Author’s Note:

My very first Nervous Breakdown post was for my  dear friend, Jett, who passed away a year ago. On this anniversary, I’d like to take a moment and say a few more words to him…


Over the airwaves, under the skin
God is a beat machine

But the song he’s playing
Ain’t for you, my brother

It’s for the preacher man standing over your grave
Shouting “Hell Mary Full of Rage…Hell Mary Full of Rage”

And the way I’m feeling right now
Drunk on 40’s of fire and grief
I wanna tear down heaven
Bring you down off your guitar cross

But that ain’t happening
Cause in a world like this
Gravity makes its own laws

So here I am
Stuck on the ground, needing a little relief
Cause it’s getting hard to no longer hear your radio soul
Playing through these streets



Yeah, your whore of static
She crashed your airwaves
Changed your frequencies from quadraphonic Happy Jack
To monophonic Let it Bleed

And once upon a time you were tuned to life everlasting
With your PhD in personal velocity and jet rockets turned to blast
But how the bottle robbed that from you fast

And though there was a time when you’d hoped to be the engine of everything

Now all your hot-wired for is life underground, underwater
This whole world coming through slaughter

And over the airwaves, under the skin
God is a beat machine

But the song he’s playing is the boom-boom beat
Of all these bombs dropping in the zip code of Devastation 90210



Yeah, that’s where I’ve been living since you’ve been gone, my brother

And right now all I wanna do is drive a car bomb through my heart
Tear myself down then build myself back up

Cause for too long now I’ve been punch-drunk on bad luck
Trying to understand

How your life’s been reduced to the lines etched into these praying hands

Yeah, and right now I’m praying for you, my brother
Praying for your heart

Marveling at how even unplugged it’s still a beautiful song
Something playing on every station of the cross

But no more loss
Right now it’s time to take that long walk from suffering to glory

Time to write a different end to this story

No more “Hell Mary Full of Rage”

Only “Hail Mary Full of Grace…Hail Mary Full of Grace”



Yeah, right now, my brother
I’m ready to take Deliverance to bed
Knock her up good, then a few minutes later say:

“Hey, Salvation, is my baby kicking inside you yet?”

And when that baby’s born and takes its first sparkling breath
That one, and everyone thereafter will be for you, my brother

And over the airwaves, under the skin

God is a beat machine
God is a beat machine

And wherever you are
I hope you’re breathing

And I hope you’re dancing…

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RICH FERGUSON has performed nationally, and has shared the stage with Patti Smith, Wanda Coleman, Exene Cervenka, T.C. Boyle, Jerry Stahl, Bob Holman, Loudon Wainwright, Ozomatli, and many other esteemed poets and musicians. He has performed on The Tonight Show, at the Redcat Theater in Disney Hall, the New York City International Fringe Festival, the Bowery Poetry Club, South by Southwest, the Santa Cruz Poetry Festival, Stephen Elliott’s Rumpus, and with UK-based poetry collective One Taste. He is also a featured performer in the film, What About Me? (the sequel to the double Grammy-nominated film 1 Giant Leap), featuring Michael Stipe, Michael Franti, k.d. lang, Krishna Das, and others. He has been published in the LA TIMES, Opium Magazine, has been widely anthologized, spotlighted on PBS (Egg: The Art Show), and was a winner in Opium Magazine’s Literary Death Match, LA. His spoken word/music videos have been featured at poetry film festivals throughout the world. Ferguson is a Pushcart-nominated poet, and a poetry editor at The Nervous Breakdown. His poetry collection 8th & Agony has been published by L.A.’s Punk Hostage Press.

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