Messenger of God

27 Jun
0

 

The most important thing I learned in school:

Professor (to me): “What do a crystal and the sky have in common?”

Me (thinking I must have misheard him): “What?”

Professor: “I said, WHAT DO A CRYSTAL AND THE SKY HAVE IN COMMON?!?!”

Me: “Uh, what, um, I don’t know… maybe that they’re clear?”

Professor: “NO! THINK!! THINK!!! WHAT DO A CRYSTAL AND THE SKY HAVE IN COMMON?!?!?!?!?

Me: “Uh.. uh… I guess they’re both maybe, um…”

Professor “HUMANS CAN’T LIVE IN THE SKY AND THEY CAN’T LIVE INSIDE OF A CRYSTAL, EITHER!!!”

 

Growing up in Kentucky, no one had ever pointed out the interesting fact that humans can neither live in the sky nor inside of a crystal, but once these words were spoken, I instantly recognized their truth. It is one of the few golden nuggets I collected from my four years at UVA, and hardly a day goes by when I don’t shout these words in my own ear.

What does that have to do with this song? Well, I suppose one theme that flows through a number of my songs is the feeling of being trapped in the sky and trying to come down to earth, or alternately, being trapped in a crystal and trying to break free. Perhaps, you could consider this a song about trying to find someone who will smash through the crystal and drag you down to earth.

Nude man by tiles and a window.

Someone like me, perhaps?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Download MP3: Messenger of God

Clothes

13 Jun
0

 

Self-Portrait in a peach studio by Julien AkleiWhat a strange little song… probably in the top ten of songs I wouldn’t mind being washed away in the sands of time… why did I even have to mention the word clothes? Why did I think I needed permission to keep my clothes on?

At any rate, at one point in this song I mention my age and my weight, and- just to clear the air- I feel the need to say that neither statistic was accurate.

My weight came from a cop, who said it was his favorite weight for women and offered to write it down as being my weight (which I didn’t know) when I got detained for stealing gummy worms.

I didn’t mean to steal gummy worms- I thought they were free samples. It was my first time inside a giant superstore where they had those clear plastic bins filled with unwrapped candy. I thought I was in heaven eating handful after handful of gummy worms and other candies while wandering around an endless store. Next thing you know, I’m having my mugshot taken and bawling hysterically, certain my life as a respectable citizen is over. I think the cop felt sorry for me and was trying to comfort me by helping me select an ideal weight. At any rate, the whole event scared me so much that I promised God I would never break another rule again- a dangerous vow, since trying to be too good can land you in far more trouble than being a little bad will.

The second inaccuracy in this song was my age, which I lowered by five years after being constantly criticized by my boyfriend for being too immature. I agreed with him that I was immature (getting arrested for gummy worms!), but felt it would be more practical to adjust my age to reflect my development rather than the reverse. In some ways, changing my age was a good idea, since it did lower people’s expectations of me and cause them to praise me more. But I couldn’t keep it up for very long since my nerves were too delicate to be lying all the time.

Still, the basic idea of lowering people’s expectations seemed sound, so I decided to start telling people I was mentally retarded. But that is a story for another day.

Download MP3: Clothes

 

Nude lady on a mountain with a red robe and fallen head.One of my first songs, with their hyper-simplistic Grandma Moses sensibilities.

I used to write a lot of “free love” type songs, because I had just gotten divorced and had a lot of personal experience with the opposite of free love. I had learned that being married to someone meant they could pretty much treat you anyway they wanted, without consequences. My husband liked to give me what he called “Ego Bats” which were basically insults that he would randomly scream out in public, designed to keep my ego in check for the purpose of spiritual growth.

But the ego bats were not all that bad, because at least they were swift and merciful. Usually, the screamings would go on for hours, beginning in a public place until I would leave to escape the humiliation and he would follow me. It would always be the most bizarre and inconsequential things that would set him off, like whether fruit punch tasted like grape juice, or could I wear white socks with a black dress. The yelling was unbearable. Once I managed to climb into his car and lock the doors before he could get in. I sat in the car for a couple hours while he screamed and threw himself against the windows. Those hours are burned into my memory because they were so safe and peaceful, like watching a polar bear in the zoo.

But normally, I didn’t dare to lock him out. I didn’t know what to do. I started painting a giant black eagle on my face every morning. I don’t know why, it was my way of protesting against him, I guess. It stretched all the way from my forehead to my chin and across my face. Maybe it was a cry for help, but if so, it didn’t work. I don’t recall anyone asking me, “Hey, why did you decide to start painting a giant black eagle on your face?” even though I kept it up for a whole semester.

Besides the screaming, the other horrible part was the brain twistings… he would require me to believe the most ridiculous things– that the moon was just 20 miles from the earth, that classy ladies wore “cutaway tops” (shirts with the center part cut out, leaving their chests exposed), that he had just traveled through a space-time warp (space-time warps came up a lot). If I didn’t accept these truths, well, then it was back to the screaming part.

Which is all to say that free love seemed like a pretty good deal to me, considering what I knew to be the alternative.

Download MP3: Love It Ain’t No Real Estate

 

This is probably the first song I wrote about the feeling of being lost in an everlasting winter, the color white…

Nude woman in water with fish inside of bubbles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Download MP3: I Ain’t Crying

Baby Blue

6 Jun
0

 

Jews: My friends, when you tire of your travels, come back to this place where dawn is always breaking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I was living in L.A. I went through a phase where I only painted pictures of Jewish people (and I would always write into the painting that it was a painting of a Jewish person, to underscore the point). Why? I have no idea, but now that I am a more cautious and worldly person, it is hard for me to even say the word “Jew” for fear that someone will  try to find antisemitism in it. But be that as it may, I ain’t gonna lie to you- I went through a phase where I obsessively painted Jewish people, and I don’t know why.

 

Download MP3: Baby Blue

 

Pink Cross Nun

8 May
0

 

Julien Aklei in Los Angeles

Chilling at the Pink Cross Nunnery.

Back when I wrote this song, I identified with nuns since I was single, disconnected from the ways of the world, and practicing mortification of the flesh.

I had 2 books in my tiny apartment, 1. The Rules (Time Tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right), and 2. Gandhi’s autobiography, which I used as a reference book for self-torture. I liked the idea that inflicting physical discomfort on myself causing could lead to inner strength and reduce emotional suffering. I was constantly inventing creative new forms of mortification, and kept Gandhi nearby for tips and inspiration.

Some forms were rather mild like substituting a vanilla Slim Fast shake, along with a couple bananas and some butter cookies, for lunch. I chose vanilla, bananas, and butter for their pure nature, but ultimately this form of self-torture was too expensive to keep up. Other ideas I have already written about, like submerging my self (head included) in ice cold baths every morning. Sometimes, I would add actual ice, to make the cold water colder, and it would create quite a pain in my head.

I considered draining the blood out of my big toe, which I read about in an Indian book, but in the end that was too scary. I did drink a bunch of Epsom salts, which are supposed to clean your stomach by making you throw up (another Indian idea). But after drinking them I couldn’t bring myself to throw up, so I just sat around feeling nauseated instead. Many of my greatest ideas seemed to come from Indian sources, like putting melted butter in your eyes to give them a sparkle. I don’t know if it made my eyes shinier, but it did make it harder to see.

 

 

The Vanderlus

5 May
0

 

This is a morality song about the Vanderlus, an ordinary confederate couple with the classic southern problems of over-exuberance, intolerance of boredom, and a proclivity for jumping back and forth between the fire and the frying pan.

Jackson Rice with Alana, golden cube, rabbit, ribbon, teardrop, clouds and rectangle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Download MP3: The Vanderlus

 

Genevieve with cigarette and straw hat.This song makes me miss Kentucky!

City people are different from the rest of us, because they feel they have options. Their minds are in two places at once- half on what they are doing, and half on all the other things they COULD be doing. In the country you think, “Yay, I have a husband, and he is way better than nothing!” but in the city you might think, “Hmmm… could I be kissing Rod Hotwings right now if I weren’t tied down to this guy?”

To make matters worse, cities lead to hierarchies, so it’s not just that you could be with someone different, you could be with someone better. Someone richer, funnier, more metrosexual… Whereas in the country, people see themselves more as puzzle pieces. When two puzzle pieces fit together, you know things are as good as they’re going to get.

Download MP3: Love It Don’t Grow on No Trees

Manfriend

3 May
0

 

Man with brown egg on egg-stand, living in a robin's egg blue world.

Nothing makes a man look more sensitive than standing next to an egg.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Download MP3: Manfriend

Murder

30 Apr
0

 

At the time I wrote this song I had a pink snake named Little Bun. She looked like a very long and thin hot dog bun. I thought having one animal from each of the animal kingdoms would bring me good luck in life. It is hard to say if it worked. I loved Little Bun but never got over the fear of her biting me. Sometimes, when entering a public situation where I felt nervous or awkward, I would take her with me and let her discreetly twine around my arm. My fear of her biting me caused my social anxieties to fade somewhat.

Oh, Lonesome me. Little Bun holds a broken mirror and crosses to the other side of the river, crying.

I painted this when Little Bun died. I like to think it is a picture of her crossing the river that leads to the next world. Goodbye Little Bun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Download MP3: Murder

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