Don’t give up the ship.

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Perry's flag

In remembrance of our mom Iris, who passed away this week, I’m posting the lyrics to this song Matt wrote more than a few years back (one of my favorites) that keeps running through my head (and out of my mouth). It’s called Don’t give up the ship, and here it is:

Well, it grieves me when I see you
in some moldy homemade raft
You’ve no life jacket, there’s no precautions
You’re spinning downstream and you’re laughing

Well, I’m not about to stop you
I’ve not the will and I’ve not the means
Still I stand here like I’m waiting
A world without you I’ve never seen
You say, read it off the flag, boy

Don’t give up the ship
says the flag that flies above the turbulent waves
Don’t give up the ship
Be a fool and hold the course away from the shore

Sailor learns something from each splinter
in those old and creaking boards
Now you’re not apt to change your reasons
You’ll never reinvent the doors
that led you up the gangway

Don’t give up the ship
say the words that are scrawled across the blue piece of cloth
Don’t give up the ship
Be a fool and hold the course away from the shore

Red sky every morning
Sailor takes his tools out
and disconnects the warning lights
Never should have tied the knots so tight

On board the S.S. Something Sacred
you coughed up copy for the commodore
Now you’re too old to keep your orders
Still you’re dredging up the naval lore
and hoist it up the main mast

Don’t give up the ship
says the flag that flies above the turbulent waves
Don’t give up the ship
Be a fool and hold the course away from the shore

Don’t give up the ship
say the words that are scrawled across the blue piece of cloth
Don’t give up the ship
Be a fool and hold the course away from the shore

Some real.

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Reflections, Usual Rubbish

Hello, all. Just taking a moment out from our interstellar tour saga to remember an old friend and one-time band-mate who died unexpectedly this past week. I will no doubt return to the utter nonsense that is this blog’s usual narrative, but right now I can’t quite bring myself to do it. Just need some time for reflection, I guess.

Tim WalshTim Walsh played guitar with a band my brother and I started back in the seventies – a precursor to Big Green in many ways. We had about seventeen names for the group, none of which stuck. (It was a bit like  Jethro Tull’s early days when they played the same clubs over and over under different names – kind of a good strategy, that.) Tim was my sister’s boyfriend at the time; a slightly older (at that point in life, three years made a big difference) kid from Florida who had hair down to his ass, a blackbelt in Tai Kwan Do, and a 1959 black beauty Les Paul Custom.

I was young enough to look up to him in those first days. Later on, we were friends, housemates, brothers in the struggle to make music – and life – work on some level, mostly failing at that but often enjoying the journey. And the journeys were many, to be sure. Driving to New York for the hell of it in his little Honda coupe, rolling out to gigs around Albany in my broken down van, piling in and riding home for the holidays. There were countless late nights and later morning, imbibing beyond the boundaries of sensibility, laughing ourselves sick at bad movies and television. And that laugh – I can hear it right now. Full-throated, all-consuming, as if whatever minor absurdity had inspired it brought home to him the full, glorious absurdity of the universe.

Tim had very, very good fingers, and a singular approach to guitar playing the like of which I have never heard. Music brought him to another, better place, I think, and I hope it will continue to do so long after his departure from this life. The last time I saw Tim was back in 1992 – he moved to North Carolina, built a life around his family, and we fell out of touch for quite a long time – until a couple of years ago, actually, when we reconnected via Facebook and other means. We had grown apart, sure, but still shared something – if nothing else, the ability to laugh at the same stuff, but I think quite a bit more than that as well.

Not much else I can say except that he was a good person, one of the best I’ve known. So here’s to my friend and brother Tim – safe journey.

Karen Morse: A thank-you note to Aurora

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Because in the midst of dark, shocking disregard and cruelty, we were privileged to see such inspiring generosity and caring.

It is impossible to imagine those first disorienting moments. Impossible to comprehend how the night had turned upside down and inside out. The smoke clawing. The audible terror of gunfire and screams of pain. The ripping flash of gunfire. The barely seen figure hell-bent on destruction.

Yet, in this sensory assault, this mayhem, this perversity, decisions were instantly made based on the utmost kindness. While the gunman was cloaked in all manner of protective gear, people chose to use their bodies to protect others. These people had no Kevlar vests to shield them, but they would fling themselves, their futures, their possibilities, their tomorrows over others to offer them a chance. “Here,” they said, “let me use all that I am to protect all that you are. You deserve a chance.”

Friends stayed at each other’s side, offering life-giving assistance. Refusing to leave and try to save themselves. It may have taken months of planning to marry the desire to hurt them with the mans and tools of doing so, but it only took minutes to decide I love my friend, my child, my dear one too much to ever, ever abandon them. True brotherhood made manifest in a theatre, in that frightful, dark theatre in Aurora.

So the strident cacophony of cruelty continues to be silenced by the soft melody of kindness. The pictures of the candles lit, flowers laid by crosses, hugs of comfort shared, all sing this song. The sweet, sweet remembrances of those mortal lives lost. “They were the best of us,” we say, “the best of us.”

To which I add … thank you, Aurora, for reminding us of what is best in all of us.