New Album, “A Single Thought”

I present my first ever spoken word album!
I think it's the truest creative expression I've ever done, which I mean in at least 3 different ways: 1) I subdued my inner critic/filter and made it fucking honest; 2) I fully released any concerns about whether other people would like or not, make fun of me, etc.; 3) I worked out all the words well in advance (already want to change a few!) but I performed them here without any rehearsal. The musical and vocal performances are (almost) completely improvised from a trance-like state, just sharp enough to keep playing my instruments. I did this in an attempt to let my subconscious express itself, free from analytical/calculated manipulation (I've been reading a lot of Surrealist stuff lately). Anyway, play this one at my funeral. (I don't plan on having one anytime soon!)

Samsara

FireClose

We stood around the fire

that night,

strangers to ourselves,

souls far from home,

stranded

on this far-flung and forlorn

fold of the vast wasteland of form,

in some kind of interdimensional waystation,

someone’s back yard.

 

We were all the main characters in separate stories,

long and wild ones, but

somehow, we all ended up in that scene together,

wondering if destiny had a purpose,

all awestruck and quiet

around the fire

that night.

 

I strummed soft smoky bittersweet notes,

steady, simple, continuous,

a blanket of consolation

that wrapped us each in our separateness

and kinda snuggled us all together.

 

Notions flared up occasionally,

wispy and wistful

or sparking and popping out of the fire ring.

“How did I get here?”

“I wonder what ever happened to so and so.”

“What could I have done differently?”

“How am I gonna get out of this place?”

“My soul isn’t from here,

but it can’t remember where home is.”

“I wish the child-me could know how loved he was,

but he never really knew and now he’s dead,

and buried somewhere

inside me.

But maybe he can hear me

tell him now;

I see his ghost playing and running around in my dreams some nights.”

“Dreams make perfect sense.

Why is being awake such a mindfuck?”

 

Now and then

we looked into each other’s eyes for a moment,

maybe a little more,

with sad smiles and

soul’s light glowing through

those sweet heartache eyes

of warm moist clay,

cheek bones and brow worn down

to an earthy grace

of surrender and determination.

 

Yeah, now and then

we look into each other’s eyes for a moment,

but mostly we all stare into the fire,

half hypnotized.

Is it because behind the flickering

flames of this life,

a constant light and warmth

reminds us of some kind of eternal home,

a place to rest in belonging?

 

Or do we stare into the fire

so we can put our backs

to  home,

the cold dark space surrounding us,

stretching beyond the beyond,

whispering to us

reminding us that sooner or later

we must  return,

whenever our spirits decide they’re finally done with this samsara.

 

Did we stay too many times in this world

clinging to some kind of self?

Are we the abandoned orphans

or are we the runaways?

Nobody can remember.

But I know that whether we live infinite lifetimes

or die a final death,

not one of us will make it out of here.

 

Almost Full

glass2

The table was so long

I couldn’t see where it ended.

An incredible banquet

of countless dishes crowded

together and out into the distance.

I picked up a plate and excitedly moved along

sampling this and that.

Many dishes were marvelous and delicious,

many shockingly foul and bitter,

but I found while the flavors faded,

all were worth trying.

 

I grew anxious.

 

Some dishes emptied,

but I wanted more.

And it occured to me

that my stomach couldn’t possibly fit

a taste of everything.

It hurt to see all the

tempting treats

I would have to leave

untouched.

 

Half way down the table,

with the beginning and end both in sight,

I noticed so many things I wanted to taste

weren’t even

on the table.

 

Rage and disappointment!

How could this be my banquet?

This is all there is?

 

I felt a hand on my shoulder.

It was the chef.

I was just about to complain,

but she spoke first,

in a voice of wry and friendly humor:

 

“It’s funny!

You are here

and you have been given

an exquisite banquet,

and yet you’re upset,

because all you can think about

is what you couldn’t have.

Ha!”

 

She handed me a glass of water,

almost full,

winked,

and walked away.

Original Face

IMG_20171014_145250

The smooth, fresh snow of youth,

glowing with light still whole,

conceals the rough rock faces

sculpted countless lifetimes.

 

What spring-born creature could know

the land’s shape before the winter?

The melting reveals,

but not before it alters.

Cracked rock tumbles

and loose earth washes away.

 

Blue, pink, and yellow surprises

speckle receding white,

as the land awakens slowly,

slipping the blanket off

its bed of green grass,

blood brown soil,

scattered, quiet stone.

The frozen white light shatters

into the many colors.

 

The mask melts at last,

and the terrain

of a well-worn face

appears.

 

I wanted to meet you

while we still wore some snow.

 

I wish I could have seen

you through your seasons.

 

And I wanted you to see

how I became.

I wanted someone

to know.

 

But it’s just as well.

We will be glad to find each other already unfrozen,

wearing our warm ridges lovingly.

We will share stories of spring and summer,

imagine the blossoming and burning.

Sometimes story is better than sight.

 

Like neighboring mountains,

have we already seen each other

shaped through the countless cycles?

Who can remember?

 

But I will know you when I see you.

You will have, as I do,

a snow capped peak,

a special and secret place

standing out above you,

fantastic,

unreachable.

 

I want to gaze up at your original face,

hidden forever by first snow,

so the light can tease me

with your wink.

Strange Bird

IMG_20181204_111228

Frantic

I grabbed at a thought and missed.

Terror

as two flew from my arm’s hold.

 

I was clutching a wild flock to my chest.

Obsessed eyes scanning back and forth,

trying to notice which would try to escape next.

Wings fluttered in my winced face and

beaks pecked at my eyes and

another slipped out and flew off and “I NEED YOU!”

 

One had an urgent message still tied to its leg,

another was pretty,

and another I wanted to wear on my shoulder,

to repeat and validate everything I said,

and another,

the most crucial of all,

was for dinner.

My precious thoughts!

My precious…

 

I couldn’t hold them all.

One by one I let them go,

sacrifices made in anxious surrender

and faith.

 

Watching them fly off,

I was caught by the wide view of heaven.

 

Laughing,

I remembered

it had been right in front of me all along,

I hadn’t been holding my thoughts.

They had been holding me.

 

Free

and facing the spacious fullness of life

I raised my empty arms in wonder and gratitude.

A strange bird landed

in my palm.

I didn't grasp.

I held it graciously, like the ground holds our feet.

 

The strange bird looked me right in the eye

and said, “The important ones will come back

exactly when you need them,

but they will need a place to land.”

Ash to Ash

SmokingDeath

(flit)

Phhhh,

Hhhhhh

 

Shit.

Do I have it?

Is this how my lungs usually feel?

I don’t even know.

Waiting

 

0.2% of people aged 30-39

 

I hear her coughing in the kitchen,

like someone smacking and scraping

an empty cardboard box.

 

“Like an iron weight on your chest,

like breathing through a pinched nose.”

 

Phhhh,

Hhhhhh

 

Dizzy cold falling fuck oh my god this is it I have it

I remember that it could be

exciting

and interesting.

It would be alright to die like that.

 

Waiting.

OK, I feel alright

I think.

 

I/we can’t see what’s happening.

 

Phhhh,

Hhhehhh…

 

With stones and bamboo poles.

they killed thousands,

even children.

She said they knew he was innocent,

but the people stoned him until he was broken

into pieces that mixed with the gravel path,

desperate to prove their own innocence.

 

One third of Europe

 

I should quit anyway.

Phhhh,

Hhhehhh…

 

13,000 Americans die

every day from

smoking.

 

Quarantinesocialdistancinginfecteddisinfectcontagiouslungsfluidbeatenbecausehewas

AsianlockdownWorldHealthOrganizationlaidoffrecessionrentoutbreaktestingventilators

stockpilingshortagesevictionexponentialtoiletpapermasksdeadliermartiallawTrumpsaid,

 

“I don’t take responsibility at all.”

 

Phhhh,

Hhhhhh

 

Man, sometimes I get so fucking scared.

It’s hard to get comfortable with the fact

life is just

ash to ash.