My Definitive Songs

Sh’Boom (1954), The Chords
Church Bells May Ring (1956), The Willows
Everyday (1958), Buddy Holly
Words of Love (1958), Buddy Holly
What’d I Say (1959), Ray Charles
Blue Moon (1961), The Marcels
Sherry (1962), The Four Seasons
Do You Want To Know A Secret (1963), The Beatles
A Quick One While He’s Away (1966), The Who
Pata Pata (1967), Miriam Makeba
Heroin (1967), The Velvet Underground
Suite: Judy Blue Eyes (1969), Crosby, Stills, and Nash
Carry On (1970), Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young
Ventura Highway (1972), America
I Saw the Light (1972), Todd Rundgren
Satellite of Love (1972), Lou Reed
I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend (1976), The Ramones
Year of the Cat (1976), Al Stewart
Sentimental Lady (1977), Bob Welch
The Passenger (1977), Iggy Pop
Message To You Rudy (1979), The Specials
Cruel To Be Kind (1979), Nick Lowe
Once In A Lifetime (1980), Talking Heads
Ashes to Ashes (1980), David Bowie
Come On Eileen (1982), Dexys Midnight Runners
This Must Be The Place (1983), Talking Heads
Harborcoat (1983), R.E.M.
Back to the Old House (1984), The Smiths
The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1984), The Smiths
What She Said (1985), The Smiths
The Headmaster Ritual (1985), The Smiths
Here Comes Your Man (1987), The Pixies
Birthday (1987), The Sugarcubes
Waiting Room (1989), Fugazi
Vanity Fair (1989), The Ocean Blue
Halah (1990), Mazzy Star
Silent All These Years (1991), Tori Amos
Don’t Panic (1999), Coldplay
Californication (1999), Red Hot Chili Peppers
Country Grammar (2000), Nelly
Island in the Sun (2001), Weezer
Girl Inform Me, (2001), The Shins
Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect (2002), The Decemberists
Saint Simon (2003), The Shins
Believe Me Natalie (2004), The Killers
Good People (2005), Jack Johnson
When You Were Young (2006), The Killers
The Funeral (2006), Band of Horses
Upside Down (2006), Jack Johnson
Riptide (2013), Vance Joy
A Sky Full of Stars (2014), Coldplay
No Tears Left To Cry (2018), Ariana Grande
everything i wanted (2019), Billie Eilish

Country Music

Charley Pride on bathroom
laptop, while I shave, his voice
forlorn longing, whiskers
collect on razor’s edge, this
morning mirror apart from wife
and son. I feel for Merle Haggard,
travails, time on the road, love
found and lost, like Loretta Lynn
in Topeka, daydreaming of that
different life, away from crumpled
hamper laundry and the last
cereal bowl bits clinging to old
milk. Somewhere in Nashville
they are still singing with Jesus,
waiting for my return.

Born During Vietnam

I was born in 1972
when the drafted were
fragging officers, rolling
grenades under cots,
because going on patrol
was pointless.

Raised by teachers who
listened to Joan Baez,
had us play earth ball. That
world was better than agent
orange cancer, napalm blasts,
M-16 bullets and exit wounds.

They spoke of peace,
harmony, we held hands
and sang so many songs.
This land is made for
you and me, and it’s
alright to cry.

In the closet I still saw
my dad’s green Marine hat
that he wore on Veteran’s Day.
We never spoke about the war,
what to say to a ten-year old
kid about sand bags, and
hearing loss?

But he took me to the
memorial, we touched
names, our dark shadows
together in the wall.