adventures in dysthymia

Monday, September 29, 2008

I READ THIS, unattributed, on a message board and thought I'd post it here --

The Story of Adam & Eve's Pets


Adam and Eve said , 'Lord, when we were in the garden, you walked with us every day. Now we do not see you anymore.

'We are lonesome here, and it is difficult for us to remember how much you love us.'

And God said, 'I will create a companion for you that will be with you and who will be a reflection of my love for you, so that you will love me even when you cannot see me.

'Regardless of how selfish or childish or unlovable you may be, this new companion will accept you as you are and will love you as I do, in spite of yourselves.'

And God created a new animal to be a companion for Adam and Eve.

And it was a good animal.

And God was pleased.

And the new animal was pleased to be with Adam and Eve and he wagged his tail .

And Adam said, 'Lord, I have already named all the animals in the Kingdom and I cannot think of a name for this new animal.'

And God said, 'I have created this new animal to be a reflection of my love for you, his name will be a reflection of my own name, and you will call him DOG.'

* * *

And Dog lived with Adam and Eve and was a companion to them and loved them.

And they were comforted.

And God was pleased.

And Dog was content and wagged his tail.

* * *

After a while, it came to pass that an angel came to the Lord and said, 'Lord, Adam and Eve have become filled with pride.

'They strut and preen like peacocks and they believe they are worthy of adoration. Dog has indeed taught them that they are loved, but perhaps too well.'

And God said, 'I will create for them a companion who will be with them and who will see them as they are.

'The companion will remind them of their limitations, so they will know that they are not always worthy of adoration.'

And God created CAT to be a companion to Adam and Eve.

* * *

And Cat would not obey them. And when Adam and Eve gazed into Cat's eyes, they were reminded that they were not the supreme beings.

And Adam and Eve learned humility.

And they were greatly improved.

* * *

And God was pleased.

And Dog was happy.

* * *

And Cat didn't give a shit one way or another.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

RUBE

Rube Allyn wrote his stories
of the Water Wagon,
his home-made Best Bet houseboat,
when I was two years old

but the book was still
there on the shelf when I
reached reading age and dreaming
age, complete with schematics

and the smell of adventure
pressed between the pages.
There were lists of lumber
and fittings and maps to places

with names like Withlacoochee,
Okeechobee, even
Helen Blazes. I've been
to all of them since

and the names still whisper
their romance, remind
me of how I longed
for sky and open water.

My dad bought every one
of Rube's books, the reptile
and fish encyclopedias,
the yarns and histories

that were the Florida
of then and before then.
Paradise has faded;
faded like those pages.

Stephen Brooke ©2008

Rube Allyn Jr was a prolific writer and publisher of books about Florida and, especially, its outdoor life back in the 4os through the 60s (his life was cut short in '68 by an auto accident). The publishing company Rube started, Great Outdoors, is still cranking out books about Florida today, with his granddaughter running things. His father, Rube Sr, was a pretty colorful guy too -- someone should write a 'Florida song' about him, assuming that hasn't already been done.

Friday, September 26, 2008

BRANCH

As the branch upon the tree
so love may wither, unattended,
and broken by the tempest wind
or by its own weight, it falls.

What use then is such a stick,
but to return into the soil
or serve a bonfire, come the chill
of the darker longer nights?

Yet at times a branch left lying
takes root, and growing, reaches sunward,
to freely proffer sweeter fruit
than it ever might before.

Stephen Brooke ©2008

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I RECORDED another 'bedroom demo' yesterday, of the song Watermelon. I posted the lyrics here back in February. An mp3 of the song is up on the music page at my site. A simple one-take-guitar-and-voice thing. Wrong mike for my voice, I think. Speaking of watermelon...


Me and my brothers and sisters eating watermelon on a hot Florida day in the Fifties. That's me on the left side of the photo, trying to get a watermelon seed out of my mouth. I was like four years old.

Friday, September 19, 2008

BONES

You have become bleached islands,
hidden in a mist of green and brown.

Last spring, I would look away;
you were a stench at road side.

Will your bones still say 'deer'
next summer, amid the high grasses?

Stephen Brooke ©2008

Sort of in a sijo form, though it's not 'really' one. I noticed the bones as I was mowing the field this morning, the bones of a road-kill deer from earlier this year. Some dogs (or maybe coyotes) must have carried them up out of the ditch and left them.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

THE PIRATES' BOOTY SONG

Every pirate loves booty;
It is our sworn duty
To visit new lands
And lay our hands
On booty!
Ah, booty!
We gives it to some cutie
Who bats her eyes,
We isn't too wise,
But every pirate loves booty!

I'm a covetous brute,
I shoot and I scoot,
And all of your loot
I keep, keep, keep!
I piles it all up,
Every coin and each cup,
Every last scrap of Krupp,
In a heap, heap, heap!

When anyone's nigh,
I needs to spy,
Use me one good eye
To peep, peep, peep!
I pulls me knife,
The love of me life,
She's like me wife,
and creep, creep, creep!

Oh, every pirate loves booty,
Be it clean or sooty;
We wants it all,
We hears the call
Of booty!
Ah, booty!
It is a thing of beauty!
So bring more grog
For an old sea-dog,
Yes, every pirate loves booty!

Though a man of leisure,
It is me great pleasure
To bury me treasure
Deep, deep, deep!
What I likes best
Is a well-filled chest;
Lay me head to rest
And sleep, sleep, sleep!

All pirates know
What winds do blow,
And as we sow
We reap, reap, reap!
If comes a day
We're asked to pay,
That last bill may
be steep, steep, steep!

But every pirate loves booty;
It is our sworn duty
To visit new lands
And lay our hands
On booty!
Ah, booty!
We gives it to some cutie
Who bats her eyes,
We isn't too wise,
Still every pirate loves booty!

Stephen Brooke ©2008

Essentially a frivolous piece (despite a few 'serious' lines toward the end) and, yes, there a few dopey sexual allusions. Not as many as originally intended! In performance -- assuming it actually ever was performed -- it could be cut up any number of ways to allow instrumental breaks. Also assuming I work up some music, as this was written purely as a poem/lyric.

MORE SNAKES...

A 'book trailer' the James gang shot. That's my sister and niece doing the 'acting' and supposedly portraying the same character. My nephew Frank only manages to appear as a pair of shoes.


Since I'm posting James videos here, I'll add this one of Mean Mary at the age of six on the Country Boy Eddie Show in Birmingham. That's the show where Tammy Wynette got her start. MM was a regular when she was a little girl and the family moved up to that area soon after this appearance.

Monday, September 15, 2008

ARTSY and obscure is all very well but I went somewhat the opposite direction on this ditty:


YOU CAN TELL I'M A HIPPIE (By the Hummus in my Beard)

Vegetarian, Unitarian,
Liberal through and through;
A soul-barin', sandal-wearin'
Peace-nik, tried and true.
Car forsakin', bike-ride takin',
Get there by and by;
I'm a bread-bakin', pottery-makin',
Folk-singin' sort of guy.

Got a long-haired girl, rocks my world,
Lovin' her more and more;
We're counter-cultural, goin' natural,
Hippies to the core!
That long hair may be turnin' gray,
But life's cool, all in all;
She is my day, lights my way,
Picks me up when I fall.

You can tell I'm a hippie by the hummus in my beard;
Never too worried about how I appeared,
As long as I'm not too closely sheared!
No, I haven't feared to be a little weird,
Picked my very own star and steered;
You can tell I'm a hippie by the hummus in my beard!

Tofu eatin' and solstice greetin',
Tryin' to grow and grow;
Time is fleetin' and there's no beatin'
Karma, doncha know?
So, flash a peace sign and we'll be fine,
Takin' it day by day;
Come by sometime, we'll drink cheap wine,
And just let come what may!

Stephen Brooke ©2008

I have to admit that certain friends and acquaintances came to mind as I was writing this!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

TAKE THREE

I don't normally go beyond posting first drafts but here is the revised and probably close to finished version of Spend (still not sure about that title).

SPEND

I've made promises
I could not be keeping;
I've sown strangers' fields,
I would not be reaping.
Seen the need for truth,
When lies best lie sleeping;
Lingered over long
When the dawn came creeping.

By the light of day,
Lovers fade to friends;
Though we say goodbye,
Leaving never ends.
I've spent words unwisely,
As a sailor spends;
Borrowed and forgotten
What tomorrow lends.

Today strives to become
More than yesterday;
Like those that came before,
It still fades away,
Forgetting now, (like the day before)
Forgetting then. (and the day before)
Forgetting me,
Forgetting me.

Once I was a player,
Crossed the empty stage;
Entered left on cue,
Read lines from your page.
Every scene demanded
Nihilistic rage;
I broke all the sets,
Thinking them a cage.

Stephen Brooke ©2008

Pretty much changed the whole concept, but I reckon this one makes more sense. Or at least is slightly more accessible. Did a revision of the meter in the verses, going in on a stress at the beginning of each line, which makes it more forceful (I hope). The stuff there toward the end of the chorus section (in parentheses) is backup vocal. The music, btw, is more or less written, though when it comes to working up an arrangement (if I ever do!), it may call for a riff or two.

Friday, September 12, 2008

SPEND, EXTENDED: so here's the poem 'Spend' revised and expanded into the song 'Spend.' A name which may be discarded when I get to working out the considerable roughness that still exists. The third stanza there acts in a chorus capacity.

SPEND

I've made no promises
I could not be keeping;
I've sown no strangers' fields,
For I'd not be reaping.
I've seen no need for truth,
When lies best lie sleeping;
Who of us would not leave
When the dawn comes creeping?

I've learned, by light of day,
Lovers fade to friends;
And though we say goodbye,
Leaving never ends.
I've spent my words unwisely,
As a sailor spends;
I've borrowed and forgotten
What tomorrow lends.

Today strives to become
More than yesterday;
Like those that came before,
It still fades away,
Forgetting now,
(Like the day before)
Forgetting then.
(And the day before,)

I've never been a player,
Never crossed the stage;
I've never entered left,
Read lines from your page.
Not every scene demands
Nihilistic rage,
But I broke all the sets,
Thinking them a cage.

Stephen Brooke ©2008

Btw, this is not something I would every be likely to work up and perform as 'sensitive singer-songwriter' -- this is more in the rock band vein. Maybe 'Berzircon' will record again some day...or even become a real band and perform!

RANGE

Every singer has his range;
every voice breaks on some note.

Please don't ask me to go higher.

Stephen Brooke ©2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I SHOULD have known that last bit of poetry I posted was an incomplete song. I've been adding to it, i.e. written a chorus thingy (another verse to come or maybe it doesn't need it?), and fooled around with music. Totally noncommercial sort of stuff, of course.

* * *

I've been working, when I've a few spare minutes, on the web site -- mainly getting some of my artwork on line. More to come. It's old work, mostly. I'm scanning some of my paintings to put out better prints, possibly to be sold through Red Bubble.

* * *

My friend Sherrie (the Painter Lady over there to the right in my links) put this quiz on her blog so I had to take it too. The results were hardly surprising.


Your Taste in Music:



Punk: Highest Influence

Alternative Rock: High Influence

Nineties: High Influence

Classic Rock: Medium Influence

Eighties: Medium Influence

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

SPEND

I've made no promises
I could not be keeping;
I've sown no strangers' fields,
For I'd not be reaping.
I've seen no need for truth,
When lies best lie sleeping;
Who of us would not leave
When the dawn comes creeping?

I've learned, by light of day,
Lovers fade to friends;
And though we say goodbye,
Leaving never ends.
I've spent my words unwisely,
As a sailor spends;
I've borrowed and forgotten
What tomorrow lends.

Stephen Brooke ©2008

RED

Red, I remember,
red against the evening;
I watched the eclipsed moon
rise, standing at my grandparents'
picture window.

It was my first eclipse,
the one that made the impression.
I've carried it with me since,
along with my first migraine.
The two have somehow

combined in my memory,
the years creating a single experience
of the angry eye and the pain
in my six year old head.
Oh, I don't hate the moon

or anything like that
but I can't say I'm particularly
fond of red.

Stephen Brooke ©2008

Monday, September 08, 2008

IT SEEMS I've had a family of rats move in. Despite all the reverence for life stuff, I'm practical enough to know I need to get some traps and/or poison out. The poison is more effective, of course, but kind of a nasty way to die (assuming a trap kills cleanly, which it doesn't always) and sometimes leaves smelly rat corpses in the walls.

Maybe I just need Sarah Palin to do a fly-by with her rifle.

Speaking of Palins, if this Palin were running I'd vote Republican. Though I'm sure there must be some cross-dressing lumberjacks in the ranks of both parties.

Oh well, whoever gets elected is sure to be better than what we have now. Although I think I'll be voting Obama -- I reckon it's the Democrats' turn to mess things up for eight years -- I also think that both candidates are a bit more moderate than their opponents make them out to be and that McCain does have a streak of pragmatism (and, of course, stubborness) to help balance out the 'true believers' (yeah, I read Hoffer many years ago) in his party.

I don't think I could vote for Sarah Palin, though, and definitely don't like the idea of her being next in line should anything happen to the President. Not that I mind the gun-toting libertarian side of her -- there's some of that in my background. It's the religious right part. Btw, I hate that term, 'religious right,' (because it gives religion a bad name) though I guess it's better than being atheistic right (a la Mr Hitchens).

The beauty queen part is okay too; after all I've been dating a former beauty queen myself the last few years, off and on. Mostly off recently, thanks to my duties keeping me close to home. (Steve sighs and thinks of said beauty queen)

And I distrust the mental processes of believers in 'creationism.' ('Creationism,' btw, is not religion but bad science. Belief is fine but not when it contradicts all the evidence.) That's one thing that definitely threw Ron Paul out of contention for me a few months ago (aside from his basic impracticallity in approaching the modern world).

But then, I'm not exactly enamoured of Biden as VP either.

So, it's grumpy ol' McCain and his odd-couple running mate or Obama and his...grumpy ol' running mate. Darn, I knew this whole break-away-from-England-and-have-our-own-country thing was a mistake!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

OKAY, just disregard yesterday's post -- my business in Perry was postponed and it's too far to drive to White Springs from here unless I can combine it with something else. Guess I shaved for nothing! I wonder if it's too late to find something interesting going on nearby tonight.

* * *

I decided to give Cafe Press another crack at selling my CD of old material. I simply couldn't see putting money into having it manufactured; if it were new and improved recordings, that would be a quite different matter. Anyway, it's at the store there, $9.49 for 16 songs. Save some shipping costs and buy a teeshirt or mug while you're at it!

Friday, September 05, 2008

On the road tomorrow -- have to be in Perry in the afternoon so I figgered long as I was over that way I'd go on up to White Springs in the evening for the First Saturday Coffeehouse. Get a chance to try out some new songs in front of an audience. Not that the songs need a try out; I know they're okay. It's my performance that gets the try out. I hope to have no 'duh....what's the next line?' moments!

And since I'll be in front of an audience for the first time in a couple months...I took a look at myself and decided the gray beard was not the image I want to project (and image is important to Steve) so I shaved it all off. Gosh, there was one handsome feller under them whiskers! ;)

THE RENEWAL on my peripheralvisionmag domain name came up yesterday...I almost canceled it, as the cost has gone up quite a bit. I do intend to continue with the magazine, but I'm not sure it's worth having a dot-com for it. Oh well, I paid up -- or when will my credit card bill arrives -- so I'll be keeping it for another year and see how things go. Still hoping to get the Fall Issue out towards the end of October, despite having a lot else on my plate right now (and feeling rather full!).

The fact that I have unlimited space/bandwidth on the site that hosts all my domains ameliorates the cost somewhat. I'd hate to have to pay for a website for each of them. Wow, I got to use a really big word there. I don't think it's ever appeared in my blog before...and I'm not even sure if I used it properly!

I decided to go 'simple' on the fonts for my sites. Just the very most common everybody-has-them choices. It's limiting but it's best to be safe -- I try to check my pages here on my Mac running SeaMonkey as a good indicator of problems other visitors might have.

In other news: OH NO, I've become addicted to Ugly Betty!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

FONTS, again...

So, Steve is working toward revamping his website(s), especially the Que Linda Music pages I mentioned a few posts back, and the whole font question comes up. You know, will folks actually see the font I specified for this page or will something be substituted?

As a general rule, there are a few core fonts that everybody has and are pretty safe to use. Unless, of course, they happen to be one of those individuals who have set their browser to use only their fonts of choice. A friend of mine had everything display as Comics...bad enough when you come across it on a web page, much less making it your default! Anyway, the main question for me is whether to use those fonts that most folks have installed but are not quite universal -- things like Lucida Grande, Tahoma, Impact, Bookman Antiqua.

There is a Flash program from CoffeeCup software that will let one display the font of choice, regardless of what the viewer has installed. However, I'm leery of adding more code (and Flash, particularly) to any page, knowing how that affects those of us stuck with slow dial-up connections. The alternative is rendering odd fonts -- even those that are just slightly odd -- as graphics. I suppose adding a low-rez GIF or JPEG to a page is the least of several alternative evils and one knows that the visitor to ones site sees what was intended. More or less.

I reckon I'd best make my choices and get onto it. At least I don't have to go to Flaming Text to create my headline text anymore, being able to produce much the same thing with the programs I have on my own computer.