The Music and Me


 

Standing together like twins holding hands.
My two guitars different colors same brands.
Staring, silently saying “play me, play me.”
Waiting for me to make them speak they plea.

For their cords that give them to the amp.
This electro-mechanical clamp.
Of four twelve inch Celestions.
My guitar’s noble thespians.

Give voicing to their vibrating strings.
Coming to life notes taking wing.
I am the producer of this.
Sometimes awful, sometimes bliss.

Eight strings crossed an ebony finger board.
The polished frets terminating strings into chords.
And notes of my choice.
That gives the song its voice.

A spiritual connection between instrument and soul.
Upon me this connection takes no toll.
Closing my eyes it surges into me.
Musical vistas unfolding makes me see.

Scenes I wouldn’t normally perceive.
Makes me again believe.
That I should be doing this.
Such pain, such fury, such bliss.

I can make it snarl and growl.
I can make it squeal and howl.
Notes kiss you with velvet softness.
Notes leaden, notes with airiness.

It’s all up to me.
I can make you see.
Sonic landscapes.
Auditory uptakes.

 Notes bourn from the heart.
Pulmonary inspirations that start.
This exchange from one to another.
Two instruments playing for the queen mother.

Thundering bass, with syncopated slots.
Let’s us fill the spaces in these spots.
This low frequency anchor.
A rhythmic and percussive flanker.

 Gives us direction and speed.
For the players who’s fingers bleed.
We bounce off the bass and the drums.
Unifying and solid it becomes.

The music we make.
That makes our fingers ache.
A pain of joy and bliss.
Every one of us insists.

 Calluses on fingers like medals of Honor.
We display to each other with no dishonor.
The price between flesh and steel.
This price we are all willing to feel.

Melodies so sweet brings tears to my eyes.
My job as a musician to make you cry.
To see you smiling thru tears.
My notes upon your ears.

Music is the timing of the soul.
It’s what makes us whole.
Two musicians playing.
Their souls are saying.

A language of notes.
An exchange of ideas that float.
On the air of understanding between.
Two guitars, two souls seen.

Put together as sister and brother.
A beautiful intimacy.
Beautiful in efficacy.
Beautiful in delicacy.

Beautiful.

Dave Proffitt
5/18/2012
3:56

 

 

 

 

 

 

Land of the Morning Calm


 

I am the missile man.
Part of the artillery clan.
On a remote mountain top.
Bristling with missiles we stop.

Anything not flying the friendly skies.
To our radar’s Doppler colored eyes.
I am the missile brain surgeon for Uncle Sam.
I make sure the guidance sections can.

I walk the TAC site 365 days.
The dust swirls and plays.
Around the launchers legs.
It asks the question that begs.

What are we really doing here?
We are the high frequency seer.
Beaming thru blue Korean Skies.
No avian friends greet my eyes.

The hot air perfumed with canvass.
With a modulated hint of ozone outgas.
Kilovolts surging thru prehistoric tubes.
Magnetron electrons flying thru waveguide cubes.

I look off the end of the A & S wall.
Unending purple mountains into the valley falls.
Swallowed up into the morning mists.
A quiet so loud it persists.

A quiet so deep it begs for a sound.
A warm breeze my face has found.
Blown up from rice paddies below.
I smell the scent of charcoal heaters flow.

Breakfast smells from tiny hooches.
Children playing with family pooches.
The valley a sea of unending rice paddies.
Attended by barefoot Korean caddies.

 I am the doctor of these mechanical birds.
Grouped onto the launchers in thirds.
Their white bodies and black wings.
Upon the superstructure they cling.

Testing their brains.
Testing the fuzing chains.
Testing and fixing.
Changing and mixing.

A thousand circuits in the platters.
Making them understand is all that matters.
The test shop hums, it’s needles swing.
Back and forth information they fling.

And soon my day is done.
I watch the dying Korean sun.
Disappear into the purple valley mist.
A simple beauty this.

It’s my turn off the “hill”.
This week I’ve had my fill.
Of this tactical missile site.
Of our technical might.

I get on the chow truck our taxi down.
Forty Five minutes later we bounce into town.
On the outskirts of Tong Du Chon.
A large northern village that spawns.

 Its girls, its night clubs.
Restaurants with real Korean grub.
Friendlies ready to take your money.
The girls say,” Catche short time honey?”

 With glistening obsidian hair.
Perfect white teeth their smiles bear.
Dark skin, mysterious hooded eyes.
Parts of what your money buys.

Too poor to afford perfume.
Not really needed to whom.
They are, clean to an exponential degree.
Pleasing to the eyes pleasing to see.

 Gaudy signs hang lop-sided.
Calling to all the misguided.
“Fix Tire, Fix Flat.”
“Fix all this and that.”

Shorty is the village loan shark.
Not much of shark, not much bark.
Standing five feet four.
Smiling at you from his store floor.

 MPC for Won.
His exchange upon.
The monetary base.
Real Korean money just in case.

You need to have a good time in the vill.
Black market music pretty girls will.
Take away the stateside blues.
In the hours you choose.

Fictitious names signed on dotted lines.
Promises to pay with no fines.
Your ticket to a good time in the vill.
Indulge yourself, get your fill.

“Thank you specko five oh.”
Shorty says to me his pronunciation so.
Knows my rank, can’t read my name.
Shorty’s only claim to fame.

 I like Shorty so I always pay him back.
Some GI’s their manners lack.
With no intention of repaying his good will.
Of these guys I’ve also had my fill.

I’m walking down the streets of TDC.
Up ahead my favorite club I see.
Another lopsided sign.
More misspelled English lines.

 It’s just a door in the wall.
Leading into a dark hall.
The music booms thru black market speakers.
Calling to all the good time seekers.

Enough liquor to float a carrier.
With enough girls all the merrier.
The Korean women are quiet and polite.
They are quite beautiful in any kind of light.

My regular gal comes over and sits down.
She’s the prettiest one in town.
According to me.
She’s the only one I see.

Sometimes I just talk to her all night.
Sometimes I listen to her plight.
I usually give her more money than she asks for.
She’s a woman trying to live, not a whore.

Besides I like her as a friend.
She’s not after her own end.
We make each other laugh.
We help each other get past.

The things in life that make us grieve.
Of this she’s had her share I believe.
I liked this woman very much.
I loved her smile and her touch.

It’s late and I’m walking thru TDC.
One GI has had too much to drink I see.
I walk up to the military police check point.
A buck sergeant in cardboard fatigues gets to the point.

 Of getting me thru the gate.
He smiles at me even though the hour’s late.
I walk on this antiseptic side of town.
A long walk down.

Seventh Infantry’s dirt MSR.
Of all the trucks and Jeeps that were.
And the tropical Korean night rushes around me.
Blown from a passing duce and a half I see.

Diesel exhaust and mess halls float on the warm air.
I walk thru our compound gate our houseboy sits in a chair.
He’s taking a well-earned break.
“Specko-Fiveo Proffitta” his pronunciation makes.

My name sound funny even to me.
And so I sit with him and share his tea.
And we talk of my life and his.
This simple Korean Whiz.

He makes me realize we aren’t so different.
He’s making me the referent.
And that’s okay with me.
He also makes me see.

Dave Proffitt
5/16/2012
2:08 pm

 

 

 

Definitions:
TDC– short for Tong Du Chon
MPC-Military Payment Certificates
Won– Korean money
MSR-Military Street or Road
A&S– Assembly and Service
Doppler– Continuous Wave radar operation
TAC-Tactical
Magnetron. A particle accelerator used in pulse radars.
Waveguide– a rectangular signal transducer used to feed pulsed high frequency energy to the antenna of radars. Its unique ability to do this without signal attenuation is the reason for their use.
Duce and a half-Army Two and half ton diesel truck.            

Human Junkyards


 Like young stars burning in the night.
Beaming down their brilliant light.
Starting out in life with futures high.
We watch their lives with keen eyes.

Down life’s railroad line.
A trip not of direction but of time.
Sometimes difficult to keep this train on track.
Always dangerous to look back.

A delicate balance of right and wrongs.
Of human frailties that belong.
To individual choices made.
Off the tracks this train has strayed.

I watch as he is unable to keep his life in check.
I watch him become a derailed train wreck.
His decision to play with life’s wrecking ball.
Swimming in an ocean of heroin and alcohol.

His life a junkyard of scattered human parts.
Littered with pieces of lives and broken hearts.
A wasteland of broken promises and dreams.
Bottles of hate, manuscripts written in schemes.

A depression so deep it is beyond recovery.
A life so worthless it is beyond discovery.
A wonderment to the human condition.
Often spoken by his own admission.

His life’s bleak landscape of barren trees.
Ill-equipped to realize or see.
The people who care the ones with fears.
Cries of concern falling on deaf ears.

As I watch this wreck still connected.
It’s flopping and thrashing affected.
With some malignant life of its own.
Dangerous to those within its zone.

It continues to shed parts of its life.
In dissonant chords and melodies of strife.
Somehow continuing on.
A trail of wreckage from dusk till dawn.

I’ve stumbled thru this field of parts.
Extending my hand and my heart.
To this old friend and neighborhood kid.
Remembering the times and things we did.

My collection.
Of his recollections.
Childhood reflections.
My necessary defections.

 A human junkyard of worthless parts.
This collection of sadness and broken hearts.
I fear is beyond recovery.
I watched with no discovery.

It continues on with its sad show.
Struck down with each new blow.
From the consequential hammer of decisions.
No fresh ideas no new visions.

 A public spectacle of a life that fell apart.
I am the witness from the start.
A legacy of self-destruction.
A blueprint of soul deconstruction.

As I ponder this lost friend.
Never asking Gods help on this end.
To get his train back on the track.
Never too late to get back.

 I wonder is this junkyard too far gone?
Is it beyond repair too late to act on?
For I fear that this is only God’s Decision.
I pray that it is within his vision.

For this life gone bad.
For this chapter of something so sad.
We all know a human junkyard.
It’s not our lot in life something so hard.

At times beyond human resolution.
At times amicable by reconstruction.
Other times we can’t prop upright.
And we can never undo anything so tight.

Still I will remember my friend.
Long will I remember his end.
I ask God to forgive his wrong doings.
I will ask God to give him another chance.

After all the bad, the good lingers on.
It illuminates my recollections of his song.
When we were younger in a different time.
When we were in the prime.

Dave Proffitt

5/15/2012

1:43 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ravens and Crows


 

I seem to have stirred up a bit of interest in crows and ravens with my crow cam and my pictures in the past. Kate said she found a raven nest nearby, so I thought I’d share my experiences with ravens.    I had a girlfriend that lived in Prineville. She was basically a cowgirl with no horse or cows. She told me that she had kept ravens in the past. I asked her about it and she told me she would just find a nest and take a young bird out of the nest. Ravens at least, stay in the nest quite a while. They aren’t booted out as soon as they can fly.     To make a long story short she got me a big male. Of course I named him Edgar being a fan of Edgar Allen Poe.

    Getting to the basics of crows and ravens requires some understanding of the two species, which are quite different despite their similar appearance. First of all Ravens are quite large for birds of this family. They are larger than crows in body height and wing span. The wing chord on ravens is thicker and their tip feathers are more radial which helps them control tip stalling when landing.  The wing chord is the actual thickness of the wing from the leading edge to the trailing edge. Seagulls for example have a narrow wing chord which gives them less drag and better lift to drag ratio. You can sort of compare seagull wings with gliders. Long and narrow very efficient.  This doesn’t give them much lifting ability which raptors and survival birds such as eagles, hawks, ravens and crows need. Hence these birds have thicker wings with a more pronounced plan-form which improves lifting abilities required in these species.      I could go on about avian aerodynamics but most would probably find it boring. 

    Ravens are very intelligent birds and you can teach them to talk without much begging or pleading and stupid sounding repetition. No you don’t need to split their tongues either. I don’t’ know where that bullshit story originated either.    Edgar was able to say “hi,” and “hello” and “egger” my nick name for him. He was able to do this in about three weeks after I got him. I did not spend hours sitting in front of him uttering things I wanted him to say either. He just picked it up because I talked to him when I was with him. I talk to my dog a lot too. I’m just like that. Anyway I think animals whether or not they are birds or dogs, cats become more intellectually bonded with humans if you talk to them every day. I think it puts them into a higher mode of thought when they are around us. Although some of the things I hear from humans could not possibly be misconstrued as anything remotely resembling intelligence. So Ravens can talk rather easily and they enunciate much better than Bruce Springsteen did on his early albums. I had no trouble understanding what Edgar was saying.    Crows caw and make high pitched squeals. Ravens on the other hand have a very metallic croaking sound to them. Nothing like a crow. 

  Ravens and crows are social birds and love to gather in what’s called “murders.” Don’t ask me why this ominous handle was applied to crow and raven congregation.  So a murder of crows is to what a gaggle of geese is.  The other day I was coming back from Sandy via the Marmot Cattle Range and passed the “Crow Tree.” There was a “murder” of crows atop the Crow Tree. They like to chit chat amid much tail bobbing, something which I have yet to figure out. It’s some sort of body English and I think it’s a form of communication.

   I have heard misinformed, self-appointed experts, tell me that crows and ravens are dirty and have lice. I find it irritating that people like this make statements not based in actual experience with what they are talking about.

 Edgar never had any parasites on him; hell I’d know I used to handle him every single day. He was clean as a pin twenty four-seven. The Crow Air force of Brightwood  are neither dirty or parasite riddled. Most crows and ravens spend a fair amount of time preening themselves or their partners. Yes I’ve seen crows attend to each other in this respect. 

   Ravens and Crows are really quite beautiful birds if you are lucky enough to be close up and see their feathers in sunlight. They have green and reddish highlights that dance off their feathers. Sometimes there’s a blue-green tint as well. Their beaks are warm to the touch and semi glossy. Ravens beaks are quite thick and they have what I call “nose feathers” that cover the junction between their beaks and head.

   Edgar liked me to rub his beak with my fingers. He would stand or sit on my air and become mesmerized by my stroking his beak with my fingers. He also liked it when I pet his head or stroked him under his beak. They are quite affectionate birds to their handlers. Can’t say this about crows because I’ve never been that close to crows. I would imagine they are similar.

    The stories I’ve heard of crows raiding nests of song birds and eating their young is also a load of horsecrap. Crows and Ravens are very fond of nuts and berries, grain, and some veggies. Edgar loved strawberries. I’d buy a box of strawberries and give him treats.

   It’s true that they like shiny things. I used to carry a ball point pen in my shirt pocket. It had a chrome clip that retained it to my pocket. I came home from work one day and went upstairs where I kept Edgar. He flew over and landed on my arm. He spied the pen and quick as a flash grabbed it, pulled it out of my pocket and flew down to the floor which had a knot hole in it and dropped it down the knot hole! LOL!  Lucky for me it was not an expensive pen. He also had dropped some berries down the same hole. Problem was the hole was deep enough that he couldn’t retrieve his booty!

    Crows and ravens like other species serve a duty on this earth. They were put here by God, which does not give us the license to second guess his decisions just because we can kill them. Anymore I don’t like the idea of killing any animals no matter what their family genus is. It ain’t up to me to decide what should be here and what shouldn’t. Only one entity can make those decisions. Right now I’m glad God put crows, ravens and raptors and birds in general on the earth.

    So to make you a quick Raven –Crow expert here’s all you need to know to tell a raven from a crow. 

   Ravens beaks are much thicker and longer than crows.
   Raven lingo is composed of syncopated metallic croaking which sounds much different than crow conversation.
   Ravens are taller and thicker in body stature than crows.
   Ravens wing span is 4 to 5 inches longer per side than crows, and their wings are thicker (broader).
 Ravens have “nose feathers” very pronounced that’s easily seen. 

So there you have it friends. These are things I’ve picked up because I was lucky enough to be up close and personal with a raven at one point in my life. If you don’t love these birds like I do, that’s okay, the more you are around them the more special they become. They do indeed grow on you. Kate I hope you find the nest, I’m looking forward to your great photographs of them. 

                                                                                 -Dave-