Sunday, July 21, 2013

Take this Razor

There could not have been a more opportune time in my life to discover Metallica. There have been several difficult times since, but seventh grade (1988-89) was the most miserable point in my life; the time when I felt most low about my life. It was the worst and greatest year of my existence. That was the year I chose to learn to love the one person I cannot escape - myself. And in doing so, I began to grasp the keys to sharing that love with others. It is still a work in progress...

It would be years before I learned to begin writing about it, but it was during that period in my life when I began studying lyrics. It was that period when the deeper meaning of lyrics, in the songs of the bands I enjoyed, began to take shape in my mind. I began to understand the stories and the ethics of heavy metal music, and I knew that I wanted to write like those guys.

I studied Ozzy and Lemmy, Paul and Gene, Peart, Mustaine, Axl, Cantrell and many others. But the guy who's lyrics I studied most, and whom I most tried to emulate, laying on my bedroom floor for hours pouring over liner notes, was James Hetfield of Metallica. His were the lyrics that spoke to me most.

This piece, (written 07/21/2013), is about my most profound memory of how that came to be. It is not my intention to get mushy or sentimental about it. But I am grateful for that perfect moment, when ugliness crashed into hope, and for the privilege of experiencing everything that followed, bad and good. My choices are my own, and Metallica was the soundtrack to the biggest choice I ever made. "Take this Razor" is dedicated to James and the rest of the guys, and to anyone who has ever felt lost or helpless...

Take this Razor

I was lost but now I’m found
So much emotion carried ‘round
Gathered strength in raging sound
‘Cause I won’t live life underground

Life is all but slipping sand
Love of self is my demand
Only I can make my stand
Take this razor from my hand

So unhappy in that time
Imprisoned silent as a mime
Rage cannibalizing my own mind
Served the sentence without the crime

Impending sense of growing doom
Moping around in my veil of gloom
Found liquor cache in a darkened room
My vow of silence a stifling tomb

That drunken fool thought he was king
She would not hear when I tried to sing
He planned to steal her soul with a ring
And powerless I could do nothing

Life is all but slipping sand
Love of self is my demand
Only I can make my stand
Take this razor from my hand

I wanted to push him down the stair
But no act of hate would make her care
Only metal brought comfort there
While I slowly suffocated on despair

Felt so all alone in that year
Too distraught to shed a tear
The jump, the bleach – survival fear
Rusty razor blades enticed quite near

Throbbing urge inside my brain
A plan to bleed away the pain
And wash it all down the drain
This soul of fire and eyes of rain

Screaming riffs from bedroom rolling
Bathtub faucet turned and water flowing
Then Fade to Black crescendo growing
I chose right there, I am not going

If life is spite than I spite life
I will not escape into the night
Strike the hammer, break the ice
Ride the lightning and roll the dice

Life is all but slipping sand
Love of self is my demand
Only I can make my stand
Take this razor from my hand

In the moment we seldom know
How present seeds in future grow
The march of time is straight and slow
Courage feeds courage as you go

Past love is prologue if I am right
With these swords that I write
Commit myself to stand and fight
And slash the darkness with my light

Though wisdom often makes us pay
I had to say what I had to say
To open her eyes to a brighter day
And then we two were on our way

Life is all but slipping sand
Love of self is my demand
Only I can make my stand
Take this razor from my hand

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Full Moon Fever

Any guy who has lived in New York in the summer knows that there are certain kinds of moments that make your whole week worth while. This poem is about one of those moments...

Full Moon Fever

Full moon fever on a hot summer day –
Fabric mottled; white with Rorschach black,
Ruffled like rose petals in the spirit of play,
Enraptured blossom around the stem of a lithe body.

Stolid chowder air sliced by a renegade gust,
While traffic trudges languidly up baked asphalt
A flash in the street as cheeks go flush
An instant that echoes in eternity.

Bumming a ride on the backside of a long haul caboose
Burrowing deep into the tunnels of my mind,
This eyeful like the holy grail out on the loose
A chalice in an unguarded oasis between the sands.

Rays from the sun bring the nether to light
A vision that I alone am privileged to witness
My rapt eyes in awe of this glorious sight,
If there is floss I do not notice. All I see –

Two perfect scoops of butter brickle ice cream
Sweetening the harried plot of a stifling day,
Twinned bubbles floating through a walking daydream
Like clouds across the curvature of a city crosswalk.

While mind shutters burn this footage into my brain,
The gaze of my companion distracted by thoughtful chatter
This indelible image already threatening to drive me insane,
As her soft hand gently slides the carriage door shut...

As if a granule of sand slipping through narrow glass
The scars of time leave naught but fragile memory
Of soft skin and trembling flesh, unless, alas -
She blushes slightly beside her ambling beau.

The moment went as quickly as it came
Yet satisfaction finds me with one fleeting glance.
I never even had the chance to learn her name,
But then, perhaps, I did not need to…