Dirt on the Soles of My Shoes

In honor of National Poetry Month

I got a bit of dirt
On the soles of my shoes.
Been trav’ling around.
Paying them dues.
Preacher hounding me
‘Bout what I do wrong.
Got a bit in his teeth
Of hell fire and brimstone.

I know I’m a sinner,
Sinning’s in my blood
Just like Old Man Noah
Who rode out that flood.
He was a drinking man.
The Bible tells us so
He could drink those boys
Under the table and floor.

There’s the hangover and there’s the hang under.
There’s the lightning and there’s the thunder.
There’s the magic and there’s the wonder.
But the promised land’s way over yonder.

Well, I take my blues
And I take ’em straight.
Not on the rocks.
I’m in a bad state.
A cat chasing his tail
Running ‘round and ‘round
Got no place fast.
I’m everybody’s clown.

You got heartaches,
Heartache’s my name.
If there’s a gray cloud
Bound to be some rain.
I never seem to learn.
I’m a sad sack case.
As plain as the tears
Running down my face.

There’s the hangover and there’s the hang under.
There’s the lightning and there’s the thunder.
There’s the magic and there’s the wonder.
But the promised land’s way over yonder.

The COVID Blues

Stuck in my house
Can’t take out the trash
Everything’s delivered
Wearing a mask

I got the COVID blues
The COVID blues

COVID one and two,
COVID three and four
And up to nineteen
Then COVID once more

I got the COVID blues
The COVID blues

Got the Long COVID
And the short one too
Fourteen days
Worse than the flu

I got the COVID blues
The COVID blues

A miracle cure
When I sneezed
Folks were healed
Of the disease

I got the COVID blues
The COVID blues

They hooked me up
To a pipe
Watched my blood
Flow out of sight

I got the COVID blues
The COVID blues

And the doctor said,
“It’s gonna be alright.”
Little did I know
I’d be a zombie tonight.

I got the COVID blues
The COVID blues

Long Distance Romance

She’s in Montana
Playing with the cats
Thirteen or more
Just to be exact

I’m in Florida
Watering the plants
Filling the bird bath
Fighting the ants

She left in August
Before the hurricanes
California’s in a drought
Florida had the rain

Now she’s snowed in
Winter’s all the fuss
No time to leave
Montana in the dust

It may be summer
Or even the spring
Could it be Christmas
When I see her again?

Root-a-toot Tavi, Ideas and All

Writers are asked, “Where do you get your ideas?””

The thing is every one of us get ideas all the time. The difference between the creative artists and the rest? We listen. When we have an idea we think is interesting, we don’t judge whether it is a good idea or a bad one. We take it out and play with it for a while.

And don’t forget it’s all about the play. We say musicians play, not musicians work. Actors role play, not role work. When we writers forget we are playing, not working, that is when we have a case of the writer’s block.

Once we are finished playing, we are not the best judge of whether the results are good or bad. Whether it worked or not.

I once heard the screenwriter William Goldman assert the same thing. He said that making movies was always risky. No one knew whether a movie would be well-received or not. Then he told the story about a movie he wrote the screenplay for: “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”. After the movie was released, he and the director were walking down the street in New York City one evening. They saw this line around the block. When they found out that the line was to “Butch Cassidy”, they were surprised. Pleasantly so. But still surprised.

And when you play, accidents happen. During a session in a recording studio, Bob Dylan was working on “Like a Rolling Stone”. The musicians took a break. Al Kooper was just hanging out. During the break, he sat down at the organ and started playing around. Dylan walked back into the room and said, “That’s it.” That organ music Kooper played became the beginning of the song.

All creativity is risky. So take a chance and be brave. Nothing is more fun, and rewarding, than playing with an idea. If you don’t believe me, look at how many creatives have long lives. That kind of playing keeps us young.

And the more you listen the more the ideas come. It’s a big sandbox out here. So do yourself a favor. The next idea you have, try playing with it. Who knows? You might be just as surprised as I was when I got “Root-a-toot tavi, I’m so savvy,” I just had to play with it. Here are the results:

Root-a-toot Tavi

Root-a-toot tavi
I’m so savvy
So savvy as all

Swinging on a star
Being who I are
Having me a ball

Root-a-toot chili
Burgers on the grilly
Cook’s standing tall

Running up the hilly
Jack and Jilly
Going to the mall

Root-a-toot billy
I’m so silly
Dancing down the hall

So just look up
Drink from the cup
Spring, summer and fall

Root-a-toot wavy
Stir up the gravy
Step out for the call

Lighter feet, baby
Don’t step heavy
Do give it your all

Root-a-toot tootsy
Don’t give a hoot-sy
Go break down that wall

Kick up your boot-sy
And doodley scoot-sy
Never ever stall

Root-a-toot dabby
Be kind of fabby
John, George, Ringo, Paul

Go catch a cabby
Take a trip happy
Have yourself a ball.

How about you? Any ideas lately?

A Satirical Thanksgiving Song

There’s many reasons to be thankful. I, for one, am thankful for satire. It keeps me humble.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentle Girls

God rest ye merry gentle girls,
Let nothing you dismay,
Jesus wasn’t born on Christmas,
He was born Thanksgiving Day.
There were no sheep or sheperds,
Only turkeys came to pray.
Oh sure, there were the wise men,
At Massachusetts Bay.

The Pilgrims came by a ship,
Mayflower was its name,
Least that’s what we’ve been told
By those in history’s game.
Pilgrims came with Columbus,
So he could have his day,
And we could have a Thanksgiving
The good, old American way.

Ben Franklin scared the zombies,
Told them to fly a kite.
Abe Lincoln killed the vampires
“Fore they could go out and bite.
A blue-eyed, blonde-haired Jesus,
He’s really the god for us.
If you don’t accept our Jesus,
We’ll kick you off the bus.