Greased Pole

I know we promised blog entries on a daily basis but this ROCKPILE trip is outrageous. I don’t know how people do it. I don’t know how they make a life of this kind of gigging (see Tales of a Sunburnt Country by Bob Malone) and I don’t know how they can keep up with daily blogs (see Tales of a Sunburnt Country by Bob Malone)…

I had something started for posting about our first DC gig at Writer’s Center but before I could polish it up we were done with our second DC event at Institute for Policy Studies. So I figured I would do one entry to cover those two DC events but couldn’t find the time or put my ideas together. Before I knew it we were at Busboys and Poets with Burnett Thompson and company and wow!! So, I decided I would write one blog entry about all three events in DC. But it never happened.

Packing and unpacking, traveling, eating, uploading, downloading, drinking…

How could we begin to absorb half the experience, half the lesson of these majestic DC events and then regurgitate them in some quick artistic bloggy thing?????

So we ended up in NYC, and BAM! a symposium at St. Mark’s, then another symposium at CUNY. (Terri and David really don’t like that word “symposium”). Here we go again. It’s showtime at the Gershwin.

Listen. It has all been great. DC was gorgeous. The people were kind and brilliant. I felt like I found a new home. Sarah Browning at Split This Rock, Sunil Freeman at Writer’s Center, Burnett Thompson and The New Columbia Orchestra Quartet, Carlo Parcelli, Buck Downs, Brian Gilmore, Jack Foley, all new friends now.

Burnett Thompson put together a brilliant program for Busboys, awesome musicians, Joe Cunliffe (multi-reed player a new cool friend), all of those players, and that great vocalist, Nicki Gonzalez, who sang in Portuguese. Bassist Don West, Guitarist Richard Miller. An enormous honor to perform with all these DC folks. Check out the videos!

And the ideas behind all this ROCKPILE stuff, just listen to the tapes from IPS program sponsored by Split This Rock. (And watch the footage from St. Mark’s and CUNY for more thoughts. Chicago will have a “symposium” too. All four of these discussions will be a starting point for more talks, jams, whatevers…everywhere!!)

There is a revolution taking place. We just need to start getting together and talking, jamming, dancing and all will be manifest…

And Monday night at the Gershwin. Sure, the band was awesome Marty Ehrlich, Michael Stephans, Bill Zavatsky, Lindsey Horner took the ROCKPILE experience to new realms. David was adorable and beautiful, so what’s new. Terri was beautiful, that platinum blonde wig strangely entrancing.

And Ira Cohen was there. Sooo sweet to see him. And Isabel, Manuel, Suzi and Allan, Elisabeth Hayes, Allan Graubard, Bonnie Finberg, Allan Graubard, Will Swofford, Tom Savage, Joel Lewis, Margo and Adam Kornfeld, Bill Kane, David Henderson, Vincent Katz, Ellen Geist and friend Page, friends from Australia we met in Spotted Cat in New Orleans who dropped by to catch the show while on the tour of this weird country, Martha and Baz, Jake Marmer, Jim Feast, and more, and loved.. How could it not have been a wonderful night?

And well…

I am okay. A little fatter everyday. My nerves are completely shot. I live for the ecstasy of the collaboration and the communion of ideas flowing all around us everywhere we go.

Hey, we’re in upstate NY now.

Yes, the NYC footage will go up soon. We are having some technical difficulties. Got in to Rochester and going to sleep. Tomorrow we’ll take another shot at flushing out the gremlins of documentary technology.

Did I tell you the people in DC were charming and real? Sure, Imperial Kingdom of America but…

Tales From A Sunburnt Country, Part 5

I think the guy who brought the PA that night said it best:

“They keep trying to introduce culture to Nannup, and it keeps getting rejected. Tonight’s just another example.”

We drove for hours through a thick forest to get to the isolated town of Nannup, in the Southeastern corner of Western Australia. There were none of the random, isolated dwellings you usually see on the road from one country town to another. No trailers with broken down cars in the yard, no trim, cute little farmhouses. Nothing but forest. Aside from Perth, a thriving metropolis like any other, Western Australia can be disconcertingly underpopulated.

Every person we encountered in this part of the world laughed ominously when I told them we had a gig coming up in Nannup, so I had a foreboding feeling that we were headed for a fiasco. The band pooh-poohed this as negativity on my part. They were all way too experienced in the ways of the road to be wearing these particular rose-colored glasses, but I admired their positive spirit.

From the moment we were accosted in the dirt parking lot by a local who wanted to know “if we were going to do some Abba” and who, upon being denied that particular request, elaborated threateningly that “we better play country, then,” I knew we were the wrong band in the wrong bar.

Andy the drummer had flown in from Sydney that day with his wife and arrived in a separate car. Qantas had lost his cymbals. You can’t really have drums without cymbals. The claim was that as soon as they located this lost luggage, a courier would drive it down from Perth to Nannup – almost four hours. I held little hope that this event would transpire, but as we were setting up, the courier arrived, cymbals in hand. It was all downhill from there.

We had borrowed a keyboard for these three dates from a friend of a friend. It was a Roland digital piano of mid 90s vintage. I had owned the very same keyboard myself in the mid 90s, and I knew it was trouble. However, I was getting it for the price of a bottle of whisky, which was just about what I could afford. Like many Roland products, the concept was great but the execution was terrible. Keys break, strange, gig-ending electronic glitches occur. A piece of machinery ill-suited for the rigors of the road, where your shit has to work. Every night. No excuses.

About twenty minutes into Karen’s opening set, the keyboard suddenly changed keys. There I was, playing an A minor chord, and a B-minor chord was happening instead. The band and my wife stared in horror. I was sure I had lost my few remaining marbles. I know I’m playing the right fucking chord! I thought. As the band played on, I turned the keyboard off and then on again. This reboot seemed to solve the problem. Like the fucking thing was running on Windows 95. It held for the rest of the evening. I spent that time preying none of the keys would snap off.

Early the next we headed out for Denmark, some four hours away on the far south coast. The venue was in a striking location on a hill overlooking the Southern Ocean, nothing but thousands of miles of churning sea and Antarctica to the south.

The place was booked by a musician, so he had our back. I did a quick radio interview for the local station, the six of us had dinner and then we did the show.

It was one of those small towns populated mostly by people who had moved from bigger towns to get away from it all. Well-educated types, musicians, artists, young hippies, old hippies. We met a guy who had moved there from Philly with the money he made from his self-started fitness empire. That sort of thing. My kind of crowd. They were with us from the start. Some sat, some writhed pleasantly around the perimeter, doing that Grateful Dead dance. I love that shit. There was one point where that connection got made in which you feel the room is about to levitate. Those are the moments we do this for. The keyboard changed keys again at almost exactly the same time. I restarted and got on with it. It was just part of the show now.

The next day, another four hour drive back up to Margaret River and our last show in W.A. – Cape Lodge. Cape Lodge is the swankiest and most expensive retreat in the west of Australia, but still, nothing prepared us for the treatment we got there. As soon as we arrived, the misses and I were whisked off to a five-star suite the size of our apartment, while the band were taken to equally well-appointed cabins on the lush and peaceful grounds. The place was so impeccable I felt like I was soiling it by just standing there. A sound company brought in staging, lights and sound for the show and set up everything while we rested and washed off the road grime. The wife was very pleased.

About an hour before showtime, armies of waitstaff brought course after course of high-end tucker. This was a gig? It was hard to believe. If we’d been patrons here, this food plus the room probably would have set us back two large.

The show was transcendent from beginning to end, the crowd had paid $120 a head for a “Jazz Soirée With Bob Malone” and they were primed and ready to dig the show. But during the first song, the keyboard changed keys three times. And it did it again in every one of the next four songs. The reboot thing became way too disruptive, so I just started playing in the new key as it would happen. Good thing I went to music school! I remained calm, told jokes about it, and the adversity got the crowd even more on our side. I turned it to my advantage. About halfway through the show, the trouble stopped and we wrapped it up unmolested by any further electronic mayhem. With two encores. It was a memorable night. A very fine way to end this part of the tour…this would be my last show with this band until next year. We toasted our good fortune, and headed back to our plush rooms. –Bob Malone

I Love NY…duh.

Entire raw footage of Busboys and Poets performance in Washington DC!

ROCKPILE performs at Busboys & Poets, Washington DC from ROCKPILE on Vimeo.

Writer’s Center reading and improv collaboration with Burnett Thompson

DC Symposium at The Institute for Policy Studies


Thanks to Sarah Browning of Split This Rock and IPS- Poet’s In The Think Tank, in DC for her kindness and hospitality and warm welcome.
And thanks also to Burnett Thompson for joining us!
I really hope to make it back to DC in March for the Split This Rock Poetry Festival, which is an amazing effort to bring poetry communities together, open up dialogue, and give all creative voices a chance to be heard.
Check out their website to learn more…

Check out the entire video of the symposium, if you dare…

Rockpile Symposium- Washington DC Institute for Policy Studies from ROCKPILE on Vimeo.


Busboys and Poets lunch meeting…

Thanks to Burnett Thompson and Joseph Cunliffe for getting together with us to check out the performance space at Busboys and Poets, and have a great lunch and conversation!

After we drove around the capital which was totally surreal in the shadows of the passing clouds and the glowing fall leaves. –Terri


October 31, 2009

Black clouds over Walmart,
Rats gnaw on scarlet Appalachian Mountain heart
Greasy white political mask jerks
in gold autumn death,


Eve shivers, slivers, brittle hands,
faces leap impromptu, balloon
A cartoon commentary

Trucks of stuff, plastic hotel rooms “R Us”
rumble by, thunder

Check out at noon. To DC today
Next week New York City

“Wars R US”,
Walls R US,
Spoils RUS

It’s raining in Rochester. Going there too
Is it cold? Will it snow? Everyone warns me
“You gotta get chains!”

One thing at a time…

Drag, and clang haunted manacles
To Bristol, TN Birthplace of Country Music

Terri sports Satan’s horns
Blood runs down the Quick Mart
cashier’s face


Hookers gather in the lobby of the Days Inn
Screams from the Sudan embassy
Immunity of Genocide!
Obamaphiles raise the dead

November 1, 2009


NOTE: Harrisonburg is in the only county in Virginia that went RED in the election.

David Blahgs from the road

Sneaker Pimps


“Click it
or Ticket”

to Castles:
Home Furnishings”



WAITING4DREAMS.COM”– It’s not a choice, it’s a child.


Black bovines in green pastures
in the Blue Ridge

almost full Luna
in cloud-streaked blue skies


bass thump
rattles souped-up truck frame
skidding out of the mall

white folks do loves
their hip hop


Michael eating barbecue ribs
at Dreamland
alarmingly happy
blissed out


Endless Caverns
Hall of Valor Museum

In the midst of all of this


Freezeland Road
around the corner from
Cultco headquarters.


Before these freeways
those houses

yet now
on grazing land
in bucolic blur
of rural certainty
edgily uncertain


jerkoff trucks
like Titan
&tc &tc
all over the place
on roads in
revving up
shattered mufflers
like steroidical Harleys
young anger


We’re in & out of
first state of slave trade

We’re driving through
the Civil War
first modern media event
every day
the deaths detailed
in newspapers
across the States


Wars ‘R’ US


Swisher Sweets? Oh my god no! You guys are going to get me smoking again! Word, I guess I was all about 13 and smoking it couldn’t have been more than my fourth or fifth cigar in my whole entire life (and they were all Swisher Sweets!) walking around West Nashville past curfew on a Saturday night with Scotty when Officer Blaylock busted us! He got my name and number after frisking us, of course, and said he was going to call my parents and tell them I was out past curfew smoking cigars. Thank god Blaylock never called, but the trauma remains. But Swisher Sweets? Dude, it’s like smoking a sugar stick! Speaking of Nashville, since I miss you guys, I’ve been trying to get you some presents for when you come back. For David Meltzer, I bought a copy of an album by a great Nashville songwriter, but I thought I ought to vet it first, and not to mention names, or be mean, I’m sure even Tom–whoopsie, just kidding (fake name really)–would agree that it’s not his best album. He’s singing songs about dirt rock moonshine redneck cracker poverty (and believe me when I say redneck I mean it as a compliment) but the words are smothered in smaltzy Nashville Strings and even some lardy horns and the Singers (good god! remember them? They dang near even ruined Ray Charles country & western efforts! And I say this in a loving way, but considering the fact they call it Music City even they would have to agree that Nashville has released way too many albums where you have to wonder if they were plain tone-deaf–literally, or in any sense–or were plumb hitting the home brew a little hard that day)! If the wife and me have a pet peeve, it’s the Singers! If somebody doesn’t know what I mean by the Singers, well, go to your nearest Goodwill and dig through the crates until you can find something by Ray Conniff! Good God! There it is! I’m trying to avoid trouble and I had to call the man out by name! Good God! But as Charlie Pride used to sing, If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything! And Charlie, you know, even though you,too, are one of my favorite singers, you had an album or two ruined by the Singers! Oh God! Now I put my foot in it! But enough about me!) David, this album isn’t worthy of you, so I’ll have to keep looking. For Terri, I got iWork, and I can almost hear you say “Thanks a lot since I already dropped the dime on Office Mac!” Anyway,since Apple doesn’t pay me to endorse their products and I’m already in enough trouble as it is (I understand they’re lining up a posse in Branson)…well, I didn’t know what to get Michael and then it occurred to me that I ought to send him one of the new David Madgalene dolls! Yes, some friends of mine and I are thinking about mass-producing David Madgalene dolls and making a bundle of clams on it. Anyway, since I can’t paste the jpeg in here, I’ll send it via email, but, Michael, that is not just a computer image. That is a photo of a real doll! As a matter of fact, if you’ll pardon the metaphor, you might just say that was a real Swisher Sweet– David Madgalene


Tales From A Sunburnt Country, Part 4

I sit in an idyllic spot. French doors open onto a fairytale bedroom behind me. Before me is a Seussian grove of strange Australia flora and birds of every possible color and description. I am at the Pinda Lodge in Margaret River. This is wine country, the Napa of Oz. We are retreating from the road for two days, after being hard upon it for the last week. It’s hard to believe we only landed here in Western Australia just over a week ago.

This part of the journey began in Perth, the world’s most isolated capital city, where we were picked up by David from the Perth Blues Club and his teenage son Ben. We crammed way too much luggage into way too little car and sped off for our lodging, seventeen-year-old Ben at the wheel. Father-son banter was amusing, and an intriguing mixture of rebellious teen vs. dad, and two old friends busting balls. Finally we arrived…in the wrong driveway. What a difference one number can make. Further checking of the directions rectified the mistake. We were staying with Kirsty, Pugsley Buzzard’s sister. A very cool chick.

The following morning, I was on RTR radio with a host whose preparation was so thorough it bordered on stalking. I mean, she knew everything about me. It made for some unusually good radio. And reaffirmed my belief that being truly good at one’s job requires just a touch of manageable mental illness. I mean this in the best possible way.

After this we headed back to the airport to pick up Trysette. David, who works for the Australian Department of Conservation when not making things happen for the Blues Club, took us for lunch and walkabout in a lovely park and gave us instruction on all manner of local flora and fauna. The weather was glorious, the park was lovely, the view of Perth from the bridge breathtaking.

At four, we were at the Perth ABC radio station, where I did a song and a short interview with the host, who was phoning in by remote from the big cricket match. It was the playoffs or something. I could give a fuck about cricket. But it was a good interview. I like the ABC.

Perth Blues Club was located in a big room attached to a nondescript hotel. The club had pretty much remade a formerly pedestrian bar-slash-function room according to it’s own vision. Great sound, great lighting, big stage. Everything first rate. The grand piano was all miked and ready to go when I got there and it was the possibly the best live piano miking job I have encountered in 20 years of playing for a living. This soundman really got it. I wanted to take him with me.

Mick (Malouf) the bass player and Andy (Byrnes) the drummer had flown in that morning, and met us there. It was heaven to have the band back. It was a damn good show.

The following day, we did our tourist thing at the wildlife park, and then it was off to Ellington’s Jazz Club for the show. This room is booked by Graham Wood, a very good jazz pianist. He was in L.A. for a day or two a few months ago and I got to meet him there. Everything about this room was right, from the food to the nine-foot Steinway concert grand to the décor to the sound to the lighting to the crowd. The gig was such a pleasure. Nothing like a club conceived of and run by another musician. After the show, the bartender kept the drinks coming, and the whole band got a nice buzz going on a variety of local wines. I felt apart from it all, as I always do when I’m sober and everyone else is not, but I also felt a great warm satisfaction. These people were beginning to feel like family to me.

The next morning, Karen and I left for Broome, a three-hour flight north from Perth. This was where the red-dirt Kimberley meets the hot, humid tropical coast. The first thing that happened was the guy that was supposed to pick us up was not there. This is how you know you’re in the tropics. The guy that is supposed to pick you up is either: A: not there. B: there, but drunk. C. Extremely late…and possibly still drunk. I called the venue, nobody knew anything, but after much pointless negotiation, I finally got them to send someone. We were officially on “Broome Time.” Island Time…I knew it well.

We made the five-minute drive over to Beaches of Broome, where we would be camped out for the next four days. The place turned out to be a backpacker hostel, but we had a private room – small, but pretty nice. We actually didn’t even know it was a hostel ‘til the next day when we discovered there were no towels and shampoo, and no one came to make up the room.

We began our day with the complimentary breakfast, which was really the complimentary toast and instant coffee – followed by a scandalously expensive cab-ride over to the Kimberley ABC radio station downtown. The desert was burning, smoke hovered over the town and the radio was reporting on it fervidly. I felt a little trivial in comparison when I went on the air to talk about my shows in town and my new CD, but perhaps the diversion was helpful. It was a nice little interview in any case.

After that we explored the downtown as much as the heat would allow. The architecture was a combination of corrugated tin-roof Aussie outback and classic Chinatown. Pearling was the whole reason this town came to be, and the pearl shops abounded. Tourist season was winding down and the streets were very slow and quiet. We decided on lunch at a Thai place that had an inviting beach oyster-shack look to it, and ended up being served the best Thai food we’d ever eaten. Some of the best food we’ve ever had, period. We were the only people in there. We took the bus back to the hotel – we’d learned our lesson about the cabs.

The gig for the first two days was in a place called Divers Tavern, a big rambling place up near Cable Beach on the outskirts of town. It was a combined pub, drive-thru liquor store, and restaurant. Soundcheck consisted of us trying to figure out why the piano sounded like shit while a cataclysmically drunk guy stood at the edge of the stage yelling: “let me get up there and have a go!! Drum and bass, drum and bass! Let me have a go!! I’ll blow you awaaaaay!” He would not let go of his burning, drunken desire to “have a go.”

We were playing in a cavernous open-air bar where sports played on five screens, you could bet on harness and dog racing, and shoot pool. I was filled with dread. The crowd was sparse, all locals. At least eighty per-cent male. Local guys in wife-beater t-shirts out for a few stubbies with their mates. Nothing at all wrong with the place, I just didn’t want to be playing there. Karen did the opening set and was rocking, considering the circumstances. I did the closing sets. Some guy actually requested a song called “Boys From The Bush.” I’m not making this up. The crowd was neither hostile nor overly enthusiastic. It was just a bar-gig. I hated it. Every beer-soaked, pool-shooting, dart-throwing, ashtray-smelling, request-shouting, loud, drunken minute of it.

At the end of the night, the guy that books the place came around, and he was a really great guy – we discussed the local deadly creatures, and he gave us a ride back to the hotel. He is akin to many of the perfectly wonderful girls who will never understand why I dated them once and never called again. It’s not you, it’s me!

The next day I was a sulky little bitch, and a trial for my wife to be around. She actually quit playing music altogether ten years ago because of gigs like this, but was handling the situation much better than I was. That’s because she is an adult. And I am not. We filled the day with tourist activities. Several walks on the beach, where we unsuccessfully attempted to track the elusive sand bubbler crab in its natural habitat. A trip to the crock park, where the crocodiles were so well fed that a large population of ibis and spoonbills hung about the place, unconcerned with being eaten. Lunch at a kickback little beachside restaurant. And after much talk about how we weren’t going to do the camel ride on the beach, because everybody does that…we did the camel ride on the beach. It was awesome. We rode a camel named Diesel along the white sand beach as the sun set over the Indian Ocean. And gladly paid ten bucks for the photo at the end. Then we played Diver’s Tavern again. It was the same.

The third gig was an early show at Matso’s Brewery in town. This was much better, an outdoor stage in a magnificent setting, with gourmet food and an attentive crowd that was there to hear music. Someone was supposed to bring a keyboard for me, and the guy from the venue didn’t know anything about it, and several phone calls were made and missed and finally it showed up.

Me: “The guy said he was going to bring it.” Venue booker: “Yeah, but this is Broome.”

Most of the crowd were tourists from Perth and they dug the show. Everyone working there was very nice and helpful and wonderful. We sold CDs off of a large red rock under a palm tree next to the stage. And then ate a world-class dinner. My mojo was back.

The next morning we partook of an ocean kayak excursion, blissed out at the swank Bali Hai spa, and ate a very good white-tablecloth lunch. “Next time we come to Broome,” I said, “It will be as tourists.”

Back in Perth, David from the blues club picked us up and we made the three hour run down to Margaret River, where we met Andrew Witt, also from the Perth Blues Club, at his family house down there, “Witt’s End.” It’s been a real joy to befriend these two guys…more welcome additions to our extended family of the road. And Witt’s End turned out to be the best vacation spot of them all. There were wildlife and picture-postcard views, barbecue and great conversation, an excellent selection of CDs, and many laughs. A piano. And free wifi! Heaven.

And now our four-day break is about to come to an end at this fine little lodge here by the river. I am ready to get back out there and make some noise.– Bob Malone


Driving through Alabama en route to Tuscaloosa motel —
a sign: “Where will you be when it’s over?”


Jaybird Road
Illegal Immigrants Close Our Borders
whose borders
who’s watching
what do they want to see?


Who “they”?
Who “us”?


King Addiction
Zero Meth dot org
“Was it You that Rescued me?”


Swisher Sweets Cigarillos
Longhorn Chewing Tobacco
Made in USA
USA Gold


Waitin’ for the end of time
so I can end my time with you”


Michael & Terri’s mix CD
Yma Sumac
Mr Bungle
Broken Smoke
rolling down
through Alabama
on Korean War
Memorial Highway

10/29- Alabama to Virginia

Beautiful death on the Alabama roadway
of tree leaves
deep yellow
taking up by the wind
blowing over the highway

Virginia Welcome

Guitarist Steve Mann died a few days ago
we were part of the ’60s folk scene in the Bay Area

Steve was a brilliant finger style blues guitarist
he & I were some of the guitarists who backed up
20 year old Janis Joplin at the Coffee Gallery
in North Beach at the Monday night hootenanny

Newly arrived from Port Arthur, TX
Janis was scared to perform in bars
because she was underage
& when she did get on stage
she stood as if in rigor mortis
w/ her balled fists held tight to her side
& opened her mouth to release
a voice that could shatter beer steins

Steve was a sweet soul
& hopefully some of his records
will be reissued


Thanks to Bill Lavender in New Orleans!

Thank you Bill for all your help and support!
I totally enjoyed our afternoon at Napoleon’s…

Lunch again at Napoleon w/ Joe & Nancy in from Pacifica & Guerneville for the festivities. Muggy breezy day. The blues began this morning w/ a communique from Neeli Cherkovski: Lenore Kandel is dead. I first knew her when she & Lew Welch were living together at the East/West House collective in San Francisco. She came from L.A. – & performed in Sunset Blvd. coffee houses in beat attire & published a couple of chapbooks to sell in the clubs. She was a striking looking woman who wrote the “controversial” sequence of erotic poems, “The Love Book.” Her book coming out during the season of the Lady Chatterley trial, the Tropic of Cancer trial, the persecution of Lenny Bruce. Lenore’s book was the sexual experience expressed from a female vision of empowerment, not submission. Her next book, “Word Alchemy” expressed a new level of her lyric gift.

Earlier today Katherine Hastings sent me this quote of Lenore’s: “There are no ways of love but beautiful.”


The last time I saw Lenore was when we & other poets were gathered together for some Beat redux event at SF’s Jewish Community Center auditorium. I’d forgotten my pain meds. We talked about our various crippling ailments in the “green room” & I told her I forgot my Vicodin. She immediately reached into a beaded bag & pulled out a container & laid one on me. “Do you want two?,” she asked. We talked about our losses & looked to the ongoing we would never abandon. Lenore read from a chair on stage. She read w/ great power & deep wisdom of an even deeper knowing. David



and your blues at Bob’s Compound.


We will be back to New Orleans soon… so see you around. –Terri


Precision is not poetry
Fall gold explodes between evergreens on Highway 24
On my way to DC to speak with the President about America
5 minutes of hope, a campaign, then all is lost in the “process”

A Sousaphone at the back of my head humps and pumps
Music is in the wind. It’s always time to go!
Terri at the gym here in the Comfort Inn
David engineers a slow train across the morning sky

Quails, snails, martinis, and baklava, crutches across the asphalt
We have finally broken away from the mother ship
The gravitational pull of New Orleans remains a tragic, soulful empathy
Mythology more than any estimation of truth



We’re on the outskirts of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The whirl and swirl, beauty of New Orleans still pulling at our hearts. We’ll have to go back again and again. One more time with the Dirty Dozen. And did I mention that awesome night at Chickie Wah Wah with Evan Christopher on clarinet.  David Meltzer said you’d have to be tone deaf to not know it was great.  But we’re on our way to DC and look forward to more magic with many new friends.  The New Columbia Orchestra and Burnett Thompson are on the horizon. The ROCKPILE Symposium hosted by Sarah Browing at IPS co-sponsored by Split This Rock, the gathering of poets at Writer’s Center in Bethesda. (You can read about it on the calendar of gigs). I’m ready for it all.  And also ready for barbecued ribs tomorrow at Wonderland. Everyone here says they are the best in the world (then their eyes roll into the back of their heads). Even David and Terri have agreed to give those ribs a “little” lick. Happy Birthday to David Madgalene, a dear friend and fellow ROCKPILER back home in Sonoma County. I will eat a couple of ribs just for you. We miss you and know you and Judy would love it out here on this crazy road. . . MR

New Orleans ROCKPILE performance Parts 1-4…

Spell out the orchestra! Review from New Orleans and Photo Show from Nancy Victoria Davis

Spell out the orchestra! An A to Z understanding of rhythm and verse was quite apparent Sunday evening at Zeitgeist. Poets and musicians came together in a melodious union that stimulated as well as provoked—a poetry reading that was as lively as a jazz concert with all the dancing and spirits one would expect on a soulful Sunday in New Orleans.

Michael took the stage to the rich sounds of brass and tapping toes (quite an introduction). His poetry was rhythmic and clear and complimented the smooth tones of the Dirty Dozen nicely. The mood of Michael’s poetry seemed to capture that of the evening. Almost relieved to finish his set, Michael wasted no time making his way to the dance floor to join the movement.

The spirit of the band seemed to shift from the upbeat sounds of a second line to a bluesy, equally energetic attitude as David took the floor. He was calm and undoubtedly in his element behind the podium. Peaceful, yet powerful, his selection of poems illustrated the tour’s intentions. All around me, heads were bobbing to the music, to David, to both, but my eyes never left the stage. He was 30 years younger behind the podium. His personality, youthful and bright, captivated the audience.

For me, the night was a success—a stunning example of what Voodoo can do.

Jason Diano


Here’s a photo show from Nancy Victoria Davis who joined us in New Orleans for the ROCKPILE Show. Thanks Nancy!!– MR

Snapshots from the Zeitgeist performance with Blodie and members of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band

The show was totally amazing! We all danced to poetry and music.

Video coming any minute now so check back soon!






Lunch and a Walk…

Click on the image to check out the photo album on my Facebook page. –Terri

Lunch at Felix’s Oyster Bar…yummy!

Lunch and a Walk...