Sunday, October 20, 2013

Monday, August 12, 2013

My Opinion on Kentucky, How its Been Going To Hell, MTR, Republicans, and the General State of Things in the Mountains.

     (This is my opinion, , you may not agree with it, as a matter of fact, I know MANY of you won't agree with it. That's OK, that's what the comments section at the bottom is for. This is solely my opinion and does not reflect the views of anyone who may contribute to The Concrete Year in the future. This started as simply me writing a lil article to explain why I started to take pictures, and try my hand at photography, it ended up being a long rambling rant against MTR, Republicans in general, and why Ky seams to get the short end of the stick ALL THE TIME. PLEASE share, and comment, like if you agree, troll if you don't just keep the profanity to a minimum. I mean for this post to possibly be a catalyst for open and honest debate and discussion, because unless we all get together, and maybe compromise a little ON EACH SIDE..........nothing will ever change. And we'll have 30 more years of the same crap we've had the last 30. )

     As many of you already know, I live in a small backwater of Eastern Kentucky called Knott County (the K is silent). Its the setting for Drop Dead Love, and the extreme ups and downs of fate that I call a life. Lately , a lot of those swings of fate have been more in the downward direction, leading to depression and a lot of soul searching on my part. I am sorry to say, that search still continues. While I have been dealing with a lot of personal issues, I've been struggling to find ways of expressing myself. Writers block has all but made my hands useless, and the racing thoughts which plague my mind have made what I could manage to write a jumbled mess, not worthy of even an amateur, unpublished, hack of a writers blog.
     I have taken to walking in the evenings, a way to burn off some of the nervous energy that go along with these periodic mental breakdowns, and one day, I take my camera. I always wanted to be a photographers, not a professional but skilled enough to take pictures that can capture a moment, a mood, or even just the simple beauty of nature we stroll by everyday and hardly give a glance too. It surprised me when , after walking just one mile that first day, I had several pics which, while not Hallmark Card quality, showed a side of the holler even I hadn't noticed before.
     If you don't know what a diaper tree is, then its hard to describe whats its like to suddenly realize how beautiful this simple, small, community can be. For those who don't know, "diaper trees" come into bloom after the seasonal floods, when all the diapers people have thrown in the creek finally float down on the swollen muddy creek water, and when that water finally subsides, the diapers, Pampers, Huggies, Dollar General Store Brand, all hang on the tree limbs creating a site both funny and tragically sad. Much of this area is being destroyed, if not by industry, bringing sorely needed jobs but at the same time pillaging the land and its natural resources with reckless abandon, then with people raised with no respect for mother nature and the beauty she struggles to provide us with .....despite the horrible odds stacked against her.
     So I started taking pictures on my lil sojourns down the holler. Not of the trash, and left over scraps of "progress" which litter the hills and valleys, these can be found in any environmental magazine or video highlighting the rape victim that is Eastern Ky. coal country.
     I tried to find some beauty, a few small glimmers of what this place used to be like when I was little and my Papaw would take me for hikes into the mountains and point out all the different types of trees, what you could eat, what would kill you if you tried, the animals, and how to spot signs of their presence. He had been born before the depression, in 1918 to be exact, in a time when patriotism was still so fervent his parents had the nerve to name him George Washington Smith. He had survived the great depression, and while the rest of the country struggled, folks here hardly noticed a change. Times had always been tough here, what you couldn't raise, or hunt, you simply didn't get. Most peoples water came from coal banks, naturally filtered, always cold, and the best tasting water you'll never get to try.....since the few that are left are polluted or forgotten. He worked in the mines, not the mines which are destroying this area in a catch 22 so horrific it turns brother against brother , mother natures own Civil War. It's a hard choice, jobs or mountains. No he worked in deep mines. His legs scared from a roof cave in long before I was ever born. He had fought to get the unions in here. So the companies and mine owners could no longer run a miner into debt so deep in the company store that they would be working the rest of their lives just to pay off the food they purchased to survive and have enough energy to work another day , in the deep dark, horror that was underground mining in the 40's, 50's, and 60's. It was hard work and without the modern day regulations and inspections, it could be, and often was deadly. But unlike strip mining, deep mining takes more man power, and was an honest living for many a brave man.
     Now its all about strip mining, using the least amount of people possible, to run gigantic pieces of equipment capable of tearing the entire top of a mountain off to get to coal so low grade, it wouldn't be financially feasible to pay for those strong men of bygone days to dig  out. The men operating these bulldozers, rock trucks, scrapers, and other black smoke spewing behemoths are honest men, trying to raise their families the best they can, and doing a job they see as vital to keeping the lights on. Even though the coal mined here for the most part is shipped to China, the one country who's environmental standards are low enough to actually burn it for fuel. When they are done, more times than not, they plant some scrub grass, a few locust trees, call it "reclaim" and move onto the next job.
     We have been promised industrial parks, hospitals, new highways, malls, and more pipe dreams than Mario and Luigi could have in a lifetime. We are left with giant patches of nothing, bordered on all sides my remnants of what the hills used to look like, short stubby reminders of the beautiful forests, and valleys that once covered this whole area. All the while the mine owners get rich, the miners get used, and the few people fighting to save this place get discouraged and heartbroken with every new strip job.
     I know I got a little off topic there, but I wanted to set the back drop for the area in which I took these pictures. These , like I said, are doing their best to show the beauty that can still struggle and peak threw from time to time, weather it be a sunset, an old fence who's days of actual use as a barrier for one breed of livestock or another is long gone, or a natural spring washing the bedrock clean as it flows out of the mountain in one of the few remaining untouched pieces of Ky. See luckily, one family , one very WEALTHY family owns a very large portion of the holler I live in . The rest is owned by many families in very small parcels ranging from as small as a half an acre, to a hundred or more acres. But one thing everyone in this holler agrees on, even if they work for the mines elsewhere, they do not want them in here. Many of us have wells, which provide us with our water, and children who love to ride their bikes or four wheelers up and down the road in the relative safety  that comes with knowing all your neighbors. Its a single lane road, where people still have to be considerate of one another and get over to let people pass, and when they pass hands are still raised in a gesture of you know the person well, or even like them. But when a coal mine comes in, all that changes, the road becomes dangerous as trucks far too big for such a small strips of blacktop , loaded with coal, driven by drivers who may or may not be higher than the mountains they are helping to tear down fly in and out of the holler. More loads = more money. The road itself becomes cracked and broken , pot holes and slips make it hard to get over and let people pass for fear of the black top breaking, and your car ending up in the creek. The water table is ruined from the toxic run off , and the kids run the risk of being killed if they brave the road on their bicycles.
     I am glad I live in a holler where the people said "no" our homes, and children's safety, is not worth it. These are just a few of the pictures I have taken, I am not 100% sure on how to upload them in the exact placement I want, but lets just go with it and keep our fingers crossed. I will, in the future , post some of the Afghanistan look alikes which dot the highways and back roads .... land so desolate, only the hardiest of scrub plants grows there, and so useless and remote that it has no commercial value or use to humans other than a place to take your 4x4 and a case of beer on the weekends, to sneak and grow pot during the spring and summer, or to hide and cook meth in the relative safety of roads so rough only the best of 4 wheel drives dare to go up and down them. But since it seams like EVERYONE shows the bad, I wanted to be slightly different and start off with the good. Just simple pictures all taken within a mile of my home, none altered or doctored. I hope you enjoyed my lil tirade, and like the pictures even more.

     I hope you like these pics, if you wish to use them for anything NON COMMERCIAL all I ask is that I be given credit as the photographer. For any commercial use, please contact me, and a very small fee can be worked out. Please, if anyone wishes to comment, state your opinions, but keep it civil. Your not doing yourself any favors by stating your case with nothing but profanity and non-factual opinions. Opinions are welcome, but anyone trying to pass off opinion as fact will be called out more than likely by our resident environmental expert and activist Cari Moore, who knows more about this than I ever will and can pretty much make anyone feel about 2 inches tall when it comes to matters of pollution, the environment, and civil rights. So if you have an argument, I suggest you bring your "A" game, because this woman is a pit bull for mother nature. She is one of , if not the leading crusader in Knott County, and I give her full props for standing up for what she believes is right, no matter how heated the debate can be. I am not claiming anything as gospel in this , it strictly my own point of view, which makes sense this being MY blog and all.
     I would just like to add one last thing. Many people in this area are scared. They are scared to speak their mind for fear of being labelled as a "left wing nut" only out to stop honest men from making a living doing honest work. It is truly amazing the amount of people who are against mountain top removal, but remain silent. It is one of the most divisive issues in the Eastern Coal States. Made even more divisive by coal company owners , who went so far as to shut down small operations, and lay off miners before the last presidential election , blaming it all on President Obama, and using the sometimes still antiquated views of race in this area to try and vote him out. As soon as he won, and their cause was lost, these mines opened back up so that the owners wouldn't lose anymore money. They had no problem however laying off miners to build hatred for Obama. Obama IS making it harder to get permits , he IS pushing for cleaner coal restrictions, and safer, more environmentally friendly operating procedures. Are those bad things? No. Do they mean less jobs, because it would cost the owners of the mining companies more money, which they are unwilling to part with, and permits for mining would be harder to obtain? Yes. Its a very delicate situation, men who have done nothing their entire lives but work on strip jobs see nothing wrong with leveling a mountain, making a holler vanish by filling it up with dirt and rock, at the same time destroying peoples drinking water to the point that its undrinkable, not even fit to wash clothes in. They don't think of that, because they are thinking of feeding their families. Which I admit is a noble and valid concern.  THIS is the problem we face. No alternative jobs, and a populace so engrained in the culture of coal, that the mere thought of having to learn a new vocation is cause for a riot. Anyone who speaks out against MTR is shouted down and almost labelled an enemy of the people. Reason and logic have no place here, while bigotry and ignorance are spread like wild fire on a hot summer day. 
     We need jobs horribly in Eastern Ky, and in the rest of the impoverished Appalachian Mountains, a place long forgot by interests groups, and controlled by politicians such as Mitch McConnell, who lie, and propagandize to the point of insanity to hang onto their tax payer funded pay checks. If people would think about it, and ask themselves, "Why doesn't Ky get anything? We have a Democrat President isn't the Democratic Party supposed to be for the poor. God knows we have poverty in abundance here." I will tell you why people, its because of Mitch McConnell and others like him. When your most vocal, pain in the ass opponent, and sway holding republican comes out every day spouting lies and making your life and presidency a living hell, would you do anything for that mans State or District? NO! They would be last on your list of places to worry about, because anything you do that actually improves the quality of life, your enemy would take credit for, and anything that is attempted but fails, would give him more to mouth off about. With progress comes chances, and with chance comes failure sometimes. We aren't even going to get the CHANCE to have a better Ky, until Mitch is finally gone, and that 30 years of drawing a pay check from the labors of Kentuckians, he so proudly brags about, is finally put to an end. If you ask me, he should be exiled from Ky all together, for hindering progress and advancement in favor of playing party politics to such a degree that it was detrimental to the state, the populace, and not in keeping with the oath he took to serve the people. DITCH MITCH!!!! 
     While I am at it I may as well throw another complete lifetime politician who does nothing for the welfare of actual Kentuckians under the bus. Hal Rogers........ This fat, useless , backwards thinking, conservative, tub of self propaganda actually had the nerve to let them change the Danial Boone Parkway, to the Hal Rogers Parkway. WOW! I mean that's some ego right there. I mean if someone came to me and said " Hey Michael, we want to rename Martin Luther King Blvd after you, your such a great American." I think I would have enough humility, and knowledge of history , to tell them NO! This guy supported PIPA and is still supporting other would be laws that would make it illegal to do something as simple as make a review for a video game or movie on youtube, censorship, and the rights of the rich are all he and his cronies care about. For a state who's drowning in poverty, people such as these two are able to use issues such as gay marriage, and fear of anything nonconformist to get themselves elected , year after year after year, ..and the poor keep getting poorer and multiplying. While the rich just enjoy the ride, confident that they have the "dumb hillbilly's" tricked so well that they will never be voted out of office. Well I have news for them, that generation, who never cared enough to actually research anything that was said to them, who just blindly followed the republican pied pipers, is dying out, and the generation taking their place has access to the ways and means of finding the truth out for themselves, and making their OWN CHOICES. Its not a populace of half illiterate hicks anymore, its a populace of pissed of 20-40 somethings who are tired of being lied to , and treated like they are too stupid to understand the intrigues of government at ALL levels.
     Someone who's a better writer than me said it best many years ago when he said."The times they are a changin." and all I can say is not a moment too soon. Thank you for reading this, even if you don't agree, hopefully I made you think about it just a little, even if it was only to get so mad your head almost exploded. That's what makes this country great, we all have the right to say what we think, to express our opinions and try to persuade others. HELL if you disagree with me in some extreme right wing conservative to the max fashion, don't just leave a comment , go start your own blog and say whats on your mind. IF YOU DO AGREE WITH ME, and know others who would too, please send them the link to this page, even if its just someone who may enjoy the pictures, I appreciate anyone and everyone who stops by The Concrete Year. Please share, follow, like, comment, and come back often, you never know what is gonna be posted...........Hell I NEVER KNOW WHATS GONNA BE POSTED lol, its whatever hits my fancy or is on my mind that day. But I am going to try and update it more often, weather its more opinion pieces like this, poetry, fiction, non fiction, or even the works of other writers/artists, I am going to strive to bring you quality pieces , in whatever genre or art form I can. Thanks you my friends. May the flame war......start........NOW! lol

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Various Poems from the last 13 or So Years.......

     This is going to be just what the title says. A bunch of different stuff from the last 13-15 years. I would like to thank my friend Brittany Patrick's lil sis Kita for doing what I am too lazy to do.....type all these up :) Thanks Kita. And a big thanks to Britt for going threw some of my journals and picking a few out for me.  Some of these are poems, some songs in various genres mainly old school fast hard goofy shocking and stupid fun punk. Anyway I hope you enjoy at least a few of them. Thanks for reading and please comment, like, share, scream it from the rooftops about The Concrete Year.

My Last Words (To You My Love)

If I gave you a gun would you shoot me
because I truly want to die.
I don’t want to live this life
I am worthless why should I lie?

My anger makes me useless
my hatred makes me tired.
Im a sniper and I just stepped into
my own line of fire.

Why cant I pull the trigger
I want this pain to end.
I want to sleep forever
and repent for all my sins

Everyone I love
I’ve hurt time and time again.
My lifes a disappointment
that’s the way it’s always been

So stab me in my heart
as you look into my eyes.
You’ve never looked so beautiful
my last words are not a lie.

It’s All Over (Forgive Me)

Dreaming of the living dead
chasing me down
Trying to munch my head
I try to hide
But they’re coming closer
I try to hide
Then the door flies open
I feel the teeth sink into
My skull
and I know I’ll never
Be full
the hunger will consume me
The feedings will go right
threw me
I stumble from place to place
looking for the warmth
The living breath
when I lock you in my sight
I'm gonna rip right
threw your chest
You feel my teeth sink in your skull
and you know
Your never gonna be full
the hunger will consume you
And the feedings will
go right threw you

Bad Time To Be Born Rag
Soil and blood, blood and soil
it will be mine I can take it
Soil and blood, blood and soil
mine mine for the taking
12 1234

Freedom, no place in the world today
the land of opportunity but opportunity's gone away
We have no leader with that texan runnin’ thing
I’d rather have a chief that wants a blow
Than one that can’t blow his nose

What happened, I was born in the wrong time
born 1950 I’d have marched in 69
But the fight has all gone out of everyone
nothing will work if it didn’t in Vietnam

They showed ‘em no matter what you do they win
you cant fight the system it’s like trying to fight aids.
You can hold off just as long as you can
but in the end they always win

The American dream woke up and it can’t get
back to sleep a country of insomniacs
And we’re lead by all the weak
caring for their money caring for their oil
What they don’t know is they killed our
countries soul.

Guess What (I Love You Not)
She was such a faker
and a d*** good liar too.
Made me believe she loved
just to gain a little trust
I never saw threw her fasade
til’ it was way to late
She had tore my heart in two
Why did you lay with me
why were you my puzzle piece
Why did you take all the love I had to give
and throw it in my face
I treated you the best I could
but it wasn’t good enough
So guess what
I love you not
So guess what
I love you not
Now I’ll admit I am pretty stupid
for falling for your lies,
For hanging on every word
when the words you would whisper
Now causing open sores!
you’ll never realize the love you lost
You’ll never even care
but know this
You’ll never have the chance again
maybe next time will be better
It cant be worst than the last
maybe next time it’ll be the one
I’ll start a family with
maybe next time she will love me
Just like she says she does
maybe next time will be different
Maybe next time wont leave scars
maybe next time I’ll find the love of my life
And I’ll all be different
maybe next time she will love me for who I am
Maybe next time it won’t be so hard
I sure hope not
I cant take it, not one more time 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Shhhhh Valentines Day is Coming

     Yes I know I haven't been posting a poem a day like I said but all that is changing not only will I be posting a poem a day, I will also try and post a few extra for the days I missed. Or at least try. I probably won't lets just be honest but at least you get a new one right now and i will post more soon I promise.

    This is a new one written just tonight. 2/13/2013


nobody can know
just how much I love you
and long , so long, to hold you 

to watch you
in secret glances and stares
the graceful way you glide
it would life's not fair

it is silent
for the biggest of secrets
make no sound
the love between us
knows when to bow its head
and quietly process 
those words, unsaid

we share a battered soul
both chained in our own ways
I would give my life
to break those chains
to hold you for just one day

A whispered I Love You
nothing truer has been said
for eternity our souls are one
what a quiet Love we have.



Friday, January 25, 2013

Valentines Day is Coming........Whoopie!

     Valentines Day..........You know, at one time I was one of those guys that paid $50.00 for a 3 dollar vase from the Dollar General Store, stuffed with flowers that have been frozen solid in the mad rush to get enough bulk to the florists , who are ravenously stuffing , turning, cramming, and cutting......good enough, scratch a few words from some obscure book or movie, maybe even a song....Ummm Bop. The process of shipping insures that by the next morning all the petal will be reduces to a slightly sweet yet sickly smell. Their texture like that of the softest sued the 70's could find.  Of course by the end of the week they are in the trash covered by a Doritos bag and an empty Little Debbie box.
     What did I achieve? Sure the girl gets to hold them high , as if silently saying, "Look you bitches this is MY MAN and instead of buying the 5 Green Loricets it would take to fuck you , HE BOUGHT ME FLOWERS!!!"  This is no doubt a wonderful feeling. That victory soon fades , as unknown to you he got the flowers on his dads Visa, and still was had that cheerleader on top of Look Out Mountain, "Staring at the stars. " Apparently a penis repeatedly pushed in and out of a vagina helps..this theory is unproven and any young ladies who would like to run research on this topic please post in the comments ;) LOL Topic : Astrology LMFAO
     Say you go all out and finally get her a ring, not an engagement ring, hell to the no , but a small rock a promise ring. Made with real, fake, diamonds........what? what? what? Well how am I supposed to know the difference, a geologist I am not.But you keep telling yourself in you best inner big boy voice "IT'S STILL A REAL DIAMOND" Maybe she won't know the difference. Your hand trembles slightly as you hand her the ring which she opens, pulls out, and starts examining for makers marks, silver with white gold plating, cubic zarconion  <---- (wow this word was actually in spell check) And in the dog house you are, cheated by the back alley guy with 80's stereotypical "Guy in trenchcoat sellng stolen goods. "  His entire inner jacket rings and rattles with the chains and baubles his inner pockets held. Nervously  he showed you several rings all very large and colorful, granny rings I would call them. But this one , too your eyes, looked beautiful, and would only make the woman you love more beautiful than she already is. Instead you get an angry girlfriend, an empty wallet, and that horrible inner feeling when someone really pulls slick move on ya, when you really get fucked over right proper no lube in the house. It could almost make you puke. She storms off with her telescope case wrapped in a seat belt.
      And as far as "real diamonds" go , I think I speak for all of us when I say Blood Diamonds are terrible and it really needs to be stopped. Personally , I wouldn't buy a new real diamond.
     Whats wrong with dinner and a movie, I won't even go thru the drive thru we'd go in and set down haha Why not go south just take of driving in the Southernly direction....Take your tent, and sleeping bags and make camp under old bridges and shit because you where gonna do it on motorcycle with sidecar, that would be awesome, Just drive to the ocean and back together. Go to a concert, go watch a play, or listen to the most INSANE Geniuses ever at a UFO convention. To me spending time together, and making those memories that will last a life time, threw the slow rot that rips away all cognative function, and after death threw the stories we tell our kids and grandkids. Its not all about money, or THINGS, its about love, and if you don't have the true, faithful, fantastically complicated and aggravatingly wonderfully thing we call LOVE.....your lost.
     I am gonna try something different this time. A lot of you have heard me bitch and moan about having to type words I have already written once. SOOOOOO thanks to my Christmas gift, an awesome Fuji cam, thanks mom) I am gonna take pictures of the written journal page , which means you get a glimpse inside my creative process, which includes lots of doodles, arrows pointing this way and that, mistakes, and complete failures in both  grammar and spelling. But look close, no closer, CLOSER !...too close o a little back, perfect. Do you see it now, thats my heart and soul, its in each and every one of these. To the few that will actually read, and appreciate these , as I always I thank you so much, Without your continued interest I would have already given up on this blog, but thanks to you my confidence as a writer has grown profoundly. A special thanks to Jamie and Jonie my kin, who both have asked on more than one occasion when I am gonna post more, and Jamie has been helping me find some of the jewels in my bulk of papers filled with poetry, lyrics, ficion, essays, random thoughts and doodles, ideas that I could never achieve and achievable ideas I'm just to lethargic to even attempt. And thanks to Brittany Patrick for being the rock that held me up threw the last couple months that have been sooooo bad. No better friend have I ever had, I will I ever have. I am just posting one right now but I plan on posting one a day in the month of February, a love poem a day.  Thank you everyone, please, LIKE SHARE AND COMMENT BELOW!, love you guys , stay groovy!