Democrats and Republicans
go at each other
You can feel it.
They’re like a divorced
couple at their kid’s
It’s supposed to be 50 degrees and sunny in January. Dogs are sleeping with cats. A Cubs fan and a Sox fan hugged each other. Democrats and Republicans sat down for a cozy cup of tea…
No. The latter did not happen. One of the truly guilty pleasures of living in the United States of America these days is the backstabbing that goes on in Washington DC on a daily basis. If you’re bored or feeling crappy about yourself, you can come home at night and turn on the TV. It’s always there for you.
This is not to say that it’s a positive thing. Or a negative thing. If you’re worried about the future of our country, understand this – our president, Donald Trump, performs better in chaos than anybody in the history of national parks and the interstate highway system.
Both of which are under strain these days, with the government shutdown and all. But can we leave this aside for a while? I really don’t want to wake up on a Saturday morning and start talking national politics. What I want to mention is that the holidays are over. Let’s get on with our lives.
For me – and that means the three or four of you also – it means that school starts for my MBA. To kick it up a notch, I was going to take two classes this semester, both marketing. But my wife of 27 years put her foot down.
“Look at your health. You were sick for weeks. Who knows what will happen if you double up this semester?”
What a state of affairs this is. I live a life of local radio at such a pace that if I take two instead of one MBA class, my health suffers. The wife is right. It takes 50 hours a week to run WJOB radio and TV. That’s just a fact of reproductive rights. And it takes, on average, about 15 hours a week for each MBA class.
That’s 65 hours a week, which is, if you’re in your 30s or 40s, acceptable. Especially if your kids are little and you’re trying to get out of changing too many diapers.
But if you’re in your mid-50s and you’re a trading burnout anyways, then going over 70 hours a week isn’t gonna cut it. That’s all I have to say about it on this Saturday morning in mid January. There is the beautiful, rhythmic sound of the Borman Expressway. As a child living in a house behind Burger King, I went to sleep with that sound every night. It soothes me. I would let the sound of machines seep into my soul while admiring Chicago Bears pennants on the wall and listening to cheesy pop songs on WLS AM 890.
Now, WLS is a conservative talk station. It has been for some time. You can drive around at night and listen to Mark Levin rant about Democrats ruining America. Any time of the evening, there’s Mark ranting. It’s consistent and beautiful. You may not think so, but you’re gonna miss the rhetoric. We cannot live at this pace forever. Eventually, we’ll get another boring president. We’ll go back to bickering at the kitchen table.
What I want to do as the year of the pig starts is to rid my closet of clutter. For the three or four of you, that means I gotta kick out some of the poem-like material I wrote over the holidays. They’re not that good. I know this. As a matter of fact, I found a journal of mine from 1984. It’s not that good, either, in terms of literature for the posterity.
But it is raw… just like Democrats and Republicans in the year of the pig. Amidst of the beauty of the Borman Expressway, I ask -
How did I lose being raw? Where did it go? Can I ever get it back?
Maybe there’s a catch. To get it back, I’d have to go back to being a self-imposed tortured soul. I certainly qualified as that in my 20s. Now, I am a sappy old guy living a charmed life as local radio guy (in an area where both sides of my family have been for 100 years.)
How can you concoct something raw under such circumstances? The only thing left is the middle of the night rush and pull and constant beauty of the Borman Expressway. It is the rhythm of the cosmos personified in the changing tones of various engines and hydraulic brake systems. On nights like tonight, when it’s unseasonably warm and you can crack the window, anything is possible.
How does that work? she asked.
I really don’t know. My dad would know, but he’s not here. Next question.
It doesn’t make any sense to break down next to I-5
when there’s no toilet paper at Disneyland.
The knock on the radiator warns of bill collectors.
Sometimes, a cold won’t go away until it reminds you of all of the good in your life, like chocolate, sex and hugs.
Hugs can be painful.
Rub your chest against another chest and you can absorb the flash of pain.
You may not know what caused the pain or why it won’t leave, but there’s no mistaking that it’s there,
rubbing up against you.
That’s why I don’t like to hug. How about you?
On the beach at night there’s
waves of white.
They are put there to relieve
us of the burden for a
moment. Lovers hold hands,
the moon reflects off the calm
parts of the water. I am here to
look for Encyclopedia Britannica.
On the way to Michigan, we
stopped at the Wendy’s in
Michigan City, which is actually
in Indiana. She turned to me with
a twinkle in her eye. We got off
at the first exit into Michigan,
which actually carries you back
into Indiana. I don’t know what
state it was in, but we took off
our clothes and pounded each
other in the front seat, on
the passenger side.
It was beautiful, sweaty and over
in a flash. We were looking for
blueberries but found lust
instead. On the way back, we
drank beer and talked about
politics. That wasn’t nearly as
Still, it’s not enough to scare you
I’m getting a little better at writing poems
but it only matters if it’s gonna make
money, or so I’m told.
Used wrapping paper
on the living room
floor tells the story of love and strife,
kids and wife.
I am too much of a wretch to deserve
any of it. I bend down to
pick up the paper,
throw it in the recyclables.
“You can’t recycle wrapping paper.
Too much dye,” I’m told. Sometimes,
I want to write a poem about
everything. I just wish you could
make money at it.
Blink your eyes and it’s 30 years later.
“That first Christmas,” you say,
“I was still busy ditching you.”
“Only because you didn’t wanna
admit how much you liked me.”
You can not ask for something and
have it be yours anyway. A yellow
cut of coal can light your life from
start to finish.
Now, we cook two dinners, serve
dozens, and hold hands on the way
Sickening, yes, but there’s an element
of sarcasm to the story of
leaving all your belongings
in a storage bin off Van Nuys Boulevard.
And never going back. I have found
the love I wasn’t looking for. Here
we are 30 years later serving up
tamales, chorizo, and Mexican rice.
Good for the palate, good for the
The right music’ll
stop you in your tracks,
make you wanna cry
inside your eyes.
Love and music
pencils and peels
pizza and Kurt Vonnegut.
For some reason, I am caught
in a musical time capsule.
Maybe the wife’s right –
I never made it out of the 70s.
Thank you. Every once in a
while Jackson Browne will
tell a doctor something
about his eyes. I’ll sing out loud,
no matter where.
Don’t even talk about when
Neil starts in on the
old man at the ranch. I gotta
stop what I’m doing and
Sabbath, Zep, Stones, Who
Beatles, Fleetwood, Janice.
Jimi, Carole, Art and Paul,
Carly, Floyd and, of course,
the Grateful Dead.
You comfort me at night.
I am not ashamed of this.
I don’t suppose it’s that easy
to catch up with what you fell behind
to remember what you forgot you were
to reverse exhaustion
There are just some things you can’t do,
like go back in time,
relive your life differently.
If you believe in
the several moons of Capricorn,
then you don’t care one way or
the other. Your life is your life.
You are living what you were
meant to live.
But how about when you’re standing
in the shower washing your Johnson
and all the sudden you shudder at a
humiliation you forgot existed. It’s
in your memory and your soul. It’s
never going away.
So get used to it. You’ll probably never
catch up to the gravy train. Even if you
do, you’ll be disappointed anyways…
ether slipping through the fingers.
Let’s get back to the purpose. What is it?