The Last Poem, At This Table

The last poem
at this table …

Twelve years ago …
this boy was two
and we
moved out
here
on old
plantation
land, close to
Berrytown –

Let us pray …

I sip this coffee
for the last time
rubbing tired hands
nursing a weary mind
looking into a future
out this back window
for the last time.
This place, where
I sat, wrapping boot
laces, worn down,
exhausted but,

proud
to be laboring,
in tradition,
proud to be
taking care of
family.

& now, careful to
not boast that I
am escaping the
plantation.

& like a field
slave, who knew
how to look to the

stars, could
read the code –
I break into the
masters house,
to take my woman
and son, away.

Yet, I wanted to
work here,
build dreams –

my
time,
body
& soul
was
almost
stolen
by
another
man’s
venture.

#railroaded

 

& this place,
fell apart, of
over a decade
not being
able to be here.

I could tell stories
of many a lashing –
isolated lonesome
feelings of being
used –
watching my
friends
raped.

so, what I am
doing –
at this table –
this morning –
is loading up
& taking
all i worked
for, to the
promised land.

The master is
sleeping,
& he will wake
up to find
my wife and
child,
gone!

& yes, i had to
convince
her …

sometimes
she listened to
the other house
slaves who told
of wild men and
woman, planning
an insurrection.
Told, “don’t go –
we have it so
good here.”

(and she,
is the wild one ???
Born of native
blood and spirited
like a wild horse
that has been
tamed by
the deep
dedication
of mothering.)

I, have been called
crazy before …
branded a
traitor …
yet,

(re-learned
the language
of the soil …
became fluent
playing and listening
to the drums speak
when the master
was not looking.
Secretly seeking
council with
elders,
some who
had tried to
leave before
and were to
old to escape
but had
a clear
picture of
where to
run.)
& now, i say
my peace, to
those afraid
to go!
My heart
will always
be with
them …
my work
now,
is to eventually

set them free …

peace be with you …

John Paul

Sunday, July 23rd 2017

Middletown, Kentucky



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I Got My Learnin’ From the L&N – The Best Of JP

This new release is compiling over 12 years of original songwriting that was created while I was employed on the CSX railroad as a conductor and then as a locomotive engineer. Most of the tunes on this collection started out as ideas that were transferred to the blank sides of paper work as I drove a train from Louisville to Nashville.

Railroading can be a poetically romantic job

and is truly an American experience. Writers, poets, reporters and songwriters use the rich metaphors of “the railroad” quite often. I had a wonderful career!  During my long days and lonesome nights, rolling straight down the center of Kentucky, I met some of the most wonderfully resiliant folks!

One of the first questions you get asked when get “hired on” at the railroad is

“What did you do before ya come out here?”

This question for me, was sort of difficult to answer. Well …. I was an Artistic Director of a Christian Arts organization slash Dishwasher slash African Djembe player slash community organizer. I brought all those experiences and more to a new job. Not only was this a job, I was being introduced to a way of life and

a culture that has its own music, language, history and long held traditions.

I like to say that If Americana was a quilt, then railroad themed music is the thread. The word “qwirk” is an old term used to describe a person’s unique stitch in a quilt. So trust me “the railroad” has its quirks about it.

The tunes are mostly in the folk music style of G,C and D. “I throw in an F to impress the girls,” I believe Hank Williams Sr. said that. My father Joe Wright suggests that Jimmie Rodgers tunes are supposed to be played in C, so… strum accordingly.

I wanted to throw a few tunes out there and tell the stories behind them. Please check out the tunes below individually on Bandcamp for desciptions and photos. Folk musicians are somewhat part reporter, part historian and part folklorist. That is what I love about folk music! There are big stories behind the tunes and the stories are important.
If you would like a hard copy of this CD please send 12 dollars via Paypal to railroadmusic333@gmail.com

Don’t forget to leave your address in the note section provided by PayPal

Thanks Y’all and have a goodin’

JP

A Picture of Henry David Thoreau

A Picture of Henry David Thoreau

07-09-2017

Louisville, Kentucky

 

Sitting under the glare of

Hunter S Thompson –

at the concreate table

outside of the coffee house

my Mother loved, next

to the bookstore she

used to drag us kids

into, years ago –

the carpenter bees visit

the passion flowers as

I fall into a well of

thought. Just one opening

of the door, and an

image – A book

stares at me, and

the bearded David

is sitting on the

display table – and over

on a different shelf

almost all of Wendell

Berry’s works are hand

signed – no mark up

applied to the printed

price – a massive cloud

just above, orange hue

silver linings – my friends

the mockingbirds are

singing – little chirping birds –

talking, talking, talking –

but those bees! They root

through over grown

vines to find a spectacle

of a flower.

I miss my friend John Hagan –

we used to sit at

this table – minds

wandering, words flowing

alive with conversation –

I feel him now. I

can still see him

walking down the street –

his glide, hop of innocent

happiness, his loving smile

greeting on arrival.

The smell of food, spices

and flowers fill the

light breeze as my

gaze goes looking up

to that cloud – I think

funny honest thoughts.

What if Thoreau was

married?

That story he wrote would

have been quite different!

What if the Dali Llama

had a teenager, rebelling

just to rebel. What were

those conversations

we used to have here

all about? I, like Rumi

long for my friend!

The Friend!

It is easy to write

poetry if your intended

audience is God!

These words may or

may not matter!

That cloud is gone

just like the memory of

many nights, walking

these streets, on this

road – years ago –

ecstatically manic and

following the thoughts

and words of Bawa, my

Sufi teacher! It is easy to

write if your mentor

gives you a job, and then

the next thing you know

you have half the

shelf dedicated to

bringing to life

the words of a whirling

dervish. As the sun sets

on Hunter, his memory

as large as a building – this

paper is coming to an

end – My honesty

takes over and my

pen could say what is

really on my mind!

But the the feller at the

bookstore just walked

by carrying garbage to

the dumpster – so I

won’t get mad and

let this pen write that

I don’t know why I think

I should keep going.

Maybe, I should keep

my inspiration quiet?

Keep it to myself.

I am waiting for a sign-

but all I seem to

get is another sun set.

Another cup of coffee –

another worried mind,

another mindful thought

before I go – this paper

is almost gone –

I was asked once why

I decided to write

this poetry …

My answer was, “I don’t

know.” I told Wendell

once that I had not read

all his works. He said, “You

don’t have to!”

 

John Paul



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At Liberty to:

At Liberty to:
Be a friend.
Per, suits of armor.
Clad.
I am just a child
in the employment
of a common
language.
Scoffing.
Questioning.
Holding accountable
stars as reflections!
Mine eyes?
Glory is only a dream –
only a dream, my son.
The callous is proof
of hard labor.
The mind, weary
I am lost – but fit
for duty.
So, wake!

All this – is not a
game.

It’s the
rolling of dice …
wind blowing
stories across the
pines, the howling
of the branches.
Wake, everything is
& nothing is, in waiting.
My kisses to your cheek,
my Son, are
rapture enough for me.
Your growing is a miracle!
Your love and the love of.
I said, wake son,
your love is the liberty
I am after.


Here

Here is where I am at.

My debts are all paid.

 

Today,

a new day.

My mind,

sharp as a tack.

Pining for the new.

Patience so true.

A slight wind to my back.

Gracefully waiting.

 

Called to do.

The past,

all out of whack.

At peace, in love –

all the while,

dreaming.

This drive unselfish –

for service, resolute.

.

To be there!

Bliss is not

easy to follow.

Trust &

responsibility!

Settling for the now.

 

Making contract

with destiny –

set in stone

reality!

Reason,

my desperate

soul fire

passion and

friend.


For me, poetry is the way out of the deep dark places that sometimes –

engulfs my daily life. 

Support my work by making a donation to Paypal using

railroadmusic333@gmail.com

or Share my Youtube videos and Bandcamp Music.

Thanks Y’all!

https://johnpaulwright.bandcamp.com/


Oh, Rumi …

I used to write with you in mind,
mine worn and youthful, then.
 
Spinning a yarn, long winded nights
drum in hand, new to the craft.
 
Oh, Rumi, who really gives a fuck?
You, in your time? I am asking!
 
I could just as easily disappear into
death, like your circling followers!
 
Shams? Shit man, he called your bullshit!
Like Gabriel appeared to the man …
 
who thought he had written everything
that needed to be said about God.
 
Gabriel appeared as a bird, sipping
drops of water from a river.
 
The man – then threw his books into
the river, and people saved his words –
 
from drowning.
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