adventures in dysthymia

Thursday, November 29, 2007

ALL THESE THINGS

The carpenter whose house is falling down,
The chef who feeds his children from a can,
The writer of passioned-filled poems
Who forgets his woman needs her man --
All these things I have been,
All these things I remain,
Seller of dreams and confections
Whose roof can't keep out the rain.

Crown me the king of my wasteland,
Set me on yesterday's throne;
Let me spend my years counting
Possessions I never will own.
All these things I have been,
All these things I remain,
Buyer of Love's every promise
Whose heart can't keep out the pain.

The sinner to proud to confess,
The traveler who won't ask the way,
Seeking my Star of the Morning
Alone on the mountain of day --
All these things I have been,
All these things I remain,
Seller of dreams and confections
Whose roof can't keep out the rain.

Stephen Brooke ©2007

I think this is probably a song. Maybe I'll work on some music for it someday.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Okay, the shelves I wanted -- needed -- were finally on sale so now I can get the books off the floor in my office. All things come to he who waits, unless he dies first.

This will be my Christmas present to myself. I'd be doing a happy little Christmas dance but I'd probably fall down. But at least it won't be because I tripped over a stack of books.

Monday, November 26, 2007

IT'S NOT TOO LATE to order all (okay, some) of your Christmas stuff from the Insolent Lad Store at Cafe Press! Astonish friends and relatives with your excellent taste in merchandise!

Btw, I'm probably going to dispense with the single 'premium' store there after the end of the year and go back to multiple (free!) shops linked to my website. I'm thinking it might actually be easier for folks to sort through the various designs that way. And I save money.

AS in years past (the last five or six, that is), I will mention and recommend the Annual Christmas Concert at Tuskegee University. That's this coming weekend, six in the evening of Sunday Dec 2. Free, as always. I'll be recording once again but I would go anyway to hear the Golden Voices Choir, not to mention the keyboard work of Dr Barr and (of course) Ms Garcia.

It's nice that Tuskegee is now less than half the distance from me than when I lived in Steinhatchee. The move to Peanut Road has proven a good decision, even if I sometimes feel like I don't really live in Florida anymore!

In other news, Mary James is still editing the footage she shot at the Florida Folk Festival for a show or two on Cafe Americana. However, she has put up a clip at her YouTube account (along with several of her own performances) -- http://uk.youtube.com/user/meanmary80

She has threatened to put up clips of me. Let's hope not...but with my slow dialup connection I don't watch much online video anyway.

Mary and Frank enjoyed their White Springs weekend and sold enough CDs to make it worthwhile. Of course, the real reason for going is to showcase and network (something socially-challenged Steve doesn't do well) and to simply have fun. They're in Tennessee right now, back to Florida soon I hope. I need to find some gigs for them down here!

This golden morning
whispers rain
through the trees,

a distance of squirrels
chasing the sun.

Stephen Brooke ©2007

Sort of in the form of a tanka. 'Inspired' by the rainy sunrise this morning (I usually rise with the sun and don't worry about what the clock says.).

Sunday, November 25, 2007

SING IT

Time ran out and closed
the door behind it.
Day dissolved in dark;
I could not find it.

Did I sing your song
but still not know it?
Might I then have loved
but feared to show it?

By a chance misled,
I wouldn't take it.
I lie in this bed
but I won't make it.

Blind I may have been
but now I see it.
No one else but I
could choose to be it.

Now I have a story
will I tell it?
Think I'll box it up
and try to sell it.

I become a bird
so I can wing it.
Though I learned your song
I'll never sing it.

Stephen Brooke ©2007

another song

DOWN THE ROAD

Down the road that's yesterday
I run, calling out your name;
All my straight lines curved away
Into the sands of your fame.
Ride your team of white horses,
Ride them till they come up lame.
I'll never reveal your sources;
The song can never be the same.

Bring me the milk of your herds;
Bring the winnings from my bet.
Scatter a handful of words
Into the hungry fields of jet.
The song can never be lost;
My demands have all been met.
Maybe you won't mention the cost
But how could I ever forget?

Down the road of my tomorrow
Someone else can take the blame;
I'll be oscuro to your chiaro,
Become the shadow to your flame.
Oh, ride your team of white horses,
Ride them till they come up lame.
I'll never divide my forces;
The song can never be the same.

Stephen Brooke ©2007

This is, it should be noted, a song rather than a poem. I don't think I like the title, not that it matters.

Friday, November 23, 2007

A POEM and my annual rant. Poem first:

CLIMB

God may not wait
atop this mountain
but the devil's surely
back there behind me.

Keep climbing. Keep climbing.
The air grows cold
and more clear;
the summit is not far.

Life and death have held
the ends of my rope.
Keep climbing. The wind
will sweep all clean.

Stephen Brooke ©2007

Okay....it's bad enough that folks put up their Christmas stuff on or right after Thanksgiving, but the stores have been at it for a couple weeks already. Sheesh, people, let the holidays come in their own time. Of course, they'll all be sick of Christmas by the time it arrives and start taking the decorations down. And the stores will be pushing Valentine's Day, naturally.

Hey, Christmas is a season that starts on Dec 25, not Nov 15. Does anyone even remember that it lasts for the traditional Twelve Days? As usual, I will not decorate for Christmas nor put up a tree until a couple days before the actual date. Until then, I say bah! humbug! to the commercial Christmas season.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Your Pilgrim Name Is

Enoch Doughty

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

SNARL

Underneath,
I'm the same angry
anarchist punk rocker
I was thirty years ago.
You couldn't tell?
Maybe I should snarl
more often.

Stephen Brooke ©2007

or at least scowl occasionally...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

WORDS

You ask me who I am but my answers
only confuse the both of us.

All my letters are too polite;
I am not found among the words.

Look for me in my poems;
that's where I tell the best lies.

Stephen Brooke ©2007

yes, a return to the sijo form (sort of, anyway)

RIDE

I want music no one can dance to.
Give me five against four, man;
give me thirteen laid on eight.
That's cool with me.

Let me ride roller coaster beats
above an amusement park
of bebop horns.
Let me off the merry-go-round.

Going in circles gets you nowhere
and I've been there, man.
I've been there too many times.
I can't rock and roll anymore.

Stephen Brooke ©2007

Of course, "I" (the I of my poems is not necessarily I, the writer) don't sit around listening to free jazz all day. It's a metaphor.

Friday, November 16, 2007

DANGEROUS

I'm about as dangerous
as a bowl of over-cooked pasta
but much tastier.
Just make sure I get enough sauce.

Better pour yourself
a glass of Chianti, too.

Stephen Brooke ©2007

It's been a while since I wrote this sort of short-and-silly piece, hasn't it? Maybe not long enough! :D

LIGHTS

I have written songs of love,
knowing none would hear;
I have counted stars above
as each would appear.
Counted each of Summer’s stars,
wished on every one,
and the lights of passing cars
racing toward the sun.

Toward a dawn that lies obscured
I too travel soon,
waiting only on the word
of my mistress moon.
Now arrayed in all her light,
she will be obeyed,
for I know this velvet night,
with her voice, must fade.

Call me by another name;
will you still know me?
I can never be the same
once I am set free.
I have sung my songs for you
as you walked away;
I have told the stars of you
as they fled the day.

Stephen Brooke ©2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

I'M BACK at Peanut Road and it's time to get busy again. The first order of business, I suppose, being to transfer Ms Garcia's concert to the computer and begin editing it. I'm feeling lazy but I'll get to it soon!

Her recital (and my recording) at Tuskegee went well enough. Lynda played all electronic keyboard this year so my usual close-up recording technique had to be replaced with directional mikes up in the balcony. I think it worked well enough. If the University had a decent sound system (it hasn't really been upgraded since the Chapel was built in the 50s), she could have plugged into that and I could have taken a stereo line into my Fostex, along with a couple ambient mikes, but instead I just pointed what I had (in X/Y array) at her pair of Roland keyboard amps.

I will be going back in three weeks to record the Christmas Concert once again. More than likely I'll have to use the same technique then. The Chapel is really a very nice large concert hall and I definitely recommend the Christmas Concert to anyone who can make it to Tuskegee AL on Dec 2 (Sunday, 6 PM). The Golden Voices Choir will be performing, directed by Dr Wayne Barr (who also is an excellent organist) and accompanied by Lynda Garcia. And it's free!

The other half of my weekend was the Florida Folk Festival. Alas -- for various reasons with which I will not bore you, dear reader -- I ended up spending only Saturday there in White Springs. I snapped a few poor-quality pics of Mary and Frank playing that morning and then spent the day with them as they went about video taping performers for the Cafe Americana program. I tried to direct them toward some of my own favorites, naturally -- the Makley Family, Joey Errigo, Roseville Fair, Veronika Jackson.

I suspect that they got some other acts on tape yesterday, but I had to leave Saturday evening. But I had fun while I was there -- despite being a roadie rather than a performer :) -- and kept my perfect attendance record intact. This was the seventh one for me. Of course, I intend to be there again in May!

And maybe someday, I'll actually be able to spend some time in the campground. Preferably when the weather is WARM!

Monday, November 05, 2007

BEYOND

I'm bound beyond the fields we know -- away!
Across the hills of man I go -- away!
The horns of Faery call to me,
They tell of wonders I must see -- away, far away!

My heart knows every tale fools tell -- away!
The whispered seas within a shell -- away!
A poet gave me all his dreams,
A bag of riddles and moonbeams -- away, far away!

The scattered leaves on wild winds borne -- away!
Become my map, ancient and torn -- away!
Beyond the edges of the world
My barque shall quest with sails unfurled -- away, far away!

I'll seek where my horizons lie -- away!
Where the sea becomes the sky -- away!
To gaze upon the fabled lands
Where a mystic tower stands -- away, far away!

An elfen princess slumbers there -- away!
All robed in sheets of shining hair -- away!
A kiss to rouse her from her sleep,
To lift her enchantment deep -- away, far away!

I'm bound beyond the fields we know -- away!
Across the hills of man I go -- away!
The horns of Faery call to me,
They tell of wonders I must see -- away, far away!

Stephen Brooke ©2007

Well, Blogger's spellcheck doesn't like 'faery' nor the archaic spellings of 'elfen' and 'barque' but then, I'd just as soon a computer program didn't have a poetic soul. :) Anyone who knows Dunsany will recognize some phrases I plugged in here. It's not exactly my normal thing, of course, not the ol' Serious Poet.

This is a song, as I suppose is fairly obvious. Unlike my typical method of working, where I usually have at least some lyric written before I come up with music, this time I had a complete melody first and wrote the words to go with it.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Don't know who to vote for? Take this little quiz and find out who agrees with your cherished viewpoints! My result is below; didn't surprise me one bit.

Dennis Kucinich shares a 84% similarity with your beliefs

Representative, (D-OH)
Dennis Kucinich was born on October 8, 1946. He is a Democrat from Ohio. He has served the 10th District of Ohio in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1996. Prior to this he was mayor of Cleveland, Ohio. Kucinich is a self-described "Wellstone Democrat."

Thursday, November 01, 2007

CLASSIC FANTASY

I'm currently rereading Lord Dunsany's The King of Elfland's Daughter. Possibly the greatest fantasy novel ever written, or at least the next greatest after The Lord of the Rings. Lord Dunsany -- Edward Plunkett -- was an Irish aristocrat who more or less created the modern fantasy genre. Oh, I suppose one could go back further and look at William Morris' largely forgotten novels. If they weren't exactly 'modern' fantasy, they certainly pointed the way.

I had a rather large library of such at one time but lost them to flood back in '93, during the infamous Storm of the Century (not the Stephen King story nor the Joey Errigo song) that struck the Florida Big Bend without much warning. Morris, Dunsany, Tolkien, Eddison (another big favorite -- I just reread Mistress of Mistresses), Pratt...so many other greats and semi-greats! Slowly, I'm managing to replace the losses. Unfortunately, the surge of paperback editions of classic fantasy in the 70s is long past and some of this work is difficult to find now.

I suppose some of these novels and stories are slipping into the public domain now. Morris' work, certainly. The whole publish-on-demand thing (not to mention free e-book downloads) is giving the old books new life, as anyone can put out an edition of their own! There are new versions of Frankenstein all over.

Speaking of e-books, I think I'll go look for a copy of Moby Dick (which I read like 40 years ago) so I can read along with 'Bint Battuta' and her friends.

VIDEO

I thought I'd mention to any Fla Folk Festival participants out there (who might stumble across this blog) that Mary (Mean Mary James, that is) has been given permission to video tape at the festival and will be carting her camera about with her to shoot footage for a showing or two of Cafe Americana. So look your purtiest!

And if anyone wants themselves or their performance taped for professional use later, she'll be glad to oblige for a small fee. ;)

I guess my own appearance on CA was okay. Someone was asking who that 'eloquent Irish guy' was. I reckon that's 'cause I sang Whiskey in the Jar since I don't think I come off as very Irish otherwise! As for eloquent...well, anyone who knows me in person would know better!