You Should Have Seen Your Face (2nd Draft)

It was a moment I’ll never forget
That summer sun had already set
The sidewalk was a little wet
You should have seen your face

When we bumped into your old flame
You said you couldn’t remember his name
And he thought you were playing a game
You should have seen your face

When he explained to you who he was
And where you both went to school
The apartment where you and he
had been settling down
The places you used to go
The people you used to know
All things you never told me
like why you bought a wedding gown

We must have stood there for an hour
As he reminded you of your favorite flower
Of your favorite restaurant on Gower
How what was so sweet became so sour
But the memory of his love for you
you couldn’t (or wouldn’t) place

But you should have seen your face
You should have seen your face

April 16, 2018

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The Songs We Wrote That Summer

The first one we wrote, it was when we met
It was a Meet Cute you and I will never forget
It had humor involving food staining your dress
and us laughing hysterically as we cleaned the mess

The second one we wrote on our coffee shop date
We could have cut it short, but we stayed late
I was too shy to kiss you before you opened your door
It just seemed to me like you didn’t want anything more

We waited a bit before we wrote another one
But the third time was with friends and it was fun
The four of us got together, wrote it in a dive bar
where we all had some beers, you got out your guitar

The songs we wrote that Summer
We went all-in on and did our best
They were filled with emotion and were sincere
And I thought you were pleased how we progressed
But as we wrote more, they started sounding the same
The candle we once were then had a burned out flame
Now sometimes I wonder whatever became
of you and all your ambitious dreams
And those songs we wrote that Summer
with with all those lovely and romantic themes

That time we went to the local Beach Boardwalk
Intimate conversations evolved from our small talk
We shared our deepest hopes yet romance didn’t grow
We just couldn’t move forward, we were at a plateau

Yet I’ll never talk badly about them or you, dearest
‘Cause I cherish those nights we passionately kissed
You filled my notebooks and life with our history
but what it will all mean to others is a mystery

The songs we wrote that Summer
we went all-in on and did our best
They were filled with emotion and were sincere
I thought you were happy with how we progressed
But as we wrote more, they started sounding the same
The candle we once were had a burned out flame
And though I wonder why they became what they became
All our ballads and those youthful dreams
Those songs we wrote that Summer
I’ll listen for you singing them in the ocean and streams

Hope I’ll hear you singing them in the oceans and streams.

March 31, 2018

I Just Want My Brother Back

We would go down to the creek and dip our feet in
Those were just little walks but are good memories
I remember he was the one who told me about
them busy hummingbirds and bumblebees

He’d let me go through all his records and tapes
I’d spend hours studying the liner notes and learn
from all the lyrics – those verses, bridges, and hooks
One favorite was by Kansas, “The Point of No Return”

Now I look at those Polaroid snapshots from our youth
like the one where I’m smiling but missing a front tooth
And I know I have to cope with a very brutal truth
I just want my brother back
When he got into that experimental biplane
I didn’t know that I’d never see him again
That energetic man he was before he went insane
I just want my brother back
I just want my brother back

He’s the one who kept it together and made it through school
Learned three languages and multiple intensive college degrees
Meanwhile, I’ve struggled with odd jobs earning minimum wage
Yet he’d probably say for me, life was a breeze

And I review his yearbooks, remember all his good friends
The ones who knew him more intimately and better than me
I talk with my kids who loved their old Uncle so much
I worry that he’s more accomplished then I’ll ever be

Now I look at those Polaroid snapshots from our youth
like the one where I’m smiling but missing a front tooth
And I know I have to cope with a very brutal truth
I just want my brother back
When he got into that experimental biplane
I didn’t know that I’d never see him again
That energetic man he was before he went insane
I just want my brother back
I just want my brother back

I’m not equipped to handle being the responsible one
I was never the son who knew just about everything
All I could ever do is write these crazy little songs
And muster up the courage to remember them and sing

If I could have traded places with him that night
I would have done it faster than a healthy heartbeat
Instead, I’m the one who takes him for ice cream
and that former genius thinks it’s a special treat

And I watch all those home movies with him in the dark
Sometimes I take him to go fishing at Pinto Lake Park
He thinks he might catch a huge Great White shark
I just want my brother back

I just want my brother back.

March 29, 2018

It’s What You Did Right

For Barbara J. Gray (Mom)

You worked so darn hard
Raising us kids to be good
During those younger years
You both did the best you could
We were rambunctious as hell
Rebels of our neighborhood
But you accepted the call
and you understood
important things in life
like how we’d end up to be
This is how I deeply feel
about what you’ve taught me

It’s not what you did wrong
It’s what you did right
The house was clean
You protected us three
We were all warm at night
You’ve loved us with all your might
Forgiven us after every single fight
Mom, it’s not what you did wrong
It’s what you did right

Dad was off at the salt mines
So busy there to pay all our bills
And when Winter came to our city
You guys brought us to the hills
Where we could play in the snow
Where we could live a different life
You also knew being our Mother
Was just as vital and important
as being a loving housewife
This is what I sincerely see
You were not just our coach
You’ve been a great referee

We sure had our differences
You and I didn’t always get along
But you gave me a fresh start daily
You’re like an inspirational song

And it’s not what you did wrong
It’s what you did right
I always think of you now
When I don’t have a clue
How to remain calm and polite
Sure, sometimes you were uptight
But you’ll always be my leading light
To me, it’s not what you did wrong
It’s what you did right

Oh no, it’s not what you did wrong
It’s what you did right.

February 19, 2018

 

Sweet Tea Sunset

Sweet tea sunset
With her by my side
Out on the front porch
Our smiles are wide
The kids are playing
before it gets dark
Sweet tea sunset
and this trailer park

Most of our family
say we’re not rich
They look at our home
and start to twitch
But we love it here
It’s ours alone
It’s so calm here
in this time zone

Sweet tea sunset
and us holding hands
Spotify streaming
our favorite bands
What we worked for
was life undismayed
Sweet tea sunset
like art by Kincade

Happy to be here
Friends are closeby
in this great town
We look to the sky
that’s like a painting
every single night
Sweet tea sunset
An amazing sight

Sweet tea sunset
An amazing sight

February 18, 2018

The Early Eighties

I wasn’t of age to drink
But I was old enough to drive
Every time I left my hometown
I felt independent and alive

Met girls up in the city
While clubbin’ late at night
I’d get home in the mornin’
Then my parents and I would fight

In the early Eighties
I wasn’t an adult yet
I’d go to those record stores
For the latest rock cassette
In the early eighties
I had crap jobs and bad pay
And a sweet classic car
I still miss to this day

Relationships came and went
And I was all right with that
I admit I wasn’t the nicest person
I was a lonely young tomcat

Those were some crazy years
I’m glad I’m beyond that past
I worked so hard to get here
and have a true love that will last

But in the early Eighties
I went out and had a lot of fun
I was so far from that sweetie
who ended up being the one
In the early Eighties
I had a lot of growing up to do
So did all my crazy crew
Just don’t take me back there, please
Back to the early Eighties
Back to the early Eighties
The early Eighties
The early Eighties.

2018

She Did Her Thing

Inspired by Vivian Maier

They found a bunch of photographs
taken by someone from the past
Little did they know the value of them
would increase so flippin’ fast
There were pictures of characters
There were self-portraits too
There were shots of children playing
and the finders knew just what to do

They cleaned ’em up and made a site
The artist became famous overnight
Her name was Vivian Maier
She did her thing and she did it right

Even though she made little money
doing what she loved to do
That didn’t stop her from trying
It’s like inside she deeply knew
one day her art would be found
for all to see after she passed away
and the moral of Vivian’s story
is whether you write songs or plays

Don’t listen to all the haters
or doubt in your head at night
Just think of Vivian Maier
She did her thing and she did it right

If you stopped creating what you create
No one will enjoy what they deeply need
Your artistic vision could inspire
or at least become a vital seed
that weaves into someone’s brain
and grows into something completely new
that won’t cure terminal cancer or the flu
but it serves as food, water, and glue
She did her thing and so should you

She did her thing and so should you.

2018

Lyrics Notes: Inspired by the Vivian Maier story, but also by a couple of other things I could not quite fit in here. One was that I had met a gal here in Bloomington-Normal who was an artist – her name was Katie Reid. She was fantastic and she did her thing while she was alive. The other person who inspired this was Phil Harrington. I got off the phone from a good conversation we had and thought I would incorporate that into something fresh. Hope you love it.

When I Got a Whiff of You

I was in a diner on a Tuesday at noon
Saw you waiting there alone to be seated
You were so cheerful and happy to see me
We had lunch together and you treated

You talked about what was going on
and I told you what I was up to
We found out our schedules were open
and we chose something we could do

Something happened there with you
I can pinpoint when I felt so much joy
It was as I hugged you and had my nose
in your soft hair & thought “Oh Boy”

When I got a whiff of you
I remembered everything again
When I got a whiff of you
All I thought of was back then
Your young eyes & pearly whites
Those romantic summer nights
When we’d go out to Pinto Lake
and share a chocolate shake
Your innocence I didn’t take
All that drama we went through
Something was quakin’ in me
when I got a whiff of you
When I got a whiff of you

We got in your car & you had me drive
Decided to see a screwball comedy
I don’t remember the plotline at all
I was thinkin’ of what we used to be

We held hands again, it was sweet
Nothin’ like kids do these days
As you watched the movie screen
I was thinking of all the ways

I’d express those familiar feelings
My heart and soul was in overdrive
I forgot how good you were to me
Every second there, I felt so alive

And when I got a whiff of you
I remembered everything again
When I got a whiff of you
All I thought of was back then
Your young eyes & pearly whites
Even the unfortunate fights
That one time you wanted steak
You hated your birthday cake
And later I got bit by a snake
But we still kissed in the canoe
All that flooded my memory
When I got a whiff of you

When I got a whiff of you.

January 23, 2018