Halloween Parade

The first time  I went to the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade was in 1984. Or so I assume. That was the year I moved to New York and for the next eight or nine years anything above 14th Street was wilderness to me.

It’s one of those you-had-to-be-there things. Does anyone else remember John Sex? Or the Pope of Pot tossing loose joints to the crowd along the parade route?

John Sex

Everything changes, and better or worse is just a matter of perspective. Mostly, I think things get better. But it’s natural enough on Halloween to think about those people who have passed over to the other side. An important man in my life died a few weeks ago and I’m missing him on this day of the dead. I also miss Lou Reed.

Happy Halloween.

There’s a down town fairy singing out “Proud Mary”
as she cruises Christopher Street
And some Southern Queen is acting loud and mean
where the docks and the Badlands meet
This Halloween is something to be sure
Especially to be here without you
There’s a Greta Garbo and an Alfred Hitchcock
and some black Jamaican stud
There’s five Cinderellas and some leather drags
I almost fell into my mug
There’s a Crawford, Davis and a tacky Cary Grant
And some Homeboys looking for problems down here from the Bronx
But there ain’t no Hairy and no Virgin Mary
you’ll never see those faces again
And Johnny Rio and Rotten Rita
you’ll never hear their stories again
This celebration somehow gets me down
Especially when I see that you’re not around
There’s the Born Again Losers and the Lavender Boozers
and a crack team from Washington Heights
The boys from Avenue B and the girls from Avenue D
a Tinkerbell in tights
It’s different feeling that I have today
Especially when I see you’ve gone away
There’s no Peter Pedantic saying things romantic
in Latin, Greek or Spic
There’s no Three Bananas or Brandy Alexander
dishing all their tricks
It’s a different feeling that I have today
Especially when I know you’ve gone away
There’s a girl from Soho with a T-shirt saying “I Blow”
she’s with the “jive five 2 plus 3”
And the girls for pay dates are giving cut rates
or else doing it for free
The past keeps knock, knock, knocking on my door
And I don’t want to hear it anymore
No consolations please for feeling funky
I got to get my head above my knees
But it makes me sad and sad makes me mad
and then I start to freeze
In the back of my mind I was afraid it might be true
In the back of my mind I was afraid that they meant you
At the Halloween Parade
At the Halloween parade
At the Halloween parade
See you next year, at the Halloween parade
The Pope of Pot

The Ocean Within

We left the ocean a long time ago
Some longer than others
But we kept a piece zipped up in our skin
waiting for tears or blood, spit or sperm,
to set it free
Now when it rains the kind of rain that
clothes and umbrellas can’t keep from our skin
we will be back where we belong

Isola Bella

Let That Bird Fly Away

Let That Bird Fly Away_Moment3

This is not a song about birds, not even in the Swingin’ Sixties British sense of the word. This is a song about letting go.

Getting old is the process of letting go but some things are harder to let go of than others, and sometimes they follow you into your dreams.

This is one of those songs you’ve heard about where the writer wakes from a dream with the song in his head. I brought the phrase and melody with me from the dreamworld and went right from the bed to the piano to work it out.

The videos within the video are some of my recent observations…

Let that bird fly away
Find a new kind of inspiration
Don’t keep her in that cage
Not in that cage or any other
Let that bird fly away

She’s brushing back her hair
from eyes that hold another world
of possibilities,
realities and mysteries
Let that bird fly away

Let that bird fly
Let that bird fly
Let that bird fly away

There’s more for you to see
Places that you can’t imagine
There’s more for you to be
There’s more pieces to this puzzle
Let that bird fly away
Let That Bird Fly Away_Moment5

The last car of the 6 train

I saw you bouncing up the stairs of the Bleecker Street station, determined to get into the last car of the 6 train, where I was standing. I don’t remember what song was playing but I know my foot was bouncing and my fingers were drumming on the side of the pole. You apologized to the kid whose backpack you brushed on your way in. He didn’t mind. You were trying not to smile but your heart wasn’t behind the battle. You stood close to me, the way people do in subway cars, and we avoided eye contact. My heart wasn’t in that. I was wearing sunglasses that helped darken my gaze, so I was able to catch the cut of your hair, your fire-engine fingernails, your big round glasses and the gold medallion pressed against your ribcage. And those lips, big and soft, still hovering on the edge of a smile.

6train (1)

I’m Not Afraid (live)

I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s noticed that these are kind of dark times in some ways. There’s a lot of anger and hate in the air, you can feel it, people are…everybody seems like they’re pissed off. I hear people yelling on the streets, at each other, and it can be discouraging, of course. It just feels like everybody’s got their back up against the wall and nobody feels understood or appreciated. Everyone’s brittle and it feels like it’s just going to take one spark to set off cascading tragedies. But, at the same time, there are advances in medicine, and communications, and energy, and almost every field, that we can’t even keep up with, that I believe is going to usher in a better world, the world that philosophers from Jesus to Ringo have been telling us about – a world of peace and love. Peace and love – it’s coming. I believe it’s coming. But before we get there we’re going to have to tear down some very old, very thick, very stubborn walls of bigotry and hate. And the oldest and thickest and stubbornest is probably the wall of fear so I think one of the best things we can do in times like these is to say – or to sing – I’m Not Afraid. That’s the name of this song…

I’m afraid of losing you
I’m afraid to lose me too
I’m afraid to hurt the people I love
But I’m not afraid of anything else

I’m not afraid of crazy people
Hateful, angry, violent people
Powerful people or the people who crave it
People who want to blow the world up to save it

I’m not afraid

I’m not afraid to hear the truth
Tell me anything you want to
Tell me how I drive you nuts
Tell me why you hate my guts

I’m not afraid to lay with you
To work, or fight, or play with you
I’m not afraid of unhappy endings
Or starting all over again

I’m not afraid

I’m afraid of losing you
I’m afraid to lose me too
I’m afraid to hurt the people I love
But I’m not afraid of anything else