I Remember John Lennon

Lennon

I’m listening to ‘Mind Games’ right now. I woke this morning imagining I would write about John Lennon, this being the 38th year since he was gunned down outside the Dakota in New York City. I’ve since visited the site many times over the years, and every time there is an ominous takeaway that speaks to the terror of that single night.

I look up at the building itself – the one with gargoyles streaming the rooftops, a structuredakota my mom always said was her favorite building in the city, and I look for the white shutters, the flats that represent Yoko’s property, and I think that very possibly she is in there right now. Hers is a private world, deservedly so given the circumstances.

Not minutes before I sat down to this idea, I received the above picture of John Lennon on my timeline from my dear friend John. The timing was important, because 38 years ago on this night, I walked into my job at the health care center where he and I worked, and he approached me as we were changing shifts and told me the news. See I didn’t hear it from Howard Cosell on Monday Night Football, or on any of the airwaves on my car radio. I was listening to a tape – it was probably a Lennon song.

I lived and breathed John Lennon as a young adult. I dressed like him, people told me I had his look, so I bought the glasses, grew out my hair, still have an old pair of aviator frames I’d like to repair some day in his honor of course. I truly believed I was going to meet him someday. I grew up with the Beatles and slowly my love for their music evolved into being completely taken by Lennon because of his lyrical prowess. He spoke to the world, he spoke to the family, he spoke to woman, he spoke to children, he spoke to me.

I think one of the things that fascinated me the most about Lennon at that time – I was 21 years old – was how he had turned his life around and was again producing music that was relevant to the society around him. This time it was about family. He had just produced Double Fantasy, and I sent it to my brother for Christmas, because all it spoke of was love and harmony, and that was something I thought everyone was in need of, badly. Three weeks later he was dead on the street, a statistic, a victim of a Saturday night special in the hands of a sick, psychotic, fan.

That night in the mental health ward of the hospital I worked in all I did was watch the news. I can remember walking in the door of the hospital, I have dreams about it today, because the whole night was surreal. This man, who I idolized was suddenly gone, and all of his words were now left to memory. All we could do is replay his magic and imagine. My friend John, told me the news, gave me a hug, and walked out into the night, his shift over, and mine just beginning. No one could know the impact this night might and would have on so many lives in the years to come.

Today is significant to me I suppose because for the first time in a long while, I’m thinking about not only the circumstances around his death, but also what his loss has left us with for the last three decades. The simple fact is he was killed by a gunman who had no business carrying the weapon he had, especially not on the streets of Manhattan. johnposter1His whole purpose was to destroy the life of another human being, but not just anyone, only a person at the time who was passionately speaking of the concept of love.

There are people who will remind me of John Lennon’s abusive past – there is history, and it cannot be denied; however, I’m reminded of the concept of forgiveness, and again love. I look at the life of John Lennon, and I realize a person of his capacity was capable of recreating and mending his world, and not for just his own benefit, but more importantly for the benefit of those who endeared him, who believed his message was whole, and he was consumed with trying – attempting to right the wrongs he had created in his own personal life. He spoke to such are the dynamics of the human condition, and I listened with my heart and soul. Having lived a life of misgivings myself, I needed hope like anyone else.

I remember a couple of days went by and I hadn’t cried. Christmas was nearing now, and the holidays were upon us.happy xmas I remember being lost, still clinging on to something that no longer existed, wondering if it were possible that somehow all of this were really a dream. I suppose I felt the way young adults did who were my age when JFK died, or MLK Jr., Malcolm X, RFK – countless mentors in our lives who were cut down by assassins with no regard for human life beyond their own.

I was driving out of a Shop-Ko store in my hometown when ‘Happy Xmas’ came on the radio. My eyes began to water and I knew I wasn’t going to navigate onto the highway so I pulled my car over and I listened to the song and I cried. I remember I cried hard, because all of that emotion I had been holding onto in grief and confusion suddenly poured out of me. It was snowing out, and thankfully I wasn’t visible to anyone. I was just a car in the parking lot, but I stayed there for a long time. I remember at that point twisting the dial on the radio and it wasn’t difficult to find the song again and again all day, all afternoon, all evening … we were all simply lost.

So today, I’m listening to Happy Xmas again, having visited the Dakota in New York, having walked through Central Park and paused by Strawberry Fields, having continued to write with a passion that John Lennon taught me when I was a young and misguided youth willing to make many mistakes in the future that are now the baggage of my time. But there is a message I do forever hold dear to my heart and soul

“It matters not who you love, where you love, why you love, when you love or how you love, it matters only that you love.” – John Lennon

I listen to his words, and I am grateful. I believe.

Happy Xmas everyone.

… and Love.


photography – various sources on the internet

Advertisements

There In The Deep Wood

There in the deep wood I would watch,

the lights on the house in the distance burn,

the figures inside I knew like my own,

in the damp soil, I would wait in the wood.

wondering if they would ever venture out,

would they wonder where I might next shout.

There in the deep wood I would watch.

 

There in the deep wood I would watch,

the cars travel by all strangers in the hour,

their lives meant for homes beyond my eye,

I would ask about their wonders and wanders

though I would never hear, just keep an eye

on their lives in the brief moments, passers by.

There in the deep wood I would watch.

 

There in the deep wood I would watch,

the stars illuminate a night sky in fall,

I might wonder about the earth in universe

watching all the patterns of the Milky Way,

there were so many, so brilliant their lives

though some I had known, others would fade.

There in the deep wood I would watch.

 

Knocking On Doors

I choose to navigate the open walkways,

a common thread

similarities in typical days

places I dread.

I wonder sometimes about certain choice

if we might know

just why it is we find the time to rejoice,

however swift hearts grow.

When a decision in retrospect is made

we sometime slow realize

that memory that conscience forbade,

will leave our wonder wise.

When a lift in melody caught sweet attention

the very source of gallantry

spoke aloud with strong desire to love, mention

in all its chivalry.

Welcome the moon in familiar tonight’s pattern

while the sky awaits morning light

a beautiful life we swift acknowledge in turn

when covering shadows in the night.

When only the naked mind is given allowance

In simple virtue our humanity’s bliss is chance.

I Wandered Home

I’ve come here often,

when I could remember fear,

often,

when time seemed to stand still

I would look over the horizon,

picture running through fields as a child,

suddenly thrown into my teens,

those places I would weary my return.

I wonder about people

those I knew,

those I wished I might never know again,

I remember why it is I sometimes don’t really like people,

not everyone of course – I do love you.

I just

just when I might begin the next year,

I wonder sometimes why it is we continue to return to that place

we began to fear

when time allowed us to question ourselves,

when we had far too much energy to worry about who we

might have been, had become, wanted to seem,

where it was we all remember this might begin,

little flashbacks,

idioms of pain,

little moments of reckoning,

stir the anxiety in our mind,

while returning home,

where there is love, where we unwind.

home

love

time

we all do return after all,

it is sort of ironic really,

how quickly we begin to wonder again.

These are the people I remember

I listen to a certain melody to bring me somewhere,

need to step out of where I am,

perhaps an escape,

one might call it a sojourn,

only works when I can find my right rhythm,

my beat, my way of departing from my real place,

into that world of imagination.

I use music to get me there,

but it can take a lot of hours,

just like the many days that have passed,

those that I recall when the words and tones of music

help me return to that place,

cold or bitter with the pain of my reality,

I can still find myself there.

I listen to music to bring me home again,

to that place we’re only supposed to go when we are ready to be there,

I suppose it is like a journey to another time,

that imagined pedestal too high to climb.

I have my music as a sort of blanket,

that one to suffice when emotions raw I can’t handle any outcomes

on my own.

I need your music to bring me there, again.

Warm Face

The mask we wear,

shadows our lives,

might be removed when close to home

if we can see the eyes of those we love.

Today in our world we gather in peace

in hope tribulations, anxieties, unsettled

reminders of our humanity,

might be left outside in the cold unforgiving air,

while inside our lives become one in memory and story.

We will tell stories,

bring those people back to life,

for they have never left our side, only in that physical sense,

that in this moment, we continue to use to walk around,

to engage,

to make our presence known.

~

We are in love’s grace with our predecessors,

the mom and dad, favorite aunts and funny uncles,

cousin

the sweet memory of childhood dreams never broken

for compassionate arms always held our greatest fears.

~

We are in love today with our futures,

the gleam in eyes, the silly smiles, the elementary accomplishments

moving swift as young adults

help us realize the circle does continue to turn

wisely, all aimed toward that setting sun.

~

Today we feast on the beauty of family, and in the quiet of our

settling lives, we are reminded of certain fortune and peace,

a gathering of energy we hope might spill out into a rather

unassuming confused world beyond our control.

When reliance we do on whatever gratitude means in our minds

good heart and soul will reach for the heavens;

be thankful we are alive to celebrate spiritual agonies and beauty,

be the Grace we learned and pass on and into our hope.

be elegant and just love.

~

Warm faces, lulling laughs, quiet tears,

we all know truth today.

~

© Thom Amundsen 2015

The Satisfying Poet

The one that rhymes,

cadence happy fellow.

when forever seems attractive,

a silent dawn really quiet,

a mountaintop filled with glorified promise,

a valley below that suggested,

a passing fancy drawn

by a river of gold.

~

We can believe

our hearts are sold

to the highest progression

of internal rhyme,

the ability for our soul

to be penetrated by syntax;

affection, passion,

a sordid list of precarious

descriptors all seemingly

driven by the power

of an opportunist spilling

diction.

~

I once knew a gentleman

who rhymed a silly song,

and when I tried to dig deeper,

unleashed a fleshy wound

of hypocritical malice,

my words were not well received.

~

I complained,

the world heard my voice

alter its tone,

suggest an otherwise,

once again,

there was little needed

in the realm of life-changing

autocracy.

~

I wonder sometimes,

if there ever really has been

a time we could all

agree in verse,

trade our wholesale value

for the sake of

listening to the one,

the place holder

that began our journey

home.

~

Sometime we might be asked

to let go of a fear,

allow it to fester,

like a Hughes memorial

to growing up in hatred,

only to live our lives,

the way we wanted to

if only,

just if we could maybe,

believe we might,

for only a couple of hours.