adventures in dysthymia

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hostages, a poem

Hostages

The universe has taken
hostages and made
demands we refuse to meet.
Now, the walls of night
keep out only as much
as they once kept in,

all of nothing. Every
star that knows my fate
has hidden itself at last.
I let go of the past
and found nothing else
to which I might cling.

It is either belief
or the nihilist’s void.
No center ground would hold
my weight. I’ve grown as heavy
as time, as heavy as
God’s hand on heaven’s wheel,

all dark energy.
What hope for hostages
in our cold distant endings?
The shabby uniforms
of yesterday are on
parade. Salute their passing.

Stephen Brooke ©2013

Monday, January 21, 2013

Spring Cleaning, a poem

Spring Cleaning

There is too much grass, too many
frogs and bugs and strands of weed
in the spring. It is a place
of life and growth and, sometimes, both
become a bit too exuberant.

This is my spring cleaning, whatever
the season, to scoop to a clean sand
bottom where I can fill my pails
with the clear cold water seeping
up through layers of sandstone and time.

The tadpoles will return but they
seek cover further down, now, where
the spring-born stream flows between
grassy, overhanging banks,
to find the creek and then away.

As I, too, carry away my share,
begrudged by neither Nature nor frogs.
There will be other days I make
my visit, bucket in either hand.
There will be other spring cleanings.

Stephen Brooke ©2013

Nothing very ambitious, but a bit of a memory from when I was a boy.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Only, a poem (or only a poem?)

Only

Only time can walk through that door
into the overgrown jungles of your
gardened heart. Only light
can be hidden by light, and night

can only hide itself in night.
Give me your liana hand,
green as grasshoppers, green as Oz,
and wrap yourself around tomorrow.

Only time can find its way,
machete-hacking its path to cities
of emerald and gold. It sings
as it works, swinging, swinging,

to tunes from a tinny radio.
They made those in Japan, when I
was a kid. Time carried them all
off to China and my evenings

followed, swinging a baseball bat,
swinging for the fences, the hidden
night that waits above the lights.
Only time can catch that ball.

Stephen Brooke ©2013

Thursday, January 17, 2013

All Good Things....

...must come to an end. Winter weather is finally moving in. It couldn’t be expected that the warmth of the last few days would last but here we are in mid-January so Spring is on the horizon. I should be out transplanting trees a month from now and will have my nursery orders in.

I’ll have to put setting up the studio on hold for a week or two. I did get a lot done in there while I could. I’m moving a good bit of my library into the music room — books are great for sound absorption and blocking though I will, of course, have some actual panels and bass traps and such as well. It is far too echoey in there without any treatment.

There’s a lot of work to do there eventually. However, for the immediate future — the recording of this new album, that is — I’ll most likely depend on the books and moving blankets to do the job.

An aside, sort of related: here’s what I was recording on fifteen years back or so, until I finally made the switch to all-digital. A Vestax 6-track cassette recorder. The recordings from then, although a bit noisy, hold up pretty well.


Monday, January 14, 2013

Two Questions and a Notice

1) Why do I have full-blown allergy symptoms in the middle of winter? Is the warm weather (we had five days at close to 80 degree highs) making something bloom out there? I wouldn't be surprised if the red buds were tricked into coming out a month early.

Or is it just all the dust I'm raising getting the studio (music/recording, that is) cleaned and set up? It's been warm enough to work comfortably in there with it shut off from the rest of the place.

2) Why am I suddenly getting huge numbers of visitors to this blog? Record numbers, mostly, if seems, from China. Is something going on of which I am not aware? Are they robots or real folks? I guess as long as no one is causing damage, there is no reason to worry my pretty head about it.

* * *

I might as well mention that the K. Page Brooke art book is now out and available but I will be wanting to see a finalized printed copy before I do any promotion. Not that many --- if any --- of you reading this will be wanting it. Incidentally, a (free) PDF version is in my Dropbox account but I won't give the link here. If anyone cares, I can email the details to them.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Gloves, a poem

Gloves

For your amusement, I made balloon
animals of the surgical gloves.
There was a supply, bedside,
ready to the nurses’ steady,
sturdy hands. I milked that cow,
made that rooster crow, diverted

you but Styx sticks to its course.
Carried further toward the dark
of whatever Hades held for you
in his own dexterous hands, were you
reaching toward them even as I
transformed latex and kept my watch?

Was it for my amusement, I made
balloon animals as you took
the long way around to death?
Divert me. Let me laugh at my own
corny jokes and never notice
that river, that stick of licorice

that twists away and back again
for each of us. I only twisted
gloves, inflated with my living
breath and tied so it would not
escape, to give some brief existence
to balloon animals. For your amusement.

Stephen Brooke ©2013

Brooke Book Progress

So, I've finished laying out and editing (I hope) 'The Art of K. Page Brooke.' Big book, in a digital sense---almost 200 MB of PDF to upload to the printer. Not such a big book, printed out. It will be 24 saddle-stitched pages at 8.5 x 11 in, of course, full high resolution color. That's why file is large-ish.

I'll be uploading it soon (FTP, I reckon) and then finish off the covers and send them too. There's no reason I shouldn't have it available in print in the next ten days. But, I will want to look at a proof copy first!

I'm uncertain about letting out a dedicated PDF version. With the covers added in, it will be an even larger file, assuming I keep everything high rez. Which I would prefer. I certainly won't be emailing copies to anyone nor, probably, hosting a download on my own site.

Of course, I am not pricing this book to make any profit---it will be pretty much at cost (and the PDF might well be free). I just wanted to do this project, both for my mom and for the family (who would probably be the only ones interested in it).

And for myself. It was worth slogging through for the learning experience of laying out such a book, if nothing else. It will look good in the Arachis Press catalog, too!

Incidentally, I created it entirely in Corel Draw. Worked great but I wouldn't want to do a much larger project in it.

Jumble, a poem

Jumble

There is a jumble here,
a this-and-that and maybe
something else over there.
Go look in the corner

if you care. It won’t
matter, of course; any jumble
is only because it doesn’t
matter enough to sort it

out and put this on its
shelf and that in its box
and all the rest of life hung
on the proper hook in the pegboard

above whatever workbench
you chose for your work. A jumble
doesn’t work. A jumble lies
there and drinks beer and goes

unshaven, day after day,
and the cat explores the empty
boxes. Too many of those
make a jumble, too.

Stephen Brooke ©2013

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Two Sites to Every Story

I'll just mention of a couple things I've worked on recently. I know y'all want to be kept up to date!

First, I put up a page at my site in preparation for the publication of 'The Art of K. Page Brooke' with some pictures and minimal info. That's at: www.insolentlad.com/kpagebrooke.html I do expect to have the book ready by the end of the month; right now, I'm working on finalizing the layout---getting all those pictures placed properly on the pages.

Second, I created a journal of sorts for the recording of 'Sunshine Land.' I do intend to finally get this album recorded and I figured blogging about it might help motivate me. Of course, all sorts of things could occur to sidetrack me but I'm hoping. That one is at: http://sunshinelandproject.wordpress.com/

One reason---aside from the everyday demands on my time---that I haven't made this recording a priority is that I haven't been able to get out and perform for the last three years or so. Not much point in having an album one can't promote, is there? But here I go anyway!

Friday, January 04, 2013

Crooked House, a poem

Crooked House

The humped beams beneath the floor
throw the kitchen off balance. I walk
drunkenly. There is dirt
on the shelves and drawers full of cold.

Time clings to the walls; it is
all echoes and dim mirrors here.
Nothing is new. The windows whisper
into the caverns of the night.

I would settle like these foundations,
change as slowly as the fields,
filled with seasons of growth and sleep.
I’d bank the embers of my dreams.

The roof is bowed by long conversations
with the insistent rain. Will I
stay, they wonder now, a crooked
man, come home to a crooked house?

There is a porch, with room to drowse,
room to remember and to forget,
and each post is a bit askew.
Tomorrow can come by and sit.

We’ve things to talk about, and sky
to look at. I have watched the crows fly
and they take a crooked path
from here to somewhere over there.

Stephen Brooke ©2013

The 'crooked house' is where I live, here on Peanut Road. Yes, the floors are a tad uneven. Some of this grew from memories of the first times I looked at the place a few years back and thought of buying it and moving here.

Art and Dogs and Cats

I finally have the pictures I need to finish off 'The Art of K. Page Brooke.' Expect the book soon. Here's a low rez of one of the paintings:


As long as I had the camera out (and a roll of film to finish) I took some pictures of my photogenic girls:



Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Classics

I have only one resolution for the year 2013 and that is to read (or reread) more of the classics of literature—delve into those books that show up on the ‘best hundred novels’ lists. To some degree, I started in the year just past. This is easier than it once was, thanks to digital versions of so many older works now being available free. Though one must still take the time to sit down and read them!

In particular, I wish to read more work that did not come from British or American authors. The recent interest in Les Miserables, thanks to the new movie, suggests that there is a good deal of material originally in French, German, etc. that I have missed. I did plow through Les Miserables forty-some years ago and recall that Hugo seemed like a more pretentious version of Dickens. Maybe I should see if that impression remains.

So I’ll be visiting Project Gutenberg on a regular basis, picking out titles. I fear that the allure of some I might come across will lead me away from the ‘classics’ but that’s a risk worth taking!

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Sunny Thoughts

Mid-seventies and sunny on January first -- what a great way to start the year! I'm in my shorts and eating a bowl of ice cream, after a morning working in the yard. I hope this is a good augury for the rest of the year. Or I would hope if I actually believed in auguries and omens and such.

I put it all on the line.
Will my shirts and socks
soon be dry?

I did some laundry too. That's a quinzaine -- haven't dabbled in that form in a little while. With good reason, perhaps.

In that I just segued into poetry, I am rather surprised at the quite large number of views on the 'Briefcase' poem I posted a few days ago. I've never had anywhere near so many in so short a time on any post. Did someone out there recommend it or something? Or is it simply that the public finally recognized my incredible talent? :)