HOMAGE TO FALSE GODS

I cried when they took away all the things I had loved and lived for.

My voice became ravaged and ragged when my spirit was broken and the walls came down to reveal my soul was really 500 years old. It was God’s way of humbling me which is the only way to Him/Her.

I wandered the wastelands in search of a reason to find a way out. It took years to think of one. But I thought of you long before I met you.

I have no agenda other than to do my work and treat other humans with kindness and respect. I will be damned for this and smirked at by those with no backbone or chins.

I look around at all the lost souls who act in an arrogant way, telling you things that are not true in order to impress, swearing on bibles that simple songs are too complex to play, manipulating situations that are really of no importance, protecting their over-inflated egos at any cost, convincing themselves that guests arrive to see them and not the hosts and, still, I feel sorrow at their ignorant pathetic-ness. Wasting their lives and their opportunities for inner peace by waging a war to defend their hollow delusions which are, and always were, meaningless.

We live in a world where the banks own you now. They can afford to be arrogant and rude to their customers because they need no longer keep up the pretence of performing a service.

I hope in my time I live to see the public rise up against them. Yes, there will be blood, long time coming.

The plague will descend from ourselves and inhabit the dull-eyed crowds that linger in the shadows of that which cannot be spoken. Friends, whom we thought were friends, will try and entice us to visit them whilst they are contagious so that they can infect us and watch us weaken and die as they feast on our souls. Spiritual vampires pretending to be human will survive by repeating things they have overheard in order to make small talk and fade into the scenery undetected. No empathy. No conscience. They will devour anything, anyone that gets in their way. For the mere existence of real people will torture them until they have succeeded in extinguishing the flame.

I feel like I’m dying as a result of the most selfish man in the world who gives you guilt trips if you don’t risk your life paying homage to him by breathing in his environment – and his disease. Nothing you offer as a sacrifice is good enough because he has been denied attention for 40 years and his desert is calling.

“Thou shalt not worship false gods!” I scream as I destroy his overcrowded temple to his own ego.

His family call him their stalker as they continue to feed his insatiable hunger for attention and a limelight that no longer shines and in fact only ever did in his dreams.

Thank you for weakening my already troubled heart. Your play acting concern was less than convincing to the children present and has been noted in the Book of the Dead.

My last glimpse of this world will be of my best friends clammering to be photographed with the man who destroyed me. I see they are all smiling.

(C) Frank Howson 2017.

MY CONVERSATION WITH GOD

My birth was a bit messy from recollection and ever since I have been flaying around like a man drowning in gasoline. People have come and gone in my life, some leaving an impression, others facial scars, but still, I wouldn’t change it even if I could shoot them.

Life is funny isn’t it?

Sometimes you win and sometimes the cards are stacked against you. Still, it keeps us occupied doesn’t it? I mean, otherwise we may turn into animals and attack each other thinking there was no purpose to it all. But the good news is, there is. I can say this with all certainty now as only a few weeks ago I was stirring my pot of porridge when I saw God’s face on the surface. He said unto me, “Listen, go forth and tell all the fucking morons that I have spent a fortune on this human experiment and have nothing to show for it. Other than one lovely Jewish boy and he doesn’t count because he is related on his mother’s side. All I ask is that you scumbags make a little effort and be nice to each other. It’s not brain surgery y’know? Oh, and your porridge is ready.”

I have since taken to the streets spreading the good news that God is alive and still loves us. And that we need to be kind to each other. In return I have been beaten, spat upon, cursed, betrayed by friends, had my sex tapes made public by Billy Bush, been blacklisted by Hollywood, been lectured by Robert DeNiro on morality, and treated by the media worse than Donald Trump. It could’ve been less kind, though. I could’ve been treated like Joan of Arc and roasted like a chicken as a public entertainment. Thank God I wasn’t a woman.

These days I keep to myself and have stopped eating porridge lest I get any more messages from you know who. I mean, I myself, even, don’t know why God chose me to be the bearer of his good news although he does have a history of choosing flawed messengers. Life is complicated enough without all that.

Father, forgive us we know not what we do.

(c) Frank Howson 2017

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.


SHEK-O BEACH

It had been 50 years since Bill Cassell had set foot on Shek-O Beach in Hong Kong. He was still a young man when he’d walked onto these sands all those years ago. Although well preserved he’d lost along the way all those things that define you as a young man – ambitions, dreams, hope, confidence and the infinite belief that everything would work out for the best. Now he stood on this empty beach clinging to his last remaining hope. A hope so thin and futile he felt ashamed at how pathetic he’d become in his old age.

50 years ago on this beach he’d been stopped by a young Chinese girl selling hats. He’d looked at her and everything had changed. It wasn’t just her obvious beauty, there was something else about her – perhaps her calmness, perhaps the wisdom in her twinkling eyes, her joyous laugh, the feeling that he meant something to her  – that suggested there could be a purpose in his meandering and confused life. He’d bought the hat he didn’t need and they’d chatted. They’d also laughed and enjoyed each other’s company for what may’ve only been 10 minutes in total, and then she’d bid him farewell and walked away. But had never left him. He’d promised to come back and see her tomorrow but his Aussie buddies had gotten him drunk that night and he slept all the next day, nearly missing his night time flight back home. Since the encounter there’d not been a day when he hadn’t thought of her and wondered how she was. He hoped maybe she’d thought of him too. Such are the dreams that torment old men.

Where had 50 years gone? Oh that’s right, he’d returned to Australia, and married a safe convenient woman approved by everyone as a “good catch” and had then worked his guts out to buy a home to make sure his marriage remained safe and convenient. Then children had come along and gone. And finally, so had his wife, taking the safe and convenient home with her. He was now standing on the beach at Shek-O a laughing stock to his own logic but he was too old to care anymore. And it was almost dark.

How come 10 minutes had meant so much in his life and 50 years hadn’t? Perhaps it’s one of the cruel jokes God plays on us. Penalizing us for not following our instincts and wasting our lives in safety. Surely He gave us a life to live, not to hide in. Bill had discovered this wisdom all too late and it was in the knowing that the severest pain comes.

He asked some of the bar people overlooking the beach whether they remembered her. But most couldn’t understand him. In the nearby village a wise looking old Chinese medicine man listened patiently to Bill’s story all the while looking intently into his sad eyes. Bill guessed he too couldn’t understand a word and was trying to decipher meaning by other means. When Bill was finished his manic raving, the old Chinese medicine man smiled and nodded his head. Maybe he was used to silly old Western men retracing their bad decisions and too kind to tell the latest lost soul that it was gone. Gone, gone, gone.

Bill walked back to the beach as if it might miraculously manifest her. And there he stood for hours until it was night. He did the same thing the next day and then the next. His skin was burned red by the lack of a sun hat. Or someone caring enough to offer him one. By the third day some locals had gathered to watch this strange man pacing up and down the length of the beach, fully clothed.

So many thoughts stampeded through Bill’s mind. The years he’d lived up to those blissful 10 minutes and all the wasted time he’d spent in its shadow. Perhaps God gives us the opportunity for happiness and leaves it to us to recognize its face when we see it. Unfortunately, when we make the wrong decisions we spend the rest of our lives cursing Him, like a spoiled child who didn’t get what they wanted for Christmas.

A curious old local lady spectator to this dilemma asked the Chinese medicine man to explain what was happening. And in his Mandarin tongue he answered, “If you hold onto some dreams too long they damn you to hell.”

The old Chinese lady looked back at that stranger on the beach as if she vaguely understood. She’d once sold sun hats there and had waited for weeks for a boy to return and be her friend. He’d seemed like such a nice person. And was so full of enthusiasm and dreams. But she was wise enough to know that it’d been in another life, or so it seemed.

On the beach, Bill Cassell paced ceaselessly, searching for his youth and driven made by longing. Trapped in the hell of his own making. And ranting at the deserting tide.

(c) Frank Howson 2015

IN DEFENCE OF GOD

Imagine, if you will, eternity in darkness, with darkness all there is in front of you. That was God’s lot in life. Those of you who’ve experienced short periods of meditation may be able to grasp just how chilled and cool God is. Sometimes His mind can wander for centuries. He apologises profusely for any inconvenience this caused during the Spanish Inquisition and the Crusades.

Anyway, at some point during an eternity of darkness and nothingness, God got really bored. Really bored. So bored He created stars. Diamond pinholes in eternal night. Some of them he gave names to like DeVinci, Beethoven, Lincoln, Chaplin, Welles, Tesla, Bell, Hawking, Turan, Picasso, Einstein, Elvis, Beatles, Dylan – oh, and Kanye West.

When interviewed by Neale Donald Walsch, God stated that His “…greatest creation was free will.” He gave it to us as His gift to make our own way through the darkness as best we could and to experience, hopefully, in a smaller way, the joy He experienced in creating something from scratch. Trouble is, He said, “…although I’ve given you complete freedom to make your own decisions, as soon as something goes wrong, you blame me!” God is now in therapy thanks to us. And, like a poor person, Hs only option for therapy is to talk to Himself. Sometimes in that magic hour, in the silence just before dawn, if you listen closely you may hear Him.

When asked why He invented suffering, He replied, “It is necessary to pass through hell before you can fully appreciate heaven.”

During that same interview He, a little impatiently, addressed the concern regarding apathy and boredom for those of us who toil below in the wastelands, “Look, I gave you music, Broadway musicals and Bob Dylan didn’t I? You think you’re bored, try living alone in total darkness for eternity!”

Yes, He has lost his patience with us on many occasions. Read the Old Testament and you will find God in a very bad mood who, like all youth, is angry, impatient, revengeful, and quick to judge. By the New Testament, with the help of some therapy and much soul searching, we have an older, more understanding God who’s able to look past our ignorant day-to-day mistakes and embrace the bigger picture. He sent His son to herald this new age and inform us of the “good news” but unfortunately there were those amongst us who weren’t ready for the outrageous and angst-making concept that “we should all love each other and try to get along for the betterment of all” – and they killed him. God has sent us many other messengers in the years since who’ve attempted to give us the same message, ie., Gandhi, Martin Luther King, John Lennon, etc., but, unfortunately, we killed them too. It seems if you preach hate you’re as safe as milk and will die in your bed of old age. But have the audacity to peddle love and understanding and your days are numbered.

This loss of his own son caused God to withdraw from the world and to distance Himself from us. It is indeed a revealing fact that any ensuing visions to bring us messages from the other world have been in the form of Mary. Not Jesus. And, just like a woman, she still attempts to see the best in us and loves us despite our flaws and hurtful, destructive actions. The miracle of unconditional love.

In contrast, Jesus thinks we’re a bunch of idiots with a thirst for blood who haven’t learnt a thing from the past 2000 years, or his death. Word has it He has given up on us and spends most of his time gardening.

For those amongst us who hate God because they didn’t get what they wanted for Christmas, spare a thought for His suffering. He had been alone for eternity, living in darkness with no one to love. Knowing full well what it was like to feel like an orphan, God gave birth to a huge family and tried to send us to school to learn a few things to prepare us for our final home. He now knows the pain of having had that family, in main, disown, slander, and hate their father for being the cause of their existence.

Perhaps that is why God created a miracle called forgiveness. He lives in the hope that we will all find it. As He has.

When asked if He ever worried about our future, He replied, “No. Not at all. I worry about your present but never the future for the I know outcome and what, ultimately, awaits you. You see, at the end of your journey all roads lead to me. And, like any parent that loves their child, regardless of what you’ve done, you are greeted with forgiveness and abundant, unconditional, love. And welcomed home.”

Jesus, on the other hand, although a lovely soul, may take some time to warm to you.

(c) 2015 Frank Howson

THE HOTEL ROOM

This hotel room is killing me. It has been plotting my check-out since check-in.

Last night I heard it whispering my secrets to the corridor.

Whenever I’m choosing wine, I realize all my favourite years are gone.

I keep looking from my window to the pool below seeing me floating face down. The bellboy tells me it’s a good omen. But I suspect he only understands every third word I say.

I phoned room service and ordered a life.

Someone is spiking my drinks with melancholy.

I have been driven mad working for a man who knows nothing and will never be happy. He is trying to turn me into him.

I wake to the maids making the bed with me still in it.

I tried going on a health kick but was advised it could be professional suicide.

In my mourning I was fitted for a suit and had my photograph taken.

The hotel entertainment is a musical review starring my ex-wives and consists of them telling the world everything was my fault. I didn’t get it and don’t think it has any legs.

Daniel reads my palm every night at the crossroads of Down and Lost. He tells me I have too many lines for one hand. I ask him what that means and he says he’ll have to consult a second opinion. But then he tells me that while I’m waiting for the answer I should check-out the musical review at my hotel.

Every morning I order breakfast and just get a bill.

I have a new job playing charades for cab drivers who don’t understand me.

How many times can you watch your ex-wife’s sex tape online without wanting to give directions?

The front desk have allowed too many people into my dreams.

(c) Frank Howson 2014

RANDOM THINGS

1. Most of my heroes are dead. When it comes to music, I hear dead people.

2. The system hammered me down so I wandered the wastelands for 10 years regrouping my thoughts, my ideas, finding my voice again (literally) and waiting for the right time to summon up the inspiration from my guts to want to create again. I now realise that every thing that happened to me was not a curse but rather a gift. It has sharpened my talent and instincts on every level as well as given me the sight to see through false people. My old enemies and those that worked against me, alas, have only succeeded in making me better. Sorry.

3. You don’t appreciate the power of love until you lose it. It takes the giddy highs and severe depths to actually remind us that we are alive. I pity those who sleepwalk through life clinging to “safety” and thus never experience the Great Divine Comedy in all its glory.

4. I am “determined to make each day better than the one before.” Thank you P.F. Sloan and Stephen Kalinich for passing on that wisdom to me.

5. I create. The rest of the time I wait.

6. I have loved many wonderful women in my life and given them all my money. On reflection, It was worth every cent. Maybe.

7. The more you see of Life, the less you know.

8. I love making movies. Especially when they have a real budget.

9. I am blessed to have some truly incredible friends. Some of whom saved my life because they cared more about me than I did.

10. I miss dinner at Guido’s and at Dan Tana’s (L.A) with my friends.

11. I love working with great actors who know their stuff. I love it when they actually listen and allow you to gently guide them to the height of their talent. Phony doesn’t play well. I usually stop actors when I see them “acting.” Nothing better than witnessing the “magic” when it happens. And playing a part in igniting that.

12. My greatest co-production is named Oliver. One day he will realise the truth in that.

13. I love restaurants that have atmosphere. Those secrets places that become cherished destinations.

14. I love people.

15. I no longer allow those filled with darkness to enter my life.

16. I love it when liars tell me something and expect me to believe it.

17. I have a very good in-built shit-detector these days.

18. The past is called that for a reason.

19. I love the Sherlock Holmes Pub in Melbourne. I sit in the Moriarty corner.

20. I miss the all night beer sessions Barry and I enjoyed while we talked until dawn and solved the problems of the world. I used to play Walter Brennan’s album just to annoy him.

21. I miss Santa Barbara and my friends there.

22. I miss a girl I danced with on Venice Beach at sunset, and the world just seemed to go away.

23. It didn’t.

24. Some men kill the thing they love the most.

25. I have a feeling my best years are yet to come. God willing.

26. I miss those nights Tezza and I laughed until we (literally) fell over.

27. I miss Hong Kong and my new friends – whom I’m hoping will be lifelong friends.

28. I miss Joe Banana’s Bar in Wan Chai.

29. I miss Jeff Craig attempting to buy a Popeye’s Chicken Basket on Hollywood Boulevard wearing a Wookie mask. Then going back to Motel 666 to stare at it and tell me it’s too good to eat.

30. I miss those friends who are gone too soon.

31. I miss Marlon Brando who, even when he sleep-walked through a movie, always gave you at least one scene where he showed you who he was. Reminding us all that respect must be paid.

32. I miss Max.

33. I miss Davy Crockett.

34. I miss Mum and Dad.

35. I miss going to the Joint in L.A every Monday night and hearing the Waddy Wachtel Band – arguably the greatest rock’n’roll band in the world.

36. I miss Terry Reid and I singing Anthony Newley after too many drinks. Or maybe not enough.

37. I miss listening to Stan The Man on the radio. Especially when he played tracks from his own record collection and ignored the station’s playlist. Those were the days.

38. I miss the ol’ Smokin’ Wordsmith, Mike Smith, and our trips to Las Vegas that seemed to last for weeks. Or until the money ran out. Oh how we laughed.

39. I miss working with Warren Wills, Kirt Kashita, Mike Brooks, Celina Jade & Stephen Agisilaou on creating some magic. Thanks for understanding the organic process I go through to create. I don’t do formula.

40. I miss listening to the words of wisdom of Dr. Phil Whelan who prescribed me tequila.

41. I’ve been trying to find my way home for such a long time.

42. I miss Breaking Bad.

(c) Frank Howson 2014