‘97 cheat sheet

Please note-  I usually don’t title my stuff until after reviewing it at year’s end. I already finished formatting the pages and didn’t feel like starting from scratch so I’ve included potential titles with these descriptions…I really don’t care, you can call them what you like!

1/8/97-   (“can’t get there from here”) Well, it appears that many things can come into play at once in one’s life. Looking back at this writing and how much has changed since then, it seems a little self indulgent and full of pity. But then again, some of my favorite things I’ve written are similar and I’ve learned a great deal from them. Being alone for such a good portion of my life and now being given options that would surely lead to the same difficulty and disappointment, I ponder when we are offered quick fixes, things with huge red flags attached and the chance to satisfy our needs at any cost, usually someone else’s, trouble is nearby. Being able to feel the pull, know the chance of increasing your pain, knowing the right choice and picking it can all be there and you still can screw up. Luckily, I believe that God drops snow on roads to keep some lover’s apart and other’s together. I also have spent much effort on the discussion of happiness being a right or a gift; it differs depending on if you’re happy or not! Not being known for being overly cheerful, I defend myself.

1/29/97-  (“the shadow drops”)  Back in Europe and feeling a little bitter and not afraid to share it for a change. I’m a strange bird; I feel nothing but shame when traveling with Americans overseas. They bitch and moan and compare everything to how backwards it is to the US There is no allowance for people being different, cultures being different or the fact that most of these countries predate the U.S. I guess that it is the same everywhere, but Americans see these things as WRONG, not different and I tire of this narrow ego-centric world view. Live and learn, experience, keep what you like and let go of the rest… I also had a voice mail message from an unexpected voice from the past that threw me for a loop, causing feelings of anger, hurt and uncontrolled love…goes well with jet lag sleep turnaround disorder. I decide to welcome depression, an old friend and it cheers me up…

1/29/97 #2
-  (“shadow bench press”) …afraid to leave things on a totally negative note, I try to get positive and purge my feelings…I’m slightly annoyed that I can’t seem to let well enough alone when I write something angry or not affirmation-like. Perhaps the act of writing won’t let me “go to bed angry”.

2/5/97-  (“abstract depressionism”)  I was in Europe with the group Korn and the vocalist lost his voice for around a week. We moved around for a bit but ended up camping out in Berlin. I think we all got a bit of cabin fever. I tend to isolate and spend my off time alone and one of the drawbacks is that isolation and lethargy. But then I usually find something in nature, poetry or…

2/6/97- (“wings of desire”)  …art. A trip to the modern art museum in Berlin to see  what I could see. A great long walk, got lost, found it and was changed once again by the art of the expressionists. See? No more depression!

2/16/97-  (“town square mosaic”)  My first visit to Zaragosa and a beautiful city it is. On exploring the city square I found old churches, a cathedral, roman ruins and a modern art sculpture/waterfall, a remarkable cross section of 1500 years of history. Around the corner people were lined up to see “Space Jam” near a monument to Goya. To see old and new so intertwined was a special sight for me.

2/16/97#2-   (“sitting at the bar with Frank”)  I found myself that night sitting at the hotel bar drinking coffee and speaking with our French rep, a Basque with a mom in Barcelona. I found a soul who was moved by some of the same things I am and complimented me by saying he had never met an American who had such interests or spoke the way I did. It made me glad to find someone who felt the way I do and is doing the same thing for a living; it gave me faith. The bartender also had such qualities and we shared a nice chat. I felt as if  I belonged.

3/1/97 and 3/1/97#2-   (“outside inside” and “ enough”)  After 2 and a half years of trying my friend Frank finally got me to join him on his Zen meditation/ AA retreat as I had the weekend off. It was held in the Sierras in a small cabin with 5 other men and our teacher, Koren. This weekend was a life-changing experience for me, opening my mind to new possibilities and grounding me in a time when I’d been floating around for a while. These poems are dedicated to those men and to Frank and Koren.

4/10/97-  (“ a prayer for silence”)  A simple prayer in a life going too fast.

4/12/97-  (“big time”)  Hell, I don’t remember but I seem to be in a good mood and those words sure are purty….thanks to Tom Waits for the confetti.

5/3/97-  (“bench write”)  First trip to New Zealand…beautiful. Can you tell I fell in love since the last poem? My time there was remarkable in that it was the first new country I’d traveled to since South Africa in 1992 and once again a whole new world opened up for me. It really is a striking country and though we stayed in the cities, I felt as if we were catching the last glimpse of a place that is bound to grow up and out.

5/5/97-  (“possibility”)  We had a day off in Brisbane and our accommodations were suite-style rooms with a deck and a large living room. It was humid and rainy, not the kind of day to go wandering around in but the deck called me and my pen. My early feelings about my relationship with Angela and a general peace put me in a place of acceptance. Nature provided the needed images at just the right time.

5/16/97-  (“jet lag productivity”)  Less than 2 weeks later I’m in Europe again with a day off before starting festivals in Holland. Amsterdam is a crew favorite because of the night life, easily acquired drugs and beautiful women. Some tours use it as a reward or keep the crew out and let the band just stay there. But as you know, there is much more to this city than the aforementioned; beautiful with the canals looping in circles from the center outwards, it’s old world charm and a great center for art. Caught in a circle of jet lag coming from the Pacific Rim back to America and then here, I found myself up early with the backwards energy of someone who never really wakes early in a world that is half over when I usually leave my room. An  early breakfast, a few walks, write a poem and a trip to both the Van Gogh and modern art museums, I filled my day with activity all before noon. With all the bicycles buzzing around, I was reminded of a metaphor my friend Tom used in a story he wrote. This is dedicated to him.

5/27/97-  (“outsider”)  Living on a bus with other people and being the only sober one can be trying sometimes…especially if you haven’t been to a A.A. meeting for a while. Doing backline (band gear) gets you done before everyone else and I often find myself on the bus before the rest. After a loud, intense show (which Korn always was), some quiet time is what I want; quiet music, a good movie or a book usually help. Then the door opens and the gang rolls in, well lubricated and loud and sometimes nasty. Blows any kind of quiet groove you may have been in. Sometimes I can accept it for what it is and escape and other times I overreact and get hurt with nowhere to go but my bunk. It’s easy to think that you’re the weirdo (well, I am). Just another aspect of the road that makes it so great   (italics shown to represent sarcasm).

5/27/97#2-  (“you rock!”)  A tribute to the wonderful woman in my life. I wasn’t sure I wanted to share such a personal poem with you readers but I cleared it with Angela and here it is.  I love you Angela and this is dedicated to you and only you.

7/21/ 97
-  (“house on the corner”)  I had a day off in Ohio and hopped in a cab to Akron to visit Dr. Bob’s house; Dr. Bob was one of the founders of A.A. Unfortunately, the hours at the house are limited and I arrived after it was closed. I hung out around the house getting the vibe and walked through the neighborhood. I hope to visit again when it is open, but there was a strong feeling that I wanted to write about. I thank Bob and Bill for giving me a life to live.

9/3/97-  (“dead ants can’t watch tv”)  This year has been very busy for me; Korn kept me busy until mid-August when James got sick and the band canceled the remaining shows on the tour; 24 hours later I was hired by Lollapalooza to replace a missing stage manager; upon returning home I began rehearsals with Babyface for an MTV Unplugged special and wrote this because I was home for a month and only slept there. I finished up the rest of the year on tour with Yes (I arrived 3 hours late for load-in from my Babyface gig). I now have a quality problem in that my work and the fact that Angela moved to Dallas, we don’t see enough of each other unless I’m unemployed or one of us hops on a plane. I just had to sort things out that night. At this point in the year I realized that my work has sapped my writing creativity and I’m only writing every few months. I guess the journal experiment didn’t work…oh well.

11/20/97-  (“ a wet road in Alford”)  Fighting to get some writing done. Some people are more disciplined and write on a regular basis; I seem to still write when inspired or backed into a corner. This year I’ve been both and still not written. I continue at this writing to try to stimulate the process, but it’s hard with a lack of time and quite honestly, I don’t write when I’m happy. My relationship with Angela occupies my heart and my mind and brings me great joy. I could have worse problems…

Words that needed to be written in ‘97 but didn’t hit paper ‘till ‘98:

1/1/98-  (“jaybird”)  Earlier in 1997, I lost one of the truly talented and wonderful friends I’ve ever met. His humor and knowledge of music made him a valuable resource in this overly serious world. I found out about his passing moments before Angela and I had our first date and feel as if something ended as another began that night. I dedicate this poem and the writing of the 1997 section to my old pal Jay Reithel; you will be missed and I’ll never forget the times we shared. Play through brother, I’ll meet you on the other side.

1/5/98-  (“gentle mirror”) I wanted to wrap up the year the best I could with leftover images and an inventory of things I am thankful for.

This year has been a year of old and new friends, some truly unexpected. As I wander into my mid- 30’s , we begin to lose a few and gain a few.

My family-
My mom Susan and my Dad Val; I got to see them together at my sister’s wedding for the first time in many years and continue to spend the rare free hours with them when I get to either coast; I love you both so much;
My brother Sam, Kira and Evan; we’re living far apart now but I feel closer than ever. Thanks for being a fresh reminder of the importance of family;
My sister Leila and Sean; thanks for reminding me that all relationships need work and can work.

My extended family-
Tom, Sally and Brianna Drennon; thanks for loving and teaching me about myself;
Cheryll Stone; friend extrordinare, part time muse and full time kindred soul.

Frank Miller and Koren for opening my eyes to seeing nothing;

Jeff Chonis for drum keys and pit stop strategies;

David Torn for spelling choices and a hole lotta glub;

Both Kelly Smiths, with and without extra e’s;

Those guys who paid and trusted me- da feats ( all, including the whole fam-damnlies) David Silvera and all of Korn, the Lolla gang ( love you Peach!), Ricky Lawson, Sheila E, Alan White and Jon Anderson;

The crews I live with and the bosses to try to understand them; Point Five, Petey, Caco, MJ, Gunque, Chicken, Skeeter, Care Bear, The Grim Reaper, Cecil B., Chopper and his boss, The Peach, RT, the Italian Disco Assassin, Gary, Phil and Randy, Mark, Richard, Shooz, Robby, Pablo and Dave;

The drivers and pilots for getting me there and back; especially John and Dr. Love;

Brock Phillips, Jing Corona, Michael Kaye and Dirk Malavase for being;

God, for being an ever present force in my life;

Bill and Bob;

Those who give writing a good name and inspire me; the list is too damn long and always changing so we’ll leave it at that;

The artists, sculptors, actors, craftspersons  and architects who gave me something to smile about; without the arts we are without poetry in our lives;

Most of all to Angela, my love, for tracking me down and making an honest man out of me. Your love and care makes it possible for me to carry on and see a light, a bright warm light at the end of the road tunnel and you are the greatest reason to come home a guy could ever ask for. I love you.