James & I are preparing to move to a 1907 four square house in Charleston West Virginia.  There are many reasons I am excited about this.

 

  1. The house was built when Teddy Roosevelt was president. He is my favorite president since the teddy bear was named after him, and I also admire his stout personality and physique.
  2. I love Charleston. I think cities tucked between mountains with rivers running through them are the prettiest, especially when the river is crossed by blue bridges.
  3. I like the philosophy behind four square houses. In their time, they represented a rejection of showy refinement and European sensibilities in favor of something practical, hardy, and uniquely American.
  4. I am glad the numbers of my address add up to the number one. My former addresses have always added up to three.  According to numerology, living in a Number One house helps you to be more of an individual. This sounds good to me, because I have definitely become whatever the opposite of an individual is. I don’t even feel like a specific person. Just a loosely knit pile of air moving through space.

 

My obsession while living in Hurricane has been redecorating my apartment in different color schemes. It has been disturbing to notice the extent to which my patterns and interests change along with the colors, as though I have no inherent identity of my own, but am just a reflection of the walls.

Of all the color schemes I tried, my favorite was probably light pink with dark purple accents. I felt more myself in this configuration. The only downside was being slightly lazy and obsessively reading tarot cards for hours each day. Still, I learned a lot, especially about dreams. I learned that dreams are not so much windows into the inner self, as spyglasses through which you can know the things that other people are hiding from you. And if you take the time to look, you will find that people are hiding a lot from you.

 

 

So, back to being a number one. Why don’t I feel like an individual with a specific personality of my own? I don’t know, it may be a product of living in isolation for too long. Perhaps with no one to be your mirror you lose a sense of what your own face looks like. Of course, I have James, but- in addition to being a hard worker- he is a man of few words. Most of our conversations consist of me asking him a question and then smelling him to find the answer. Or that is how they use to go anyway.

Nowadays, I mostly know what is going on with him through physical sensations. For example, he will be at the office and all the sudden my stomach will start jumping up and down so I know he is upset about something. Or my head will start swirling and I’ll know he’s having trouble concentrating. If I suddenly feel like throwing up, I can be certain someone just touched his sandwich with their artificial fingernail. He hates that.

This sort of communication has limitations though. Normally, I only know what emotions he is experiencing and have to rely on him to fill in the details. Sometimes, there will be numbers flying around in the feelings, but I am not very good at understanding what numbers mean yet. For example, I might get a sudden headache surrounded by black number fours. What does that mean? I have no idea. Also, there are a few emotions I routinely get mixed up. A form of emotional dyslexia, I guess. For example, I have always mistaken suppressed rage for passionate love. This led to much confusion in the beginning of our relationship, when I would burst into to tears because I suddenly “knew” he was dying to make love to his Uncle Eddie- the lime green feeling in the air was unmistakable. And why did he fall in love with the mailman every time our mail was delivered to the wrong address?

 

 

Golden Hay

13 Jan
0

Recently, I was suffering from ridiculous allergies, but when I finally recovered I felt better adapted to living in West Virginia. Living in the hills is just so thick and dense that if you aren’t used to it, it feels like trying to eat a whole stick of butter with no bread. There is a sense that your future does not exist and your present can not be changed.

Coupled with that, is the black and purply feeling of death… or more specifically..
1. A black feeling of our human reality being sandwiched between so many other, non-human realities which cannot be understood, much less controlled.
2. A purple feeling that the whole of our life is just a dot in eternity, and even a dot in the larger picture of who we are.
That is my impression anyway, I doubt a single other person would agree with me. But I do think you have to run your furnace hotter here to avoid being swallowed up by feelings of futility and fatalism.
At any rate, this song was inspired by my newfound appreciation for West Virginia.  After my allergies, I could see more of the value in accepting life as it is, rather than always trying to sculpt it into a shape of my choice.

 

Golden Hay

 

Life
may not be real
Pikey what a thing to say
you know that you weren’t raised that way

And yet
sometimes I fear
God has left me so alone
a million miles from any home

To walk a road that has no end
The golden hay lies beyond the bend.

But why would we break?
Why would we cry?
In the end it’s only pain
we’ve known it in so many ways

I know
she felt it too
Remember her, that little bird
so soft we never heard a word

A hint of pink behind the door
and in the end a pile of feathers on the floor

Pikey, you know it won’t be long
Take my hand, I can feel their eyes
descending from the bluest skies

My gun
My iron bar
Life remember I was your friend
I knew that you had no end

Your fields were filled with golden hay
Three clouds they fly above then slowly drift away.

 

Download Mp3: Golden Hay

Hi, it’s me!

15 Jul
1
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Slippers & I out and about, hoping to bump into some friends.

Hi there, it’s me! I feel like it would be rude if I didn’t, every now and then, step out from behind my songs and say hi as a person. I know some people prefer musicians to “shut up and sing,” but personally I find it a bit uncordial if someone keeps singing at me and never says hello. As they say in West Virginia, “Handshakes before hugs.”

Perhaps that is why I dislike concerts, as a rule. Not only are they extremely expensive (I prefer spending money on tangibles), not only are they cold, smelly, and impersonal, but I find it dull to watch a person perform for hours on end without ever removing the mask to reveal their self, if only for a moment.

Since musicians are supposed to like concerts, it took me a long time to admit how I really felt. Finally the day came when I had front row seats to a Roseanne Cash concert, but I stayed home to watch Columbo instead. It wasn’t like anyone was going to get murdered at her show. A couple weeks later, I had front row seats to a Justin Townes Earle show, but once again I couldn’t bring myself to go. I tried to give myself a pep talk- he’s a heroin addict, maybe something exciting will happen.  But I couldn’t budge myself. I knew he would probably be on his best behavior, singing his songs without a hitch and making witty comments about the wonderful audience. Perhaps I am a bad person, or maybe just a Scorpio, but I find it so dull to watch someone put their best foot forward. I always want to see their worst foot. But professional musicians never seem to fall off the stage or forget their medication. What is the point then? If I just wanted to hear someone sing, I could take a shower.

*

At any rate, here is what is going on with me- nothing. My life is so boring that I feel a pang of awe that I am able to survive it uncrushed. A testament to the human spirit. The most exciting part of my day is walking Slippers and saying hello to the rotating cast of semi-wild dogs that join us. As I’ve mentioned before, Slippers used to be one of these roaming dogs until she got hit by a car and was going to be ‘put down.’ Back then her name was ‘Nasty.’ Because “Keepin’ it Nasty” is the unofficial slogan of our holler. At first, I wasn’t sure what it meant. I thought country people were supposed to be square, with rigid morals. Boy was I wrong! If it isn’t illegal for at least three reasons, they won’t even touch it around here. Especially when it comes to love.

I sort of admire their krazy spirits, but only from a distance, watching with binoculars from my window.

So why is my life so boring? Personally, I think it has less to do with isolation and more to do with geography. There are hills on all sides. If you want to see the sky you have to look straight up. Giant walls of earth pressing in on me from all directions, vibrating my body with their cold brown waves. It is the sort of feeling you get in a library, being surrounded by heavy books, except it’s brown rather than gray. I like to think it is making me strong. Maybe wise too.

 

I am trying to get over my

No friends today, they were all hiding because of the flood and Slippers is pissed.

 

 

 

 

Golden Fingers

27 Jan
0

 

Checker Board

The Greenbrier, West Virginia

Watch the world with hopeful eyes
staring at its black disguise
hiding-where are you?

Underneath a checkerboard
knights and kings keeping score
crying- can it be true?

Under your purple eyes
black squares and white squares lie
fighting- which one is true?

Under your aqua shirt
hope is killed off by hurt
all on the surface is blue.

Don’t lose heart whatever life brings
you must believe that behind all things
Golden Fingers pull on the strings!

Prop your head up on your arm
in your eyes I see no intent to harm
that’s why I love you.

But the day will surely come
when you will kill or be the one
whom they pour their poison into.

Don’t be their fluffy sheep
sink into places deep
let evil flow through your root.

Hardened heart, inky skull
feast like a cannibal
all of the black squares were true.

Killing hurts and killing stings
but you must believe that behind the scenes
Golden Fingers pull on the strings!

When you’re dark, when you’re mean
doing things that shouldn’t be seen
I will be here with you.

Bodies lie, angels spy
we fall to earth, one day we fly
all of the white squares were true.

In the sky they saw
your hand and they understand
you did what you had to do.

Kill or be killed they know
that’s the way black squares roll
all of their tears were for you.

Don’t lose heart whatever life brings
you must believe that behind all things
Golden Fingers pull on the strings!

 

Download MP3: Golden Fingers

The Wire

7 Jan
0

 

Goodbye to Peanut Lily, one of the neighborhood dogs who used to walk with me.

Goodbye to Peanut Lily, one of the neighborhood dogs who used to walk with me.

 

You held my hand by barbed wire
You covered my mouth trash burned in a fire
The hills rose high
No thrills, no sky

We walked the road through shack and shed
We fed the dogs some whole wheat bread
Likes fleas, like friends
Burdens that bleed, yearnings that end

You cry but all along
I knew that it was wrong
Under my breath I sang a song
I don’t belong, I don’t belong

Good morning dogs scratch at my door
Could I delay for just a moment more?
Cold air, always so gray
Always want more, carried away

Goodbye, Cotton. We will miss you.

Goodbye, Cotton. We will miss you.

You place the slippers on my feet
We watch the kids play on the street
Let’s try to have faith, let’s try to have fun
Look the kid in the stripes, he’s wearing a gun

You cry but all along
I knew that it was wrong
Under my breath I sang a song
I don’t belong, I don’t belong

I set a rock upon a log
I watched the trees dissolving into fog
Forced to remain, forced to hang on
Always the same, just expanded upon

You cry but all along
I knew that it was wrong
Under my breath I sang a song
I don’t belong, I don’t belong.

 

 

 

Download MP3: The Wire

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.

 

 

Burn

1 Oct
0

 

One of my favorite parts of living in West Virginia is driving through the mountains at night listening to religious sermons on the radio. Yesterday, the sermon was about the Millennial Reign of Jesus, which begins when the Saints of Tribulation rise from the grave and begin their march up the Mountain of Olives, where Jesus will be waiting for them along with a white unicorn. On this mountain, Jesus and the saints will arm themselves and prepare for the battle ahead,  which involves casting most humans into hell (but only AFTER turning them into immortals, so that they will suffer till the end of time) and imprisoning Satan deep in Cetarez- the Mariana Trench of Hell (where he will live for the next one thousand years, until he escapes for the Final Battle.)

 

Jesus emerges from Olive Mountain as the Saints of Tribulation rise from the grave.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While I’m not sure I completely agree with the preacher on what the future holds, I do like it that people’s minds are open enough to entertain such fanciful possibilities. And I like the idea that the very essence of reality could suddenly change in the blink of an eye. I tend to assume that the basic laws and shape of the universe will remain as they are- but what if they won’t? What if the people of the hills are right, and this is the seventh day of reality- the day when God rests- but soon his day of rest will end and all of hell will break loose? Although, personally, I would prefer a less violent eighth day, when Jesus returns to right every wrong and turn the earth into Teddy Bear World.

 

 

Download MP3: Burn

Tongues of Fire

23 Aug
0

 

Ever since I left New England, I’ve felt a touch disoriented. After a couple years in New Hampshire, my life started to gain a clear and singular focus- to escape the cold, dark world of the Yankees. But now that I’m in West Virginia, the meaning of life seems more vague. It’s sunny and warm outside, the biscuits are big, cheap, and fluffy, the people are friendly (and to my surprise they actually DO say ain’t and decorate with confederate flags), and yet… at the same time, here I am all alone in a big white apartment, no friends or connections, nothing to do, nowhere to go… it’s as though I’ve left the North, but the North hasn’t left me.

So I took a good look at the man in the mirror, and decided that I need to become a warmer person. Which is why I have to give up ice cream. The thing about frozen treats is, once I start eating them, they take me to a strange head space from which it impossible to stop. James will drive me to four different McDonalds in a row, so I can get a cone at each one without seeming weird. Then I will fill the entire freezer with a selection of ice cream bars, ice cream sandwiches, ice creams, and popsicles, which I will eat continuously until the very last one is gone.  Which might not be so much of a problem, if I wasn’t such a cold person to begin with.  It only takes a few servings until I start shaking with the chills, and after a few days of this, I am so cold I can’t leave my bed, but just lie there convulsing under an electric blanket. Obviously, this is no way to build the Fire Within. So from now on, whenever I want ice cream, I’m going to drink hot chocolate instead. Because chocolate is passionate and fiery and people who eat  lots and lots of it are less likely to get murdered. Which brings me to another addiction that I must give up.

Rainbow Horns

 

Which is watching murder mysteries. The pattern is pretty similar to the ice cream- once I start watching murder mysteries it becomes impossible to stop. I have to watch five a day, and I start to feel more and more afraid of being murdered until it interferes with my ability to function in life. Last night, for example, I couldn’t sleep because of a tapping sound which I was convinced was the tapping of  a spoon that somebody wanted to use to remove my eyeballs. Ugh, I am freaking out just remembering it! But the point is, I need to stop watching these movies that keep me frozen in fear, and watch heart warming comedies instead. Comedy has never been my favorite genre- who wants to be the idiot laughing their head off as someone creeps in the window to murder them? But if watching comedies can melt the giant glacier that my life has become, then I am going to do it.

So, anyway, this song is sort of related to my craving for fire and heat, because it was inspired by the spirit of the tropical ginger plant, whom I imagine as a warm, brave, and wily man, one of the many justice spirits I like to believe are roaming our world.

 

Download MP3: Tongues of Fire

 

Why is it that in Hurricane, West Virginia, surrounded by trees and plants in all directions, I suddenly feel the irresistible urge to become a city slicker?

Whether to become a city slicker or a plain folk (country person), is a decision everyone must make at some point in their life. Do you want to live in the world of plants (the country), or the world of animals (the city)? I always assumed I would be more of a plain folk, since I feel like a plant at heart. Plants provide relief from the constant assault of human ideas upon our brains. They bring peace, beauty, and wisdom. Their minds are pure and spacious. Human minds are more like houses, structured and confined to include only a tiny slice of reality. And just as with houses, unless people make a concerted effort to clean their minds on a regular basis, the funk tends to build up until things take on a rather unappetizing smell. But plants live under the open sky and the stars, there is nothing to shield their minds from reality, and so, over time, their ideas become more true. Humans build thought structures to protect themselves, and these structures seem to keep the bad in as much as they are designed to keep the bad out.

Save Thyself

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But I’m not knocking humans, because when it comes to energy and zest, humans are where it’s at. Plants can lull you into a state of contemplation and wonder, but humans snap you out of your reverie and stimulate you to get back on your feet and fight. Humans are smart and brisk; they challenge us to be all we can be; they awaken our creativity and passion. Humans are wily and deceptive, but also fast and clever. They bring heat and light to our world, and warm up our hearts in a way that no plant can. Even their evil ways can bring about robust health by stimulating the flow of bile in our liver.

In essence, plants are from Venus: beautiful, harmonious, and lanquid, while animals are from Mars: driven, devious, and willful. And now that I am living in a place overflowing with plantness, I suddenly find myself craving the fiery red shiny hard plastic life of the city mouse.

But what does it entail, exactly, being a city slicker? And what do I need to do to become one? (I’ll do anything!)

Well, according to google, in order to become a city slicker, I need to

a) join a fitness club (because city slickers are fit)

b) learn three new words a day (because city slickers are smart)

c) keep up with fashion trends (because city slickers are fashionable)

d) call my friends “sexy” (because…?)

Hmmm… I know I said I would do anything, but wearing polyester scarfs and calling people sexy? Maybe there is no future for me in the city. I don’t know. I will try to keep an open mind, though, because after all, Hurricane is only thirty minutes away from Charleston, WV. Charleston is supposedly just a city of 50,000 people, but when you see it at night, all twinkling between the mountains and the river, somehow it seems way bigger and more urban than Boston.

 

 

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