Friday, December 21, 2007

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

217 : 11/13/98 : Anything

I always say I haven’t learned anything
That’s not true I am a grim grim man
And maybe that’s my fault
You always say look on a bright side
You’re right but it’s not something I can
Always do some things stay locked in the vault
Anything is good enough for me
Better than nothing it must be
Better than the fearsome void
What have we learned today
Well if you can trust me
Surely we won’t be destroyed
And it makes me laugh and shake my head
All the things all the things we do
It makes me want to spin
Around around around around
I’m laughing but it’s true
It’s all gonna happen again

You can read an explanation of the origin of these lyrics here

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

216 : 11/12/98 : Hit Song Video Concept

I woke up with a bad taste in my mouth
left over from the things that I said back to you
the other day when you hung me out to dry
the other day when you told me we were through

I walked out on the streets alone
All the people couldn’t see how much
I was holding inside and hiding away
the hole I’m left without your touch

I got up on the roof of a tall building
and looked down on all the little people below
I can’t understand how I can get so high
and end up down so low

I went to a night club to drown my sorrows
But the music couldn’t reach my heart
And all the happy dancing people couldn’t see
the way my love for you was tearing me apart

In a couple weeks when I’ve gotten over you
another someone will be coming along
And it’s a good thing there are bills to pay
I’ll have to write another hit song

You can read an explanation of the origin of these lyrics here

Monday, December 17, 2007

215 : 11/11/98 : Goin’ Around

957 : 0 ?

It’s very funny but I’m not laughing
I’m crazy with a capital kay
If you’re not hearing the questions I’m asking
There’s nothing more I can say
You say you want a little more
Well everybody agrees
You think you’re what the good stuff’s for
You’re all so very hard to please
But I don’t have to make a sound
‘Cause the world just keeps on going around

You say I take too much for granted
That I’m always reaching for the moon
I say I take whatever I can get my hands on
life’s too short to give up too soon
I keep on my lucky star’s light
Well it keeps me on my toes
And if I end up staying out all night
Well when’s the last time you watched
when the sun rose
Don’t worry and don’t make a sound
Whatever you do the world just keeps on goin’ around

You can read an explanation of the origin of these lyrics here

Friday, December 14, 2007

214 : 11/10/98 : Wage Slave Redux (II)

I don’t care to write a song about it
I suppose I think it’s all my fault
There’s nothing but a wage slave’s dinner on my plate
I work so hard for my little bit of salt
I suppose that I should feel blessed
I suppose that I should count my lucky stars
I don’t care to argue with you about it
Unless you have the time to count my wage slave scars
I guess I should be proud of what I’ve done
I guess at everything these days it’s true
I used to know some stuff I guess
I used to think I knew the way through
My shoes are still smoking from hell’s floor
I’ve still got ice in my hair
My head’s still reeling reeling
from hovering through the fog and filthy air
I’d like to make a big declaration
I’d like to stand up on my desk
With my mouth full of peyote buttons
grinning numb on mary jane and mesc
I’d like to rattle these saps cages
Show them all the shit my skull holds down
I’d like to dance right out the door
Just for a change be my own clown
But I sit and write a song about it instead
Can three thousand wrongs make a right
When I write my millionth song
Will God open up the box and let in the light

You can read an explanation of the origin of these lyrics here

Thursday, December 13, 2007

213 : 11/9/98 : What the Trees Might Say

If I threw down the shackles
of expectation and ignorance
If I threw my watch down the gutter
I could not reclaim my innocence
If I gave it all away
And went into the forest green
And waited to hear what the trees might say
I might find I couldn’t understand what they mean
The trees might say
You’ve gone down a long, long road
They might be amused by me
Such a long journey to figure out where the water flowed
You might go to hell and back
And you might write a million songs
That would take three thousand years
I don’t think I’ve got that long
They might say come sit down under
any one of us and figure it all out
It doesn’t matter which we’re all strangely the same
Feel free to wrestle with your doubt
While we go on
The way we’ve always done and always will
That’s what the trees might say
If I had the time to kill

You can read an explanation of the origin of these lyrics here

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Take that windmill

So, that's the end of what I affectionately referred to as "My Pathetic Little Inferno." I've also finished transcribing the second volume of the songs of the day, first project, although there are half a dozen songs left to post. 2 down, 12 to go (except of course I'm generating new books full at the same time).

Writing that mess was an ambiguous experience and transcribing it was too. As a formal work, I mean as actual songs or poems, I have to consider it a failure. The meter is tortured to the point of nonexistence, the narrative is patchy. It's barely readable, let alone singable. It was a real chore to write and throughout I seriously questioned my motivations. I still do. I question the whole thing.

For all that there's a lot going on in that series. Technically, however much a failure it is structurally (and indeed artistically) it pushed my facility for rhyming to the limit - as I mentioned in a prior comment I have never used any kind of rhyming dictionary or similar aid. And for me it was an interesting exercise, theologically, to insert myself fictionally into Dante's medieval hell. The doctrine of hell seems a serious contradiction to the putative compassion of Christianity. And while I am about the opposite of orthodox I don't think it is a doctrine that is easily disposed of without abandoning the canonical Gospels entirely. This conflict becomes a running theme of the series.

Whatever it is, it's done. As to my doubts about the larger project, I persist nonetheless. The two thousandth song of the daily projects (1001 songs completed in the first song plus 999 songs in the second project in less than a couple months) will be written soon, and with it will come an Exciting Announcement. Meanwhile, more songs starting tomorrow, and we'll be getting into volume three, project one in about a week.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

212 : 11/8/98 : In The Middle (II) (Canto 34)

We trekked across the ice heading for the middle
that lay a hundred yards beyond
The edge of the great smoking griddle

The pit where I would release the bond
I’d taken at the iron door
And we stood and I bent in the wind like a frond

of a plant that bloomed too late for
the season it was born
And Eliot pointed to the ice floor

And said I’ve shown you what I’d sworn
I would so meditate a moment on the luck
of those below that are planted like an acorn

Frozen in the frozen muck
And I said hey it’s not that the wind blows
that hole has a serious suck

That’s where all the evil goes
he said onward Christian soldier into hell
The sinners frozen under your feet

They’ll wake again for the final bell
but for now it’s just you and the prince
It’s time you finished what you started when you fell...

There will be no violence
cast yourself to the crater
Hereafter, ever after, ever since

You’ll know what it was good for later
so go and take your leap
Get on the escalator

Going down, you’ve promises to keep
back in your sunny town
Miles to go before you sleep

I won’t see you again not down
there in the dreamless time
So say goodbye here destiny’s clown

And I thought back on my downward climb
I clasped my guardian’s hand
And I scuffed my shoes of the icy rime

I picked traveling over that land
and took a running start
And didn’t look to see ol’ T.S. watch me from his stand

I just leapt out into the heart
Out into the middle of it all
And I flew towards the center like a dart

I twisted in the great stony hall
Past where the fog cleared
At a great chamber, a sphere I felt my fall

slow as the last denizen appeared
Hew was as small as a walnut
But I felt his mass pull at me as a I neared

I almost slowed to a stop but
I was still moving as I passed
His eyes were closed his chin rested on his gut

A dark aura around him was cast
A kernel a seed of evil stone
a tiny seethingly still iconoclast

I felt the pull on sinew and bone
I rotated once when I faced him
And drifted slowly slowly, helpless and alone

But before I could grow to grim
I picked up speed the other way
So soon I saw the outer rim

of the way out I saw the new day
was dawning on the other side
And I was weightless free I didn’t have to stay

And so I just stayed on the ride
rose above the atmosphere
And from my freefall orbit glide

I saw the planet hell laid out tier by tier
The grooves cut deep the levels I never knew
From way out there was no pain or fear

And my distance grew and grew
And I felt myself passing through


This song is the last of a series loosely based on Dante's Inferno. You can read an essay about this series here. You can read a more general explanation of the origin of these lyrics here

Monday, December 10, 2007

211 : 11/7/98 : Cocytus (II) (Canto 33)

954 : 2 ?

I was getting cold and stamping my feet
and a silence rose in the wake of our conflict
which T.S. broke saying here’s a pair you need to meet

I think that you may think me derelict
in my office as your guide
You fail to see the limitations on me are strict

You’re looking in on this from the outside
And you judge what you see in haste
And fail to see inner truth that will abide

When providence sees you once again placed
in your home; but now observe
These I have pointed out frozen to the waist

And deemed by hell fit to deserve
the punishment of being paired
Locked together here at the next to last curve

of this frozen hell: so ask what sin they shared
they were locked in struggle, the clawed and scratched
So I kicked them about the heads till both glared

Up at me, and one of them unlatched
his tongue and said hell has made us twins
In mockery of how we were from the world snatched

So monstrous were our sins
We killed our kin and ate our young
So now we struggle here and neither wins

And I said yeah but have you learned your lesson
Do you think your punishment is just
I have become confused, I’m not the only one

Who finds himself hard-pressed to trust
The Vision of this pit of fire and ice
So tell me, then from where you’re frozen in the crust

Locked forever in the diabolical vice
Listen then said the one that I’d invited
to speak; and understand the nature of the prize

We are joined who were divided
by hatred as unnatural as a tree’s for a leaf
We share the fate of all who have incited

Their fellows to abandon unity for grief
All are born to die
And our walk under the sun is brief

And you will understand if you try
That it is all simply allegory
False unity from false division meets your eye

Can you not comprehend the simple moral of this story
We are all joined by blood by fear by pain
Yet we all deny our unity and so deny the glory

That might be all the way back to Cain
All who will not join must then remain

This song is part of a series loosely based on Dante's Inferno. You can read an essay about this series here. You can read a more general explanation of the origin of these lyrics here

Saturday, December 08, 2007

210 : 11/6/98 : Cocytus (I) (Canto 32)

We were lifted down on a giant’s palm
I couldn’t stop the spinning in my head
We stepped off onto ice and I felt a qualm

I don’t know where I am I said
I am no better than a dog
I might as well be down among the dead

I was looking into the icy fog
that from afar I had mistook for smoke
well are you gonna stand all day agog

my guide said, do you take this as a joke?
There’s nothing funny about it is there
so gather up your cloak

and let’s get onto where
we have been bound to travel
there’s no time to stare

at those who wait for the great judge’s gavel
to lay down judgment with a mighty strike
who wait for it all to unravel

and I said man you know what I’d like
I’d like something to make a tiny bit of sense
and I’ve never been down this strange a pike

but here in the devil’s demesne
I don’t feel like I’m finding a single clue
It’s all just static more interference

I’ve got no insight into the evil that men do
I have no idea why I’m here
And he said I’ve been over all of this with you

And I thought that everything was very clear
let’s have this conversation one more time
Try not to let it all fly out the other ear

your head is wrapped up in reason and rhyme
you’re obsessed over the question why
but when you’re facing the uncertain and sublime

these questions ring hollow while real truth passes by
open your eyes and look around
you aren’t here to find out how come we have to die

I looked up at the stone sky, I looked at the icy ground
I looked at all the sinner sliding listlessly
I listened and I didn’t make a sound

Let’s go I finally said it doesn’t matter to me
sometimes you simply have to get things done
I feel I’ve been at this a month and I can tell you honestly

It hasn’t been a lot of fun
all I want to do anymore is get back underneath the sun

This song is part of a series loosely based on Dante's Inferno. You can read an essay about this series here. You can read a more general explanation of the origin of these lyrics here

Friday, December 07, 2007

209 : 11/5/98 : Skyline (Canto 31)

Across the bridge that spanned the gap
We came to a sloping plain
That ended a mile or two from the ledge of the eight gap

We had crossed in our tour of the valley of pain
And the Poet took me by the arm
And said there is the final drain

Whence flows all the evil and the harm
That men create in all their days on earth
And we will test the limits of the charm

That’s forced the denizens of hell to give us berth
when we come to the center of that hole
We’ll test what His promises are worth

Still it is where we must achieve our goal
So keep your faith strong within you
And with that we began our descent into the great bowl

that ended in a hole that was two
thousand miles across or more it seemed
And as we came near a mighty trumpet blew

And I peered through the smoke and I thought I dreamed
Far ahead I thought I saw a skyline
I imagined hell’s highrises and tenements that teemed

With all the souls who fell to the final incline
of that inexorable downward slope
I thought their fate would soon be mine

But when I asked T.S. about it he said nope
The distance and the smoke deceive your eyes
As we draw closer you’ll see a sight to test your hope

And as I squinted at what I had took for a highrise
I saw a sight that nearly stopped my heart
For before me stood a man of monstrous size

When he shifted it gave me a dreadful start
I knew a giant a hundredth of his height
could effortlessly tear me apart

But Eliot said these creatures will not fight
Seeing the evidence of my fear
At this unexpected sight

These guardians know why we’re here
We’ve an appointment with the Prince of flies
They guard the ring the final tier

We have to cross, and past that lies
only the void at the center of the underworld
Where we must cast off all earthly ties

That we have left to go where the devil’s curled
Around himself in the evil core of hell
At the center of it the pit where he was hurled

And after that I cannot truly tell
But first we must attain that central well

This song is part of a series loosely based on Dante's Inferno. You can read an essay about this series here. You can read a more general explanation of the origin of these lyrics here

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

208 : 11/4/98 : Through This Slum (Canto 30)

So I walked steady and I walked straight
And didn’t bother to look right or left
As we walked that mile long bridge at a rate

That would carry us across the cleft
In half an hour or so
I and I closed my ears to the bereft

and mad howlings from below
I paid no attention as they cursed and tore
each adding to another’s burden of woe

I was content to finish my chore
I didn’t need to understand
I didn’t need to know the final answer any more

I just crossed the wasted land
All the darkness madness and stench
I was dreaming of Laguna sand

I was dreaming of a park bench
Where I once spent an afternoon
My guide brought me back with a wrench

Saying we’ll be there soon
Up above back from where we’re from
I can smell the angle of the moon

I told you I’d lead you through this slum
Soon out the other side we’ll come

This song is part of a series loosely based on Dante's Inferno. You can read an essay about this series here. You can read a more general explanation of the origin of these lyrics here

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

207 : 11/3/98 : Penultimate Hell (Canto 29)

I sat there at the far edge evidently
quite a while, staring at the ground
and my guide put his hand on my shoulder gently

said are you waiting for a friend to come around
It’s no use this track’s as long
As a thread about the equator wound

And whoever you’re looking for is gone
They may find a way out yet
only the Creator knows if that’s right or wrong

And anyway after a while you get
so blinded to the misery and horror
So don’t kick back don’t light a cigarette

Remember what we’re here for
Strange as it seems this is the way back
You can only get to your hill through your iron door

So we kept on along the track
And another bridge loomed up
And I said I’ve repented of my attack

And he said don’t be so quick to grab the cup
that is not yours to drink
Well even though you’re just a pup

You’ve every privilege to thin
The thoughts you have whatever they may be
When something’s rotten, a wise man won’t ignore the stink

And these are hard things that you see
the truth is not a thing easily discerned
And there is always mystery

And you are bound to speak out when concerned
And we walked and spoke about this thing
This place this journey what was to be learned

And we came soon to this final ring
The last before the great smoking pit
The last before I could see no way but the big fling

Out into the big black: no way around it
And that ring was with an oily darkness filled
And a fearsome stench that made me grit

My teeth the smell of a million killed
in a hundred thousand abattoirs
And sounds of unholy bedlam spilled

Out voices numbered in the stars
And I saw haunted eyes in the dark
Like caged things peering out through the bars

And I said before we ascend the arc
Of this bridge to that center of destiny
And finish this walk in the park

Explain this penultimate hell to me
It seems strange that the final roll-
call of the damned is such simplicity

Just a dark and stinking hole
Full of miserable mourning shades
No fire no lizards not a single soul

Split open from asshole to shoulderblades
And Eliot said welcome to the kingdom of the false
See and know wherever the dark invades

Wherever light and sweetness stalls
Lies and falseness came there first
Brought by the taint inside your walls

Any who finally lose the thirst
to know what’s right and what is true
To this final ditch they’re cursed

This is what all falseness comes to
So remember no matter how much it seems
That you need lies to pull you through

The path cannot be found in lying dreams
From the Father of Lies all darkness streams

This song is part of a series loosely based on Dante's Inferno. You can read an essay about this series here. You can read a more general explanation of the origin of these lyrics here

Monday, December 03, 2007

206 : 11/2/98 : Gore (Canto 28)

944 : 0 ?

I shook my head and said man what’s this for
man this trip is gone seriously foul
What you wanna show me this disgusting gore

I said keep it shut and bite back your scowl
I don’t wanna hear what I’m meant to learn
From looking at blood and gore and hanging bowel

Yeah look at all the poor heathens burn
Look at the bastards get their due
I can’t see that I shouldn’t take a turn

And take the bloody sword and suffer too
I’ve sewn a little discord in my day
And why don’t y ou admit it, so have you

So should I speak to these poor souls, what should I say
Should I ask them what’s gonna go down
As I roll along this millenium way

like I need some damned demented clown
to tell me that it’s all going south
to tell me I got no future in this town

I’m crazy, I’m running at the mouth
But this ain’t justice and this ain’t God
And there’s no other word that rhymes with south

I’m sick of this the way here is too broad
Let’s just get on with this dismal plod

This song is part of a series loosely based on Dante's Inferno. You can read an essay about this series here. You can read a more general explanation of the origin of these lyrics here

Thursday, November 29, 2007

205 : 11/1/98 : Long Ride (Canto 27)

T.S., I said master and guide
Not to show ingratitude
This is getting to be a long ride

Throught the diabolical latitude
and if I wouldn’t be too remiss
I think it would improve my attitude

To move beyond the circle of this
parliment of flames
And make our way further into Dis

Sure there are a thousand stories a thousand names
No need to talk to any more political types
And Eliot said hey kid nobody blames

You for getting caught up and your gripes
are understandable. We’ll get you movin’ on along right down the pipes

This song is part of a series loosely based on Dante's Inferno. You can read an essay about this series here. You can read a more general explanation of the origin of these lyrics here

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

204 : 10/31/98 : Drawn to Flame (Canto 26)

942 : 12 ?

And standing looking back I said America
you’re going to reap the evil that you’ve sewn
And all the time unknowing you’re passing the

point of no return, beyond the pale beyond the known
And maybe it would be a better thing
To lay down and die, the cancer’s only grown

More in more, in spite of all your fighting
All your fury and your sound
But in the end you will worship your king

Of filthy lucre until it drives you in the ground
And having said my piece we moved along
Listened to a rising roaring sound

I can’t express it in a song
The storm of the multitude inferno
A hundred thousand millions souls strong

On the verge of the ditch where the wicked counselors go
Like sparks from the welders arc
Like crystals in a storm of snow

Like fireflies above the water, old Smith Park
Anonymous wrapped in fire all the same
Eliot said souls burn in the eternal dark

Wrapped in the fire that drove them to seek a name
by leading their society into the shadows
Trapped like moths around a candle, drawn to flame

I said look at that strange two headed flame that goes
twisted and turning through the gloom
I watched in wonder as the flames flickered fell and rose

Eliot said wait until that flame looms
close to us and wonder at the sight
Two ancient generals who shared a watery tomb

Two souls burning in the endless night
And we didn’t we didn’t say a word
When the twin flame passed us narrowly on the right

I listened intently but all I heard
Was a silence trapped inside silence that endured

This song is part of a series loosely based on Dante's Inferno. You can read an essay about this series here. You can read a more general explanation of the origin of these lyrics here

Monday, November 19, 2007

203 : 10/30/98 : Transformation Proceeds from Within (Canto 25)

933 : 3 ?

The miscreant we faced, hearing my philosophy
answered with both fists middle fingers stretched out
Saying here’s to you and your god and all the sophistry

You don’t know a goddamned thing about
A voice hissed let me handle this one in my ear
A snake slithered over my shoulder and in a flash twined about

This mocker’s neck and mouth and choked off his jeer
and soon was joined by hosts of his scaly kin
they hissed we’ll roll this troublemaker right on out of here

No sooner said they had him rolling like a rolling pin
and we were being accosted by a group of three
One exclaimed where’s Tony? It’s happening again

Before I could ask what his meaning might be
He was confronted by a lizard with too many legs
That reared up an fell upon him instantly

like the black widow having fertilized her eggs
began to tear and devour it’s hapless mate
and he was down upon his knees like one who begs

TS said I think it’s just a little late
for supplication now but I barely heard him
so absorbed was I by the altered state

That over took those strugglers limb by limb
their substance was absorbed into a nasty mass
that sprouted wings and talons like a corrupt seraphim

And what manner of creature came to pass
I don’t really think it has a name
And if I thought that nothing could surpass

This strange transformation, who could blame
me for my terrible surprise
when out of a smoking pit another reptile came

And pegged another of the three direct between the eyes
his eyes crossed a little, but he didn’t say a word
Transformation proceeds from within, so say the wise

said my guide, but seeing that again I scarcely heard
merely stood and watched along with me the terrible
double transformation that then occurred

still lodged firmly in the second sinner’s skull
the lizard thrashed and then began to swell
until it seemed the space inside that damaged head was full

It burst forth and the completion of the spell
formed its body into a golem of the same man he’d assaulted
and in a reversal that surprised me even there in hell

The second reached into the hole in his shattered head
and with fierce tugging pulled away his skin
just as any reptile will its worn skin shed

he shed his human flesh and flashed a lizard’s grin
And to Eliot I said what did your proverb mean
that transformation proceeds from within

he said whether your shell be dirty or clean
the inner man will in the end always be seen

This song is part of a series loosely based on Dante's Inferno. You can read an essay about this series here. You can read a more general explanation of the origin of these lyrics here

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

202 : 10/29/98 : Reptiles (Canto 24)

When we had made our way to the fallen bridge
to which our burdened friend had alluded
And we stood on the edge of the treacherous ridge

I said I think we may have been deluded
But T.S. just said Excelsior!
And started down along the rubble where a great arch once was rooted

Over massive broken rocks we clambered for
what seemed like hours and when we hit
The bottom I saw we had another nasty climb in store

Halfway up I said I’ve had it
I felt like my lungs were gonna pop
but my guide said onward up out of this pit

and on to the next you cannot stop
this thing that you’ve begun now
and I said I’ll push until I drop

And so I put my shoulder back to the plow
and managed to make the climb
and when we saw what waited for us next I said, wow,

I ain’t never seen so many reptiles at one time
Lizards, snakes, an evil looking turtle or two
A sea of forest, emerald teal and lime

And my guide said here’s a pretty specimen for you
pointing out a man positively swarming with snakes
who seeing our attention said I’ll make you rue

the day you two day-tripping flakes
decided to intrude upon my misery
And Eliot said hold on man this won’t take

a minute and heaven knows your time is free
tell our friend here how you came to this estate
and no sooner said than we’ll just be

along our way we’ve got a date
to keep, you see with the dark prince
it wouldn’t do now would it to be late

and the man gave a snarl that made me wince
and said what’s really to tell
I killed and stole and destroyed and since

I died unrepentant I wound up in hell
Well that’s not such a great story
is it friend but mark this well

I tell you true I’m still not sorry
for the evil that I’ve done
I stalked my fellow man like quarry

I stole for sport and killed for fun
I’m a human monster and there’s many
more down here I’m not the only one

And T.S. said now see do you still think there’s any
question the divine will is just
here’s a man who would kill you for a penny

Can’t you see that sometimes evil must
simply be forced to desist
ashes to ashes kid dust to dust

there must be a place for those who insist
on making things so black
nut I said couldn’t He just make them cease to exist?

‘Cause I have to say this eternity on the rack
Seems more malice than divine
seems a lot like payback

And I’m sorry if I’ve crossed the line
But I question if His justice is the same as mine

This song is part of a series loosely based on Dante's Inferno. You can read an essay about this series here. You can read a more general explanation of the origin of these lyrics here

Monday, November 12, 2007

201 : 10/28/98 : Hypocrites (Canto 23)

Behind us was a ruckus, T.S. said ho showtime
We scrambled back up on our feet
A demon shouted hey you mortal slime

We made a swift retreat
But soon as we came up to the cliff’s brink
I said I think they’ve got us beat

But my guardian quick as a wink
Threw me over his shoulder
And slid down into the next sink

We took refuge behind a boulder
And looked up to see our demons pause
And seeing their trail had grown colder

Than they could follow they gave up their cause
And as they turned back we went on
T.S. said they were held to their own circle by the laws

That God had set down a very long
time ago, and soon we heard a loud,
raucous chorus of sighs and wails, and soon we came upon

A suffering and circling crowd
They were laden down with fearsome stones
These hypocrites carry the weight of all they vowed

in Judgment against their fellows and now they moan
For by the same sins they used to burden others
They stored up these weights when they were alone

The poet said, and circle eternally cheek to jowl one to another
Mind this lesson and never make haste
To add to the yoke of their brother

And one so burdened said who are these two so chaste
that they carry nothing at all
As they pass through the endless waste

Of all we poor casualties of the fall
I said well I’m a tourist here
But while you take a turn with you don’t take it for gall

If I ask you what brought you so near
to the center of hell’s great wheel
And he said I was one chosen to steer

the ship of state, to guide it’s keel
through rocky shoals in troubled waters
an office I rose to through influence and appeal

A thousand smiles and handshakes and kisses for the sons and daughters
But I had only evil and lust for power in my heart
And for power turned a blind eye to the slaughter

of innocents and played an instrumental part
In making my nation worse and weaker
That’s the politician’s special art

And he said to T.S. you and this mortal seeker
Go ahead and ask around
we’re all pretty much the same but I hear it’s even bleaker

upstairs, hypocrites every day even more abound
Just then we came upon a figure who
was staked out on the ground

And trod on by all who passed through
that circle of punishment
And our new companion said this one may be known to you

The father of politicians the statesman who sent
An innocent man to be staked to a tree
Simply because it was expedient

And T.S. said that’s sure a sight to see
but tell us friend ‘cause our’ schedule’s tight
Where’s the nearest bridge to the next circle of misery

He said the bridges are all down but bear to the right
And you’ll come upon a lowland
Where if you’re agile you just might

find the passage you demand
And that’s the best that I can say
And T.S. said well now don’t just stand

there we must be on our way
We gotta get through the rest of hell by the end of the day

This song is part of a series loosely based on Dante's Inferno. You can read an essay about this series here. You can read a more general explanation of the origin of these lyrics here

Weekly status, now with continuity tracking

I explained my original intentions behind the weekly status report here. I've decided to add an additional marker that indicates how long a string of songs I've written without missing a day during the ongoing project. By way of example, today's status:

926 : 1 ?


Icons indicate if I'm running a song backlog and if so how much.

926 : 1 Songs written in the current project : Songs written without missing a day

(Whenever I'm running a backlog the latter number will be zero)

The question mark links to this explanation. I'd like to say that I've only written one song without missing a day because I purposely skipped a day to officially start the public count. But that would be a lie. Although I've been avoiding serious backlogs, I'm still missing a lot more days than I'm satisfied with. As usual, increasing the amount of status data I'm publishing is an attempt to motivate myself to better performance.

Including the 1,001 songs written in the original project (the one I'm currently blogging) I'm nearing 2,000 daily songs written so far.

Monday, November 05, 2007

It Pours

I generally eschew status reports because I reckon not a whole lot of people, in the scheme of things, are reading, and those that do know me well enough to drop me a line if they really want to know what's going on.

Well, what's been going on the last few weeks is basically just one expletive deleted thing after another, related to getting slammed by work with my main money gig, the whole family getting sick, my spouse traveling for work now (making me sole childcare provider for a few days)... It's been one of those months, now bleeding into the next one.

BUT. Barring further unforeseen adversity expect, pretty soon, resumed song of the day posting (hoping to quickly wrap up the Inferno), a thrilling added feature to the weekly status dashboard (I know, you didn't think it could get any more exciting. Let the anticipation overwhelm the fear...), a word about my exciting, recently restarted/recreated and immediately stalled by the aforementioned unexciting personal life issues other music weblog project, Phree Musique, and absolutely no updates about my secret weblog that I won't ever mention again so don't ask about it.

On November 12th, I'd say.

Friday, October 19, 2007

200 : 10/27/98 : Interlude in Hell, A Minor (Canto 22)

We were hustling down a path, and not far behind us
The hell patrol were fishing out their fellows
To my surprise my poet guide said let’s stop and discuss

The shape of the bellows
that stoke the great fire
And the characteristic reds and yellows

Of the clay that line the sullen mire
And several other things of similar import
While our former guardians back there reacquire

Their fallen comrades from their hapless port
Give them a chance to get back on our trail
Just some facts and figures to fill out your report

When you return from this travail
up to the lands above
Where you must carry on the search for your grail

I said man you’re crazy, those fiends are gonna throw down the glove
when they see the way we’ve slipped away
I know we’re on divine duty sheltered by divine love

That doesn’t mean we should invite foul play
At the hands of that slimy mob
Let’s live to chat hell another day

And anyway why this sudden urge to natter and nob
We’ve had plenty of better chances
than here pinned between those who steal and those who rob

He said to put it plain your tale advances
too quickly from its guided track
You’ve gotten ahead of yourself, you’re missing subtle nuances

So I have to stop and hold this tack
Of pointless exposition for a little more
consider it an interlude in hell, a minor setback

And anyway you could use a breather before
You get along to the final pit
There’s lots of evil and nastiness in store

Ahead so for now let’s make the best of it
We’ve a few moments to linger, and talk while we sit.

This song is part of a series loosely based on Dante's Inferno. You can read an essay about this series here. You can read a more general explanation of the origin of these lyrics here

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

199 : 10/26/98 : Tarpits (Canto 21)

Down the next slope we came to another plain
Much like the first but not with open graves
But rather boiling tar ran in the lanes

Chiseled into the rocks as an artist engraves
a stone for the printing press
My guide said watch that you behave

Yourself follow my word and do not second guess
me the devils that work the tarpit are a wily crew
As is fitting here where the yes is no, and the no is yes

And seeing some approach said do not let them see you
hide yourself behind the rocks and watch
I’ll signal you when it’s safe and don’t come out until I do

As he approached them I watched through a notch
in the stones I hid behind
The leader sneered and grabbed his crotch

That perverse and grotesque lot still chill my mind
their plastic heads and three piece suits
They carried briefcases and gnawed on skulls like rinds

Of pomegranate, tearing at the deep red fruits
There seemed to arise an altercation
But my protector stood firmly in his boots

And when it seemed he had the situation
in hand, he motioned me to join
The leader said imagine my elation

To hear a mortal had girded up his loins
And made the crossing to our bitter land
Where all the varied malefactors pay their dues in all their varied coins

So honored guest take me by the hand
We’ll take you on a tour of the tarpits
We’ll make a jolly band

My guide whispered aside to me its best we keep our wits
about us, this twisty lot’s not to be trusted
This snake oil slick routine’s an act, it’s

A safe bet that we’ll soon be disgusted
by the nature that all fiends share
The tarpits are where grafters and extortioners get busted

The demon leader declaimed with a tour guide air
The sticky fingered lot, ha ha they’re hiding now
But I think one’s peeking up over there

Then he barked out hey let’s show ‘em how
we do things here boys and in a flash
his minions, with a satirical bow

To my guide and I, made a dash
for the soul the demon foreman pointed out
And no sooner had him out but put him to the lash

The poet said well can we have a word with the poor lout
Your boys are beating into paste
Let’s find out what he’s all about

Although that sorry inmate’s face was a tarred and bloody waste
I thought maybe I’d seen him on the television
And seeming to sense that I had placed

Him, he said if you’re gonna feature me in your revision
Of a better story by a better scholar than you are
His voice dropped to a whisper he said well that’s your decision

But I tell you a’lurking back in the tar,
A sorry lot of stellar congressmen
Lawyers, bankers, and accountants are

Waiting for my signal to come out in the open
Fade back and I’ll whistle up the whole brigade
And you can the bipartisan session then

And leave me out of the whole charade
One of the pack piped up and said it’s sure a shame
It’s been so long since we had an all out raid

So let’s hang back and let Mr. Doesn’t-Want-His-Name
In the papers up topside set his trap
And scare us up a fine flock of game

To give a good taste of the strap
And with that word they faded back
And the erstwhile prisoner they left there in the gap

Jumped up with out warning and leaped into the crack
of bubbling pitch he’d been pulled from
Only a heartbeat passed and two hellspawn launched an attack

screaming catch that dirty cheating bum
I couldn’t help but whisper in Eliot’s ear
That our guides here were awfully dumb

to trust the sort of criminals who wind up here
He just shrugged and said call it a vice
Just then one of the demons gave a shout of fear

He’d ventured too far into the tar and paid the price
And in his struggle pulled his partner in as well
Who bellowing in rage, was carving a slice

out of the first demon who fell
Into the trap they’d sought to set
And T.S. rolled his eyes and said another day in hell

But say he continued while the rest try to get
their fellows out of the tar
for a moment they’re sure to forget

To keep an eye on where you and I are
And things as they’re going it might be wise
To make ourselves scarce and make sure we’re far

away by the time they realize
That we’re as good for sport as anyone
And try to take us by surprise

You’ve seen what they are and what they’ve done
So we’d best take this chance to run

This song is part of a series loosely based on Dante's Inferno. You can read an essay about this series here. You can read a more general explanation of the origin of these lyrics here

Monday, October 08, 2007

198 : 10/25/98 : Unfortunate (Canto 20)

890 ?

“Wow” I said “T.S. that’s really unfortunate
The way these cats are twisted up is very cruel”
Stumbling slowly round a massive course circular and flat

Heads between their legs like some contortionist fool
Their tears leaking back into their ears
“These are those unfortunates who sought to use the arcane tool

Of the future to seek fortune through their years
Those who twist the spirit to gain
Will always wind up in hell’s gears”

I said “this seems excessive for fortune tellers’ lane”
He said “you’re not seeing the whole show
All seek the future but the difference is plain

Of those who seek the path they go
And those who seek fortune in the paths of others
Too many are led astray by what they claim to know

The future is denied the sisters and brothers
of the fall: we should not seek to co-opt what we lost
Nor should we contribute to another’s

confusion in facing roads not yet crossed
We should seek to live in our own time
We should seek only our own costs

And he said finish up your twentieth rhyme
And let’s get on with the ever descending climb

This song is part of a series loosely based on Dante's Inferno. You can read an essay about this series here. You can read a more general explanation of the origin of these lyrics here

Monday, October 01, 2007

197 : 10/24/98 : Mockers (Canto 19)

884 ?

We dropped another ledge down
I was sullen, silent from my guide’s rebukes
And the poet kept his council his face drawn in a frown

But as we approached a strange scene he said “there are no flukes
here, my son, but understanding
is hard, but even so these miserable pukes

May improve your confidence in the divine commanding
of hell’s bleak punishments”
Ranged out around the circle where we were standing

A multitude in sour and soiled vestments
were stuffed up to their shoulders in television sets
That sparked and crackled as if they received some signal sent

Down into this pit And my guide said “I bet
that especially jerky clown over yonder
Will give you a lesson you won’t forget

And some fine points to ponder
and a much needed chance to vent your spleen
And curb your tendency to maunder

over the cursed and unclean
Well these are some who may indeed deserve their fate
These are the very same you’ve seen

in every age they pass the plate
more often than they praise God’s name
their eyes ablaze with greed and hate

they take it all and play a game
of guilt and lies and threats of damnation
Here their ironic fates are all the same

So I bent down and fiddled the knobs as if to change the station
And a voice called “Jimmy is that you you hound
Finally come the final mockery of my ironic situation”

and I replied “well stuck in your tube you mistake the sound
of my voice for your fellow confidence man”
And he replied “so why have you come around”

And I said “Mocker I came to tell you what a huge fan
I am of the charlatans like you
who prosper in your sordid little clan

By the lies that you tell and the evil you do
perverting the truth to line your pocket
How many have been deceived and led astray by you few

Mockers yeah you talked a lot but could not walk it
And I must confess watching you squirm gives me a thrill
It’s good to see you firmly screwed into the socket”

And my man gave me a fine big hug but said “we have no time to kill
We gotta get on down to the next hill”

This song is part of a series loosely based on Dante's Inferno. You can read an essay about this series here. You can read a more general explanation of the origin of these lyrics here

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

196 : 10/23/98 : They May be Damned (Canto 18)

“All right T.S.” I said “I’ve had my fill of this
I’ve gone as far as I want to go
I can’t really see what the point is”

We stood at the top of a sort of coliseum below
us sloped steps and ditches
Filled with another mighty army of woe

“Look at them racing in circles lashed with switches
by the demon hordes
Look a them cursed with boils and itches

Swatting at their wounds scrambling towards
the finish line that will never appear
they’ll strain but never break the cords

That tie them and hold them here
But from what I can see
The difference between this and what’s upstairs is unclear

I’ve been in the pit often enough and I’ll be
in that pit again I am sure
I’ve run the rat race I’ve yearned to be free

I’ve searched for the answers begged for a cure
I’ve been in the shit up to my neck
I’ve fallen for hell’s shiny bobbing lure

So tell my poet when I cash my check
am I gonna end up pushing the stone
Am I supposed to get the fear on this trek

And slobber and wag when he throws me a bone
And pats me on the head like a good dog
Will I be so relieved to be outta the danger zone

That I’ll be happy and content in my slog
Up the mountain of resistance
The endless adversity I flog

My way through without assistance
Man standin’ here I feel right at home
They may be damned but damn if they don’t have persistence”

And Eliot said “kid your mouth is starting to foam
so why don’t you climb down off the horse
This is hell this is not some poem

You have a job and your job is to follow your course
And see what you see there
What you will not accept you cannot take by force

It’s not your place to care
For the final meaning
You won’t find any more of that here than anywhere

You’ll spend a long while figuring out what you’re gleaning
here, so watch where your sentiments are leaning”

This song is part of a series loosely based on Dante's Inferno. You can read an essay about this series here. You can read a more general explanation of the origin of these lyrics here

Monday, September 24, 2007

195 : 10/22/98 : Gyre (Canto 17)

876 ?

From the cord from the ball the line
I never bothered to tie
To find my way back to the sunshine

I dropped a line I cast a fly
into the bloody steam of the chasm
where the waters fell into the pit where I

And my guide that stoic phantasm
stood looking down where he told me
to drop the line and there came a spasm

that ripped the other end away from me
and by God up flew this thing
Above us and circled one two three

With a politician’s small and waxy batwings
Settle down beside us
Didn’t say a single thing

And my guide climbed on his back with no fuss
And motioned me to join him
As if motioning me to get on a bus

and sit beside him perched there on the rim
of the seething pit of hell
So I crossed myself and went out on the limb

And the beast launched out for a moment we fell
for a moment my heart popped
then slowly we circled the well

of souls below us where the steam stopped
And he began to circle and gyre
As we slowly slowly dropped

Into the deep fire
Then I saw a multitude
of spirits circling the ledge on the edge of that dire

drop they sat at the margin of the latitude
of hell, “those who took from those in need” the Poet hissed
“Those who stole away the children’s food

Forever pulled down toward deeper hell by what they pissed
away on things that didn’t satisfy them anyway
still their greed pulls them down they wouldn’t be missed

But leave them, onto the next act of the play
time to seek the center of it all
As we come to this black Friday

When the betrayer dropped the dime and made the call
You will see the end of it”
And as the beast banked at the wall

And dropped us at the edge of a stepped pit
turned and flew away and I said “hey man I smell shit”

This song is part of a series loosely based on Dante's Inferno. You can read an essay about this series here. You can read a more general explanation of the origin of these lyrics here

Thursday, September 20, 2007

194 : 10/21/98 : Fishing (Canto 16)

We crossed the way across the path
In that land of fiery downpour
That outpouring of wrath

I said “all this I’ve seen and more
to come I don’t know what to make
of it what I’ve seen on this desolate shore

It’s just a little bit too much to take
I’ve seen friends here men I admire
Is it justice for these few to bake

while warlike scoundrels dodge the fire
was the world not better for their passing
when will there be the reckoning

That answers the questions I’m asking
Can you explain this poet
What is the message I’m meant to be grasping”

“We don’t know about reckoning, the hour we don’t know it
We don’t ask about the way things run
I got nothin’ I didn’t go get

for myself I reap what I sowed under the sun
And I ain’t just dishing
This up to put you off my son

We will yet learn what you are wishing
Ponder the question while we do a little fishing

This song is part of a series loosely based on Dante's Inferno. You can read an essay about this series here. You can read a more general explanation of the origin of these lyrics here

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

193 : 10/20/98 : Follow Your Light (Canto 15)

871 ?

The banks of the cooling stream
rose up to a twisting road
That we followed protected by the stream

That rose from the fire that fell and flowed
through that deserted land
Running and collecting, the whole country glowed

“With the fiery issue of the fiery hand
Some are persecuted”
My guide said squinting out over the burning sand

“A truth that cannot be refuted”
A voice said to my left
I looked down and saw a face burned and sooted

Gazing cooly up at me, said in a voice bereft
“Didn’t expect to see you down here kid,
And as I paused at a place where the stream cleft

Into two paths he said “for the things I did
I am not allowed to pause or rest
Lest the throw me in the pot and drop the lid

So walk along I’ll do my best
to follow you and hear of your strange journey
it seems you are given a strange test

usually the turnkey
turns back the under dead
And never to return we

lost souls stay where the fire rains down on your head
so what brings you here man
what do you think of what you’ve seen and what you’ve heard said”

I said “old teacher this is not my plan
and I don’t really know why I’m down here
And looking back over the course I ran

I don’t see much object that’s clear
to me of what the hell
Exactly sort of moral is supposed to appear

What I’m seeing is ringing every bell
I know I still am far astray
Does it all lead back to where I fell”

He said “you got no choice but to take the way
you’re led to by the light
Follow your light and as a new day

Dawns you will be rewarded with a sight
That’s all I know and I know I’m right”

This song is part of a series loosely based on Dante's Inferno. You can read an essay about this series here. You can read a more general explanation of the origin of these lyrics here

Thursday, September 13, 2007

192 : 10/19/98 : Rain of Fire (Canto 14)

Pausing only to gather a few leaves for souvenirs
We continued to where the wood thinned then stopped
And came upon a sterile plain, the fire sears

Endlessly it seems it dropped
away from the wood’s edge
And scattered about cursed souls rolled and flopped

From the rain of fire that covered all that ledge
falling eternally down
A very symbol of God’s pledge

of vengeance on a very evil town
And the townfulls of them writhed and ran
Except for one who wore an iron crown

And I said “that one’s no ordinary man”
And he said “you got that one right
I’m not one any measly fire storm can

cause to foam and twist and bite
I’m dead and I’ll not give the satisfaction
of suffering under His sight”

And T.S. Eliot, noting my reaction
said “here’s one to notice my son
Mr. Quintessential man of action

will not wriggle even one
toe, and all for purest spite of God
His answer gives the reason

For the question that seems to make a fraud
of all the so called heavenly grace
Yes the question of the unsparing rod

of Almighty retribution in this place
The fire is an illusion
The suffering the eternal trace

of evil that remains, of pestilent confusion
There it is so it is anyway
Don’t be so quick to draw conclusions

For we must go further in today
And so we pass the fire and continue
Along this narrow way”

A rivulet of blood from the river ran through
the circles, through forest and over plain
And along a burning slope cut a view

to another lower tier, the vein
of misery formed a fused bank
where the fire was cooled and the pain

of traveling was curbed upon that narrow plank
That led to a new place of regretting
And the poet said “you might do well to thank

The Power that is for the course we are setting
This stream that leads so far away to the waves of forgetting”

This song is part of a series loosely based on Dante's Inferno. You can read an essay about this series here. You can read a more general explanation of the origin of these lyrics here

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

191 : 10/18/98 : Walk in the Wood (Canto 13)

865 ?

And when on the other bank we stood
I said “this seems out of place
This peaceful quiet walk in the wood”

He said “there is a quiet place in hell a space
Where a silent and lonely deed is done
by those who once in silence and loneliness finished the race

That all we misbegotten creatures run
Each day fighting the way we are
We lose that race one day all every one

You need not walk very far
to understand what goes on here
Listen to the wind in the branches of this fine exemplar”

It said “son you’re gonna shed many a tear
Over so much that is not all it may seem
All pass through fire all face the end in fear

This is a dream a child’s dream
Floating, free high above
The expectations far beyond evil’s evil gleam

Beyond disappointment and loss of love
Beyond all fear of failing
Speak to rain and the mourning dove

And the soft wind sailing
It speaks on us we speak on it
Hear our greeting hear the distant hailing

Of the quiet wood beyond the river before the pit
the quiet shades who grow so slow
we are protected like all one day a new flesh to inherit”

And I said aside poet “is this where all must go
Who by their own hand lose the bitter fight”
He said “you must ask what you would know”

I said to the trees “are you happy in this endless twilight
Between forever and the end
Do you regret leaving the light

Where the rest of us seem compelled to spend
What little time we’re gifted with
What is the message you would send

How should I relate this myth?
of your final resting
What is the state of your sap and pith”

And a voice came back on the wind and said “cease your testing
Ethics and reality don’t always mix
A path lies open before all who go on questing

A wood waits for all the lunatics
the lonely and determined few
Who finally broke what er couldn’t fix

consider what you yourself might do
Walk on you need not remember us above: we will not remember you”

This song is part of a series loosely based on Dante's Inferno. You can read an essay about this series here. You can read a more general explanation of the origin of these lyrics here

Thursday, September 06, 2007

190 : 10/17/98 : The River of Blood (Canto 12)

We came down the shattered stone to the requisite river of blood
“Here we cross the border into true torment
Here at the reservoir where flows all of the violent flood

The spring that is open,” the poet said “by those sent
Here to boil eternally in every drop that’s shed
By their victims, by the innocent”

Some to their ankles some in over their heads
Some floating down the stream
The river of blood in its bloody riverbed

And seeing I winced at the stench of the carnal stream
My guide said “mark well and remember
That horrifying as the spectacle may seem

It is only the last eternal blood red ember
of the violent fantasies of violent hearts
A sinister club of sinister men and none is here who’s not a member

In death in life we play our chosen parts
Some choose the sharp end of the sliver
And those who carry on the violent arts,”

He said as we crossed a shallow in the river,
“Ah well what a man ties up fate shall deliver.”

This song is part of a series loosely based on Dante's Inferno. You can read an essay about this series here. You can read a more general explanation of the origin of these lyrics here

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

189 : 10/16/98 : Malice (Canto 11)

We had passed the plain of tombs
Though not another shade had risen to speak
In that roaring quiet place where darkness looms

And came to the edge of a jagged peak
That collapsed into the deep valley of the next hell
I started forward but was pressed back by a sulfurous reek

That rose up an unholy smell
for certain and T.S. drew his cloak across his face
And said “if we linger a short time it would be well

Until we grow accustomed to the stench of this place
And as we linger listen to a sketch of what’s ahead
3 circles we have yet to pace

Malice is the theme that’s read
in the pages of the journey we take
through this folio of the dead

First those who chose to break
the covenant that human blood should not spill
Another's or their own, all who choose the bloody thirst to slake

And then those who chose not only to kill
But to take arms against the common good
And strive against the higher will

More mockers will you find there than even you would
think could be possible at all
More two time losers who blundered to death through the dark wood

And down from there in the final hall
before the darkest inmost lair
There pinned to the fiery wall

The treacherous are pinioned there
All those who violated countrymen or kin
They breathe the inmost foulest air

And from there we’ll proceed to the infamous sanctum within
and complete this odyssey we have begun
But many moments we’ll linger yet in the outer din

I said “man I think I have some serious issue with the pay this place is run”
He said “did I forget to mention you’re in hell son?”

This song is part of a series loosely based on Dante's Inferno. You can read an essay about this series here. You can read a more general explanation of the origin of these lyrics here

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

188 : 10/15/98 : What Would You Have Done (Canto 10)

853 ?

When we passed through the iron door
we came into a desolate plain
Which was silent save for a far off roar

of the rivers of fire in the valley of pain
below our feet in deeper hell
scattered around the cracked ground that knew no rain

Iron coffins open scattered as if where they fell
From a giant’s hand cast
And all was silent cast in some unnatural spell

These shades of days not so long past
and those of ages eons dead and gone
to these crypts they are held fast

Until Gabriel’s trumpet shouts the Judgment song
And the spirit takes on its second skin
And all are separated right from wrong

“Can I speak to those shades within?”
I asked with trembling and fear
“Speak and observe their reply and meditate upon their sin

of insistence that our final end is here
in this mortal coil
the mystery of sheer

disbelief in a higher order than the soil
that ever claims our flesh
a higher work than mortal toil

And do not seek their spirits to refresh
In the solace of belief
Here are the places they enmesh

their spirits waiting for some thief
to finally erase their souls
But they receive not that relief

And one then rose from his hole
And said “American, down from the heartland
No doubt a countryman welcome to the country of the death toll

What goes on down in the nation of prosperity and
opportunity,” I said “you and your like
still running the show still on the grandstand

But still the people still eroding the dike”
Another spirit spoke then
“Stranger you’re down a long strange way off the mortal pike

Can this journey now be taken by mortal men?
And if you then why not my son?
Why does he not seek his father in this bitter den?”

“Perhaps he did not seek as one
like me who followed my path however bitter
I only finish what I have begun”

“Is his seeking done then,” he cried out, “is my son consumed on his litter?”
And he fell back into his box
“Even so,” said the first shade “clearly no quitter”

But I see a darker and more devious fox
creeping up on your society
I see famine pestilence and pox

And even your quaint piety
will not buy you out of hell on earth
And chaos of a thousand sorts, fine variety

But you will rise up in the cosmic rebirth
You will rise in your tiny boat
When you learn the word of worth

What you value where you truly hang your coat”
“Old man,” I said “what’s the deal here
Can you not speak of the present does it stick in your throat?”

“Young one to us only prophecies appear
We cannot see the past or present
And when the timeless comes we shall be mere

Incidents of dreams that came and went
now quickly for a time I fade
Listen to me remember she who sent

You out of this dark hole from your sunny glade
Look deeper past this ring of fire
Look past this twisted path you’ve made

At the center you will see the script entire
A truth you must take with you past the Wire.

This song is part of a series loosely based on Dante's Inferno. You can read an essay about this series here. You can read a more general explanation of the origin of these lyrics here

Friday, August 31, 2007

187 : 10/14/98 : Waiting on Grace (Canto 9)

Time passed and vapors gathered in the filthy air
And a crowd of lost souls gathered round to mock our plight
And my guide drew his cloaks about him with his face drawn with care

He eyed the murmuring mob around and muttered “this can’t be right
To come so far to be turned back by this hellhound crew
Ah waiting is the game of perdition’s endless night

“Hey Eliot” I said “tell me, is it true...”
His words were eroding my confidence
“You know your way around this place don’t you?”

He gave me a deep look that brought me to sense
“You’ve read what I wrote long ago
I’ve stared hard down every dark path; I know my way hence”

Our spectators drew back and a sickly glow
drew our heads around to a darker view
Three figures had mounted the wall screaming “You little worms below”

Are you waiting on grace to come and save you
Grace doesn’t live here anymore
We’re her sisters though and if you want passage through

We’ll only need some small favor in return for
Our help, how about that little scrap
you’re so proud of: your immortal soul will buy you through this door

The poet took hold of my head in a snap
and covered my eyes with his hands
“Look not on these evil spirits do not heed their rap”

“I know them from before” I said “I wrote of them in other lands”
I heard those bent creatures howling, the crowd harassing
And creeping closer in motley bands

“Look now” said my guide, “one now is passing
the tower on the border of this marsh
Look down to where the foul smoke has been massing

Through the filthy cloud of vapor acrid and harsh
strode an angel of power and light
Fog and spirits scattered in the wake of its unveering march

The furies melted back into the night
As he opened the door with one solid kick
And called out “Mockers even here do you fight

Powers that are so clearly beyond your sick
spirits’ domain, are you so blind still?
Even we can’t figure out what makes you tick”

It stood a moment at the iron sill
Then turned and went the way it came
It never paused to look at us for whom it did its master’s will

“Come now son” the poet said pointing to the flame
“Let us go among these monuments of human shame”

This song is part of a series loosely based on Dante's Inferno. You can read an essay about this series here. You can read a more general explanation of the origin of these lyrics here

Saturday, August 25, 2007

186 : 10/13/98 : Lords of Hell (Canto 8)

Arcs of flame started from the rusted stack
that towered at the edge of the swamp we came to
And in a moment through the fog flames answered back

My poet guide said hell does not yet name you
But this signal means they mark our reproach
And he pointed past the fog, all shot with flame, through

which a speeding shadow had begun its approach
The silence was broken and the water disturbed
by the passage of the 30 foot fiberglass coach

We stood there on the shore of hell’s suburbs
At the sight of my guide the boatman said “Poet, at last
I’ll convey you to a proper shore”; my guide replied “Let your hunger be curbed”

“We need you for passage only, then your usefulness is past”
He gnashed at that but he let us board
And his sullen features seemed of lead cast

Off the side a figure rose up; from his foul robes water poured
His burning eyes filled with a hungry plea
And hissed why does a mortal come here where wrath is stored

And with a flash of anger I slapped his hand from me
recognizing him as one who had done me harm
“Filth to filth” I muttered angrily

“So shall all be judged who judge” said my guide, his words served to charm
My anger as quickly as it had come
And as we neared the shore I saw our passage had raised some alarm

I heard shouting voices and the beat of a drum
“You’ll pay more than fine words to pass us” a voice shouted out
“We are lords of hell and not mere minions like some

Your poet friend here’s found it easy enough to route
So you skinwalker go find your own way home
And you poet, come let us pull you inside out

I looked back at the vast reach of treacherous foam
and scum laden water behind
Wondered if I was now cursed this cursed landscape to roam

T.S. said “cast the trouble from your mind
these dukes of hell cannot resist their orders
of powers they must bow to, though to them they are blind”

“Pray Eliot,” shouted one of the dark wardens
of the iron doors that stood in our way
And barred our passage to hell’s city’s borders

And my poet guide aside to me said “indeed pray
And on this request a great spirit comes even as I my vespers say.”

This song is part of a series loosely based on Dante's Inferno. You can read an essay about this series here. You can read a more general explanation of the origin of these lyrics here

Friday, August 24, 2007

185 : 10/12/98 : A Sea of Sullen Faces (Canto 7)

Me and T.S. Eliot forded the festering stream
that ran from the eternal trash heap
Some ugly cop tried to stop us but T.S. said “this ain’t your dream”

I heard the crashing as we clambered over the steep
bank and on the other side
I saw the diabolical dance of the spendthrifts and the cheap

miserly souls; they heave at great stones, some rode astride
they shoved and grunted and their backs did bend
They got momentum and when two stones would collide

They’d scream “why do you tax?” and “why do you spend?”
“why do you borrow? why do you save?”
“Why won’t you give me some give me some” and they’d start it all again

I said master that’s a mighty funny way to slave
Away eternity he said son that ain’t nothing
But I grant you money’s a damn silly way to pave

The path into this wracked and ruined thing
But pass it by on to deeper hells
These mad and anonymous accountants we must be passing

And we passed through into a mire that must be fed from tainted and abysmal wells
And straight into a frenzied and bloody melee
They were filthy and bloody and beat to shit and they only stopped fighting to die for brief spells

And my guide said mark them, wrath was their way
And so always must wrath come to
Always they’ll rage as they raged in my mortal day

But wrath son cannot carry one without some who
Grim and self-centered refuse to rise from their places
And raise a finger or even a voice at those who would take your very life from you

Look down into the murky places
of the swamp; see those bubbles boil
Look deeper, and see a sea of sullen faces

They would neither be carefree or toil
all their lives they kept their arms crossed
And sullenly watch those who sought light battle those who sought to spoil

And now most like what they were in life they are among the lost
They will not even move to raise their heads
Above the slime where they’ve been tossed

Sullenly they crouch in their murky beds
Only shift to croak their little tune
Singing “look down anyone who treads

across for we’ll not look at all for soon
You’ll walk along and be gone
We prefer the dark side of the moon

And only sing our sullen song
To tell you we still think you’re wrong.”

This song is part of a series loosely based on Dante's Inferno. You can read an essay about this series here. You can read a more general explanation of the origin of these lyrics here

Thursday, August 23, 2007

184 : 10/11/98 : Greed (Canto 6)

As I was pondering alas that love could ever be a sin
we had tracked into a festering pile
It seemed in this ditch hell’s garbage barge had shed its skin

A sea of cigarette butts fast food trash and other things more vile
used prophylactics and hazardous medical waste
And thrashing weekly up out of it a bloated soul said hey kid hold up a while

You don’t remember me but slow your haste
We lived in the same town
I was one with a big fancy car a cell phone and a taste

For having more than any one man could choke down
It choked me in the end
Last thing I remember is being strapped to a table in a hospital gown

Far too late for me to mend
my ways but in this never ceasing
day I see around time’s bending

I see what you think you own you’re only leasing
Greed will tear down the city we once shared
Greed will tear down the high men and all the flocks they’re fleecing

Remember me remember how I’ve fared
Spread the message you are what you eat
And even the wise will be ensnared

And then he sunk down in the refuse at my feet
And I pondered the prophecy he’d bid me to repeat

This song is part of a series loosely based on Dante's Inferno. You can read an essay about this series here. You can read a more general explanation of the origin of these lyrics here

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

183 : 10/10/98 : The Way Young Lovers Do (Canto 5)

A bullish clerk in a poorly tailored suit
behind a polished slab of wood
Gave us a bored look when we queued up to the chute

Said poet go ahead that’s well and good
go slum with the sinner set
But you with the skin still on, he pointed where I stood

Back to the topside, go on, get
We’ve got plenty of agents up top
To put you on the path to me till your time’s met

My companion said this is not our stop
pal so stand aside to the higher will
Your only task is to sort those damned who make the sullen drop

We go our chosen path so bite down on the pill
and let us pass
We went along and out of the chill

Caverns came a blast of sulfurous gas
The furnaces below my partner mused
But first we meet a better class

Of those by perdition abused
This is where all the lost love goes
All all of those who false love used

To achieve some undeserved repose
Yeah the way young lovers do
Turned their backs when the sun rose

Thinking their love sufficient and true
Fell together into the well of souls
Just take a look at these two

She said our hearts were like burning coals
when it first began
We shared all the same dreams and goals

He said we kinda lost track of the plan
and drifted along together
And by and by it all fell outta the pan

And into the fire when it hit stormy weather
sometimes the rock you clutch
is just a tether

And pretty soon we fought too much
And I was staying out till dawn
sometimes any support is a crutch

Lookin’ back on all the good times gone
And long past skies of blue
A man’s mighty quick to make himself a path

So listen to our story ‘cause it could happen to you
Oh the way young lovers do

This song is part of a series loosely based on Dante's Inferno. You can read an essay about this series here. You can read a more general explanation of the origin of these lyrics here

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

182 : 10/9/98 : Between (Canto 4)

843 ?

I vaguely remember stumbling off the boat
rubbed the sleep out of my eyes
And saw a field where a strange calm seemed to float

My teacher sensing my surmise
Said indeed this is the highest point of hell
such as it is, on just this little rise

we are left alone until the final bell
To contemplate the ways of things
All other damned pass by us just as well

And when the judgment clarion rings
We’ll see what we see then
We’ll see what the new order brings

We’ll see if it all begins again
So come and meet a few of the gang
Meet the honest women and men

Who live without hope and without pang
of remorse those who watch and wait
In the region between where we hang

And so we stayed very briefly just outside the gate
Of inner darkness and the long climb down
And I spoke to the poets, of destiny and fate

But we had to go and my guide’s face fell into a frown
Lunch break’s over he said, let’s hit the bad part of town

This song is part of a series loosely based on Dante's Inferno. You can read an essay about this series here. You can read a more general explanation of the origin of these lyrics here

Friday, August 17, 2007

181 : 10/8/98 : Near Side (Canto 3)

Above an iron door it reads
All you who enter give up hope
For here you reap the harvest of the seeds

You sowed along the slippery slope
You’ve done exactly what we predicted
You’d do given enough rope

Work will set you free it said
And better you than me
And hey don’t you wish you weren’t dead

Open it my guide said it’s time to see
How the other half gets by on the other side of death
Come and find out what goes on among humanity

When they draw their last breath
So I swung it open on heavy hinges
And was assaulted by a cacophony like 50 thousand meth

heads having heart attacks the sound still impinges
on my dreams at night
When I wake up and think of it my soul cringes

Back from the hideous sight
Millennia legions of vague shades
muttering and racing, endless collapse and flight

I said teacher what is this mob that fades
and flickers in this stagnant room
what is this babel murmur that pervades

this stinking living tomb?
He said you ain’t seen nothing yet
These are those of the apathetic doom

Who never knew enough anything to forget
Spent their lives searching for the remote control
They’re searching for it still with no TV set

They chase flickering lights they crash at the bell’s toll
They wallow in soggy sheets and think about tomorrow
Get up and start running interchangeable lost souls

But hold back your pity and save your sorrow
You’ve still got a long way ahead of you
This is just the shores of those who borrow

existence for a test drive or two
At the riverside our bus is waiting
To take us and a couple thousand damned through

To where the offspring of the foul mating
Of intellect with twisted virtue in charge
Still festers in the thirst that is without sating

Out of the fog I saw the monstrous garbage barge
of the damned loom up to shore
I said man that boat is pretty damn large

T.S. said there are far more
People who have slowly turned gray
Than you ever imagined before

Look at what happens when the light fades away
Mount the steps of this foul conveyance
And let us be about our diabolical holiday

I found myself in the middle of a writhing seance
of tormented spirits in constant retreat
from the light. I swore I’d only go this way once

A voice roared out I smell fresh meat
What’s a body doing on my boat
Get back to the near side friend until you’re in your winding sheet

But a look from my guide froze the words in his throat
the old boat master scowled and turned
And my teacher said better pick up your coat

As the lunatic mumble rose and the water churned
Across the river I saw a smoking rise
Where I knew the devil’s city burned

I squatted down in a corner and shut my eyes
And I listened to the endless drone of endless flies

This song is part of a series loosely based on Dante's Inferno. You can read an essay about this series here. You can read a more general explanation of the origin of these lyrics here

Thursday, August 16, 2007

180 : 10/7/98 : Second Thoughts (Canto 2)

I said I’m having second thoughts
to my new companion
Lately I’ve been rolling pretty shaky shots

Every time I come up on this canyon
I think of who has gone before
How they aimed their faces straight ahead and ran strong

As the west wind blows from the shore
How can I measure up
To those heroes who first passed the great door

He said son it’s time to open your treasure up
all the courage and virtue you locked up inside
It’s time to give these little pleasures up

This is about more than your sorry hide
A messenger above your station sent the word
And called me from my sleep to show you on this side

So listen and mark what you’ve heard
‘cause after this nothing will ever be the same
Deal with it now when you’re not so self-assured

Three graces are thinking of your name
And your journey is written above
I’ll get you back to where you came

from my nervous son, back in the light of love
Back in the fields of the Lord
I’m just here to give you a little shove

And I said unreel the knotted cord
Time to cross into the psychiatric ward

This song is part of a series loosely based on Dante's Inferno. You can read an essay about this series here. You can read a more general explanation of the origin of these lyrics here

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

179 : 10/6/98 : Your Welcome to Hell (Canto 1)

837 ?

In the middle of a nothing life
gone stupid with the day to day to day
I found myself stranded in confusion and strife

I had wandered so far off my way
Distracted by the little here, the little there
Woke with a start and had not a word to say

Of all the dead ends I’d been in this was beyond compare
At last I feel I’ve blundered past return
I turn around, walk up and down and stare

But little as I am the stuff I’m made of’s pretty stern
I got back to my feet and looked about me
As long as I’m alive it seems I’ll make that wheel turn

I wondered how the world was getting by without me
As I pushed on through a gloomy fog
I daydreamed I was a child again and wished the seeker would shout “free!”

Lost in thoughts of escape I carried on my slog
through a world bereft of sense
I pushed on like always; a rolling bouncing little cog

To my surprise I came upon a barb wire fence
Beyond I saw sun and a rise and a tree I knew from long ago
Said I’ll go up there where the fog is not so dense

And maybe if I sit under that tree I’ll know
where I am and where to go from here
It seems farther than at first glance but even so

But as I Iooked for a break in the fence I reeled back with fear
And ugly cottonmouth was lying in my path
Behind a rabid weasel blocked my retreat with a crazy sneer

And high above a crow circled with eyes red as wrath
And called out a hoarse scream full of night
And I said to myself that’s torn it: to the math

So I turned to return to my gloomy plight
When a voice whispered do I date disturb a fellow poet in retreat
Softly, off to my right

And sullen I said who’s interrupting my defeat
And a ghostly man said I’m the one
Who’ll show you fear in the dust at your feet

And I said I know that song you sung
Is it really you my old friend
And he said well well well old son

T.S. can you show me how to get around this bend
That hill over there has got me under a spell
You know stuff, right, you’ve been past this bitter mortal end

And he said son I’m not allowed to tell
About the other side and yet I’ll be your guide in hell.

This song is part of a series loosely based on Dante's Inferno. You can read an essay about this series here. You can read a more general explanation of the origin of these lyrics here