Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Julio, How I Love Thee

What does a world look like without Julio Franco playing major league baseball? I have no frame of reference. Julio, my favorite player of all-time, retired a little over a week ago at the ripe old age of 49. He'd been playing pro ball since 1982, two years before I, a COLLEGE GRADUATE, was even born. He played for nine major league teams, made three all-star teams, amassed around 4200 hits (if you include his time abroad), was the oldest player ever to hit a grand slam and the oldest player to hit a home run, was the last player to face a pitcher who'd faced Ted Williams, and countless other feats. ESPN Page 2 recently posted an article about the amazing Julio, the one-time party animal turned indescribably-disciplined born-again Christian.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

An Alcoholic Apocalypse

A drunk piano player sits alone upon the bench

And his words are slurred together, but message all makes sense

He prophesies while a full glass lies safely in his right hand

The world spins then once again rests his head upon the Grand

As he wipes away the dribble from his world-weary mouth

The smell of whiskey fills the air, before his lips spout out,

“All our tears o'er the years are kept in a jar in God’s overcoat;

His breath, it makes every snowflake to give us sinner’s hope

He tips the Mason jar, his right hand full of grace

His speech sways the saline, each to its sacred space

Water crystallizes into forms all unique

Like the souls of those children who cried themselves to sleep

In catacombs, I stray alone because I long to be afraid

Valley of bones, I call you home, safe from what my hands have made

Like stars pretending to still be alive

An apparition of the glory that once gave birth to light

I am a skeleton of the man that once had life"

His words break the silence, hands slam upon the keys

The notes of discordance bring the world to its knees

The soothsayer sings of future things too great to be known

Of gnashing teeth and endless grief and ungodly moans

He sings, “A piccolo is playing the dirge for the dead

And soldiers sigh where angels fear to tread

Creation kneels while the devil steals the crown of the earth

He masquerades in a clownish parade as the world awaits rebirth

A harvest of hemlock! For every girl and boy!

Let us mourn for our fathers and the fall of Mother Troy

The peace of childhood seems deluded naïveté

And if ignorance is bliss, growing dumb sure seems heavenly

Am I to blame for the blue-black flame that burns in place of my eyes?

What life is this? As if I exist to count shells where once were lives

Take a drink from the bottle of prosperity

Before the damning dark of disbelief

Removes the veil off our eyes to see the world's plea for mercy


The moon is turned to blood and the world is full of fright

The atheistic priests commiserate over pints

 Rasputin sings while Jezebel brings a word from the Lord

Babies they weep while their mothers sleep, hands a-ready at the sword


 Glory falls from the clouds and luminescence swallows sight

Everyone is blinded; everyone has seen the light

Satan rants while children dance, lamb and lion reconcile

The Son of Man, He takes the hand of every singing child


 The prophet he falls, the patrons all go home

The world still spins, the world she still groans

The bartender asks, "Where have all the good men gone?

Where have all the good men gone?

Are we left here all alone?

No finality and no direction home?

Where, o where, did we all go wrong?"

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Smilingest Man I Ever Did Saw

Josh Ritter (with Ingrid Michaelson opening)- Bottletree- Birmingham, AL 5/4/08

"Open Doors"
"Mind's Eye"
"To the Dogs or Whomever"
"Bright Smile"
"Wait for Love"
"In the Dark"
"Good Man"
"Snow is Gone"
"Right Moves"
"That's What They Say"
"Folk Bloodbath"
"Empty Hearts"
"Song for the Fireflies"

Encore: "The Temptation of Adam" & "Lillian, Egypt"