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

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“I Read The News Today, Oh Boy” – John Lennon

lennon

He always did have a reason to speak, when his lyrics would wind our mind,

“Watching the wheels turn,” he seemed clearly in command of his time,

While we the listeners would be in a constant trance, a mellow sweet remind

How easily his lyrical mastery could make a dull afternoon be sublime.

 

Often the names and faces of humanity lose their certain authenticity

When this our society continues along a road so designed to fail.

We gather steam to criticize the Man, the friend, the neighbor; duplicity

Becomes an only nostalgic desire, when spinning  our arms flail.

 

Oh to hear it said by a pundit’s Machiavellian tongue, meant to misconstrue

We rest our mind to know we haven’t a need to hear it all, day, long.

Rather everyday a glance in the sky to recognize the world is only as true

As a remarkable miracle, allows our hypocritical lives to finally belong.

 

Yes, “it was 20 years ago today, Sergeant Peppers taught the band to play”

We all took in the moment, singing “all you need is love”- live life this way.

 

No Place to Go

Whether I try to disappear

or plan my momentum

the aftershock of this new horizon

wills my only chance

a new lesson learned

a vibrant reality beyond

any matter of factual evidence

suggests happiness is nearby.

I’m in a state where smiles,

the reckoning of a cool spirit,

beauty of delight and peace

where the everyman’s dreams

contain new ideals, stronger …

we all fight the battle alone,

when wishing to figure out

some advantage so convincing

we finally decide we will not

spend our lives alone

while the wheels, keep watching

the wheels imagine love.

People Killing People

(this is clearly just an example of venting without any regard to form or structure. Somehow I was tying Lennon’s death to the senseless shooting in Roanake, and intermingled recent controversy over Lennon’s past. Not quite sure where I was going yet.)

~

When I was a younger man, an impressionable lad,

I followed an icon, a singer named John,

he spoke of a need for peace, believed our only release,

meant song and love, his words cooed like a dove.

~

Now over thirty years later, we haven’t come any further,

last night two people again, with lives that’d just began,

snuffed out by another nut case, a mentally ill whacko in case

you haven’t figured it out, joined a legion of killer’s devout.

~

Over thirty years ago a man, slain by hands upon a gun

represented peace and love and forgiveness, his own demons newly address

a tormented life of abuse, he placed himself on the loose.

Yet demonized his attitude one time, canonized his life now sublime.

~

There are two stories being told in our daily lives, one first of our abused wives,

the second the hands of death by a bullet, in a world where exposed every minute,

we see the eyes of death in the hand, of the mentally ill with very little demand,

for scrutiny, or call of action, to stop the violence, to have a reaction.

~

Lennon, recently recalled as a wife beater, still in my eyes a leader,

smacked around yet later did acknowledge, his actions were no longer alleged.

He died at the hands of a shooter, by society’s terms, a mentally ill loser.

So when we pass judgment on our people, how do we define that towering steeple.

~

I suppose it doesn’t really matter as much to me that a visionary singer, was once abusive,

when across the country, a gun in the hands of a nut bag makes anything less permissive.

Haven’t Cried Since Lennon Died

robin-williams

**Robin Williams  1951 – 2014**

I really don’t recall being that effected

by the loss of someone i didn’t know at all.

I knew I wanted to meet him,

someday have an opportunity

to shake his hand

feel his remarkable presence

as he stood before

one human being 

and one amazing rock star. 

When that time was taken away

I didn’t want to live another day.

About three days after listening 

every Beatles song ever written,

‘Happy Christmas’ stopped my car

at the local Shopko and I cried right there.

~

Last night when the news came in

I watched in disbelief as all of your accolades

were displayed on every network,

every laugh they could find in a few short hours

to celebrate the life of a man that made everyone

smile.

I realized a few minutes ago, when I’d read

one more testimony on what a great guy you are,

I realized as the tears came into my eyes,

I hadn’t cried since Lennon died 

over someone with your stature,

untouchable but beautiful.

“Oh Captain, My Captain”

What have you done!

Holiday Blues

We do know the songs

Lines keep us there

Bring us there

Remind us of their truth.

As a relatable lyric suggests

Our lives are interchangeable

With every arctic breeze

That sends shivers along our spine

A sudden fear of reckoning

That fraudulent composure

Exposed on a cool winter’s day

Feel it

As your skin begins to rise

From the heat of knowing

Your life is simple and free

Yet complicated by their truth.

~

We will spend our time in reflection

The window is cool with nature’s frost

Outside the world continues to live

While inside our heart is feeling pain

Wandering amongst the souls of memory

Our lives in the balance, plodding on again

Yesterday seemed rather impossible

And yet today the sun arose again in marvel

~

My family is with me

Everyday of my life

‘All my troubles seem so far away’ (john lennon)

When I have you by my side

Yet here I cry inside my mind

Wondering what purpose is left

Beyond the exhaustion

The need to employ

The desire to respond to social ills

In a manner that is satisfying

~

I will grow through this moment sharply aware

Much like the many candles drawing me forward