The Poetry of Gary Green Typically Gary's poetry has been the lyrics of his songs, but beyond the 36 songs recorded for Folkways Records (currently part of the Smithsonian Collection) there are hundreds of other poems, published and not-published. The short collection here includes his epic lyrical poem "The Poet, The Prophet, The Writer, and The Musician" as well as four other non-song poems from his pen (or typewriter or word processing program).
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The Poet, The Prophet, The Writer, and The Musician                                    I            As was born the poet to limner and carol . . . was wombed the prophet to contemplate diurnal.             Gestation formed the writer to scroll and anal . . . and bore the musician to psalm and yodel.             Each must cast alone while on a ship with eleven more . . . but each must know that sodality is the ship's only shore.             From the house of concord--a monastery of breath-- each was sent--an antithesis of death.             While stepping high on lamenter's hill plunders Bereftos--carnate of desperation's will             Plotting and scheming to forge battlefield with anticipation of the artists' yield.                                     II             It was the poet for whom Bereftos first laid snare. And it was the bard of bloom who first drew his gaff             To crypt the demon on veracity's behalf With cantos of beauty, of homage and prayer.             But the spectre was vicious with snarl and gnash; And he ripped skald's flesh veining to metaphorical soul              To slither and gnaw then tunnel and mole Through the poet's heart to tatter and slash.             The deeper the monster's bite; the truer the poet's quill finding in the wrath of abhorrence the aliment of voluptions' song.             With dissecting phrases of sensual lyric, the battle was scarred and long. But the fangs of despair and clutch of megrim make no match for concord's will.             Thus Bereftos fell, though not to death; But to plunder and vamp until choler's next contest            And cursed the poet who brought glimmer to black's hatechest. And the poet tread on to idyll and limn of starshine and breath.                                     III             Conundrum in speech to ponder and foretell Savoring and sharing in every life's hell;             Feeling and bleeding in passion and pain Touching and kissing and tilling life's grain.             Leaving signs of hope or utter of cheer Forecast of gloom or tale of tea;             "That which is spoken is that which is real-- Change or salvation is within thy own will."             Bereftos lay deep as the prophet drew near Assuming the form of a coffin--the sibyl's only fear . . .              Death not so much the fear as absence of life . . . Locked away from human glory or strife.             This weakness alone did the oracle show; So Bereftos the Cunning fashioned the casket as blank as milk and snow.             And the four walls he sprang around in midst of the prophet's stride To banish and void him from the world outside.             Confident of his conquest, the monster paraded proud To his refuge of darkness to tailor a shroud             And cover the prophet's place of rest Then return to his sanctum to plot the next contest.             But far below the coffin's bier Lived the prophet in vacuumed air.             Meditation in the empty gave form in the white; The prophet again became a ray of light.             All things then are kept visions inside To be called forth when needed to guide.             "That which is spoken is that which is real, "Said the prophet, "Change or salvation is within thy own will."                                     IV From unseen refuge veiled in shadowy reflection, The penman assessed Bereftos in each battle and competition. So he knew the monster's tactics and style And he knew the creature's ways to beguile. The demon had already begun to build snare, When the writer teased from his shade to catch the monster's stare. Though his own mesh was still now woven, Bereftos took bait And followed the plotmaster in a rage of hate. Dulled by avarice for the writers' demise And weakened by lost battles from other piercing eyes, the monster schemed victory, while lost in daze Following his enemy deeper into maze. Fired with foresight of bagging his game And clawing and chewing and burning every remain, Bereftos followed deeper, long after he was lost-- His mind miles ahead in dreamt holocaust. The writer doubled back and rewove horror's net, Lacing each strand of greed, doubt, hate and regret To loop the holes in Bereftos' unfinished snare And lead the monster to his own trap there. A tired monster, his cunning worn, Followed the scribe, never hearing the angel's horn. Then the writer paused and Bereftos leapt at his prey. But his own net sprung and blocked his way. The monster fell with howl and groan And the writer watched it all . . . then left alone. Bereftos fought, though worn and tattered; a noble fight with escape all that mattered.                                      V A battered Bereftos eluded his own enmesh, but in his heart pounded his hate/hunger for flesh. And he stumbled and rambled bitter blind, His oath of calamity, waste and ruin guiding his mind. It was by chance that the musician just happened to be Fretting his lute, resting under that very tree That the killer had chosen as a spot to repose And respired his strength to rematch his foes. The musician's yodel mixed with the lute's trill To bring the walls of concord--driving insanity to the demon of desperation's will. The weakened giant forgot his mission of death. The closer he moved to the minstrel's song the deeper entwined became his right and wrong, Till concord ruled and desperation fell Without a carnate to hold its spell.                                      VI The musician's path of psalm and yodel Led him to a fork where the writer would wait. And together they talked of their conquests of hate. Then they met with the poet, who told of the same in limn and carol. The artists strolled together, though each was alone, Until they reached the prophet's crypt--near Bereftos' tattered throne. And the prophet arose and was born again-- Foretelling the future and of things that had been. The temple of concord then was ruled by the four Who spread to dust and lived in the wind To ride in time and spark in the eyes of every friend; To keep sentinel against another carnate from Bereftos' door. Alone, no one artist could have brought the demon's defeat-- But united, concord's house was complete. So they spread their souls to roam with skies To fall when needed on myriad eyes. Each cast alone with ten thousand more . . . But each knowing that sodality is the ship's only shore. So given to cosmos with souls division Walk The Poet, the Prophet, The Writer and The Musician. © 1976, 1977, 1990, 2011, and 2017 Gary Green
Live Hard; Die Young  I woke up this morning  and war was popular again;  Heroes wore business suits;  women wanted to be like men;  Black wanted to be like white;  And everything I'd lived for  was a dream on a 20-year night!   A lean then bloated king  was finally understood  like a sinking eastern star  that sold consumer goods.  And an outlaw generation  died like billy-the-kid.   Live Hard!  Die Young! A nd always say your prayers  before you go to bed at night.   The demons in the crypt house  were counting out the money.  Queens at the drag strip  were sucking on their honey.  Land was raped and so was I.  If you take it up the ass you're likely going to die.   There's a very thin line between pleasure and pain. I don't know if that boy's a genius  or if he is insane.   Live Hard!  Die Young!  And always say your prayers  before you go to bed at night.   Live Hard!  Die Young! Lower Education  Click-it. There was a call on the phone: Just a word or so and then it was dead. Click-it It might have been Elvis in hiding Or Mr. Mojo Risin' playing with my head. Click-it. Click-it. Business cost analysis Or English one-o-one;I t don't matter what's your major, The damage has been done. Click-it. Click-it Lower education Despite what's in the name. Those who can't get it up Play the teaching game. Click-it. Click-it. Lower education  That's what's wrong with you. The only thing unanswered Is who is doing who.  Click-it. Click-it. There was a call on the phone. Just a word or so and then it was dead. Click-it. I knew just how to answer it: Like all the learning I'd been fed. Click-it. Click-it. Click-it. LEARN-it. You can't do it without the money. Learn-it. So spend your life making money to do it. Learn-it. But you can't do it Because you need the  time To make the money To do it. Learn-it. Learn-it.  Learn-it. Learn-it. Learn-it. No! Bitter Fruit On The Vine Some men are born to ramble with a fever in their soul. Zerelda Cole had a son with that cursed gene. Like every rambler's mother, she was called to his remains. She shrieked, "This body lyin' here is not my Jesse James.  Carrying your life in your hand makes you a hard and bitter man For so long . . . I can't recall. But you carry your load well' Cause you chose this outlaw trail. And now you're alone . . . most of the time.  It's hard to respect the men who drove you down Or the laws they passed to keep you there. Bitter memories. Bitter conquests. Bitter fruit on the vine.  They say that a dog lives seven years for our every one. If that's so then an outlaw's year must be about fourteen. Speeding life on the road will age a man before his time; That's why I was a tired old man at thirty-one.  And the things that you will see on the road will make you cry It's in your eyes . . . most of the time. The age that you carry stole the beauty away before its time, But the hunger . . . never dies down.  It's hard to respect the men who drove you down Or the lawys they passed to keep you there. Bitter memories. Bitter conquests. Bitter fruit on the vine.
Elvis On Velvet I pulled out of De-troit late one cold snowy night Gonna make Chicago long before the morning light. I'd been on the road about two hours or so when my stomach started to whine. I tooled off of I-94 at Kal-a-ma-zoo Looking for a burger and a fry or two. Then through a window I saw this girl working beneath the "have-it-your-way" sign. She was the cutest little thing in this whole land, Flipping those hamburgers in the air and Chewing gum, singing "Don't Be Cruel" and twisting her hips andplaying with a "TCB" ring. I leaned across the counter to get a better view. She looked at me and I whispered, "I love you." She said, "don't even think of messing with me hoss, 'cause I date The King!" I see Elvis on velvet everywhere I drive. They say the King is dead; but I know he's alive. He shaved off his sideburns and hung up his blue-suede shoes And he's living with a burger queen from Kalamazoo. For the next few hours I listened to her tragic tale Of a rock and roll King whose life went to hell. Surrounded by love, money, fame; everywhere he went peopleworshiped his name. She said, "he gave all his money to Lisa Marie After he faked his own death just to live with me." How they moved to an apartment in Kalamazoo and he spends his days playing video games. Well their money started to run short before too long; Seems there's less hard cash in burgers than rock & roll songs. So he started painting color portraits of himself to sell on the side of the road. I see Elvis on velvet everywhere I drive. They say the King is dead; but I know he's alive. He shaved off his sideburns and hung up his blue-suede shoes And he's living with a burger queen from Kalamazoo. Well I didn't believe her story anymore than you. Especially the part about the apartment in Kalamazoo.A nd I headed on west till I say one of those road-side picture things. Selling those paintings was a man with a curled upper lip. His legs turned out and sort of bowed and shook from the hip. So when you see roadside pictures come round, buy one for theburger queen and remember . . . "Long Live The King." I see Elvis on velvet everywhere I drive. They say the King is dead; but I know he's alive. He shaved off his sideburns and hung up his blue-suede shoes And he's living with a burger queen from Kalamazoo . . . and Judge Crater, and Glen Miller, and Jim Morrison, and Jimmy Hoffa.