A Portrait of the Artist

by joe Wilford

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1.
02:57
2.
Well there’s a picture I can see it clearly in my mind’s eye It’s of you standing on a cliff with your arms spread wide And it makes me smile ‘cause I can remember the look on your face You went away so suddenly we feel cheated inside Listened to the rumors, the conjecture, the falsehoods and lies And there’s just no explanation that is going to make it all okay So the mystery intrigues us since we’ll never know Whether it was something deep inside that you tried not to show It’s not like the answer is on a paper in a cardboard shoebox Labeled with a piece of tape marked “Why” Still your notes and journals they don’t offer a clue Sure there’s frustration and depression and the dark side of you But we all have our own demons frothing at the mouth Trying to rake and claw their way into our lives And why, why I don’t really understand Sound and fury signify nothing You hear the curtain calls And then the curtain falls
3.
Well there were shots in the Jersey night It was J.D. bathed in the dim lamplight Of a barren apartment over the dentist’s office and shoe store A scrabble board lies on the trunk And we were 3 notches past drunk We laughed so hard and loud when I scored 23 points with “plowed” You were my strength, you kept me sane From a life that threatened to be so plain You were the best protection, using a magician-like misdirection A diner on Route 22 The perfect place to write a song or two On the back of a place-mat or even a napkin will do There was Elvis, BBAC, The Big Book, Platinum Blonde And I Died In Line At Bradley’s Not to mention Deli Trek and the Dan Tanna Show And driving ‘round till the sun in our rear-view mirror started to glow Tom—You were like that Nobody else was quite like that Stubborn, passionate, uncompromising Always saw your love for life within Can’t believe I’ll never see you again No memory can fill the void of a lost friend
4.
5.
06:29
There were movie posters all over your room They’re still on the wall But the theatre programs, Hawaiian shirts and TV Guides They’re in boxes down the hall Shouldn’t be left here Should’ve been gone Shouldn’t be kept here With an unfinished song Think of all of the people Saying God why me? Staring into the face of Tragedy Creating brilliance from the bits and pieces Of the broken rules and tattered style Using channeled aggravation And misplaced indignation You made it all worthwhile Should’ve been left here To carry on Should’ve been kept here To harmonize this song I try to find a good reason What good would that do? Should’ve been left here Somebody like you Flyers litter the streets; with their photographs and descriptions Wind has set them free The hope is gone if it ever even existed Crumbled like brittle leaves Should’ve been left here Should’ve been gone You should’ve been kept here To finish this song I think of all of the wonder You never lived to see On my shoulder I feel it Tragedy Head down in the pouring rain Head down on the blackest day
6.
It’s 4am in Garwood and a basement light is still on Citation’s leaking oil in the driveway And there are puppets on the lawn The videotape is rolling As Cigar smoke fills the air Steuben plays piano All sanity beware His name is written there in chalk Sprayed by the hose off the sidewalk And there he goes again Well what will it be this week Will the Zeppelin go down in flames? Or will the show shoot on location At some remote town in Maine? There’s a song written in tribute To the covers of TV Guide Steuben plays piano The melody of jailhouse pride What lies in the “Fun-Corner?” A clapper hat as the headlines blur - by from the New York Post Aw, Steuben how we miss you And your ever-zany ways There’s no way we could forget you Or those Qua-Qua Quality days It’s time for “Pillow Talk” now As the lit cigar explodes Steuben plays piano In the unfinished episode The basement lies in darkness now A brilliant life cut short somehow Why did you have to go?
7.
8.
At thirty-one it all came undone Steuben—My friend So young and so sprite living on the razor of life Of a sudden came the end An artist’s eye with a spark you cut deep made your mark On the stage of men Served your time in jail never once thought to fail You forged ahead With your camera you’d find so much quality time Only to end up dead The coroner said suicide but we all know she lied That bitch wasn’t in your head Now some Entenmanns cakes and all the video tapes Are all that remain You’ve been taken away The final scene of this play Nothing is the same Though your spirit soars free Off to create in eternity You’re still not here Your life wasn’t a joke There’s no doubt about that Amongst all the grief we feel for your loss I know somewhere out there You’d smile and still want us to laugh
9.

about

These songs are all a tribute to Tom Gallison - dear friend and brother. This entire album is available for download for just $1. Why so inexpensive? Because $1 covers all my costs - and I'd rather it be in your record collection that out here in cyberspace. It is also indicative of the creative genius that was Tom Gallison and that deserves sharing.

Peace.

credits

released February 12, 2004

All words and music © 2001 joe Wilford and Tom Gallison
Cello played by Annette Clark-Triplett
Steuben Theme Song © 1990 Tom Gallison
'Quality Time With Your Pal, Steuben' excerpts © 1990 Tom Gallison
Recorded @ ICE-Nine Studios, Johnson County Iowa 2001 - 2004

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