A Merry Life And A Short One

When the boy went to sea

He had no idea of the life he would lead

All he wanted was to leave the old one behind

Scrubbing decks was his bread and butter

Aboard, there was no bread and butter to eat

After the first month he stowed away on another ship

A great beast of a vessel railing against the wind

Powered by a restless need to wander and conquer

The captain found him the same day

Half-starved, more ghost than boy

Rum brought him back to life

Warmed his blood 

From that day forward he wore many hats

Swabbie, powder monkey, first mate, captain

Shanties became his lullaby

Violence became his religion

Rum became his mistress

Drank in victory, burned in defeat

Years later the boy returned home

His father didn’t recognise him

He saw a man in fine clothes

It was the last thing he saw

The boy went back to the sea

Roving to the edges of the world

Until he went down with his ship

A merry life and a short one

The Horizon Beyond The Glass

I get why some people want to find the answer to their problems

At the bottom of a glass

Rock bottom feels comfortable when you’re drifting in an alcoholic haze

It’s like living in suspended animation

Nothing changes and you don’t have to do anything

But reach for another bottle and drown those moments of lucidity

Where you convince yourself that you can rise out of the pit of depression

That tricks you into feeling there’s no life beyond the glass

Or that you can drink without feeling the need to self-destruct

But even on the stormiest of seas there’s a horizon waiting for you

Bright and beautiful

Soon you’ll be toasting to good days

Sipping to better memories

Drinking to preserve the happiness you’ve found

From conquering the anxiety that broils inside your heart day to day

To accepting the fear of an uncertain life

For embracing the darkest parts of yourself and surviving no matter what

Here’s to that horizon beyond the glass

Ballad Of A Rummy

Went on down to New Orleans

Where good times roll in fever dreams

I was a broke-ass musician with barely a penny to my name

Hopped up on grit and a hunger for fame

Blues was my calling card and rum was my fuel

I played that saxophone so loud I must’ve looked like a fool

Jamming till the early hours on Bourbon Street

I was going to bring the whole world at my feet

Started dabbling in voudou and hanging out with the dead

They were happy to listen and didn’t care what was said

Got it in my head to work some magic

I’d be damned if my jazz career was going to be tragic

So, I summoned The Baron in a graveyard at night

With rum and tobacco in the pale moonlight

In a top hat and tuxedo he came a-running

A bone-white face with eyes of cunning 

He sucked on a cigar and asked if I was afraid

I replied that I’d done scarier things trying to get laid

He laughed at that and knocked back his booze

While I blew on my sax with nothing to lose

I conjured hurricanes and storms that shook the ground

The Baron kept drinking and didn’t make a sound

When I’d finished my set he raised his cup

“Kid, stop trying so hard, you need to chin up

Jazz is that wild bar chick that can’t be tamed

But of course you go after her without any shame

It’s a paradox, a gas, a wonderful con

Keep hold of the spark or it’ll soon be gone.”

The Baron downed his rum and I did the same

Knowing life is simply a rigged game

Cockpit Country

Let me tell you the story of Cockpit Country

Where karsts roll through the sky like giant tumbleweeds

Fortress-strong hills for maroons seeking shelter

Sugarcane forests hiding the secrets of the universe

It’s a land of history, tradition and beauty

Home to the heart of Jamaica

An estate for producing liquid gold

Distilled and bottled for world consumption

Look for a signature orange peel note

Produced by a certain master blender

And you’ll be imbibing the soul of a people

That have stood tall throughout every adversity

That is the story of Cockpit Country

May it never end