Saturday, July 30, 2011

I wanted to scrub away some of the embarrassing nature of the last post. Here is a poem.

Billy Collins - Litany

You are the bread and the knife,

The crystal goblet and the wine...

-Jacques Crickillon

You are the bread and the knife,

the crystal goblet and the wine.

You are the dew on the morning grass

and the burning wheel of the sun.

You are the white apron of the baker,

and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

However, you are not the wind in the orchard,

the plums on the counter,

or the house of cards.

And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.

There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.

It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,

maybe even the pigeon on the general's head,

but you are not even close

to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.

And a quick look in the mirror will show

that you are neither the boots in the corner

nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.

It might interest you to know,

speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,

that I am the sound of rain on the roof.

I also happen to be the shooting star,

the evening paper blowing down an alley

and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.

I am also the moon in the trees

and the blind woman's tea cup.

But don't worry, I'm not the bread and the knife.

You are still the bread and the knife.

You will always be the bread and the knife,

not to mention the crystal goblet and--somehow--the wine.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Dead Can Dance or, The Longest Post Ever, about my special special feelings

Caution: this post contains adult themes & images. Don't scroll down if you're too young for that stuff! I mean it, now! And there is one picture that's Not Safe For Work. (I guess you can tell I have no clue who reads this.)
So: When I listen to Nick Cave, it makes me feel real bad sometimes.
A dude I was infatuated with first turned me on to Nick Cave stuff with the album Boatman's Call. Which I think in its religion/devastation/woman-worshipping themes is reminiscent of Leonard Cohen, so that got me a little on his side, because Cohen is one of my favorites. If you have no idea who Leonard Cohen is, he wrote "Hallelujah", bitches. The Shrek song.
Back to Cave, though, sweet Moses, "Henry Lee", that fucked-up courtship song, which I must point out, as a PROFESSIONAL SCHOLAR OF BALLADS, is apparently based on a version by a Bluegrass guy, Dick Justice. The song (Child Ballad #68) also goes by the name of Young Hunting.
However, I don't think much of Cave's "Murder Ballads" album. I mentioned this to my super-friend Z, who got me to relent a little on the subject of "Stagger Lee" (definitive version is by John Hurt, end of story), but only because she pointed out how adorable the video is, with his hipster outfit pink shirt and homoerotic dancing. I am a sucker for homoerotic stage antics. But I just can't really handle that gross, gross storytelling. I would link for you but the video seems to have vanished from the 'tube.

He does these violent, disgusted screams. Listen here. Violence: not something I handle too well. In music I'm better with it than other places, but still. He makes me feel not like I'm being tortured, but as though I am his torturer. Which kinda sucks, I don't know how he does that. Sometimes on the side you get a heapin' helpin' of lady-hatred too.*
This makes it sound like I don't like Nick Cave, so I guess there's a reason why I describe my relationship with his music as "love/hate". I mean... look how pretty. (That's not him in the first shot. Stay with's the fella who is kinda snarling. The movie is "Wings of Desire", and I think it's one of the most lovely I ever saw.)
There's a blog I really really like called The Well-Educated Pony, and this writer loves Nick Cave so much. She posted about some movies that really suited me, and while she was at it she wrote about movies which feature Nick Cave in some way.
The Proposition: I didn't like the violence. I reserve the right to not get soul-callouses from watching fricken MOVIES. But the music was pretty dang gritty and symbolic fatalist Australian cowboy wet dream. That is to say, I liked the music.
The Assasination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford: So sad! So good! So pretty! So sad!
Wings of Desire: Aaaauuuuuuugghhamazing.
I read an interview with Cave and he said that having a hard sound has to do with anger. I started to wonder whether I listen to this hard music now because I'm angry? Or am I angry because I listen to this stuff? I can definitely remember coming out of high school frustrated with the harder/heavier melancholy-type music that I had access to (which was my friend's Evanescence CD), because, in so many words, I wanted it to "be really depressing". I guess I was looking for some of the symbols and portent of Leonard Cohen and his faithful, divulgent, self-deprecating, lover-ish, Buddha-distant, allusion-tastic writing, with a heavier and more atmospheric sound. My curiosity about Goth music was to find this darkness and gloom that everybody kept talking about; I just wasn't prepared for the anger.
I think action has a lot of power, and ritual action no less so. I think of art as tied to ritual experience, because it is chosen experience, and thereby closely linked to religious experience. When I took theater class I thought about that a lot: about intention, and about acting, the word, how it doesn't really mean "pretending", it means doing a thing. Going through the motions is not to be discounted as a thing that has no power, it has lots. It is the essence of discipline. Anyway music to me is this way of creating that alternate universe of visceral + cerebral + spiritual experience that is made of subconsciously + consciously effective rhythms and tones...time to end this paragraph. Suffice to say I explore the depths with music. The depths of my being, man. And for a while (maybe still) I cast Nick Cave as The Devil in my music tarot.

My old friend D said to me, "Nick Cave is a tool."
Which made me laugh. "He is a tool," I thought. So thanks to D for that.

I wonder why Cave is "Not Goth" even though he makes me feel worse by mega-far than Sisters of Mercy or Bauhaus (I mean--they are Goth, right? Are they Goth? I know, I know, Bauhaus is "more than goth" or "proto-goth" or something, whatever, answer the question), here comes that "O Children" Harry Potter dancing.
*note: a sure cure for the the lady-hatred sad-faces is TARGET WOMEN. Hahahahaha I have laughed so very hard at this stuff, I just keep watching it again, and over again. Sarah Haskins, I love you.