Isolation Report #16 – Hurricane Justice

Isolation Report #16

Shit, Madrid, Kentucky.

(I have received my mission.)

Report : Sunday the 7th of June at 0800 hours. Watchman, swing shift. Mile Post 604, Louisville wharf. It will be my job to take care of two national monuments. One, the only Steamboat left in working condition from the old steamboat days of American River transportation era and the other The Andrew Broaddus. A Life Saving Station that is older than the U.S. Coast Guard. And no this is not fiction. This is really what I am doing right now.

When I first arrived on April 9th, the Covid- 19 was a new bestselling novel and my town was just starting to lock itself down for what was to come. Our corporate lawyer Governor was keeping the peace everyday at 5 pm. with his Andy Griffith style swagger in the form of a daily job briefing slash safety meeting of a sorts – every body find a place of safety, we will get through this, we will get through this together. I am actually glad, he is bringing a much needed calmer voice than the Tea Party dingbat we had before in Bevin, however, this Democrat we got now is privileged to the gills, comes from a lawyer career political family. He has his work cut out for him now. The streets in Louisville now?

Here is the news report:

Hurricane Justice.

Current location, stalled in Jefferson County, Kentucky

Eye Location – Jefferson Square, Downtown Louisville.

Sustained winds of tear gas.

Shops and homes boarded up.

People running for shelter.

Flying objects in the air.

Confusion Break Bones. (FELA)

and BTW, that song sounds like what is going on in my town, look it up. Confusion Break Bones.

This will be my last report from the isolation of this Rough River Location. I will be back staying at one of the busiest intersections in Louisville. Back to the Gonzo neighborhood of town, back to work and back to …. fuck, I don’t know. And that was the point of coming down here in the first place but back when I came, my whole town was not in the condition that it is now. I can’t wait to roll into town. This place Lothlórien, my family hermitage,is awfully lonesome, and that was the isolation I was looking for.

The plan was to come down here and answer some deep personal questions. Take the time to get up in my head and work on some poetry, music, do some emotional reorganization and get back to work when the Belle called. I did work on the poetry. I did collect and compile my songs. And I have as of this word, written 16,000 some odd words of a small book. It feels like I didn’t really get anything done. Except have a vision quest and a feeling of absolute resolve come over me. I got pretty depressed, smoked too many cigarettes, watched too many crazy movies, drove about 1000 miles of back roads, made friends of a few Mennonites and drank a fifth of Kentucky Tavern to boot.

I did stop mourning and now it’s time to Organize. I spoke to the mourning doves! Listened to the owls. Watched Blue Jays have territory wars. This place is a natural fact! I was inspired somewhat moved watching Mennonites work. Their family structure albeit is patriarchal and religious based is quite beautiful Take the good and leave the bad! I feel like I have gone crazy and my methods are unsound. And yes I do quote from Apocalypse Now a bunch, matter of fact I am listening to the Apocalypse Sessions right now that Mickey Hart from the Grateful Dead recorded for the documentary, Hearts of Darkness. Once a deadhead, always a deadhead. What a long strange two months it has been.

I am, right now, typing like mad, getting this all out before I report for my mission. I feel like I could punch a mirror and collapse on the floor with a bleeding fist – with blood all over my face naked and broken. Naked. This is me, Y’all. I am worried! It’s time to come home! It takes a worried man to sing a worried song. I am worried now. Deeply worried, maybe even troubled by what I am seeing from the news reports and live Facebook vids.

I read somewheres once that people from Kentucky are always in a state of going home. Well, so be it. I talked with an organizer friend from the Bay Area today for a long time and he talked about Gary Snyder and hwis mountain walks. He gave me an account of what is going on out there in Oakland. We talked about our organizing years ago. We talked Railroad Workers United and Dirty Face and all the Hobo stuff and a possible trip out west.

Today, for some reason, I posted a link to a blog-post about the recording I made with my ex-wife, Tapestry. We did a piece that she was inspired to write from a Wendell Berry poem. And yes I talk about Wendell too much and yes he is privileged out the kwazoo and yes I rode in his truck and yes, yes, yes. And who gives a fuck. I do. Partly my insanity, my Balrog so to speak, that I have been fighting, is all that bitterness of not being able to seemingly get any attention for all the work I did when I decided to quit my job and become a river man. I am a river man. Sort of. I come from the Derby City, where women are fast and horses are pretty, can you hear that thunder, you better run you better take cover, because Hurricane Justice is in town. I digress all the goddamn time Y’all.

I looked up Balrog on wikipedia, I donate to wikipedia BTW, double plus good, and I spelled Balrog correctly. Ok, friends, fellow workers, here is the skinny. Before I came down here, I was making these crazy off the cuff videos and in those vids, sometimes R2D2 would make an appearance. I would ask him questions and my roommate Geoff Gage thought that was funny as hell. When I left the ol’ homeplace to come down here, I said out loud, as I turned the key in my art car, my black stallion – “Set the controls for the Degoba system. Time to go visit Yoda.”

My walking stick that I made from a Sassafras tree was in the back seat. I took that walking stick when I first visited Payne Hollow, Harlan Hubbard’s place, and came on down to the lake to find some conclusions – while my town was dealing with the Corona Virus. I needed to break anyway and conditions were favorable. I did fight the Balrog. I am now John Paul the White. Do y’all get it? All this myth and why? I am hoping this writing presents many questions. I hope young people who understand half of what I am saying will inquire within. This is coming to a conclusion. I am coming home. The war for Middle Earth is upon us. I am leaving Lothlorien, a new man. Really. WTF.

I have to be very honest. One of the other reason I came down here was to find my Anna. That would be Harlan’s wife. Anna Hubbard. I didn’t find her. I tried some Facebook dating, and seriously? I had a fun time making Facebook find all the women who list themselves as “Spirtitual” and whoa was that funny. I got a download that mercury was in retrograde and decided to to some thumb yoga and deleted that APP. Whoa. I did have a visitor. Actually, I had a couple friends come down and that is the point … friends. But, the other night, around a star soaked fire, a friend of mine, I met down river, visited the lake and we had a wonderful night. We talked. And that was all.

Of all the women I have flirted with, she is the one who I do get that fuzzy spark feeling about. She is long and tall and half my age and we are getting to be very close friends. Friends. I am going to have to turn off my feelings for her. I guess that was the lesson I got from that Elder/Student experience. Don’t Stand So Close To Me. Oh, God, here comes word association. The Police, fuck the police, they have been running a little hot. I can barely see the road from the heat coming off of it. Now would be a good time to roll a cigarette, adjust my saddle, reach down between my legs and ease the seat back. God I am so Gen-X … I can only hope Hot For Teacher is next.

So, writing in circles and blowing smoke rings.

This Isolation Report is most likely redundant in some places. It is, what it is. And I must mention again that the woman who crashed her X-wing fighter in my Walden Pond so to say, when she visited ,gave some of the best advice about that worry I was having about talking about Wendell Berry too much. She said, “own it.” She said that down river months ago and it has resonated over and over in my head ever since. And I do own it, in a folkways kinda storyteller way. Now I have lots of work to do because of the inspiration taken from those meetings. I feel like those meetings were me, the warrior, meeting with Wendell, the wise elder, and me, trying not to have a Black Elk Speaks Moment. While she was down here, the woman who visited, that young woman who is questioning her religion and at a juncture in her life, while she was here, our meeting by the river was something to take me away from this life journey that I have been on, it was a nice exit so to say from this highway. We talked about dating and she gave me some real talk. Told me to have patience. We did at least come to a small conclusion, or maybe I did .. we are going to have to stop meeting like this.

So in conclusion.

I’ll be home soon. I have a new found resolve to get back involved in some way in the activism department. I was feeling terribly guilty for being down here, 80 miles away from one of the biggest battles of my lifetime in the streets of my hometown. But … and that is a big but. As a seasoned activist, I am not healthy enuf for front line battles. I am an new elder. However, and that is a transition that make me sound educated. Yo Yo Yo! Steal This Book! Share this story. It’s nuts and going around and around – it is full of name dropping, grammatical mistakes and all that shit. It’s kinda country, kinda city. I am in someways a Southern man, and in someways a hippie. I feel as if I have figured some things out and will be returning to my city, to be in. That’s it … we need a be in. Let’s all BE IN. OK, settle down. Just go home John. OK, I am talking to myself. I think I have gone crazy, maybe a little Gonzo.

So in the tradition of 1980’s rap. I am a bad ass MC. I have a million watts of power coming outta my mouth, making all the young ladies want to scream and shout. With a different beat for everyday of the week, so.

In further conclusion. I am a Fat Boy. Gen-X. Covid19 / LOL — WTF – this is NEWSPEAK 1984. Double plus Good –> Madrid, KY —> GDTRFB —> 8 more miles to looieville —> Slipknot —> Drums —> Wendell Berry —> Uncle John’s Band —> Catfish John —> Ginseng Sullivan —> U.S Blues

enc. Sing Me Back Home.

This has been one hell of journey into the self. I do feel I have left a certain Slipknot. I can’t wait to pack up and come home to whatever the hell this is.

See you on the boat!

John Paul Wright

Dead Set on departure.

Madrid, Kentucky

06/02/2020

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A Tango of a Recording

(Tapestry was a joint project of two people struggling with an isolated home life and the rigors of railroading. The songs were born of that difficult life experience.)

That is what I wrote then … now is a different story.

This project was born of meeting with Wendell Berry twice at his kitchen table and basically walking in Eugene V. Debs shoes for 16 years. It was for me, Donna channeling Joe Hill and providing music for a song he wrote that never had a melody.

And because of Donna Lynn’s side of the story, the song she sang of Joe Hill’s Dance This Waltz was exactly the Tango of a life experience and what had caused a large part of our struggle. She was the stay at home, homeschooling mother with an overworked – burning out union activist husband gone MIA from the family.

Donna is an amazing singer and poet in her own rite, and several of her pieces are deep and touching. We may not be together now, but this project was us at our creative best.

After Donna and I parted ways … I couldn’t play my guitar for almost two years because it reminded and sounded of this recording. I am just now, three years later just getting back to it.

If you listen to my track Freedom, what you are listening to is a man, at the end of his rope, barely hanging on to some very stressed frayed edges. I was exhausted, worn out and almost lost.

Now i am found.

The Vision.

The song Donna Lynn sang, that is inspired from a poem that Wendell Berry wrote, is my favorite on this recording. We went out to his farm to seek permission to record it and he was blown away. Donna sang like a bird and he told her that she could use it, and would be fine with her working on other poems if she wanted.

I got a chance again to talk shop with Wendell. It was truly a wonderful day.

Please fell free to share this recording, the song Songs Are Blue … shoot listen to that .. we sure could use a little bit of what Jason Eklund was writing when he wrote that masterpiece.

Y’all stay safe.

JP

 

Isolation Report #15 – The Fall of King Louie – #louisvilleprotests

Isolation Report #15

It is an absolutely picture perfect day here in Breckinridge County, Kentucky! A good day to spit some truth, I guess. I am not very happy. Happiness comes and goes, but today feels like a seriously difficult day. The fact is, I am isolated and that is good in the context of what I am trying to do here. But, many of my friends took to the streets last night and it got real ugly, real fast in my hometown. Louisville, Freaking Kentucky. So, not only am I now isolated and sheltered in place, a feeling of helplessness and dread is hovering over my last couple of days. I can manage. This is not my first rodeo! Won’t be my last. I have been religiously taking all the medicine I use to fight depression, doing my work per se’.

First of all, I do not do drugs! On purpose! None. Except nicotine and caffeine. I have been drinking a shot or two of Bourbon here and there. Old Forester 86. I do that to keep just a little bit of that Whiskey Gentry flowing in my veins. To maintain a certain sense of place perspective. It’s a Kentucky thing, many wouldn’t understand. So last night, I was watching one of my favorite movies, Hearts of Darkness, about the making of Apocalypse Now until I switched over to watch a friends live stream of the protests right as a protester rips King Louie the 6th’s hand off. Hell fucking yes, I thought. How freaking historical is that! I watched several hours of live-streaming from the front lines and finished my movie and went to bed.

Tonight the protest, the protest that is sanctioned mind you, is being called to start at the Muhammad Ali Center. Really? If last night the King’s hand was cut off, hell, what could possibly happen when folks show up en mass at Cassius Clay’s house. Maybe throw the King Louie statue from the second street bridge? That would be something to live stream and not to mention one hell of a splash. And that is it! Louisville! We are fucking crazy! The other medicine that I have been taking, other than watching movies about journeying into the self, has been listening to Hunter S. Thompson’s essays about Louisville and Ali. My question to the maker of the poster for tonight’s party at Cassius Clay’s house is: Has the Freak Party been reorganized? The poster looks like something Hunter would have done. Fuck, work it … I need a glass of water, boy oh, boy it’s good to know ya. Sorry. I have a celebrity crush on Missy Elliot and Louisville is on the cuff of the Dirty South, I digress, often.

My twitter is blowing up. I am @rivercityjp reporting and the Trillbilly Workers Party retweeted my tweet about Louisville cutting off the King’s hand. Twitter is a bad neighborhood I try not to get involved with. But, if you want to hang out with reporters and writers, you gotta go there. The Trillbillies made their fame being crazy redneck, lesbian militant, red and in your face. My kind of folks. I think I was one of the first to support their Patreon. I can’t support it now and they don’t need my help. They are making shit tons of money from their Eastern Kentucky jive. I am broke. Yeah goddammit. However, nobody likes a complainer. I am a fan. They get it, many don’t.

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One of my friends on the front lines of last night’s wild cat freak out in UofL’s town, Hunter’s Louisville, is a feller who was over in Charlottesville for that bloody Harlan style union struggle. He is what they call Antifa. He is an old head puck rocker. Been in many rodeos. So, he is my go to for inside information when it comes to police tactics and protest strategy, Charlottesville started when Antifa and other protesters, clashed with white supremacists over a Robert E. Lee statue. See, friends, listen; What the hell am I writing? This is supposed to be an isolation report from a guy hanging out in the country. This is starting to sound crazy. Yes! Goddamn right, never get out of the boat! In many ways, I feel like I got out of the boat and did what Kurtz did in that insane movie Coppola made. I split from the whole fucking program. This fucking place I am at now is called Lothlorien. I am ready to get on the sailing ships and sail away … the battle for Middle Earth, I digress, see, I can’t help it.

I digress because I have been devouring the Sufi work of Idries Shah, Joseph Campbell’s audio books, watching Tolkien movies, Jesus Christ Superstar, Rocky Horror. The Horror. The Bourbon I have been taking for medicine was given to me by an Arab woman. She is an international photographer. A couple of weeks ago we had a shelter in place party. She had never seen the hippie version of the Jesus Christ story. She did see the Tunisian revolution first hand. I am not sure she knew what really was in that Bourbon she gave as a visiting present. Old Forester is the elixir of the gentry! It is why the Kentucky Derby is decadent and depraved. Mix 1 part Brown, with 1 part Bingham, add some Anne and Carl Braden and you will have a loaded, volatile drink that will set the streets of Louisville on fire! We watched The Southern Patriot as well. A documentary about Louisville’s Carl and Anne Braden. They sold a house to a black family in 1954 and the shit hit the fan.

Jesus! I feel like Hunter Thompson is here in this room saying yes! Keep Typing! Yes brother freak em out! Go For it! Go .. and I never really paid any attention to Hunter’s work until just recently. That’s my friend Ron Whitehead’s department. As a writer, I guess I am that now? I know to be careful name dropping. As a folk musician, well, Woody Guthrie’s guitar killed Fascist so I guess I’ll keep going, I had a chance to speak with Hunter’s son, Juan Thompson several times. Once at one of Ron’s events. We ended up talking about a Sufi friend of mine from my railroad days. I saw Juan at a Homefront event and we talked briefly. Homefront is the Louisville equivalent of a Pete Seeger hootenanny. I saw Juan a couple months ago at a Sufi Circle. I wonder what Hunter would think about that. It makes perfect sense actually. Sufi is radical. Very. Just ask Idries Shah.

So, back to the fighting depression part of this report. I am lonesome as hell. I have a PHD in railroad lonesome metaphors. Last week I drove over to Rosine, KY, the place that High Lonesome Sound of Bill Monroe was borned. I am several clicks above the bridge of no return, on a self help retreat in fear of never coming back, I have been talking to the heir of Harlan Hubbard’s throne just about every other day. Harlan got off the boat and split from the program. I feel almost certain that when I do come back to town, things for me will be quite different. This two months in almost absolute isolation other than very slow rural-Internet rendered social media has been a blessing in disguise. Duality. It takes two to tango and there is certainly two sides to every story. I think today’s medicine will be to overdose on some Sun Ra! Lanquidity to be exact. “There are other worlds, they have not told you of, that wish to speak with you!” Space is the Place. Shit, Madrid, Kentucky. I am waiting on a mission, going crazy and having a time!

Solidarity

John Paul Wright

Madrid, Kentucky

05-29-2020

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Isolation Report #14 – Down By The Green River

Isolation Report #14

Memorial Day Weekend

Everyone is sleeping. I have moved my base of operations into the forward second deck Captain’s Quarters. If this was a steamboat that is how I would describe where I am at. When I first came down here almost two months ago from being laid off from the Belle of Louisville, I was sleeping in the basement. In the bed that a friend of one of my Fathers used to sleep in. He died, but that will always be “his” place. Like on the Belle, we have the names of some of the previous engineers stenciled on the equipment. My Fathers friend “Ducky,” his spirit still lives here and that bed is his.

So, It got too spooky to sleep there. It was in the basement and sleeping in a basement is kinda already sort of depressing so I needed a change. When I first came down to the Rough River the weather permitted indoor fires. The wood-burning stove is in the basement and I love wood burning stoves so I was sleeping down there in the hull, to stay close to it. My father’s bed is also in the basement, you certainly won’t catch me sleeping there. After deciding to leave the darkness of the hull, I moved to a bed in the Aft of the second deck. In the great room with the French doors that lead out to the hurricane deck. And, well, it’s too bright and open there. Awesome views, big windows that allows for wide views of the tulip poplars that are blooming, however, I needed some darker more confined space. So, I moved to the room that eventually, I guess will be where I am supposed to sleep.

That room, the Captain’s Quarters is where my sister makes her base of operations when she comes down. Right next to the other Captain’s Quarters. I guess my next step should be to move up to the pilot house in the loft. That is where the kids are supposed to sleep, but my cousins sort of make that their place. And can you tell yet? What the hell is John Paul talking about? What are these names he is using, pilot house, captain’s quarters, Aft, Forward, Hurricane Deck? WTH eck.

Folks, I am missing the Steamer Belle of Louisville pretty bad. I got a serious case of the Steamboat Whistle Blues. That’s a John Hartford song, BTW. All those terms are Steam-boating marine language. I was doing a pretty good job hiding away as a midnight watchman on the Ohio River, mile post 604! I have been on a three year mission to sort of disappear from this day and age. This Corona Virus, all this Isolation and Social Distancing is making me want to take the final push. A push into the lost journey, the final stages of the Hero’s Journey, a somewhat Social Suicide into the hearts of darkness so to say. I am ready to just get the hell out of this world and become a metaphor. I chase them, work with them, live in them, I can’t seem to beat the metaphorical baseball team of life. If you can’t beat em’ – Join em! I digress, often, to say the least.

 

My deep isolation was broken this weekend. Both my Dad’s sisters came down and with them were my Uncle Bubba and two grandkids. It has been great to have company. I got a chance to wear my Uncle John hat all weekend. Part of my job on this boat of a sorts has been to give my grownup crew members a break. These folks have already raised half my family and now these grand kids wear them out pretty fast. My two nieces are a hoot. I was more than happy to get the kids out of their hair., We drove around, went fishing, hung around on the balcony. I took the two sisters down to the lake and watched them swim. And that brings back fond memories of when I used to swim in that cove with my brothers and sisters. We spent many a summer in that water. Sometimes so much time that our toe nails would turn orange from being painted by the sandstone muddy bottom. My family is huge and these fine folks represent the other side of the family that has been here every since my Father and his Sister decided that we all needed this place and bought the three acres back in 1979.

This Memorial Day weekend some of the social restrictions were lifted on what has been an interesting several months of confusing mixed messages from way too many sources. What had been a near total lock down of the State of Kentucky, has now turned into a basic free for all of opinion and re-opening of the economy. Restaurants and businesses are allowed to re-open as long as strict guidelines are adhered to. Folks are supposed to be wearing masks, staying six feet away from each other and washing their hands while maintaining the six foot rule. I guess the slogan should be stay six feet away or we will all be six feet in the ground. Folks in town are basically following the rules set by the dot Gov. Folks are growing weary of all this, though. I really do not see folks being able to handle this for very much longer. It is quite absurd, most of the time.

I think folks are growing tired of all the too many Indians part. Meaning, now that this country basically has been pushed into two very far corners, one side has made the other almost The Enemy. And in this so called southern state, pushing folks to one side or the other is a pretty easy thing to do. Kentucky never really took sides in the Great Civil War, so why would it take sides now? Apparently we are leading the country in compliance and recovery, so? Stick that in your pipe and smoke it. Too bad Covid 19 isn’t Duke University cause then we would always remember this time when something whooped our asses. This is U of K country and in some places at certain times, basketball is the religion. So, to Kentucky fans, Covid 19 will now be labeled the Duke19, Chinese, came from those people who eat bats disease. They will hate it and never forget it. Never.

All weekend this place has turned into a destination liken an Easter Sunday packed church. Everybody and their grandma is down at the lake. All weekend echoing through the air has been gasoline engines; boats, ATVs, pontoons, gun shots, automatic gun a rootin’ and a tootin’, speed boats, houseboats, chain saws, cars, trucks, really big trucks pulling boats that cost as much as a small house in the town. Pontoon’s pass by on the river loaded down like a sunset cruise, blasting really cheesy country music. Boat loads of folks, having a good time, with a total disregard to anything with a peace and quiet agenda, have flocked to this Corps of Engineers marvel of a man made lake. To the natives of this place, I guess what we are witnessing is an American Dream colonial weekend occupation reenactment. People from foreign lands have arrived! They bring a lot of money, mind you, but their footprint is something to see. These folks could be bringing with them the dreaded “RONA!” Hmm, can anybody say blankets with smallpox? The blankets they are giving out this weekend are good ol’ American dollars and debit cards. The General is happy. The Dollar General that is.

The interesting part of all that is, how much the Mennonites out on the road have what is being sold in the lyrics of that country music propaganda that is blasting the seams out of the mountains of peace and quiet that normally is what can be found here.. They have the “good ol’ days” narrative thing down pat. What they don’t have, and could care less about, is the narrative of who may or may not be stealing a certain “way of life” away from them. Hell, they took John Prine’s Spanish Pipedream thing seriously a long time ago! The Mennonites that is. Of course, minus the topless lady with something up her sleeve part, mind you. Mennonite strippers, now that’s a thought! Blow up your T.V. Throw away your paper! Move to the country and build you a home! Plant a massive farm and run the thing with a windmill. They live the lyrics of that good ol’ John’s song for sure.

John Prine … bless his heart!

I was called into service this weekend and I gladly came out of hiding for that call, let me tell you. My friend Ron Whitehead called the other day and asked if I would come over to Hartford, KY to sing at his Mother’s 88th birthday party. Hell Yes! I told him. I am a folk musician, griot, storyteller and all that jazz. When I am called into service, I have to go! Responding to the call found me saddling up the painted pony and heading out further west basically walking right into John Prine’s Paradise song. “Daddy won’t you take me back to Muhlenberg County, down by the green river.” That place.

Ron’s father was that Daddy. One of many, but seriously, his father worked the drag-line coal machines at Mr. Peabody’s Coal Company. The highlight, well, I can say that there were many highlights at the party! The whole experience of that special day was a highlight, shit! From the second I left Ft. Wright here in Breckenridge County, I was in service of something that is as authentic as any folk musician could ever want to experience. I left and traveled some of the most beautiful back country roads in this part of the State! The name of the road from Leitchfield over to Hartford is called, “The Blue Moon of Kentucky Highway!” My journey to the party took me past Bill Monroe’s ol’ Home place, up and around Jerusalem Ridge, and then all about the fondest parts of Big Mon’s memories. You know the place where he used to sit and listen to the fox hounds, with his Dad in those ol’ Kentucky hills. I am on my way back to the old home, the road winds on up the hill, and there’s no light in the window. You know, that place.

There were certainly lights in Mrs. Whitehead’s eyes as we sat and she shared family pictures of her late husband working Peabody Coal. That was one of the highlights. The strawberry pie and BBQ she sent me home with was another. Hearing her sing my song was another. Watching my buddy Ron out of the corner of my eye was another. I think he is the oldest brother, he certainly had that vibe. I have know Ron Whitehead, “The Outlaw Kentucky Poet” for a long time, we go way back, however, what I was seeing at the party was not at all the Outlaw Poet, I was seeing Ronnie. Ron the older brother with that look in his eye of happiness, joy, and somewhat sadness at who or what was not at that party. Us older boys get that way. A tear in the eye and a lump to swallow. I guess I am an honorary Whitehead now? Fuckin’ A right! You bet your ass I am! You know it?

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Listen, seriously. I was for an afternoon, in that Paradise song. I was there! And I knew where I was going when I l got out of the boat and saddled my raging black stallion and headed west in folk music service. I was in a hot garage singing Bluegrass music with a family that lived that song to the fullest and were celebrating the birthday of the Queen, I was in heaven! Singing with the Angel Band. I was again, like when I was on the Joe Hill Tour, not just singing some folk music, I was part of the story. Part of how this heritage is passed on, passed down. Griot work. When Ron called and asked me to drive over he assured me I would get fed out of the deal. Ha! The fucking BBQ came from a food truck from over in Rosine, KY. Rosine, Kentucky, the home-place of Bill “Big Mon” Monroe! Amen.

Well, the kids are waking up. I hear the bang bang bang of my little barefoot nieces running all about the house. Soon my Aunts and Uncle will be leaving and total isolation will return. I will take off my Uncle John hat and go back to John Paul the guy who is kinda like Harland Hubbard, mixed with a little bit of Wendell Berry, add a ½ cup of Fela Kuti and ¼ cup of John Hartford. Mix the wet and dry ingredients and bake at 400 degrees turning until golden brown. Serve with a side of Hummus and African Djembe.

This isolation life is wild! Too thin to navigate and too thick to plow! I am steam-boating again, but, my God I am having a time! Oh, I forgot. Add ½ cup of Anne and Carl Braden a pinch of Woody Guthrie to taste and serve in a big Dust Bowl. Feeds many. Leftovers never spoil. One man gathers what another man spills. I digress, Often. I got the U.S. Blues! I am Catfish John signing off! You have been listening to, clear channel 650 WSM brought to you by the L&N don’t stop here anymore! Happy Memorial Day, Fellow Workers!

John Paul Wright

Madrid, Kentucky

05/25/2020

THINGS ARE NEVER GOING TO BE THE SAME

THINGS ARE NEVER
GOING TO BE THE SAME

for https://unavoidabledisaster.com/

Bullshit!

Trillions of dollars changes hands in the shadows of panic –
and what was so good about before?
Will the poor not freeze in winter?
Will the churches finally throw open their doors?

Will CEOs stop taking millions just for being the top guy?
And will we stop being used to fight
Operation whatever the fuck they call it
when a corporate war interest needs us to die?

Will Black and Brown people finally be safe?
They are killing them now in their sleep!
When things are never going to be the same
will Wall Street education hacks finally learn how to spell thief?

Will workers be called essential with bodies and minds broken,
while Labor and Bosses make shady back room deals?
Will people act rationally or hoard toilet paper with a
protect their own ass mentality squeal!

Will we finally not fear getting sick?
Or lose everything when we do?
Who are things never going to be the same for?
You can bet not for me and you!

They say that bull shit every time and
corporate media plays the game!
NPR Microsoftin’ a global windfall and
robbin’ We The People by name!

And even on the so called public air waves
we listen to corporate spies.
They want us to trust scientists who are employees
of industry and we all know that they lie!

Bullshit is not a conspiracy!
I know there is something going on!
But keep those eyes and ears open while you
fight each other with those masks on!

And when you go and get all up in somebody’s business
pissed off at how they do or don’t react,
you best believe two steps behind you is
Big Brother waiting to put a knife in your back.

Your sweet talkin’ Andy Beshear is a corporate lawyer politician
how easy you fall in love with his business man speech!
You swoon and coo like a southern belle
eating a poisoned Georgia peach!

So Bullshit! I am calling it !
I’ll do what I have to do!
And as long as they keep paying me this hush money,
i’ll do what anyone else would do!

But remember fellow workers! These slogans and
chants these corporate fuckers make,
we will get through this together is just be on my team
bullshit and y’all took the bait!

BOUL SHIT!

Fellow Worker

John Paul Wright

 

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The Kentucky Derby was …

The Kentucky Derby is:

Exactly what Hunter S. Thompson said it was. It used to be just a week long. The week party that was a marathon, a balloon race, a steamboat race, a Friday party and the big shindig on Saturday. And then the corporate folks got involved. Churchill Downs entered the stock market race. And then our week to shine became a non-stop three week commercial for Kroger’s poisonous roses and an international airport that UPS uses to stage its assault on our lungs – crop dusting us all night with the fumes from the interests of some Arab’s region. The Kentucky Derby is a thunderous celebration of militaristic Chinese explosions. It is a celebration of tax breaks, good ol’ boy networks and bonded whiskey gentry politics.

It used to be my Grandma’s hard boiled eggs and a keg of beer in the backyard. A party three yards wide and all day and night long. The Derby used to be the time when us natives sang our hearts out around a basement Germantown bar and then woke up hungover to sing again at church. The greatest two minutes in sports used to be the T.V. out of place, attached to a long extension cord, outside in the backyard. It was Dad, heading over to a bar, Tim Tam’s, named for a derby horse, to take the family bets to the bookie. The Kentucky Derby was my aunts cutting out little pieces of the newspaper and us kids getting to bet two bucks on a horse.

The Kentucky Derby is a Pappy Van Winkle load of bullshit. It is what it is, just like how the corporate sponsors don’t really want to admit, that when their private jets land, they park their flying machines at the Muhammad Ali International Airport. And what most tourists don’t know, is that Col. Harland Sanders and Cassius Clay are resting in peace in the same dirt where Revolutionary war and Civil war soldiers sleep where the rich people go to die. The Derby was, because today it aint, because ain’t is a word, round here.

The Kentucky Derby is the day, I sit, and wish for the good old days to come back. Like when I got to drink my first Falls City Beer or when Grandma would have herself a highball and then dance with ol’ Grandad! Bonded in memory, his IBEW local 369 union family picnic he attended in spirit. The Derby is all that, decadent, depraved, and Hunter was right. And if he was alive, he would have loved our party. The Wright’s FREAK POWER electrician’s – German -American Club singing derby party. Y’all come! Just 3 blocks away from Mulberry Hill, George Rogers Clark Park. York and Sacajawea may be among the living!

The Kentucky Derby is a horse race, built on slavery. It’s gambling. It’s just one of those things us locals have to deal with. Because money makes the horses go round and round. The Kentucky Derby is Bill Monroe and his Bluegrass Boys singing, Run ol’ Molly run, Run ol’ Molly run! Tenbroeck gonna beat you to the bright shining sun! And that is song about the first derby. A slave horse and Kentucky history. And I guess, this was for Ol’ Hunter, like his put himself into the story journalism. The Kentucky Derby is Gonzo!!, always will be.

The Derby is insane and whatever the hell you want it to be! The Kentucky Derby is … on Saturday, the first Saturday in May and I am a Steamboat Fireman, from the Belle of Louisville, reporting – because I am furloughed. And, that is the rest of the story … The Great Steamboat Race, didn’t happen, just like today, The Derby won’t run! It is what it is and we all know the Steamboat race is actually the race to watch, because there ain’t no rules in Steamboatin’.

And if you don’t know what I am talking about, it’s because you ain’t from around here. This is Kentucky! Just like Twain said, “When the end of the world comes, I want to be in Kentucky, because everything there happens 20 years after it happens anywhere else.” And some people say he never said that, but it’s true blue, just like me, and I am John Paul Wright reporting. Amen and woymen too. And, they’re off. Covid 19 with Andy Beshear riding for the win!

John Paul Wright

Madrid, Kentucky

Derby Day

05/02/2020


Utah Phillip’s Guitar – Solidarity Forever!

Imagine you are a blues musician and somebody asks you if you would like to use Jimi Hendrix’s guitar for a gig. Or imagine you are a Deadhead and Jerry Garcia’s guitar shows up in your living room for a couple of days. Now imagine you are a folk musician and Utah Phillip’s son in on tour and you are hosting him for a performance and he brings along his Dad’s old Iconic Guild. THE guitar with Joe Hill’s ashes in it. Well, this track from my recording project #RAILROADED is me, playing Utah’s old AX at a performance. It was sort of like a religious experience! Enjoy! and Happy May Day!

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