same as our sales reports in Missouri…
….something to consider, I reckon…for the record, I struggle with the clinical depression…also, I’m from Princeton, not Athens…I’da told her if she’da called me…
I honestly don’t know that I have the words to tell you about how proud I am of the things she wrote about me and my blues…
I wrote her Mom and asked her permission to use this in my press kit…

My Friend Jean Hanna Davis sent this to me via Faceworld.  Her daughter included me in a project she made for school about blues in West Virginia - me and my friend Nat Reese were featured.  This makes me good and real goddamned proud.  She’s a hell of a good girl and a fine singer in her own right…Jean ain’t so bad herself…

Joe is Jean’s husband.  Hanna’s somewhere between nine and fifteen (not my fault…every girl under thirty looks like she’s fifteen to me)

Jean Hanna Davis:

I just saw Hanna’s completed project. Here’s her bit about you —obviously, she talked to Joe and not me as she was writing it. This is exactly as it appears on her poster. It’s not for an English class…Enjoy!

Bullfrog: The Blues Singer

"Bullfrog is an amazing blues singer from Athens, WV. Just to clarify, his name isn’t actually Bullfrog. His actual name is Willard. But anyway he sings Piedmont Blues. This type of blues can be found mostly in North Carolina. Piedmont Blues are the happy kind of blues. So my idea is that people of North Carolina are happy and have nothing to be sad about. So along the way, somebody came up with The Piedmont Blues. Like, you might make up a blues song when the power is out or you are sitting in the waiting room at the doctor. But Piedmont Blues is happy so all of Bullfrog’s songs are happy. I have met Bullfrog many times because him & my mom play at festivals together. If any of you are wondering, this report is by Hanna Davis. You can google him but he is not internationally famous. He is just regionally famous. But give him a couple of years."

She doesn’t know how big I am in Switzerland and Israel and Belgium…if she’d asked me I’da showed her our sales reports in Europe and the Middle East…

On the other hand…our sales in Belgium are about the same as our sales reports in Missouri…

….something to consider, I reckon…for the record, I struggle with the clinical depression…also, I’m from Princeton, not Athens…I’da told her if she’da called me…

I honestly don’t know that I have the words to tell you about how proud I am of the things she wrote about me and my blues…

I wrote her Mom and asked her permission to use this in my press kit…

My Grandma, Marie with her Grandma, Mary Jane Hager.  The two men standing are both Charlie Clarks…the older of the two was Marie’s Dad.  He played the fiddle and the mandolin well and had a reputation for being able to play anything with strings.  The baby was the first of my Grandma’s children, Barbara Allen…
Child 84C:  Bonny Barbara Allen
84C.1	IT fell about the Lammas time,
	When the woods grow green and yellow,
	There came a wooer out of the West
	A wooing to Barbara Allan.
84C.2	‘It is not for your bonny face,
	Nor for your beauty bonny,
	But it is all for your tocher good
	I come so far about ye.’
84C.3	‘If it be not for my comely face,
	Nor for my beauty bonnie,
	My tocher good ye’ll never get paid
	Down on the board before ye.’
84C.4	‘O will ye go to the Highland hills,
	To see my white corn growing?
	Or will ye go to the river-side,
	To see my boats a rowing?’
84C.5	O he’s awa, and awa he’s gone,
	And death’s within him dealing,
	And it is all for the sake of her,
	His bonnie Barbara Allan.
84C.6	O he sent his man unto the house,
	Where that she was a dwelling:
	‘O you must come my master to see,
	If you be Barbara Allan.’
84C.7	So slowly aye as she put on,
	And so stoutly as she gaed till him,
	And so slowly as she could say,
	‘I think, young man, you’re lying.’
84C.8	‘O I am lying in my bed,
	And death within me dwelling;
	And it is all for the love of thee,
	My bonny Barbara Allan.’
84C.9	She was not ae mile frae the town,
	Till she heard the dead-bell ringing:
	‘Och hone, oh hone, he’s dead and gone,
	For the love of Barbara Allan!’

My Grandma, Marie with her Grandma, Mary Jane Hager.  The two men standing are both Charlie Clarks…the older of the two was Marie’s Dad.  He played the fiddle and the mandolin well and had a reputation for being able to play anything with strings.  The baby was the first of my Grandma’s children, Barbara Allen…

Child 84C:  Bonny Barbara Allen

84C.1	IT fell about the Lammas time,
	When the woods grow green and yellow,
	There came a wooer out of the West
	A wooing to Barbara Allan.
84C.2	‘It is not for your bonny face,
	Nor for your beauty bonny,
	But it is all for your tocher good
	I come so far about ye.’
84C.3	‘If it be not for my comely face,
	Nor for my beauty bonnie,
	My tocher good ye’ll never get paid
	Down on the board before ye.’
84C.4	‘O will ye go to the Highland hills,
	To see my white corn growing?
	Or will ye go to the river-side,
	To see my boats a rowing?’
84C.5	O he’s awa, and awa he’s gone,
	And death’s within him dealing,
	And it is all for the sake of her,
	His bonnie Barbara Allan.
84C.6	O he sent his man unto the house,
	Where that she was a dwelling:
	‘O you must come my master to see,
	If you be Barbara Allan.’
84C.7	So slowly aye as she put on,
	And so stoutly as she gaed till him,
	And so slowly as she could say,
	‘I think, young man, you’re lying.’
84C.8	‘O I am lying in my bed,
	And death within me dwelling;
	And it is all for the love of thee,
	My bonny Barbara Allan.’
84C.9	She was not ae mile frae the town,
	Till she heard the dead-bell ringing:
	‘Och hone, oh hone, he’s dead and gone,
	For the love of Barbara Allan!’
Fanny Marie Niday died today.  She was 94.  She was my Grandmother.  She was my favorite.  On Saturday we’ll go bury her out at Linside in Monroe County, West Virginia next to my Grandfather Franklin Niday.
This is Frank and Marie Niday in Mercer County WV in 1934 - I believe this was their wedding day photograph.  He was born in 1907.  She was born in 1918.
You should have heard her laugh.  She had a laugh like silver bells and wet fruit and young love…

Fanny Marie Niday died today.  She was 94.  She was my Grandmother.  She was my favorite.  On Saturday we’ll go bury her out at Linside in Monroe County, West Virginia next to my Grandfather Franklin Niday.

This is Frank and Marie Niday in Mercer County WV in 1934 - I believe this was their wedding day photograph.  He was born in 1907.  She was born in 1918.

You should have heard her laugh.  She had a laugh like silver bells and wet fruit and young love…

He's A Tramp
Peggy Lee

b-e-a-t-t-r-i-x:

He’s a Tramp — Peggy Lee

 

He’s a tramp but I love him 
Breaks a new heart, every day 
He’s a tramp, they adore him 
And I only hope he’ll stay that way 

He’s a tramp, he’s a scoundrel 
He’s a rounder, he’s a cad 
He’s a tramp but I love him 
Yes, and even I have got it pretty bad 

You can never tell when he’ll show up 
He gives you plenty of trouble 
I guess he’s just a no ‘count pup 
But I wish that he were double 

He’s a tramp, he’s a rover 
And there’s nothing more to say 
If he’s a tramp, he’s a good one 
And I wish that I could travel his way

I think she always sang this for Elliot…

Hmph,

I told some stories tonight that I forgot I knew…
This is a note to remind me to write them down here so I don’t forget them again…
Tell the story about the time you and Jim Smith was running the open mic at Checkpoint’s off the Quarters and Willie Nelson and Clarence Brown came in and backed up all the hopeful young kids and told them which of their songs was good and smelled from ten feet away better than the best dope you ever paid money for….
…and just talk about “Gate” (you know, Clarence Brown)…he was such a good feller…and always so nice and decent to you…
…and tell the story about the time you got a three-dollar haircut at the Barber College (buzz cut, No. 2 razor on the sides; No. 3 razor on top) and they signed off on you and you had a four inch long tuft of hair coming off your head and you drove around to every mall you could think of until you found a photo booth, paid the money to take four pictures of you - front, both sides and back - and then went around for years showing people those pictures and telling them, “This is what a three-dollar haircut looks like.”
Some of the things I lost to Katrina were things I should have lost years before Katrina…
…and tell the story about falling in love with Amanda without knowing it and then realizing it too late and…feeling like an asshole…and then thinking about about what the second and third acts must look like and realizing what an abomination y’all would have been together…
…and tell the story about the time you started drinking bourbon in Chicago and woke up in a Union Pacific boxcar in St. Paul, Minnesota…and tell stories about hoboing - tell stories about Willie Weir Gray - he was your favorite tramp and he means so much to you…he showed you Tampa Red and John Hurt songs for beer…
…and not even good beer…shitty American beer…
…and then tell the story of your Grandfather, Franklin Niday….you love talking about him…
…and tell the story about your friend Tad and how decent and kind he’s been to you here lately…
…and laugh and tell dirty jokes and don’t let ‘em know for a minute that you’re “laughing just to keep from crying…”  I sure do like to listen to Sonny Terry…and when I did cry a couple times…I mean, not really, ‘cause I’m too manly and autonomous…but metaphorically…well, I know some real good, kindly, lovely people who’ve looked out for me and been generous to me in their friendships…
We have a new kid working for us at the Hardware store…his name is Desmond and he’s a good kid…works hard, does anything I ask him, he’s funny and smart and easy to like…we keep inviting him to come out with us on Thursday nights for a drink after work…we actually have sort of a manager’s meeting at the bar but we’re amenable to indulge the innocent…and….he keeps saying no.  To be fair to him…he had a date one time and he had-the-flu-and-worked-anyway one time and there was a date with another girl…
I told him I was gonna quit asking him because he didn’t seem like a man worth pursuing and he said, "Regardless of the quality of the woman who longs to be held in my arms…and regardless of the shape of her and how she feels under the palms of my hands…Regardless of the call I’ve longed to get from NASA to go on a manned mission to Mars, Lo, even if I and my diabolical minions were invading Mother Russia - I’ll desist from these foolish endeavors and agree to come with you the next time you invite me just so you understand that I adore you, My Coworkers, and I long to accept your invitation…"
…all of it over the radio into my earpiece…
I told him that if he was stupid enough to get involved in a land war in Asia, he was too stupid to drink with us…
…and he said, “Inconceivable!”
I really like working with him.
So, I’m curious…did it occur to you that Desmond is a beautifully shaped black man…?
…cause he is.
and my heterosexuality is intact…
I like a lot of the people I work with.  A lot. They are something in my life that I am grateful for,
Thank you.
Oh…and tell the story about how you won’t turn the heat on and how you drank nine beers, half a bottle of saki, two double Beams and a bottle of Canadian whiskey trying to destroy yourself because of a mean and selfish girl and you came to the next morning under a quilt safe on your own damned couch next to a golden, ticking space heater…I told Danny how grateful I was for my black-out-drunken-self-preservationist brain to have covered us up in our drunken state because “I could’a died of exposure passed out on the floor of my living room…”
He allowed as how the only way that sentence could have been any more hillbilly is if the word “possum” had been in it…
I really like the people who work with me..
…and we really do prefer to be called Appalachian-Americans…
Ian F.G. Dunn took this picture of me with an old wooden camera hidden under a cape from six different angles and then made a composite of them…and this, surprisingly, is sort of what I think I look like to the rest of the world.

I told some stories tonight that I forgot I knew…

This is a note to remind me to write them down here so I don’t forget them again…

Tell the story about the time you and Jim Smith was running the open mic at Checkpoint’s off the Quarters and Willie Nelson and Clarence Brown came in and backed up all the hopeful young kids and told them which of their songs was good and smelled from ten feet away better than the best dope you ever paid money for….

…and just talk about “Gate” (you know, Clarence Brown)…he was such a good feller…and always so nice and decent to you…

…and tell the story about the time you got a three-dollar haircut at the Barber College (buzz cut, No. 2 razor on the sides; No. 3 razor on top) and they signed off on you and you had a four inch long tuft of hair coming off your head and you drove around to every mall you could think of until you found a photo booth, paid the money to take four pictures of you - front, both sides and back - and then went around for years showing people those pictures and telling them, “This is what a three-dollar haircut looks like.”

Some of the things I lost to Katrina were things I should have lost years before Katrina…

…and tell the story about falling in love with Amanda without knowing it and then realizing it too late and…feeling like an asshole…and then thinking about about what the second and third acts must look like and realizing what an abomination y’all would have been together…

…and tell the story about the time you started drinking bourbon in Chicago and woke up in a Union Pacific boxcar in St. Paul, Minnesota…and tell stories about hoboing - tell stories about Willie Weir Gray - he was your favorite tramp and he means so much to you…he showed you Tampa Red and John Hurt songs for beer…

…and not even good beer…shitty American beer…

…and then tell the story of your Grandfather, Franklin Niday….you love talking about him…

…and tell the story about your friend Tad and how decent and kind he’s been to you here lately…

…and laugh and tell dirty jokes and don’t let ‘em know for a minute that you’re “laughing just to keep from crying…”  I sure do like to listen to Sonny Terry…and when I did cry a couple times…I mean, not really, ‘cause I’m too manly and autonomous…but metaphorically…well, I know some real good, kindly, lovely people who’ve looked out for me and been generous to me in their friendships…

We have a new kid working for us at the Hardware store…his name is Desmond and he’s a good kid…works hard, does anything I ask him, he’s funny and smart and easy to like…we keep inviting him to come out with us on Thursday nights for a drink after work…we actually have sort of a manager’s meeting at the bar but we’re amenable to indulge the innocent…and….he keeps saying no.  To be fair to him…he had a date one time and he had-the-flu-and-worked-anyway one time and there was a date with another girl…

I told him I was gonna quit asking him because he didn’t seem like a man worth pursuing and he said, "Regardless of the quality of the woman who longs to be held in my arms…and regardless of the shape of her and how she feels under the palms of my hands…Regardless of the call I’ve longed to get from NASA to go on a manned mission to Mars, Lo, even if I and my diabolical minions were invading Mother Russia - I’ll desist from these foolish endeavors and agree to come with you the next time you invite me just so you understand that I adore you, My Coworkers, and I long to accept your invitation…"

…all of it over the radio into my earpiece…

I told him that if he was stupid enough to get involved in a land war in Asia, he was too stupid to drink with us…

…and he said, “Inconceivable!”

I really like working with him.

So, I’m curious…did it occur to you that Desmond is a beautifully shaped black man…?

…cause he is.

and my heterosexuality is intact…

I like a lot of the people I work with.  A lot. They are something in my life that I am grateful for,

Thank you.

Oh…and tell the story about how you won’t turn the heat on and how you drank nine beers, half a bottle of saki, two double Beams and a bottle of Canadian whiskey trying to destroy yourself because of a mean and selfish girl and you came to the next morning under a quilt safe on your own damned couch next to a golden, ticking space heater…I told Danny how grateful I was for my black-out-drunken-self-preservationist brain to have covered us up in our drunken state because “I could’a died of exposure passed out on the floor of my living room…”

He allowed as how the only way that sentence could have been any more hillbilly is if the word “possum” had been in it…

I really like the people who work with me..

…and we really do prefer to be called Appalachian-Americans

Ian F.G. Dunn took this picture of me with an old wooden camera hidden under a cape from six different angles and then made a composite of them…and this, surprisingly, is sort of what I think I look like to the rest of the world.

Feb 9

Look…this should be part of your genetic code as an American…if it ain’t…well, you’re broken.

…maybe not broken…

Just not as happy as you could be…

Feb 9

I like Ani DiFranco…just not anything she did with Utah…he didn’t need her…it hurts my feelings that you young boogers weren’t smart enough to find him on his own merit  without Ani promoting him…

This, though is one of my favorite things they did together….

Feb 9

My friend Utah talking about why he wouldn’t sell his songs to Johnny Cash.  This is one small reason among many why I ain’t interested in you hipsters and your obsessions with Johnny Cash.

Feb 9

I was getting ready to go to work today and I was waiting for something to get dry and warm in the machine before I put it on to go and I sat down in front of Tumblr and for the first time in almost four years of using Tumblr and never seeing him U.Utah Phillips popped up on my dashboard - co-opted by some Lefty to promote his own agenda…

I knew Utah Phillips.  He was a friend of mine…

a good and fine friend of mine…

He always tried to bum cigarettes from me and I always smoked mentholated cigarettes then…so when I knew I was gonna see him I’d carry a pack of Camel Filters or Marlboro Reds in my clothes so I could bum him an un-mentholated smoke if he asked…

You don’t understand, you boogers who listen to the music on the radio and gets hung up in that bullshit.  You think those people are precious and rarified and distant and far away from you…but…a musician worth loving is one who sings right to you and with you:

Your Grandma, when she’s washing dishes and you’re drying, and y’all singing together; a baby who won’t go to sleep, but who gets still in your arms while you sing to her; your kids when you sing with them in the car; your woman when you’re dancing under any kind of moon and the band has quit and gotten their envelopes full of not enough money…and your mouth is close to her ear…and there’s a moon and you sing to her…because you love her more than anything you thought you’d love…and you want her to know and understand and respond and lay the curves of herself against the shape of yourself  and the two of you love and dance and sing together - all trembling and whimpering and wide-eyed and glorious and loving…together…

I learned some of this from my Dad and some of this from Utah and some of it from John Jackson and some of it from my own washing and drying with my Grandma and from trying to be the kind of man that my Dad and Utah and John was…and the man that they hoped that I would be…

I used my Katrina-insurance-white-people’s money to buy a restaurant - well…half a restaurant.  And I borrowed a shit-ton of money from family too…and I was driving somewhere to have a meeting with my business partner and an accountant and a banker…one of the most grown-up things I’d ever done…and I heard Utah’s obituary on the radio…on NPR…

I don’t think I cried so hard so quick when my own father died…

I was a mess when I got to that meeting…

Lemme tell you this…

He was good and kind to me…

Him and John Jackson used to send messages back and forth to each other through me, from California to Virginia…

He was a lot like a father to me…and a friend…

I was in Ann Arbor one time at the Labor school and it was right around the time that the USPS had released some of Joe Hill’s ashes back to the Wobblies…I was and am one of them…but when Joe Hill was killed in Utah he wanted for his ashes to be scattered all around the world, so he was cremated and poured into tiny envelopes and mailed to every I.W.W. office anybody could find an address for everywhere in the world…

…and the U.S. Postal Service seized as many of his remains as they could identify (that was in 1915) and they didn’t release them until the late eighties…

…and I was there…and I got to hold an envelope full of Joe Hill’s ashes in my hand…some of those ashes were tossed into the sound-hole of Utah’s Guild guitar…

He couldn’t ever take his Guild back into Utah because Joe Hill’s last wish was never to be found dead in Utah…

That night before Joe was executed he slipped a little piece of paper out to  the guard through the bars and it said…

My will is easy to decide,
For there is nothing to divide.
My kin don’t need to fuss and moan,
“Moss does not cling to a rolling stone.”

My body? Oh, if I could choose
I would to ashes it reduce,
And let the merry breezes blow,
My dust to where some flowers grow.

Perhaps some fading flower then
Would come to life and bloom again.
This is my Last and final Will.
Good Luck to All of you,
Joe Hill


I miss U. Utah Phillips every day…

I have a tattoo that says “Education, Organization, Emancipation.”

Those three stars of the I.W.W.

And I do the best I know how….

Thank you Utah…

And to all of the rest of you in this whole world…make yourselves so strong…so you can give a hand up to anybody who needs it…

We all need a hand up sometimes…

And being able to give a hand up and knowing how and finding your humanity in the moment of doing it is the difference between us and a chimpanzee and Ayn Rand….

Feb 9

The motherfucking Muppets, man…

Feb 9

Lydia the Tattooed Lady…throw the old one’s under the bus or listen to ‘em and let ‘em show you how the world works…the older he got…well, the older we all get…the better we think about and shape and interpret the best of all we know…

Kids are stupid…

Unless the Kids Are All Right…