Monday, November 17, 2014


GC: Son, let's work on the alphabet. Let's take a break from TV and work on our letters, OK?
GC: Why not? We've watched a lot of shows, let's just take a five minute break! What's the problem?
GC: But son, you need to work on letters so you can learn to read! 
GC: OK, OK.....what's the problem? Son, come and talk to me.
LC: Daddy, I'm only good at some of the letters! I can sing the alphabet song, but some of the letters I'm not good at....
GC: Ok, listen, daddy is going to explain. So, let's not think about letters for a minute. Let's think about construction workers for a second. Let's imagine construction workers building a skyscraper. How long do you think it takes to build a skyscraper?
LC: ....Mmmmmm, I don't know?
GC: A day? Two days?
LC: Maybe..... one hundred days!
GC: Maybe even longer than that. And, this doesn't take into account how long it takes to build the materials for the skyscraper. So, do you think that the construction workers give up if they can't finish the project in a day?
LC: No....
GC: Of course not. They work all day, and then they go home at night, and then they come back and keep working on it. Plus, during the day, they work, and they take breaks. And they know that eventually, they will finish the job. They don't get mad because it didn't get finished in a day. They didn't cry. It's what we call a LONG TERM PROJECT. Or we call it A WORK IN PROGRESS.
LC: Oh.
GC: So I'm trying to make what is called an ANALOGY.
LC: But I'll never have an analogy....
GC: No, you don't.....I mean I'm telling a story that relates to your letters. You are doing great with letters. It's a WORK IN PROGRESS. We don't get upset if you aren't perfect right away. We just do a little every day, and then eventually, you'll be able to read. How are you going to teach your little brother Ruger to read if you can't read?
LC: (laughs)....his name won't be RUGER!
GC: Ha, ha, maybe it will be....MILLARD!
GC: OK, do you feel better now?
LC: Yes. We can work on letters now.
GC: Son, I'm so proud of you, and I love you so much.
LC: Can I have pumpkin pie?
GC: Yes, you can have pumpkin pie.....AFTER we do letters.
LC: (sighs)....OK, Daddy.........

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Clickety Clack!

Clickety clack . . . clickety clack
Bring that man's baby back.
Clickety clack . . . clickety clack
I want my spirit back.
Clickety clack
Bubble music being seen and heard on Saturday night
Blinding the eyes of ones that's supposed to see.
Bubble music, being played and showed, throughout America.
Clickety clack . . . clickety clack
Somebody's mind has got off the goddamn track.
Clickety clack . . . clickety clack
Won't somebody bring the Spirit back?
You didn't know about John Coltrane.
And the beautiful ballad he wrote—wait a minute—
And the beautiful ballad he wrote called "After the Rain".
You didn't know about Lady Day and all the dues that she had to pay.
The Beatles come into the country, they take all the bread,
while the police hittin' black and white folks upside their head.
Tom Jones and Humperdinck got everybody uptight.
They make people that can sing wanna get out and fight.
Clickety clack . . . clickety clack
What is this madness that Nixon has put upon us?
Clickety clack . . . clickety clack
Won't somebody bring the Spirit back?
Who will it be?
Who will it be?
It certainly won't be someone that says that they're free.
Clickety clack . . . clickety clack
Won't somebody bring the Spirit back?
Clickety clack . . . clickety clack . . . clickety clack

Rahsaan Roland Kirk was truly a unique musician. Blinded at an early age due to bad medical treatment, Kirk was known for playing not just one, but two and three saxophones at once. Adding flute to his array of winds, he also played lesser known instruments like nose flute, the stritch and the manzello( two  obscure types of saxophones). Historical texts put Kirk in the Avant-Garde category, which is a bit misleading; in some ways, his musical offerings are more conventional than one would assume. However, the above poem shows Kirk's political leanings during the turbulent 60's and 70's.

I've got to spend more time checking out Kirk's music. I had "Rip, Rig and Panic" many years ago, but I'm not so familiar with his discography, which is pretty large. Listening to to the music and poetry here makes me think about where we are as a society now. Who is the modern day equivalent of Roland Kirk? These days, most jazz musicians are trying to figure out how to water their music down so as to gain "wider appeal." We don't even have a forum to be political, because we don't even have a gig! My lament is not only the loss of interest in jazz and creative music in America, but the loss of the edge, the willingness to take a risk and put one's soul into the music. As the man said:
Won't somebody bring the Spirit back?