Ballistic Gel

from by Kevin Dickerson



I watched a video of a bullet
impact through ballistic gel

on youtube in slow motion and threw up sparkling water
mixed with pepto bismol

The gel was meant to react like human flesh and bone
I watched the bullet tear through like it was JELL-O

Maybe I had caught the flu or something
Maybe the kids who had lost their lives in Florida were affecting me

I flushed the toilet and stood underneath hot water and steam
And hoped I could hold down some food for the afternoon

I contemplated the consequences of barfing in the CT machine
Can you imagine how embarrassing that would be?

I sipped on the Whole Foods store brand sparkling water can
and I said today that’s not gonna be me

That’s not going to be me

I’ve been very very preoccupied
so in the Lyft I rode in silence

to the sound of Cardi B
and some other songs I’d never heard before on Top 40

I went up to California Street
for some images from computed tomography

The nurse said, "Hi, my name’s Maria."
and I said, "Yes I remember you.

"You gave me an x-ray a few weeks ago...
and an MRI last week

and on your left wrist I think there’s a faded tattoo you probably got when you were 18"
And she smiled and said, "Oh yeah, how are you?"

"How are you?"

I said you know, I’m fine
And onto the CT bed I climbed

She positioned my leg precisely for the scan and covered my balls with lead with great care
and looked at me and said, "There’s a small amount of radiation."

And later that day I scheduled my surgery
to get my sub-taylor joint debrided again

My fingernails were getting too long on my right hand
for playing guitar—not as long as Zack Wylde’s or Lenny Breau’s

So I got my clippers and put on a documentary about so-called "big five" hunters
who like to take down animals like lions and rhinos

I didn’t know a crocodile could roar and howl
It was dark and I shut it off halfway through

My dad hunted and fished when we were growing up
Although I’m pretty sure now it’s possible it was an outsized excuse

For my dad to drink beer and tell jokes with his friends
in the woods like George McClure, member number 609

Of the Elk’s Club who died in 2000
maybe it was a heart attack or maybe a stroke

He was a man of size just like my uncle Glen
Just like my uncle, Glen

I stopped by the studio to hang, my friend Andrew
was tracking vocals, he’s got a great voice and he’s working on a really great album

and he plays piano really well too
And I sat in the control room and pet the little kitty Salome, and I sat and listened

Andrew played piano for me and sang backup vocals on “Do I Remember?”
I said this song sounds great who’s playing bass?

And Beau said that’s Nate Brenner
I said I thought so and I waited for a break to say hi to Andrew and Heather

They said how are you and I said you know how it is I just got a CT scan at RadNet
and Heather said I know the radiologist there, Meghan

I said I bet she has looked at my scans several times over the years
she must like to sing, just like me

Music can be big business like Cardi B, or it can be meaningful and thought provoking
Music is beautiful, and necessary too

If you disagree, ask Keith Sweat about his sexy Keith Sweat grooves

I walked through the mission
from an open house near 24th

I ran into Beau who was eating a burrito
We both said it sure would be an easy walk to the studio

Saw Kathleen there too, I said what a nice city
we live in, I get to run into my friends

Old and new and there’s pretty good food

Maybe not as good as Los Angeles
but the food’s still pretty great—I’ll take burritos over sandwiches any day

I called my dad and he was hauling an old Bassman amplifier half stack
Across the snowy yard to give to his neighbor because the guy got bored during the cold snap

My dad said "We’re always playing with equipment, you and I, we’re the same"
I said "yes dad, in many many many many ways"

We talked about the great guitarist Lenny Breau
How he too left the earth too soon

He played beautiful guitar in his own way
It reminded me that for my own custom guitar I’m still waiting

Lenny Breau’s playing was so beautiful
The angelic harmonies that he played were stunning and technically incredible

Breau was a Canadian hall-of-famer
And I thought about him while I made my way down to Daly City Surgery Center

for a pre-op appointment with one of my anesthesiologists
To get some controlled substances

I said don’t give me those opiates Dr. Churnin
And he said don’t worry you won’t get addicted

I’ll give you Tramadol
it’s more like a wine cooler

You’ll be able to get around
As long as you take great care

Yes, I said, I’ll be glued
to my music-making chair

If you find an idea to create art that is pure
Pick it out of the air

Play with it for a while like I did with this one and add a Keith Sweat kind of groove
And send it out to the world to share


from Sunburst, released November 2, 2018
Kevin Dickerson - Words, vocals, electric guitar
Beaunoise - Digitakt, drum machines

Written by Kevin Dickerson
Engineered by Beau Sorenson
Produced by Beau Sorenson
Recorded at Tiny Telephone, San Francisco
Mastered by Jacob Winik
Album Art by Kevin Dickerson


all rights reserved



Kevin Dickerson San Francisco, California

Kevin Dickerson is a singer-songwriter who lives in San Francisco. His latest full-length album is called "Ginger Grapefruit."

Follow @kevindickerson on Instagram, Twitter

Photo: Kristin Cofer

contact / help

Contact Kevin Dickerson

Streaming and
Download help

Redeem code

Kevin Dickerson recommends:

If you like Kevin Dickerson, you may also like: