The ace was overturned;
The sticks had all been thrown.
He couldn’t think of a thing that he had learned
Just from being alone.

The meat had all been eaten;
Nothing but oats remained.
So many things that life had taken away,
So few things had been gained.

Although he could not see them,
They had gathered behind the gate.
There was nothing to do now but wait.

No messages by foot;
No signals sent from birds.
The bubbles in the creek made noise
But he couldn’t make out the words.

One of his friends had lied to him and
The other friend was dead.
He didn’t feel like riding into the town
With a price upon his head.

Although he could not feel them,
They had gathered behind the gate.
There was nothing to do now but wait.

He opened books from time to time but
The words looked like a blur.
He leaned over to pet his dog and to smell
The earthy scent of fur.

Why cry? He was a man
And a man he intended to be!
But sometimes the hopelessness swept over him like a wave
And water in his eyes made it hard to see.

But, although he did not know them,
They had gathered behind the gate.
There was nothing to do now but wait.

 

Download MP3: The Arrival of the Robed Spirits

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.

 

 

Long Way Home

9 Mar
0

 

Nude Lady reclining while electric blue eagles dance.I wrote this song in Santa Fe, but it is still following a “rule” I established for myself at some point in Nashville, which is that every song must have the phrase “making love” somewhere in the chorus. Why did I establish this as a rule? I don’t know- it just gave me tickley feelings inside…

The phrase “making love” reminds me of something that in high school we used to call a Jinx-99. A Jinx-99 is a man with oiled hair, a thick mustache, and a tank top who gives you red roses and chocolate body oil on Valentine’s Day. He is just too much man, like having to eat a whole stick of butter with no bread. The phrase “making love” reminds me of that, too sticky & sincere to bear, which is what made it irresistible.

So, anyway, I wrote this song in Santa Fe, where, as I’ve mentioned, I lived in a weekly motel off the side of a highway, a very isolated and unenriched location. Before this, I had lived in Nashville, where I had a car and was constantly going here and there. Now I did not have a car and was stuck in the middle of nowhere. All day long, while my husband worked, I sat in a tiny motel room. It may be hard to understand the effect this has on a person’s mind unless you have experienced it yourself.

Although I had rarely watched tv before, I now spent countless hours being tortured and brainwashed by Country Music Television. It made me nauseous, but I couldn’t turn it off. Eventually, I had to return the television to the front office.

In a desperate effort to not die from lack of stimulation, I began prank calling people everyday as part of my morning routine- 11 people first thing every day before breakfast. I covered all my clothes in rhinestones, sequins, and other reflective surfaces (one of the lies they told on Country Music Television was that you could never be depressed while wearing rhinestones). I hoped that wearing these clothes beneath the bright desert sun would somehow energize me. I started wearing feathered headdresses, hoping that they would draw more energy from the air into my brain. And sometimes, I would walk alongside the highway carrying a red ball so large I could barely hold it, hoping it would draw attention from the people driving by, hoping their psychic energy would somehow keep me from going insane. But it was too late- I already was.

Insane people are like corpses, though, they point to a mystery- what happened to this person, who did it? Generally people do not murder themselves, and generally they do not drive themselves insane.

Download MP3: Long Way Home


Nude woman crawling on waves, towards stars, with light pouring in through head.

 

I wrote this song while living in Brooklyn, when my mind was beginning to decompose from endless periods of solitude… first a year living off the highway in Santa Fe and then- I don’t know how long- living in the scary filth of Brooklyn, cut off not just from other humans, but also from the natural world since it took hours of expensive transportation to escape the urban grid.

My one connection point with nature was an abandoned lot that contained a metal rod sticking out of the ground. If I stood on the rod, I could see what appeared to be a creek in the distance, although it may have been a drain.

In Brooklyn, I started doing strange things I would never have done before, like buying tabloid magazines and reading them from cover to cover, eagerly devouring every story about celebrity weight gain and two-timing ex-boyfriends. And I would read them while polishing off family sized bags of Combos in flavors I used to hate, like Pepperoni Pizza Pretzel.

You might think someone with a lot of time on their hands and the freedom to do as they wish would make the most of it, taking up all sorts of new hobbies and interests. But instead I found that, in the absence of friends, money, nature, love, and beauty, it was difficult to be interested in anything at all. The only books I could bring myself to read were books about magic. I was especially interested in spells for invisibility, and would rarely leave the apartment without trying out one spell or the other. My favorite was to hold a crystal pointing downwards and imagine myself being swallowed up by the earth. I also began dressing for invisibility, and really constructing my whole personality around being as inconspicuous as possible. Because when people DID notice me, it was not a good thing.

Once I was walking down the street, when out of a window an invisible voice shouted “You’re ugly! You’re ugly! Hey you in the orange shoes- You look ugly!!” It was mortifying and he kept shouting it over and over again until he finally yelled “You’re not ugly, but your shoes are! They don’t match your skirt! Don’t wear those shoes with that skirt!”

Another time, a group of twenty or so kids who had just gotten off the school bus started throwing glass bottles at me. Equal to my fear of the bottles was my confusion and humiliation when none of the other adults did anything to stand up for me. I don’t know if this is because I was the only white person, or if New York is just a culture where everyone minds their own business regardless of what is going on around them.

It seemed commonplace for people to talk about me as though I wasn’t there. Once, two girls a couple feet away from me had this conversation: “Oh my god, she looks like a ghost!” “That’s what white people look like! Haven’t you seen a white person before?” “No, look! She looks like a real ghost! Like a white sheet!”

Download MP3: Not Here Not Now

3 Stacked Stones

14 Nov
0

 

I think this song may have been inspired (like so many others) by my hero Reinhold Messner, whose brother Gunther died while they were climbing a mountain together. But on a personal level, it reflects the feeling of being lost in a world of  ice- coldness, loss, isolation- as the flame of life struggles to hang on.

Copper print of Tibetan making Torma with gods and Himalayas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Download MP3: 3 Stacked Stones

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