AT THE TOP

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(bmasse.com)

By: Wayne Brown

 

Do you see me up here, standing here on this stage?

A place I wanted to be from such a very early age

Do you see my talent shining like diamonds from afar?

Have I made it to your standard;  the level of a star?

 

 

Long years; playing for pennies in smoky ol’ bars

Just a wanna-a-be reaching, struggling for distant stars

Singing cover songs trying to gain a just a bit fame

Playin’ for peanuts in places where no one knows my name

 

 

Everyone dreams big but few know what it really means

To gain a lot of fame and live out those big dreams

Instant recognition, everybody knows your name

Casting off nothingness; diving headlong into the flame

 

 

On the climb up to the top, you can still see where you are

How much further to the top, how high you’ve come, how far

Then one day you look up and see there is no where to go

It’s lonely here at the top when you make it to the show

 

 

For all that great success is, there is nowhere left but down

Up is for those who have not made it yet, not the stars around

Standing up here on the pinnacle basking in the glow of it all

Never knowing if I’ll remain; not knowing when I’ll fall

 

 

Happiness is never found at the top of life’s staircase

We struggle to climb the steps attempting to win the race

For all that struggle, to reach the top and achieve success

There’s not much more here than at the bottom; emptiness

 

 

Oh sure, there is money and plenty of materialistic toys

Only temporary distractions bringing short-term joys

Everyone is your friend, most claim that they are related

Friendship is back down the mountain; value under-rated

 

 

In the end it does not matter how you measure success

Money, houses, cars, or just in the way you dress

All of that loses it flare much like a new car gets old

The things you need are not here; no salvation for the soul

 

 

Do you see me up here, standing here on this stage?

A place I wanted to be from such a very early age

Do you see my talent shining like diamonds from afar?

Have I made it to your standard;  the level of a star?

 

 

©Copyright WBrown2011. All Rights Reserved

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Comments 36 comments

WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

A sad story, indeed. Well done, Wayne.


Poohgranma profile image

Poohgranma 5 years ago from On the edge

Thank you for this tribute. This young lady had so far to go and her Depression and drug use just couldn't let her see how very much she was worth as a person, not just as a performer. I shed some tears every time I hear her wail, even at Mercedes Benz and I do so love that little ditty.

Great write!


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@WillStarr...Thanks much, Will. For some unknown reason, when I finished this verse and looked about Janis Joplin came to mind. I suppose it was because her success was so bittersweet and such a loss of talent in the end at such a young age. WB


marellen 5 years ago

Wayne, your story is so true of many talented singers who gained fame and money to only throw it all away on drugs. Money sure didn't buy them happiness.

BTW...I did see Janis Joplin in concert many moons ago.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Wayne I did not see the picture of Janice when I started reading your poem as it did not load for me. When I did see the video at the end it made so much sense. Beautiful write!


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@marellen...So true...much tragedy which has come with not being ready to handle the burden of success...it's not all peaches and cream. WB

@Just Ask Susan...It was rather odd. I was not thinking specifically about her when I wrote it yet it made sense when I was finished. Go figure! Thanks for the kind words! WB


Golfgal profile image

Golfgal 5 years ago from McKinney, Texas

very nicely done


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 5 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Funny, your comment to Will. I was sitting here thinking you could have put many faces, videos here and it still all held true. A unique pieces of writing.


Truckstop Sally profile image

Truckstop Sally 5 years ago

Lots to think about here. Kids, fame, maturity . . . George Bernard Shaw is credited with -- Youth is wasted on our young. . "Basically he meant that youths waste their youth doing youthful things of little use, and those who are mature enough to do useful things have little youth remaining to do them." I watched our top two American Idols on the Today program, and they assure us that their "faith" keeps them grounded. Quite a juggling act!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

Even though so many want instant success it seems to me to be helpful to build a strong foundation. I think of Elvis who gained it all, or did he? He allowed others to determine where he went and he lost himself.

My son who is not a musician once tried to be manager for a band that his best friend had. He got very frustrated because the musicians did not want to be bothered with working their way up and had no respect for money.He got pretty sour on show business types.

In terms of your poem, if you think you are at the top, it is time to set a new goal.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD

A brilliant & evocative piece of writing, capturing a lot of what it means to be human. I've often said that many exhaust their lives climbing what they perceive to be the ladder of success, but when they get to the top they discover that it was leaned up against the wrong building.

Thanks for stirring up my thinker this morning.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida

Exceptional, Wayne, and it made me think of that old truism: "Be nice to your friends on the way up. You might need them on the way down." Rated up.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@Golfgal...Thank you, so glad you liked it! WB

@mckbirdbks...So true, there are many tragic stories of fame that go along with this verse well. Thanks much. WB

@Truckstop Sally...Back in my youth, I always thought that famous people were just "discovered"...I never gave any thought to them doing a lot of work to get there and wrestling with the fame. Thanks much! WB

@dahoglund...I suppose it is a function of when opportunity knocks and whether or not you are ready. Take the Elvis example, his family was so poor that even a little money (Col Parker took half)seemed an unbelievable amount. What a shame so many cannot find the happiness in the "sense of achievement" as opposed to thinking that it can be bought with the money once you get there. I have known a few rich "unhappy" people in my life and that seems to be their approach...keep buying new toys to distract the unhappiness. Thanks, DA. WB

@Ken R. Abell....Wooo, strong word coming from you Ken That means a lot to me. I am so glad that you liked the verse. You analogy is right on. Don't go up a ladder if you don't know what is at the top. WB

@drbj...Thank you...there is nothing better than the love of good old friends when success comes to your door. At least you know who you are dealing with and possibly can trust. Thanks much! WB


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX

Wayne - Thought provoking. What I ultimately came up with has to do with setting standards. That's an individual endeavor but I have found that they must be achievable and not a matter of chasing one's tail.

Great Hub.

The Frog


Granny's House profile image

Granny's House 5 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

Wayne, so true. many too young to die have. Their success did not save them

Well done.

voted up


Whidbeywriter profile image

Whidbeywriter 5 years ago from Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island, Washington

Great poem and so very true, there are not many famous people out there that are humble and haven't let the fame ruin their lives.... Well done!


A.A. Zavala profile image

A.A. Zavala 5 years ago from Texas

An another awesome poem full of wisdom. Loved the video, especially like the scene with the family photograph. Everyone was dressed conservatively, but Janis. Awesome!


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@The Frog Prince...Most folks aspire to things in life that they really know too little about. What comes with all that sometimes is quite overwhelming. I think the other aspect is the fact that other people begin to take control over your life to the point that you lose ownership in the process. WB

@Granny's House...I think some people just want to perform and have given little thought to the fame...then when fame comes it brings a lot of misery along with it...that is a difficult thing for a young person to handle. WB

@Whidbeywriter...So true. But those who do handle it well shine like a diamond in a black sky. I think that speaks so well to their character. Thanks much! WB

@A.A. Zavala...Thank you. For some reason this poem seem to fit her once I had it finished...things happen that way some time. WB


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX

Wayne - Only if you let "control" be an issue and be taken. Interesting the various answers and responses I'm reading here and how many different meanings and messages people are garnering from this piece of excellent writing. Me? I'll never let anyone control me. It isn't in my fabric but a lot of that is centered on one's value systems which I am thinking about quite a bit lately. What is valuable to you may not be valuable to another. But your value system dictates who you are.

The Frog


samiaali profile image

samiaali 5 years ago

Hi WB, Great poem about making it and the good and bad of it. I can still hear Janis Joplin singing 'Me and My Bobby McGee!' What a great song and great artist. :)


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

This is true of so many talented people. So many are loved for how they make the public feel and never for themselves. Surely it must become very painful after a while.

Wayne, this is a great Hub. I just love it.


bethperry profile image

bethperry 5 years ago from Tennesee

Oh, well done!! And I love Janis Joplin's music.


thebluestar profile image

thebluestar 5 years ago from Northern Ireland

Wayne, talent is not just for the successful, there is talent in our everyday lives, passion and tears. Mistakes are made freely and without realisation in many cases. You are an awesome poetic and always show the ability to take the reader on a journey of many paths to follow. Thank you for writing this one. x


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@samiaali...I sing that song often while I play lousy guitar to accompany it! LOL! Janis certainly had a lot of talent surrounded by chaos. WB

@Hypenbird...Yes it is. Success does not wear well on some as they just don't have the foundation in life to deal with the challenges. I guess that is the reason we all need to be careful of what success that we wish for. Thanks for the great comments. WB

@bethperry...Oh, thank you for taking the time to read it. Glad that I could entertain you. WB

@thebluestar...That is a very true statement. We all make choices in our climb of life and some of those choices do not turn out so well for us. Ours don't play out on the world stage but they can be just as trumatic for us. Thanks for the good words! WB


Motown2Chitown 5 years ago

Wayne, what amazes me about you on a consistent basis is your real and sincere understanding of what it means to be human. It's sad isn't it? How we dream of success, and get it, only to find it ain't so great after all? And, then wind up burning ourselves out so early? This piece was awesome. And voted up of course.


Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

Beautifully written Wayne and heart rendering indeed!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Truly beautiful tribute. I am a huge JJ fan:) Me and Bobby McGee is one of my all time favs. You nailed it in the poem too Wayne. I have read books about her and I have a poster of her on my bedroom wall now. A gift from the Hipee Uncle of mine. I think Janis got to the top and realized she would never have what she set out to get. She was a rebel - and she did what she wanted and didn't care if everyone else didn't like it - or maybe she did?

Up and super duper awesome!


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota

AMAZING Poem and it's so true. I like my life simple, I like not being famous and at the top. Janis was an incredible artist and so sad she died so young. I can't imagine how hard it would be to be so famous. Great hub! Hit lots of buttons.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

Great insights! Enjoyed. Voted up and awesome!


tlpoague profile image

tlpoague 5 years ago from USA

Truly beautiful, in honor of a falling star. Thanks!


Mimi721wis profile image

Mimi721wis 5 years ago

Great tribute to Janice. You chose the perfect song. She had such a powerful voice. I love all her music and watched several documentaries about her. Her face told about her hard life. I was surprised at her actual age. She looked older. Guess that was the Jack Daniels.


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 5 years ago

Janice was a rising star indeed and left us a few of her tunes to remember her by. Like many back in the 60's and 70's drugs were a culture and many of us took with disregard. The most I ever did was weed, yet sadly to many took very hard drugs and it killed them. Jimmy Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Janis are a few of the many. Great write Wayne.


Motown2Chitown 5 years ago

You know, saddlerider, it's funny. This hub sparked a long conversation between me and my husband about just those three individuals...great minds, you know. :-) Good to see you, btw, "back in the saddle" as it were.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@Motown2Chitown...I think it stems from my growing up in a small town culture and my interest in watching people from afar. The human element always arises somewhere in the equation no matter how high the level of success. Charlie Sheen would do well to remember that! LOL! Thanks much! WB

@Ruchira...Thank you so much for those kind comments. I appreciate you reading it and commenting. WB

@RealHousewife...I am not sure that success was ever in the plan that Janis made. She seemed to be just living life and things happened. Regardless, her style of living would have resulted in her demise with or without success...I think that is the sad reality of her life. WB

@Minnetona Twin...Yes, she had a lot of talent but was already on a collison course with death before fame came to her door. Fame probably only made it a little easier to drive over the cliff. WB

@dallas93444...Thank you...glad you liked it! WB

@tipoague...Thank you! The poem seemed to fit Janis. WB

@Mimi721wis...She had a tremendous voice and Lord knows what she could have accomplished with it. But I believe she was too far gone long before success found her..as you say, the Jack Daniels was always there on her face...so young yet so old. WB

@saddlerider1...No doubt the hard drugs did take their toll on many of that generation. Those were folks who considered themselves to be living full out when the hard stuff came along so naturally they dove into the lifestyle without much reservation. Much talent lost. Thanks Ken for the great comments! WB


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 5 years ago

I agree this beautiful poem has Janis written all over it. Up and awesome and beautiful too.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@breakfastpop....Thanks much, Poppy. I wish ya'll would buy me a Mercedes Benz.....Pleassssssse! WB LOL!

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