Tag Archives: Lyrics

Columbia Crew R.I.P. 2/3/2003. A song…

Creative Commons. Phot by Jtesla16.
Creative Commons. Photo by Jtesla16.

Five days ago I posted a poem I’d written for my daughter who was born on the fifth anniversary of the Challenger’s explosion on take-off. These are the lyrics to a song I wrote on the day the Columbia broke apart on re-entry.

My notes on the lyric sheet: Begun on the way home from work as I was sure we would enter into an Iraq war.  Finished as I sat stunned with the news of the Columbia Shuttle.

Waiting for the Fall – Eve of War

Driving home on the eve of war, can’t see far ahead
The rain it falls in sheets and blankets us, I long for home and bed
Are we right or merely righteous?  How and who decides?
Will our leaders lead us into battle or stay on the sidelines?

Waiting for the fall to come, but not the season’s change
Just like it came to Rome, collapsing under strain          

I awoke to hear the news, seven more are lost
They were living all our dreams, I can count the human cost
“Would they do it all again?” you ask. I can almost see them nod
For the chance to break these bonds and touch the face of God?

Waiting for the fall to come, just like it came to Rome
Prayin’ that the angels are coming to carry them all home

Everyday now, I hear the words. They say the end is near
But all we have, all of us, is one day in one year

Waiting for the fall to come is such a waste of time
Utilize the everydays, to do not is a crime

February 3rd, 2003

 

30 years ago and 25 years ago today…

As a preview for April, National Poetry Month, when I will share ShuttleNasaPDmore poems.

I don’t write a lot of poetry, but I do write it when inspired. I wrote this six years after the Challenger loss. This was near another more pleasant anniversary, the first birthday of my daughter, Sheridan M. M. Slater. When the Columbia Seven lost their lives I wrote a song. I suppose these were intended to be song lyrics, too, but no music ever came. Columbia was eighteen years later, also in January, but I don’t recall anyone mentioning it two weeks ago. [Author note: Oops. 1/16/03 was the launch date, and the accident occurred on reentry 2/3/03.] I remember where I was for that, too. I will post the lyrics and hopefully a recording of the song.

Happy birthday to my daughter and Ad Astrato the stars for the astronauts. May their service not have been in vain.

Rocket Tears – January 28

I remember the day quite clear as if it were yesterday
A day that had dawned bright and clear, soon would be torn away
I walked into a room, full and hushed, stunned into silence and sorrow
Their spirits were broken and crushed as the blast took away our  tomorrow

Smoke clouds of billowing white; next few moments flash by in a blur
We see the fire as the engines ignite, then the unthinkable occurs
I see the flash and then hear the sound as it replays again on the screen
There I stand and ask why as she crashes down into the sea

There I stood and I cried. . . rocket tears
Sorrowful tears in my eyes
As rain from the skies
Obscures the clouds and our fears

Five years later on that January day, I drove to see a new life arrive
The clouds have now drifted away and now we once again strive
The birth of a baby brings hope of a renewal of life and of dreams
As for death use the pain for our growth, see what the future reveals

From death there will come life again as the phoenix arose from the fire
Please don’t let our dreams fade with the flames of the funeral pyre
Tell the story to daughters and sons of the lives that people have given
In the dream of pursuing the sun they’ll remain in our memories living

Here I stand and I cry. . . rocket tears
Hopeful tears in my eyes
As rain from the skies
Obscures the clouds and the years

January 1992.

Author’s Note: Yes, this is where my publishing company name, Rocket Tears Press, comes from. 

What comes around… Mad Max lyrics from 1982

Crossposted to my personal blog.

I haven’t been able to shoehorn the time into my schedule to go see the New Mad Max movie, but I am anticipating the event something fierce. So, for a bit of a flashback, here are some song lyrics I wrote in Mr. Gregory’s Geometry class at Hoquiam High School. Since my 30th reunion is coming up this summer, I’m thinking a lot about those days.

These are from the embarrassing lyrics era, but transcend that trend a little. Derivative? Hells yes, but fun. Sort of like I hear the new Mad Max movie is… And two different publications liked them enough to pay me to publish them! Rock on!

Highway Rider

The flatlands are burning in this land we’ve turned to hell
The world keeps on turnin’ inside this fragile shell
We’ve got to get away from here before we start to rot
We’ve gotta get to somewhere else, this hell is all we’ve got

Off in the distance about to top the rise
The noise of tortured metal the smoke just fills the skies
I jump into the cockpit the mighty engine roars
The tires spin, the gravel flies, my foot is to the floor

Gasoline is life, it’s the blood in my hands
It’s the only ticket out of this cruel and battered land
My tank is full I cannot waste a single precious drop
The race is run my time is done, if I can’t make him stop

The law of the land is the fittest survive
The only thing I’m working for is tryin’ to stay alive
Across the desert wasteland his fate he comes to meet
His car is getting closer burning through the blazing heat

I power brake and spin around and slow to catch my breath
The warrior is coming, running for his death
A deadly game of chicken means the fittest survive
The only thing I still can do is close my eyes and drive

Accelerate, my tires spin, my posi grips the road
The RPM’s are runnin’ up – about to overload
The nerves of steel come in play, the chaser now the chased
His fault he realizes now, his car a flaming waste

The smell of burning gasoline mixed with burning flesh
I slow my car to watch the scene and sigh a weary breath
I must escape this savage land, I cannot stand the pain
My son becoming just like me with all my work in vain

I leave the flaming hulk and drive into the setting sun
One day I’ll make it out of here, today is not the one
Some think our lives are fixed, left to the hands of fate
But I believe I shall escape, I hope it’s not too late

Appeared in the Spring 1994 issue of The Galactic Citizen.
Appeared in the February 1999 online issue of Jackhammer E-zine.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Class of 2014. Sunscreen. Really!

Notes from a Commencement Address to Windward High School’s Class of 2014.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Class of 2014. Sunscreen. Really

What is Rob known for? Not throwing things away? Recycling? So the best way to offer advice? Recycle it. Borrow from the best. So, I’ve got advice from Shakespeare to Suess, Anne Frank to Ani Difranco, Heinlein to Hemingway, Mother Teresa to Twisted Sister, Spider, My Aunt and the Beatles, Tolkein to Rowling, and Socrates to Slater [cough].

Dr. Seuss: Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.

RELATIONSHIPS
Ernest Hemingway: The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them

Accept, embrace, seek out diverse ideas, people, experiences.

Ani DiFranco: There is strength in the differences between us. there is comfort where we overlap.

Mary Schmich from Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen. “Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts. Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.” or your family’s. If they are, tell them “We’re not gonna take it.”

Don’t try to save anyone who is not already trying to save themselves.

Find at least one friend to tell your secrets to. Be a good shoulder to cry on and find a good shoulder to cry on when you need it.

Follow your instincts! If someone makes you nervous there are reasons, even if you can’t put your finger on them. Don’t be paranoid, but do be careful. Travel with friends. Maya Angelou: Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.”

Accept chivalrous actions, but don’t be blinded by love, roses and repeated apologies. Be wary of promises. If you ever hear, “You would do this if you love me,” run. Run fast. Run far. If you’re interested in dating, watch how the person treats their parents. Watch how the parents treat each other. This is not infallible, but is a strong predictor.

Spider Robinson: “Shared pain is lessened. Shared joy is increased.”


MONEY

Beatles: “Can’t Buy Me Love.” You won’t have to worry about money problems if you follow these rules.

  1. Pay yourself first – Out of your very first paycheck, [out of your graduation gifts] take 10% for you to spend on yourself right now, put 10% away for long-term [retirement], 10% for emergencies.
  2. Pay bills on time – If you can’t make a due date call them before the date and tell them. Ask them if they can be flexible. Most of the time they can and will with reasonable people.
  3. Don’t run up loans, credit cards, for anything less than your house, your education, or your car. (And not for the car if you can help it.

Socrates: Wisdom begins in wonder. Read, Read, Read!

Don’t be a pirate. If you find a book, a movie, a song that touches you enough that you want to experience it again. Try to pay the person who gifted the world with their art. Share it with friends.

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
Dance! Sing! Laugh!

Be responsible to yourself. Take chances on new friends, and on new experiences, but not in a car! 6% of Drivers are under the age of 21, but are involved in 11% of accidents.

Learn to say “I’m sorry.” Even if you don’t mean it, it begins a healing process. Nothing else will soothe your soul and other’s souls as quickly.

Forgive quickly and try not to hold grudges. Get angry and let it go.
Be generous with your thanks. As Mother Teresa: “We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” Notice all the beauty that is around you and swim in it.

Abraham Lincoln, who suffered from depression, said, “Most people area as happy as they make their minds up to be.” Make your mind up to be happy. Ask for help. Depression is real. Sometimes being unhappy can be cured by a little exercise, especially outside in the fresh air. Get some sun, but not too much. Sunscreen. Remember.

Relax. Learn exercises to help you focus your mind and body like Tae Kwondo, Tai Chi or Yoga. Learn to recognize when your body is tense. Then learn to relax it.

Robert A. Heinlein: “Always listen to the experts. They’ll tell you what can’t be done, and why. Then do it.” Make lists of things you want to do today, tomorrow, next year and the rest of your life. Mark each one off when you do it so you will feel accomplishment and progress. You can even add things that you have already done to the lists. Give yourself credit. Give others credit.

You are at the beginning of the most freedom you will have in your life. Choose to enjoy it. Soon enough you will have lots of responsibilities. Let them come in their own time.

Anne Frank: “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” Improve the world a little at a time by being a good friend, by smiling, by cleaning up after yourself wherever you go. And that recycling thing? No aluminum in the paper and no paper in the bottles and cans or garbage!

Ralph Waldo Emerson: appreciate beauty, find the best in others; leave the world a bit better, whether by a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.

Stand out. Weird is not necessarily a bad word. Be outstanding in your field, even if it’s a real field full of muddy pigs! Work hard at something you enjoy. Expect to have to work for everything you want, then when things come easier you will really appreciate them.

Keep a journal to help you remember now, this time, today. You think you’ll never forget, but as you get older things fade. Write in it your lists of things to do. Write the things you want to say to people, but can’t. Someday you’ll be able to. Write a song, a poem. Write when you’re angry. Then burn it. In a safe place and then make sure the fire is out.

In a commencement speech Jim Carrey said that fear will be a player in life, but you get to decide how much. You can spend your life imagining ghosts, worrying about the future, but all you have is this moment. Many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality. What we really would love to do seems impossible, out of reach and ridiculous. So we never dare to ask the universe for it. Ask for it. You can fail at something you don’t like, why not try to succeed at something you Love? Love or Fear? Your choice.

And last, for now anyway, but certainly not least: Love! Keep falling in love. With life, the sun, the stars, the rain, a person, a song, a thought, an ideal, a book, a movie, a food, or a flower. Be good to each other. Dream a little. And This above all: to thine own self be true.

[Then I played Get Real. Here are the lyrics. Here’s the song.]