So far, my time in West Virginia has been lit by two spirit guides- the colors mustard and brown.  I used to hate these muddy earth tones, but since moving here I have craved them like a drug. Every morning must begin with a brown or mustard coffee mug, and every evening must end with brown checkered curtains drawn over windows filled with amber glass.Brown and Mustard

If it wasn’t for brown and mustard, I’m not sure how I would have survived the extreme isolation. After all, the only person I know here is James, and he spends most of his time at work. A more practical person might make an effort to actually meet people, but, as for me, I can’t be bothered.

Because, for starters, despite feeling depressed by the isolation, I could never be sure if it was the ACTUAL isolation that was dragging me down, or just the IDEA of isolation. My whole life I’ve been surrounded by the idea that being alone is not only dangerous to your health but an indication that you are an unloveable creep. James, on the other hand, frequently reminds that there is no one I admire who didn’t spend a good deal of time in isolation.

Still, all this alone time left me feeling depressed and despondent. It felt as though my self was dissolving, and there was no one there at all, just an emptiness. And only the colors of mustard and brown could touch this hollow feeling, throwing handful after handful of dirt into the sad gully. After 9 months of their earthy influences, I no longer feel isolated or alone at all, despite the fact that my situation has in no way changed.

From mustard, I learned the reality of hope- that no problem lasts forever- and also the virtue of endurance. Sometimes, victory consists of simply hanging on and persevering until circumstances change of their own accord.

From brown, I learned the brain’s magic power to brighten to gloomy corners of our life. If our external life is temporarily dark and depressing, we can generate a light from within simply by engaging our intellect. I found that as long as I kept my brain engaged and stimulated, by studying math or chemistry for example, that it was actually impossible to feel depressed or lonely.

At times, I did feel superstitious about the potential hazards of overusing my brain, having tended to see the brain and heart as opponents, with one gaining ground only at the other’s expense. But eventually, I discarded this notion. After all, the heart craves things and people to relate to, and it is the brain who supplies us with these friends by illuminating the people around us, and sometimes by illuminating the friend-filled world inside our mind.

So far, my favorite intellectual pastime has been chemistry, a subject which seemed so cold and chalky in school. But now I find it heartwarming to get to know the elements and to witnesses their relationships dramas, which seem so much to mirror our own.

Still, as nice as it has been, spring fever is now reminding me that I can’t remain in this mustardy, brown cocoon forever.




8 Mar



Julien Aklei in Paintsville KY

Me, exploring downtown Paintsville (Ky). It would be fair to say that Appalachia is the sort of place where you have to make your own fun.


snowdrops rise from the snow
sparkle & shine- they don’t know how to warm me
i know they don’t bloom for me

sun beams fall onto the snow
sparkle & shine- they don’t know how to touch things
they only shine on the crust of things

and that’s the place where you live now

why did you leave me
you didn’t need me
i needed you

men leave tracks on the snow
sparkle & shine- they don’t know where they’re going
luminous and unknowing

a shadow falls on the snow
it’s only me, but they don’t know- they don’t see me
shiver when they are near me

but i shiver too

why did you leave me
you didn’t need me
i needed you

fingers flowing through the air
there’s nothing there, there’s nothing there
i reach for you my fingers flow like hair

place my hand into the snow
to feel the pain- i want to know what the pain is
i thought i heard it whispering

gauzy wings upon my arm
sparkle & shine- there is no harm that can change me
let the cold embrace me

and i will be a light for you

why did you leave me
you didn’t need me
i needed you


Download Mp3: Snowdrops


21 Feb



You were sweet, you were goodCornstalk Girl
Picking up the coins that they dropped
Trying to give them back just like you should

Fall fall fall fall fall fall fall fall
Fall fall fall fall fall through a hole
Nobody knows, nobody knows where you go

There was a hole inside your bone
it made it easier to be alone
cause you could fly
or at least you could try.

Strange ideas knock on your door
You tell them nobody’s home, but you not sure
Is it your mother there dressed like a hag
Maybe a brick of gold deep in her bag

Turn turn turn turn turn turn turn turn
Turn turn turn turn turn to the sky
People say they find the answers there
or at least they die dying to try

There a hole inside your bone
the strangest things come inside when you’re alone
and you would tell them all to leave you alone
but you don’t know which ones belong-
Where is your home?

Heart-shaped footprints deep in the snow
Step by step up the mountain side, places you will never go
Cause you were born born born born born like a birdy to fly
or at least you were born born born born dying to try

sweet things sing with tulip voices
electro shock you have no choices
animals walk in a strange parade
inside your head: what feathery dream are made

a soothing sound deep in your ear
says don’t tell a soul dear- this will be your year
you’ve waded through hate, you’ve waded through fear
now just wait for the rainbow to appear

fade fade fade fade fade fade into night
dreams invade invade your brain
filling it with good and bad light

There is a hole inside your bone
it makes it easier to be alone
cause you can fly
or at least you can try.


Download MP3: Fenestra

Cards and Slots

16 Feb


James says it is important to write some kind of introduction to a song, to help people understand it. And while I agree with him, it is not really possible for me to do so at this time. Because… whenever I write in prose I feel that I end up channeling some strange personality not my own. Sometimes I call this voice Mr. Pompadou and other times Mr. Belvedere, but at any rate it is horrifying to imagine that someone might mistake this voice for me.

A person’s writing voice is partially, I suppose, a reflection of who they imagine their audience to be. I imagine people reading this who are intelligent, but also close-minded and hostile. Therefore, Mr. Belvedere comes out as a protective measure.  Nobody could be mad at a man like him!


Cards and SlotsMan in Orange Shorts

Cards and slots, drinks and dots,
dropping more things than you got
forms a rift, continental drift…
essential things float away in the mist
and you are pissed.

But if you want to play the blame game you know
it will only be your name on the list;
still I insist
you reconsider all the evidence.

Lost in time, lost in sea, lost in space…
a man was born who never had a face;
they all say he doesn’t exist,
but they can’t explain the pain that emits from his wet kiss.

Is it amiss to be sad, to be mad
when you think of the things that you missed…
and yet you should always remember this:

That you were placed in this space
because you are the man with the gift,
to bringing light into the heart of the pit;
flying high- the blackest soil provides the greatest lift,
the deepest dose of nutrient.

Half the time you fall, half the time you are in pain
but it’s not your fault that you wear chains.

Half of what you said only made your heart lose hope,
but its not your fault that there’s
a black man stalking you dragging a long white rope.

Valentines just in time
twist your brain to form a rhyme-
tell her that you love her the most…
say that you’re about to explode!
(Knuckles crack crack, echoing inside your abode,
but as the tensions rise there are things you must know.)

Is a friend in need the type of friend you need-
what about a scratch for your back?
a feather you can slap into your cap?
cause it stalls in your craw that nobody never gives back.

A thousand faces laugh from their seats-
you’re the only man on the stage,
trying not to fly into rage, and you wonder…
were you that dumb at their age?

Goodbye, goodbye
to everything that never made sense,
to all the knots that only grew dense;
my repentance will be vengeance.

Half the time you crawl, half the time you are insane
but it’s not your fault that you wear chains.

Half of what you said, it was only a way to cope,
but soon you will turn to fight
the black man stalking you dragging his long white rope.


Download MP3: Cards and Slots

Born to Fly

29 Jan


Born to FlyGood Bye

Trees green, pillowy grass
Bottle in your hand- fill up my glass

Stones pressed into the dirt
I am not hurt, I am not hurt

Violet clouds and mountains high await me
I’m a feather any wind will take me

Everyone is afraid to die
But something tells me I was born to fly.

Wrap me up in cellophane
Hit with a hammer; I love pain

Dip my feet into the pond
Life goes on, life goes on

Clouds they swirl and sunbeams twirl above me
There’s a world where everyone will love me

Clouds will rain and I will cry
But something tells me I was born to fly.

Everybody hangs on so carefully
Standing hand and hand in a line
Can’t they see there’s nothing, nothing that surrounds them but time?

Sunbeams sparkle and shine
Rainbows swirl in my wine

Blankets soft forming a nest
Down on the ground; time for a rest

Birds they sing and bells they ring around me
Fairy fingers have already found me

Birds in every blue sky cry
But something tells me I was born to fly.


Download Mp3: Born to Fly

Bone to Bone

21 Jan


It looks like I succeeded in writing a relatively happy song that doesn’t include death or murder, but still, somehow bones managed to work their way into it. I really do wish I could write a song without mentioning bones, but apparently I can’t. Before bones, it was ice and people dying from hypothermia. Why the obsession with uncuddly white things? I don’t know, but hopefully I will grow out of it.

I have been learning a little bit about bones recently- dinosaur bones. I was trying to celebrate the dullest time of year (I mean that as a complement) by learning about the most boring thing I could imagine, which for me was dinosaurs. But I have to say, once I knew a little more about them, they no longer seemed so boring. What I like most about them is how they opened my mind to larger cycles of time- deep time, as paleontologists call it. It’s a refreshing antidote to the “shallow time” perspective of our culture, which encourages us to see each decade as a major historical epoch.


Bone to Bone

People say you are the dark oneMy Bone
dim and dusty, cold and hard one
dry and scaly skin
blood so sour and thin
draw the curtains and let our time begin

Bone to bone now
in a dark room
press your forehead to mine
let the world resume

let them stick to their ways
I will come out changed
I will speak my mind and I
won’t care what they say

People tell me you’re a creep
you tell me people are sheep
I believe you will outlast them
watching from your mountain so steep

Your room so dark and blue
the whole world is a shadow to you
your bones they bear the lines of
every tooth that sank into you

Claw marks across your arm
why did they mean you harm?
you with a spine so straight that I
I cling to your arm

Outside the winds derange, but I
I will come out changed
I can feel your bones upon me now
so cold and so strange

Let the vinegar spill out
let it roll down your chin
let me hear your blackest words now
let your long long story begin

Nights in the jungle survived
you are the one who came out alive
dipped in blood you walked back home
so thin but swollen with pride

Your blood in my veins, I
I will come out changed
I will laugh at all of their words
I won’t care what they

Your hand on my hand now I
I can see through your eyes
all the chains were only shadows
all the flags were only their lies

The imprint of your bones
like an angel to follow me home
you will always be beside me
blood to blood and bone to bone.


Download Mp3: Bone to Bone

Hunt for Me

9 Jan


Hmmm… I just realized that 72% of my recent songs have been about death, 31% about sadistic murders, and the remaining ones mostly about people being beat up, kidnapped, or chased. Time to seek professional help or is this just normal Scorpio behavior? Next week I will try writing happy songs, maybe.


Hunt for Me

Smile, smile, smile, smile
Sin, sin, sin
You were born the king of our town
I will bow, I will bend.

Two, two, two stars collide
Please stay warm upon your throne now
I will run I will hide.

Ladies in silk
Wanting to adore you
Laughing at your jokes
Kneeling on the floor for you
Look at your life, a page of fantasy.
So please, don’t hunt for me.

Dad knows best
Watch me kneel down and beg for forgiveness
Watch me stand up to the world and confess.

Gold and lace
Everything I have will be piled at your feet
Please don’t chase, please don’t chase.

Look at me crawl
Scratching at the dirt now
Look at me fall
Ripping up my shirt now
Rolling in mud, pig for all to see.
So please, don’t hunt for me.

Run so far you always follow me
Shadows so dark they always swallow me
I can make sure that no one ever loves me
I can make sure everyone’s above me

Run so far but tripping on the black lines
I can hear you say I’m running out of time
You knew it was all a big lie
Licking on your lips, because you love to watch things die.

Please no blade
No dogs die, please no rabbits,
Just humiliate, please humiliate.

Your smile is warm
Only sun, only summer
Please no storm, please no storm.

You can take some snips; I won’t try to mend me
I will tell the people never to defend me
I will tear myself apart for all to see.
So please, don’t hunt for me.


Download MP3: Hunt for Me


31 Dec


Knife Lyrics

Knife Lyrics continued

Download Mp3: Knife


30 Dec


A Night to Remember

I see you smiling in your gold frame, baby, but I always turn away my eye.
I see the chief out with his gold star shining, but he knows I’ll never testify.
I won’t testify.

People ask me all the time now how are you doing when they know I’m never gonna say.
They all heard me screaming on that black night, baby, but they only turned and walked away.
I won’t testify.

You can’t go waiting too long little baby or you know the fingerprints will rust.
You can’t go waiting too long little baby or the bones are gonna turn to dust
I won’t testify.

I walk outside of your apartment building, baby, and the gall starts to fill my throat.
I pray that God will burn it down to the ground, but as for me I’ll never rock the boat.
I won’t testify.

I keep my eyes down on the sidewalk, baby, because everybody makes me cry.
Every sweet smile is just another fucking person who will stand there as they watch me die.
I won’t testify.

I see their little fingers lifting up the blinds and their eyes peering eagerly.
I know they’ll stand there, they’ll never lift a hand when they see the man come for me.
I won’t testify.

Anybody who stands up to the man is gonna be the one to take the blame.
I lay your gun out on my living room mantle right next to your picture frame.
I won’t testify.

I walk at night out with a big stick, baby, but I know it won’t keep bad away.
You always said that when the man’s out to get you he can always find another way.
I won’t testify.

I asked the officer now how can I help you, when you know I can’t recall a thing.
I only saw a hand swing out of the darkness and the flash of a diamond ring.
I won’t testify.

I got some secrets that I wouldn’t mind sharing, but there ain’t nobody I can trust.
They talk so sweet with all their big eyes smiling, but it’s evil covered up in crust.
I won’t testify.

I try to tell myself to myself to go to California and to rearrange my style of hair.
It used to seem like such a big world, baby, till I found out that nobody cares.
I won’t testify.

I cry at night over them white bones, baby, but I always let them to turn to dust.
I lay your gun out on my bedside table, then I only sit and watch it rust.
I won’t testify.


Download Mp3: Testify

Self-Conscious Man