We reacted to this album twice.
The first time was straight free-write.
The second time we tried for a little more clarity, a little closer to a normal review (though we didn’t always get there).
The song titles are in bold.
“Reaction Second” is placed in front of “Reaction First”; except when I liked “Reaction First” better. Often I can’t tell what I liked better; I’ll have to put this to one side and read it again letter, then I can decide which goes in front when. Yeah, so for now (Dec 2019), I’ll just leave “Reaction Second” first.
Readers are encouraged to read as they will.
At least one “Reaction First” confuses its own author now a bit later.
On the whole, well,
it’s hard to let go
of a stand you thought was wise and good
that felt like family and home and purpose
it’s hard to let go of a world
that you’d inhabited
that you thought you shared
and now you find out
you were not always as much accompanied there as you’d once thought.
It is strange to see how fragile life and its components are.
It is disorientating to drift older without all the answers
as we humanthings do
But it’s also wonderful to know the nuances a little clearer and brighter; to become a little more like how things are, a little more like the waves rustling the sandy shore, the wind tickling the grass- and tree-tops, banging against and around the solid trunks, into dark damp forgotten nooks.
This song is sad somber
the falcon turns in the widening gyre
Why is there “no beauty” “in this frame?”
Why do the chords pace around the thumping drums?
Why does a whistle float up and down,
carrying me into the quiet moss
high above whitewater steep shale/root/coolcrumbly-dirt creek?
Floating in on the buh buh and wah wah wah wah
No signs of Beauty; nobody calls your name.
How lonely we wind around
How lonely we down the drain round and round little kids in the bath
There is no Beauty; not in this frame; no one’s around to speak that name.
Where has the Beauty gone to?
Was It ever there?
What did I hang my heart upon all those years?
And now the drums trundle in and thump a lump along
I can feel Casey in the distance; like I knew him long blond hair and acorn face ball cap because we’re cool
Now the time is rumbling along the train tracks with electronic drums that remind me of someone I used to sometimes know
I Miss A Lot
A delicate railroad-strumming
Strings ting in at odd angles
Why must he “perform, like this is a stage, with our fist raged”?
He notes a “change in your face”; but he “could be wrong”
As the drum and guitar rise: “I miss a lot of what you say … ”
We are in this circling space with him
Alice falling down the rabbit hole
with the bedroom furniture floating on all sides
Infinite fall forever float
ground removed beneath our feet
synths rise to greet us
but they are ghosts and we fall through
“I miss a change in your face”
When does the ball begin to bounce away?
Do we fail to see it because we don’t want to or because we just don’t?
I miss a lot of what you say
Dance with me in Old France, dance with me in the cafe to an accordion and in the haze of so much cigarette smoke
maybe I should perform; like this is a stage; with our fists raised; like we’re going to embrace; a change in your face — but I could be wrong
Who’s this little kid with blond hair
that you push over the cracked gray pebbly cement, the little ramps everywhere; around the block; with the great tree park on one side.
What’s going on here?
Through the life cycle; now deep into it
With some ethereal horns opening the pearly gates;
we rising up past the clouds
some adult missing another adult;
I miss a change in your face;
or missing the point of some exchange or of some development, now developed, now yesterday.
What is the significance of this imagery:
a performer stands above the crowd with both fists raised
as if to embrace someone
But who embraces with fists?
That’s a hug that’s begun to seal itself off
A performance hug?
A change in the face and then the open palms shut?
The trajectory of a hug can’t be so swiftly altered, but the impact can change: open hands can curl up in defense, in a wilting defense.
Legs that were Given
Here he sings out the side of his mouth
Here he’s tired
“Hey, my bones hurt, my bones hurt!”
The drums and synth come in at distorted bursts
and then melt into a simple two-step
Then the bursting bones hurting
We feel tired with him
with these mistakes
that aren’t even really mistakes,
but just things that sometimes happen
and then settle to the bottom
like silt on the cold ocean floor
Trying a masterpiece
Trying a highest peak
Singing out of the side of his mouth
Hey my bones hurt my bones hurt
electronic marching orders
somebody needs help
the tinsel reverb
you call somebody out (else?)
change up two-step country walz:
our own ancient melody; but you should see our spirit, resting high above; take me out take me out one last time
The papers burn and the black smoke spirals and slides up, slowly melting into the slate-gray sky
Big steps on either side
To share an ancient melody, a timeless understanding.
To rise as a single spirit and settle over time’s arrow.
To allow a poem a final reading
No Coming Back from That
“Look here. I’ve been down here before. I know what burns at the core.”
“You didn’t know what was here. Prepare for the medieval. Prepare for the passing people.”
Will we get out alive, as he suggests we “just might”?
Who are these people who “like it when we smile”?
What are the “precious things” he lost when he “woke up still believ(ing) in goodness”?
The music is sinister, persistent, it keeps pacing around like a tiger caging its prey with soft paws, claws retracted but very much ready.
I can feel the tick tock and
now I think those organ notes are from a bar in Jabba’s Hut.
And now, “if I had all the power” “the influence”,
“I wouldn’t do a damn thing … for them”
What are we to make of this as the music floats from side to side
Do we become ashes in the fire?
Do we float into the crisp winter sky?
He can’t remember the scarred metal drums
where leaves were burned.
I remember the contained insane heat and sooty musty air
losing its way in the cold/dry-clear or cool/damp-overclouded November sky.
But he won’t.
Still this song does that; and up we go, for a moment intense but immediately fading and soon nothing at all
you didn’t know it was a trap; you didn’t know about the tree sap
prepare yourself for medieval; pray for the passing people who might just get out alive
they like it if you smile
Triumphant organ pipes
The circling of the electric hammers and pianos
and the monster is approaching with rhythmic heavy feet
Closing in and closing in
it doesn’t take that much to sink
back and forth; sailors on a ship; I’m in the white a black striped shirt and French black saucer cap; I’m the sailor on deck, dancing a jig
and if I had the power; if I had the influence
what, mighty mortal? what then? what?
i wouldn’t do a damn thing; i wouldn’t do a damn thing for them
oh, but now there’s a them?
oh but now there’s the scorpion squad clacking their claws
stingers arching excitedly fore
The song paints danger, encircling monsters
a cruel and jagged time and place
where forgiveness is a luxury no one fathoms
The song paints life in chaos
Hold on Tight
This one steps lightly from side to side
“Try to remember how kind they were as we get a little further down the track”
“Hold on tight my satellite — you and I should stick together”
Who to speak these words to?
Who to care whether you or James Murphy have lost your edges?
Who to return the favor when “My soul has reached out to greet you”?
Now we get older
Now we see original alliances were too narrow
Now we see what cannot be undone.
“Try to remember how kind they were
as we get a little further down the track.”
All these loves
“All that heartache”
“All those earthquakes”
“All that broken stuff behind us”
Everything works out to those who love the Lord, who are the called according to his purpose.
Everything works to bind us all together in and through the Lord, to keep everyone in our hearts, to journey together, leaving none behind.
Everything works to demand and deliver kindness
forced to drink ginger ale
i am afraid we are losing
everything i used to know
polka in electric and waltz in the colored lighting
i’m dancing with my baby
in the last days of the world
maybe i do believe in souls, after all; the other day i was just fooling
maybe i do believe in strange rivers, guiding me right back to you
and my soul
has reached out to greet you
but this soul, so forward; almost pushy, pushing itself past the organs, past the bone and skin, past the white cotton undershirt and the plaid cotton overshirt; past the shake and quake of the last effort before we
down to where the cavern meets the sea
long i’ve known
the spot where sand and surf and dark cave rocks meet
all that broken stuff behind us???
He sings higher and softer in this one.
The cellos are moody and disjointed, lost in some impossibility
The electronic twitch beats are paranoid
We’re lost with him in a brave new world
Clicked the wrong thing on the internet!
Our lives wrapped up in an infinite interwoven web of data-points
surrounding us, owning us, ready to collapse and swirl us down the drain with their empty beeps.
“such a pretty screen”
“can’t look away”
“push the instant replay
to watch the remaining days
Where has the moment gone?
Now that we own it in HD
and find out it was actually outside of us all along
I was wrecked by TV
not what i used to be
now outside the line
poor lost speaker pale and with round eyes
bodyless head floats in a computer screen
such a pretty screen; can’t look away
the machinery click and clack of the info age enveloping us all in an umbrella of entertaining fragmented noise
downloaded an illegal Bubbah Fet
I’m lost here
i’m lost here in pixels and code bytes
i’m slowly dying
slowly melting into the info
such a pretty screen; can’t look away; push the remaining replay to watch the remaining days again
Interim while the electronica bounces around
No New Best Friends
Drums like the heavy feet of recklessly-pursuing caterpillar-monsters
He speaks of knotted fingers
He speaks of being brought low by flipped hair
“I won’t be doing that again;
I won’t be your best friend.”
Song stops, turns to a gentle swing slow tire swing above the brown rippling creek
Then comes back the angry but silly and ineffective caterpillar-monster
This monster cannot defeat us
This song becomes a gentle muse
This song forgets its origins
it lets the balloons go
it is followed up by
the next song
where the balloon floats up, meanders up and away
while you were nursing your catastrophic injury, I will get first place in the step contest
I’m gonna leave early so you can get some rest
I won’t be your best friend
the voice is distant; the piano ethereal; the drums persistent
you are a pro; you’ve done this thing forever; you flip your hair and it brings me down
what is it in the toss of curtain of hair?
a river, a waterfall of hair?
floating up, waving up, hanging for a moment in the air, in infinity, in the possibilities
but everyone knows where it is headed
right back down, back down, flowing down to the dark deep pool where divers lose themselves beneath the thundering crash of water drop upon water drop
[where the balloon floats up, meanders up and away]
That the balloon floats up, meanders up and away
and that’s OK
that it drifts beyond our gazes
He wasn’t there though,
when AC, a faux-fur hand warmer proudly tied about her tiny middle,
lost that balloon in the cold parking lot
outside the mall with 50 foot metallic curving ceilings, with stale air of recycled BO and cigarette smoke
how she wailed!
how she carried on!
balloon long gone now
he wasn’t there though
not for that
what a joy you’ve been to me
Now I’m back there drinking in a French cafe
A young man plays accordion and swings from side to side as he ballads his heart out
how long this time goes
how long this life eats the cannon
I’m gonna leave you alone I swear it; I’m gonna leave you alone this time
nothing lasts forever
and these mix-ups of the heart are
A song to drift away on
To admit you had been happy with someone now making you sad
To travel through the arc and let life be itself
An orchestra of strings floats up to meet you
as you sink down into the cold snow
wide open spaces created by long-spaced beats and a voice that wafts up and drops down in wide measures
“he’s a relic of gold”
“but he will arrive on time;
you can grab him at the gate;
it will be a brand new air;
it will be a brand new stage”
Delicately placed guitar and electropiano
Who is this relic of gold
and why does the “goooold” wind upward?
Why do we get so tired, so sleepy, so lost
like little children in our choir robes,
resting on each other’s bony shoulders
as the Christmas Eve service goes on?
I take long trips on the funking music of another’s forgotten seashell
you dougmarsh and then we grow tunneling with delicate vocals
and distant approaches
out of the sunlight bringing the river along
bringing the gods forward
he knows of what he might; if only he would be so bold; he is a relic of gold
what is this soft shaking and timid light?
I feel we’re falling down the rabbit hole
I fear we’re spinning on our heads and
he will arrive on time
it will be a grand new state
I’m a man on jet plane
I’m a man with a program
I’m a man with ammunition
I’m a man with a vision
a vision shattering like glass; like a sad singer’s fragmented
anvil falls upon Wile E Coyote
The very anvil he’d planned so carefully
to drop upon the Roadrunner, who does not run, but merely spins his legs as a blur a wheel-like blur
we’re gone now, fading away with the guitar
In this plaintive tune, D. Kent Watson maintains that there are things people should not say and feel, and that there is no sense of loyalty; furthermore, he’s a fool in need of some grace now, though he cannot rightly say if it is for “me” or “you”
Why can’t he see truth?
Why did he have to look through “you”?
And now when the deck of cards has fallen
onto the ground and lost its cohesion
The music ethereal, spaced out, distant like the loss, like the separation, like the confusion of a newfound nothing where you’d once reached for a stable place.
“You changed the story; you changed the place; I’m such a fool now”
While “there are things you should not say … feel … do” floats up through the cracks
Why did he follow this person not himself?
And why do I follow only this treadmill myself?
And now art is a long corridor where we say, “you get nothing from me” to the air, to the wind, the oak leaves shaking in the fall breeze, to no one anymore; since the bigger issue is that we’re all of us now and forever rolled up into one and cannot escape each other even if, wounded, we’d sometimes like to
Will you listen to me now?
will you read the things I suggest?
there are things people should not say; … feel; there is no sense of loyalty
i am a fool
i need some grace now
not sure if its for you or me
i could not see truth
i have to look through you always
had you as a sounding board
had you as a reference point
had you as a standard
had you as a lighthouse
had you as an insight
all of it was labor; all of it was some favor, anyhow
how softly folds the space
how sweetly lulls the
you changed the story; you changed the place; i’m such a fool
i stayed in place; i followed you; i walked with you
there are things you should not say …
how long has it been?
and in the end
there a things …
you get nothing from me
I’m going back now
to the place where I’d drew my strength
I’d thought I could make sense with
you and it would be a good idea
because you had the answers
and most of all the answer for me
because i thought you had the pieces
i couldn’t find on my own
but now i guess
i need to