Not My (Poe)try

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I share a birthday with Edgar Allan Poe. I wish I could write like him.
I shared a city with Amanda Palmer. I wish I could write like her. This bit from her latest blog has me in tears over my long lost someone who won’t speak to me.
it’s your right
to be angry.
it’s your right
to remove me.
it’s your right
to march forth and
with pride
de-tattoo me.
but it’s also my right
to embrace you, and tightly;
while you exercise loudly
your right
to not love me.
and as hate lingers thick
like a black cloud above you
pile ink upon ink
I’m still there
underneath.
i’m still there
and still love you.
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Street & Gallery

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I’m definitely guilty of scrolling past a video in my feed that is past a bizarre and arbitrary “time scale.” In retrospect, under 20 minutes doesn’t seem like much time but in the internet world it is an ice age-length. But this was like breakfast for my soul upon waking. Take the time.

Dioniso Punk

Borondo cov

The punk rock connection to graffiti is as strong as any subculture’s — or of any people who feel marginalized in effect or practice by the dominant culture preventing their voice. The narrative the graffiti belonging exclusively to Hip Hop has been posited and disproved over time although as Jesus said, “Graffitti belongs to everyone.”

Modern French academics and intellectuals have celebrated graffiti and Street Art by way of political protest at least since the late 1960s and early 70s, first with the Situationists and later with the aesthetics and artistry of people like Ernest Pignon-Ernest and Gérard Zlotykamien.

In “Street & Gallery” we see that the need for expression, illegal and otherwise, is as urgent as ever in the Street Art scene in Rome today and for many it is a means to express opinions and philosophies that they hope will in turn push greater society forward in some…

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Five Songs I Wished I’d Written

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In no particular order, five out of thousands, chosen from the recent rotation (even though many are serious throwbacks), I present the below. What song/book/screenplay do you wish you’d written first?
Matchbox 20 – You Won’t Be Mine
I first heard this in…sophomore year? of high school. I had downloaded it during a LimeWire spree in a pre-requisite computer class that was frankly beneath me. I spent most of my time emailing nonsense to my buddy/brother Ethan who was stuck in another computer class directly across the hall. It was our elegant solution to more efficient programs like AIM being blocked by the school. In between inbox refreshing, LimeWire and the stack of blank CDs I’d bring with me helped pass the time. I’ve always envied piano players. I took a class in junior high but the teacher was a heinous bitch and I learned more just watching my voice teacher play, so I mostly riffed. Maybe I’d be more disciplined nowadays but alas, no regular, solo access to a set of keys. YET!
I wish I had written the piano music, the orchestral arrangement that accompanies and the simple lyrics that so concisely put my feelings on a plate. After I heard it, I sketched a curving sidewalk with piano keys for a curb. I imagined a cityscape behind it and a busking musician with a hat out, but drawing isn’t my strong suit. Another item on the to-learn list.
Amanda Palmer – Leeds United
Ugh. I can’t tell you how often I’ve wished I had Amanda Palmer’s LIFE. I know I’m romanticizing and ignoring the subtleties of being another human but, jealousy. I’m currently attempting to curate a life in which I give no fucks and sing my goddamn heart out, look how I want instead of how I have to for work and be generally fabulous. And I’ve always wanted to belt into one those vintage mics. SOON.
I could point to countless facets of the music and lyrics (setting aside the music video performance that sets my eyes aflame with envy), but mostly I’m devastated I didn’t write,
“That never talking thing you do
Is effective, it’s effective
Your shoulder’s icy colder, oh
Than a death wish, than a death wish”
Modest Mouse – Spitting Venom
Picking just one Modest Mouse song was nearly impossible. I have regular fantasies of starting a MM cover band. At the very least, a cover band that has a metric fuckton of their songs in our repertoire. I have a fab group of ladyfriends who are currently humouring me that they’ll get on this train when I move back to MA. I remain cautiously optimistic, but our music tastes are…different, to put it mildly. I’m fairly certain Brittany weeps at my spotify selection on the daily. I don’t listen to much that was released after 2008. I KNOW, I KNOW. Blame my classic rock father and folksy/pop mother.
I love how hard this band rocks. I love the wordsmith lyrics of every fucking song. I wish I could plant myself inside their heads for a few days. Just camp out in Isaac Brock. Don’t worry, Isaac. I’ll clean up after myself and share my snacks.
“Hold on to what you need
We’ve got a knack for fucked up history
Hold on to what you need
We’ve got a knack for messed up history
Well we went downtown and we sat in the rain
Both looking one direction and waiting for a train of thought over
Thought over
I didn’t know you kept track I didn’t know there was a score
Well it looks like you’re the winner and I ain’t gonna play no more
It’s over
Game over”
Cole Porter – Easy to Love
Oh, Cole. One day I will make my pilgrimage to significant sites of your history and the annual festival. There’s a reason his songs are recorded over and over and over in every different style – his incredible, timeless talent. I am just one of his many admirers. I mean, his vocabulary alone, guys. One day in the afterlife, I am going to sit at his knee and bask. Stephen Fry and Edgar Allan Poe will be there, too, FSM willing.
Counting Crows – Rain King
Adam Duritz has had my heart since forever. One of the only concerts I could ever convince my mom to take me to was Counting Crows. She bought me a sweatshirt in the musical afterglow and I wore. that. shit. OUT. By the end of college that was the rattiest navy sweatshirt you’ve ever seen. I’d even managed to shred the killer thumbholes I’d wiggled in the cuffs. I am actually just now learning this song on my guitar. I can’t account for the hold-up. But when I meet up with Porter & co, deliver me in a black-winged bird – I am the Rain King. Make me a crown of pens and feathers and heather.

Ask Me Anything

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Well, go ahead. Ask away.
I feel like I mention the subject of family here often, which is unusual because some days my own biological family feels like a foreign country. Not that there are any major rifts, we’re pretty good in the way of remembering birthdays and all the normal family schtick. It’s just, they’re not really my tribe. A foundation I need and depend on, for certain, but I don’t always get them and they rarely get me. So I found other friends to call family and wouldn’t you know, a lot of them have stuck with me. I can’t exactly speak to why, you’d have to ask them, but I think it’s because I treated them as family once I found them. People love to be loved. If I love someone, I will give them anything they need that I can provide.
Finding your family, your collaborators, is often an exercise in balance; strengths with weaknesses, adding your layer of flavor to the group without overpowering or wrecking others’. I’ve been reading this theme into a few movies: CA: The Winter Soldier & the newest Star Trek flicks, to name a few. Now these may be highly specific, scientifically improbable examples when viewed through the lens of our present reality, but regardless the lesson is the same: what wouldn’t we do for our crew/tribe/faction/family? And to take it a step further, have we made them feel comfortable enough to ask for our help?
We can do our best to be observant while participating in any relationship but sometimes we can’t know what’s going on until it’s shared with us. Sometimes we don’t know someone needs help until they ask for it – oh, and this can hurt like hell for both parties. I have been guilty of letting things fester til I thought the stink of it was so strong it could have choked passersby. So why didn’t the objects of my frustration get it? Well, because even the most intuitive of people need clues, guidelines, sign posts, road maps – help. Communication. Mutual expectations. Shit gets awfully difficult to sort out when we withhold information as important as our emotional reactions.
So. If you’re like me and hold on to pain forever, shake it out whenever you can. And if you’re finally sharing something after you’ve let it rot awhile, go easy on the resentment – no one knows how badly they have hurt you when you hide it.
The Lyrics
Sort out this short out
This fatal breakdown
Take whatever I can offer
Hell, I can give much more
Than you ever bargained for
A quarter for the pay phone
The longest silent ride home
The worst kept secret, I’m a liar
A failing metaphor
Whatever was this for
I’ll give I’ll give
You’ll take you’ll take
Until you can’t take it anymore
Ask of me anything, anything
I’ll give you everything, everything
You need a ride or space or time
I need what’s yours and you need mine
Ask me for anything, anything, anything
The best advice yet
As good as it gets
Have you ever heard words so absurd
I’ve said it once before
But I know you’ve done it more
A book to borrow
My heart to swallow
No need to return the favor
No one’s keeping score
Of what number’s this divorce
I’ll give I’ll give
You’ll take you’ll take
Until you can’t take me anymore
Ask of me anything, anything
I’ll give you everything, everything
Grant me reprieve from this crime
I need what’s yours and you need mine
Ask me for anything, anything, anything
Sort out this short out
This fatal breakdown
Take whatever I can offer
I can give much more
Than you ever bargained for
A shoulder to cry on
A stupid offer withdrawn
Name your price I’m here to barter
What do you take me for?
After that pact we swore
Ask of me anything, anything
I’ll give you everything, everything
Only share with me the punch line
I need what’s yours and you need mine
Ask me for anything, anything, anything

Superheroes of 2015

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I am a weird kid, for sure. But nothing makes that more evident than superhero stories – myths, comics, movies, etc… The good ones, even the bad ones, they find a hole in my heart to climb through and settle there for eternity. I am most assuredly one of the stereotypical movie nerds on the internet, combing IMDB for details and fun facts. But the one bandwagon I can’t get on is the widespread critiquing of comic book hero movies for being less than canon, an insult to the fans, blah blah blah. Firstly, I’m not incredibly knowledgeable on a lot of comic canon so I tend to avoid fights I’m not well-equipped for. Of course my Dad collected the old Marvel & DC comics from the 1960s forward and I’m not allowed to touch them…just wait, Dad. If I outlive you, that shit is MINE. So one day with proper training maybe I’ll be an expert level geek.
Secondly, more importantly, whatever I may think of any piece of art, it’s difficult for me to compare it to another piece of art, regardless of the common threads of creation. The X-Men comic franchise versus the Saturday morning cartoon show versus the Bryan Singer movies versus the prequels, etc. etc. They all make me feel different things. So maybe Banshee is Irish in the comics but American in the later movies. Was I entertained by both mediums? HELL YES. To me, that’s all I care about. What did it make me FEEL?
Art is layering. Sometimes it’s revisiting the work you’ve done and improving on it. Sometimes it’s being inspired by another’s existing work. I can’t bring myself to get online and trash anyone’s efforts and attempts at making art or entertainment. I have had too many voices in my ears telling me what I want to do (write lyrics, perform) is frivolous, not worth the trouble, never going to pay the bills. I may be well-employed at a large company making a very decent salary, able to pay bills, buy great food and see the movies I want in theaters, on cable, Netflix, etc. – but I took the job to satisfy a bizarre societal definition of success. I slog away at lots of excel spreadsheets during the day, come home to my guitar and a blank notepad file on my laptop and feel like the real work is just beginning. I’m trying. So is everyone else.
Art like success is so deeply personal. Your definition is going to vary from others and that is more okay than anyone has ever told you. This project I’m chipping away at, on my bad days, feels like one big revision of the same song. But what inspires me is what’s on my mind and what I’m going through. What inspires me is art (and artists) that is authentically honest about its subject matter, regardless if its base is in reality or mythology. People will always make art. Consumers of art will always add their layers and make it their own personal art. I’ve been inspired by movies all my life. I wrote these latest lyrics based on personal experience but the central theme of looking at the same objects or moments together but separately came from The Incredible Hulk (2008). Ed Norton/Bruce Banner staying with Liv Tyler/Betty Ross under the same roof, both lying awake in bed, eyes on the ceiling, maybe making the same wish. Art can come from anywhere or from anyone.
TL;DR, don’t knock fan fiction. It’s someone’s soul in there.
The Lyrics!
Show up, out of touch
I’m fumbling over how to handle
Staying in the same square footage
Again after all these years
This used to happen easily
Falling asleep with you near me
What’s one more overnight
And maybe this will be the place
Maybe this will be the time
To say what I’ve been thinking
Seeming for eternity
Finally let it out of me
But it wasn’t and I wouldn’t
And that’s on me
On me, on me, on me me me
Oh darling, how I wonder
Do we make the same wish on the ceiling
Eyes open wide because we can’t get to sleep
Scribbling furiously all the things I’d tell you
If you’d only leave your room to speak to me
Cast my eyes out the window, watching the sunrise
I’ve been lying on your couch all night
Eyes wide open because I can’t shake this heartache
I better head out before the light hits your eyes
Show up, barely there
I’m fumbling over how to handle
Staying in the same square footage
Again after all these years
One more opportunity
To say just what you’ve meant to me
One last overnight
Maybe this will be the place
Maybe this will be the time
To say what I’ve been thinking
Seeming for eternity
Finally let it out of me
It wasn’t but I did it
And that’s on me
On me, on me, on me me me
Oh darling, how I wondered
If we made the same wish on the ceiling
Eyes open wide because we can’t get to sleep
Scribbling furiously all the things I’d tell you
If you’d only cross the room to speak to me
Cast my eyes out the window, watching the sunrise
I’ve been lying in bed all night
Eyes wide open hoping you’ll crawl in next to me
I’ll stay til you catch your ride
Here we are again
I’m fumbling over how to handle
Occupying the same space for hours
In such a new context
After all the years gone by
Waiting here to see
What’s left of you and me
I’m out of time
I’m out of time
I’m out of time time time
My darling, how I’ve wondered
If we’d only spoke up sooner
Eyes wide open from hindsight bearing down
My throat screaming all the things I’d tell you
If you’d only cross the room to speak to me
Cast my eyes out the window, watching the sunset
Waiting for this day to fade
Eyes wide open for the next sign
I’m still here for you, that’s no surprise
Look me in the eyes
And when we’re next in the same room
Will you let me
Will you let me
Still hold you, hold you, hold you you you