Rohlfie’s List

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE (try it with headphones)!

It’s 4:00am… the snow begins to fall… a light dusting, at first, but soon accelerating into a swirl of mini cotton puffs. He’s driving home from a distant gig. The joint was packed and the crowd in-synch with the bone-jarring music. After the gig… floating on a reverie of gliding euphoria… he makes his way home. The snow puffs now look like stars flying by a warp-speed galaxy cruiser. Streetlight reflects from rooftops on this breezeless night, and the accumulating snow sets rooftops under a thick twinkling layer of cotton fluff. The faster he drives, the more pronounced the warp-speed illusion… long linear streaks across his car’s windshield. He recalls the image of twisting writhing bodies in front of him just a short time ago. He marveled at his own fingers meandering up and down the neck of his fretboard. The crowd projected an almost desperate energy and his mind traveled back to an earlier time when he and his bandmates dropped purple microdot just before the final set. The drug kicked in earlier than expected. The band was still three songs and an encore away from retreating to the designated party house. Stage lights seemed too low and close and this obscured his ability to see past a line of humanity seething at the lip of the stage. He began to misinterpret visual information seeing the frenzied front row dancers with thick tails protruding through their clothing. It was hard to keep this mirage in check, but luckily, he was able to enter that Zen state of flow… the auto-pilot. By and by he was able to detach his attention from the undulating room. YES… the writhing front row was populated by lizard people, but it didn’t break his flow. He soldiered on through the rest of the gig with a frenzied roller coaster of foot stomping… head banging… rainbow colored… gyrating pods of humanity. He gave no indication that what he saw in front of him would shock a normal person into a full head of gray … hell… for all he knew, the whole room was on the same ride, and god only knew what they saw looking at him.  

Half-way around the globe, a Zapatista engineer … stationed at a research base not far from the Mongol autonomous prefecture of Bayingolin made her way around Iron Gate Pass… near the historic Silk Road. She slipped into a quiet state of reverie, driving along the once cosmopolitan global commerce trail. She imagined the days when Mongol Khans enlisted, rather than killed talented members of conquered peoples. And how, once established, cultivated humane, family-focused communities. But now, working on a secret project deep in the Chinese continent, she questioned her life … she’s in constant danger. Under the watchful eye of Beijing’s surveillance state, she must maintain the veneer of loyal expertise. Her courage flags, from time to time, under the pressure of floating rumors. Unsettling stories of experts vanishing, only to return weeks later with memory gaps… days on end. And that 1000-yard stare common among those who’ve “seen too much.” Local leadership routinely turned a blind eye to atrocities perpetrated against those who didn’t, “tow the line.” But now… too many friends/colleagues have disappeared … or worse. She resolved to GTF-Outta Dodge and through much effort and stowaway ingenuity, she did finally make it to the U.S. southern border… unfortunately, the border agents had been defaulting to suspicion… regarding potential refugees as … “not the best” or “Rapists”… or “gang-bangers” or “bad hombres…” Now… the cold room… the handcuffs… the inevitable lonesome flight to Honduras.

Plato believed philosophers were uniquely worthy of leadership. He used the analogy of the “ship of state.” That a captain who understands navigation by the stars, all other things being equal, are the best kind of captains. In part, because they aren’t dependent upon others to accurately pilot the ship. And so it is with leaders who become philosophers or vice versa. Philosophers are best qualified to assess the righteousness of an organization’s trajectory… they are less dependent on others for the knowledge/wisdom that comes part and parcel with the study of philosophy. Though some may write philosophers/navigators off as “useless star(navel)gazers,” like a ship’s navigator, the philosopher is vital. Give them the power of leadership and your organization is in good hands. From where do we draw this resolve? From tradition? From experience? From the value of merciful restraint? Or the necessity of merciless progress? 

He remembers the day he realized he had to go under allowing a surgical team reroute some of his plumbing… flash forward to the day he was able to walk to the hospital cafeteria for some orange essence and tea. Then… the day he was able to enjoy a brewed cup from the humble coffee cherry. The sight of his first post-surgery nurse… he remembers it in a foggy cloud. Like … he swears… she was shrouded in shimmering glitter… her voice was the music of kindness and mercy… he’s sure he saw her wings and halo… no shit. At the same time, the grumpy bastard two doors down was yelling at her like she was his servant… his whipping post. Whatever they were paying her… it wasn’t enough. He marveled at her ability to project selfless compassion a mere two minutes after being verbally abused be a grumpy bastard. 

Recovering… unable to sleep… he maintain a sense of the moment… lucid and grounded. For some reason it seemed important not to let the mind wander into flights of nostalgia or fanciful dreams of possible futures… no… in the moment… detached but present … the urgent order of business. From time to time, he was instructed to get up and shuffle laps around the ward… a cul-de-sac of rooms occupied by survivors in various stages of healing. The surest way to get discharged was to “do laps.” He wasn’t up and about right out of the gate… but not much longer than a day and a half he was paying attention to lap count, intent on exceeding numbers from a previous session. Two in the morning… three in the afternoon and six in the evening and since he couldn’t actually sleep… two more sessions into the night. Once… after three or four days of this… he was killing all records for continuous walking and took a seat on a bench in the hall around 1:00am. He remembers nodding out a bit. The next thing he knew he was gently awake with a shake. It was one of the shift nurses. She told him he had been sitting, mostly upright, but unmoving for roughly three hours… sound asleep. They didn’t want to wake him because they knew it had been a few sleepless days. He couldn’t get into the bed because he was toting a receptacle draining fluid from his chest. He refused super-effective opioids because he knew how easy it would have been to stumble onto the hoses (2 of them). They were embedded under his skin next to the main incision. They were run up as far as the lower lobe of the lungs. Had he clumsily yanked them out, someone would have to put them back in and he’d be awake for the festivities. Needless to say… he passed on Dilaudid, and passed on Morphine.

Another flashback… barreling through the fluffy frozen puffs like a starship in warp drive, his reverie is broken by the realization he had made it. He was flourishing in a world he had imagined as far back as the 3rd grade. All he ever wanted out of this life was to immerse his soul in music and share the experience with others. A wave of Thanksgiving gratitude washed over him as the snow puffs streaked past his windshield. He then found himself snapped back into the present… convalescing at home… still unable to get any sustained sleep, but keenly aware of the fact that violence had been done to him and that violence had most likely saved, and maybe even added a couple decades to his life. On this Thanksgiving… his 2nd-life birthday, he had plenty of time to meditate on these things.

Powered by a refurbished heart, his lungs and pipes sing the music of gratitude for…

ROHLFIE’S (partial) LIST… !!

  • Loving Family
  • Excellent Friends
  • Righteous Workmates
  • Angels dressed as nurses
  • Human Physicians
  • Oatmeal and blueberries
  • Fuzzy Footwear
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Ice Water
  • Audiobooks
  • Rabble Rousers
  • Long Walks
  • Cool Breezes
  • Twizzlers
  • Lego-free Floors
  • Citrus
  • Warm Blankets
  • Green Tea
  • New Ideas
  • Civilizing Traditions
  • Sourdough Toast
  • Blue Skies
  • Rhythm
  • Melody
  • Harmony
  • Lyrical Poetry
  • Resonant Guitars
  • Music…music…music…
  • And another year to enjoy it  all… 🙂

The Quick and the Dead

Baby Kyle was a sheepdog… age 17…
He sniffed out a pit-fight scene…
Vigilante ascent… loaded rifle he went…
To protect private property.

He loped into town… and spoke with renown…
To the press who had gathered there…
For the lambs getting hurt… put the ferals on alert…
Said his duty was to guard the square.

He’d seen on the video… pit-fight scenes
Played out crystal clear in his head…
The lesson that he takes… two pit-fighters make…
The quick… and the stone cold dead.

He joined in the fray… that fateful summer day…
In the din of the riot sound…
When the smoke of the chaos cleared away…
Two bodies… they had hit the ground.

A babyface pup… in over his head…
Faced the fury of an angry tide…
He learned his lesson well… lived to tell the bloody tale…
Now… justice will have to decide.

He’ll stand before the judge… and the jury twelve…
Twelve more for the caskets pall…
A ton of broken dreams… now a ward of the farm…
No more to play sheepdog.

On the western shore… others do abhor…
The state of a farm divide…
Anti-fascists on the left… vigilantes on the right…
No more will the shepherd abide.

There’s a feeling i get… starting out a road trip…
The kind where i can barely breathe…
I love my hometown and i really get around…
But today… i just can’t wait…

To leave.

Coolest Place

Misfit in the country… rebel in a deep red sea… sometimes i wonder where we get the outrage energy. Ride the bucking trends… we’re all neighbors and friends… and revel in the human company.

And the coolest place in the world is all i see. Bill Gates and Lady Ga Got nothing on me. I don’t need to work in Hollywood or Nashville Tennessee… i don’t need no Botox… corn row plugs or plastic surgery. I got everything i need and it’s right in front of me.

The coolest place in the world is all i see.

Misfit on the metro… it moves too fast for me… and hard to find kindness in a cold gray concrete sea. But i can play this guitar… and boost this energy… the city on the hill’s luminosity.

And the coolest place in the world will follow me… it’s my urban cowboy philosophy. I don’t mind tilting windmills… strange possibilities… i don’t need proud illusions to boost my self esteem… everything’s in play… what will be will surely be.

The coolest place in the world will follow me.

Misfit in the church… UP the academy. Miracles and myths… inexplicabilities. I don’t need consistent… existential certainties… but every day’s a GIFT… can’t you see?

And the coolest place in the world is where i’ll be. LOVE will win the day… just wait and see. I don’t fear creation… or the void of infinity… i don’t need to cling to memes or things… it’s ALL illusory. I AM the multiverse… the multiverse is me.

The coolest place in the world is all i see…
The coolest place in the world will follow me…
The coolest place in the world is where i’ll be.

Spotify link… HERE
Resource Based Economy

Beautiful Angry Noise

A day… a lifetime ago, i expressed an unkind general sentiment concerning mono-theistic political activists in the presence of my children. My words were harsh… insensitive… but not altogether inaccurate. Not sure why the filter failed at that moment, but i decided to try and explain. Starting with this low, omnipresent, internal rumbling in my head… it plays counterpoint to tinnitus accumulated over the years. This rumbling, i have grown to regard as… a “Beautiful Angry Noise.” And on this occasion i let it out, unfiltered. Now i feel compelled to explain, and maybe in the process exorcise some radioactive trepidation felt in the run-up to the 2020 general election.

Where to start?

Ok… from objective observable phenomenon, it seems obvious, to me anyway, that humans can be junction points in a massive interdependent superorganism, greatly enhanced by the global Internet. Unfortunately, this view is not palatable to those inclined to monotheistic creeds, and i believe monotheistic-inclined political activists stand in opposition to the interests of this Earthbound (for now) superorganism. Their anti-science/intellectualism inexplicably damages, and perhaps even hastens humanity’s extinction, and this essential incompatibility is, i believe, partially responsible for the gaping political divide in the US and beyond. This essential incompatibility accounts for occasional “anger” prominent in the noise i live with… day in… day out.

The abovementioned Beautiful Angry Noise underscores my personal opposition to the counter-adaptive worldview of mono-theistic political activists, but it’s not directed at any particular individual… more toward a xenophobic monoculture, featuring a misguided sense of individual importance. This humming, omnipresent noise is in perfect harmony with my opposition to that xenophobic monoculture. A movement that is leading normally stable governments toward authoritarian back-sliding and desperate grasps for uncontested supremacy. At the same time, there are opposing movements. Take, for example, Islamic culture’s push and pull with gender politics. As well, take the white, puritanical Euro-centric cultures’ struggle with LGTBQ acceptance.

Contrary fringe movements leave chaos in sane gaps where people just want to find ways to do right by their loved ones and friends…. to be good stewards of the planet they call home, and to survive what amounts to humanity’s “technological adolescence.” If i have to be more specific, i would say the Islamic World’s “Jihad” with modernity should be none of my business. Unfortunately, to make it so, my tax dollars would have to stop getting spent keeping local populations in oil-rich regions not belonging to the US, down. When will this fine day finally arrive? I can name names here though, and I’ll start with any and all family, friends, or neighbors who supported Ronald Reagan or Donald Trump to the office of POTUS. To them… i say… just… stop. Please just stop. I imagine many of these supporters would gladly confess to being mono-theistic political activists… or card-carrying “Apocalyptic Christian Nationalists.

But so what? Why would i call out Apocalyptic Christian Nationalists? Well… it so happens i was once a member, ready for the “days of trouble.” Ready to ultimately get called up to Heaven by my lord and savior, Jesus Christ, Father God, and the Holy Spirit. As an Apocalyptic Christian Nationalist, i was convinced that Earth, and everything on it was destined to be burned to the ground in a “final confrontation” between the forces of good and evil. EVERYTHING burned to the ground, accompanied by the cherry-red topping of unspeakable war carnage. But hey… NO WORRIES… according to the words of the creator of the universe… the forces of good are destined to prevail, and the planet will be returned to its original pristine “Edenic” state. All will be right again… with evil purged… milk… honey… and nourishing manna from heaven restored for all eternity.

You see where this is going, right? Apocalyptic Christian Nationalists aren’t concerned with effects of human activity on the global superorganism (don’t need stinking climate scientists), because… after the final smack-down between good and evil… everything will be restored to Edenic perfection.

So… now we have to find our backbone… because Apocalyptic Christian Nationalists think they have Donald Trump in their pocket… and THEY DO… because he only has power as long as they believe he will ALWAYS act in their interest. It’s no secret they believe Trump is literally an instrument of their god.

Seriously… this is our moment of truth. Do we let Mr. Trump and Apocalyptic Christian Nationalists burn the world to the ground with superstitious fantasies of good/evil escalating to a global scorched-Earth conflagration…? Or do we return to secular governance with religion and politics conducted in separate cathedrals?

I know where i stand… and i confess getting a bit over zealous in my private conversations… hence this inadequate attempt to explain. Nevertheless, i will continue to channel the Beautiful Angry Noise… but at the same time, i want to reaffirm support of constitutionally guaranteed religious freedom. And finally… with all of that said, can we, PLEASE, also honor our responsibilities? In a world of diverse experience and worldview, we know that freedom is NOT unlimited. Specifically, a person or institution’s religious freedom is not said entity’s liberty to cram it down anyone else’s throat. Satanists, Zoroastrians, Stalinists, Muslims, Hindus, Scientologists, Mormons, as well as Evangelical Christians, etc. are free to keep their personal spiritual practice within the privacy of their own homes/cathedrals. If they’ll agree to do that… i will agree to engage our practical differences in the open forum of Democratic Pluralism.

Long live the Beautiful American Stew…!
Long live the separation of Church and State…!
Long live the Beautiful Angry Noise!

What is a “resource based economy?”
How can we survive Humanity’s “Technological Adolescence?”

Bee In Her Bonnet

Abandon your solemn post… point your crooked fingers east. See the morph respect => contempt… feeding lives to the beast. And corporations rule… turning fear into gold. Atrocity becomes the norm then we realize we’ve been sold.

Questions after profit!
Questions after profit!
Questions after profit again!

She’s got a bee in her bonnet… a dose of apocalypse… a bee in her bonnet again.

She don’t see the dance… the multi-faced political game… jingo propaganda always cuts in many ways. A Satan great… an evildoer all depends on where you stand. It’s a path… a destination… cooler heads must command.

Sing the gospel truth!
Sing the gospel truth!
Sing the gospel truth again!

She’s got a bee in her bonnet… a dose of apocalypse… a bee in her bonnet again.

And yes… they hate… but not abstractions. They hate people mindin’ their business… keepin’ them down… and killin’ their kids!

She’s got no patience for other… riders on her commute… the slow… the lost… the sick… the old… or just takin’ in the view. Humility and common sense out the window when she drives… angry aggression… she won’t wait… she’s just tryin’ to survive.

Not enough time!
Not enough time!
Not enough time again!

She’s got a bee in her bonnet… a dose of apocalypse… a bee in her bonnet again.

Spotify link… HERE


Crisp… winter morning coffee warm in my cup when i first read the letter from my best friend’s hand today.

It’s a holiday card… with a message to you and me… sit down honey… your mommy’s comin’ home.

She said… “I need you to need me… i want you to want me. I pray that you’ll learn to count on me. And i’ll cast my bones on neon for the last time tonight. I’m comin’ home… it’s you that saved my life.”

Well… i know she’s made mistakes… but she left you for me to raise… i’ll always think of you as my own child deep down inside. And now she’s comin’ home… gonna dance with the methadone… i’d always hoped this day would finally come.

She said… “I need you to need me… i want you to want me. I pray that you’ll learn to count on me. And i’ll cast my bones on neon for the last time tonight. I’m comin’ home… it’s you that saved my life.”

Nobody lives in a vacuum… even the island needs a sea. Everyone needs raison d’etre… and for her… it’s down to you and me.

Well… the snow is falling down on the busy sidewalks of our town… your mom won’t go out there… tonight or evermore. So let’s turn that frown around… what was lost once now is found. .. your mom… my best friend’s comin’ home.

She said… “I need you to need me… i want you to want me. I pray that you’ll learn to count on me. And i’ll cast my bones on neon for the last time tonight. I’m comin’ home… it’s you that saved my life.

I’ll cast my bones on neon for the last time tonight…”

Spotify link… HERE

Voter’s Poll

LYRIC (political parody to the melody of Shel Silverstein’s “Freakin’ at the Freaker’s Ball“):

Well… we’re goin’ to a voters’ poll… today… it’s your civic toll. And you know… we’ll be counted… on the roll.

C’mon babies… scream and shout… we got the revolutionary clout… we’re gonna throw the bastards out… we’re goin’ to the voters’ poll.

Blow your whistle… bang a gong… take a breath… and sing along… it feels so good… it can’t be wrong… votin’ at the voters’ poll

All the heads and the reds… are standin’ in together… the scooter trash dressed in all kinds of leather… the greatest of the queens and the bible-thumpers too… screamin’ please bless me… and I’ll bless you.

Grungarati… adrenaline junkies… all the straights… are swingin’ with the funkies. Cross the floor… up the wall… votin’ at the voters’ poll… yo… votin’ at the voters’ poll!

Everybody’s bumpin’ each other… patriarchs and single mothers… smear my biscuits up with butter
And take me to the voters’ poll.

Pass that ballot … ring the chimes… you boot yours … i’ll boot mine… i’m gonna straighten up my spine… votin’ at the voters’ poll.

White ones… black ones… Jose and Yang ones. Green and blue and native red ones… the greatest of the dykes and the bible-thumpers too… screamin’ please bless me… and I’ll bless you!

Everybody’s holdin’ their opinions… flooding polling stations by the millions…we’re gonna clear the air that’s stinkin’… votin’ at the voters’ poll… yo… votin’ at the voters’ poll… na na na naaaa… votin’ at the voters’ poll!

Pulp and Ink

In the days of two ought and one…
– Pulp & Ink!
In the days of two ought and one…
– Pulp & Ink!
In the days of two ought and one…
…writin’ news is all i done
Hand me down my pulp… my pulp…
…my pulp & ink

In the days of two ought and two…
– Pulp & Ink!
In the days of two ought and two…
– Pulp & Ink!
In the days of two ought and two…
… writin’ news is all i do
Hand me down my pulp… my pulp…
…my pulp & ink

In the days of two ought and three…
– Pulp & Ink!
In the days of two ought and three…
– Pulp & Ink!
In the days of two ought and three…
…writin’s all i cared to be
Hand me down my pulp… my pulp…
…my pulp & ink

In the days of two ought and four…
– Pulp & Ink!
In the days of two ought and four…
– Pulp & Ink!
Since the days of two ought and four…
…don’t write news any more
Throw away my pulp… my pulp…
…my pulp & ink

They invented internet…
– Pulp & Ink!
They invented internet…
– Pulp & Ink!
They invented internet…
…now ANYONE can hypertext
Throw away my pulp… my pulp…
…my pulp & ink

Reach a hundred folks to my one…
– Pulp & Ink!
Reach a thousand folks to my one…
– Pulp & Ink!
Reach ten thousand folks to my one…
…writin’ news it ain’t no fun
Throw away my pulp… my pulp…
…my pulp & ink

Come Ink-Stained Wretch

Harvester’s Crew

It’s hard for a woman to light in this world… w
ith men who feel threatened by unafraid girls… who tread a fine balance ‘tween helpless and wise… then fight the hearth battles the rest of their lives. 

I live on the poor side… my extras are few… approached by a boy in the harvester’s crew… he hits me up daily… by night and by day… then they all get loaded and he goes away.

Your folks… they don’t like me because i speak plain…. they say there’s no way we… can weather the strain… i work for my money… i buy my own boots… and if they don’t like me… they can just pass on through.

Your guitar is mellow… come change up your strings… come sit down beside me… and harmony sing… my guitar… it shimmers… it don’t need new strings… and fare you well darling… i can’t wear your ring.

Your truck is near empty… your battery’s dead… come sit down beside me… as long as you can… my truck is warmed up now… my phone’s in my hand… so fare thee well darling… no longer to stand.

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?

Spotify link… HERE