LITTLETON, CO - APRIL 20: Visitors bring flowers and spend time at the Columbine Memorial on Monday, April 20, 2015. Today marks the 16th anniversary of the deadly shooting at Columbine High School which left 12 students and one teacher dead. The school was closed for the day, as it has been every year on this day since the shooting occurred in 1999. (Photo by Kathryn Scott Osler/The Denver Post)

Goodbye Stony Creek


Sun comes up, another a new day… for the neighbors of Columbine. From Waterton Canyon to Chatfield’s dam… balloons are pepperin’ the sky. And Jim makes off in his khakis and lunch bag… off to his daily tech war. And Bill and Gene are working for Jesus… on the streets of Ward 24.

Goodbye Stony Creek… I’m finally escaping your sorrow… fare thee well till we meet again… don’t you cry… I’ll be fine.

Alec is sick… gonna stay home from school… his momma says she don’t mind. She got three interviews and a schedule to keep… Alec will manage just fine. And Debbie says there’s too much noise… she can’t get no relief. Lay your pretty head down on the pillow dear… maybe you’ll finally sleep.

Goodbye Stony Creek… I’m finally escaping your sorrow… fare thee well till we meet again… don’t you cry… I’ll be fine.

Some of us deal trump to our demons… others are wishin’ we could. And some of us are finding our own way to carry on like legends would. And none of us asked to be here… no… no. Many would gladly trade places… to the rock of Coal Mine Avenue… home sweet Stony Creek.

Sun comes up, another a new day… the best of the summer so far. And Carrie’s found some peace on her own… on the hilltops of Clement Park. And as for me, I’m hitting the road… hauling everything to Baltimore. And Bill and Gene have been replaced by some sisters on the streets of Ward 24.

Goodbye Stony Creek… I’m finally escaping your sorrow… fare thee well till we meet again… don’t you cry… I’ll be fine.

Somewhere over the rainbow way up high…
Birds fly over the rainbow why oh why can’t I?

Bad Day in the Rocky Mountains

 

The plan was simple. Lisa, our mutual friend Tim, his brother Tom, and I would go for a nice quiet road trip through the Rockies — something we often did for grins and giggles. This time we planned to visit Tom’s college buddy in Grand Junction. We would stay Friday and Saturday, then drive home Sunday in time to watch the Broncos game on TV.

By the time we made it halfway through the six-hour trek, pangs of hunger could no longer be ignored. We pulled into the next town, Glenwood Springs, for a bite. Not able to find a fast-food restaurant, we chose the first eatery that looked casual. It turned out to be a barbecue shack, and the ribs hit the spot. As we savored the last few bites, Tom, with a toothpick in the corner of his mouth, assumed a sober tone and began telling stories about his college buddy. He recounted several tales of drugs, guns, and dubious visitors speaking mangled Spanglish. This inspired a panorama of expressions from Lisa’s face, and she repeatedly commented how little of that sort of thing happened in her hometown, Pilger, Nebraska.

“Don’t worry Lisa, Tom’s pulling your leg,” Tim said, not altogether convincingly. “He loves to embellish. Actually, his buddy did some time for possession of marijuana in the seventies, but I’m sure he’s done with that nonsense by now.”

Lisa looked relieved, but I was beginning to wonder just how well Tim knew his brother.

The final leg of the drive was relaxing. As we reached the mesas and orchards of the area, the sun looked to be in perfect position for a spectacular setting. I was cursing myself for not bringing the “good” camera when Tom, from the co-pilot seat, called for a left turn.

“Only ten miles,” he said as the sound of rubber on gravel began to mix with that of the radio.

“I thought he lived in town,” Lisa said with a distant note of worry.

Tom turned to face her in the back seat, “Fear not,” he said with a crooked smile. “Jasper is wealthy, and he’s actually down to earth. Besides, you like horses so much, I figured you’d enjoy the ranch.”

Lisa looked unconvinced, so Tom continued. “Lighten up my dear. Beautiful this time of year. The parties are fun.”

I think Tom fancied himself a Zen poet. Lisa, however, did not appear amused.

Upon arrival, to my surprise, we found Tom was right. Jasper’s house was beautiful; a sprawling ranch with an outdoor pool and hot tub in the backyard. The green apple and peach orchards stretched beyond the stables as far we could see. Also, a friendly bevy of merry-makers was by the pool, and topping it off, Jasper proved a congenial host.

“Welcome, welcome!” he sounded earnest. “I’ve been looking forward to meeting you,” Jasper said after Tom’s introductions.

Just then the sun was beginning a grand exit and most everybody, for a brief moment, seemed spellbound. The moment was stunning, and after sighs and wows faded, the porch lights came on, and the party began with a vengeance.

This is where I should have pulled back and found a way to get us out. These people seemed to be of a different universe from what Tom had described, and it was apparent that they were deep into a collective cocaine binge. I could tell because their conversations were way too energized and the guys were accompanying each other to the bathroom (a practice that is reserved for girls where I come from). Something was nagging in the back of my head… it just didn’t feel right. After a while, I was able to loosen up and, a few beers later, found myself carried by the kinetic mirth of the moment and that’s when the trouble began.

Someone standing next to me saw them first. Three motorcycles idled in past the parked cars and into the backyard. When the metallic-blue gleam of the guns came into view, the entire crowd broke into panicked chaos. The rapid firing seemed to go on forever, and when the shooting stopped, the motorcyclists rode away.

Jasper’s backyard could have been a turkey shoot, but the gunmen caused no physical injuries, other than scrapes and bruises diving for cover. Mentally, however, I was changed for life. In the short time for the assailants to empty clips, I saw all; my failures, my family, and all the beautiful things that routinely get taken for granted. I imagined myself paralyzed and wheelchair bound. That was the scariest thought. Not that I might die, but without any health insurance, being shot and hospitalized, I would suddenly become a crushing burden to my family.

After the dust settled and everyone calmed down, I began to browbeat Tom for leading us into such a mess. He apologized abjectly; he didn’t think there’d be any hassles. He did admit to knowing of Jasper’s continued involvement in the illegal drug business but never dreamt of exposing us to anything dangerous. Jasper, he thought, was a prudent man in choosing friends and business associates.

To me, that seemed like the central lesson of the day. Yes, these are maddening times; choose your friends wisely.

We drove home that night; fled like spooked horses. We were glad to be no worse for the wear, but no one could sleep, and none of us would ever be the same. “I can see it now,” Tim said as we crested Lookout Mountain. It felt as though we’d never get far enough from that scene, and a heavy sigh of relief came over me as we did. At the time, I felt a great antipathy for the city, “Yuppie-town” as we not-so-affectionately called it, but on this night, as we gazed down at the twinkling lights of downtown Denver, no sight could have been more beautiful.

Ashes in the Dirt

 

I’m a runaway… a runaway fool and I’m a dreamer… a dreamer too… ain’t got the answers… I think I’m running outta time. There’s a question ringing in my ear but now it isn’t… no… it ain’t too clear… ain’t got the answers… I think I’m running outta time.

Dust on the path coat my boots. Smoke in the air sting my eyes. Dry bones in the fire… leaving only ashes in the dirt!

Ain’t been to Paris… or Istanbul… ain’t been to Bogotá… or Kathmandu. So much to do now… I think I’m running outta time. Well… there’s a question ringing in my ear… but I’ll never know if I stop here… ain’t got to worry… I’m always running outta time.

Dust on the path coat my boots. Smoke in the air sting my eyes. Dry bones in the fire… leaving only ashes in the dirt!

Yea… yea… yea…

I’m a runaway… a runaway fool… I’m a dreamer… a dreamer too. Ain’t got the answers… and always running outta time. I better hurry… and don’t get caught… keep it real now… and don’t get bought. It kinda bothers me… I’m always running outta time.

Dust on the path coat my boots. Smoke in the air sting my eyes. Dry bones in the fire… leaving only ashes in the dirt!

Aaaaaaaah haaa…
We’re only ashes in the dirt.

 

Myopedamania


Well… there’s a feelin’ Grandpa says he gets before a cloudburst hits the farm. And after forty years of drought, he says the big one’s comin’ on. And wise ones say the best of times need a storm to wash away… the filth of the entropy gone before… bring it on is what I say… and let it rain!

Don’t you know the springtime flowers always need the April showers? Don’t you know the springtime flowers always need the April showers?

Could it be there’s a basic need for some measure of control… and when that need goes unfulfilled we fall to actions bold… and use whatever power at hand bending others to our will… and if that don’t work we just take ’em out… in a storm… the blood runs cold?

LET IT RAIN!

RAIN
RAIN
RAIN

When children led by authority… whether real or just perceived… abandon compassion and empathy… you set the stage for evil deeds. And empires through the sands of time… use violence to pave their way… then the violence turns in on themselves till the empires washed away.

SO LET IT RAIN!!

Don’t you know the springtime flowers always need the April showers? Don’t you know the springtime flowers always need the April showers? Don’t you know the springtime flowers always need the April showers? Don’t you know the springtime flowers always need the April showers?

April showers…
Bring me flowers…
………………………April showers.

The Trouble With Flyin’


Rita’s got an interesting problem… she don’t have time for no dates. Looks like she made it… international fame and all the trimmings on her plate.

Strap in babe… a wild wild ride… she’ll make a pile while she can. She can’t remember faces… lovers or friends but she’ll dig it while she still has fans.

The trouble with flyin’… you never know how high you get till the fall. The trouble with leavin’ the ground… you never feel safe till your feet touch down. Stop a while and think it over. Shiny things always come with a price. Put yourself back together… it’s all part of normal life.

A broken girl hungry for a second chance… he swept her off of her feet. Took her for a ride and treated her fine… and gave her all the girl could need. Time went by and he fell in love… he talked her into seeing the judge. She’d never been so high as that day in the sun… now he’s ex number one.

The trouble with flyin’… you never know how high you get till the fall. The trouble with leavin’ the ground… you never feel safe till your feet touch down. Stop a while and think it over. Shiny things always come with a price. Put yourself back together… it’s all part of normal life… it’s all part of normal life.

Well… all of this runnin’ all this reachin’ and clawin’… all this blood… sweat… and tears… seems so important in the here and now… it won’t matter in a hundred years.

<====>

Rita lost her beautiful mansion in May… everything’s up in flames. Seems there’d been some trouble coverin’ the bills… it might have been the only way. Jump out the door and pull the chord and pop yourself a golden ‘chute. You don’t remember askin’ to be born… there’s nothin’ left for you to prove.

The trouble with flyin’… you never know how high you get till the fall. The trouble with leavin’ the ground… you never feel safe till your feet touch down. Stop a while and think it over. Shiny things always come with a price. Put yourself back together… it’s all part of normal life.

All part of normal…
…………all part of normal…
……….all part of normal life.

Sympathy for the Constable…

From the Loopcircus archives…

Perhaps we can come to grips with the dusty remnants of racism in our country. But while we grapple with the facts and what those facts mean, it’s important to appreciate the role police officers play in a world where human on human violence has been on a steady and sharp decline since the middle ages. These officers are human too… and very often they feel “called” to serve. compelled by a sense of duty … a force that makes them think they can help … that they should serve … and they do.