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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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. 

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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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At The Labor Temple

23 June at 09:41 ·

Silver Spring, MD ·

 

… At the labor temple –

 

The mockingbirds are at war.

One dives from the 30-minute

parking sign, one perched on a

high security camera. They are

fighting over a small pin oak planted

by union hands and hearts.

 

Who represents the voices of the night?

The little voices who sing their hearts out

until they find a partner. Their class, the

songbirds – the whippoorwills, the loons

all the poets and song crafters who lift

inspiration from the air.

 

Lofty attempts to re-create what

nature provides, like that pin oak –

all mulched up and majestic.

Who represents the carpenter bees?

They are being trapped in mason jars,

to keep them from boring into the

fancy benches placed around the

workers memorial!

 

Who represents the crow?

Labeled ominous, being chased

by two smaller birds. They dart across

this neatly sodded land, held away from

a separate set of capital plans.

The solid black shadow of a trickster,

bell weather of doom …

Who placed that

on the crow?

 

Who represents the little birds?

Pecking and soaring the crows away?

 

At the labor temple, this morning –

around and around we go …


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The Garden

20170601 – The Garden

 

Did you ever wonder why

Jesus went to the garden?

He was probably depressed –

and sick and tired of

not just the system,

but sick of it all!

He was probably pissed

that the souls of men –

were so greedy –

he was probably pissed

that prostitution –

and poverty walked

hand in hand …

so –

the man of few words –

in the world

of nature –

where birds sing and bees

hop flower to flower –

he went on

sabbatical –

he stopped for

a moment …

called his Dad,

his mother?

She was watching

her son die!

She was by his side

– probably

proud of her son –

probably

worried sick –

most of the time.

His friends,

his partners –

his board –

the ones who

after he was gone,

would get it wrong …

do what he told them

not to do-

build churches so big –

throw stones –

argue –

fight …

So, now,

ask me –

why my

hair is long …

ask who

are my heroes.

( – If there is a criminal element

I am of it – if there is a soul in prison – )

 

ask about

power and greed –

ask why when

I was a child –

i cried when they

told me Jesus

died because of me.

Ask about

the holy ghosts

dancing – ask

about Wavoka

and Custer

 

ask me about Debs

and John Brown –

ask about the

heartbeat

rhythm

and why i would

rather play music with

children or be a

friend

to the ones who

everyone else warned,

is dirty

scary

mean

drunk

( – listen to the birds they will

teach you what they know – )

ask about Rumi

ask about Sufi

ask – why I heard

( – Allah and Buddha

were singing at the savior’s feast! – )

and now –

right now

in this moment

i and you

are here now.

Now!

Like Jesus-

like this

day …

and his flight

to the garden

and Buddha

and his river

and the mustard

seed, and science

and matter –

it’s all the same!

We are stardust…

and a reflection

is just an image.

jP

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