Sometimes Parts of Us Need to Die

questions once plaguing me
begging me for answers
tumble into their own abyss
following what they seek
like stampeded buffalo off a cliff

it used to matter
everything did
it doesn’t any more
because it all mattered
for the wrong reasons

it’s not about me
or you
what we said
or even did
there’s so much more
beyond our words
and actions
things that really matter

just this morning
two thick dark clouds blocked the sunrise
my heart cursed the darkness
like an old man reviles his last years
filled with intolerable pain

then a funny thing happened
a piece of me died suddenly
something once mattering a great deal
now that it’s gone
it’s clear to me
it should never have been born

gone are those questions
attached to that piece of me
following their answers
into the abyss
birthing them in the first place

Tell Me One More Time

Tell me, one more time
I can’t fall in love with you
Let me, once again
Hold you like I do
Say you won’t forget me
and how we used to be
Tell me, one more time
I can’t fall in love with you.

So long ago, when we’d dance
our love seemed so true
Remember how we always were
you as me and me as you
In each other’s eyes
the world, grew and grew
Tell me, one more time
I can’t fall in love with you

Sometimes I think I can’t go on
knowing you are gone
The memories leave me empty
ain’t no life, without you
Give our love one last chance
that’s the least you can do
Tell me, just one more time
I can’t fall in love with you

Written in Tucson, Spring 1971.
Thought I wanted to be a songwriter
back then.

Don’t Leave Me Baby

Well past two, we danced last night
Legs out stretched, in paradise
Swillin’ beer, almost blind
Still see your face, oh so fine
Held you close, three slow numbers we danced
Circling earth, time we chanced
Wanted you, to swallow me
Give me lovin’, set me free
With hair drippin’, we said goodbye
My heart’s trippin’, you’re the one I cry
Your perfume lingers, like sweet butterflies
Don’t leave me baby, share your surprise
Just you and me, sleepin’ in till noon
School can wait, mornin’ comes too soon
A thing or two, I could learn from you
You break my heart right in two
Drivin’ home, you were all I could see
Light my fire, set me free.
Tomorrow’s Friday, let’s dance all night
In my arms, I’ll hold ya tight

Note: Written in 1971 by Don Iannone, in
Tucson, Arizona, soon after the release of
Lee Michaels’ single, “Do You Know What I Mean?”

Without Deviation, Ain’t No Progress: A Poem Dedicated to Frank Zappa

Call us deviants
See if we care
Lost sons, wayward daughters
playin’ with ourselves in the streets
while war boys march through stubborn tall grass
and presidential pardons leave us bare

You can’t see for lookin’
To really start seein’
spin around
there you’ll find
nothing but
autumn rainbows
dancin’ on the two-horned unicorn’s back

Ralin’ electric guitar strings
all red, white and blue
pukin’ Brown Shoes Don’t Make It music
on constipated conformists
searching
for what they call the truth

In my hallucinating mind
no truth to be found anywhere
just hot poop plastic people
pushin’ soft-sell conclusions
all day long

Take your clothes off when you dance
Light up three fat joints
like Fourth O’ July sparklers
Put one between your teeth
sittin’ in the mouth
I’d like to kiss of your face
Second goes in your right ear
deadening it to the incessant flappin’
of your fuck-in’ right wing
Last not least goes up your ass
which you only seem to use
as a place to store your head

Don’t you realize
we’re the mothers of invention?
AND without deviation
there ain’t no fuck-in’ progress

Written by Don Iannone, Fall 1969, Tucson, Arizona

Return to Campus

university of arizona campus
eyes closed, sitting alone with my memories
soaking up warm december sunshine

mind drifting back 38 years
early college days
filled with fun and adventure
carefree times
chasing women
drinkin’
dancin’ like fools all night long

student then, wild hair like frank zappa
student now, george clooney hair, but much grayer
learning then, mostly about balancing life
learning now, still about balancing life
innocent then, about some things
innocent now, about other things
young then, full of myself
not so young now, still full of myself

it’s the same river, but
all the water has changed

Written by Don Iannone, UA Campus, Tucson, Arizona, December 2006

Transforming the Mental Onion

mind, like an onion
growing layer upon layer
each wanting to be peeled
explored
granted a reality
a wish to be more
anything transcending the layers

layers growing inside outward
each subsequent one larger
yet all the same, just layers
ripples on the mind’s surface water
curved lines with no beginning or end
no independent existence
never free of all else

in the end
just swirling circles
atop formless prima materia
seeking to become more
than an onion
in the alchemist’s flask

Note: Toss an onion into an alchemist’s flask and this is what you get. What do you get?

Grandma’s Ball of String

old and new, tied together
like the large ball of string
grandma saved and added to
for more than fifty years

a grandmotherly thing to do
not just save string, but
string together family
otherwise lacking connection

without strings attached
her love brought us together
nurtured and helped us grow
like tender young flowers in her garden

each expression of her love
a thread of hope
spun out to us
just when we needed it

even her unassuming smile
unraveled us, bringing laughter
at times tears
always helping us find ourselves

even after all these years
grandma’s ball of string is still working
sustaining us
connecting us to what matters most