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Some leave too early.

Some will stay too late.

Some are right on time.

Sone know what to say.

Some will find a way.

Some wait for a day.

Some make you feel right.

Some make you feel wrong.

Someone comes along.

Someone stays behind.

Someone makes you strong.

Someone makes you weak.

Sometime love will grow.

Sometime love will fade,

Sometime is today.

Sometime goes away.

Something remembered,

something forgotten,

something I can hold,

something I let go.

Looking back, some of the music I enjoyed seems embarrassing but I had to start somewhere. To quote another, ” None of us are born cool.” As we grow older, we find more interesting songs and bands. Our first discoveries lead us on a path to similar or better bands or musicians. It does not lessen our first discoveries significance, it makes their impact felt more in our lives, even if some of the bands and songs are guilty pleasures. Something we would not admit to others.

One of my earliest musical memories is hearing the theme song to a 1970’s police show called Hawaii-Five-O. I may have heard the theme song or seen the television show when I lived in Hawaii back in 1974 or when I saw the reruns of the television show when I lived in Virginia in 1977. I loved the theme song and wanted a copy of the single. My Dad bought me a copy at the local department store in Woodbridge, Virginia. I enjoyed playing the song and the song on the other side which was “Walk(Don’t Run)”. This was my introduction to surf instrumental music. Bands that played this style of music usually consisted of two guitarists, bass guitar, keyboards and drums. It was simple rock and roll that could be the soundtrack or sound of surfing at the beach. Instrumentals would begin calmly like being in the water waiting for a wave to appear. Then, a chord change that would change the tempo like a wave building in the water . If you were lucky and good at surfing, you could find the right point in the wave to carry you to shore like a hook or a chorus in a song. The instrumentals would end with a great ending like how you would feel when you are within the wave of water that crashes onto the sand. This probably is not an accurate description. Well, I tried.

The first band that was my favorite group and now is a guilty pleasure was Men At Work who were from Australia. I remember hearing their songs on the radio when I lived in Alameda, California sometime in 1982. I am going to quote from a sixth grade project on why I enjoyed Men At Work. “My favorite rock group is Men At Work because I like their music and I have both their albums(Business As Usual and Cargo). I also like the lyrics of their songs . For example ” Traveling in a fried out combiie , on a hippie trail, head full of zombie”. These lyrics are kinda cool and weird. I also like their music.” Not bad for a twelve year old, I still agree with these sentiments. The song I am referencing in my sixth grade report is ” Down Under”. Men At Work had several other songs like ” Who Can It Be Now?”, ” Be Good Johnny”, ” It’s A Mistake”, “Overkill” and my favorite song from Cargo-“Blue For You”. Before the Internet, one had to write letters and mail those letters to bands to receive more information about the band. There was an address listed somewhere on the back of the album sleeve or on the lyric sheet that was inside the album cover. This is how I became a member of my first fan club. After months of waiting, I received my first and last newsletter about the latest happenings from Men At Work. Unfortunately, some members left and later albums were not that interesting to me. Every so often, when I listen to music online or on my stereo, I remember my first band that became a guilty pleasure.

About twenty years later, I was introduced to several bands that would become favorites of mine . One of the bands reintroduced themselves to me. These bands are Radio Birdman, The Saints and the works of Dom Mariani. The ” Do The Pop” compilation of seventies and eighties Australian garage and punk rock was my discovery and rediscovery of these bands, This compilation was bought from Skinnie’s Records through mail order when I lived in Beaufort, South Carolina. The bands and songs that caught my attention reminded me of the Ventures surf instrumentals that I heard in Virginia. One song”Aloha Steve &Danno” by Radio Birdman uses the music of The Ventures “Hawaii-Five-O”but adds clever lyrics that reference the Hawaii-Five-O television show. After hearing this song, I bought albums by Radio Birdman . I was reintroduced to The Saints when I heard “Simple Love”. The song has interesting lyrics about being in the twilight zone. I wanted to hear more but the album that had this song called ” The Monkey Puzzle” had been unavailable for purchase. Years later, I found a copy from Off The Hip Records in Melbourne, Australia. I first heard The Saints when I bought their album ” Eternally Yours” when I lived in Alameda, California. The last band that I was introduced to was The Stems which featured a man named Dom Mariani. Songs by the Stems on this compilation were ” At First Sight” and ” Can’t Resist”. Pun intended, at first sight and hearing , these songs were irresistible. Clever lyrics and memorable melodies that reminded me of several bands from the past but had an original and contemporary sound. I purchased another compilation from Bomp Records that had a song by a newer Dom Mariani project called DM3,. The song was “1x2xDevastated” . This song would have fit perfectly in the film High Fidelity which starred John Cusack and Jack Black and was based on the book by Nick Hornby. I would buy albums by bands that featured Dom Mariani like The Stems, The Someloves, DM3, The Majestic Kelp and Datura4. While on social media, I would post photos of my favorite Dom Mariani albums. This caught the attention of Dom Mariani who asked for my mailing address and sent me signed posters of DM3 and Datura4, We are still friends and these bands are still my favorites and not guilty pleasures or something I would be embarrassed to admit to others.

Day or night, on my stereo or from the Internet, I replay songs I remember from my youth . These songs brIng back memories or begin lasting friendships. Some music I have outgrown but I still enjoy the songs . What was background music as a child becomes a soundtrack of your life. The familiar riff begins a favorite song. I have to catch a wave. Hear the music flow onto and into me.

Can’t get out of bed,

hangover in your head,

partied too much last night,

you get up and throw up

into your personal throne.

It’s just another day for you.

If you’re livin’ the dream,

wonder what your nightmare is like.

Cough up the day’s phlegm

and smoke some cigarettes,

you walk to the blood bank

so you can have some money

to buy whiskey and drugs.

It’s just another day for you.

If you’re livin’ the dream,

wonder what your nightmare is like.

Like getting wasted

by many drinks tasted,

can’t remember the day

or what you said to me.

You’re thrown out and on the ground.

It’s just another day for you.

If you’re livin’ the dream,

wonder what your nightmare is like.

When one thinks of writers who write horror or imaginative suspenseful fiction, the image that springs to mind is a very tormented person who must either be addicted to alcohol or drugs. After all, one would have to be that way to come up with characters, plots, or stories that have people who commit crimes and who show no remorse for others. Strangely, one feels empathy for these characters. How is this possible? It is a combination of the ability to make one like the characters and our human nature: we tend to hope for the best in people. Until , we are proven wrong.

Thomas Tessier writes stories and novels that have characters who one should not like but you empathize with them, My first introduction to his work was when I lived in Okinawa in 1991. I bought an anthology called Borderlands that featured a story by him called” Evelyn Grace”. Not to give away too much about the story, it is a about a man who finds out that a teenage crush has passed away. Most people would write a letter of condolence or show up at the wake- say a few comforting words to the grieving family or friends- then go home and forget as they go about their lives. Not this man, he concocts a story that begins with good intentions. No one shows up for her wake so he tells the parents that he and Evelyn were great friends. If he had stopped there, that would have been good because the lie was meant to bring comfort. The man proceeds to elaborate on his story , saying that he knew about the drugs but was unable to stop her. The parents invite him over and ask if he would like to go through her belongings and pick something out as a keepsake . He decides to grab her underwear and slip it into his pocket . The parents discover what he did and the ending is not pretty.

After reading that story, I read another story by him called ” Addicted To Love ” which is about a person who collects music-specifically British rock music. I could empathize with the character because I collect and listen to music. I don’t do what he does at the end of the story. The protagonist in the story shares similarities with the character in Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho. However, instead of being fascinated with Phil Collins in the book or Huey Lewis in the movie, he is a big fan of a British punk band named The Adverts. He meets a woman at a club and is smitten when she knows the name of the lead vocalist. He takes her back to his apartment where he tries to find a record that she likes. He mentions several obscure bands, none of the bands interest her. He is mortified and angered when she tells him that she wants to hear ” Addicted To Love” by Robert Palmer. He is confounded that someone that knows The Adverts can know and like that song. His breaking point comes when she wants headphones to listen to the song over and over again. She starts singing the song loudly and out of tune while drinking vodka, ignoring him. Again, the ending is not pretty.

Over the years, I have read his novels and short story collections that have similar characters with interesting literary and musical references. His short story ” Ghost Music” introduced me to the musical compositions of Alban Berg who was an Austrian composer whose music was similar to Schoenberg or Webern. One of Berg’s memorable pieces is a violin concerto . Another story named after an opera character named ” Lulu” tells of a woman who intentionally or unintentionally causes every man to be creative until he meets an untimely death. This story is fiction but introduced me to the works of Joseph Roth who was a real person who wrote nonfiction and novels. Some of his works are Right And Left, Flight Without End, Rebellion and The Wandering Jews. In Thomas Tessier’s novels and short stories, there are literary and musical references to Lord Dunsany , Thin Lizzy and The Smiths. The man knows his authors and music. Thanks to his writing. I was introduced to authors and composers that I never would have discovered on my own.

In 2002 or 2003, I was on the Internet and looking for phone numbers and addresses of friends I had known in the past. Just for fun , I typed Thomas Tessier’s name and the state where a novel and several stories are located. To my surprise, a phone number for Thomas Tessier appeared on my computer screen. At first, I did not want to call him because based on his short stories and novels, he might find out where I live and the outcome might not be pretty, just joking. He might be angry with me for invading his privacy and he would quickly hang up the phone . I decided to take a chance and give him a phone call. What happened next was surprising and inspiring. His wife answered and put him on the phone. I told him I was a fan and enjoyed his work, I could identify with some of the characters , except for what some of the characters did at the end, I would never do that. He laughed and said, ” I certainly hope so!” We had a great but quick conversation. I did not want to bother him. I took another chance and gave him my email address. I did not expect him to respond. I was grateful that he took the time to listen and speak with me. A few days later: I received an email from him, thanking me for calling him. On the day before I called, his father who had recently died had been buried. Unknowingly, I made him feel better by calling him up and telling him how much I enjoyed his novels and stories. He sent me some autographed copies of his novels. I sent him a link to my poems. He wrote back and encouraged me to keep writing. We have kept in touch and remained friends to this day, Sometimes writers are not always what they appear.

Seeing signs ahead,

time to move forward,

leave this town behind,

has to be better.

Daylight, I’m making change,

going out, starting new,

hope to find true love.

No more counting stars

above or waiting

for something to start,

nothing happens here.

Daylight, I’m making change,

going out, starting new,

hope to find true love.

After the darkness,

Sun appears through window.

Day begins something

I will not regret.

Daylight, I’m making change,

going out, starting new,

hope to find true love.

She doesn’t know it yet,

soon she won’t be alone,

won’t be without a friend.

Warmth and understanding

is around the corner.

She doesn’t know it yet,

someone cares and listens,

remembers what she says.

I’m right here with an ear-

stand shoulder to shoulder.

She doesn’t know it yet,

there might be a future-

past this conversation.

Whenever she returns,

she’ll know by a shared smile.

Some days the words come out easy,

I know just what I want to say.

Some days are harder to write down,

the thoughts hide and cannot be found.

I wait and hope for the moment

right words reveal themselves to me.

Fingers on the lighted keyboard

or writing with pen on paper,

pause to remember or discard

whatever comes into my mind,

space gives time something to unwind,

right words reveal themselves to me.

Write the lines and count syllables,

does the rhythm seem natural

or forced to fit the rhyme’s pattern,

revisions will bring improvements

or reasons for an exclusion,

right words reveal themselves to me.