Smoke And Whiskey

Verse 1:

G

One in the morning

em

you're welcome to stay

G

nobody's breedin'

em

gonna stand in the way

 

Chorus 1:

D

we'll never know exactly what went right

              C

but smoke and whiskey (smoke and whiskey)

          D

smoke and whiskey (smoke and whiskey)

          C

smoke and whiskey (smoke and whiskey)

          G

made that night.

 

Verse 2:

G

Three in the morning

em

you're outta the game

G

uptown or downtown

em

it all looks the same

 

Chorus 2:

D

we never know exactly what goes down

              C

but smoke and whiskey (smoke and whiskey)

          D

smoke and whiskey (smoke and whiskey)

          C

smoke and whiskey (smoke and whiskey)

          G

made this town

 

Verse 3:

G

Five in the morning

em

you're out on the street

G

lookin for candy

em

it ain't trick or treat

 

Chorus 3:

D

we never know what go wrong when it go wrong

              C

but smoke and whiskey (smoke and whiskey)

          D

smoke and whiskey (smoke and whiskey)

          C

smoke and whiskey (smoke and whiskey)

          G

made this song

 

Good ol' song. Key of G. Play it hard with mostly root position power and barre chords and a heavy beat.

 

HBTY Aleister

Happy fucking birthday Aleister Crowley, you loopy old crawdad you.

Though maybe you were not the world-shattering event you wished to be, you managed to change a cupboard’s worth of dross into spiritual gold…

Or if not actual gold, at least you bodged up something that (with the proper lighting) looked like actual gold…

Or, if not resembling the real thing, at least you came up with something that can give a certain type of person the feeling that they’ve been in the presence of the real thing…

Perhaps…

Belief is tricky. Belief is a rattlesnake, venomous and ill-tempered and inclined to strike out at any perceived threat.

Belief makes my skin crawl. I much prefer skepticism.

Aleister fostered belief. He assembled a latter-day tabernacle, and filled it with the pathology and symptoms of belief. Reviewing his history, though, I have to wonder if he himself truly believed anything at all.

I’d have more respect for him if I knew he didn’t. I can admire (at least in a technical sense) a wholehearted charlatan, but I suspect that any "true believer" in anything (except perhaps the immutability of the speed of light) is either stupid, or hagridden with agendas – none of which are likely to coincide with my own.

On the other hand, though, belief has a lot it seems to offer. Of course it’s all nonsense, but still – belief is so seductive. So desirable, because belief implies certainty, and certainty is what we strive for, isn’t it?

Certainty – just imagine that. Imagine knowing something, instead of merely surmising everything – which of course is how all rational people live: we all exist in a provisional, statistical uncertainty, where everything is in doubt. Even the chairs we sit on are of questionable reality. Even when we assign a very high probability to the likely continued presence of our seats, that probability never reaches 100%, if we’re honest with ourselves.

Now imagine certainty taking the place of all that wishy-washyness. Imagine having all your cautious tiptoeing through the world replaced with confidence and unquestioned solidity.

Seductive indeed.

A complete illusion, of course, that such certainty could ever be justified. But my goodness, how compelling. How alluring…

 

The Treasure Hoard of Lokè

Of The Hoarding Of The Stones

 

Since days before the eldest elder days –

since all this world among the worlds was young,

and happy princes ordered happy lands

uncounted under endless starry skies,

and naiads laughed amid the satin waves

that endless lapped in sand their dune-swept shores,

I have been Lokè, and Lokè has had rule.

 

And since those distant days before our days,

the Wordless One has meted out the fates

of all the mortal creatures that have run

between the shadowed moon and marless sun,

and from the first it was decreed and known

that hearts of humans would be captured in

all beautiful and all most precious stones,

that on their death, a flake of memory

might live enough to still be summoned forth.

 

Because I am the giver of commands,

all gems that throb with life are brought to me

and laid as offerings about my throne.

And captured in their winking symmetry

are all the stories of the lucky ones,

though silent while trapped within the stone.

 

Of The Telling Of The Tales

 

And long before the time of floods and falls,

before the continents were bent and changed,

before our hearts grew rotten with despair,

I, Lokè, said that every feast and fête

would see a single captive tale brought

from out some ruddy pearl or fine-cut gem,

and given voice by fate-selected bard,

or Wiccan crone, or doom-struck, fey-blessed child.

 

And further, that each channeled tale, as told,

would be set down within the Book of Stones,

to be remembered ever more, until

the final day, when thrones, and hoards, and songs,

and crones are tendered to their final fates.

 

Of The Value Of The Songs

 

So, in this while, while all our hearts still pump,

we have our wine, and food upon the hearth,

and friends to share the bounty on the board,

and wars and weather loosening our tongues.

 

And while eyes can see and ears can hear,

the gem-like tales of the gathered stones –

like spirits – shall possess our songs and spells,

to lift their deeds upon the smoke of dreams,

enchanting us with days before our days.

 

And we shall weep for what is too soon lost,

and too, for all that yet is meant to be.

 

And in the mornings following our feasts

we once again shall cast ourselves upon

the plow, or into ships at sea, and fall

into the snows and rains of Time, or on

opposing swords, and live until we die.

 

Of The Constant Making Of The Stones

 

And though our blood be spilled, we know it must

condense into the form of gems or gold,

and find its way into my Treasure Hoard.

 

And in the days to come beyond our fall,

our tales, too, will come, as songs, or dreams,

to singers and enchanters yet to be.

 

And those ensorcelled by our poems and spells

will come to know our hopes and hates and loves –

the tears and mortal fears of thee and me.

 

And thus, we will the weather of our minds

unto the minds of beings yet to come,

and teach our omened, death-bound progeny

the meaning of their presence with our loss.

 

And thus we will the rill and race of years,

though such a fate be faster – in its spate,

and in its running, and its formless heave –

than all the flows of Time that sunder us

from all we love, and all we might believe.

 

Blank verse, with some liberties and artificialities, with a stanzaic structure following the sense of the content rather than any imposed technical structure.

This was meant as an introduction to a series of poems, each the story of a life drawn from one of the gems in the Hoard of Lokè – something like the Spoon River Anthology, perhaps, or the Decameron, or like the Canterbury Tales but with fewer horses.

But I have yet to compose any such tales – this introduction stands alone.

And probably (given my advanced age and the many duties and enthusiasms that continue to afflict me) it will always stand alone. It’s hard to imagine immersing myself to the intense degree that would be required to finish this concept.

Cute idea, though. Who knows? Maybe…

 

Sunbeams

dreams

 

mental sunbeams

piercing the slatted blinds around our minds

to enliven our dust

 

they add warm tones

to all our familiar clutter

and make our homes seem homelike

though they threaten

 

with their light

 

to soften the hard kernel of desperation

on which we have grown dependent

 

threaten to soften our voices

when singing to one another

our song of

 

life

 

the climbing ivy

leaves rustling in the sun

reaching for

 

This is a circle poem from my 1991 pen-journal.

 

The Exercising Boy Page 30

Another page from my peculiar graphic novel, working title "The Exercising Boy".

20171007 The Exercising Boy page 30 "That was marvelous"
20171007 The Exercising Boy page 30 “That was marvelous”

This scene occurs right after the grand dinner on the last night of the reunion… and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, think of a legendary Thanksgiving dinner that couldn’t be beat, with more fights than relatives, and people stoned on overeating lolling about nodding…

 

Full Blood Harvest Moon

The Harvest Moon is the full Moon nearest the start of fall – that is, the Autumnal Equinox which (in the Northern Hemisphere) comes on or near September 22 each year.

This usually means the September full moon is the year’s Harvest Moon, but it can also fall in early October. It ranges from two weeks before to two weeks after the equinox.

In 2017, the Harvest Moon occurs now, in October. The September Full Moon came too early to be the Northern Hemisphere’s official Harvest Moon, according to the most widely accepted definition of the term. The October Full Moon falls closer to this year’s equinox.

Last month’s Full Moon carried its less impressive name of "Fruit" Moon. And it’s probably pissed – maybe feeling a little slighted. So stay out of its way.

The characteristics of a Harvest moon means it rises low, slow, early and big, right at sunset. A Full Harvest moon; also monickered now and again after one or another harvest crop – the "barley" moon, or the "corn" moon.

But we’re a big fan of late binding, which is a programmer thing, so we’ll go with the more or less generic "Harvest" moon…

 

Sputnik 60th Anniversary

Sixty years ago today, the gaw-dam-ROOSKIES launched a little hundred kilo projectile into low Earth orbit, and the USA populace started freaking out.

That freakout meant that USA management had to start acting like they gave a fuck. Thus was born the "space race". For about fifteen years, USA management spent a lot of time and money and energy on NASA, Arpa/Darpa, and educating the American public in science and math, ostensibly building up the necessary intellectual capital to counter the "soviet threat"…

Of course what really became a threat to management was the educated populace they had created, not fully appreciating one of the chief side-effects of all that book-larnin’: enabling a bunch of smart, idealistic hotheads who would want to change things. When they did figure this out in the early 1970s, they once again started systematically starving and degrading the school system, bending it back toward its traditional goals of creating sheep-like, ignorant voters.

After all – Rooskies weren’t nearly so frightening as a bunch of politically involved young people, or packs of world citizens without the usual prejudices and bigotries…

Whatever.

In any case, happy anniversary, Sputnik. You changed the world for a little while.

Sputnik definitely changed things for me, and other Boomers like me. I was in third grade when the new emphasis on education really hit, in 1959, and suddenly, school was different. School assemblies were full of songs about rockets and the moon, libraries were full of exciting books about space ships and space stations, model rocketry was a curiously cheap and popular hobby, and all the superannuated retirees and grandmothers who had been teaching math up to then were suddenly replaced by very serious young men and women with briefcases full of special testing materials and an eye out for talent…

It was fun. They sure didn’t like it when we started asking questions, though. The management was accustomed to the Dubya-Dubya-Too generation of obedient soldier types, and were flabbergasted when we started asserting our own interests and aims…

 

Mystery

where did the world go

 

I modeled a dragon this morning

on an armature of virtual bone

a metaball body

teeth composed of mountains

wings assembled from a hundred clouds

claws of crescent moons

 

I could almost believe it woke

and stared at me

before I sent it back to nowhere

 

now I’m drinking water

the water is cool and good

the glass fuzzy and smeared

or is it my eyes

 

the muffled voices of boys

mix in the next room

with trilling afternoon birds

and forgettable television babble

then the kids begin scatting

Rock Around The Clock

the teevee goes off

a brother laughs

distant and throaty

like a passing freight

 

and then all falls silent

 

 

there will never be a time

 

where did the world go

in that moment

and how did it find its way back

I got a personal interest in asking

you understand

most of the incidents of my life

are held in icy slivers

dissolving splinters

of some crystalline apparency

growing rapidly less visible every moment

 

where does the world go

when each moment has passed

and how does it find its way back

 

my memories are fading fragments

dissolving in their own meltwater

forming under the dragon’s breath of recall

 

they trickle back to a greater oceanic whole

all memories

sooner or later

melt and return

once upon a time they froze

now they relax and return

they are almost not here

 

only the present

still sets its hooks in me

 

the childish crayon scrawls

on the desk beneath my book

the glasses on the desk

the extra pen

the cup of water

the comfortable bulbed light

bathing everything I see in gold

the air in and out of my lungs

the glasses on my nose

sliding down

pushed up

sliding down

 

 

the certainty of divinity

 

there will never be a time

never in this body

never again

when I will hear a Mother’s voice

a Father’s cough

a well-remembered friend’s sarcasm

a certain lover’s nervous laugh

or indignant sniff in the face of indignity

they are gone

souls like grass in the field

like incandescent bulbs

like crumbling roads

like stars burning their spiral ruts

in the imperishable dark

 

all arrives and then is gone

does the last warp of a woven rug

regret the priority or passing of the first

and to what degree am I similar to a rug

 

I will return to this strange place

many times again

to live between dragons and cigarettes

beer and twelve year old boys

crickets and lightning

 

all that is living

is desperate to escape

or deluded

or unmindful

though the best live courageously

 

yes

it is a spinning hell

of blue skies endless as a Mongol horde

of popmusic like clouds of locusts

on a field of precious grain and

 

yes

we are too soon old

 

yes

we melt furiously

we are candles in the purest oxygen

or we freeze at a whisper of a Winter breeze

snapping icicles of purest red

 

yes

outrageously

we die amid beauty

so much worse than dying in a sewer

 

perhaps this explains why we destroy

what we love and admire

 

it makes it easier to die

 

 

I modeled a dragon this morning

 

the certainty of divinity

changes nothing unless I understand

how divinity regards me

 

and I do not

 

no single intuition

beyond a sense of vague benignity

comes to mind

 

I have no wish to construct

edifices of spiritual imagination

so no solace descends from any divine cloud

 

no doubt there are

those of appropriate sensibility

who know more than I of divine nature

and I’m glad of the news they seem to offer

 

but I am ruined for all faith

too many fire-breathing self-appointed prophets

too many forked-tongue preachers of self-serving lies

have made truth a hard thing to see

 

a dragon’s fondest wish is to corrupt with truth

to turn the heads of innocents with innocence

before being sent back to nowhere

 

From my 2002 pen-journal, although extensively modified from the original. This is a hard poem to pigeonhole. I start with the near-divine act of creating a dragon (in 2002, I was probably modeling with 3DS Max) and discarding it, then contemplate what makes any moment real, then how we mortal beings relate to that real, and finish with a capsule review of religion-based solace for our sorry state, with loops us back around to the poem’s point of departure. The title of each section is just the first line of the following section, which provides a wispy sense of continuity to it all.

In some senses, this is a circle poem, which I define as a poem without a clear beginning or end, which can be read starting at any point and looped around through the apparent poem end, past the apparent poem start – a kind of looping rumination.

Circle poems can be a cute sort of conceit but in their heart, they deny that anything like progress or change exists – start anywhere, end up anywhere, it’s all the same. Some of my circle poems can even be read in reverse without to significant a change in their overall feel.

Not sure how I feel about that…