I am but a servant in this temple!

I am but a servant in this temple.

Like this ant, crawling up my arm.

The ant, is my servant yet – we

share the same body.

I think of the Buddhist monk –

and his straw broom.

Clearing the path for a Lama.

The broom may hurt the small

creature but …

Who is to say?

The ant has no intention

to leave a bite on my arm

and I have no want to

shoo it away!


I spoke to a rock

Enjoy this poem, and if you can, please consider supporting my work. My new poetry book is here, and my music can be purchased from Bandcamp or CDbaby

Thanks y’all! Have a Goodin’

jP


 

I spoke to a rock

sitting in the mountain

stream.

 

Introduced myself.

 

I asked if it had ever

heard the metaphor

 

about its role

in the family.

 

It said no.

 

The rock told about rushing

waters, gully washers

and slowly being pushed

downstream.

 

The rock told of

how it used to

be way up the hill

and how one day –

it hopes to see the river.

 

It asked why I was

visiting, and I told about

my son, who was afraid

to move, about my wife

scared and determined.

 

I told about the railroad

and how my family, mind

and body suffered.

 

The rock told of how

it misses the greater

mountain that

it was a

part of –

 

and how once it fell

down a steep slope

and broke off from

a boulder &

how its edges used

to be pointed and sharp.

 

I told the rock –

I play music and write

about where I used

to work.

 

It asked

about that locomotive

whistle it hears

in the night –

echoing in the hills.

 

I told the rock

that haunting –

eerie, lonesome

sound is an old

tired, worn out

metaphor greatly

used by poets,

writers

and musicians.

 

We sat

quietly

together.

 

I listened to the

waters gently

trickling over

the rocks.

 

When I got up

to leave, the rock

said,

 

come back

someday –

I’ll still be here.

Maybe just a little

further downhill

and a slight bit

smoother.


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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Saturn’s Return for Donna

Saturn’s Return

for Donna.

 

In the greatness of this context

an out of this world strategy.

There is only so much one

can take it, knowingly – alert.

And like this, floods of coercion

laughter, disaster comes rewarding.

In the greatness of this shadow

light hidden from view – purpose.

There is only so much one

can take in, before – breaking.

Universally, it shall return

every cycle

and vision requires

rest.

Time relative to a nothing –

that is.

In the greatness of context

a wide brush covers wounds.

There is only so much a

a moral lashing, can do.

And like this, revolving

and solving can be

a result of a renewal review!

 

John Paul

07-21-2017


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

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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