Vive Le Troubadour!

Once upon a time a long time ago when kings would die

And the scepter passed to another’s hand,

The crown another’s head,

The herald would cry, “The king is dead!”


“Long live the king!”


Pete Seeger shall no longer sing.

The Troubadour is dead.

Who shall now take up his griot’s kora lute?

The Machine That “Surrounds Hate and Forces It to Surrender?”

That is the question.

As needful of an answer, in practical terms, as “building a boat to save the river.”

We have created a toxic environment of mass extinctions.

Is his rare breed another one to be added to the list?

Where have all the troubadours gone?

When will we ever learn?

The Troubadour is dead.

But, in a larger sense, he, unlike temporal kings,

Who wielded corporeal power,

Ceos today amassing, misusing, corporate power,

He whose spirit was so fused and interinfused with that of his music that they are one,

That troubadour cannot die,

Not as long as someone, sometime, somewhere, everywhere


His songs, our songs, of joy and sorrow,

Or hums them, even off-key, as they do the wash or clear the fields.

If he, pragmatically optimistic, is right about our chances as a species,

He will live,  speak, longer than Halliburton, Monsanto,

Or those other corporate (so-called by SCOTUS) persons.

Long after the BOA Pencil has crumbled to graphite

He “shall not perish from the earth.”

And when we, as all things must,

Finally fall and fail, our kind dust,

Who is not to say that some far star singer,

From Vega say,

May pluck from the aether his spirit, his troubadour’s song,

And (if heShe has a mouth and vocal chords)

Sing along?

The Troubadour is not dead.

Long Live the Troubadour!

        Pete Seeger May 3, 1919 – January 27, 2014

                                    Photo of Pete’s Machine is from Pete Seeger’s YouTube site


19 + 1 White Mums

Originally posted on Jan 13, 2011 @

I voted for Gabrielle Giffords but I’m not sure it was 100% legal. Been living in my car since Sept. The economy. What was I supposed to put down for my new address? Random dry wash off the Rillitto? Besides, where I usually slept was just a few blocks from where I used to live so I figured it’s the same.

Last Sat when I stopped for gas the cashier told me an emergency room nurse had just been in, end of her shift, said Congresswoman Giffords was DOA. So don’t feel too bad NPR & Fox. Jane @ the Chevron got it wrong too. Sunday afternoon I was going to the library to use the internet to look for work but it was warmer than it’s been for awhile, so I thought I should carpe diem & clean my “house” instead, long overdue. There’s a nice little park off of Grant that has nice thick (for Tucson) grass where I could spread out my stuff & sort through it. On the other side there was a gathering of some sort. Maybe a kid’s birthday party (though I didn’t see any piñatas).

This guy kept walking, a little stiffly, just circling & circling the park’s perimeter. When he walked by me I saw he had a big semi-auto pistol in a holster in the small of his back. What with the day before & all the rumors I wondered. Thought about calling 911. But then, second or third circuit, he walked over to check ME out – he was friendly about it, but still I could tell that’s what he was doing. That’s when I saw he had a TPD badge pinned to his belt. Maybe it was just a coincidence but I’ve lived here about 30 years & never seen that. A plainclothes cop acting like a secret service agent @ a party @ a public park. Tucson was always a pretty laid back place.

A little later a guy in the house across the street came out & put up a sign in his yard, musta been left over from the last election. He looked around defiantly after pounding it in. Next day, I found some flowers on sale @ Frys. White mums. They weren’t much, though it was half my food / gas allowance for the day. Widow’s mite. Went back to the sign. Counted out 19 flowers.

Then I thought about a relative of mine, about the same age as JLL. They just let her out of the state mental even though she begged them to let her stay. But they just said as long as she takes her meds she shouldn’t be a danger to her mom or herself or anybody. I counted out one more flower & left them by that sign that said Gabrielle Giffords For Congress.

Note: As this post reflects, there was some confusion re. what happened in Tucson on January 8 of last year. Facts were initially – sometimes still are – misreported. On January 13, 2011, I knew only that 19 people had been shot, either killed or wounded, by Jared Lee Loughner. I have since learned that there was a twentieth victim who was injured but not by gunfire. I considered “Photoshopping” the above account of my actions & changing its title in order to acknowledge that 20th casualty but felt it, if not Gollumish, at least slightly Sméagolly, more so than not, to do so.

Hillbilly Hip Hop 9-11 Rap

In 2002 I was invited along with 9 other Tucson poets & one lone but lovely singer / songwriter to “caravan” on up to Prescott, AZ & perform at the now-defunct “Mad Linguist” poetry cafe. This was about a month after the first anniversary of 9/11 and my poem was a hillbilly hip hop doggerel rant about that event. This is a video of that performance. Not claiming it’s Shakespeare, or even Rod McKuen, but it was & still is pretty much is how I honestly feel about those who crossed the waters that dark day. And we who yet remain. Caveat: There is a cuss word or three in the poetry.

Here is another performance of it from 2004:   (Part1) (Part2)

The text of the poem is below:

5-5-5-5 8-0-8-7 20001 15560 neinOneWon

(About the title:

5-5-5-5 8-0-8-7:

20001 is the Zip Code for DOD, Pentagon

15560 is the Zip Code for  Shanksville, PA)

Years from now
Our Children
Our Children’s Children

What’s gonna be their 411 on 911?

No one won?

See ‘nein’ in German  is ‘no’
So  911 means No One Won

Tiddly Boom

I know it’s a dumbass pun
But check it out

Lotta people think I’m some kinda Orange Sunshine
Purple Haze Electric Kool-Aid flashback fucked up
Moonbeam spaced out peace n free love
Long haired hippy dippy trippy nappy tie dyed in the wool
Stoned stuck in the 60s deadhead acid head
Flower power Fab Furry Freaaaak-

And part a me is


I’m also a shit kickin ass kickin
Trailer trash white trash white litenin
Swamp rat redneck rockabilly hillbilly
Hardheaded hotheaded copperheaded hellrasin troublemakin
Rebel Son-

Like once upon a time
I was  hangin with my pards
A walkin with Johnny and talkin with his buddy Weiser
Blowin buddha in the bong
And snortin junk
They was getting lively and loud

But me
I was getting Mean n Evil Drunk

There was this Scooby Doo see
I didn’t like him and he didn’t like me

Maybe cuz he was slow n ugly
And I’m fast and pretty

Maybe cuz he was fat n dumb n sloppy n mean
And I’m cunning keen, lean n clean
And just like Shaft a Sex Machine
(Can u dig it?)

Mebbe cuz we wuz two javelinas a flexin at the same trough
Who knows?
There’s just sump’n about you that pisses me off!
(That’s what God told Job when he asked why)
Regardless I decided right that night that motherfucker would die

I played that bama so slick so sly
First off I made sure he snorted, smoked and swallowed three to my one
Then I did some passive-aggressive gaming on his ass
Now that’s always fun

Like he’d brag about how fine she was
That squeeze o’ his
And I’d say
“Yeah, the whole hood knows how fine she is!”

Like a cook not supposed to be a watching the pot
I could see him simmer, then boil, then burn
And I just sat there gloating
Awaitin my turn

Then he jumped up
Called me a name crass n fescennine
Said sump’n about my Mama – downright obscene!
Then he threw his square, a chair, and his ashtray my way
That’s when I knew I had ‘im by his middle leg
So I lit the match to the powder keg –

I smiled at him

This here smug n snide sissified smartass circle jerk smirk
That drives ‘em all berserk

Friends n enemies – and women!
Teachers n principals n cheerleaders
And first sergeants n second lieutenants – and women !
And bosses and exes and po-licemen n –
Did I say women?

Like a  puppet on a string
I had him played
He pulls out this knife
With a seven, eight, nine inch serrated blade

Floppin around like a fish outta wata’
A tryin’ to do the wild thang
A wavin’ it around like it was his wang
Or the flag
Or the ol’ lady’s finger

That there’s when I reached on down and whipped it on out
My own little hummer dinger

My teeny tiny two inch

Ladies it’s little
But it’s got a bodacious zinger of a stinger
And it’s chrome plated!

Right about then
Like some a’ y’all
That Charley McCarthy began to see the light
You don’t bring a knife to a gun fight

Cuz the kinda poker that wuz bein’ played
Where the stakes done been raised to shade, then fade
A barrel trumps a blade
So I had it made
In the shade
A sippin lemonade
No – Kool-Aid – Electric Kool-Aid!

That big ol’ bad boy froze like a popsicle
Once he wuz lookin in on the tips a’ my nickel
His jaw dropped like a prisoner on the gallows
Set to swing on a string
The color left his face
Like dirty water down the drain
In the spring

His eyes went wide as they looked into mine
As I eased that hammer back
Savorin’ them seconds like sips a’ moonshine

I’d gamed that mark so smooth so fine
Gotten him to insult me
Insult my momma!
Assault me
And now he’d pulled a weepon on me
(“Why that there’s Deadly Force Your Honor!”)

And here I’d been sooo nice all evenin’ long
I had not even raised my voice to him!

And I gotta tell ya’
To do something PURE evil
With absolute moral, legal, and social justification
Why that there jubilatin’, exultating sense of exaltation
That’s a more seductive temptation
Than the gyratin’ n oscilatin’
Osculation fornicatin excitation of a stripper
In a push-up lacy bra n a g-string
When your jock’s packing a rocket
And the rent money’s in your back pocket!

And then –

The bulls busted in yellin “Fa-Reeze!”
Well we all of us ended up taking a little vacation in the CC Hotel
(That there’s the Cook County Jail)
And though that’s not the main gist of my drift
That there too’s a little lesson to be learned
From this tale that I’ve spun regarding that pun

See, things turned out different from both his and my plan
Someone dropped a dime to 911
And no one won!

But time out
Fa-reeze frame!

You don’t get to pick who you love
Who or what breaks your heart
N’ brings on the blues and the sad

And in the same way
You don’t get to pick what makes you feel
Guilty or bad

I knew in my head all along that pullin’ that piece
Was not all that right – or bright!
But in my heart
This is what keeps me from sleepin’ at night

Maybe cuz  I’m a shit kickin ass kickin
Trailer trash white trash white litenin
Swamp rat redneck rockabilly hillbilly
Hardheaded hotheaded copperheaded hellrasin troublemakin
Rebel Son-of-a-Bitch

Or maybe cuz I’m a hippy dippy trippy furry Freaaaak-O-vitch

I ain’t really sure which

Everybody in my life
Ev- ery- bod -y
Even my own little daughter
My nappy haired  baby girl
I’d let down n’ hurt
Or they had me
Mostly both
Ceptin’ mah Grammy Pearl

She looked the Gramm-eye too
China blue sky eyes
Snow angel white hair
The biggest, billowiest pillowiest’ Pillsbury doughiest bosom n’ thighs
Sittin in her rockin chair
Me n Baby Sis’d climb up on her lap
For a story just afore nap
Time hour
Grammy smellin’ a’ lilac n lavender
Bakin powder n’ flour

And o my! Grammy’s Jammy Tarts
Each of ‘em baked with a piece of Grammy’s heart
In shapes of shamrocks n’ stars n’ whatnot
Y’all may go for that there Cubism
But them tarts – That’s what I call art!

She’d put em out on the back porch to cool
And me n’  Baby Sis – we’d steal a couple each
(And a’ course one more for me)
Then grammy’d go “You chillun’ know who done stole summa’ my Jammy Tarts?”

I’d poke Baby Sis in the ribs n’ lie, just like Bart, “Noooo!”
Shakin my head
Like one a ‘them bouncy doggies or hula dancers  in a back car window

And Grammy
Well she was way too much of a lady and full of the social graces
To ever comment upon or let on that she had noticed
Those tell-tale traces of jammy all over our faces

They love everyone, yo, doncha’ know
Even a no good low down jammy tart bandito

Now’ y’all be a coat on a hook n’ hang on
I really am goin’ somewhere
And we’re almost there

See, I had promised my ol’ lady for like the thousandth time
That I’d stop my drinkin’ carousin’ n runnin’ around
Done real good too! Gone almost six whole days
When that telephone rang with an ominous sound

Seems some crack head junkie tried to take my Grammy’s purse
N she bein’ old was a little slow n he wuz jones’n what wuz worse
He had a knife
He took her life

It’s the only time I’ll admit to having cried
When they tol’ me my Grammy Pearl’d died
But even as the tears began to flow
I thought like a little bitch punk
“Now I gots an excuse to go get drunk”
Mean n Evil Drunk

That’s right.
In the end I betrayed even my Grammy Pearl
By acting the thug, the chump and the churl
By using her death as a pretext to go a’ wildin’
I denied what her loss signified
Just like Peter did thrice before the cock’s crow
You reap what you sow
America – we will reap what we sow

I coulda, shoulda, wish I woulda tried that night
To be just a little bit like Grammy Pearl and treat folks right
Instead I went out and instigated that fight
Tried to to make that peckerwood deadwood
He was innocent, though he was a peckerhead hood
It was all just for spite

Since that night my soul ain’t had no rest
Grammy Pearl, she wuz the part a’ me
That wuz the best

And them folks that died
September 11, two double aught one
Each of them wuz  someone’s grandmother or grandfather
Or granddaughter or grandson

So it kinda’ seems to me
That them folks that died
Up there in NYC
In the air & down in DC
That they are like unto us as a nation
What my Grammy Pearl wuz to me

I ain’t tellin’ nobody what to do
There’s a hunnert men and well over ten thousand wimmen
Tell ya’ you’d be a northbound horse’s southern end to do what I say anyway

But I pray maybe we may
By our words and our actions
Testify and signify
Their immolation dignify
Let us not use their deaths –
Let us not continue to use their deaths –
As a pretext to go a wildin’
For acts ignoble and mean to justify

Let us rather Moses go down instead
Into & unto that sacred heart chakra
That in us all resides
There where reside in spirit those that that dark day died
They have made it twin spired sanctified
There too should we reside
Abide there awhile
Until we can decide
The Tao true to do
Then purified
Purpose, vision clarified
Clear eyed
Gird and go forth anew

Lest years from now
Our children
Our children’s children
They look up at us with accusing eyes
As they turn from the rubble & the holes in the lines of the cities skies
Where once spanned the Golden Gate out there in Cali State
Where once stood the Sears Tower, the London Tower, the Eiffel Tower
Come some unfathomable future hour
Gone the way of One & Two Tower
Saint Peter’s Dome & the Dome of the Rock
The Sepulchre, the Ka’bah, the Taj Mahal
In the desert out here, the dove fair San Xavier
Where all of ’em stood the sorrow of the empty air
As las miha, los miho
They cry and cry out to us
How dare
On the brink of not just a new
But a new millennium, leave us this legacy
And all we can do is rattle and stammer and stutter and shrug
Ahhh-ah I’m sorry
I’m sorry my daughter my son
My granddaughter my grandson
But it was 911 and no one won

They Also Serve

“They also serve who only stand and wait.”
John Milton

1200 or so years ago in China a young woman, newly wed, wrote a letter. Some months before, her husband had left their small provincial village and went on his first voyage as an apprentice river merchant. The dangers were great: Pirates, bandits, rapids, storms, wild animals, equally rapacious, corrupt government officials. Many more months would pass before the young bride’s husband would return, if he did return at all.

He had been gone so long.

The River-Merchant’s Wife: a Letter
by Li Po, 8th Century A.D. China
Translated-Interpreted by Ezra Pound

While my hair was still cut straight across my forehead
I played about the front gate, pulling flowers
You came by on bamboo stilts, playing horse,
You walked about my seat, playing with blue plums
And we went on living in the village of Chokan :
Two small people, without dislike or suspicion.
At fourteen I married My Lord you.
I never laughed, being bashful.
Lowering my head, I looked at the wall.
Called to, a thousand times, I never looked back.
At fifteen I stopped scowling,
I desired my dust to be mingled with yours
Forever and forever, and forever.
Why should I climb the look out?
At sixteen you departed,
You went into far Ku-to-Yen, by the river of swirling eddies,
And you have been gone five months.
The monkeys make sorrowful noise overhead.
You dragged your feet when you went out.
By the gate now, the moss is grown, the different mosses,
Too deep to clear them away!
The leaves fall early this autumn, in wind.
The paired butterflies are already yellow with August
Over the grass in the West garden,
They hurt me.
I grow older,
If you are coming down through the narrows of the river Kiang,
Please let me know beforehand,
And I will come out to meet you,
As far as Cho-fu-Sa.

Just before Katrina struck, in a small Louisiana town near the Gulf of Mexico, another young woman sent an e-mail.

The Convoy Driver’s Oughta Be Wife: An Email

Subject: Star Dust Jelly Roll
Date: Saturday, August  27, 2005, 1:07 AM

G. I. Jamie

I remember
when we wuz just kids
me in pig tails n culottes
red flip flops
You had just moved down here to little ol’ Chauvin, Louisiana
With your parents from big ol’ New York, New York
All wise guy know it all full of attitude
wearing your hat backwards
skateboard  scabs on both a your knees
baggy shorts n Keds both with holes
Tom Boy tough guy at eight

You talked so fast
we’all could barely understand you
and oh my the mouth on you
But i knew you wuz coverin up afraid
Only I saw the little boy
all hurt inside and hurtin to get out
Seems we fought as much as we wuz friends
I swear sometimes I think its always gonna be that way between


My you wuz mean to me a lot

But I gave as good as I got

in my way

Remember when you broke the head offn my Barbie and  superglued your G. I. Joe head on it?
And then I melted all your army men to get back?
And got whupped for playin with lighter fluid and matches ?
Even then? Did we know? Know somewhere someplace deep down inside? Even then?
Even if it wuz just a little. Even though we didn’t understand?
I was the first to know. I think.
Or at least. Admit.
It’s always been easier for me to accept things.
You’re always the one that has to bloody your nose bumpin up agin em.
That’s why I love ya, darlin.
Darlin Jamie.
And You wuz afraid wuzzn’t ya?
When we wuz sixteen.
And I had to be the one to kiss



Though everybody says I’m the shy one.
And thinks you’re so bold.

I remember how before you left for Eye-raq.
Your eyes shining! All bound for glory!
This was gonna be just the begininnin!
Someday you wuz gonna be the first.
The first woman combat general!
And  I smiled  I tried real hard
to be brave for you
I think maybe I even fooled you
But all I thought about
All I ken think about –

I got caught in a traffic jam on the interstate t otha day
Semi jackknifed into a SUV
You know how hot and muggy it is here right now
and how my old beater its air con don’t hardly work
And everybody a started honking their horns and
it was like I wuz in a dream and the cars wuz all convoy trucks and  then I wuz you
and then they wuz usin the jaws a life n the dream twarn’t no dream it was a nightmare
the horns had turned to the sounds a bombs & bullets a whistlin down and I started screaming

and then this here state trooper he comes up
and  taps on the window and says
are you all right mizzy and I said it wuz
it wuz just I had a –
I had somebody in Eyeraq
and he said
I hope your boyfriend gets home safe, mizz …




JT I know I shouldn’t burden you
or be a turning your thoughts towards the bad things that could happen,
you’re the one that needs supportin’ it’s just

my soul

you’re my soul,


Remember that field out behind the high school where we would play hooky hang out n smoke n whatnot?
lie there at night just a countin the stars
holdin each other
Its bustin out beautiful krazy all over pretty as a picher right now

with flowers wild as you

butterflies n birds –
theys all of em
monarchs n robins n cardinals n hummingbirds n even them nasty crows n icky moths –
all paired up. Even
even the fireflies seem to each of em have their own special flame each of em to dance with

I can’t bear to go there much

I just sit here on the porch
like some old maid aunt that has about fifty cats

underneath sista heffa moon.

Hey, JT?
Ifn you could let me know
when you get rotated back to Fort Campbell
(Hope they don’t stop-loss you agin)

It ain’t right everybody else but you a havin they wives n sweethearts to welcome em home
the real wives their husbands




I’m pretty sure my old beater can make it in a night a hard drivin if’n I only stops for gas
and smokes and for to pee. I’ll take off work I don’t need that ol’ cashier job anyways
I promise I won’t embarrass you in front of your commander let on about us
or get you in trouble with him

or nothing

I can
pretend to be your sister or cousin or –

or –

Smells like cheap cologne n cigarettes to me!

I neva knew what Auntie Lenora used to mean by that

Till now.

Cheap cologne n cigarettes!!!!

Hey. One good silva lining. Your mama she don’t look through me pretendin like I don’t exist no more
Guess when two hearts both yearn to see the same set of green eyes safe at home them other things they don’t amount to a hill a beans
I run errands for her and stuff gets her her Maalox and Seee-grams
And a course her Pall Malls

She frets something terrrible worries and watches the CNN all the time and that there Fox for news about what might be a happening
in your neck of the woods – desert
Not me
I don’t have to
Like I done told ya darlin
I know you laughed at me but its true – truer now than ever
We was star dust mingled together at the beginning of time
And now we found each other agin across light years and galaxies
Not no war nor Eyeraq
Or what folks might say about us
or the end of the world or time or the end of the universe itself
Can ever seperate us again!

Not really

Yours truly forever n ever n ever n ever n ever
–  and even beyond that!!!!!!
A whole lotta XsnOs XsnOs XsnOs
Xs    n    Os,

Sharilee Anne

P.S. They say a canes a gonna be a blowin in off the coast by Monday or therabouts. Bet them there scorpions over there ain’t got nothing on the crop of skeeters we got here this year.
Heeey Baayaaaybee. When you get back
I’ll have some of your favori eyte
My super secret special recipe shakey puddin’
all warm and moist an ready for ya.
Jest the way you like it!

And you be sure to have some of that sweet sweet jellyroll for me,
Ya hear now?


The Wrong Kind Of Stonewall

Got a joke for y’all
How is a gay soldier like Jesus?
They’re both without honor in their own country
Didn’t say it was a funny joke…

From presidential heights of hypocrisy pointedly unasked!
In their own country
In this,  THE land of freedom of speech
That they have sworn to defend with their lives
Forbidden – FORBIDDEN – to tell
Of the simple fact of their own existence
They wait
Standing standing standing

At attention with the unrequited diginity of Buffalo Soldiers
They stand  & wait only for mere acknowledgment
Nothing more
From their SeeEyeSee

They also serve who only stand and wait
And wait
And wait …

How long?

Mr. President
You used them to become Commander In Chief
You have used them as Commander In Chief
You send them in harm’s way as Commander In Chief
How long until you give them your FULL recognition & blessing?

“So, in the Libyan fable it is told That once an eagle, stricken with a dart, Said, when he saw the fashion of the shaft, ‘With our own feathers, not by others’ hand Are we now smitten’.”