Ode to John Madison

During FAWM, I wrote these poetic lyrics here.

And then before the month’s end I came up with a demo. It was inspired during Race Week in Daytona with its roots in rum runners with a tribute to those who came before me: musicians, car racing, and rum runners.

John Madison (#poem)

No planes, no trains, just automobiles
A giant collage of a Ferris wheel
Round and round goes the track
Whirring dervishes give no slack

Rum runners scurry in the night
Grandpa’s Ford hides the blight
Carving instruments in the day
Passing down music to those without say

Sleepless twilight trumpets my head
Clock ticking and nights I now dread
Cats howling in time like a drum
Dancing on pillows their paws do strum

Callings have consequences, not all are good
Great grandpa makes music in hands with wood
Would he smile or be surprised
To know that I, a descendant of John Madison, am now alive?

Kentucky Flame (FAWM)

Kentucky Flame (FAWM)
Songwriting Challenge: No Chorus

Lyrics, copyright 2018, Kathy Holmes

I searched for an old friend the other day
I met him in California in the sixth grade
I never expected to find him that way
When I saw the obituary of my old Kentucky Flame

I remember the day this Kentucky boy met this California girl
You never forget the first to call you on the phone or carry your books home from school
We listened to Elvis records on my record player in the garage
He said he loved me and chased me around my front yard

He played guitar and I wrote songs
He said he’d never seen the ocean but he’d seen it all along
Seems like yesterday we played those innocent kissing games
How could the light go out for my old Kentucky Flame?

Birthdays and Holidays (#poem)

Birthdays and holidays always make me sad
Sometimes I cry and then I get mad
When those dearest to you sprout wings and fly away
So far from you in July, so close to you in May

Longing for love from that first man you see
Leading you on a journey from the Caribbean to Waikiki
Cruising the ocean, riding shotgun in Tennessee
Good ol’ boys, Latin lovers, and everything in-between

“Havana ooh na na”* beating inside my head
Singing the music I was born for before I am dead
Making me crazy if I do, crazy if I don’t
Offering it all up, giving it all I’ve got

Gifting his music genetically unknowingly to me
That unforgettable time in San Francisco oh so assuredly
What do I do with secrets that make me who I am?
Without the loving guidance of his helping hand?

Strolling a beach in November on Papaya and Mandalay
I heard him strumming a guitar, moonbeams shining from his face
A halo of angelic light born of a Heavenly glow
Transform my story of one so loved and that’s all I need to know

(*Havana by Camila Cabello)

Don’t Let Yourself Be Defeated

Downton Abbey is a favorite show we continue to rewatch. What stood out for me last night was when Carson said to Lady Mary, “You’re letting yourself be defeated, my Lady. I’m sorry it’s a lapse to say so, but someone has to.” (The original post attributed this line to White Christmas – oops!)

I’d been doing exactly that – letting myself be defeated. With romance publishers publishing more and more stuff that looks nothing like what I write, I was about to give up on writing. It seems the hot stories in demand are the hot social topics of the moment – same/sex romances, erotica, incest, and better yet, if it’s part of a series. And, don’t forget the “tropes.” As Sir Anthony said in Downton Abbey, “Good Gawd!”

Actually, I had given up on writing. But the desire to write is still there. Songwriting can’t replace telling a full story through fiction. So instead of letting myself be defeated, trying to squeeze myself into the box of the moment, I’m doing what it is I always do – what I must do – write the stories I want to write and if they can’t find a home in today’s world, I’m empowered to publish as an Indie. It’s worked for me in the past so why can’t it work for me in the future?

I also highly recommend reading this book, Pep Talks for Writers by Grant Faulkner. I’m getting absolutely nothing by recommending it but pure joy for sharing something of value for me as a writer.

Happy Writing!

Lyrics vs. Poems

When I submitted my first song for professional feedback, my mentor said the writing was very good but added that it was more poem than lyric. He gave me some suggestions on how to transition it into a song. I took his advice and Does Everybody Lie? became Everybody Lies.

So when I was writing “poems” during the wee hours of the morning trying to cope with our temporary housing, I noticed that they sometimes seemed more lyric than poem. I turned to my Berklee professor Pat Pattison for his words on the difference between a poem and a lyric. Here’s what he had to say on a Writer’s Digest article.

The middle-of-the-night poem/lyric writing was a valuable exercise because I began to think more like a poet/songwriter. I also think I may have now transitioned from novelist to songwriter – that’s certainly where my heart is. I’m also practicing the keys, working on my music production craft, thinking that perhaps 2018 is the year I go “all in” when it comes to music.


Sound of Silence (#poem)

The Sound of Silence rings through my ears
Still Hooked on a Feeling after so many years
It was all ahead of me, this romance called life
Falling in Love, becoming somebody’s wife

That year was amazing, I sat next to Tom
Singing on stage, dreaming of the Prom
Co-rec nights swimming in the pool
Merrill walking me home from school

Cathi and I wearing red dresses
Selling yearbook ads looking so festive
Flirting with firemen in tennis classes
Running from dates making passes at dances

Boys crashing sleepover nights with friends
Like a scene out of Grease wearing my pink nightgown
Not Sandra Dee, but “Hey, Mrs. Robinson!”
Had a crush on Dustin Hoffman or was it Benjamin?

Those Nights in White Satin I dream of tonight
The music remembers, making everything all right
Like the drum beat of the world heard by August Rush
The Sound of Silence is that Kind of Hush

Like it or Not (#poem)

Secrets and lies kept us apart
The truth did arise that you were deep in my heart
I searched and I searched and alas you were found
But when I revealed myself, you didn’t want me around

I pulled away and wiped my tears
Rejection did not occur to me, wasn’t one of my fears
Was I so stupid to not realize
You couldn’t see the love I had for you as if in disguise?

In that moment, it all became clear
Why I didn’t fit in here, why I didn’t belong there
This feeling has haunted me my whole life through
How can I be me, what should I do?

I prayed and I prayed, “God, where are you?”
I listened and I heard, at last He came through
“I had a purpose when I Created you from that musical lot
You belong with them whether they like it or not”