Rock Music’s Three Roads

When I took an American popular music class years ago, the instructor talked about the two Rock roads that came out of the British invasion. One road was the Rolling Stones. The other road was the Beatles. It was easy to see these two roads. However, over the years I have become very much aware of another road not springing from the garage skiffle bands of England. The third road springing from no one’s garage but from America and the producers’ casting call for music–like Don Kersner’s promotion of plastic rock. This one is more pervasive and can be easily mistaken for the other British two roads in American popular music. I will speak more of this later.

Bubble Gum or plastic pop rock has it’s own rock road which leads to bands like: Kiss, The Sweet, Def Leopard, Alice Cooper, The Bay City Rollers, Twisted Sister, Motley Crue, Poison, Guns and Roses, and more–yes, unfortunate music that many of us love. So how do we get from the Archies to Kiss, one might ask? Packaging to kids. One term used to describe much of this vain of pop music is Devils bubble gum which is like The Monkees or the Archies yet packaged just a bit differently to appeal to pre-teen and adolescent audiences.Thus, Kiss is seen as one of the Archies of Heavy Metal. It’s not bad music but it’s just not great either. I do think it is important to keep Bubble Gum music in it’s own record pile separate from the music inspired by the Stones and The Beatles.

To clarify. There are other genres, like soul, jazz and country, and folk. However, within the rock genre in the late 20th century, popular music was made up, on one hand, of influences from the Rolling Stone (Yardbirds, Jimmy Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Led Zeplin, prehaps grunge in the 90s and others) On the other hand, the Beatles (Bad finger, the Mamas and the Papas, Beach Boys, The Hollies, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, The Byrds, Simon and Garfunkel, Harry Nelson, Fleetwood Mac, plus all those prog rock bands as well. Then we have something on the bottom of our shoe picked up on the pavement of these two roads– Bubble gum. Everybody with gum on their shoe goes down that road for a while. Maybe it’s not a honest to goodness real third road…but you got gum on your shoe.

Metal can be Bubble gum. Just because it’s not sweet and innocent like Donny and Marie, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a home in this genre. As an example, here is a song from metal band Def Leopard where about all they did was to take the 1969 song Sugar Sugar and strip the sweetness out of it. The refrain is simply taken straight from Sugar Sugar’s “Pour a little sugar on me, honey.”

The Def Leopard lyrics go:
” Hey!
C’mon, take a bottle, shake it up
Break the bubble, break it up

Pour some sugar on me
Ooh, in the name of love
Pour some sugar on me
C’mon, fire me up
Pour your sugar on me
Oh, I can’t get enough.”

It’s the Archies.

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Free Speech Open Mic. Lawton, OK

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Hey. this is the first literary journal to publish me works. I’m happy since I thought my stuff was too wild and thus publishable. Cybersoleil .

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This is one of those musical numbers I have been doing since taking up the guitar. I think this performance of it is the second time I played it on the evening of May 20th, 2015. I don’t normally like doing requests but the audience just wouldn’t let up.

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Bridge Burning

In the beginning…

We were standing at the great world navel
And no one asked us why.
We thought they would.
It was the great world navel.
And we noticed it to be an outtie.

So we poked at it with a pointed stick
and when it burst we thought we were dead
or at least in a bunch of trouble.
Then much to our surprise,
we had already died, so to speak.
And this was our last fit of wasted glory.

When would come our great sleep?
We thought we had been men
–men with muscles.
This we found would be one of our biggest mistakes.

In the middle…

The days turned into the past. One sun/one moon
rose and fell; this tumbling became known as time
–the self important one. We set our clocks by it.

But time was a ticking time bomb with hands
pointing right at us. So, we dared to point right back.
This was not such a great idea. Damn pre-Madonna.
As things turned out, from that day forth,
time decided not to be on any ones side.
And this we found would be one of our biggest mistakes.

In the end…

We rode off into the night and no one watched us leave.
There were no fanfares, no fare-thee-wells, no palm leaves.
We were glad to go. We left nothing behind except for that
one suitcase with our toothpaste, our change of underwear,
one set of binoculars, and all the cash we had in the world.
And this, we would find, would be one of our biggest Mistakes.

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Jesse James

Should we take a photograph?
Might never find this place again?

We’ve wandered much too far from the trail.
I’m not even sure we can get back to town.

Sun’s almost down. But think…
It was the gang along with Jesse James

What left their stuff here for us to find.
Damn them for leaving all this loot.

And, son, take off your shoes and your hat.
‘Cause, for hikers like us, this is holy ground.

It’s the Shangri La, the outlaw’s Solomon’s Mines.
Okies call it, “The Banks of the Cache Creek”

–8th wonder of the Wichitas. And, oh my, it’s late.
What the hell are we gonna tell your mom.

Hey look! The story’s true: it’s not a cave.
It’s more like one or two rocks.

And, yes, there’s no proof of its existence.
And, yes, no one has seen it in at least a hundred years.

That is, as far as any of these rocks and leaves can tell.
And, yes, I really want to take a photograph.

But no! Please! Stop me! That would be terribly wrong.
‘Cause, son, there are some things in this life

The military must not get their mitts on.
Just back away, slowly, and don’t touch a thing.

If word gets to the presses these hills will be swarming,
No, teeming with tanks by sunrise- Remember Roswell?

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Grief and Grace in the “Ghazal for Emilie Parker” by Carolyne Wright from issue 299.2

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1-27 alvarez2

This poem was written quickly, in response to the murder of twenty young students and six educators by a deranged shooter at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 14, 2012.  The world was horrified by this event; outpourings of grief dominated the news and social media; and like many people I felt a need to respond in some way, as I followed the unfolding story over the next few days on National Public Radio. But the poem began only after I heard the NPR report on December 16, 2012, which featured Dr. Robbie Parker’s tribute to his daughter Emilie, one of the murdered children. The story and interview, written by NPR reporter Russell Lewis and hosted by NPR’s Rachel Martin, are still accessible on the web site of my local NPR affiliate station:

I wrote a few lines that afternoon, inspired by this…

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Dark Burritos

What if I came at you with a burrito?
It’s dark.

I think you might need a burrito.
You think the burrito is a nuclear missile.
You draw your gun.

(Pew-pew)  You shoot.
(You have had a few beers and you
had been hollerin’ about how,
“Obama has destroyed the county”)
You shoot again.

Then once more because this is the land
of the brave or something.
You then shoot an innocent by-stander
just for the heck of it.

Ha,ha, I’m dead and you don’t get a delicious burrito.

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At Dinner,

Winston Churchill
is seen swatting at flies,
killing flies,
and lining the carcasses down

in rows
like inspection of soldiers.
Correcting their stance
and asking their names

–a macabre scene there

next to the casserole
like a Churchill-run
cadaver celebration
with precision

where flies fall into formation.
And when the table is tapped just right
flies seem to promenade even
while still other rather stationary

flies salute.


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Acrostic Universe (A Christmas poem by Free Speech Open Mic)

Originally posted on Free Lawton:

Linear inuendo never end.
Leading inside naked eyes.
Leaving interstellar news exploding.

Oh I can not bare much more
Supplicant and green
without any semblance of twittering
slate, dripping, spilling, tottering.

I know that you think
you’re the queen of the underground,
whose efficacy is diminished
by the unadulterated cries
of long perished deities
screaming from the collective unconscious.

We are stardust.  We are golden

fragments of time
gets tangled in the past

Left to his own demises and floating,
Exquisite Corpse screams silent stories of yesteryear,

The bleeding blood seeped down the staircase
and the yapping ideot seesed his yapping.

This year I will bleed for better reason.

I will stop procrastination…at some point in the near future.

After we slew the Gods we chopped trees down
brought them in and decorated them
because they held their lost souls.

Ho! Ho! Ho!

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