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GOODBYE BLACK, HELLO BLUE

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.


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NAPOLEON IN DEFEAT

I don’t know where I’m going

But I’m starting here

I dueled with my demons

And conquered my fear

I’d reached a place

Where I was at peace with myself

And the joy that that brought

Meant more to me than wealth

To sit in the garden

and feel the sun on my face

Was to reach an unknown destination

And yet to know this place

But you crashed through my door

With your bag of moods

And a bottle of water

That you’d stolen from Lourdes

Escaping from a man

That’d unfriended you

And his songs of misery

That’d all come true

I don’t know where I’m going

But I’m starting here

All the things that I treasured

You smashed them, my dear

 

 

(c) 2015 Frank Howson

 

 

 

 

 

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MY FAVOURITE BOOKS LIST

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

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LOS ANGELES 2003

I had gotten to an age where it didn’t matter anymore. Nothing mattered. I’d travelled such a long way without my parents now and wondered, sometimes, what they would think of me. Would they even recognize me? Would they have ever thought I’d be so alone?

I’d realized quite recently that I wasn’t mad. The world was. Every day mad situations came to my door and forced me to write about them.

The girls that craved love but were incapable of giving any. That was always good for a story.

The men who thought it was smart to rewrite their life with every lie they told. They’d obviously never listened to Woody Guthie in their growing years or found any beacon of honesty to guide them. And now they spent their time smashing up the lives of everyone they came in contact with, always departing back into the delusion that they were good people and everyone else was to blame. They made me ashamed of my gender.

And then there were those who just plain wasted your time. They were the worst killers of all.

Sometimes I feel I’ve passed my “use-by” date and perhaps I am suffering from having seen too much and worn out my heart and spirit. Is it possible to have become what Fitzgerald called an “emotional bankrupt”? Once you’d used up your quota of feelings there was nothing left? Being cursed with feeling things too deeply could pay your bills for a time but was ultimately a death sentence.

In 1936, Micheal Mok, a reporter for the New York Post, interviewed F. Scott Fitzgerald in a sanitarium about his crack-up. “So papa got depressed, and started to drink a little.”

“What happened?” asked the hungry young reporter, smelling blood and vulnerability.

“One blow after another,” Fitzgerald said, “and something snapped.”

And so it was with me. Just when I thought I’d survived everything and taken the hardest blows Life could throw, something inside me snapped and fell away. It would never be found again, and perhaps that was a good thing. I was now an empty vessel, lost at sea, and free at last. I had no destination, no home, and felt I wasn’t needed anywhere. That recurring dream of falling through space had finally revealed the ending. If you were brave enough to stay asleep until you hit the ground, your soul was released. A sense of calm engulfed me. The fear I’d carried since I was a boy was gone. All our fears are based on losing what we have. If I lose my money, I’m no one. If I lose my family, I’m no one. If I lose my home…my job…my career…my love… Well, once you’ve lost all those things there’s no longer anything to fear. “Thank God Almighty, I’m free at last!” Jesus knew the secret. He wandered around with his pals, no money, no possessions, no designer clothes. Those whom befriended him did so for no ulterior motive or agenda. Suddenly, true genuineness flowed.

One summer in Los Angeles I found myself in the same circumstances. What followed would be a revelation, sometimes scary and sometimes so beautiful it would bring tears to my eyes. I no longer could afford fear…or pride…or ego…and in the process I found humanity through humility.

(c) Frank Howson 2014