The Power And Precision

I can’t remember if it was just before or just after its second album, but I saw Van Halen in concert at the Winnipeg Convention Centre.
It was early in the band’s career, and the show was as loud as you would have expected, and Eddie Van Halen was better than you could have imagined.
How could you not have known, at the time, that this man was taking this band places.
Albums, then, came out annually after Van Halen’s astonishing self-titled debut disc took the world by surprise, or by storm. I believe Rolling Stone magazine described the debut as near perfect. That was when Rolling Stone was still the bible on music; at a time when I read the magazine religiously.
That was more than 40 years ago, in my teenage years.
I wasn’t a huge Van Halen fan — late ‘70s music was about change, and I went another direction — though I appreciated the power and precision behind the music.
With older brother Alex Van Halen on drums, propelling the music forward with bassist Michael Anthony, the four-piece band covered a lot of ground, climbing the charts and making a name for itself with two (actually, three) singers over time.
There were varied eras of the Van Halen — defined by original lead singer David Lee Roth and then veteran rocker Sammy Hagar — still, it was Eddie’s guitar that made it happen.
A lot of great guitarists do, and will, come and go.
Eddie was a keeper, acknowledged by many as one of the greatest. He played like nobody, or nothing, had.
He was impressive. He was memorable.
He died yesterday from throat cancer at age 65.
Too young.
Too sad.
Long live rock and roll.

R.I.P. Edward Van Halen

I Look

I see kindness behind a mask, care
or concern, no reason to ask
why.         Or why bother?
Now, a million deaths.
I’ve heard the results. I’ve listened
to excuses, yet cannot understand
                 all they talk about;
those who dare, and those who
won’t wear a mask.
It is simple.
This virus spreads, like hate.
Both will kill. Neither will wait
for understanding. It’s not right.
It is not fair.
                  We all watch these people who
won’t disguise their sickness behind a mask,
as if it is a bother, too great a task
                  to comprehend
people are dying.   Our humanity loses
a little each time.
We are all at risk, a point they miss,
these cowards who find comfort in
conspiracy.
                   Or jealousy
of those who belong, or empathize,
with others. We all need be concerned.
Is it political, or a stereotypical
example of a malignant soul who cares
                    only for self.
Not lack of intelligence,
but an insignificant mind.
                    I look and I wonder
what did this to them, or did they do it
to themselves?
It is not obvious, yet I can easily see
the ignorance they don’t bother to hide.

©2020  j.g. lewis

Mondays are just young Fridays

I like to begin each week, each day in fact, with a positive thought. I like to open the week, on this site, with a piece that sets the mood.
I, generally, like Mondays. I try to set a tone or spirit that -—no matter how bothered I may be about something or another — will carry me through the days ahead.
I always believe that Mondays are just young Fridays.
This week begins on the wrong tempo; the timing is not right.
There’s a lot of crap going on right now, and the escalation of a deadly virus is at the top of the list. COVID-19 continues to spread and too many people, for too many months, have ignored obvious signs and allowed this thing to happen.
I’m fearful. I am sickened by what is going on over time.
Tuesday, I was to take part in a local poetry event that was part of a much bigger thing, but I made the decision yesterday to step away. I believe in the power of poetry, but I cannot venture out into an environment where this virus is spreading with the ignorance of those who do not believe in the reality that this thing kills.
My home province, and more specifically my home city, is reporting a surge in cases not seen since May.
In early May I was essentially self-isolating, and now I will be doing the same thing.
I refuse to go into a place where I’m unsure whether anybody takes simple precautions and maintains physical distancing or, at least, wears a mask. We all need to do our part to stop COVID-19 from spreading.
Right now, in addition to all the problems created by inefficient governments (on so many levels, in so many countries), the face mask and personal safety have become politicized.
This is not the time.
It is about shame, fear, and lack of respect for human life.
Yes, I am fearful.
On Wednesday, I was to set the pace for HOMECOMING MONTH, a planned month on this page where a number of writers from across this globe were to contribute their thoughts on home.
I thought I had 17 writers lined up to participate. As of yesterday, only one submission arrived from those who committed in July. There was no firm deadline, but it was expected they’d have something in by mid-September.
Each year, sometimes a couple of times a year, I open up the pages of Mythos & Marginalia to other writers and we look at certain themes. I like the feeling of community.
I’ve been considering a group project like HOMECOMING MONTH for years. I thought it might make this great big world a little bit smaller. After such a dismal spring, with travel restrictions and people sticking close to home, I felt October would be ideal. I thought people would have time to think about home.
Obviously this was not the time.
I think everybody who was to be involved is, like me, caught up in the doubt and disbelief that something like this pandemic could be happening, like it is or how it is.
I don’t blame anybody for not contributing.
I think we all have bigger things on our minds. COVID-19 is the biggest worldwide crisis to come along in decades. No, I’m not ignoring climate change, but I think the immediate and ever-increasing body count of this virus has grabbed our attention.
Anxiety is ever present. Fear for our incomes, livelihood, and the safety of our families is obvious.
So, we’ll put Homecoming Month on hold for a while. We will wait for the right time. This writing community has more pressing things to deal with.
I understand. We are all dealing with something we could not have imagined a year ago.
I wish you all peace, love, and safety. Please take care of yourself.

Not to be deterred, on Thursday I will begin Come On Home, an eleven-day online journaling workshop. This free workshop was intended as a sidebar to Homecoming Month, and I’m not going to abandon these plans.
I believe there is plenty to write about and, in times like these, you should be writing.
If you’d like more information on this free workshop, or would like to join us, please email soultalk@mythosandmarginalia

deep peace
-j-