Archive | December, 2017

Like Martin Said

31 Dec

In my view, it’s time to start studying the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King again.

In these crazy times, we need him now more than ever.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Dr. King lately, for obvious reasons.

He has inspired me since I was a child.

I don’t mean to sound corny, or worshipful. But MLK is the greatest, or among the greatest, Americans who ever lived. By extension, he was one of the greatest men ever, period.

His vision, to me, shines a light on how we can heal the country.

I sincerely believe we need a healing, a mass healing. We need to start with the truth and compassion, and end with dignity for all. And in this world, it’s okay for us to all be on the same team. It’s okay to be fellow Americans, and have that mean something… something beyond our personal politics… beyond our immediate self interests… something higher, nobler, uplifting… something truthful.

I see that truth embedded in the Constitution and embodied in people like Lincoln, Jefferson, King, the Kennedys, Eisenhower and others.

It’s those values, expressed in the Constitution, and by extension our homes, churches and institutions, whose existence is protected by the Constitution… These values are what connect us, down deep… across all lines, racial, social, financial, political and otherwise.

Dr. Martin Luther King embodied these values… which I first felt when reading his Letter to a Birmingham Jail at a social-justice rally back in my college days. (Long story, but I was invited to speak by the president of the Black Student Union, after the college paper I worked for offended the BSU with a totally ridiculous “editorial.” Kenny and I shook hands and got to know and respect each other, eventually. It culminated with him honoring me with that invitation. I’ll never forget it.)

It was in Dr. King’s honor — and in honor of all my African American brothers and sisters, and by extension all of us — that I wrote this song.

Final note. I have actually wondered if I was worthy of writing a song about Dr. King. Who am I to tackle such a daunting subject?

But in the end, the truth is the truth. And I love the man and what he stood for.

I also write songs.

And I wanted to write a song that addressed these troubled times with a spirit of love, in the tradition of King himself.

So here is my best attempt.

Like Martin Said.

I Don’t Mean It Mean

17 Dec

Another season of joy.

And of course, that means it’s also time for…

Another song about heartbreak!

I’m trying to be funny, because I’m afraid of my feelings, you see.

This is a sensitive subject.

I don’t think of this blog as a place to get weirdly personal.

I like to talk about life and the realities thereof, of course.

But I don’t generally get too personal.

So please forgive me, but here we go.

The two-year separation began about nine years ago.

We were well into the first year when I hit an emotional bottom.

I had gone through the early stages of grieving the relationship.

Then I tried going out with a couple of blind dates set up by mutual friends.

The whole thing felt pretty silly. You could see the game. It was so obvious. The rules were: look goddamn good. That’s number one. Number two, have money. Preferably shitloads. Third, don’t be old.

Well, you could be old, but not Nebraska old.

You had to be Florida old. And that meant you needed a leathery tan, a tennis racket, a Starbucks and impossibly white teeth at all times.

So there was this game, and I learned it.

And I got surprisingly good at it, for a pasty white fellow in South Florida.

By my standards, I was knockin’ ‘em dead on for a minute.

I’m not saying they were all Princess Graces.

But they were all good people, and some of them were really interesting.

One or two were probably amazing, world-class women on all fronts.

But in the end, it truly wasn’t them. It was me.

They were playing a game they ultimately couldn’t win.

Because for whatever damn reason, the person I wanted to tell my story to at night was Melissa Livingston…

She remains that person to this day.

Enough time has passed. I can think about it and ponder it from a safer distance now.

Our separation has aged exceptionally well.

It has served us well in terms of both what it was, which was the opportunity to test theories about the world, to make sure you were doing the right thing with your life… And this task could not have occurred inside a married setting.

And the further in the past it gets, the better it seems to serve.

This new song, though, returns to that past…

To the very lowest, strangest point of my journey through a two-year separation (and back)…

I hope it honors that interesting, sad, exhilarating time.

I hope it’s honest enough. I hope it says something worth saying.

I call it: I Don’t Mean It Mean.