(This page will be severely updated next week - December 9, 2010)




So take this golden moment
And place it in a nice wooden box
With small metal corner braces
And put it on a shelf next to your heart

And forget about it until you’re living in
A small rented apartment in a state
Colder than this, some quiet winter,
In between this life and the next.

You’ll always have the key, there
In that little velvet box inside your
Guitar case, among the picks of
Gold and brown, your Martin strings.

Ticket stubs, dog collars, miles and miles
Of laughing, certificates and invitations,
Shoe after shoe after shoe, ice cream,
And all those pretty pretty songs.

There. That should see you through
Till the morning birds start their shift.
It’s not forever, Sweetheart.
It’s only for a little while.





The rhythym of the dog snoring,
Pulling in and out of breath,
Like the ocean at night,
Waves building and subsiding
At their own grand pace,
Marks off a small chunk of time
In just the perfect way,
While the sun is still just a theory,
While all possibility fills the dream
Of the day.





She said
This is hard won
Blood and sweat,
And I ain't gonna just
Give it away,
Except to the hungry
And the pure.

I show you my best places.
I show you
The tip of a secret
In a dream.

Just enough
To wanna keep going.
Just enough
To show you
What you and I mean.

Just enough
For something as frivolous
As saving the world,
A glimpse of your heart.

I wrap myself in these leaves,
Beside this barred window,
Behind this old dumpster
Beyond your steep stares.

I say that I'll see you
And I start it all over.
The sands await me,
And I will see what they say
(in their voice of small deer).





These words were made possible
By the rain, coming down again,
Cuts to the core, arising back when
It was this time of year,
It was this time of day,
And more than any smell or taste,
Or song you could play,
I remember that lonely bath tub,
In front of the giant window,
Down the block from the pool hall
Breakfast, cheap beer.

And you came and got me,
And we got a Christmas tree,
In the rain,
Just like a day years before,
When we got a Christmas tree,
You and me,
Maybe the one the cat got in,
Maybe it was the year I got
Yesterday and Today,
And that tiny guitar.





It's the twisted little signs
In the shimmering periphery
Make me smile.

A winding shiver of leaves
Reveals the snake's path
In front of me.

The grinding of my wife's jaw
Predicts the storm coming
In the summer predawn.

The sad, wise little Japanese garden
In the God-forsaken suburb
Speaks a quiet awareness.

An old friend on indy radio
For better or worse
Plays a song no one else dares.

An artist has an epiphany
Just in time to slam on the brakes,
That could have been it.

Talking softly to herself,
She wrangles a life out of
The cards she's been dealt.

The window she passes
Holds a light too delicate
To be noticed on the fly.

The preacher, awake and alone,
Lights up a candle,
And curses the dark anyway.

We all take a breath,
And think better of it,
For one more long day.

And we're all better for it,
In the new morning glow,
The snake slides out of sight.





Barracuda shiny silvery depths
Right at the edge of the seagrass
Ivy covered base of the tower
Light shining out in the night
Twisted invention only the mad sees
Only the unknown world knows
Medieval laser cutting like a diamond
Out of the mind of one who's spent
His life outside in his mind.

What is the good if nobody knows?
What is the good if nobody sees?
Diseases and cures and sacred equations,
A magic hat, invincible bones,
Salisbury, he changes his way,
Therefore, I think that I am.






This conversation
Can sink like a stone,
But sunken stones are deep,
And impervious to hungry seabirds.

These words we know,
These words we keep,
A little slow on the drawl,
Sleeping, alone on the beach.

Foggy, ghost on the prowl,
Just before dawn, just before
High tide, running beside the
Foaming white waves,

Invented, to crawl to the
Sand, and sink in,
Reinvented, to serve
No master, save the

Novice surfer, awaiting
The perfect reinvention,
Measuring the slack horizon,
Squinting, the sun and the breeze.






Feel like I'm full of poison,
Need to poke it with a pen,
The storms outside and the storms inside,
And that terrible, terrible wind.

I shiver as I sit here,
Shaking all that beats within,
And every little hole in the cold night air
Points its finger as if at a sin.

The walls are uncertain, standing
In the halls and all around,
We hold our breath, staring to the sky
For that other foot to come on down.

And I'll be honest with you,
I'm no good sometimes,
I'm fried, I'm tired, I'm childish,
Though I hope it never ends.

And the sun comes out the next day,
Did we always know it would?
One day we'll laugh the perfect note,
It'll be just as it should.

But till then the night is pregnant,
And she's sick and full of woe,
The wind howls on, the clouds peel back,
Exposing sharp moon glow.

These nights are born for stories,
Of hairy evil men,
Who couldn't let the darkness pass,
Or type it out to their friends.

We see their names in papers,
Cartoons and friendly fire,
I type one out to future shine,
A tiger, then the wire.







Glows of flowing moments
Leap into the air,
Leap through the smoke,
Leave behind the hype

And rise up! Raise us up!
Earn our smiles, for a moment,
And there are signs to be seen
If your eyes are the windows,

Into basements of houses all
Grown cold with attentions,
Glows of flowing moments
Shoot by my ear,

In the blink of an eye,
I sang a song to you,
And it was just what you needed,
But not so you'd say.






The wind has died,
Our misery has become
Someone else's dread,
Someone else's locomotive.

The gutter dangles like an earring
From the confused house
While planes hustle and roar
To make up for lost time.

Time is money,
Money will never fill up
This hole we're in,
But time,

Time will smooth the edges,
Time will fill in the gaps
With invasive grasses
And Japanese Honeysuckle,

And maybe from that,
We can start over,
Start a garden,
Call it even.






It's hard to believe
I'm happy to be leaving
But I think it's true
I'm happy to be leaving
Leaving soon.

I fall from the night,
So dark and frightening,
I dream a dream,
A place I've never been.

I call from the night
We had a slight

We tie up things that
Came loose in the wind.

I'm happy to believe in you.






This big black book
I read before I sleep,
Stirs the soul like ashes
Where flames can do no harm.
I bar the door against dreams,
And hide from troubled slumber,
Bury all I hold dear
Beyond my sad subconscious,
And listen for them when they come,
I'll wake at a moment's notice,
I'll run and lead them chasing,
Double back and hide my feelings,
Read your messages till dawn,
Then straighten and carry on.






Haze in city blocks defeat
I'm laying with a tangled moon.
Reflected in a puddle deep,
The rising of the sun can't
Come too soon.

The color of the concrete creeps
Up buildings topped with tanks and wires,
The minutes crawl, becoming long,
Inviting sighs, inciting hours.

You know you can't
Carry a tune.....

Yet you sing to me
In a roundabout way.......





I ran and ran
and rolled around
in the manic joy
of a fresh hoof print
beneath the perfect
blue sky.
Reeds and weeds
and blood red ivy
cling to the memory
of this morning already.
Boots become feet
become absence of sound.
Feet become wings
become flight o'er the
mottled yellow sea
of leaves spreading
like blankets of
fire on the slow
cold low ground.
FATTER than light!
FATTER than cows,
this day like a feather,
this day like I told you,
the spell only broken
just now
by the series of
strong barks
from the neighbor's
sly hound.




What a difference a day can make,
yes, I know
it's been said before,
but from the inside of an old saying,
looking out (look into my eyes)
it's real, it's real, it's the honest truth.
From a car stuck out on the desert,
back to the bosom of hearth
and home
and family.
Manic depression, they used to call it,
before it became profitable,
I fight it only with art and love
and sleep these days.
A new tight wire every day.
Yesterday I could have picked up
a piano, thrown it through a window,
jumped out after it and throw it back,
piece by tinkling piece.
But I just threw the phone at the couch,
and laid down on the floor,
(it smelled like my dog),
face first till the clouds passed,
got up and started a new painting
(by FAR the hardest part).
It's got a blue sky and a barn:
I figure, What the hell.......



Sitting on a rock
at the river's edge,
the base of a cliff
at my back,
I think of ways
to sell my paintings.
A sharp "HA!"
and a faded echo
form the crow's opinion
of my plan.



A small sharp spider
has built a puff of smoke
of a web in the corner
of the kitchen window.
It's blue and smooth
and undulates with
the invisible breeze.
This morning the
spider waits, or sleeps,
or both. I find my own
metaphors in its soft




It's 4 am in your shallow lagoon,
the kids ate too much steak,
powerful dreams woke them
and sent them to my bed.
The cat licks and chews
(we left the butter out)
while the dog dreams loudly
of chasing tiny lights through
the wet night grasses.
So I might as well get up
and write this song for you.
Tomorrow the kids leave
for separate grandparents
for a week.
I'll paint in solitude
for a day or two,
Coltrane, Tweedy, Garcia
will fill up my studio.
We'll drink some wine
and watch a movie
that children should never see,
and maybe kiss like we used to.
But still, it will become too quiet,
while the rug stays clean for
five whole days.
Cartoon Network
will keep its distance,
and maybe we'll talk, or argue,
cut through some layers,
rebridge the distance,
remember what we saw
fifteen and a half years ago
at that Dead show in North Carolina.
Sometimes I like to get up
and write this song for you.
I should go now, at least
close my eyes for an hour or two
before I start drinking coffee,
hugging the kids, saying goodbyes.
The rains are creeping up from
Hurricane Dennis (my mother's maiden name).
We got all the sunshine
we could safely store today.
Maybe this week
I'll write a new song for you.
(Big finish!)



Dreaming of flying
over the sea
dressed in a red hat
gloves and a cape
Talking to angels
dressed in old rags
over some mountains
fear on their heels.
Taken with failing,
falling so low,
dragging the river
you never know.
Sleep overtakes me
slap on the wrist
buying some more time
it's always a suprise.



Talons grabbing necks of
imported bottles of beer,
Sly woodland creatures
languish with herbal cigarettes.
CD's lie in heaps all over
the floor, breaking a very
important rule, breaking
my heart, making
no sound, taking no
prisoners, taking
my time.
Beaks chewing the ends
off cigars, telling more lies,
selling the farm, compelling
in their primitive charm, always
smelling fear in advance,
pulling some inner alarm,
cynicism, avarice,
nice shoes.



Some songs are better left out in the rain,
They warp and twist and don't rhyme with anything,
Anyway, I just wanted to see you out my window,
to cut the day in two, save the other half
for another day, another rainy day
when I won't see you
So bring that song back inside,
leave it on the piano to dry, pretend it had
some kind of sense to begin with,
take up your sword
and storm the northern shore,
Cause songs like that, they always know
when the road they're on grows dark and small,
and you can see, there ain't no turning around,
a new verse just can't be found,
in this rainy, grainy town,



Sun bounces down the trees' leaves and needles,
Lays there on the grass, beat down & brown.
So many redbirds, someone's up to something,
Cocking their crests, looking around.
The sound of cicadas, that loud summer buzzing,
So continuous you forget that it's even a sound,
Tomatoes don't care, impervious as insects,
Praying for the squashes, dying on the mound.
Tomorrow the rains come, down on our head,
Sizzling on the sidewalk, worms by the pound,
So make a paper airplane, and fly me a message,
We'll put on our good shoes, and go on downtown.







Well he's gone, still gone,
That vapor took years to disappear,
Our hands have finally let him slip away,
Though we smile, we may let loose
One silver tear, and on that road,
That twisty backroad, while changing gears,
Some deja vu will overtake the waning day,
As shiny blue becomes a dusky gray encore,
Fences fly past, and we relive a small taste
Of what it was to be free and young and
Optimistic, to be a tight little tribe in a sea of
Knowing madness, smiling,
And giving



Wind on the pond is not
a bad start, brilliant stars
enter the piece like strings,
like oboes, like the ice,
cracking and chipping,
falling in shards from
the case of your heart.
Fish sleep all winter,
but they hear this song,
and know without love
and sleep and the eventual
arc of the sun, they won't
last that long.
It might be a long shot,
but the drums crack on by,
on Broad Street they echo
the notes that your eyes
read, the sweet that you need,
and all I can tell you
is you got to be,
You got to be free.



What makes you think of impending endings?
Autumn, if there is one, is a cool week away,
Promises, promises, solemn, defending,
An understanding friend takes the edge off your pain.
We wind down the creek, dry from no rain,
Away from the path, on rules that will bend,
Hawks and blue herons flee from our footsteps,
Down to the river, the creek's final end.
Mud and poison ivy, and a few small dark snakes,
Cliffs on both sides, we've gone back in time,
Slipping and sliding, our own path we make,
Finally, the river, finally, a sign.
Sitting on the crook of a giant old sycamore,
Sticking out from the bank, out over the waves,
Time has stood still, this last week of pure summer,
We look down the river, at the time we have saved.



all the different kinds there are,
Swimming in liquid, banging on iron,
rules that keep you in the back of the line,
and nobody knows which kind there are
holding them back from seeing too far,
it's just okay,
can you see the trouble
with some lines of thinking?
Playing too rough, blinking on and off,
and really, can I soften you up
with drink and a crinkly-eyed smile?
It's been a lonely time wondering
just exactly where you are,
a concept we hasten to pass through our system,
without having to bend all that low,
and more and more people are lending their lives,
hiding their weakness, hardening their eyes,
we can't just go on, and nothing real can be done
in just one song,
but maybe in dozens, or box sets of screams, this world might last longer than it seems so we don't have to move to




The murder of two sisters
who are seen as cartoon characters
revolves around the blisters
where my hands have been fried.
And even though we're innocent
in the eyes of old barristers
whoso own foggy judgement
is easily denied
I can't help believing
that there's nothing so sinister
as a mother's bereaving
when no one has died.
So lock up your sources
known only to the minister
respect unseen forces
and just run and hide,
run and hide...........

* This poem reflects no actual events or people....just riffin and rhymin on the keyboard.....





Sink into sleep in a sweat
by and by you'll regret
all the time spent awake
when you dream so unreal
vast arrays of improbable
schemes with loves
you don't see anymore,
friends who took their
own lives years ago,
their wonderful smiles
so restored to their
original humors.
Riding motorcycles
(you don't know how)
with musical heroes
by a river so impossibly
beautiful that you know
it's a dream, but only
gradually, and the waves
float you to the shore,
slowly, and doesn't it seem
almost as good as having
actually been there?




Sister, sister, put your words
together, get your story on
down the road. Sounds good
to me, thought she, good enough
to explode. Daddy worked in
Sebastopol, you know, he rode
his Harley there, added an hour
to each end of his day, but
Oh! what a lovely name.



Fingers tread lightly on keys
Typing out folklore on an
old upright piano, all
smokestained ivory and
lessened remorse. Water
rings on the wood, smoke
rings in the air, just noticed
the sun's up, and still I just
beat out this leaden tune.





Scarlet rises in the morning light,
A handful of blues and purples,
Signs back on to an ongoing fight,
A band of white hugs the horizon.
Aircraft light measures the silence,
Clouds line up in rows, ridges and grids,
Ribs, and vertabrae, smoke, ghosts,
Teeth, cotton, ocean, glow.
Can any of us really rise above
Our own small understanding of purpose,
Of love, of time, of reason?
I can see the big picture,
Or enough of it, anyway,
To get by, to learn,
To lead, to see





I’m receiving
These visions,
But my words are floating
On downstream,

And it’s raining,
Yeah it’s raining,
And the sky has got
A certain gleam,

Kind of orangey
Out of no where,
When November should be
Kind of blue,

And you’re listening,
Are you listening?
Yeah, my mind is floating
Elsewhere, too.

Of all the places,
Open spaces,
That we could be haunting
In the world,

Come on over,
Are you sober?
Yeah, I’m hearing all those
Bird calls, too.

On a mountain,
She is shivering,
And it’s gotta be
Time to go,

Back among them,
Right among them,
Though we know
They wouldn’t even know,

Just a ghostly
Little shiver,
Wouldn’t even get
A second thought

But her old gods
Won’t deliver now,
I think I’m getting
What she’s got.

A shiny ticket
To her feature,
A different way we’ve got
Of getting well,

She’s getting comfy,
In the cold rain,
I think she’s floating past
This living hell.

I tip my whole hand
To my old band,
Even as they put me
On a shelf.

And I like her,
Yeah I’m like her,
I keep my weaknesses
To myself.



Toss the papers in the wind,
Let em blow around as they please,
Sentences shred and meanings fade,
A new thought's born upon the breeze,

They find their way to the old bridge there,
Some follow cars, some stick to trees,
Some find the creek and dive right in,
Over rivers, and over seas.

We have got a new word now,
Could be a vow,
Could be a lie,
You wanna know
Which one it isn't,
Look into my eye,
And it'll be revealed!

Pick up all those papers in the field,
If you know
What's good



Toss the papers in the wind,
Let em blow around as they please,
Sentences shred and meanings fade,
A new thought's born upon the breeze,
They find their way to the old bridge there,
Some follow cars, some stick to trees,
Some find the creek and dive right in,
Over rivers, and over seas.
We have got a new word now,
Could be a vow,
Could be a lie,
You wanna know
Which one it isn't,
Look into my eye,
And it'll be revealed!
Pick up all those papers in the field,
If you know
What's good



Her eyes locked
On mine before
Her head stopped
Swaying around,
In its search for
An answer, a sign.
She sank a little.
A writer, she wasn't
Used to surprises
Not of her own making.
She threw the wine
Glass, the familiar
Crash and tinkle
Breaking the spell.
I walked out.
The night was cold
And sharp
And sweet.



There are so many little places
That I love around this town,
A curvy canal runs down
The middle of a street

And under a bridge
Framed in sycamore,
A crown of creamy white
Glories in the blue winter sky.




Old couderoy coat,
ld knit cap,
t did my old heart good to see him,
he blues, in a sea of suits.




You get to ask God one question. He is weary.




I struggled to find my voice, much as in my youth,
hen I struggled to find my Voice.




If you're overflowing,
You'll eventually find
The creek, the river,
The sea.



*All poems and lyrics Copywrite John P. Lackey 2005-2007.