Heroes 2 – Fat Mike

Long live Mike Burkett.

3/11/09

When I was a teenager

My hero was Fat Mike

The singer of NOFX

I had all their CD’s

Even the old stuff

And I still know all the words

To their 18 minute song ‘The Decline’

As Mitch Clem pointed out

Their only album that doesn’t have

At least one terrible song

‘The Longest Line’

Was the second sing I ever learned on guitar

Fat Mike had a record label

‘Fat Wreck Chords’

That signed half of all

My favourite bands

And all the CD’s

Were $10 bucks

Instead of $30 for everything else

I had their poster on my wall

And used to quote the onstage banter

Of their live album

With my punk rock mates

They covered the song ‘Vincent’

The first song to ever make me cry

They lost something of their magic

As they grew into middle age

But their stuff still moves me to this day

I still think about Fat Mike

In high school everyone knew me as the kid in the NOFX shirt and I still listen to them after all these years and follow them on the web as they age disgracefully.

Fat Mike’s record label combined with Epitaph records helped define the punk genre through the 90s,00s and to this day and  the 90’s punk wave helped define who I am as a human being.

Long live Mike Burkett.

Heroes 1 – Billy Joe Armstrong

The 90’s punk wave hit me hard as a kid

3/11/19

When I was a kid

My hero was Billy Joe Armstrong

The singer of Greenday

I had a book about them

And loved everything they did

Up to and including ‘Nimrod’

I even knew that the drummers real name

Was ‘Frank Edwin Wright the Third’

I had the poster on the wall

And listened to them

At school,

Before bed

While painting miniatures

And every opportunity I got

In grade 6

A girl I despised

Told me they were

Her favourite band too

So I called her fat until she cried

Ruthless brat that I was

At some point

I learned what a sell-out was

And denounced my fan hood

And never listened to them again

Until I was much older

And learned to forgive them

They were the first band I ever saw live

I still think about Billy Joe Armstrong

This is the first of three poems about my punk rock heroes from different eras of my youth.

The 90’s punk wave hit me hard as a kid and I still listen to a lot of punk old and new, I thought this might be a good upbeat counterpoint to my recent posts about the hard times.

I stole the last line from Jack Kerouacs ‘On the Road’.

Not My Time (2)

I love life and live it to the fullest.

10/10/2019

The second time I attempted suicide

I was serious about it

I have the scar to show it

I was in walking distance ton the highway

Somewhere near ‘Nambucca Heads’

It clicked that it would be

An easy way to end it

Just walk in front of a semi-trailer

Doing 110km

So I did

It took me a few moments

To realise what had happened

I was spun around and found

I could no longer raise my arm

I had a broken humorus

But there was nothing funny about it

The truck had just clipped me

Cracked a few vertebrae in my spine

But not dead

After that I lost my nerve

Walked home and my dad

Drove me to the hospital

Unaware of my arm

Just for how crazy I was acting

Life would continue to get tougher

But every day I’m thankful

That I was unsuccessful

It wasn’t my time

One thing that comes from both attempting suicide and hitting rock bottom in jail is that you no longer fear death while at the same time cherishing life. I’m eternally grateful that I had the chance to continue living long enough for things to improve and now I love life and live it to the fullest.

If ever you’re enduring hardship know that a time comes for everyone where things get better.

Not My Time

Everything happens for a reason.
9/10/2019

The first time I attempted suicide

I was serious about it

I tied my hands behind my back

And kicked ‘The Bucket’

Only it was a milk crate in this case

Somehow in the time it took to pass out

I got my hands free

And pulled my neck out of the rope

I lost consciousness as I hit the ground

And lost my nerve to try again

I had no plans beyond ending it

So I just sat in my van

Not eating much and thinking less

After a few days of straight up misery

I stepped out of my van

To find the creek bed I had chosen

For it’s remote obscurity

Had filled with water

Leaving me on an island

Then I noticed

I had a flat tyre

And so I felt, this is it

There was nothing left

But to try again

When all hope was lost

An angel appeared

The local cop

The only one for miles and miles

Rocked up at the creek

And offered to take me back to civilization

It wasn’t my time

I was in a lot of pain leading up to the years I spent locked up, it’s takes a surprising amount of will power to end your own life and even then instinct and luck can save you when you least expect it.

Every day I’m thankful that I made it through the head space that left me wanting to end it. If I knew then how much I would enjoy life in the future I would never have tried.

Some believe that everything happens for a reason, maybe that’s true.

Beautiful Thing

Wish me luck

I must be doing something right

As the quality of life improves

The quality of my art declines

Because it’s true what they say

That art is pain

That we bleed onto the page

With our troubled souls and troubled ways

So that when the pain dries up

A truly beautiful thing

The creative spark fails

And we no longer feel the need

To sing the sorrow and pray

For a better tomorrow

Because today is enough

So let me finish for now

With a love letter for all those

Who encouraged and empowered

Left comments and recommended books

The prison librarian and the inmates that got it

The greats that never truly escaped their pain

May you all find your way

Out of the cage of hardship and turmoil

And live charmed lives

No longer tortured artists

Just happy souls

Living life to the fullest

The paradise we all deserve

I have a bad case of writers block and I know why, for the first time in many years I have a level of content and excitement about the future that has left me creatively barren. I think I have legitimately processed the pain of the long hard years in prison and can’t seem to write anything I’m happy with. I think it’s better to scale down my output than post sub-par content so I may not update more than once a week.

I have to say a huge thank you to everyone that has supported me and my work. Wish me luck with my new found joy in life and may we all be as blessed as I have been this year.  

Modern Life Is War

I’m ready for anything.

27/09/2020

Superb the glory

Of a milestone reached

And a flawless victory

Over the devil of life

6 months no issues

And a life well lived

In the eye of the storm

So that all the chaos

Never bites

If modern life is war

Consider me a soldier

Ready to live

Ready to die

Ready for anything

And always searching

For the light fantastic

To carry me away

To greener pastures

And my very own

Slice of heaven

Through it all

The pain, the remorse, the regret

Hope kept me afloat

So I forged on

To reach the very special place

Opening up tom me

As freedom rains down

On my desert soul

This is the good bit

This is the party we came for

This is our one shot at life

This is our world to live in

The beginning and ending of everything

Every time I reach a milestone, such as 6 months of parole finished I give myself a pat on the back. It’s harder than you would think avoiding the kind of behavior that winds you back in jail.

Life keeps getting better in increments and the present state of affairs is the bliss I was dreaming of for the entire time I was locked up.

A thousand different could happen in the future so I keep up the pace and make sure I’m ready for anything.

The Truth My Love

I still think about her often.

6.1.2019

The truth is my love

That I would look for you

In the eyes of other women

And the truth is

We were much too young

When our love blossomed and grew

Into an everyday miracle

Of something truly special

And we didn’t know what we had

Until it was lost

The truth is my love

That now

We may have lost it forever

But still a flame burns within me

A fledgling candle

Dancing in the breeze

Fragile yet unbreakable

The truth is my love

That I’ll leave a light on

As long as I live

For a love this pure

Resilient and wonderful

Comes only once in a lifetime

And every woman that comes along

I will forever compare with your glow

That lit up my world

Like nothing else has

The truth is my love

That my heart still burns for you

And always will

I have a lot of poems about the most special woman I’ve ever met and about losing her while I was locked up.

All the clichés are true for me, that every love song reminds me of her and that she’ll always be my favourite girl.

Deep down I know it’s for the best that she had a less volatile and bitter man in her life and that it’s better for me to move on but I still think about her often.

1000 Lanterns

Somewhere, somehow there a people living blessedly beautiful lives.

24/9/2020

Every day on planet earth

There is more beauty

Than one could hope to see

In a thousand lifetimes

Every day on planet earth

Someone falls in love in Paris

A thousand heroes suffer in silence

To give their kids the best possible start

Every day on planet earth

A man saves his best friends life

A family saves an addicts soul

And a child sees the ocean

For the very first time

Every day on planet earth

A thousand lanterns fill the sky

Fire flies light up the night

And fireworks inspire awe

In the minds of the young

Every day on planet earth

Salvation is found

A life is filled with glory

And redemption is found

In the life of a soldier

May we all find our way

Towards the brighter side of life

May we all live charmed lives

Rich in meaning and purpose

And may love save my tortured soul

This is the kind of stuff I think about a lot, with all the ugliness I’ve endured I feel like I deserve to find some of the endless beauty that permeates some walks of life.

Somewhere, somehow there a people living blessedly beautiful lives, I’m on the hunt for these people and places where life is not so heartbreakingly tough.

Seeds of Hope

Sharing life skills and knowledge that helps improve our existence is a beautiful thing.

23/9/2020

I like to plant

Seeds of hope

In the minds of my peers

So that when the times get tough

They have something to look at

With their minds eye

That is positive and sustaining

It’s my goal

That these thoughts will see them through

Until the now is bearable

I like to plant

Seeds of creativity

In my own subconscious

Meditation with a goal

To find a new angle

Deep in meaning

I like to plant

Seeds of success

Everywhere I go

Five year plans

And investing early

So that the living culture

Of my colleagues and friends

Is on the right track

I like to plant

Seeds of rapture

So that myself and others

Should feel euphoric

Mind blown or in the moment of epiphany

I plant these seeds

In my garden of souls

Scattering light, colour and sound

So that all our interactions

Are exchanges of positive energy

And that these seeds should grow

And shade us with tranquil thoughts

I am profoundly moved by the idea that all our interactions should be exchanges of positive energy, and the idea of filling our cups full of love while we can so that we remember the times in life that make it worth living.

I feel like we are all loaded up with habits and ideas and opinions that can be influenced and tinkered with when we see room for improvement. Sharing life skills and knowledge that helps improve our existence is a beautiful thing.

This Fragile Vessel

Life is shocking in its fragility at some points and incredible resilience at other times.

22/09/2020

Celebrate my patience

A fight both new and ancient

Transforming a life on the ropes

Into a perfect beacon of hope

The beasts that lurk in the depths

Of the mind don’t bite for I am blessed

With a concrete heart and an iron lung

Golden teeth and silver tongue

Be wary though this vessel is fragile

Life is scary, demons agile

So that some feel the sweet embrace

Of the big release to meet their fate

Beneath the waves with the giant squid

The white whale or the shark tooth grin

So fight like a wildcat to reach the surface

If your vessels capsized and left you hopeless

You’ve never lost is you never give up

So fight hard, take heart, life is enough

These battles we face will make or break us

Save harbor awaits so be relentless

And never, ever, ever give up.

It’s no secret I’m in love with nautical metaphors and aesthetic, some of it owes to a book that captured my imagination about the colossal squid, the closes thing to the kraken that exists.

Life itself is a vessel shocking in its fragility at some points and incredible resilience at other times. The hard times can make or break us but the most important thing for me is no matter how hard things get to never give up and never stop trying to make the most of the gift of life.

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