Sunday, April 29, 2007

150 : 9/7/98 : Unction (Alphabet 21/26)

I think this one’s had it
had enough it’s crossing over
spread a little oil on his temples
Let him go

Give him over to the fields of
blooming clover
Try to learn from his examples
Make the story so...

Just put a little cool oil on his forehead
Don’t send him over unannointed
Give him unction
Finish his last rite

For his days unlived
Who wouldn’t be disappointed
Such a quick end to
such a long fight

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

Saturday, April 28, 2007

149 : 9/6/98 : Tantalize (Alphabet 20/26)

“My perspective on the situation”
as he coasted in on a long curl
Down an aching perfect Laguna coastline
“Find me whiskey, tobacco, a girl”

“I saw him rolling by, I guess he was the first”
Stopped to ask me why, I didn’t know
then I felt the fetters slip
There wasn’t anything on my mind but go

“Stopped to stuff a handful of grapes into my mouth
Got my board from where they made me leave it on the beach
I felt a mighty wave arising
I felt like everything was in my reach

“I just rolled in I’ve been coasting waves for fifteen days
That’s nothin’ man I was doing heavy time
I thought I’d hit a coast and check the scene
I thought I’d listen to the old bells chime

“So give me strong drink brother
Give me a sight to fill my eyes
Stories to amaze, fine food and strong cigars
Astonish me, brother, tantalize.”

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

Thursday, April 26, 2007

148 : 9/5/98 : Spiders (Alphabet 19/26)

Sure hope the spiders are on my side
Dear lord I surely hope they are
I hope they’re fighting for my side
I wish that on my lucky star
The powers of chaos and disintegration
of inefficiency and senseless vice
I like to think they hold it together
a little, a little English on my dice
Can I be saved can she be saved
Can anyone be saved in time
I only want some order in my life
Some reason and some rhyme
The center will not hold
it sways like someone drunk
The spiders hang in balance
illusions can’t distract the monk
They whisper nothing’s moving man
They whisper nothing’s changed
They know a lot just think of it
The time the lands the oceans they have ranged
And if they’re on my side
I’m sure that order can be kept
A gossamer balloon has been prepared
for me, while my enemies slept

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

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

147 : 9/4/98 : Rhizome (Alphabet 18/26)

under it grows
and shows
no signs above
underneath the flowerbeds
it spreads
the parks and parking lots
under projects
city hall
wherever spores might fall
the rhizome grows
one day we'll be pushed aside

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

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

146 : 9/3/98 : Quill (Alphabet 17/26)

Feeling insecure these days
say it’s the plague of each generation
And after all it’s always falling down
after all, it’s the millennium

Try to count my blessings
Try to count my security
Doesn’t seem to add up to much
I’m inclined to blame the fact on me

And if it all fell down
What would be left for me to do
If it all came a’ tumblin’
Would I have enough to see me through

I suppose there’ll still be birds around
And where there’s birds I’ll find a quill
If I can find a sharp knife, something dark
enough to write about it, I guess I will

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

Monday, April 23, 2007

145 : 9/2/98 : Plinth (Alphabet 16/26)

Listen to a super version of Plinth by the incomparable Andrew at
Songs to Wear Pants To

723 ?

What is the structure what is the basis
What is the underlying form
We claim a basis we claim a knowledge
we claim a vaccine against the wurm
there is no basis there is no structure
this whole town is built on sand
All that we’ve built and all we’ve collected
Not one stone will stand
There is no plinth
There is no bedrock
We’re on swiftly shifting ground
This should come as no big shock
Don’t look for answers,
Don’t rock the structure
We all hold on with our eyes shut tight
Hands over our ears, mouths stuffed with refuse
fearing the fast approaching night
huddled in doorways lamps that are half full
Not one stone will be left to stand
All that can be shaken will be shaken
Makin’ the way for the promised land

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

Sunday, April 22, 2007

144 : 9/1/98 : Octopus (Alphabet 15/26)

Next time I swing around this mortal coil
Think I’ll try on something with a shorter span
I could be an octopus next time
Seventy years is an awful long time to be a man

Be a hunter, ride the undertides
surf the silent depths of the unfathomed sea
Collect whatever comes my way
Have color-changing skin and radial symmetry

Give up clothes and cars
telephones and timepieces
Sounds like a pretty simple life
begins then is then ceases

8’s my lucky number anyway
Always loved the ocean
spend my next life eatin’ fish
ever adrift in constant motion

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

Friday, April 20, 2007

143 : 8/31/98 : Nautilus (Alphabet 14/26)

Society’s long spiral
build another wall around us
furthering our obsessions
Nestled in like a nautilus
A little curd of biomass
Just oozing ‘long the bottom rocks
Taking what comes
A nasty little infestation: a touch of the pox
Someday the earth will be cleansed
And only the shells will remain
of our follies...
the empty nautilus, our former domain
If I were the aliens
I’d be playing the waiting game too
Just watch, they’re saying
Just keep it up they’re whispering to you
It’ll just be condominiums
For a higher society
Some strange starfaring race of hermit crabs
Will settle into our strange variety
of architecture and industry
take it up where we left off
Our strange art we abandoned
with it seems a hesitating cough
Leaving behind these shambling hulls
hollow eyes on the television screen
Speeding senseless to and fro...
Ripe for moving in, if you see what I mean?

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

Thursday, April 19, 2007

142 : 8/30/98 : Malefactor (Alphabet 13/26)

Who is the mysterious malefactor?
Where is the villain, where is the scene of the crime?
Where is the catalyst? The deadly chain reactor
Who is responsible? Who will do the time...

Some blame the poor cause the poor are always there
some blame the rich for the power they hold
Some blame a selfish gene that won’t let us share
Some blame the devil well that one’s pretty old

Will the real malefactor please stand up?
And tell me please why you want a world so pointless and dumb
call a porter we’ll both raise a cup
I’m just curious I don’t even want your crumbs

I am not a part of your machine
what you cast away I eat
malefactor what does it all mean
Where is the creator? What is the creator? I must be complete

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

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

141 : 8/29/98 : Live (Alphabet 12/26)

Why’d you have to go and do it Nick?
Why’d you have to turn that final trick?
I wish you wish you had decided
That what you wanted was to live
Not my choice, not my party
I wasn’t invited
I can’t judge what you chose not to give

I wish I didn’t know the truth
I wish I didn’t have the proof
But I see you read that Camus essay
A bottle of pills a night no one will ever know
I know you cast the cup away
Know you heard the question:
Know you answered “No.”

And I know I’ll never reproduce your special taste
And I know it wouldn’t be the same in any case
I have to plod along in my own stupid way
Words that slip away as if my mind were just a sieve
Wake up to find I’ve lived to face another day
Isn’t it ironic, how your songs help me to live

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

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

140 : 8/28/98 : Kindergarten (Alphabet 11/26)

In kindergarten I learned a couple things
I had to know
How to read and tie my shoes and
give authority a straight-faced snow
But they never taught me why I
Couldn’t get to the highest shelf
I had to learn that by myself

In grade school I learned most of
the math that I still use
I learned a little about fighting
A little about paying dues
But they never taught me how
to feel when I was alone
I had to learn that on my own

In middle school I barely learned
to play the clarinet
Learned to curb my appetite
to back a losing bet
But they never taught me how
to set my music free
they left that one up to me

I high school I learned quite a bit
of lousy love advice
learned a little public speaking
learned a little vice
But they never taught me
what informs the endless rhyme
I had to learn that on my own time

In college I learned filling out
the forms and bending rules
Learned to operate a dozen
highly exoteric tools
They neglected to inform me
In this world the truth is a devalued coin
They let that happy fact jump out
and kick me in the groin

In kindergarten I did not
learn all I had to know
16 years more down the road
I’d learned so little more
Never learned as much as
it felt like I needed to know
You can’t take it with you when you go

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

Monday, April 16, 2007

139 : 8/27/98 : Jones (Alphabet 10/26)

715 ?

I’ve got a jones for jimson weed
Mixed with belladonna and celery seed
I’ve got a bad hemlock jones:
I’m a philosopher
I got so many monkeys clinging to my spine
They’re turning out Hamlet revisions in their spare time
I’ve got the Taste in my bones:
The Romans tainted the aquifer
And now I’m hooked on nightshade and lead
In a pinch I’ll settle for monk’s hood instead
I’m strung out on poison tenterhooks:
I’m a lunatic
I gobble fly agaric and howl at the moon
Chew up castor beans and sing out of tune
I read about it all in books
I’m spirit filled I’m charismatic
I’ve got a jones for heavy metals and alkaloids
I’ve got a thing for being strung out shaky and paranoid
I’ve got a bad arsenic jones:
I’m one crazy little king
I take poison by the jigger and dram
I’m storming the doors of perception with a battering ram
I sing in shaped monotones:
I got my own thing

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

Friday, April 13, 2007

138 : 8/26/98 : Icon (Alphabet 9/26)

I’d rather be an icon than a snail
Yes I would, sir
yes I would sir
I’d rather be an icon than a snail
But I don’t even know if it’d do any good sir
What service have our icons done us?
What kind of lifestyle have they won us?
I wanna be an icon just the same
I wanna shine onna dark stage
I wanna earn a sumptuous wage
Be the kind of slave that gets a name
I’ll be an icon to the masses
Unify the lower classes
Make a mighty army of the milling crowd
Raise ‘em up into a mighty thunderstorm cloud
Why not? Let’s go to war
With them or you or each other
Let’s kill the rich let’s eat the poor
And every man betray his brother
We just need an icon
Someone with the thumbs up! to say - carry on
A good face for the televised revolution
I said yes I would sir
I said yes I would, sir

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

Thursday, April 12, 2007

137 : 8/25/98 : Halcyon (Alphabet 8/26)

If I were a rich guy I would build a boat called the Halcyon
Deck it with all the modern amenities
Run it all on the sun
Sail away and let all you evil bastards run the show
I'll be out on the Halcyon riding the flow

When the next crazy hothead
Unships his AK47
I'll be off the coast of Australia
Watching this majestic heaven
I won't taste your filthy leaven where I go
I'll be out on the Halcyon riding the flow

I'll sail to Marlon Brando's island
When the heavy shit rains down
I'll be so hip and charming he'll love having me around
Or maybe I'll just buy my own
A rich man's bay to go aground and watch you make it blow
Until you bomb me too and I'm just another cinder in the flow

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

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

136 : 8/24/98 : Gin (Alphabet 7/26)

Maybe I’ll start drinking gin
Maybe I’ll get really thin
Maybe I will grow a beard and cut off all my hair

Maybe I’ll start running guns
Maybe I’ll start heckling nuns
Be a gin soaked hobo ride the boxcars everywhere

Maybe I’ll start speaking Dutch
Maybe I’ll walk with a crutch
Be a one-legged boxer make it to the hall of fame

Maybe I’ll set fire to cars
start provoking fights in bars
Doesn’t sound too bright at least it wouldn’t be all the same

I could drink myself to death
Always have gin on my breath
stumble through a haze of juniper and fuzzy rage

If I turned it all around
made heaven hell, the sky the ground
Would it push me force my spirit to ascend a higher stage?

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

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

135 : 8/23/98 : Furies (Alphabet 6/26)

Got three furies on my shoulders, whisper in my sleep
‘Bout everything I’ve wanted, couldn’t have or couldn’t keep
Things that lie in shallow waters, things that echo deep

Furies look like crows out of the corner of my eyes
Furies swoop like swallows, shrill like bats, and swarm like flies
Their eyes are full of promises, their mouths are full of lies

Furies fly a hundred feet up, stop and silent hang
Wait for me to make a move, hover in their gang
Wait for me to try evasion wait with claw and evil eye and fang

Doctor says the furies only harrow in my mind
Doctor says a pill will cure the cloud they leave behind
Furies smirk and cluster with mouths sewn, ears stopped, eyes blind

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

Monday, April 09, 2007

134 : 8/22/98 : Elemental (Alphabet 5/26)

709 ?

I can’t shake the feeling
That the solution must be elemental
Something that the gentle wind could carry...

I breath elements of light
I spin through deep heaven’s endless night
a friendless plight;
Thinking to see something to end this fight I tarry

It doesn’t seem like this could be
that elemental solution
cognitive pollution
I cannot deny collusion with a dark design
This doesn’t seem to me
a worthy day’s production
For eternal induction
Each element fulfills its function, marks its line

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

Friday, April 06, 2007

133 : 8/21/98 : Doomsday (Alphabet 4/26)

How it's gonna go the whole world will so
slowly turn more tainted and poisonous
one day we'll wake to find everything pickled in the brine
of our wasteful and profligate detritus

How it's gonna go, one enormous blow
when we finally go over the edge, push all the buttons
in the night while we sleep peaceful
death death cruising in from above us

How it's gonna be we'll learn to hate technology
before we know it we'll have torn down all we've made
before we know it we'll be gathered 'round the fire
fighting with sticks and stones and scavenged blade

How it's gonna wind up, we'll finally dry the vine up
use every last drop and dollop of goodness we have left
having reached a pinnacle of useless industry
we'll whither away and disappear for lack of daily bread

how it's gonna face us, the comet come to erase us
the asteroids the rogue planet flying through the void
Doomsday, our final end, under the cloud the cycle turns again
world without end nothing created or destroyed

How it's gonna go, everything will just go more and more slow
we won't notice it, we'll be slower too
it'll all just wind down over years until it finally stops
there won't be a damn thing we can do.

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

Thursday, April 05, 2007

132 : 8/20/98 : Cuttlefish (Alphabet 3/26)

We dream... in caverns of sea
We shift and flicker; make a living carpet
a mighty undulating screen...
We dream...

We breathe as one thing
through subtle apertures we shift
and take to our wings
we breathe

We were here first
we were here longer
you've ignored us
we just keep getting stronger
we've got stealth and jet propulsion
we've got the Mass Mind, cellular compulsion
we won't watch forever
we won't let you go on forever

We rise from caverns of ice
we're waking our Oldest
seeking the titans' advice
we rise...

We've gathered here for a parliament
consider the welcome you've sent
so far
tonight we'll decide your fate
so here
we have gathered

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

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

131 : 8/19/98 : Barnstormer (Alphabet 2/26)

Now that we’ve all armed ourselves
Now that anyone could be the enemy
Why not have a riot? Why not set the city on fire?
We’re gonna have a good old-fashioned
Barnstormer tonight

You made the classic error
Credited only yourself with ambition
Meanwhile we were buildin’ pipe bombs
Makin’ bathtub napalm and ultralights

All I need is five hundred people
Who want to die anyway?
Why not take it with you when you go
You can take it all with you when you go
Storm the heavens make your presence known

We’ll watch it from the hills together
you and I
See a good barnstormin’ goin’ down
Roman candles in the skyscrapers
Then turn away quietly go on
together, alone

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

Sunday, April 01, 2007

We're Back

And the digital translation of the first Song of the Day project, Volume II: Record is now underway with the posting of song number 130, Anthill.

The volume is composed of four sections or Quartos. Anthill is the first song of Quarto 1, the Alphabet.

The original handwritten volume opens with the following quotation:

"English is a rather rhyme-poor language."

Joseph Gallagher, To Hell and Back with Dante

130 : 8/18/98 : Anthill (Alphabet 1/26)

I want to live in a society run like an anthill
I want to bow to a higher authority
I want the powerful to lord it over me
I want to live in a society that’s united

I thought a lot then I swallowed the bitter pill
Is the price of my freedom the suffering masses
Does society really need more divided classes?
Give up the American dream anyway I wasn’t really invited

The texts that I’ve read are abundantly clear
I’ve read my Plato and I’ve read my Thomas More
I’ve read the figures I know what is in store
It’s a crying shame we can’t admit we’re not unique

The ark is ready but there’s noone to steer
Don’t look this way I’m not the man for the job
Maybe I’m not so ready to get with the milling mob
Who knows? I might be rejected by the anthill clique

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