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