Tuesday, March 22, 2011


there once was a spider

that turned into a fly

this metamorphosis

was not wise

got caught in a web

and to his surprise

his mom came along

and ate him alive

this metamorphosis

was not wise



Friday, March 18, 2011

Life, By Keith Richards ( book review)

Life, the autobiography of Keith Richards is good. Put simply, that’s the long and short of it. Written with James Fox, Life provides surprisingly eloquent insight regarding the Keith Richards take on the world around him.

The notion of taking on existence and going along for the ride simultaneously seems the common theme throughout. An unexpected tenderness shares the stage, so to speak, with the given bravado.

Whether or not one will find Life a worthwhile read if not interested in rock and roll, the Rolling Stones or for that matter Keith Richards is hard to say. Objectivity will be left to the reader here.

Slow perusing is recommended in either case in order to pick up on some of the subtleties that are laid out regarding relationships both within the band and otherwise. Subtle in this case is not to be confused with mild as no punches are pulled when discussing perceived shortcomings or praise.

We are afforded a glimpse of what day to day consciousness can be like on the road with the “world’s greatest rock and roll band.” There are obvious times of stress not only between the band members themselves, but with the press and the way the most seemingly minute comments can be taken wildly out of context.

As far as the anticipated revealing sections of the relationship shared between Richards and Jagger, Keith is just as much complimentary as he is critical. While practically disdaining the star factor of Jagger and attributing the singer’s sometimes difficult workability to what he calls ,“lead vocalist syndrome,” or “LVS,” he is quick to point out what a brilliant lyricist he is and the ease with which he pens words.

Any animosity comes off much like that of a grumpy and irritated spouse. That’s not to say it is not interesting. Far from it. Just the term “LVS” is bound to produce a laugh.

Brian Jones does not receive much attention save for being a sad, if not tragic figure in the early days of the Stones’ career. The same goes for Mick Taylor except for being credited with performing on some of the best material recorded.

There are chronicled, of course, numerous drug busts and close calls to that effect. Luck plays a large role throughout the book from an uncanny ability to dodge serious jail time, to cheating death and to the incredibly sudden success of the band.

The entire text reads like a long, candid interview presented in narrative context. Numerous quotes are placed with relevance as to where Richards’ mind might be lurking at the time.

“Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones.” Since when?

Of particular intrigue are the revelations discovered musically while experimenting with open tuning and hanging with Rastafarians. On a humorous side it is noted how funny it is to watch a band try to play songs like Start Me Up using regular tuning. Any guitarist who has ever tried this will surely find this tidbit true as well as enlightening.

Love life and child rearing perspective also play their part in attempting to define a delicate balance on an unstable beam.

If all the above sounds somewhat self indulgent, hey, it’s a memoir and makes no bones about it being just that. Ample credit is thrown the way of the Beatles and the likes of Roy Orbison and Gram Parsons. Introspection and candid observation are the keys to making this book a must read. Especially for those who are inclined to harbor an interest in rock and roll, the Rolling Stones, and yes - Keith Richards.

Bodega Train says check it out.



Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The insect's breath

there was no scene

of the accident

there was no known

cause of death

the only clue was

a handwritten note:

“beware the insect’s breath”



Friday, March 11, 2011

A Parlor 13 mystery

She could have gone anywhere
She could not be seen
The call of the damned
From Parlor 13
It was easy to find
The signage was green
A party of one
Food fit for a queen
The junk in her lied
O' cold and hidden scream
Twisting in the night
In service of a fiend
The jackals baying
This is no dream
The cadaver's eyes spark
Gutted and cleaned
God knows what happened
In Parlor 13


Tuesday, March 08, 2011

One Who Listened (and a brief introduction to the La Lola Minds)

The La Lola Minds would gather each afternoon. Numerous topics would be discussed over several rounds of Mexican beer. I had to leave early one day to meet with an interview subject for some story about
Hollywood people who had spent time in San Miguel de Allende.
The interviewee never showed, so the rest of the afternoon was spent hammering out a story that wound up being a story about a story not ever being written.
I know, but it sounded like a clever idea at the time. I mean, what would the other “members” of the La Lola Minds do? There was actually a far less flattering nickname for that bunch, but let’s just leave it the way it is written here.
The piece was supposed to run in the next issue of El Independiente, an English friendly publication based in San Miguel. A second reading betrayed brevity that bordered on laziness, so an addendum seemed a good idea.
The view from the window where I was perched held a great view of downtown. Still, I felt more like the dark comfort of the bar would suit me better. That is, it would be more fitting an environment for my mood at the time.
There was a glass paned door to my immediate right. Upon one of the wood slats rested a wasp.
The bar could wait. And besides, my friends had probably all left by then, headed home to rest up before returning for the second shift, so to speak. That’s when the pool tables would come into play and the discussion would mainly concern who had the advantage after the break.
But back to the wasp. He crawled slowly from the door to the window and just sat there staring at me.
No answer of course. I began to randomly type and the following poem happened. One of the fellow LL Minds, a good friend living in Canada now will probably recognize it, though he will not have seen it for what must be close to a decade and a half.
The story about not being able to be written never saw the light of day, but the poem wound up in El Independiente displayed in rather prominent fashion across almost an entire page. Go figure.
Too much time has passed for accuracy in describing what might have been discussed that afternoon at the bar, but this should shed a little light on the pliable frame of mind that would often occupy my skull just after those meetings. Sort of playfully dark, a favorite phrase of mine to this day. An homage to the calm reverence of solitude.

one who listened

I spoke to a wasp the other day
at least he looked like a wasp
could have been a bee
flew in my open door
and landed in front of me
he stared, defiant yet afraid
after all , I am bigger
and so I said
do not sting me and
I will not squash you

a wise choice
he must have thought
for he simply stayed
stretching his wings
enjoying the rays of the sun
heat through my window
I was typing at the time
creating, if you will
and that old wasp
I could tell he was old
by wasp standards

he sat there and listened
as I read to him my story
he preened his tentacles
I thought perhaps he was bored
still polite
and tentacles looking sharp
no effort was made
on his part
to leave his perch
in the dust on the sill
the ledge, if you will

my tale concluded
still there he remained
rapt with attention
like a child
lost within a fairy tale
that old wasp
not ready to leave
obviously wanting to hear more
I obliged
and I told him
all about me

I told him of music
of resonance and rhythm
and how at the age of three
I wanted to be
just like Hank Williams
crooning into the night
guitar in hand
searching out the next rhyme
of future assured of troubles
of drinking and gambling
how it all seemed so right

ah, then came talk of pain
unrequited love
blood mixed with acid rain
torn apart and shaken
and I wondered
while I was ranting
if wasps fell in love
or if they mated
on instinct alone
had this wasp a family?
or was he merely a drone

I spoke of being quite young
and not understanding
watching real war on TV
of hostages taken
in the name of God
while Jesus wept and
Buddha moaned
of growing older
being continually perplexed
of all the horror
destined for history text

so in concluding these musings
I clasped my hands behind my head
and that old wasp
he understood
for off he flew
to his waspy friends
bearing lore
all about the poet he met
who sits by the door
and I found in my heart I hoped
he would return someday, to listen some more


Sunday, March 06, 2011

The hybrid monk

the hybrid monk

that corkscrew stare
the changing of a flat tire
passing motorists
in wedding attire
or maybe a funeral
hard to tell with the heat waves
concrete submission and
sublime impertinence
the distant scream the dance
his shoes are falling apart

nomads barking like vessels
on an unknown journey into
the wilderness of the hybrid monk
and more screaming
or possibly a loud river
hard to tell with the heat waves
a distant cloud the séance
candles glowing green
the unseen influence
the unseen fiend

and a mongrel it seems
has made his way
into the barn
and buried in the hay
the hybrid monk sleeps loudly
he snores all day
the loud river chants and
earthworms grimace in pain
hard to tell with the heat waves
the hybrid monk – is insane


Saturday, March 05, 2011

Landscape - with stick figures (review)

Stark. A dark topic with a script that somehow comes off as mournful as it does menacing. Not an easy feat to pull off, but the SceneShop crew did an admirable job of dealing not with answers, but rather the lack of them.

To say that ‘Landscape with stick figures’ is not a comedy would be an understatement akin to pointing out that sunburn is not as fun as sex. Fortunately, that’s the way it was supposed to be.

Not usually one to jump on the bandwagon of read plays, Bodega Train found being immediately drawn into this tale a smooth excursion from the get go.

The story launches immediately into the grief by a mother torn between loving her son and coping with the reality that he has mercilessly gunned people down, several of them fatally.

Instead of simply heading in a linear direction, the dialogue skips effortlessly from one time frame to another knitting the events together in a relative way that keeps one guessing even though knowing the details of the crime upfront.

The stage setting fit the mood perfectly. Absolute simplicity. A black stage fronting a white wall and a couple of black cubes serving as seating and podium props. The actors, when not seated to the side, floated about wearing black shirts and black trousers.

It was hard to tell if those were real tears in the eyes of Ethan Salisbury, convincingly portrayed by Peter Bowden, but the effect was powerful.

Again, no answers are offered here. In fact, the most defining properties on display are the imaginary lines drawn within the boundaries of accountability. The attorneys on both sides of the court case seem almost as concerned with high profile image as they are with the fate of the defendant, who is either a heartless monster or a victim of his surroundings depending on one’s point of view.

Directed by Steven Alan McGaw, Landscape provided an evening of entertainment that leaves the audience curious for what is to come next from SceneShop.

Oh, on a side note, that peculiar music starting and ending the second act turns out to have been a piece of Television’s Marquee Moon as performed by The Kronos Quintet.

Appropriately stark.



Judgement day

Okay. Thought it might be time to write about something other than - well, not even going to mention that other thing.
How's about Charlie Sheen? Certainly not nearly enough of him in the news these days. Here we go. Now, Bodega Train cannot prove the following statement, however - - - - It is highly likely that a good portion of those who take it upon themselves to make fun of or otherwise bash Sheen are the very same people that place the likes of Jim Morrison on an immortal pedestal. Could be wrong here and perhaps that is an unfair comparison. Just a thought and many iconic names could be substituted. It should be added that the famous few are wide open to ridicule and should not be surprised when it comes their way.