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When I wrote the lyrics to This Moment, I had been thinking about my younger brother.  He died from throat cancer a while back.  He was the funniest and kindest person I have ever known.  Even in the last few weeks of his battle you would never know he was losing.  I spoke with his doctor and stated my brother was exhausted; no money or resources, no physical or emotional strength reserves, no medical options left.  I was told others that were in a better state might be able to hold out longer.  Soon my wife and I got a call and rushed to the hospital as we had a number of times before.  He was in ICU this time and there was nothing to be done.  The next expectation was the cancer would eat through the main artery in his neck.  I will spare you the rest.

As he woke up and looked around, he was puzzled and almost excited at the same time.  He could not talk, so he wrote something on a piece of paper and handed it to me.  “Is this real?” was written at the top of the page.  Between the medications and his state of mind, he was not sure if he was dreaming or not.  He had been in hospital rooms many times, but he knew this was different.  I told him that we are in the hospital.  I confirmed he was dying and there was little time left.  His artery would rupture soon.  A moment difficult to prepare for.

The lyrics worked their way from my thoughts to the paper as I recalled that time in the hospital.  How I felt: how he must have felt.  My thoughts wandered to the many times I have talked and laughed with him over the years.

Your thoughts and comments were truly appreciated.  I put the lyrics to music recently. This is not a perfect recording.  This is as far as it goes for me.  Please accept it as it is. For all of us that have lost loved ones and friends, sometimes we just need to share the loss.  Maybe it makes it easier to turn the pain into great memories.

 

Before We Fell In Love”                                                                                  (c)1-19-94 MSK

The painting used to be stunning,

Now it is shallow and pale.

What was once strong and firm,

Stands undecided and frail.

 

Anxiously awaiting the feast

Doesn’t seem worth the hassle.

These rooms so dark and lonely,

Were once a mighty castle.

 

The pool is deep,

It goes on forever.

Things don’t really change,

Only how we wish to see.

 

She used to be so beautiful,

He was so gentle and kind.

They wish not to see each other now,

To leave all their past behind.

 

Summer seemed to last forever,

Years pass in the blink of an eye.

When old friends come to visit,

You can’t wait to say good-bye.

 

The pool is deep,

The grass is always greener.

I was who I am

Before we fell in love.

Image  —  Posted: January 28, 2018 in Poetry
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My wife and I celebrated our wedding anniversary and her birthday recently.  We planned to meet with friends and have a dinner out.  We usually fill our bellies and head to someone’s house after the meal.  I have mentioned that a lot of our friends are musicians and creative types.  These are the people we invite to celebrate birthdays and such!  They are talented, creative thinkers and artistic wizards.

I bring this up to explain our tradition at the dinner tables when we gather.  Most restaurants have long tables for large parties.  Too many for the round tables available, we are all seated and start chatting.  Years ago we thought it would be more of a social mix if we chatted for a while and get appetizers and drinks when we get seated……… then everyone would take their drinks and move 3-4 seats over – in the same direction.  That way we could talk with different groups of people during the evening.

The waiter/waitress would come back and look around rather puzzled for a few seconds.  Most start to grin and roll with it very well.  Some are truly amazing and funny.

We might wait until after we order the main course and move seats again!

For our recent anniversary the place was busy and chaotic.  The manager filled in as our waitress because we had waited so long to be seated.  We decided not to rotate as we usually do to avoid further confusion and delays LOL!

Here’s to another year with friends at the not so round table.

 

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© MSK 12-9-2017

While you sleep

You will lay safely.

I will caress you

I will keep you warm.

 

When the world

Is beyond your touch

I will hold your hand

I will call your name.

 

There is pain

Lost behind the door.

‘Til then embrace it

And the good things in life.

 

This Moment

With all the others

I’ll remember you

And still hear your laugh.

 

Overwhelming

What if it’s not a dream?

I’ll tell you what’s real

As moments remain.

 

This Moment

With all the others

I’ll remember you

And still hear you laugh.

 

In memory of my brother Christopher.

Image  —  Posted: January 15, 2018 in Poetry
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Recently I was thinking about a work incident.  Not to go into details, but there were so many lessons to learn.  A co-worker with some minor authority over me tried to get me to ‘sacrifice something’ so that they could ‘benefit’.  There was no real reason that I could connect to this request – except that they thought they should get preferential treatment because they deserved it.

When I refused with a simple but unmistakable rejecting statement, the ‘bully’ came out.  Intimidation, threatening, and harassing behavior flew rapidly in my direction.

I am a rather easy person to get along with.  I do not get into gossip, rumors or status.  I just want to do my job, have a little fun if I can, and go home.  Sometimes that is not possible, and the occasional confrontation will creep in.  If personal friction happens, I will usually smooth it over and try to let it affect me as little as possible.  I would rather forget it and start fresh the next time I meet the other person.  But this time I wondered about being that passive and easy-going.  Was I improving things?  Did it make the day or life in general better?  Does it really help to let people take advantage of my flexible attitude and/or position in life?

I came to the conclusion that it did not help or improve things at all.   If I let a bully succeed at threatening, intimidating and harassing me, they will take their successful strategy and slam it on the next guy or girl.  As a friend of mine put it; I am more likely to speak up if someone else becomes a victim than if I do.  In some way to connect to the #metoo movement without being insensitive to that real concern, I needed to find not just the ability but the benefit in raising my voice.  I went to company admins and filed a formal complaint.  Doing nothing and ‘rolling with the punches’ does not and should not always work.  At some point I learned I needed to speak up and highlight an event that in my age I could brush off easily, knowing others might not have the ability to defend or endure the hostile environment.

Is there a reason they feel so privileged and deserving of what others are denied?

I wonder why so many people in power feel it is OK to mistreat others.

Why do they think they can get away with this kind of behavior?

 

Because historically: they can.

I would like to break from history and change the future.

 

“Single Desire” is one of my favorite original lyrics.  I think a number of my songs get too “preachy” and sound like I know all the answers.  I usually don’t know all the answers, but I sure have made a lot of mistakes to learn from.  Single Desire takes another path. With fewer words than many of my songs it tries to paint images using sights from our normal day to day lives.  I like using the sunset comparison as sunsets are one of the most beautiful things we get to enjoy on this planet.  Yet in this analogy, they can be burned permanently into our hearts and minds.  Sometimes the loss of beauty is the worst experience of all.

https://midimike.com/2017/12/06/single-desire/

 

“Single Desire”                                  (C) MSK 1988

You left your mark upon me

Like sunsets on fire.

Plunged deep into the sea

With a Single Desire.

 

Always got what you wanted

Nothing worked more than your charm.

As the hunter you hunted

Without thinking of the harm.

 

I never let you down

“But did you really care?”

I never put you down

“You just tried to keep me there”.

Once I had to follow:

Now I walk away.

 

You left your mark upon me

Like sunsets on fire.

Plunged deep into the sea

With a Single Desire.

 

I never let you down

“But did you really care”.

I never put you down

“You just tried to keep me there”.

Truth is hard to swallow

My Single Desire

 

Once I had to follow.

Now I walk away.


As a country and culture, we seem to be obsessed by thoughts of and even planning for the Apocalypse.  I guess it is for good reason and it makes for great movies, books and TV shows.  I might be the only person that has not watched Living Dead and other shows.  So, Zombies aside, I have been thinking of a world with no power, running water, cell phones and the other modern tools we take for granted every day.

There are a few things I would really miss if/when technology fails us.  Way up there would be hot showers in the morning…….  I would really miss that.  Without a really hot shower, it would be hard for this old body to move each day.

What would you miss the most?

That took courage.

MSK Yellowstone

MSK Yellowstone

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Photo by MSK Yosemite

Burning Impressions That Last Forever                                 

“Single Desire” was written in a time when I must have had a lot to say.  The year was 1988. Once love has grabbed you it can burn deep.  No matter how you want things to turn out, sometimes you have no control on the direction they take.  You find yourself helpless at the time and unable to avoid mistakes that seem obvious even to you.  Single Desire tries to describe the condition when adoration is not reciprocal.  When you are not loved in return.  Only one thing matters and nothing you can do will make it happen.

When the other person learns that type of control is in their hands, they have power that can turn lovers insane.  He/She can make the helpless romantic into a tool that can be discarded when no longer useful.  There is no cost to them.  Displays of charm and hints of affection can destroy all resistance and common sense in the admirer.

We need to wait until the fire burns out completely before we can stop following and finally walk away.  The problem is there is usually very little left to walk away with.

I tried to give this song a full arrangement as powerful as the lyrics (or the idea behind them) felt to me.  I knew I could not sing it the way it required so I called my  good friend and band-mate Gary Jefferson as I have many times over the years to do the vocal tracks.  My wife Ellen does the chorus ‘response’ vocal parts.  I used my keyboards and MIDI tone generators to do all the instrumental tracks including the drums, strings, brass and bass guitar parts, and invited my buddy Shawn Anderson to come over and lay down the lead guitar tracks. Harlen Lee, another great friend of mine, came in and added additional guitar parts.  I really like the bass guitar line, and think the strings add movement and dramatic accents to the song.

Please give “Single Desire” a few plays to let it sink in and I hope you enjoy.

Image  —  Posted: December 6, 2017 in My Tunes
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Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I was fortunate enough to take a trip to visit my daughter and grand kids in the D.C. Area.  I was going to drive but found a flight that was not too expensive and got me in and out within my schedule.  The visit was great and I had a wonderful time, but I wanted to mention the flight back.

Days are getting shorter here and the sunset comes surprisingly early.  I booked an evening flight back home.  As we boarded the plane, the day was ending and the sun had already started to set.  When we lifted off, the sunset was just about over, with the skies a deep pink mixed with dark red.  The timing was just right, and as we slowly ascended, the sunset was revived.  Flying in the direction for home, the plane arched its way toward the sunset.  We were not pointed directly at it so the sunset-filled horizon was visible outside the passenger windows.  I sat in the aisle row, so I could not take pictures or see the entire sunset, but I could see the spectacular colors and darkening clouds peak through every window on one side of the plane.

It seemed like the pilot was chasing the sunset.  Elevating and angling as needed we kept in pace with the evening light show.  I am always fascinated by the view when flying. Cloud formations, landscape features, lakes and mountains and the spider web of roads can keep me entertained for hours.

As night continued to consume the daylight hours, the ground lights became more and more visible.  A dazzling holiday display appeared for all willing to invest a little imagination.  I could have sworn one town had a huge area of lights that resembled Santa on his sled being pulled by brightly decorated reindeer!  Other areas hinting of holiday trees and festive decorations could be seen on one side of the plane as the unending sunset blazed when looking out the other. This lasted all the way home until the plane’s final decent brought the sunset and decorative lights to an end.

It was a short flight, but the never-ending sunset was just what the doctor ordered.  I never opened my book or tried to close my eyes during the entire flight, thinking this was the best return home flight I could have asked for.  Wishing you safe and pleasant travels for the holiday season!