Mortaljive: The Rest is Silence

There is no still point in all the Universe, and that is the rock upon which I stand

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

When we got to Alturas

we left the children at a quarter to ten
no sense in trying to save them again
we grabbed the liquor and the diamond rings
we almost grabbed it all

we hit the highway at a hundred and three
we drove along the edges of infinity
the road was hissing like a snake on fire
we were headed for a fall
we were headed for a fall

there wasn't any medicine left
all the prayers were broken
our best and brightest were thrown out of the car
we couldn't go very far
there was nothing left to cure us
we couldn't shake the devil on our tail
that's when we got to Alturas

we saw the bells in the highway bricks
they used to ring long ago
we pulled the ropes and grabbed our necks
we weren't ready to go

when you're in trouble the world is a fiend
when you are hiding it can see everything
when you can't stand it is time to run
that is the moment when you are done
you are done


there wasn't any medicine left
all the prayers were broken
our best and brightest were thrown out of the car
we couldn't go very far
there was nothing left to cure us
we couldn't shake the devil on our tail
that's when we got to Alturas

can't get back to Klamath Falls
we'll never make it to Reno
the forests are on fire like a birthday cake
hey can you loan me a C note?

our days are numbered, our nights are marked
we hide in the shadows and throw light in the dark
we gotta find the best and the purest
we're waiting on a train in Alturas
we are the furthest we can go


we left the children at a quarter to ten
no sense in trying to save them again
we grabbed the liquor and the diamond rings
we almost grabbed it all

we hit the highway at a hundred and three
we drove along the edges of infinity
the road was hissing like a snake on fire
we were headed for a fall
we were headed for a fall


can't get back to Klamath Falls
we'll never make it to Reno
the forests are on fire like a birthday cake
hey can you loan me a C note?


there wasn't any medicine left
all the prayers were broken
our best and brightest were thrown out of the car
we couldn't go very far
there was nothing left to cure us
we couldn't shake the devil on our tail
that's when we got to Alturas


Monday, July 30, 2012

I'm baaaaccckkkkkkkk...



Sunday, July 29, 2012

Do not mention him

do not speak the killer's name
do not shine the light insane
do not honor with attention
do not mention him

all the victims are in heaven
all the victims safe and sound
souls are leading in contention
do not mention him

turn the camera from the rifles
turn the camera from the bombs
turn the camera in great circles
turn the sound way down
turn the sound way down

paint your hair in circus colors
paint your life in blood so red
paint your nightmare's full intention
do not mention him
do not mention him

everyone will sing together
join the chorus, we are strong
everyone is in detention
do not mention him

turn the camera from the rifles
turn the camera from the bombs
turn the camera in great circles
turn the sound way down
turn the sound way down

one less face for god to varnish
one less heart to beat tonight
when you're dead there is no tension
do not mention him
do not mention him

everyone will sing together
join the chorus, we are strong
everyone is in detention
do not mention him

turn the camera from the rifles
turn the camera from the bombs
turn the camera in great circles
turn the sound way down
turn the sound way down

Tom, Tom the Piper's Son

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Rock and Sand


Friday, July 27, 2012

White and Delightsome Taint

I think I just just spit up a little bit.  My bad.  Sorry.

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

More Depressing News from the UK



I wonder if Mitt Romney watched this before making new friends in London...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

He's Got Dead Moroni Eyes

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


A window on the western shores...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Dusty Old Trail

east of the rockies the rain had stopped falling
west of the gamblers the wind only stuttered
north of the border the weapons were fingered
south of the moon we drank up the vineyard
south of the moon was a fine place to be
south of the moon, just you and me

we needed the winter, we needed the slumber
we needed the spring and the promise of life
we needed good harvests, with bountiful baskets
we needed the love of a beautiful wife

just right of midnight we sat for the cinema
just right of midnight, the flickering lights
we are all brothers and sisters in cinema
we are all watchers, here in the night

we needed the winter, we needed the slumber
we needed the spring and the promise of life
we needed good harvests, with bountiful baskets
we needed the love of a beautiful wife

the popcorn is stale, the hot dogs forgotten
the candy is silent, the bon bons all cold
someone has measured dimensions unfathomable
someone has taken lives in the fold
someone has taken lives in the fold

blood on the carpet, blood on the walls
blood is the paint that tells us a tale
blood on America, but don't say a word now
blood is the guide on a dusty old trail

we needed the winter, we needed the slumber
we needed the spring and the promise of life
we needed good harvests, with bountiful baskets
we needed the love of a beautiful wife

east of the rockies the rain had stopped falling
west of the gamblers the wind only stuttered
north of the border the weapons were fingered
south of the moon we drank up the vineyard
south of the moon was a fine place to be
south of the moon, just you and me

blood on the carpet, blood on the walls
blood is the paint that tells us a tale
blood on America, but don't say a word now
blood is the guide on a dusty old trail

***

Saturday, July 21, 2012

No Smiles

Jesus pays a visit to Our Lady of No Background Checks Cemetery...

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Some days the heart breaks again...



Our sweet and brave gray & white, magnificently whiskered Juan Carlos, a semi-feral kitten when first rescued by Donna in Los Angeles in 2000, has met a difficult and sad end. He declined to come back in the house on Thursday night, having turned away from the open sliding glass door, choosing instead for more adventure on a fine summer evening. He did not come back all night, and we feared theworst. The next morning Donna searched for him, finding only tufts of fur--we thought he had been killed by a coyote. Later in the day we came to find he was alive but hurt, possibly by a car or dog, and hiding in a thicket of thorny blackberry vines (this is the shorter version) of a house whose owner had died some time ago--Donna went headlong into the bramble in the wildly overgrown backyard and paid the price with laceration wounds from the thorns on her arms (and a few lashes to her legs for good measure). Our neighbors assisted as I cut through the thicket to make a path, and they found us an old refrigerator crisper drawer to place him in once Donna had him in her grasp (he was frightened but too weak to hide further, and the soft towels Donna used helped calm him). We then drove him to an emergency vet clinic--his back left leg was no longer viable, but there was some hope for his other injury, a fractured front left arm. Overnight at the vet clinic it was determined that the blood flow had been compromised in the front left arm, and with other internal issues there was no way to save this wonderful friend of ours--he was euthanized this morning, with Donna and I holding and caressing him. A very sad, very hard day, Bastille Day, the 122nd anniversary of my grandmother Armstrong's birth, the 100th anniversary of Woody Guthrie's birth, and a new mother, daughter-in-law to my sister, Amanda Richard's birthday--this day shall also have to hold our goodbyes to one we loved. The reason there is a picture of a glove is as follows: Juan Carlos was an indoor cat for most of his life, and would go on hunting expeditions most nights, sometimes until the wee hours, crossing the mighty plains of the living room, roaming the tundra of the dining room, skirting the water falls inside the kitchen sink. He would return from these hunts triumphantly, with gloves, socks, shoes, a dog toy, crocs--they were no match for him and his skill as a predator. He would plop them down in the hall and cry out, howling about his achievement, and we would answer him with "Oh, great Juan Carlos, you are our mighty hunter!" However, something was missing from these rituals: the real world, with real excitement, real adventure; we let him outside more and more, and so these past few months, little by little, Juan Carlos was able to experience what before had been only play. At the end of his life he went out a Warrior, Our Mighty Hunter, our love. To the world, just another cat--to us, he is King of the Vikings, Master of Adventure, the Sleek and Elegant One, and we will miss him terribly. We are lighting candles tonight, and Valhalla has one more place to set at its vast and noisome table. Tat tvam asi, beloved Juan Carlos. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.






Piper at the Gates of Dawn



Excerpt:




Slowly, but with no doubt or hesitation whatever, and in something of a solemn expectancy, the two animals passed through the broken tumultuous water and moored their boat at the flowery margin of the island. In silence they landed, and pushed through the blossom and scented herbage and undergrowth that led up to the level ground, till they stood on a little lawn of a marvellous green, set round with Nature's own orchard-trees— crab-apple, wild cherry, and sloe.
'This is the place of my song-dream, the place the music played to me,' whispered the Rat, as if in a trance. 'Here, in this holy place, here if anywhere, surely we shall find Him!'
Then suddenly the Mole felt a great Awe fall upon him, an awe that turned his muscles to water, bowed his head, and rooted his feet to the ground. It was no panic terror— indeed he felt wonderfully at peace and happy— but it was an awe that smote and held him and, without seeing, he knew it could only mean that some august Presence was very, very near. With difficulty he turned to look for his friend. and saw him at his side cowed, stricken, and trembling violently. And still there was utter silence in the populous bird-haunted branches around them; and still the light grew and grew.
Perhaps he would never have dared to raise his eyes, but that, though the piping was now hushed, the call and the summons seemed still dominant and imperious. He might not refuse, were Death himself waiting to strike him instantly, once he had looked with mortal eye on things rightly kept hidden. Trembling he obeyed, and raised his humble head; and then, in that utter clearness of the imminent dawn, while Nature, flushed with fulness of incredible colour, seemed to hold her breath for the event, he looked in the very eyes of the Friend and Helper; saw the backward sweep of the curved horns, gleaming in the growing daylight; saw the stern, hooked nose between the kindly eyes that were looking down on them humourously, while the bearded mouth broke into a half-smile at the corners; saw the rippling muscles on the arm that lay across the broad chest, the long supple hand still holding the pan-pipes only just fallen away from the parted lips; saw the splendid curves of the shaggy limbs disposed in majestic ease on the sward; saw, last of all, nestling between his very hooves, sleeping soundly in entire peace and contentment, the little, round, podgy, childish form of the baby otter. All this he saw, for one moment breathless and intense, vivid on the morning sky; and still, as he looked, he lived; and still, as he lived, he wondered.
'Rat!' he found breath to whisper, shaking. 'Are you afraid?'
'Afraid?' murmured the Rat, his eyes shining with unutterable love. 'Afraid! Of Him? O, never, never! And yet— and yet— O, Mole, I am afraid!'
Then the two animals, crouching to the earth, bowed their heads and did worship.
Sudden and magnificent, the sun's broad golden disc showed itself over the horizon facing them; and the first rays, shooting across the level water-meadows, took the animals full in the eyes and dazzled them. When they were able to look once more, the Vision had vanished, and the air was full of the carol of birds that hailed the dawn.
As they stared blankly. in dumb misery deepening as they slowly realised all they had seen and all they had lost, a capricious little breeze, dancing up from the surface of the water, tossed the aspens, shook the dewy roses and blew lightly and caressingly in their faces; and with its soft touch came instant oblivion. For this is the last best gift that the kindly demi- god is careful to bestow on those to whom he has revealed himself in their helping: the gift of forgetfulness. Lest the awful remembrance should remain and grow, and overshadow mirth and pleasure, and the great haunting memory should spoil all the after-lives of little animals helped out of difficulties, in order that they should be happy and lighthearted as before.




From Kenneth Graham's The Wind in the Willows a favorite of mine...


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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Shitty Shitty Strange Bang

Labels: ,

Just Another Song

the heart that can't be broken
is the one that doesn't beat
the words that can't be spoken
hold thoughts you can't repeat
and when we have departed
when we are all long gone
there will be another voice
singing just another song

the hands that held me tender
are nowhere to be found
the card's returned to sender
there is silence all around
and when we have departed
when we are all long gone
there will be another voice
to sing another song
there will be another voice
to sing another song

i am falling motherless
i'm losing my togetherness
i'm falling apart
just like the universe
just like the universe
i am coming apart

the life that ain't worth leading
is the life so many dread
daily repetition
is the mantra of the dead
letting go was something
letting go was all
after the insight
after the fall
letting go was all


i am falling motherless
i'm losing my togetherness
i'm falling apart
just like the universe
just like the universe
i am coming apart

i saw you in the wilderness
lost among the trees
i could hear you crying
it was carried on the breeze
it's so hard to surrender
when there's no one else around
the distance became rendered
when they put you in the ground


the heart that can't be broken
is the one that doesn't beat
the words that can't be spoken
hold thoughts you can't repeat
and when we have departed
when we are all long gone
there will be another voice
singing just another song
there will be a voice
there will be a voice
there will be a voice
singing just another song

***

Friday, July 13, 2012

Song in Progress, Part VII

where is my defender?
where are my restraints?
where's the sniper border
between what is and all that ain't
where is new jerusalem
can't find it on the map
where or where is freedom
beneath all of this crap?

anybody know?
anybody know?
cuz i don't know

where is opportunity
when it gets all knocked up?
where is satisfaction
can i drink it from a cup?
where is truth and justice
where is santa claus?
cannot find no evidence
can't find no reindeer paws

anybody know?
anybody know?
i don't know

i saw the sun this morning
rising in the east
i saw the day was passing
from the god unto the beast
i think i went too far
when i drove into the sea
i only wanted a good spot
where i could just be me
where i could just be me

where is el dorado
the city made of gold
did it vanish in the mists
did it do as it was told
or did it take a baby step
down on memory lane
precious jewels and lots of fools
with nothing left to gain
nothing at all

anybody know?
anybody know?
cuz i don't know

***


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Nice Day for a Waving Plastic Mouse


Mickey in Nature, Sort Of...
Well, Mostly...

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Saturday, July 07, 2012

The Land Beyond


when someone's above
someone's below
when the light goes on
where does the dark go
it goes
to the land beyond

when the clouds bring thunder
that cracks the sky
you can hear the drumming
on the other side
it beats
in the land beyond

oh, break my chains
break my vows
stamp my feet
and take a bow
i'm going
to the land beyond

oh, oh the land beyond
oh, oh the land beyond
you'll get no promises
all you get is this song

when the water rises
and the dam breaks
follow the river
just another snake
it goes
to the land beyond

when the monkey fever
puts you in your bed
try to remember 
what the poet said
you can sing it
on the other side

oh, break my chains
break my vows
stamp my feet
and take a bow
i'm going
to the land beyond

oh, oh the land beyond
oh, oh the land beyond
you'll get no promises
all you get is this song

***

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Don't get snotty with me...


what?  
i suppose you've never sneezed
and had a bird fly out of your nose?
oy!

***

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

God the Ronnie



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Monday, July 02, 2012


i don't care who you are
let's watch fireworks
we paint madness on the sky