Open Skies (a work in progress)

From open skies, unpossessed and unowned, they return to the undressed window through which they’d flown.

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Shadows

The tree under which you lie casts shadows far and wide the circumference of which the bitter roots emit hidden truths beneath lonely bodies buried the circumstances of which remain unclear as ghosts rise from the rich soil as oxygen to the brain memories echo the richness of your voice as conversations overheard in passing specters in the periphery.

X’s Wild Gift (song by song)

WILD GIFT sparked by Billy Zoom’s guitar engine and the roll of Exine’s siren voice The Once over Twice instantly loads the listener onto an unstoppable ride of disillusionment and “the endless rope” love/lust hangs us by “a thousand times”.

A bona fide punk rock classic about the transient life of the ne’er-do-well wanderer where “every other week I need a new address”, We’re Desperate tickles your fancy with drummer D.J. Bonebrake ricocheting popcorn in the kettle while Xenene trades vocal licks with John Doe’s country fried soul stirring.

A million years before the Me Too movement, Doe and Exene sang their confusion at unstable sex and gender roles in the disturbing doo wop Adult Books.

An epic by punk rock standards, Universal Corner clocks in at over 4 minutes; but it’s also an ambitious song lyrically (“washing her feet with her tears”) with Doe’s deep musings and vocals recalling ever so slightly producer Ray Manzarek’s former bandmate Jim Morrison.

I’m Coming Over, a simple beauty of a rocker about the exciting prospect of sex on call. How can you not love a line like “I’m Madonna on a mattress”?!

It’s Who You Know a la Sinatra’s The Tender Trap slyly explores the danger of finding happiness in a lustful desire: “I think of the ways I can use you to get me off the streets”.

Oh, the love/hate dreams of domesticity beautifully painted In This House I Call Home: “beautiful walls closing in”, “stumbling over tombstone shoes”: pure punk poetry!

In the somber Some Other Time we acknowledge our utter helplessness at the world’s self destructive nature. In a Bukowskiesque musing: “I will turn into a beer”, “I will dream of you between nightmares”.

Possibly the most highly regarded song on the album is White Girl; with good reason, it’s a powerful song, even a beautiful one about desperation and abuse, when you’re “drugged and in love”.

Sort of a call back to We’re Desperate, Beyond and Back proposes that no matter how stable we might feel, we’re really not; we will be moving on: “a life of intermission”

The best writers tell stories that feel real. The best punk music puts you in a place and a state of mind that’s real and visceral. Back 2 the Base just feels like either Doe or Xenene wrote it on a scrap of paper while riding the city bus.

As the second to the last chapter of Wild Gift, When Our Love Passed Out on the Couch tells another story from the perspective of someone who is unsure if he loves life or hates it; encapsulating the two overriding themes of this powerful album: love is transient and unstable, and so is life: “you’re fateful, I’m hateful, I’ll ruin any kind of fun you have in mind”.

Year 1: a raucous, fun, anarchist send off to society; as if to say, fuck it, let’s do it all over again! Which is the exact sentiment many listeners have to Wild Gift, a punk rock masterpiece!

Indifference

Losing his hair
before the mirror,
pretending he can’t hear her,
he sips his poison,
in hopes he’ll disappear.
Personifying the opposite of love,
blood shot eyes reflect
his mood, his broken heart:
a self inflicted wound.

Perennial

running running
through a water path
dripping fingers of sap
in mid stride it seems
I have been put back
replanted reborn reconstituted
I fear I have lost something since
a pocket a penny a space a sense
I fall into a lonely sort of sleep
forgetfulness
a seed unseen by sin
where no anger has cut me
no monsters can awaken me

Thanksgiving 1999

It was in the fall of the year
preceding the turn of the century
she was born
to disingenuous parents
determined to bury the future
in the past
by following the rapturous path
laid out by madmen
wielding axes and knives
dripping with the blood of indigents
unaware she was born
with a regenerative wellspring
of hope and integrity

The Aftermath

In your absence,
the soil spawned
vegetation and flowers
of unknown origin.
In your absence,
the clocks turned back,
and mirrors reflected
a tattooed virgin.
In your absence,
I purged my past
through bitter bombast,
and came home
to find broken glass,
splintered wood, remnants
of a storm damaged house.
In your absence,
I learned I was indestructible.