‘But I thought that you might like to know’
It was 50 years ago that a bogus band broke hearts, blew minds and battered barriers. The band: Sgt. Pepper. The minds: Members of the music industry. The barrier? For starters, Album of the Year: “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” became the first rock LP to receive this hallowed honor.
But this isn’t about that. Why? Because you’ll see greater stories about this ground-breaking album, written better and broader than anything I could pen. What you might not stumble across, however, is an obscure event that occurred a few days after the album’s debut, on June 4, at the Saville Theater, during one of the first performances by Jimi Hendrix in London.
Beatles bass player Paul McCartney was in the audience.
Hendrix and crew played eight tunes that night, including “Foxy Lady,” “Like a Rolling Stone,” “Manic Depression,” “Hey Joe,” and “Purple Haze.” But it was the opening song, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” that still jingle-jangles in a few people’s memories. Because it was so well-done? Nope. (In fact, it was raunchy-rough.) It’s because the Beatles’ album was so fresh (not even a week old) that covering one of its songs — especially in front of McCartney — had to be daunting, perhaps even intimidating.
“Watch out for your ears, OK?” Hendrix shouted to the crowd after feedback blasted from the speakers. “Watch out for your ears.”
Here’s McCartney’s reaction, excerpted from the book “Many Years from Now”(1998) )by English author Barry Miles.
“To think that that album had meant so much to him as to actually do it by the Sunday night, three days after the release. He must have been so into it, because normally it might take a day for rehearsal and then you might wonder whether you’d put it in, but he just opened with it. It’s a pretty major compliment in anyone’s book. I put that down as one of the great honours of my career.”
Hendrix died three years later, on Sept. 18, 1970, at age 27. His brief (four-year) career is sprinkled with highlights — singer, songwriter, guitarist, performer. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame described him as “arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music.”
Here’s a text-chunk from his Wiki write-up:
“In 1967, readers of Melody Maker voted him the Pop Musician of the Year, and in 1968, Rolling Stone declared him the Performer of the Year. Disc and Music Echo honored him with the World Top Musician of 1969 and in 1970, Guitar Player named him the Rock Guitarist of the Year. The Jimi Hendrix Experience was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. Rolling Stone ranked the band’s three studio albums, Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold as Love, and Electric Ladyland, among the 100 greatest albums of all time, and they ranked Hendrix as the greatest guitarist and the sixth greatest artist of all time.”
For all that, it’s worth remembering his raggedy-taggedy, resonatedly raw “Sgt. Pepper” recital at the Saville Theater — if only as an homage to an album that transformed the musical landscape in the tumultuous Sixties.
Whiskey with a Smile
John did not know what the hell he was doing here; or perhaps he knew all too well. He sat as he watched the woman fix him a drink at the bar. The woman, a mere stranger an hour ago, flashed him a perfect teeth smile. A perfect smile, yet he could not overlook that her nose and teeth were not aligned. It didn’t matter, somehow this woman made him more horny than he has been in years and harder than he ever remembered being as a teen.
She strolled over to him, her natural gait both predatory and sexual. She handed him the tumbler and flashed her smile, “Here dear. Your poison with one less rock, but I assure you, the bourbon is of finer stuff than that swill you were drowning yourself in back at the bar.”
Her name was Joy, or that was at least what she told him it was. John felt that it was a lie or at the very least a feint. He was still puzzling how she stirred this level of lust within him. He has been around women that have been more attractive, he had passes made toward him by women that were willing to be mistresses, yet he passed each and every time. Why stray now? Why her?
Joy sat across from him, legs spread. John’s eyes stayed on hers though, even as his mind played out how if she lifted her legs just a few inches more, he would be able to gleam the type of panties she was wearing, or if she was wearing any at all. He was surprised by how turned on he was just to uncover that simple mystery. When was the last time he cared what his wife wore underneath her clothes. He figured that sort of sexual tease died in him a long time ago. Why did he stir to know what Joy had under her dress?
“John, do women in general get soaked under your gaze, or is it just me?”
Joy’s comment caught him off guard. “Excuse me?”
Joy laughed easily, it tasted of honey and sex, “Your eyes. Your penetrating stare. Within ten minutes talking to you in the bar, my thighs were soaked, just from you looking at me with those gorgeous eyes. I cannot recall the last time someone could fuck me with just their eyes. It is a rare and wonderful thing.”
John dusted off all of his memories of his old lovers. None reminding him of his eyes playing an overly important part of their couplings. He thought of all of the times making love to his wife, when they still made love. He thought of all of the times when they just fucked, then the times when they just fucked around, never a mention of his eyes doing anything to stir her. For a moment, it seemed like something was missed. Was he looking at Joy in a different way? He didn’t think so. “I’m afraid that has never happened,” John replied a bit chagrined, “or somehow I was never aware of their effect.”
Joy laughed in disbelief. “Well, go ahead, sit there, sip on the whiskey, and please keep fucking me with those fucking, gorgeous eyes.” With that, she reached down and in a single, fluid flourish, she pulled off her dress. All she was left in were her heels, her perfume, and her smile. No panties to removed. Her thighs did seem to glisten.
John felt his heart pounding in his ears. Felt his cock trying to pound free from his pants, twitching in a way as if reaching for her. Felt the memory of his wife and felt his guilt for being here melt away. All of their years of blissful matrimony, followed by all of the years of painful matrimony, followed by all of the years of indifference and reflex mechanics of marriage, melted away. If Harriet ever found out about this, she would probably barely care, or so he tried to tell himself. All that was left of the passion in their love was embers, if that. No, an ember, that John finally grew too tired of trying to shelter so it didn’t die.
John watched Joy’s fingers explore all of the parts of her he wanted to explore. Her mouth, her shoulders, her breasts, her thighs. He watched her tremble, as if somehow his eyes were groping her, fondling her, were indeed fucking her.
She gasp before her fingers entered her sex. Her wetness was audible. John growled at the thought of a woman being that wet for him, and he hadn’t even done anything yet watched her. He took a sip of the whiskey and Joy whimpered. She was right, it was good poison, but his hunger now was the poison between her legs.
“Tell me,” she panted, “what you want…”
John could barely hear her request over the pounding rush of blood ringing in his ears. It was almost an anger that he had never felt such lust before. So much wasted time. “I thought you said you wanted my eyes to fuck you? Haven’t they made it…”
Joy let out a high pitched sound. It wasn’t a moan, it wasn’t a scream per se, but the sudden tremor of her thighs mixed with flow of sweet fluid pour over her fingers from her sex told John all he needed to know. He tried to take a sip but all that was left in the glass was the water from the ice. He set the glass down ready to get up as he watch her prop herself up, dangling wet fingers as evidence of his crime.
“Well, what I want,” Joy mummered in wanton tones, “is for you to show me if more than just your eyes want to fuck me.”
John stood, undid his belt and fairly slowly pulled down his pants. He let out a sigh being free from their constraints, feeling the cool air engulf his hot, engorged cock as it sprung free. Joy took a few steps toward him and pushed him lightly, a lead to fall back into the chair. Her eyes were all lust and hunger and wantonness. For the first time, he felt like he was being fucked by a lover’s eyes. He would never forget the moment.
“Stroke it,” she whispered, as she fed him her fingers.
His hand followed her command, slowly stroking his cock as he always stroked and John moaned in a way he never did when he masturbated alone. He moaned because he couldn’t remember the last time touching himself ever felt this fucking good. He moaned because he couldn’t remember how sweet a woman could taste. Harriet was always uncomfortable being tasted.
Joy moaned and pulled her fingers free and laughed, “I believe I am more of a glutton than you.” She kneeled down, making damn sure her breasts pressed against John’s legs, making damn sure he felt how soft they were. She pulled his hand away from his cock and replaced it with her own. They moaned together when she brought her lips around his head. She sucked and stroked him in want over obligation. She feasted on him as if he was doing her a favor by letting her. Her lust poured over her lips, until she was overwhelmed with it.
Joy broke away from her sucking and awkwardly climbed into John’s lap, slapping her sex against his; kissing him hard and deep. Before John had a chance to gain another breath, Joy worked his cock into her. They fucked with everything they had. Their cock and cunt, their hands, their eyes, their lips, their moans. John didn’t know where the orgasms started and ended. For the first time for as long as he could remember, he couldn’t tell where he ended and his lover began.
When it all subsided, Joy kissed him softly, yet even deeper. When she finally broke it, she looked deep in his eyes, “I hope you don’t need to leave soon. I want to know how tenderly your touch can be, even if your eyes cannot stop fucking me.” Joy got up and walked back over to the bed, fell on it, turned and waited to see if John would join her. Joy cooed at the first of his tender caresses once he did join her and smiled.
John watch Joy slip her dress back on as easily as slipping on a second skin. “Thank you for a wonderful evening, John. I wish we could do this again.”
John was still drunk on the magical, lust-filled night, “So I assume this was a one time thing, then?”
“I’ve only had my heart broken once. I how found flash fires of sex preferable to the complications of love. I will admit though, I will miss how well you fuck with those lovely eyes of yours. I still don’t believe you that no one else has ever mentioned it.”
“Nope, before you, I am not sure I was ever aware that such a thing was possible, especially by me.”
Joy smiled, stepped closer, caressed John’s cheek, and gave him a final kiss. “I am positive I will never forget them. Your eyes fucking me will haunt me ’til I’m old and grey.”
With that, she left him alone, with a new found arousal, but nowhere to direct it.
John looked in his glass of bourbon, swirling it slowly, feeling frustrated and empty and alone. He didn’t want to go home yet, there was nothing waiting for him there but silence or empty conversation. John had half hoped that he could find some way to bring some life back to his marriage with Harriet after his tryst with Joy. There were a few moments where they almost found something lost, but too soon they fell back to old routines. Joy was true to her word, he had never come across her again. Never at this bar, where she first introduced herself after catching him take her in. He thought it was just a glance, “With eyes like yours, you can fuck a lady like me with just a glance.”
He remembered her whisper that to him, while they were in between sessions on that hotel bed oh so long ago. He ordered another drink. It had been about a year, it could not have been already two. He let his eyes wander. He suddenly wanting to feel...something again. They fell on the various women drinking their sorrows away, or drinking to amplify the joys of their moment. His eyes didn’t feel like they were doing anything though.
The door to the bar opened and he watched a couple of women walk in, joined at the hips and their shared kiss. When they broke their kiss, the pair showered the bar with their joyful laughter. One of the women was his wife, Harriet, the other, he had never seen. His heart caught in shock and surprise. John’s mind replayed the last few decades of his life with this now stranger. How did he miss this? When did it start?
There was a fluid of emotions rushing through him. Harriet seemed so...happy. When was the last time she seemed that happy with him? He felt a pang of guilt. How much of that was his fault? Neither of them ever recovered from being childless. They both wanted a family so bad. When they ran out of options to have their own biological child, he could never convince her to adopt. He could never get her past feeling broken. She closed him out.
John turned into the dutiful husband. Tried to be supportive. Tried to understand her pain. Tried to reach her. The chasm slowly grew though, whether they wanted it to or not. How many years have gone by since they’ve truly shared happiness. When was the last time they shared some of the ‘for better’ and ‘in health’ over the ‘for worse’ and ‘in sickness’.
John looked down at his empty glass, he didn’t dare to have another one here. He watched his wife and her lover until he was sure they didn’t see him. He thought it was a kindness to let Harriet have her happy moment and not confront them here. A part of him envied and wished he still had the means to give her that raw joy she showered the bar with. He almost forgot just how lovely she was when she was happy and reachable. He almost remember what made him fall in love with her so long ago in the first place. He paid his tab and slipped out of the back door. More lost than he had felt for a long time and he has felt lost and alone for far too long.
John sat in the kitchen, nursing a drink, wondering if the pair would come back here. He wasn’t suppose to be home for another couple of days. The meeting in Atlanta was such a failure that it ended prematurely. He almost went to a hotel instead, but in between the bar and where to go, he thought home was the best choice. Either she wouldn’t come home tonight and have one last night of believing she had a secret or she would come home and they would face it together. Suddenly knowing a hard end was coming was not comforting. Funny that he should dread this, even though their marriage has been on life support for years. John heard the garage open and felt the lump in his throat grow. He suddenly wish he did go to a hotel. He was not ready for this. Not ready for the end. Not ready for letting that final ember he has painfully kept burning alive to finally be extinguished. Yet he knew it was over. Forcing the marriage forward would truly be a lie now. Perhaps it has been all these years anyway.
Harriet was standing in the doorway. Even though there was a look of worry and guilt on her face, he could still see the happiness from earlier radiate from her. It crushed him that just seeing him erased that joy and replaced it with worry and guilt.
“John, why are you home? I thought you were gone until Sunday.” John swallowed down the bile rising in his throat as he took in not her words, but the tone. A mix of shame and concern and even a bit of anger. It crushed him, and he wasn’t sure quite why.
“The meeting was an absolute failure,” John said, it came out as almost a laugh, “and yet in hindsight it perhaps was the better part of the week.”
“I am sorry John...do you need to talk about it?”
John took a breath and cut to what the conversation needed to be about, “I saw you tonight Harr, at the bar. I was there when you entered.”
“Oh…” the sound came out so small, soft, meek, and ashamed.
“How long, Harriet?”
“With anyone,” John tried to sound calm.
“Too long,” she whispered, tears welling up, “but with Jill,” she said the name as if forced to, “nearing four years.”
Four years with such a secret. How did he miss this? John thought to himself, only to follow it by perhaps just not wanting to see.
“I am sorry, Harr,” John replied, with a sorrow too deep to understand, “sorry that you had to try to keep such a secret from me. Sorry for whatever went wrong with us.”
She was crying true now, but they were tears of guilt and shame, she mistook his words.
“Harriet, I am not mad. A bit surprised, more than a bit sad, but it is a sadness that I think we both have suffered for too long.”
“But, I cheated…”
John, held up a hand, “I am no saint. I did too.”
Harriet looked surprised and suddenly hurt, “Really?”
“It was a one time event. I am not quite sure what happened, yet it did.”
Harriet chewed on her lip, “You were tired of being alone. I shut you out and you were one to crave intimacy even if your eyes always hungered for a bit more.”
John laughed, “My eyes hungered for more?”
Harriet smiled, “You have dangerous eyes, John. You always have.” She smiled again, and then she frowned, “but those eyes could cut in their hunger too. After a time, they can become a weight on the soul. Your actions may always been noble, your eyes always screamed what you needed or wanted though.”
John lost his smile. One last shared moment. One like it use to be.
The silence remained until it was too awkward.
“Where do we go from here John?” She was leaving it to him.
He chewed on the word. What he wanted was gone a long time ago.
“I want you to be happy, Harriet. If that is not with me, so be it. Perhaps this way, we can at least salvage a friendship of a sort. Better that than what we’ve let us become. I miss you being my best friend, if I can get a facet of that friendship back, well at least that is something. Tell me, now that I know you’ve been with Jill, do you have any desire not to be with her? Hell, it’s been four years, Harriet.”
“No, I care for her deeply. I...love her in a way I never thought I would ever feel again. We helped each other heal in ways neither of us thought could heal.”
“Then, that is what matters, Harr.”
“What will we tell the family?”
“Whatever the hell you want to tell them. Tell them it was my fault if it lessens the blows on your end. I’ll tell my side whatever you are the most comfortable to tell them. They don’t matter. You matter.”
Harriet started to cry, “You can still surprise me, John.”
“I try,” was his only reply. He tried to smile, even though his heart still broke for them, for her, and for himself.
John took a sip of the whiskey and let it burn his mouth before swallowing it. He was surprised how lost he was in the world two months after the divorce. He was tired of the questioning from both his siblings and his in-laws. Harriet wanted to wait to tell her family everything, knowing some of them wouldn’t understand, but she felt guilty knowing John was being beaten about it, blamed for it.
“Hey stranger, mind if I join you?”
John looked over and saw Joy. In spite of himself, his heart pounded a bit.
“The seat is yours, although I believe you said I would never see you again?”
Joy shrugged, “Surprises happen. I see your hand is lacking a ring now.”
John looked down, his thumb still missed fidgeting with it, “It seems my wife had another love. Life goes on.”
“Sucks doesn’t it. Letting them go even when you still love them in your broken way?”
“Exactly.” John wondered if Joy’s broken heart she hinted about required her to let go her old love as well.
“That is the other reason I liked you, John. Your eyes and that you would eventually do the right thing and let Harriet go and be with Jill.”
John paused, and looked at her, “I do not believe I ever mentioned my wife to you and I definitely know I didn’t mention Jill.”
Joy actually blushed, “Well, Jill is a friend of a friend. I met the pair of them at a party. I am sorry to say I knew of your wife’s affair before you probably did. Like I said, I’ve had a broken heart before. I pick my lovers by knowing if they have broken heart themselves, even if they do not know why they are broken.”
John didn’t know what to say to that, so he took another long sip of his drink.
She put her hand on his thigh, damn it that it felt wonderful to be there. He didn’t want it to feel wonderful. He didn’t want what Joy seemed to too easily stir within him. He wanted to cradle his pain and loneliness.
Joy laughed, “If you trust nothing else from me, trust that our night together was not out of pity. By the way, my real name is Hope, my middle name is Joy. My parents each wanted to name me each of those name. My mother wanted Hope. They struggled to have kids. I was their only one.”
John’s heart lurched. Wondering what the world would have been like if Harriet and he did successfully have a child. They probably would have fought over names similar to Hope-Joy’s.
“Well Hope, would you like to have dinner with me sometime?”
“How about right now? I’m famished! But, is it possible for you to calm your eyes down?”
“Not sure. Since I don’t know that I am doing it, and my ex-wife confirmed I had dangerous eyes, and the fact that whether I want to or not, I find you irresistible, probably not.”
“Well, in that case John, perhaps room service would be the better way to go,” Hope said with a sultry smile.
“Perhaps you are right,” John replied, laughing an honest laugh for the first time in a long time, “but what about the complications of love?”
“Who said anything about love, John?” Hope smirked, “That said, perhaps dreaming about those eyes of yours have left me pondering if they would stare at me with the same intensity when I am old and grey?”
Hope seemed to almost blush at the thought. John’s heart skipped a beat. He quickly paid the tab and they left the bar hand in hand. As they walked through the doorway, John kissed Hope deeply, suddenly feeling that the doorway was just as good of a place to let a relationship begin as it was a place to end one.
I was hugging the toilet in the bar, and you graciously came over and held my hair back, murmuring "You'll be okay" again and again while I retched and heaved. In hindsight, it was kind of a strange thing for a guy to do, but I was in no position to question it at the time.
You had no way of knowing I hadn't had a drink, that I was on an infrequent night on the town as I battled the effects of the chemo, but you made it a point to be sure I was okay. You sat with me for two hours, not saying a word, just sitting with me. As I finally, shakingly staggered to my feet, you guided me back out into the bar. "You with people?" you asked. "No, just me. Workaholic bachelor." "I'll call you a cab then." And you waited with me until it came.
As the cabbie drove me home, I kept thinking how kind the world can be sometimes if you let it, and, when it came down to it, how much I loved you with all my heart, though I'll probably never see you again.
#lovepoetry #prosechallenge #loveamongstthestench
She realized why he seemed so familiar,
for their hearts were very old friends,
reminiscing about the beginning of time.
God Reminded Me
I have come to the conclusion that I may be a bit too nice. Too nice to the point of being taken advantage of or being used. There are days when I want to revert back to who I was a few years ago, which was not a nice guy at all. There are days when I know others, who don't know me personally, have a wrong idea of who I am. There are days when "following Jesus" just doesn't feel worth it and doesn't seem fair.
But THEN God reminds me that I am not here for me but to represent Him. He reminds me of who I was a few years ago and how much He has changed me. He reminds me that His opinion of me is the only one that matters. He reminds me that, no, it's not fair and He never promised that it would be. Most importantly He reminds me that no matter how difficult or unfair life becomes, following Him will be worth it in the end!
So, yeah, I've been struggling with some stuff the last couple of days. In the middle of writing this my dad called and said he felt he needed to call just to say, "I love you." Wow! Talk about a God moment!!
Glass Chains of My Own Creation
Into my life fall heavy clouds of despair
bound with glass chains that make no noise.
Dingy basement on dark streets,
black boots in mud puddles splashing,
alone in my dreams of sweet release.
I do not see nor hear the dragging,
transparent chains of my own creation.
Key holder of locked chain dons mask
and hides furtively behind my back.
It dawns on me we are one and the same
as the closed chains of my mind veil me,
ethereal, suffocated by silence.
Chain bindings bite my ankles
jagged rocks beneath me invisible,
as I try to unlock chains of discord,
born of my own transgressions,
careless words in broken lines
pointing to a fractured destiny.
I rent asunder my bindings
realizing I have freedom of choice
as I fight the threatening links
radiating from desperate depths,
battle for growth and survival
and struggle upward toward light,
casting aside shadows of my mind.
The Yellow Room
My Mama hides all day
alone in her room.
The walls are painted yellow
by cigarette fumes.
She says, "I need a refill. My bottle is empty."
Yesterday there were twenty.
My Mama is a bird
that no longer sings.
My Mama is a butterfly
that has lost it's wings.
Mama, Mama, where did you go?
Somewhere I will never know.
lethal, you knew
stood silent watching
through lazy eyes
words trapped inside
a slow white death
you could stop
yet uttered no breath
a transient anchor
that would hinder
this love’s canker
i don’t know you
who are you now?
but you waited
sure organic change
would save you
the return to
how things were -
it never came
through tears slur
words of amendment
her eyes have love
but icy, resolutely
she pulled the plug
White palmed tiles
tears in water
regrets and hollow
your echoed sob
now you know
you get it now
we’re becoming strangers
that subtext unsaid
What would happen (if we finally all met..?)
Who can we claim
to really know
when true faces
behind the masks
that we see?
Would a colorful
tally up with
the real deal? Would those
dearest to our hearts
be quite foreign?
all of a sudden face-
to-face, or would we
know from inception
soul to soul, twins, as if
we had been together
It’s not the real thing
It feels like a good morning to fall in love with your memory.
Waking up to your skin on mine, making breakfast while dancing in the kitchen.
Spending the day in the garage drinking, smoking, losing ourselves in the haze but always finding each other by the time night falls again.
I've always loved you.
But it's time to let go.