adventures in dysthymia

Friday, January 30, 2009

I STILL hate Facebook. Had to give it another try, since so many people think it is great and I thought perhaps a 'band page' might be useful.

But no. I've shut down the account and will stick with MySpace. I like the more chaotic, trailer park-like atmosphere there whereas Facebook reminds me of nothing so much as high school cliques. Of course, I'll always be here, as well!

Been looking at Ning lately. Create your very own social network...an idea worth exploring, perhaps?

AS promised:

HOMELESS MAN BLUES

Got no job, got no place to live
I've got no job, got no place to live
One of these days I'll have no more to give

All alone and out on the street
I'm all alone and out on the street
Get no directions from those I meet

Don't have a roof to cover my head
I don't have a roof to cover my head
Be out in the rain till the day I'm dead

Beggin' people for nickels and dimes
Down to beggin' people for nickels and dimes
No pride left since I fell on hard times

People say things will get better soon
Say things are gonna get better soon
But I haven't eaten since yesterday noon

Some say I gotta get down and pray
Tell me I need to get down and pray
But prayin' ain't filled my stomach today

Stephen Brooke ©1991 and 2009

Written way back in '91 (I was having some hard times of my own around then) though there has been some revision since. Certainly not as good as the one I just wrote (The North Wind Blues, previous post) but pretty similar in concept. More prosaic and not really all that interesting, I'd say.

THE NORTH WIND BLUES

When the money ran out, felt that cold wind blow
When the money ran out, felt that cold wind blow
Had nowhere to stay and nowhere to go

Now the North Wind blues are chilling my soul
Those North Wind blues are chilling my soul
Think that North Wind is gonna swallow me whole

Too late to curse, too late to pray
Oh, the North Wind Blues have carried me away
The North Wind Blues
The North Wind Blues

Yesterday left me but tomorrow never came
Yesterday left me but tomorrow never came
And the North Wind has blown away my name

Dead leaves come a-rattlin' round my feet
The dead leaves come a-rattlin' round my feet
Sweepin' us both down this empty street

Too late to curse, too late to pray
Those North Wind Blues have carried me away
The North Wind Blues
The North Wind Blues

Worry all day how I'm gonna get by
Worry all day long how I'm gonna get by
Spend the night countin' the stars in the sky

So everything I own is here in my pack
All I got left is right here in this pack
Headin' down south, got the North Wind at my back

Too late to curse, too late to pray
Oh, the North Wind Blues have carried me away
The North Wind Blues
The North Wind Blues

Stephen Brooke ©2009

So, the story: I came up with the phrase/title a while back and jotted it down. Or, more properly, typed it into an ongoing TextEdit file (yeah, I mostly write on the Mac Mini). Added some thoughts to it on a gloomy winter day but didn't really work on it. Then my friend Bob (the Sometime Poet) fell on some hard times -- a bad situation but custom made for the blues. I was inspired by (or appropriated?) some of his experiences to finish fleshing out the song. (Hey, Bob, want co-write credit? :) )

Not that I haven't had a few hard times of my own! You do have to live the blues at least a little to write 'em, no? I'd written a song, The Homeless Man Blues, of a similar sort years ago. Maybe I'll dig it out and post it later.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

IN VINO VERITAS

The focaccia is just out of the oven
and I've a bottle of Bardolino uncorked
and whispering its secrets into the spare room's
darkened air. There is basil and thyme

in the crust, the richness of olives ripened
by the Mediterranean sun. No rosemary,
though; I know you don't like the rosemary.
Come, sit here by the oven and I'll cut

the bread while you pour wine. There is truth
in wine, remember, so fill my glass and I'll
say things to regret later. But that
will be too late, won't it? No matter;

I'd regret not saying them as well.

Stephen Brooke ©2009

I did bake focaccia this morning, which gave me a push toward jotting down this slender poem. Haven't had any wine yet today, however!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

'POSSUM

The purple rabbit had lost
its floppy ears so I told
everyone it was a 'possum.

I knew all about 'possums
because my mom read me
those Mother West Wind books

and I saw the pictures
of ol' Unc Billy Possum
and there wasn't much else

my earless purple bunny
resembled. At least nothing
else in a five-year-old's experience.

I did know a purple 'possum
makes a good friend. Better
than my brother's pink bear,

anyway. Way better.

Stephen Brooke ©2009

I wonder what happened to my 'possum. Gone with childhood...

Friday, January 16, 2009

WALLS

These walls between life and death
grow thin. Some nights, the muffled noise
of eternity wakens her,
whispers from another room.

Most of yesterday is lost
in that murmured cacophony,
her husband's voice, the names of the dead.
Where has her husband gone? He slept

at her side a moment ago.
Each memory's become a sheet
of paper, torn and reassembled,
pasted into random collage.

Again, she listens, puts her ear
to these walls. Ah, those voices:
she should know them, but why has someone
replaced the photos that once hung there?

Replaced them all with strangers and echoes
of old songs. Who will dance now?
Who will hold her when the walls
between life and death grow thin?

Stephen Brooke ©2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

PUNCH

I've fallen again.
Let me lie here a moment
to catch my breath,
gather my wits.
Then I'll get up
and take another punch.

Stephen Brooke©2009

Ha, my philosophy of life, it seems.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

TRAVELERS

Travelers all, we wear
the dust of yesterday.

The rain will fall at last,
gently wash away

each fragment of the past,
the long road's clinging clay.

Travelers all, we fare
yet upon our way.

Stephen Brooke ©2009

Saturday, January 10, 2009

For a supposed 'writer' I don't really like writing very much. It's much the same attitude I have toward painting or any of the arts, for that matter. They are work, chores that must be performed to communicate (and help sort out!) what's in the head and heart.

The corollary to this is that I tend to labor over my words/brush strokes/whatever. Or perhaps that's why it seems like a chore! :) The satisfaction is in the finished product, rather than the process. And, of course, I am a terrible perfectionist which doesn't help matters much.

It seems recording is much the same. It can be hard to get myself into the studio and get to work. Fear of failure? Well, maybe some, but mostly I just know it will be hard labor for a really demanding boss. That being myself, naturally.

Maybe I should unionize...

Friday, January 09, 2009

As I ate dinner this evening, I was listening to a CD of old Percy Grainger recordings. Two things struck me: first, how good the sonics were on a 1928 recording of Schumann etudes. I would assume ribbon microphones at that date, maybe only one, maybe a couple summed, of course, to mono for direct recording to a 78 rpm disk. Not that there's anything wrong with ribbon mikes -- they sure made Bing Crosby sound good -- but they don't have the broad frequency range of modern condensers. Maybe I need one for my studio...or two...

Second, how Modern Grainger sounded. He may have been the first important (He can't really be called 'great.') Modern pianist. In a time dominated by flamboyant virtuosi steeped in the Romantic style, his playing was very straight-forward. It really sounds more 'right' to us today than most of his contemporaries.

The Australian-born Percy Grainger is probably best known these days -- or in his day, for that matter -- for his arrangements of folk tunes, but there's no denying his influence as a player. Nor, for that matter, as a composer. He certainly foreshadowed (as did the Dada artists) the post-modern sensibility, although his own work, again, does not quite reach greatness.

And he does go well with French fries.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

ONCE AGAIN, the combination of my middle-aged pre-Intel Mac and SeaMonkey browser came to my rescue when a page at MySpace attempted to do bad things. I'm probably using this computer 80 to 90 percent of the time I'm online and it's a very safe choice. Not sure what I'll do when it gets too old -- already, I can't use some newer software, including most of the updated browsers.

So thanks to Steve Jobs for this over-ripe Apple but I'm thinking I might like to go Linux for my next main internet computer. Although my current provider (NetZero) apparently won't work with it.

* * *

It's 2009 -- yes, I noticed -- and time for new starts and all that. I'm not into resolutions (hey, not much needs changing here!) but I have made up a to-do list for the year. I won't bore y'all with it but it does look like I'm going to be a busy lad.

Or I could just save it for 2010...

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

GAME

Sometimes a loser, sometimes a winner,
seems about the same;
Don't know if there ever was
a point to playing this game.
Won't bother with my two-hundred dollars
the next time I pass 'Go;'
Gone around too many times
and still have nothing to show.

Move ahead when it's my turn,
a price for every deed;
I have more than I could have asked
but far less than I need.
Life and love are on the table,
a game and nothing more;
I roll again but no longer care --
I'm not keeping score.

Same player, with a new name;
only luck and myself to blame.
Win or lose, it's all the same;
the game remains the game.

Sometimes a loser, sometimes a winner,
doesn't matter now;
doesn't matter what I played,
doesn't matter how.
I look upon the empty board,
playing pieces broken;
there was no luck in these dice
nor the words I've spoken.

Stephen Brooke ©2009

A song, of course, and fairly obviously rock-oriented. Also pretty rough -- it may never be anything more than an undeveloped lyric. I have no plans to pursue the rock n roll side of things anytime soon (but maybe eventually).

I do have the studio pretty well back to usability now and will be recording, as time and task permits. Probably semi-folk stuff, a lot of it referencing Florida.

Monday, January 05, 2009

NO, STEVE is not dead nor has he run away from home (though both seem, at times, attractive). I'll probably get back to writing here (and there and maybe even everywhere) again in a while. Being caregiver for my mother is increasingly taking up more of my time and efforts, as well as making it difficult to travel. Not that I mind, of course, and will continue to do this as long as able.

At least the holiday season is over. Until the next holiday, that is. I'm packing away the Christmas tree and ornaments today. On to other projects now, I hope!