Out of the darkness And into light We face a blank canvas And call it a life Our hand tracing lines Adding colour here and there Some of us choose to be bold While some of us never dare So how much am I bid For this crazy life I've lived? Do you find it too frivolous or too bleak? Does it move you to tears? Or does it look like wasted years? This painting has cost me more than I dare speak Lost in a city Lost in a crowd I don't speak till I get drunk And then I get too loud Your beautiful face I have captured it by hand But you denied me your heart And cut me down where I stand I have painted sorrow And sometimes joy But cocktails in a gallery Won't bring back my boy So I'll paint him from memory From the time he called me dad Some of us paint our mistakes While some of us just go mad (c) Frank Howson 2018 Painting by Frank Howson.
The living are always under attack from the dead. As night follows day so do those of darkness target those of light and stalk them with words of hero worship when, the truth is, the mere existence of those with a spark irritates them and they consciously or, in some cases, subconsciously, work toward the extinguishment of that flame. Wilhelm Reich writes about this condition in detail in his book The Murder of Christ.
The people of darkness use many tools to bring down the envied. Negative rumours, stories that are unfounded in fact, and a whole range of politically acceptable words to discredit their target i.e., Narcissist (this applies to anyone who is successful in showbiz who uses social media to promote their latest ventures) because the fact that someone may actually be getting off their fat ass and doing something reminds the person of darkness how meaningless and unfocused their own life is; Nazi (it is acceptable in today’s politically correct world to call anyone with an opposing opinion this and get away with it. This is disgustingly outrageous and unfair to their target whose only crime may be to have an original thought, as well as, obviously, making light of what the real Nazis did). But let me not bring logic into this lest I be called names. Anti-Semitic is a good one too in some cases. I have even witnessed Jewish people being called anti-Semitic because they dared to have an opinion that didn’t sit comfortably with the party line. Such is the out of control world we live in where the militant wheel gets oiled first and the logical debate is not only not considered it is condemned. Here we have a perfect storm for the people of darkness to not only hide within, but thrive.
Bob Dylan has predicted for some time now that we have entered the end game. Anyone who has studied theology and the predictions of the old prophets would have to concur. In my opinion we are currently engaged in the final war between good and evil, darkness and light, and the shadow people are only going to get more and more hysterical as things don’t go their way. They are currently very confused as to why things aren’t going the way of the Polls. Could it be divine intervention?
It is difficult to untangle yourself from a person of darkness because they are cling ons – spiritual vampires sucking your energy. And the more you give them the more resentful they will become towards you. For even your kindness is an irritation. A reminder of what they are not. They will insult you by praising strangers and even abusing and opportunistic ex-partners above your efforts to help, give and support. This is to make you crazy and so confused you will cease to be able to function and end up zombie like staring out a window into the light that was once your source. Do not under any circumstances feed them. Let well enough alone. Danger and madness this way comes.
(C) Frank Howson 2017
I was thrown up into this world Or born into it Or cast down Some time ago When everything was grey Mostly Although some things were black Or white And your skin colour Could be wrong or right Regardless of your heart And actions It made me nervous That one could so easily Cross the line And be punished For who you were So I locked myself away In my room My tomb And listened to the radio But mostly the music was grey too Like Johnny Ray And Doris Day So I dreamed in Vistavision And lived in the movies Where the hero stood up to the mob And did the right thing Regardless of the cost Sometimes getting the girl In the final reel Sometimes not For the hero was mostly a loner A man who'd seen too much And didn't want to see anymore For he too Found that the world was grey And was not above sacrificing his life So that others may live I continued on Looking forward to Christmas And my birthdays When suddenly there was kindness And laughter And glimpses of the colours Of joy And what the world could be If only we tore the walls down And embraced And displayed our brokenness And vocalised our care for others Imagine I was about eleven years of age With my mum in the Myer department store In the city When I heard a sound that changed my life It was unlike anything I'd ever heard I stopped Transfixed My mother asked me what was wrong I smiled because Suddenly Everything seemed somehow right I wandered away Toward the music Leaving my mother to follow me The singer's voice Was the most exciting and dynamic sound I'd ever heard He sounded like a caged animal That had just been set free As I had The record was "Twist And Shout" By a group called the Beatles And on the front cover of their EP They looked to this kid from St. Kilda To be from another planet Their hair, their clothes, their boots, their sound It seemed the planet they came from was called Liverpool I needed to know what the singer's name was And was told by the girl behind the record counter That he was John Lennon And he played rhythm guitar and co-wrote moat of their songs John Lennon saved my life that day And he has had my staunch loyalty ever since I grew to read much about him In fact, everything And have since met many people who knew him He was a complex, fascinating, contradictory and flawed man All of which made him even more interesting And still does to this day Scarred by the early loss of his father, then his mother And then his best friend He put up a guard to protect himself From any more hurt His singing tone sometimes snarled to hide his pain But we heard it in his soul And in the words of his songs And knew that behind the tough guy facade he was the kindest And most caring of all My friend Phil Sloan told me that John's spirit was so huge That you actually felt his presence enter a room Before you'd even seen him Another friend of John's who'd known me for some time Told me that he would've liked me I hope so Because I have spent a long time Loving him He was my liberator, my hero, my friend He made me laugh, he made me cry, he made me angry, he made me care And sometimes when I am lost or despairing I think about how Johnny Rhythm would handle things And it gives me the inspiration to go on To try and find a way I guess it was destiny That he left us after such a short time But perhaps his spirit was too big for this world As his beautiful boy Sean said to his mother when she was grieving, "Don't worry, Daddy's bigger now...Now he's part of everything." (c) Frank Howson 2017
The street was the same as I remembered it. And the birds swooped as if to herald my return. So it was true, I hadn’t dreamed it. For a moment I stood and took in the beautiful cacophony of noise that I’d never fully appreciated before in all its ugly glory. The sun came out to shine on cue and its warmth informed me that I had now entered a safety zone for lost boys.
How can you know a place so well and yet feel that you are seeing it for the first time? If this is a dream and I awaken now I will be angry all day. Maybe all days.
I continue moving on further into it until I reach the gate no one ever closes, and the narrow cement path leading to the apartment block steps I once knew so well I could climb them in the dark, and under the influence of too much life. This time there seems to be a lesson learnt in each step and greater effort needed to conceal the weariness of the outsider.
Halfway up I enter the glow from the first storey window that conspires to shine God-like behind the statue of Buddha as if even the universe is welcoming my return.
More steps and more weary remembrances of lessons learned and I am at the front door, knocking in a drum pattern of whimsy and familiarity.
After an eternity of seconds the door is opened and I see your smiling face as I remembered it from a long ago carefree time. Bright, loving and kind. I can now die in my footsteps and not be lost to wander and wonder.
I enter and am surrounded by the comfort of the greatest books and music ever written. Each word and note a friend of mine. And I sit at the empty table. Alone no more. Everything and nothing has changed as I take my place amongst it.
You ask me how I am. But there are no words to convey the miracle of ordained destiny.
For in that sheltered moment, I am home.
(C) Frank Howson 2017
All I know is this. Politicians, mostly, stand for one thing, and one thing only – being elected. Those who genuinely dare to make a difference and can’t be bought – are in danger of their lives. And will either be killed by a bullet or a smear campaign.
All I know is this. Jesus, whether he was the Messiah, the Son of God, a gifted rabbi, or just another madman in the wilderness, preached a message of love and forgiveness – regardless of the translations, the interpretations or the Chinese whispers – his message, and the price he paid for it, are worthy of my respect, and love.
All I know is this. Shakespeare has the perfect quote to describe any condition of human nature. So does Bob Dylan.
All I know is this. They no longer make films for mature audiences.
All I know is this. It is alright to love something – but you are damned if you love that thing too much.
All I know is this. Today we have at our fingertips on the internet more easily accessed information than any previous generation that inhabited this planet. And yet the ignorance level has never been higher. Who the hell is Paul McCartney? Go fuck yourself.
All I know is this. Lee Harvey Oswald didn’t shoot J.F.K and the men who did got away with it.
All I know is this. None of us have any real idea what’s happening in the world at the moment. We have been purposely misinformed for many years now because the only way to keep the public in line is to have them in a constant state of confusion and chaos. Oh, and hopefully, on drugs.
All I know is this. The War on Terrorism is as calculatingly and cynically futile and convenient as the War on Drugs.
All I know is this. Two of Hollywood’s greatest geniuses, or genii, Charles Chaplin and Orson Welles, were both run out of town. Does that tell you something?
All I know is this. Children’s theatre and pantomimes were the first introduction of many kids like me to the magical world of theatre. And once hooked on it we continued to go back in search of other magical nights. It built a whole future audience for stage shows. Sadly, what we knew as children’s theatre is now as dead as the Wicked Witch. Ding dong.
All I know is this. We owe more than we know to The Beatles. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
All I know is this. The more you see of Life, the less you think you know.
All I know is this. Humility is the open road to God.
All I know is this. More lives had been lost or damaged through manmade religions than all the wars since the beginning of time. God is great. But his organized fan clubs are run by the ignorant and the flawed.
All I know is this. You can’t judge somebody by the colour of their skin, their gender, the size of their wallet, or their religion. We can only truly be judged on the fabric of our spirit.
All I know is this. You can’t make somebody love you.
All I know is this. Success comes to those who persist. If you lean against a closed door long enough eventually it flies open.
All I know is this. Some of the old clichés have become clichés because they hold the truth. Everything in moderation. If you eat, drink, do, or take too much of anything it will harm you.
All I know is this. Anthony Newley was a genius that the world has largely forgotten now.
All I know is this. Everything you learn you learn in the first five years of your life. Then it may take a lifetime to overcome that.
All I know is this. Any battle is hard won.
All I know is this. Much more is achieved by a smile than a threat.
All I know is this. Every mistake we make is an opportunity to learn something. Those of us who don’t learn are destined to repeat it over and over again. Some, sadly, are stuck in Groundhog Day all their lives.
All I know is this. You never lose a friend. They live on in your heart forever.
All I know is this. We’re not here for long, so be kind to each other.
(c) Frank Howson 2016
Remember the days before ipods and iphones when we actually took the time to talk to each other? Really talk.
Remember when you could go out to lunch as an escape from the pressures of work and for an hour could unwind and enjoy a meal without being interrupted by a phone call about something that could obviously wait an hour?
Remember when love was something magical and special and people didn’t take each other for granted? Or for a ride. We all rejoiced when there was suddenly free love. Trouble is, like most things, people don’t value things that come too easily.
Remember when music was on vinyl and an album was big and had a beautiful cover that actually looked like a work of art and we carried those albums around with us to friends’ houses as a badge of pride? They had cover notes. They listed what musicians played on what track. What studio each track was recorded at? Who engineered? What time of day or night had it been recorded. Who had written each song? Who arranged it? Who mixed it? The lyrics. It was important to us to know all these things and to respect those who had participated on our beloved recording. It was difficult to skip tracks so it made you listen to every song and appreciate an album as a whole. Now, music has gotten smaller in so many ways. People download things in inferior sound quality and don’t give a damn about who played on it and who else contributed. Now it’s all about beats.
Remember when people used to know their neighbours? And actually care about them?
Remember when a dog was a child’s best friend and there were so many hills to climb and games to play in the open air? It taught us to use our imaginations. Without a computer screen, we could imagine we were Zorro, Davy Crockett, Robin Hood or Geronimo and play in parks for hours having the time of our life. And were safe.
Remember when the smallest gesture was appreciated and treasured?
Remember when we believed that our vote counted for something? This was in the days before the Whitlam sacking (a Prime Minister elected by the public and dismissed by one man), and Kevin Rudd (another man elected by the public but dismissed by his own party).
Remember when our innocence was lost from three bullets fired in Dallas? A reminder that the world was not a safe place for those who dreamed big dreams.
Remember when your parents took the time to read you bedtime stories?
Remember when an ice cream and a trip to the movies made you feel like the richest kid in town?
Remember when Christmas was spent with all those long gone family members and we laughed as if there would be no tomorrow?
Remember when the days seemed so long that you could easily fit into each one everything you had to do?
Remember the first time you heard the Beatles and they sounded like nothing you’d ever heard before? It’s hard for younger people to appreciate their full impact on the way things were. Music, hair, clothing, and attitudes changed overnight. Or so it seemed.
Remember when you were small and played with children with different coloured skin and didn’t even notice?
Remember the excitement of each birthday party shared with your friends?
Remember the smell of your mum’s cooking? It seemed like she was some kind of magician. She always knew what you wanted.
Remember when each day was your friend and another chance for an adventure? Where did we lose that enthusiasm for life? I lost it for a whole decade but have worked hard to regain it. Be thankful for each day no matter what you are going through. Each day is a gift. If you treat it as such it will be.
Remember when radio stations played any and every style of music as long as they thought it was a hit? It was such a weird and exciting mix of Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, Louis Armstrong, The Rolling Stones, Elvis, Anthony Newley, The Shadows, Bob Dylan, The Seekers, Bobby Darin, Paul Mauriat, The Kinks, Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey, Janis Joplin, etc., etc., etc.
Remember when people read books and writers became celebrities?
Remember when Bing Crosby was the voice of Christmas?
Remember Muhammad Ali in his prime when he glided like a proud eagle in flight?
Remember reading the Old Testament and being scared because God seemed so pissed off all the time? In the New Testament He had, like us all, mellowed by time.
Remember crying over the loss of your first love?
Remember when people took the time to write and post Christmas cards?
Remember Noddy in Toyland?
Remember when the circus came to town?
Remember watching man set foot on the moon and knowing nothing would be the same again? It was scary and exciting all at the same time. In the words of Bob Dylan, “Man has invented his doom, first step was touching the moon…”
Remember when it wasn’t painful to remember?
(c) Frank Howson 2014
1. Make sure you brush your hair.
2. Smile at old people, it may be the only smile they get all day.
3. Learn everything you can, then forget it and follow your instincts.
4. Play Bob Dylan really loud.
5. Respect the past, but don’t live there.
6. Never take no for an answer, even the experts can be wrong.
7. Be kind to children, the one thing everybody deserves is a nice childhood.
8. Watch movies that make you feel something.
9. Believe it or not, your parents were once your age and went through all the same stuff. Sometimes you just need to remind them of that.
10. Make sure you acknowledge the homeless people on the street. There but for the grace of God go us all. And you may be the only person who looks into their eyes all day.
11. The world is a scary place. The world is a friendly place. It awaits your choice.
12. A lot can be achieved with a smile. It’s more powerful than a gun as long as it’s sincere.
13. At least once a day stop and give thanks for what you have.
14. If you succumb to self-pity, count your friends and you’ll realise how fortunate you are.
15. Be bold and mighty forces join you. Nobody ever achieved anything without risk.
16. Make time to occasionally watch the dawn of a new day. It’s in that silence that we can hear God’s breath.
17. Today is the tomorrow you were worried about yesterday.
18. Hug those you love. It would be a shame if they never realised how much you appreciated them.
19. Make sure you fall in love with a person and not a concept.
20. Don’t try and change those you love. Love them for who they are. And ask the same in return.
21. It’s true that you have to pass through hell to fully appreciate heaven.
22. Treat every day as a gift. That’s why they call it the present.
23. Remember your wise words to your dad once when he was passing though hell, “Don’t worry dad, it’ll be alright when you grow up to be a child”. I’ve never forgotten that advice. Don’t you ever forget it either.
24. How good a friend you are defines who you are.
25. It’s only money. Don’t worship false Gods.
26. Love your mother.
27. Try to get a good night’s sleep when you can. You’ll need it.
28. Whatever happens happens for a reason. Try and learn a lesson from it so you don’t have to go through it again.
29. Treat everyone as family until they prove different.
30. Don’t trust anything that comes too easy.
31. Create, don’t destroy.
32. Don’t be cruel.
33. Don’t be mean-spirited.
34. Don’t be envious.
35. Love this moment. It will not come again.
36. Don’t be afraid to occasionally be silly. It’s good for you.
37. Learn to laugh at yourself. It saves others doing it.
38. Be humble but never forget who you are. Everyone deserves to be respected. Remind the less courteous if they forget that.
39. Don’t allow people filled with darkness into your life. Some will delight in bringing you down.
40. Always tell the truth. A lie is a timebomb that will eventually explode in your face.
41. Be respectful to women. They have it tough enough.
42. At the heart of everything is the truth. And people will always respond to it.
43. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Or directions.
44. Don’t become a slave to anything.
45. Don’t surrender your pride, you may never get it back.
46. Stand up for what is right. Even if it’s an unpopular thing to do.
47. Don’t let someone else’s trip become yours.
48. Appreciate every act of kindness done for you. And try and pay it forward.
49. Walk in the park occasionally and observe everything.
50. Angels sometimes bring us messages – make sure you don’t dismiss them.
51. Love sees no colour. Love knows no age. You fall in love with someone for who they are, not the colour of their skin or the number of their years.
52. Never make a promise you can’t keep. Your word is your bond and a handshake should be the tightest contract in the world.
53. A lot of people will be your friend as long as you’re doing what they want. If, the moment it becomes about you, you lose them – they were never your friends to begin with.
54. Never ever forget, for one second, how much you’re loved. You were made from love, you are love, now share that love.
(c) Frank Howson 2014