Love in the time of (political) cholera.

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I was living in downtown Oakland California when Barack Obama won his first presidency. I was sitting at my computer hitting refresh on CNN every few minutes, waiting, waiting, waiting for the inconceivable to happen. Would a black man really sit in the most important of chairs? Would he put his coffee on the most hallowed of desks? Would a black hand hold the pen that had the power change the world with its ink?

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I didn’t need to look at the computer screen to know when the results came in. I felt it. The vibration in the air built slowly in to a wild frenzy, the streets filled up with hooting and hollering, the town levitated. I have never in my life experienced the energy of an entire city in a state of joy. It was unbelievable. It was victory for a community that had never won, had never looked at a man of power and seen their own reflection in his determined but weary face. I will never forget what the streets of Oakland gave to me that night. The memory has and will continue to sustain me in times of confusion and loss. It held my head up in November when people voted with hatred and fear not heart, it moves my feet forward when the road ahead is so badly lit and it gives me precious hope today as my country does it’s damnedest to rip itself apart, limb from limb. I have seen how powerful we can be when united over love, I know what we are capable of when our arms are linked and our hearts are sure.

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Over the past year I have culled a certain type of person from my life. I unfollowed, unfriended and divorced myself from the people that started showing signs of supporting Trump and those like him. Rather than engage in discourse (however heated) when they posted or said the frightening crap that is now commonplace, I just cut them out. In hindsight this was a terrible mistake. I stood on the tracks and refused to look in the direction of the coming trains, somehow thinking that kind hearted truth would prevail. What I didn’t know was that truth had become so fluid, murky and fleeting, like the smoke from a trash fire.

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I was not the only one that allowed the election results take me by surprise. I sat smugly in the echo chamber of my curated life, so sure that ignorance wouldn’t win. And I was wrong. Not just concerning what was about to come but that those who facilitated it were purposely ignorant or nasty. Yes, the loud and hateful few that pushed the alt-right agenda and it’s yucky counterparts are comfortably ignorant, that is a fact. And damn nasty to boot. But the rest of those people did what they did because they could see no other way. Just like the people of 2008 Oakland, the states filled with our disenfranchised, poverty stricken Americans, felt so removed from the shiny prosperity that everyone but them seems to enjoy. Is it really that surprising that a reality tv star would seem so appealing to so many? He speaks their language, plays on their fears, offers that quick, unbelievable fix that so many crave. The demographic that supports Trump is largely poor and undereducated, two things that when put together equal desperation.

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It is a twisted and strange thing to me, this elevating of such a crass and obvious liar, but when all the cards are laid out, I understand how it happened. When quicksand is slowly swallowing ones life, it is hard to blame the person who takes a hand from the devil. Choices that are made in desperation tend to be ill informed. Albert Einstein said, “An empty stomach is not a good political adviser.” There are many ways to go hungry in America.

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As Trump continues to populate his White House with crooks, morons and oddities, each one more rank than the last, we the people hold our breath. Even his staunch supporters look on with confused expressions, refusing to make eye contact, that cocksure posture beginning to slump. America has become the most watched reality tv show ever, all of us waiting to see who gets voted off the island. We’ve been punked. We’ve been slimed. We are a laughing stock. What on Gods green earth do we do now? The only thing that America has ever had in spades in foolish pride. So let us use it now. Let us take pride in our land, the vast stretching glory of northern America proper. There are immediate battles that can be fought by us here and now. Some have watched and some participated in the stand off against the DAPL. Most recently 500 veterans were called to create a human barrier between police and water protector, 2,000 showed up and within a day the POTUS handed down what I think of as a stay after months of peaceful resistance. Information continues to surface concerning the ETP’s plan on ignoring the ruling but in the mean time, victory. How sad it is that we have to fight so hard to wrest American soil from a such bloody, greedy hands? But we did and we will. Together. Standing Rock is proof positive that united we achieve the impossible. There is power in small groups with pride, however foolish, in our country.

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Whether we like it or not, our eyes are open now. We see how our flyover states have been ignored, how we have stopped truly seeing the people around us, the needy, the uneducated. If for some reason you don’t understand how we got here then I suggest taking the time and figuring it out. We owe each other that much. It is our great privilege to be citizens in a country that baked the pursuit of happiness in to our constitution. A part of that right is responsibility to the country as a whole, not just the prosperous parts. And we’ve failed at that. But we are not beyond saving. I look around me and I see the peaceful protests at Standing Rock. I see woman protecting other women from harassment and ribald assault. I see good men doing their part in this battle as well. I see the hard war on black lives coming under the spotlight. And for the first time in so very long, I see people not looking the other way.

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It’s not perfect, it still needs so much work but we the people can drop the foolish part and feel the pride alone. The kind of pride that comes from participating, from helping, from understanding and most importantly, from forging unity where there was none. I felt so frustrated, so lost in all of this until I forced myself in to action. There are so many things that we can do when we work together. Be it locally, globally or somewhere in between. We are so powerful when we unite. Let’s take comfort in that. Let’s get to work. Let’s fill the streets with the energy of love and the pride of a people together as one.

In lieu of forgetting.

All the things, he had them. And it was real, I know it was. It was real because I felt it and still feel it, so long gone. For so many months the only reality that I wanted was forgetting. And since there will never be forgetting there will have to be remembering.

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In such a short time everything that happened changed me so completely, in many ways I was weakened but also altered into something new, like a forging in fire. It wasn’t romantic as all that however. It has been made perfect by time and the mystery of the whys and how comes. But it wasn’t romantic. I wanted it to be and so it was. I guess I could have done that with anybody if the moon was just right and the perfect music played. If he had stuck perhaps the love thing would have faded, not perhaps, probably.

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That love thing running like a horse away from the stable into the field, feeling freedom and the dust churned up by pounding hoofs. And somehow I still need to remember, despite the hard stop, despite the wickedness of it all.

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If I stand in the face of it and make it look at me while I look at it, maybe the pull will soften and I can imagine myself giving in to some one new.  Maybe but maybe not. Memories like a stampede and time like the slowest clouds moving in the hottest sky. Fuck it.

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SONY DSC

*All images are via tumblr, not mine, if you see an image that belongs to you please contact me and I will site you or remove it.  

Kingdom Come

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I often think about where you go when you leave. Are you forever walking away, leaving me with a memory of your face and the imprint of your back, descending eternally into the distance. Perhaps there is a town somewhere in city I have never heard of. And you live there. In my worries you are in a box and it is dark, time moves but you don’t. When I let myself wonder, the weight presses my shoulders forward and my gut in on itself. Sometimes there isn’t the strength to push back and the ideas rush at me with the down pour staccato of my life in rewind. The woods and the boy with the bow and arrow aiming with the kill shot. The best friend growing pale and cold beside the ocean, alone. The dad, deeply drunk, and holes in the walls. Dead black boys and city riots, hearts on fire with hate. Men in desert fabric holding dull weapons, swinging at necks in the name of god. When I close my eyes I see these things.

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I think about a brother, I try to stop the clock in my mind and build a stillness. But I cannot. And these things stack. These notches busted into me with the ax of experience. Even from the vantage point of time and new chapters I still cannot figure out where you go when you leave. You are in the heart of another girl. You are in your apartment watching tv, alone. You are dead. You are looting, fighting, giving up, giving in. You are disintegrating in the dust. Maybe it doesn’t really matter. Gone can mean so many different things but still be the same thing.

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Knowing that the grand design of life has avenues beyond what I can see. Straight lines away from the unknown and into a deeper understanding of what we are here for. Things that I won’t see until I round a corner and step onto the gravel of that new day…this possibility puts some guts back into my body. And for the first time in this life, I find myself hoping that there is a God. And that there is someone bigger than me who wants goodness for us.

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Since I do not know where you are I will imagine this. Trees for miles that end at a bottomless sea. Animals to ride, animals to eat. Forgiveness and charity for you, from you. Friendships so deep that you will never know the end. Love so passionate, a heart blue with flames. You will never be afraid and in your mind will be all of the knowledge that we seek so tirelessly. And you will look at us with patient eyes because I may not know where you are, but you know exactly where I am.

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*All images are via tumblr, not mine, if you see an image that belongs to you please contact me and I will site you or remove it.  

These Dreams

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Spare a little candle
Save some light for me
figures up ahead
Moving in the trees
White skin in linen
Perfume on my wrist
And the full moon that hangs over
these dreams in the mist

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Darkness on the edge
Shadows where I stand
I search for the time
On a watch with no hands
I want to see you clearly
Come closer than this
But all I remember
Are the dreams in the mist

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These dreams go on when I close my eyes
Every second of the night I live another life
These dreams that sleep when it’s cold outside
Every moment I’m awake the further I’m away
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Is it cloak ‘n dagger
Could it be spring or fall
I walk without a cut
Through a stained glass wall
Weaker in my eyesight
The candle in my grip
And words that have no form
Are falling from my lips
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These dreams go on when I close my eyes
Every second of the night I live another life
These dreams that sleep when it’s cold outside
Every moment I’m awake the further I’m away
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There’s something out there
I can’t resist
I need to hide away from the pain
There’s something out there
I can’t resist
The sweetest song is silence
That I’ve ever heard
Funny how your feet
In dreams never touch the earth
In a wood full of princes

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Freedom is a kiss
But the prince hides his face
From dreams in the mist

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These dreams go on when I close my eyes
Every second of the night I live another life
These dreams that sleep when it’s cold outside
Every moment I’m awake the further I’m away
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These dreams go on when I close my eyes
Every second of the night I live another life
These dreams that sleep when it’s cold outside
Every moment I’m awake the further I’m away

eternallove

Be easy, baby.

Be easy, baby.  We have all the time in the world.  There will be days to thunder.  There will be nights to rage.  We will have demons to slay and love to make.  Not today.  Today is for reverence and alters.  Today is for starting from scratch, today we rewrite the wrongs and forgive ourselves for everything.  All accounts are settled.  And when this day ends, as it inevitably does, all memory is crystal, perfect and pure.  Time is a gift and I give it to you.

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Be easy baby, you are finally home.  From dirt and wood we will build a place where happiness will live, the sweetest dreams moving from sleep to reality.  A garden of food, an orchard of green.  Rolling salt water to the west, forests of moss and game to the east.  This land will be sanctuary to family, friends, souls in search of rest.  Our door always open to remind us that good comes in and evil runs out.  This land will be fortress against the enemy, a dragon in the mote, archers at the ready.  You are home and I am standing on the stoop watching you walk in.

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Be easy baby, this love is the kind that stays.  This love greets you at the door, jumps in your arms.  It walks beside you in the light and in front of you in battle.  Holds you up when you are too weary to keep it all going.  My love erects a thousand little monuments and leaves them all over the world so that you never feel alone.  What came before was only a stone for stepping.  What lived before was the man on a journey only he could undertake.  This is the love that stays, even when the fear lays you low.  Even when the only feet on the earth are yours.

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Be easy, baby.  Be easy.  There will be a million fights in this life and only one true victory.  Love.  The fire in the hearth.  The gravel road that leads home.  The pillow, the blanket, the body curled with yours.  The moon on the water.   The music that weaves in and out of a perfect story.  Love.  It’s just that easy.

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Color Me

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Yesterday was the day of red.  Blood.  Anger.  Eyes veiled with crimson.  Red is the color of mortal crime.  Once the blood runs the halls, there is no clean.  Ever again.

Sylwia Makris

If my heart is blackened and I seem antique, know that under the charred flesh and onyx eyes is new flesh.  The skin saves hope from the careless hands of fire.  Behind the iron is the only woman who knows how to love a king.

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You fill me up.  From the bottom to the top.  The orange earth pushes between our toes and we walk together like this.  Two children staying one step ahead of time.

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I never thought the day could come when the rosy pink of my youth would turn to dust and blind me.  Fear has aged the blush, turning my heart a frightening purple.

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Chalked hands tracing white walls.  Winter, barren hours, and endless miles lay ahead like a marble tundra.  There is beauty in this white world.  Just like there is beauty in the empty rooms we leave behind right before the last door is shut.

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With out white, black has no outline.  With out black, white is just a multiplication of what has never been done.

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The blue in your eyes reminds me of the ocean I grew up on.  White crested, green blue waves, unruly and uninviting.  There was this unspoken truth there that we all acknowledged.  Most of those who ventured into those ice waters would not be coming home.

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As a child I would often bed in the moss and loam of our pacific forests.  The smell was so old and so fresh all at once.  I always hoped that that would be the day that a fairy would decide to show itself to me.  I suppose that I still feel this way.  Oregon green is the color of my imagination.

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Gold.  The warmest of metals.  The prize.

 

Dear Diary…..

As I moved from one mountain cottage (aka shanty) to the next, an old journal was unearthed.  I was an avid journalist up until fairly recently and, for the most part, consider it to be a healthy and fascinating thing to engage in.  There is a certain level of embarrassment/awe that comes up when I revisit the older ones.  In the ’95-’96 book I was head over heals for Ayn Rand and her “Objectivism”.  And my words reflect it.  Clearly I had ready access to a thesaurus, I’ll just leave it at that.  I’m sure I was a real joy to be around.  Holy, holy.

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So, this particular volume that I found was solely based on my first grown up love affair.  It starts around 1998, somewhere between high school and the real world.  I took it to the bar last night, lurked in the corner booth, drank vodka, and hopped on the time machine.  Below are a few of the entries that brought me the deepest moments of pause.  There is a rawness and hope that I barely remember.  I look back on that time as a hazy story that happened to somebody else.  It felt real nice to be reminded.

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July 9th ’98

Determined sunshine, strange inconceivable perfection between us.  Once given to the dance, always slated to being the dancer.  Quietly following the dreams in my head, while joyously living out his.  Trying to build a crystal hallway around his mind, where within, his fantasies can hold feasts.
Today I am lurching, swinging high and swaying low.  I am becoming my own heroine by defeating our snarl-toothed demons.
Took his picture under the cherry tree with sun and wet grass- his imperfect perfection, my heart saturated with awe.
I’ve often looked upon you with interest beyond adoration.  I’ve dissected your beauty until I found the center.  I have many times watched you sleep, felt your night cloak setting in.  Seen your muscles twitch and your lips form dream words.  I’ve looked when others turn away.

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Sept. 30th ’98           I am waiting patiently for him.  Earlier I searched frantically for him, scratching at my eyes and making vows of wicked medicine.  It’s vanity, mania, loneliness, this hunger for a man.  It moves me to starvation of Ethiopian proportions.  I miss him in my days, minutes like holes in the sky.  Our nights go quickly, spent boldly by lovers rich with love.  Our days, the ones we wrench from duties greedy hands, are captured by sunlight and burnt into the sand.  I want so much from this.  I am a woman ablaze.

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Nov. 12th ’98          When I think about love, images of death defying acts for the cause fill my head.  Tall men in coat and tails balancing on distant peaks, howling at the moon for love!  Pale addicts injecting lawless love into a thirsty vein!  The weather worn faces of loves flit through my mind in militant succession.  I dazzle at what lengths the imagination bounds, all in the fury of love.  In real life, love is a secret, my fears, the closet that contains it.  I love like a rich man with cancer, spending dollar upon dollar on precious life.  Yet the canyon between what I feel and what I expose contains a river as wide and fierce as winter.  So odd, the picture of me on one side and him on the other, the rivers path carving into the sides.
Sometimes I hold him and think about our love, our canyon.  And that speaks the pain I cannot.  I wonder whether my imagined definition of love is as fearless as I had thought.

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And much later….

Jan. 12th ’00

Good bye my love.  I’ll remember the whisper.

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And much, much later….

Nov. 27th ’12            To look back on these pages is a bit heartbreaking.  How deeply I believed in love!  How flowery my musings!  And now there is an older, more complex women in her place.  I wish I was sitting across the table from that girl.  I imagine her knee taps and her fingers drum an antsy cadence on the Formica.  She would probably be peeling the label off her beer.  I’d ask her about her day and maybe she’d tell of Short Sands, red wine, salty surf bodies, and a dog, then a puppy, now long dead.  And constantly buzzing around her, the three most important girls in the world, Mandy, Elisha, and Camille.  And one boy, _____.   If I were to ask of the girls, she’d flare up, “Deeper than blood!” “A love that will last forever,” She’d say.  “No stronger bond!”  And the boy?  She’d blush and burn.  Squirm in her seat.  “Him.”
So much has gone and come since then.  The love that came after was, in fact, much deeper, in a way.  But this first love had such a hold on my heart.  So much so that when the hand was removed, the heart went with it.  How I loved then was so ravenous.  I wanted to eat him alive.  I wanted his soul in my stomach.  And I did it.  I ate him.
There is no real reason to look back with regret.  That girl was vibrant and full of love.  And this woman is strong and smart.  Comparing the two will leave you wanting.  I do wish I could go back.  Be less angry.  Be in less of a hurry.  Be more mindful of how perfect it all was.  But at least now, I can remember.  And that feels wonderful.

The Elements

Some small thing inside me, a probe or a hand, reach, looking for the other part.  The part that holds answers.  The missing piece that wants and gives with the same kind of energy.  It seeks the blanket that keeps out the cold and perks up its ears for the sounds that make this place seem less lonely.  A pot crashing or a toilet flushing.  In this life our journey is marked by the elements that move throughout the years, changing who we are and defining what we need.

I can’t explain how it feels to be the rock but I know for sure what it means to be the water.  Carving through time with an imperceptible gravity, eating earth with a mercilessly lazy grind.  Youthful eyes tell you that the course is within your power to alter.  Time will show you otherwise.  This path was here long before me.  These hungers were carved into my gut by cave men with rocks for weapons and grass for a bed.  Since I cannot be the earth, I am too young to fight, I will be the water.  I will know the flow and I will follow.

And when the water runs my blood cold and I become the force who has no heart, I will seek the fire.  I will run across the earth and leave ash where once was wood and civil life.  Everyone that sees me arrive will reach to touch and recoil in pain.  The good pain.  The kind that cleanses and releases seeds.  Dark scars will remain long beyond times desire to remember.  People will speak of my wretched war path until they die and then their children will tell the stories that soon become the myths that teach the young ones to revere the fire, to run at the sight of a blaze.  But we know how that story ends. Do we not?  What you fear you need to touch and what you touch will burn you.

 

The only antidote to a burn so ancient is the green blue heaven of water.  Submerge the wounded limb far into a pool and there you will find forgetting.  Pain will leave and rise as a steam, now you can sweetly join the wind.  Freedom is here, movement is here, forever is here.  On the wind there is no time or body and now you are truly married to everything.  What you seek is found here and though it gives no true knowledge, there is no need of it any how.   What is left of you, the one who knows nothing and is marked by everything?

The body held behind is the root.  It is the earth that bears the marks, the seeds, the gulleys.  Time runs through you and for that you are made immortal.  You are a part of the we and the hand you reach for is your own.  The getting home was hard but there is comfort in trial, strength in battle.   And the snake works its way around so as to bite its own tail.  At this place we begin again.

Shoots and Ladders

Before some fool let me know that you boys have dicks, I thought the only thing you carried was a stick, and me, a doll.

It was then or shortly after that I knew we where never going to be on the same side.

There was never again to be balance.  However slight the difference, one side would always be raised by the weight of the other.

When I was on top…

He would be at the bottom.  Climbing up.

I stand there, looking down at you, looking up.  And I can’t help but think, will we ever stand on even ground.  Play by the same rules.  Fight for the same prize.

We know that a game requires two or more, must be 8 years to play, must be this tall to ride.  What the instructions neglected to impart is how bad it feels to win and how glorious loosing will be.

And like age and like our childhood boardgames and like all things ancient and profane, we tire of paying it any mind.  This love game. So the rules change.  Our actions cloud with the residue of time.  We become opaque.  And again, the game is renewed.

Now I find that the rules bend just like my back.  Real or a lie, the word is only a sound made by people who sadly believe they have mastered a game created by gods who crave folly like humans crave love.

What fools we mortals be.  The pawns in a war of our own making.  Slaves to an invisible master.

The devil follows me night and day, because he is afraid to be alone.

Beauty is mysterious as well as terrible. God and devil are fighting there, and the battlefield is the heart of man. -Dostoyevsky

05 Morphine ZZ Ward

Black as the devil, hot as hell, pure as an angel, sweet as love. -Charles Maurice de Tallyrand

Deal with the Devil if the Devil has a constituency – and don’t complain about the heat. -C.J Cherryh

01 Adorn

Don’t you know there ain’t no devil, it’s just god when he’s drunk. -Tom Waits

No Diggity-Chet Faker

Haste is of the devil. -St. Jerome

Kelly Rowland – Motivation (feat. Lil Wayne) (prod. by Jim Jonsin)

I was not content to believe in a personal devil and serve him, in the ordinary sense of the word. I wanted to get hold of him personally and become his chief of staff. -Aleister Crowley

09 Beast of Burden https://travelinthemouth.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/09-beast-of-burden.mp3

If you get down and quarrel everyday, you’re saying prayers to the devil, I say. -Bob Marley

Hmmmm the devil…..what an interesting hero for our generation.  Shake it up shake it!