The street beneath my feet Has never let me down Unlike the people Who think they own this town I tried my luck But the cards were cut When I complained I was told to shut up Goodbye black, hello blue What happens next depends on you I miss the world I thought I knew Goodbye black, hello blue I gave myself to you But then you lost your nerve I was your army Always ready to serve You cut me off And you burned my flag I surrender In peace I pack my bag Goodbye black, hello blue I'll spend my life forgetting you I'll miss the dreams that won't come true Goodbye black, hello blue So I'll be off Until who knows when I'll see you in the stars Until the broken heal again Goodbye black, hello blue What happens now we can't undo I'll miss the love I never knew Goodbye black, hello blue (c) Frank Howson 2017 Title suggested by Chris Thomas.
There's nothing more I need in a woman's eyes It's a lonely, hollow, comforting feeling Finally knowing that I am empowered and can no longer be conned With the promise of something wonderful That will ultimately be paid for In blood and tears I now appreciate all people without any agenda Other than to laugh and share some joy while we are still here And at the heart of it that's all that matters We hide behind so many veils in our youth Playing roles that can't be sustained Even the greatest actors can only summon up King Lear Once a night Free at last I thought God almighty free at last All I wanted was peace And some joy And someone to share the good times with But each candidate brought their carriage of problems Their hurt caused by another Their suspicions caused by another Their jealousy caused by another With no one to take it out on but me So what should've been joyous times were ruined Laughter replaced by tears Kindness viewed with cynicism Until it was turned into something nasty That could only be understood by them And this was called a relationship Others would deem it a prison Some, hell It reduced life to a death And made fools of those who had craved it I still believe in some things But less by the day I wonder how much of us must whither Before we pass away? I am not a killer And yet the faces of several people who have used me Flash through my mind every day I am considered a kind man By some, a strong man And yet I could kill a handful of people without a thought Maybe most of us could With a clear conscience As we would write it off As a public service Our act would save other good souls From being exploited and then Thrown away to be useless Having given them mansions So that we could settle down on someone else's couch While they rewrote history to alienate the ones you loved The most Yet they weren't charged with your murder? But perhaps justice is yet to be served And if we took it upon ourselves to render it Would the government not erect statues to us? They would've in bygone days Some people don't deserve to be called human They don't act it, they don't think it, they don't care They love to destroy other people's lives and values and then leave others to deal with the mess They are spiritual vampires Why should they be allowed to get away scott free Sipping their white wine Repeating other people's opinions Only to laugh And destroy another day Another life? I missed my calling I should've been Wyatt Earp or Bat Masterson Riding the range With the power to take or give life Where and how I saw it But instead of a badge and a revolver I was given a suit and a tie And an expectation of what I had to achieve In a gentleman's world I failed Because of those I let into my life with their promises of "This will be fun" and "I will always love you" and "Thank you so much for your kindness, it won't be forgotten" But it was by the next day Which brings me back to the gun And why I am lost Between the cracks of right and wrong Watch your step Night is falling I'm considering becoming Jewish Just so I'll know where my home is (c) Frank Howson 2017 photograph by Vanessa Allan.
And so it goes Once again I gave my all Which wasn't enough When I was happy I was too happy When I cried There weren't enough tears To please everybody When I broke It was so quiet No one heard I died that night That night you ruined my Christmas Alone in my room Well, what was left of me But still I went on Not wanting to let anyone down I was expected at so many events And people are so easily offended So here we are Going through the motions Of an impersonation Of a man in control Of nothing There were no obituaries Only slaps on the back Some a little too hard And hollow For a sensitive soul Some hadn't been felt like this Since the murder of unsuspecting Julius But they got the wrong man I didn't set out to conquer Rome Or live for praise Only to make my mother proud And a safe place Where I could do my work In peace And not be envied Or pitied Or slandered Or made to stand trial Sometimes I think of the frightened boy I was And lost And shed a tear When someone notices I say I have something in my eye I lie And they believe me I am a fugitive of your heart Misjudged Miscast Misplaced Washed ashore Writing stories That turn out to be premonitions For those who have tired of happy endings About men on the run From a society that too readily believes The worst in us Cursed with too good a memory It is impossible to forget Every scar Every betrayal My face lined with lessons learned The hard way And there's nothing you can take to change that As Elvis found out Looking back Perhaps my only lasting friend has been the night And that glimpse of heaven That moment just before dawn When the world is so silent You can hear God's breath If you listen close enough That long night When I forget to sleep Because I'm addicted to the clarity Of each rushing thought That won't come again And my job is to capture as many As possible Before they are gone Like the women Stampeding over the edge And free falling Into the darkness of the abyss Joining my dreams of a happy home And all those beautiful things I didn't say to the right one Who withered from waiting too long And has now gone to Florida To teach people how to act So they can at least get things right in their art And be convincing enough to pass as a human being Without an alarm I awaken to find All victories shallow All risks ill-timed My laughter too loud to be acceptable My critics misinformed and better suited to The sports page Where the results are more easily ascertained My women merely visions That fade too soon Building residue in my heart That heart that is too strong to break Even by experts But weeps For missing persons Beneath the burden of searching for resolutions It may never find Not even at 3am I too gambled for our savior's clothes Winning only his crown of thorns And the identity Of a man who travels by the light of the moon Some say he is based on a true story (c) 2017 Frank Howson
I hear the trumpet sound
But is it of the sky or ground?
It’s hard to find without a link
When the world’s forgotten how to think
And women dress for Babylon
To glow and bloom and then are gone
The devil moves you like a pawn
You’ve been played like that since you were born
We misunderstood the Judas kiss
And now it’s come to all of this
Where sex is love and hate is fine
And to tell the truth is to cross the line
Where information is at our fingertips
And yet ignorance springs from our lips
We kneel to say our prayers
And pray to God that someone cares
But just like that tale of Ruth
We get persecuted for the truth
We never found the promised land
It was a myth like the helping hand
So we freeze in our winter of discontent
Where there are no replies to our letters sent
I live in a house of lonely men
Where you relive it again and again
They say when it finally makes sense
We’ll be reimbursed for all our expense
But while Billy and Joey think it’s a crock
I sit staring at the clock
There’s a Pilate waiting to judge us all
And he’ll wash his hands and try to stall
Because it frightens us to the core
To know the roles we’ve been cast for
But maybe one day when I’m through this phase
I’ll call you to talk of old days
And not to take anything you don’t want to give
Or to tell you how to live
But just to rest my head on yours
And tell you I love you because…
(c) Frank Howson 2016
Killed by the slow moving internet connection.
Killed by the small print.
Killed by the waiting.
Killed by the people who never showed up.
Killed by the opportunities lost.
Killed by never being fully understood.
Killed by the loss of parents.
Killed by the orphanage.
Killed by never finding your way home again. .
Killed by too much false love.
Killed by too many people asking how you are but not wanting the answer.
Killed by being too honest.
Killed by too many battles fought alone.
Killed by reading between the lines.
Killed in your sleep.
Killed by the mediocre.
Killed by finding out too much.
Killed by never finding yourself.
Killed by the dull eyed crowd.
Killed by giving more than you had.
Killed by the slow cooker.
Killed by critics who only enjoy sport.
Killed by gossip.
Killed by pacifists smelling blood.
Killed by mistake.
(c) 2016 Frank Howson
A friend asked me to pick my 10 fave books of all time. The 10 best of anyting is a hard ask but here’s goes. I have chosen those 50 books that moved me the most and had the biggest influence.
1) THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
2) GREAT EXPECTATIONS by Charles Dickens.
3) THE DISENCHANTED by Budd Schulberg.
4) THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY by Oscar Wilde.
5) NODDY IN TOYLAND by Enid Blyton
6) A LIFE by Elia Kazan.
7) CRAZY SUNDAYS – F. SCOTT FITZGERALD IN HOLLYWOOD by Aaron Latham
8) CHRONICLES by Bob Dylan.
9) THIS IS ORSON WELLES by Orson Welles & Peter Bogdanovich.
10) A FAREWELL TO ARMS by Ernest Hemingway.
11) THE LITTLE PRINCE by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
12) IN COLD BLOOD by Truman Capote
13) A TALE OF TWO CITIES by Charles Dickens
14) HUCKLEBERRY FINN by Mark Twain
15) WHAT’S EXACTLY THE MATTER WITH ME by P.F. Sloan
16) DEATH OF A SALESMAN by Arthur Miller
17) TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee
18) TENDER IS THE NIGHT by F. Scott Fitzgerald
19) POWER WITHOUT GLORY by Frank Hardy
20) PETER PAN by James M. Barrie
21) DIARY OF AN UNKNOWN by Jean Cocteau
22) ADVENTURES IN THE SCREEN TRADE by William Goldman
23) THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD by Ron Hansen
24) SCOTT & ERNEST by Matthew Bruccoli
25) THE POWER OF MYTH by Joseph Campbell & Bill Moyers.
26) ERROL FLYNN – A MEMOIR by Earl Conrad
27) ON THE STREET WHERE I LIVE by Alan Jay Lerner
28) DON’T LET ME BE MISUNDERSTOOD by Eric Burdon with J. Marshall Craig
29) OLIVIER ON ACTING by Laurence Olivier
30) THE MUSIC GOES ROUND MY HEAD by David Johnston
31) FREE ASSOCIATION by Steven Berkoff
32) THE KID STAYS IN THE PICTURE by Robert Evans
33) MARILYN by Norman Mailer
34) HITCHCOCK BY TRUFFAUT
35) A MOVEABLE FEAST by Ernest Hemingway
36) JOURNAL OF A NOVEL by John Steinbeck
37) PICTURE by Lillian Ross
38) HOME BEFORE DARK by Ruth Park
39) TINSEL by William Goldman
40) PORTRAITS by Helmut Newton
41) THE NAKED CIVIL SERVANT by Quentin Crisp
42) THE HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES by Joseph Campbell
43) TEN GREAT PLAYS by William Shakespeare
44) FINISHING THE HAT by Stephen Sondheim
45) W. C. FIELDS – HIS FOLLIES AND FORTUNES by Robert L. Taylor
48) THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MARK TWAIN Volume 1 by Mark Twain
49) IN HIS OWN WRITE by John Lennon
50) THE ENTERTAINER by John Osbourne
Come to think of it, I have been slandered most of my life, one way or another. I guess it’s the price you pay for getting off your ass, sticking your neck out, and achieving something. Of course you sometimes stumble, that’s comes with the territory and sadly those moments will be the only ones your enemies cling to. It disappoints but makes you harder. At those times it will be difficult to see the humanity in others and to hold onto your belief that at the heart of all things lies a goodness. But in order to do your best work you must struggle to believe in those things even if you are bereft of evidence.
Why do people who know better, or should, slide to slander another? Envy? Ignorance? To elevate themselves at another’s expense? Or something far darker?
Wilheim Reich once wrote a book entitled “The Murder of Christ” – its conceit was that the murder of Christ keeps on being perpetrated. In a nutshell, all of us are born with a light force but most have it beaten out of us in childhood through dysfunctional parents or a school system that turns circles into squares. Those of us that retain that child-like light force, or positive openness to life, are doomed to ridicule, slander and the spiteful, destructive actions of others. The soul destroying realization is that most of these negative attacks are from those who profess to be friends.
According to Reich these people are mostly unaware of their actions or intentions. It is as if your mere existence irritates them. You see, light will always attract to itself the darkness that cannot rest until it has extinguished it.
The celebrated writer Arthur Miller, who was always reticent to discuss his ex-wife Marilyn Monroe, once said, “It’s strange, but that girl seemed to draw to herself the very people who would destroy her.”
I have had my integrity attacked by law breakers; my talent questioned by people who couldn’t spell their name; my vision ridiculed by hacks who couldn’t direct traffic (and then went on to publicly prove it), my sanity tested by the mentally impaired, my compassion thrown back in my face by those whose dictionary does not contain the word “empathy”, and judged by thieves in a world where only materialistic items and wealth are valued.
I once stood up over a principal – I refused to work with a man who broke the law. In order to be rid of him I had to burn the fort. And myself. I once told Warren Zevon that story and not long after he wrote a song called, “I Was In The House When The House Burned Down.” Yep. I have the scars to prove it.
And yes, the days do grow short when you reach September. My life has been simplified by circumstance and I’ve paid greatly for that principal. I guess I grew up watching too many Gary Cooper films where the hero risked it all but won in the final reel. But they were just movies. Wish fulfillment. Childish dreams of a more just world.
More people have been murdered by words than by a gun or a sword. There are many killers amongst us who think by spreading unfounded gossip they don’t have blood on their hands.
The truth is, in the end, it doesn’t much matter to most people. And, sadly, neither does the truth. We live in a modern world where it is no longer respected. People are only interested in the abridged Readers Digest version that they can misquote at dinner parties in-between snorting lines of coke and boring everyone senseless with tales about how busy they are on their journey to death. They get their news from gossip rags like the National Enquirer, or some other celebrity dirt publication. They form their views from Chinese Whispers. They get their music lessons from Nero.
Your only reward in a Spartan life is to sleep the sleep of the just. And being able to look at your own reflection without flinching.
(c) Frank Howson 2014