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Pig Meat’s Blues

There are so many of us, we are like grains of sand on the beach. I like to think that sometimes we are carried off on the tide, only to return later tossed again on land, but perhaps this is fanciful.

Like driftwood, maybe we return again and again, but perhaps we are only on this beach and under this sun once.

Somehow we all think we are so important, when we are just one grain out of many. We are important to each other, but what of other significance, I am hopeful, but unsure.

Until the days of my parents, everyone usually lived in the same town and stayed in touch until death. World War Two spread my parents’ generation across America like soft margarine on bread and brought my family to then quaint Clearwater, where among others I met Pig Meat, who introduced me around to the local kids before first grade.

Pig Meat was a member of my grade school, junior and senior high school, and enslaved like me by our parents in our former church. We drifted in and out of contact, old friends.

In our electronic times, the grains of sand wash away to various destinations, so that Penny, who came from Salem and was carried by the tides to Clearwater appears now to have landed in Canada, and my first girlfriend Chloe is out among the fields of Kansas, while at least four girlfriends from my youth are even farther out of sight because they are now sadly dead.

My youthful male friends are even more scattered, off to Singapore, out in California, up in Asheville, and the dead among them are beginning to outnumber the living. In the period November 28 to December 1, a mere three days, two of these friends left this world: Chuck Johnson and Chester McMullen a.k.a. Pig Meat.

Fact is that souls are always passing into and out of this world. The object is to stay as long as possible, while well and happy.

Thanks to the web, scattered grains of sand can contact each other. This is not always a good thing. Other times, it’s pretty cool. Old friends meet. Angry lovers forgive each other. New friends are made.

The grains of sand can have Facebook accounts and websites and email each other. The electrons can make journeys faster than jet airliners and maybe even Star Trek’s transporter beam.

So it was that in 2005, a year my mother was to die pulverizing my soul to pulp, I began receiving new messages by email after decades absent from my life from my old friend Pig Meat McSwine.

Of course, Pig Meat wasn’t his name, but I couldn’t figure out his name from his email address, a whole bunch of letters at To make things harder, in real live he had cast off his “slave name” and taken a new nickname.

Pig Meat claimed to be a blues musician, a guitar player, who had not sold his soul to the devil like Robert Johnson at the crossroads. Pig Meat showed up to play smoky dives while wearing a pork pie hat. Sometimes he was a little high or tipsy. He was a journeyman, never a success.

His favorite living musician was Cat Power. He copied off one of Cat Power’s albums for me. I immediately bought four. I think she is one of “The Greatest” myself, and I dance on tables with her in my imagination.

Arriving one day by mail from Pig Meat was a book containing three novels by Cormac McCarthy, including All the Pretty Horses, made into a fine movie with Matt Damon.

Long before No Country for Old Men and the appearance on Oprah, Pig Meat taught college classes on this great American author. His favorite McCarthy novel (and mine) was Blood Meridian.

Pig Meat often stayed up all night, living like a vampire on the Internet, while I am arisen before the sun daily playing with words and their arrangements, my life is adding and deleting words from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. (and feeding the cat), and so we began early in the day to exchange a series of so-called blues songs and poems, solely for each other’s amusement – a joke for two old buddies.

This reminded me of my youth when Pig Meat and I spent Sunday mornings smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee in The Hungarian Budapest Restaurant while skipping church and convinced we were atheists.

What dumb asses we atheists must have seen in the presence of religious refugees from the Hungarian Revolution. We thought we were real smart then, but by the time we starting swapping blues songs we knew better

He was mad at his parents back then for something or other. I was angry with mine for whatever role they may have played in getting Chloe sent away to private school. To our Sunday morning rebellions, Pig Meat brought books of jokes by Jack Paar and introduced and put me on the road with Jack Kerouac.

I wish I had kept the contrivances Pig Meat emailed me on mornings when we were composing fake blues songs. I did make a file into which I dumped my infantile songs (“I’m Your Cooter Shooter, Baby” and a few other “blues” poems).

A excerpt of a letter home from Vietnam by Chester had appeared in an anthology called Vietnam Voices.

Phu Bai,

February 7, 1968

Please, I do not

Wish to hear



And I

Have Nothing

To Say

To Anyone

Written during or just after the Tet Offensive, I used this portion of it in the introduction to Under the Gun. Chester was kind enough to edit this book, and it helped having another Vietnam veteran think my novel had something new to offer about the war.

Pig Meat had been a document courier and trapped in Hue during the Tet Offensive, a mind-altering experience, I am sure.

Hundreds of miles to the south and wanting to come home at the end of my tour, I was trapped during the Tet Offensive on the compound of Lai Khe. We were both twenty-one with shattered romantic lives and war-filled brains.

Like me, Pig Meat got married a few times. Unlike me, he had two kids, girls. One sadly died of cancer at a young age. I imagine that takes something out of a guy, to lose a young daughter to cancer.

I met the other daughter Whitney once at the Indian restaurant in Ocala. She is a chip off the intellectual block, an intelligent and attractive woman who will certainly soar far in this world.

So there we were, two guys 59, who had been around the block more than once, in 2005 writing weird stuff (I would tend to use another word, but will not, as I already have the f-word almost coming) on the Internet, with plenty of blues inside of us both, writing fake blues songs at 4 or 5 a.m.

After receiving a half-dozen or so emails, I’d go jogging, but couldn’t wait to get home to see what Chester had written next. I fancy he felt the same way about Tim’s (Beef Jerky McOhr’s) spiel.

5. Drunk White Girl Blues

(c) 2005 Tim Ohr aka Beef Jerky

for Pig Meat

if a guys got a heart

i'll tear it apart

i like to screw

only not you

i'm a dirty white girl

got the drunk white girl blues

money in your wallet

is something i'll use

when i enter a bar

i drop my blouse this far

i hike up my skirt

then i begin to flirt

i'm a dirty white girl

got the drunk white girl blues

not to offend but

i'll screw your best friend

i'm a dirty white girl

got the drunk white girl blues

might screw your daddy too

do it on the pool table

if you're ready and able

do it on the floor

just don't call me no whore

i'm a dirty white girl

got the drunk white girl blues

in the back of a truck is

another place i like to f-

i'm a dirty white girl

got the drunk white girl blues

get me drunk enough

there's not much i won't do

only not with you

God Speed, old friends; may your grain of sand wash up again on some unknown beach and bask in the sunlight of another day presently unknown; and if not, may you find the peace so hard to find while here among us.

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