Life can be strange and clues can light the way



Stories, Poetry, Songs by Uncle John

*Music by Uncle John


Mystery Rivers*

Sing You A Sweet Song Now Momma*

Poker Face*


The Lover

Let The Good Times Be *

Clues to Our Existence: Part 1 Metamorphosis*

Clues to our Existence: Part 2 Butterfly*

Hello to My Heart*

Home Sweet River

Peace to All Who Enter Here

Wedding Band Story *

The Fool´s Journey

Me & Casey McAllister*

Gambling Man

Singing In The Band


The Moon

The Awakening Sun

The Journey=


The Dancer

Sunrise Lady*

The Hunter*

Twenty-two Roses+



=live reading@ Sweetwater Music Hall, Mill Valley, California, October 21, 2019


I wrote these songs in the 1970´s, all of them inspired by the Grateful Dead, except for “Dune”, an interpretation of science fiction writer Frank Herbert´s book, Dune.

I am not a musician because I don´t have the ear for music. Whenever I been on stage with a guitar I had to rely on other musicians to tune it for me. Even with the new tuning devices, I still can´t get it consistently precise. I was fortunate to have professional vocal lessons that enable me to be a singer.

These 24 lyrics (light editing of the originals) will be published this year. The songs listed with an asterisk * are the songs I wrote music to and hoping to record these songs. I was inspired to learn the guitar by Chuck Berry. Back then, I saw him at the Golden Gate Racetrack in Albany California one afternoon and this simple man who travelled with a guitar, and relied on local high school musicians to be his backing band wherever he showed up, showed me what was possible. I learned to play “Promised Land”. The chords in his songs were easy to learn and the Grateful Dead added some of his songs to their repertoire. This encouraged me to write music to my poetry and lyrics. The arrangement+ for “Twenty-two Roses” is with Bob Weir.

--Uncle John, 3/15/21


Wedding Band Story

 by Uncle John


 Groom: You know that my love for you is true

Bride: And you know, baby, that I love you too

Groom & Bride:

Open up your door into the heart of you

While the whole world spins

There is only you

Groom: Baby hey now do you believe

That nobody in this world loves you like me

Bride: I hear you knocking

Let our new life begin

Groom: I hear you knocking

Let´s stay in love over and over again

Groom & Bride:

When I look through my true love´s eyes

We´ll be here together for the rest of our life

Bride: Open up your heart

Let me love come through

Groom: Open up your eyes

Because I´m in love with you

Groom & Bride:

As we take this golden ring in hand

We share together in our wedding band

Through a cloud of darkness

Into a circle of light

Lovers forever now

Love of my life

Groom: They tell me you´re the rose, the heart and its core

Bride: like the love of a singer standing down by the shore

Groom: Staying calm through the fiercest of wind

Bride: I think it´s about time you come on in

Groom & Bride: Through the veils of space and time

To the frontier planet that is the mind

Riding far driving sound

Writing through the universe´s crown

Groom: Singing a sweet love song

Groom & Bride: To our home to our home

Bride: Ringing through the palace

Groom & Bride:

Like a song like a song

As we get ready to take the first step through

Groom: My sweet love

Bride: My sweet love

Groom & Bride: Singing out our dream our love and our song

Here to you here to you

Groom: Like a waterfall inside the sun

Bride: Like a band of love and fun

Groom: Like a dream like a scene

Bride: Like a flower unfolding caressingly

Groom & Bride:

Just like the child with the eyes of life

Just like a rainbow painted across the sky

We drink from the immortal sun of fire

We open into our true heart´s desire

As we let our rings spin us

All the way all the way back home

Round and round and round we come

Bride: Because I love you

Groom: Because I love you

Groom & Bride: Because we as one the child loves you


Groom: Drink the wine wedding guest

Bride: Let it flow into your heart

Groom & Bride: The world has mated its love nest


The Fool´s Journey

by Uncle John


Tombstone Tombstone

I´m on my way back home

Thinking about getting stoned

Gonna plug in those old hi-fi earphones

And I want me an ice cream cone

I don´t even have a dime for the pay tellyphone


I started travelling looking for the way to be

I was trying to stop my world to see

But in a dream my hands stopped me

And the voice in the mirror said look at me

Well I tried to act so humble and meek

I mean have you ever tried to live with yourself for a week


I gave up my sleep stopped eating food

Lived in the darkness dreamed by my moods

So this story can be told

About a time when we´ll never grow old

´cause the wheel of the world been turned over I´m told

To the rainbow child with the eyes of gold

Who thinks that sunshine is the finest thing known


Suddenly dark clouds warned of a storm

And in the midst of a harvest a child is born

In a field of corn

In the distance you could hear the sound of a horn


Tombstone Tombstone

I´m on my way back home

With a stopover in Mexico

Where I ran into the Portchester Crow

Who pointed the way into the flow

Of the dance the vision and the live show


The river she´s running inside

The mountaintop is so high

He sees by the sun and feels by the moon

Coming out of his cocoon


Sitting there on a desert mountain

When it suddenly turns into a magic fountain

When you separate your reality

You can tune your living color fantasy


Tombstone Tombstone

I´m on my way back home

Through space and time

To write a poem

Like an epitaph

Or a paragraph

Travelling through the heart´s path


Tombstone Tombstone

I´m on my way back home

Thinking about getting stoned

Gonna plug in those old hi-fi earphones

And I want me an ice cream cone

I don´t even have a dime for the pay tellyphone


Hello to my Heart

Lyrics & Music by Uncle John

Spanish translation by Tania Carrasco

The movement of the wind
Turn on the night lights
The stars in the sky shine
In sight of the sights

Do you know that time is waiting to become eternity
To see you as happy as you can be
Doing what I can
For you when you are kind
Through all the changes in our mind
Thanks for sharing the time

Playing and bells ringing
Dancing and singing
You know who the Master is
I'm just a working man
Together through our work and laughter
We've been chasing the promised land

Now that we are family
With a vision of liberty
I say to you
Hello to my heart
Goodbye to all the misery

The prophesied time to come
For the troubadour of change
Makes its way around now
This world sure seems strange
The circle is complete
Back on the road
Across the great bridge
Like a boomerang coming home

With calm and patience and strength of all we are
I'm just a season to remember
And a long dream about a star
With a love song and a daydream
Vision of the Guardian of the Planet
And the source of our soul
Our life turns
The new world sung
And love
the masterpiece in the universe´s role

Dawn inside
Take me to your golden land
Put your mind in my hand
Look into your heart child and understand
Now that we are family
With a vision of liberty
I say to you
Hello to my heart
Goodbye to all the misery


Mystery Rivers

Late one night in Palo Alto, California, after a Jerry Garcia Band show, most of the people had left, and Jerry turns to me and asks me to play him a song.

I played this song that I wrote

When moondrops that come from remembering

 you looking into my eyes

When you come around again

 to sing like a bluebird flies

When I walk beside your footsteps

 that come from heaven by the sea

Playing on the promised guitar

 in the back hills under the trees

Like the wedding and the river

 The love that it brings

Telepathy on the ridge and bridge

and the light in your eyes when you sing

to be continued


Me & Casey McAllister

Lyrics & Music by Uncle John


Back when the time

That the wheel stood at ten

Me & Casey McAllister

Were brothers from the pen


Now Casey was a good man

Even though he had done time

Even when they treated him badly

He was always kind


Me & Casey would often dream

That there would come a time

When we could live like children

& let everything be so fine


We were playing in the sand

& running under the moon

His momma calls out to him

Said son be home soon


He said now hey momma

He said momma please listen

If I don’t watch my step

I’m gonna end up back in prison


Now this was two years ago

In the town of Ontario

When I jumped over the fence

And ran on down the road

And ran back into Casey

Who says listen here you bird

You might have jumped over the fence

But you can’t jump off the world


And we’d go & gather roses

By the cemetery trail

Rejoicing each & every day

That we’d been out of jail


Now me & Casey were brothers

But not in the usual sense

We travelled to the mountaintop

& shared time in the pen


One day we sat down with a deck of cards

I drew the king he made

But the queen of his heart

Soon came to his aid


Casey chased that lady

All the way to Frisco bay

And he came back again

With the sun shining through the day

When we found a balance

That we know we’d never lose

We woke up with the morning

Every day was ours to choose


Now me & Casey were brothers

But not in the usual sense

We travelled to the mountaintop

& shared time in the pen


We’d go riding in our chariot

And let our hearts shine

Now Casey was a good man

Even though he had done time




by Uncle John


As I rode into this west Texas town

With this dancer and this clown

They were only going to spend the night

Just trying to find a way to their light

And me I´m just a desert man

A man who has lived his life in the sand



As I walked into the local saloon

Me, this ballerina and this buffoon

They sat down and ordered some whiskey

But me I just want to be

I just come here to play my cards

And if you´re willing to show yourself pard

I´m just a poker face

A man who likes to play the ace


I sat down with this fella to play some poker

The fella turned out to be a joker

So I figured oh what the heck

As I casually stacked the deck

I let him deal and he dealt me an ace

Then dealt himself a very straight face

I knew we were playing for very high stakes

So I couldn´t make any mistakes

We were only playing a single hand

Him, he was betting all of his land

Me, I was betting my life

I figured it wasn´t worth a dime


Then he dealt me an ace of spades

I figured then and there I had it made

And sure enough I had won

When he quickly reached for his gun

I drew quicker filled him with lead

Before the night was over the joker ws dead


So I said to this dancer and clown

You no longer have to wear that frown

Come with me to the land of the free

We´ll begin a new family

We´ll invite our brothers and sisters everywhere

Who are open and willing to share

To come and live with us

We´ll build a land and life of trust


Now I´m no longer a poker face

Just another member of the human race

Before I go I have to play this last ace

My heart which is your face

You´re the love of life so real

I could sing all night to you what I feel




Lyrics & Music by Uncle John


From the edge of darkness

There is a glimmer of light

Leap for the daytime

Leave behind the night


People are afraid of getting old

Because all old people die

Have you wondered why


In your heart of inspiration


To stop discrimination


Look inside to realize


Through space and stars

And follow the weather

Time can change


Some have been waiting a lifetime to show a hand

Time for the showdown waiting for the band

This midnight gambler

Will become a full time rambler

Singing my heart here now for you


Coming into a desert town

For the showdown

Yes it all comes around

After the slowdown

The sound


I look in my heart

And there you are

Your magic eyes

And dancing guitar


Our eyes are like windows and mirrors too

That can be like a star´s light of truth


The child can see

And is realized

Waiting to manifest

An inner light


For her name is wonder

Staring through you

The golden gate is open

To an inner world of ocean blue


Looking in to the eye of the sun

In order to see

Radiate beautifully

The way to do is to be

For the sea that bore me

Shall free me to be


And this gentle rider

Going to go one higher

Dreaming up a story

Of their morning glory


This began with a bird you know

Begins again here with a show

Surrounded by kind love

And a sunshine rainbow


No longer carrying a frown

I´m coming into town

Going to show up

For the showdown


I been waiting for you

Yes, waiting here for you

Like the sea of tranquil desire

Like the sun with its heart on fire

Like a rose like a rose

Coming home coming home

Like a road like a road

Leading home




Lyrics & Music by Uncle John


Sing you a sweet song now momma

Sing you all the way back home

Sing through the wind and the rainbows

to the desert sun and the travelling show


Came down the highway

to get ready cause it's getting late

Past waiting mystery

to the heart's gateless gate

As a humming voice is heard

Flying free as a bird

The plan is set in motion

with a sound yet not a word


Looking back to where

the circle began

Where we come all this way

sifting through grains of sand

I wake up my eyes inside one morn

to find a clean new land


Sing past the edge of darkness and night

Sing through here and follow the light

Sing you a sweet song now momma

Sing you all the way back home


Get into your dream

Open up my mind

The dead are asleep

Rise and shine on time


Now the trail has been laid

And we've pulled out the spades

Heading straight to twilight day

But in sleep I have seen

There's more to this here dream

Now do you think you know what it really means

You can't fool the river

So don't push so hard

The dead are awake

Playing the hand and not the card


Like the sea devouring the tower

Those walls of time

Like the man who changes

 & learns to be kind

Like the sweet lonesome river

washing away the load

When the reaper brings the harvest

We'll be celebrating in our home


Sing you a sweet song now momma

Sing you all the way back home

Sing past the darkness & the cold

to the everlasting sun's bright glow

Sing you a sweet song now momma




Epilogue: ¨THE JOURNEY¨

@ Sweetwater Music Hall, Mill Valley, California, October 21, 2019

Live videorecording

When your past becomes your path

& you come to answer what you ask

& the angels take you down to your grave

I´m not here to follow the parade


You begin to understand

That you were just a man

But to be a man is to stand in your doorway

I´m not here to judge

 in a world among friends

You know the beginning from where the song ends


Your journey leads us to wake

Up in the eyes of the world

You been working here so long

To fill our hearts with song

Help us to understand our rights

From what´s wrong


I look around for you

In all the places we have been

On a mysterious winding path

The gold of sunshine shining through

seven golden rings

with seven golden powers

that makes good men immortal

Same revelation and secret

Surrounding all of you

Child of magic

With words of wonder

You stopped the world

So the blind man can see

Grateful you shall always be


We are lifted up by the spirit

To soar like an eagle high above

On the wings of the power of love

¨Sometimes the light is all shining on me

Other times I can barely see

Lately it occurs to me

What a long strange trip it´s been¨