Archive for the Spirituality & Religion Category

“I Saw The Light” (Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel)

Posted in country music, I Heart Holidays, Rock & Roll, Spirituality & Religion, Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel, The wisdom of the universe, Top 2% of Coolest Mofos with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 18, 2010 by alphabetfiend

“No more darkness , No more night . Now I’m so happy , no sorrow in sight . Praise the Lord, I saw the Light .”

Happy Birthday, Hank Williams!

It doesn’t matter who you are, whatever you’re into, if you have even a modicum of cool then you hafta give it up for Hank Williams.

Hank Williams is a country legend with punk rock rising.

Hank was/is mournful country heart with gospel soul, rock & roll charisma, and punk as fuck aura. 

Williams was regal and rebellious at once.

He had a dignified air and sexy masculinity, despite his rock-a-billy suits bedecked with glitter or musical notes.

Hank Williams, you magnificent mofo, thank you for all the gifts you’ve bestowed on us.

Happy Birthday.

In honor of Hank’s birthday, I’d chosen “I saw the light” for this weekend’s Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel. Cause Hank is divine and ’cause it’s “I Saw the Light,” C’mon! It’s a perfect punk rock gospel selection. Thing is, Hank’s birthday is today. What’s stopping us from having a Friday P.M. Punk Rock Gospel? Nothing! That’s the best part of a temple with no walls or a religion with no rules. You do like Johnny Cash and make it your own personal Jesus, whatever “it” may be. However it may happen, you are open to illumination.

 

Hey, it’s a bit dim in here, can somebody hit the lights?

(Hank Williams, singing “I Saw the Light” with The Carter Family. Listen… can you hear June’s voice?)

I SAW THE LIGHT
I wandered so aimless , life filled with sin.
I wouldn’t let my dear Saviour in.
Then Jesus came like a stranger in the night .
Praise The Lord , I saw the Light .

CHORUS
I saw the Light , I saw the Light ,
No more darkness , No more night .
Now I’m so happy , no sorrow in sight .
Praise the Lord, I saw the Light .

Just like the blind man, I wandered along ,
Worries and fears , I claimed for my own.
Then like the blind man, that God , gave back his sight .
Praise the Lord, I saw the Light .

CHORUS

I was a fool to wander and stray,
For straight is the gate and narrow the way.
Now I have traded , the wrong for the right .
Praise the Lord , I saw the Light .
CHORUS

“Smoke Bend” Dollar Bill Johnston (Sunday P.M. Punk Rock Gospel)

Posted in country music, I Heart My Love-Tribe, Music & Life & Sundays, politics, Republicans scare me, Spirituality & Religion, Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2010 by alphabetfiend

Now it’s winter on the river, and a cold swift swollen tide meets a warm southern breeze from the gulf of memories.  

Every year, around the 9th of October, I fall into a funk. This blue mood is a complete mystery to me until the part of myself that’s been trying it’s best to keep the date from me will lag,  inevitably exhausted, and it will hit me. Oh! Right. That. The day that my father left this lousy place for good. The day that changed everything. The day that was so swollen with uncontainable sadness that even now, all these years later, it still will not be contained.    

      

I have another tough week in the spring. Another mysterious doom. “So?” Steffe’ll ask, pensively. “How are you? You always get down whenever y’know… me too. I miss him too.” And then it’ll hit me. Oh. Right. That. The week that our friend Paul had a heart attack in Florida, while shacked up with another poet on a houseboat.     

   

Souls have a secret calendar of agony.  

The Robot fades to black every year ’round labor day. The holiday serves as a hard-to-suppress reminder of the weekend his cousin/ little brother/best friend put a gun to his own temple. He was drunk and fighting with his girl friend, suddenly desolate, momentarily stupid. Maybe he meant to mash the trigger, maybe not. Those kind of over-wrought emotional moments can color the future with what is really just a temporary explosion of too too much. I keep a close eye on RB as the holiday nears. He wouldn’t do something so drastic but still, the date itself is a reminder of how hopelessness can swallow a grown folk whole.  

Like a snake eats an alligator.   

The gator goes down easier than you’d think.     

   

(Though I did see a story where a python tried to eat an alligator and the snake exploded… so that’s oddly comforting.)     

These last few days, I was hit by another mysterious gloom. It began with three days of insomnia — I was amped & aimless, annoyed with TV, avoiding the computer –followed by 15 hours of boulder-like sleep. It was a sleep-monster Saturday: ’round 4, Robo put me down like a toddler in need of nap; I reluctantly dozed off at the approach of 6; woke up at 3am to finish/post the gospel but mostly spent 2 hrs staring vacantly into space; then came Gospel!? We don’ need no stinkin’ gospel!; at 10am the Robot woke me with my favorite breakfast. I’m still annoyed and considering sending him back for reprogramming. It wasn’t until I finally got online that I ran smack dab into the Oh. Right. That.     

 Katrina.     

   

There, on the wordpress dash sat a letter from a reader/ friend, bummed about the anniversary of Katrina and wondering where-o-where was the Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel? Ah. Arggghrr. (That’s an argh that becomes a grr.) In a split second of watery blinking, I decided to forsake my previously planned song in favor of another song which we played constantly in the wake of that fateful & fatal storm. Before too, but so so often after. This song has meant the world to myself and the loverman (why, he was just a little robot, maybe 8 or 9, when he first started reading The Times Picayune; wishing he could get into the city, good old Big Easy, to see Black Sabbath at City Park.)     

We played that record ragged. That album was our refuge in the storm. That smoking Piggie was a good gentleman friend to us. The song is “Smoke Bend.”  The album is The Gourds 2002 release “Cow Fish Fowl or Pig.”      

   

Yes, I know we’ve just done The Gourds recently but we’re talking about Katrina today and for me, there is only one Katrina song.     

 “Smoke Bend” by the Gourds with Dollar Bill Johnston.      

Dollar Bill Johnston joins The Gourds on stage

Dollar Bill is the father is the father of Gourd, Max Johnston (also of Wilco and Uncle Tupelo.)  Interestingly, Max’s sister and Dollar Bill’s daughter is singer/song-writer Michelle Shocked, who I love.       

        

They’re sandbaggin’ the levees     

They’re shovelin’ night and day     

It’s the year of ’27     

Gonna wash us all away     

 This song was not written about Katrina. Which in my mind, for my purposes, makes it better. Rather it’s about the ever-present worry that the levees might break and if so, then what?    

 The levee gonna bust     

On your side or mine     

A little dynamite on your side     

Help the river make its mind     

It’s about the day that you hope never comes. It’s about the risks we all take in life whether it’s living in the basin of New Orleans or loving even when you know know how much losing is gonna hurt.    

 Folks left that west bank town     

 Left it all behind     

 Start life on higher ground     

 Gonna get out just in time     

 I didn’t grow up in New Orleans, but I was worried by my own what-if’s.    

Even as a small child, my attachment to my father was so enormous that I was haunted by his mortality. This what-if stayed with me through-out my life. In college, laying in bed one night, I tried to picture the cruel day and could imagine no future for myself beyond it. I saw myself in my messy closet, tucked in the fetal position, refusing to come out. Ever. By the time it happened for real, that closet was long gone, and I was living in Austin, but I could still find the fetal position.     

It must’ve been crazy growing up in New Orleans in the shadow of what if?    

 After all, that’s was the place I wished to be.     

   

I’m a corn-fed midwestern girl (by way of A! I! Ohio!) so I’m not native to the south. But I wanted to be, oh I wanted it so badly, always, and I think that counts for something. It always made sense, jived with my version of self. I’ve kinda secretly way-down-deep-in-me thought of myself as the Delta Lady, the epitome of southern eccentricity. When I was very young, probably too young to long for such obscenity, I’d listen to Joe Cocker’s “Delta Lady” and think “That’s me! There I am! Standing wet and naked in the garden.”     

   

So it’s no surprise that this secret self-appointed Delta Lady found herself a mint julep of a southern gentleman.     

The Robot’s often spoke of the hurricane parties people have while weathering out the storm. They drink hurricanes, play cards and hope like hell. His stories were always punctuated with “Oh, you’d love it. You especially would love it!” ??? 

A hurricane party?     

   

It did sound like something I’d adore — the enforced play, the mandatory leisure; the tendency towards hedonism or at least too many hurricanes; the chaotic familiarity of community and iffy festivity of gatherings; kids running wild, adults divulging secrets; all that human energy, all that snap crackle pop, and over-top — the bristling electricity of sky & fear.      

But after Katrina, I dunno… it sounds too… scary.      

Robotboy grew up in Mississippi, just outside of New Orleans, so his family was hit. The eye of the hurricane passed directly over the family home. It was scary and it was scary even for us, waiting to find out if everyone was okay. They were. They lost a roof and few 100 year trees, a prized pecan, but our people were all very lucky. But then they weren’t depending on the levees…       

    

“Smoke Bend” is about the day that we hope will never come, and yet we know it will, and still that changes nothing.     

Now there’s mint juleps at Oak Alley     

  There’s poison in the air     

 There’s new dangers on the river     

 It’s so good to be from there      

    

We continue to love whatever it is we’re so afraid to lose. Once we’ve lost out, the love goes on. That’s another little something we can count on.     

{{MP3 17 – Part II – Smoke Bend}}   

Smoke bend 

CHORUS:

Now it’s winter on the river

And a cold swift swollen tide

Meets a warm southern breeze

From the gulf of memories

Missouri and clear Ohio

Give their currents to the tide

Now the river’s Louisiana’s

For the willow tree-lined ride

From cruel Angola down to Venice

Scatterin’ horseshoes everywhere

The river’s Louisiana’s

With no glory or bank to share

If the river had its way

The Atchafalaya’d be its home

Straighten out them horseshoes

Find another bank to roam

There’s cane fires up the bank

Of that horseshoe of Smoke Bend

The smoke was double thick

And the fog was rollin’ in

Tie your boat to a willow tree

Climb the bank so high

Above the blanket on the river

See every star in the sky

Smoke fog and family

Kept to that west bank town

Smoke and fog would burn and blow away

The folks they’d stay around

There was catfish with the Kingfish

And a culture spice gumbo

There’s coonass music playing

On a glowin’ radio

Klan and crackers on the side

At the Last Chance Cafe

Crawfish etouffee

Warm red river Beaujolais

CHORUS

They’re sandbaggin’ the levee

They’re shovelin’ night and day

It’s the year of ’27

Gonna wash us all away

The levee gonna bust

On your side or mine

A little dynamite on your side

Help the river make its mind

Folks left that west bank town

Left it all behind

Start life on higher ground

Gonna get out just in time

Now there’s mint juleps at Oak Alley

There’s poison in the air

There’s new dangers on the river

It’s so good to be from there

CHORUS

**************************************

Stay ahead of the snake, y’all, don’t get swallowed up cause really that’s silly, a gator in the belly of a snake, c’mon? Even a python! C’mon! And it’s not safe for the snake either. So just lift yer snout outta the swamp n’ hum a little cajun tune or maybe that one about the river, who did that one? The potatoes? The parsnips? The Gourds! With Dollar Bill Johnston!   

 So whaddaya say, alkies, got a hankerin’ for hurricanes? Well, why’ont you whip us up a pitcher!     

  

Thank’s to Mike — fellow Austinite, who grew up in Chalmette — for documenting his own (from afar & helpless) vigil during the storm and subsequent obsession with the recovery of his homeland. See his story and more of his storm photos (like above.) 

Immerse yourself in gourdy goodness at the band’s sweet sight, complete with wood round rekerd playa.   

If you’re in love with “Smoke Bend” (and you should be) the song can be downloaded for 99 cents. A great song for the price of a candy bar. The album “Cow Fish Fowl or Pig” available on amazon.  If you’re not ready for the I couldn’t nor wouldn’t begin to suggest where future aid should be sent so I open comments to suggestions.  

*************************************************   

Today’s edition of the Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel is dedicated to everyone who saw Nola through that storm as well as to those who continue to be with her now. To those who lost lives, loved ones, homes, schools, churches, haunts. To those still healing and still helping in the aftermath.     

My heart aches for all of you, for your families wherever they may live, and for every one who had their heart mangled by that hurricane (even if “only” in an an empathic human way)  

Today was hard for people, people’s hearts are still hurting. Even those not directly affected by Katrina, even those hearts are clenched like angry fists. In a strange sad way, Katrina became a shared trauma, a throbbing dated ache that yearly seizes up. Katrina blew through our TV screens and flooded our family rooms. Which is not to diminish the unfathomable experience of being in New Orleans both during and after that storm; nor the losses borne by other areas hit by Katrina.

Hedwig’s “Origin of Love” (Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel)

Posted in Fur Reals, Goof & Glamour, Intuition & Gut Intelligence, Movies & Movie Stars, Music & Life & Sundays, Psyche & Sexuality, punk rock, Rock & Roll, Romance, Romance & Relationships, Spirituality & Religion, Style & Fashion, Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel, Technicolor Pop, The wisdom of the universe with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 22, 2010 by alphabetfiend

Last time I saw you, we had just split in two.
You were looking at me. I was looking at you
.

We are always finding something once lost or newly discovered: some elusive idea, fragment of self, new friend, old friend, tribe member, ally, totem, trickster, co-inventor, muse, fellow hero, soul mate.

This search may be the very point of being born to this planet, of being given this skin.

Life is a lost & found.

We have our third eyes pealed, on the sacred look-out for our fellow mutants. We piece our lives together like legos. We sew the tattered bits of our selves into a kaleidoscopic crazy quilt. We wait to meet the pieces we lost. Our owies are eased as things fall in place. Everyone is engaged in this secret vision quest, everyone one is on alert. We’re hoping to heal the mysterious hurt. 

On the look out, always.

Origin of Love

When the earth was still flat,
And the clouds made of fire,
And mountains stretched up to the sky,
Sometimes higher,
Folks roamed the earth
Like big rolling kegs.
They had two sets of arms.
They had two sets of legs.
They had two faces peering
Out of one giant head
So they could watch all around them
As they talked; while they read.
And they never knew nothing of love.
It was before the origin of love.

The origin of love

And there were three sexes then,
One that looked like two men
Glued up back to back,
Called the children of the sun.
And similar in shape and girth
Were the children of the earth.
They looked like two girls
Rolled up in one.
And the children of the moon
Were like a fork shoved on a spoon.
They were part sun, part earth
Part daughter, part son.

The origin of love

Now the gods grew quite scared
Of our strength and defiance
And Thor said,
“I’m gonna kill them all
With my hammer,
Like I killed the giants.”
And Zeus said, “No,
You better let me
Use my lightening, like scissors,
Like I cut the legs off the whales
And dinosaurs into lizards.”
Then he grabbed up some bolts
And he let out a laugh,
Said, “I’ll split them right down the middle.
Gonna cut them right up in half.”
And then storm clouds gathered above
Into great balls of fire

And then fire shot down
From the sky in bolts
Like shining blades
Of a knife.
And it ripped
Right through the flesh
Of the children of the sun
And the moon
And the earth.
And some Indian god
Sewed the wound up into a hole,
Pulled it round to our belly
To remind us of the price we pay.
And Osiris and the gods of the Nile
Gathered up a big storm
To blow a hurricane,
To scatter us away,
In a flood of wind and rain,
And a sea of tidal waves,
To wash us all away,
And if we don’t behave
They’ll cut us down again
And we’ll be hopping round on one foot
And looking through one eye.

Last time I saw you
We had just split in two.
You were looking at me.
I was looking at you.
You had a way so familiar,
But I could not recognize,
Cause you had blood on your face;
I had blood in my eyes.
But I could swear by your expression
That the pain down in your soul
Was the same as the one down in mine.
That’s the pain,
Cuts a straight line
Down through the heart;
We called it love.
So we wrapped our arms around each other,
Trying to shove ourselves back together.
We were making love,
Making love.
It was a cold dark evening,
Such a long time ago,
When by the mighty hand of Jove,
It was the sad story
How we became
Lonely two-legged creatures,
It’s the story of
The origin of love.
That’s the origin of love.

I first saw Hedwig & The Angry Inch on stage — at The Shim Sham Club in New Orleans — and it was absolutely, indisputably magical.

Even the Robot loved it and he mostly loathes musicals.

We were so impressed by that Hedwig-Live experience that we were skeptical of the film. At first. But fear not, the movie managed to keep the magic intact.

“Sometimes grace and hope come in surprising packages. The title character of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, a would-be glam-rock star from East Germany, undergoes a botched gender-change operation in order to escape from the Soviet bloc, only to watch the Berlin Wall come down on TV after being abandoned in a trailer park in middle America.  Writer-director-star John Cameron Mitchell packs an astonishing mix of sadness, yearning, humor, and kick-ass songs with a little Platonic philosophy tucked inside for good measure. A visually dazzling gem of a movie.” (Bret Fetzer)

If you get the chance to see a stage version, jump at it. Even if it’s put on by 6 year olds. Especially if it’s performed by 6 year olds!

If you haven’t seen the film, well, you really should schedule some inspirational “me” time.

Mix up some cocktails. Rat your best wig. It’s high time for Hedwig. 

Have fun!

The film Hedwig & The Angry Inch, with John Cameron Mitchell (writer, director & star) is  available on amazon. So is the soundtrack.

Authors note: This is not the real punk rock gospel for this week. It’s a repost meant to reward you for your support. It’s merely meant to tide you over until I can post today’s intended PRG, which mysteriously disappeared from the screen at 4:28 am. I was writing the PRG (more of a love letter really) when we went off line. While waiting to get back online, I tweaked the sucker for 2 hours and ended up with a fabu finished product. Which I was liable to lose if I couldn’t get back onto wordpress. (I know! I know! I need no lecture. I get it. I waz the stupidz. They don’t call me the Lusty Luddite for nothin’!) Craving wi-fi, I crept out into the dark sreets — a vamp-cyber gently carrying an open computer to the parking lot of a shuttered coffee shop. Hooray! Houston, we have contact. I uploaded an image — something I’ve done countless times — and every bit of text just escaped into the ether. WTF?? Is it due to wordpress’ brand spankin’ new image/gallery widgetty whatucallits? What the hell happened??? No sign of it in revisions either, only an early draft. It’s just gone. Oh, I’m bummed. And stunned. Anyway, I’m gonna go back to the key board! But it will now have to wait until Monday. In the meantime, let Hedwig heal your irk (and mine) with her spiritual, romantic fairytale. *Originally posted on October 12, 2008*

Last time I saw you, we had just split in two.
You were looking at me. I was looking at you.”

*Painting By Genevieve Crotz.*

via Cream Scene Carnival

“If You Have Ghosts…” repost (Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel)

Posted in I Heart My Love-Tribe, I Heart Tricksters, Intuition & Gut Intelligence, Mythos, Rock & Roll, Spirituality & Religion, SPOOKY KABUKI, The wisdom of the universe with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 9, 2010 by alphabetfiend

Well, lovers, the week started out nice enough what with spoiling the RobotBoy for his August 3 birthday and then a new little niece was born which was all kinds of exciting but then I made a fateful decision and let a 2 year old — my niecy, Thing 2 — handfeed me spaghetti. My friend Vince said, “Ah, you’ll do anything for a baby” and he’s too right. Pieces of parmesan cheese or stray bits of noodles fell from her mouth, onto her sauce-stained shirt, and when she gathered up this germy detritus with her chubby grubby fingers and aeroplaned it towards my mouth, I opened up. Yikes! I must be crazy! It’s a biological evolutionary power these babies have over us grown-ups. We’ll set aside our own good sense just to see ’em grin. Anyhoo. No sense crying over spilled spag. Now I am laid up and only barely human with a wicked case of strep throat. I’m missing Cyndi Lauper in a New Orleans club tonight and still unable to wrap my feeble mind around my half-done draft for this week’s punk-rock gospel. The Robot was gonna fill in for me but then he got sick too so I have decided to repost an oldie but goodie from way back when. (originally posted on the 28th of October, 2008.) Newcomers, enjoy! I’ll make it up to those of you who have read this one already. I’d give you big old smooches but I love y’all too much for that, cause I’m “naasty” as my niece would say and who wants my naaaaasty kisses anyway? Be well and beware of germs!

***********************************************

“If you have ghosts, then you have everything…. You can say anything that you want and you can do everything that you want… one never does that… In the night, I am real. …I don’t want my fangs too long…. The moon to the left is a part of my thoughts and a part of me is me.”

These strange words, a mad shaman’s chant out of the speakers — volume LOUD — and into my atomic self… “eye” at the essence/energy level.

This was a hymn from the church I’d been waiting for. This was reckoning & rock n’ roll at once.

This was the theme to the soundtrack of my life. NOT one of those songs that I came to love. I loved it on first listen — in my bones, in my molecules, in the depths of my mind. If you have ghosts, you have everything. I had been waiting all of my days and nights to hear that song. I still shudder at every listen. It is my anthem. It is the mantra which saves me, its odd sequence of words spirit me off to my truest place. Where it is all okay. Not just okay but gorgeously fortunate.

Roky, my coyote in the dark piney woods. He howls. Pine cones float in the moonlight as organic odes to Tanuki and Kitsune. The coyote says “This was the life you wanted. How lucky you are to be haunted.”

If you have ghosts, then you have everything.

These spirits that clamour, who are they? Why are they here? What do they expect? They leave omens everywhere, valentines in the path of days. Instructional pamphlets? They are here because they adore you. You are who? The “universe’s darling”???  Who told you that? You have won their gaurded hearts. The telephone rings (Dad called it the “cosmic phone”) and the voice on the line is the voice you were longing for. The scarab in Jung’s window will knock with more frequency should he see that you too have twitching antennae.

Ah, to talk about what this song means to me is almost impossible! When the effect it had was to scatter me like seed while condensing. How can it feel this way?

It reminds me of Alice with the Drink Me bottles and the Eat Me cakes. I am ENORMOUS! Crowding, pressing, filling up. I am tiny. A nanotech hologram of all that I am, a portrait of Dolly Parton etched on a grain of basmati. Practically invisible, wholly infinite.

I am simply being forthright when I say that this song means the WORLD to me. Is there anything more in the world than this?

If you have ghosts, you have everything.

 

I have ghosts. More and more everyday. I feel their presense at the tips of my shoulders. I dream of complex impossible machinery and blame them. They are always watching, wondering. What now brown cow?

Some people point to their scars and say, “See! I have lived! I took the leap!”

Others point to frown furrows. “I have suffered. My heart has broken in a million places.”

Or to smile lines. “I have grinned. I have beamed. I have known joy, I have brought joy.”

I point to ghosts. They are the proof of a life lived on the curled up smoky edges of existence like burnt paper. They are testament to …. willingness? …. courage? … awe? … curiosity? … wonder?

 

If you have ghosts, then you have….

  • an open mind like a a wind-whipped hallway. Where is the wind coming from? It just comes.
  • a hungry heart. Skulking in the dark, turning over every rock, nibbling velvet moss, barky twigs, souls unlike your own, souls akin, a lover’s skin, a friend’s soft spot.
  • made allys amongst the gods, the totems, the sky, the dirt. Unlikely connections bind you to the hearts of others forever. Your allys fight for you with fervor and loyalty. They defend you against haters. When you are injured, they gather you up in cloudy limbs and carry you to a bed of soft thistle.
  • loved, you have loved to love, and that they are loved is no secret to those you love. You have grabbed their cheeks or pounced on their goodness. You have pointed out their attributes and celebrated their quirks and their quarks. Even their molecules feel handsome. You don’t withhold kindness. You take liberties with love. You lay it on thick.
  • been loved, always, and with such enthusiasm! They love you fully and fiercely. Even death cannot change the love they feel for you. It is more than emotion, it is a morphic field. It all gathers there, all the love that you’ve ever been given. All the compliments filed away, all the talismans built from origami & feathers, all the tokens of affection. And so many keys to so many hearts on a ring that clangs in your pocket. Lucky lucky lucky to be so loved.
  • you have found members of your tribe, recognized them, summoned them, exalted them, comforted them. SHOOK THEM.
  • not just people loved and lost but selves, moments, ideas. Pets. So many layers of being like tissue paper glued over glass. Illness, experience, dreams, injury, heartbreak, love, longing, learning. All the things that contribute to the complexity of your being.
  • had an unexplainable unduplicated drug like any other … wine, hallucinogens, tobacco, soda pop, sex… none of it compares to the ephemeral solace of the spirits that carry you, ferry you on a raft of peach skins, banana peels, orange rinds. You float on the current of time, space, electricity, wonderment. You crack the pod and lick the shell. The doorway swells with feathery light. You swallow the bulb and become a bulb. Incandescent.
  • no need for long fangs. No need to take, rape, steal, beg. If it’s not willing, you don’t need it. Hate is not welcome in your heart.
  • a glow-white lightning bolt of SPOOKY KABUKI, theatre of synchronicity, dance of the Mindellian demon. When the audience laughs, just bow. Whether they are laughing at you or with you, it doesn’t really matter. When you stutter or miss your cue,  you are Pee Wee Herman who meant to crash his bike into a rose bush. They will appreciate how you stop to smell the roses. Should you mangle a line just tie your mustache into a bow like your mouth is a gift to the world.
  • your toe in the water while the wave has its toe in you.
  • EVERYTHING.
 
IF YOU HAVE GHOSTS
 
If you have ghosts you have everything
If you have ghosts you have everything
if you can say anything you want
then you can do anything you want
If you have ghosts then you have everything

one never does that
one never does that
if you call it suprise there it is
the moon to the left of me is a part of my thoughts
is a part me is me
one never does that  In the night I am real
in the night I am real
the moon to the left of me is a part of my thoughts
is a pert of me is me
forever is the wind is a part of my thoughts
is a part of me is me
in the night I am realI don’t want my fangs too long
I don’t want my fangs too long
the moon to the left of me is a part of my thoughts
is a part of me is me
forever is the wind to the left of me is a part of my thoughts
is a part of me is me
I don’t want my fangs too long
if you have ghosts, then you have everything.

*************************************** 

The three paintings (above) are by the mind-boggling Miss Van who has captured my soul as well as my skin. Hopefully her brilliant renderings can help to translate my urgent over-wrought gobbledygook. When you love something the way I love this fucking phantom-tastic Roky Erickson song, your brain turns into a dollop of whipped cream. In the struggle to grab the meaning from its swirling vortex of importance, the writer looks like a hack and a zealot.

So please, please, forgive my words, excuse my raving mythos.

Just look at these masterpieces by Miss Van. 

Just LISTEN to Roky, my coyote guide, our city-shaman, our genius mad man who was spirited home to us at last. 

What God is to Goof, amen is to Aha!

God=Goof.

Amen=Aha!

Goof+Aha= if you have ghosts, you have everything.

Fur reals, y’all, not funny math. 

Thank you for tuning in/turning on to this special SPOOKY KABUKI edition of the Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel. 

AHA!
  

“Cracklins” (Sunday P.M. Punk Rock Gospel)

Posted in country music, I Heart My Love-Tribe, I Heart Tricksters, Music & Life & Sundays, Mythos, punk rock, Rock & Roll, Spirituality & Religion, Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 26, 2010 by alphabetfiend

I gotta find some weed and some wine! I just got to find some trouble sometime!  

They’re called The Gourds. They say their music is for “the unwashed  & the well-read.” I’ve oft-referred to them as “Austin in a can”…frothy, cold and startin’ to sweat straight outta the icebox. Pop the top and out comes the sound of Austin in a musty, malty swoosh.  

The Gourds are (left to right): Max Johnston, Claude Bernard, Jimmy Smith, Keith Langford and Kevin Russell.

Goof-damn, there’s been so many good gourd-carved memories!  

Hearing ’em live for the first time ever at the tiny Cactus Cafe, a room as big as y’all’s den; dancing with Leah at Antones, on one of her last A-TX visits before she got married and became Sophia’s momma; flirting with Cha by the lake at twilight as The Gourd’s tore it up cuntry-style.  

Then there was that sticky sunset, driving into El Paso on my way to The Unified Science of Consciousness Conference in Tucson (University of Arizona.) After a long blistering day on I-10, I celebrated crossing the Texas border (finally!) by repeatedly cranking “El Paso.” Cigarette on a rumble seat, drive all day got nothing to eat. I’m Drivin’ all day,  got nothing to get me to where I’m going to. El Paso I’m going to, El Paso I’m going tooo….  

Let’s see? What else?  

Ah, the annual New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball. One in particular, at The Parish. I wore my elaborate indian headdress & daisy yellow tights under a black mini-dress (trusty LBD of the day) and all night long I played the hell outta my tiny toy accordion! We passed a bottle of bubbly (my prize for best-dressed) and we sputtered laughing cause it was just the kinda New Year’s Eve that you expected to have as a kid, while all the Grups were out partying and you stayed home to watch the ball drop with Grandma. The RobotBoy had a robot mask and we danced all night –rung in the new year right.  

Yep, so many of the gourds-soaked memories are romantic: like “Hallelujah Shine” on the radio those days, those nights in a dark dash-lit car, when the Robot and I were first falling in love.  If you want to meet the Jesus, you gotta go down there brother. If you wanna meet Muhammad, you gotta get in the water. If you want yer hallelujah shine, you gotta go under. You gotta go under Jordan’s mighty waters. This hallelujah shine is mighty dark & old!

If we ever get married — the ‘bot and I — we’d love to have an old-fashioned country carnival: snake-charmers, burlesque dancers, fried chicken and gin-soaked watermelon. RobotBoyLoverMan would don a seer-sucker suit and candy-striped socks. My dress would be all sweet & kicky; something shorter, since a long train would collect grass-stains. Instead of flowers —  as my “bouquet” — I’d tug a swaying, bobbing bunch of balloons. My bridesmaids would sparkle beneath paper parasols, six gorgeous faces shadowed from the Mississippi sun. Speaking of that sun! Let the sucker set! As the sun melts like a butterscotch, The Gourds’ll kick off a raucaus set with “Cracklins!” (Maybe later they’d indulge with a cover of Cohen’s “Dance Me to the End of Love.”???) 

(At this point, after 11 loyal years together, it’s worth waiting until gay marriage is legalized or until we have the budget for The Gourds.)
 
  
I’ve only  just arrived back here in Podunk, Mississippi, having come from Austin, Texas (at this point, I call both cities home… each one homey for different reasons) and after a long roadtrip, I’m thinking damn if it isn’t high-as-hell time that we featured “Cracklins” by The Gourds as a perfectly punk-ass Punk Rock Gospel selection. 
 
The song makes me wish I was a wicked cracklins connoisseur but no. I’m no fan of real-life pork skins. They’re stinky and they’re furry. I prefer my snack foods to be hairless. But hey, I got nothin’ but good things to say ’bout some weed and some wine and some trouble some time.
 

 

“Cracklins” is about recovery, reinvention, redemption! 

Reincarnation! Resurrection!! 

“Cracklins” reminds us that “living out loud” (as G*word would say) is a joyous & good thing — a great big noisyness, a holy ruckus, a prayer the gods are sure to hear!!!
 
I just gotta find a little trouble sometime.
 
When Blood of the Ram first came out( in 2004) I played “Cracklins” for my friend Mary Knott and she thought I was nuts! Especially when I started crying at the end — weeping really, like a stone statue of Mary. All overwrought & goof-touched. All giddy & awe-struck.
 
It’s been years and “Cracklins” still gives me chills.
 
Them Mississippi state police chased me, Pascagoula all the way to Metarie. I robbed a federal bank with a rack of ribs. A jar of sauce, some white bread and a bib.
 
“Cracklins” is an anarchist psalm & a trickster yodel. A holy hell holler & a crooked halo.

An ode to the outlaw! 

A sly nod to all that’s mysterious & mischievous & miraculous about the human spirit.

 Hot DAMN! 
 
Come all ye holy hedonists, this shit’s for you!

  

Listen up! 

Don’t read the lyrics until you’ve listened to the song or you will spoil the surprise at the end which is the very best part and the reason why “Cracklins” makes for good gospel.   

   

Cracklins  

31 days my fingers feel like rain. 

This jail was built on cracklins and cocaine. 

Policemen knocked me down and then charged me, 

With smokin and inciting vagrancy,

yes ‘ey did, yes ‘ey did. 

***

Chicken sneezed, eatin’ my cracklins. 

Buttercup, bloomin in the badlands. 

Kaboom kaboom, piss on the curses. 

Hospital, kiss all the nurses. 

I got to find some weed and some wine. 

I just gotta find some trouble sometime. 

***

Them Navasota troopers ran me down, 

Escorted me right out of town, 

For cherry pickin’ squirrels and feedin’ dogs, 

And dreamin of Jamaica in a fog.

Yes I did, yes I did.

***

Chicken sneezed, eatin’ my cracklins. 

Buttercup, bloomin in the badlands. 

Kaboom kaboom, piss on the curses. 

Hospital, kiss all the nurses. 

I got to find some weed and some wine. 

I just gotta find some trouble sometime.

***

Them Mississippi state police chased me, 

Pascagoula all the way to Metarie. 

I robbed a federal bank with a rack of ribs, 

A jar of sauce, some white bread and a bib.

Yes I did, Yes I did.

*** 

Chicken sneezed, eatin’ my cracklins. 

Buttercup, bloomin in the badlands. 

Kaboom kaboom, piss on the curses. 

Hospital, kiss all the nurses. 

I got to find some weed and some wine. 

I just gotta find some trouble sometime.

Time, time. I’m gonna find ya, I’m gonna get it.

*** 

I was eatin cracklins as the Feds were closin’ in. 

They watched the water as my car went rollin’ in. 

They dragged the river and notified my next of kin. 

But brother, pigs do fly and so can a man! 

When he’s full of fried pork skins!!

Yes, sir! 

Whew!

**********************************************************   

Love love love! 

How ’bout a talisman to honor The Gourd’s teachin’? By PaganGypsy, only $5 bucks on etsy.  

 

In the mood for pork cracklins? See Emeril Legasse’s recipe for homemade cracklins!  

 Go thee to the gourds website  

Louder Than A Bomb (Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel)

Posted in I heart hip hop, I Heart Holidays, Music & Life & Sundays, politics, punk rock, Republicans scare me, Spirituality & Religion, Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 4, 2010 by alphabetfiend

They claim we’re products from the bottom of hell cause the black is back and it’s bound to sell. Picture us coolin’ out on the Fourth of July and if you heard we were celebratin’, that’s a world wide lie. — Public Enemy

Thanks for tuning in to this special Fourth of July Edition of the Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel.

‘Cause the D is for dangerous
You can come and get some of this
I teach and speak
So when its spoke, it’s no joke
The voice of choice
The place shakes with bass
Called one for the treble
The rhythm is the rebel

So many Sundays, the punk rock gospel has been about appreciating the beauty in life and not being a hater; having gratitude and gusto; forming questions and searching for answers. All good, all valid, but this week is different. This week is about noticing the disfunction (whether in friendships, family or government) and demanding more than disfunction. Speak up, sound the truth, use your voice to fight for what’s right. Make up your own mind regardless of outside pressure. This week I urge you to doubt when doubt is warranted.

This week’s punk rock gospel selection is “Louder Than A Bomb” by masters of dissent, Public Enemy.

Last week , in “Tryin To Make It Real Compared To What,” Les McCaan and Eddie Harris sang:

The President, he’s got his war
Folks don’t know just what it’s for
Nobody gives us rhyme or reason
Have one doubt, they call it treason

Damn. The more things change the more they stay the same. Lyrics written in the 1960’s ring true like they were written yesterday, or back when Bush was in office, or back when Bush’s daddy was in office. I wanted to address the redundancy of politics (and the resulting tragedy) in last Sunday’s Punk Rock Gospel (Tryin’ To Make It Real…) but a political rant hardly fit the emotional tenor of that post.

Still it stuck with me like a burr on a dog’s ball sack.

Now, in the wee hours of July 4th, I’m thinking about patriotism.

Have one doubt, they call it treason.

Ask one question and “the terrorists win.”

I get weary of the old refrain “If you don’t like it, leave.” (I’m so weary of it that I’m actually thinking about leaving. Life as an ex-pat may be just the thing.) A patriot is someone who loves their country and squawks when they see it headin’ off the rails, who believes in the freedom our forefathers fought for, who knows that freedom is not some hyped-up propaganda to be used against us by speech writers.

Never servin ’em well, ’cause I’m an un-Tom
It’s no secret at all
Cause I’m louder than a bomb

Today, as we celebrate the Fourth of July, on boats or in backyards, wearing flip-flops or setting off fire-crackers, flipping burgers or making vats of lemonade, let’s remember that part of loving this country is looking out for it. A patriot is someone who wants the very best for America, not just the same old same old status quo. Complacence and silence can be devastating. A human voice can be LOUDER THAN A BOMB. Don’t be afraid to light that fuse!

If speaking up makes you Public Enemy #1 then so be it. You’ll be in some fine company.

To hear “Louder Than A Bomb” as originally recorded on “It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back” (without the distraction of live footage)play this sucker.

If you wanna see footage of Public Enemy performing “Louder Than A Bomb” live, here’s a pretty great version culled from many not so great versions (with bad sound, bad shots or both.)

Peace out, patriots. I have an American Flag cake to bake — whipped cream icing with blueberries as stars and strawberries as stripes. Yum. Let them eat cake! Thanks for tuning in this 4th of July. I hope Public Enemy has inspired.

Let your rhythm be the rebel!!!

Louder Than A Bomb

This style seems wild
Wait before you treat me like a stepchild
Let me tell you why they got me on file
‘Cause I give you what you lack
Come right and exact
Our status is the saddest
So I care where you at black
And at home I got a call from Tony Rome
The FBI was tappin’ my telephone
I never live alone
I never walk alone
My posses always ready and they’re waitin’ in my zone
Although I live the life that of a resident
But I be knowin’ the scheme that of the president
Tappin’ my phone whose crews abused
I stand accused of doing harm
‘Cause I’m louder than a bomb
C’mon C’mon louder etc…

I am the rock hard trooper
To the bone, the bone, the bone
Full grown – consider me – stone
Once again and
I say it for you to know
The troop is always ready, I yell `geronimo’
Your CIA, you see I ain’t kiddin’
Both King and X they got ridda’ both
A story untold, true, but unknown
Professor Griff knows…
“I ain’t no toast”
And not the braggin’ or boastin’ and plus
It ain’t no secret why they’re tappin’ my phone, although
I can’t keep it a secret
So I decided to kick it, yo
And yes it weighs a ton
I say it once again
I’m called the enemy – I’ll never be a friend
Of those with closed minds, don’t know I’m rapid
The way that I rap it
Is makin’ ’em tap it, yeah
Never servin ’em well, ’cause I’m an un-Tom
It’s no secret at all
Cause I’m louder than a bomb

Cold holdin’ the load
The burden breakin’ the mold
I ain’t lyin’ denyin’, ’cause they’re checkin’ my code
Am I buggin’ ’cause they’re buggin’ my phone – for information
No tellin’ who’s sellin’ out – power buildin’ the nation so…
Joinin’ the set, the point blank target
Every brothers inside – so least not, you forget, no
Takin’ the blame is not a waste, here taste
A bit of the song so you can never be wrong
Just a bit of advice, ’cause we be payin’ the price
‘Cause every brother mans life
Is like swingin’ the dice, right?
Here it is, once again this is
The brother to brother
The Terminator, the cutter

Goin’ on an’ on – leave alone the grown
Get it straight in ’88, an’ I’ll troop it to demonstrate
The posse always ready – 98 at 98
My posse come quick, because my posse got velocity
Tappin’ my phone, they never leave me alone
I’m even lethal when I’m unarmed
‘Cause I’m louder than a bomb

‘Cause the D is for dangerous
You can come and get some of this
I teach and speak
So when its spoke, it’s no joke
The voice of choice
The place shakes with bass
Called one for the treble
The rhythm is the rebel
Here’s a funky rhyme that they’re tappin’ on
Just thinkin’ I’m breakin’ the beats I’m rappin’ on
CIA FBI
All they tell us is lies
And when I say it they get alarmed
‘Cause I’m louder than a bomb

*Atomic Tree available as a print.

Tryin’ To Make It Real Compared To What?! (Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel)

Posted in I Heart My Love-Tribe, Music & Life & Sundays, politics, punk rock, Rock & Roll, Spirituality & Religion, Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 27, 2010 by alphabetfiend

Where’s that bee and where’s that honey? Where’s my God and where’s my money?

This was one “Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel” that almost didn’t happen.  After the busiest of weeks and hours of off-line frustration in the Mississippi country-side, I said screw it all to hell and collapsed into bed with weary bones. Maybe it’ll be a Monday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel, I thought as I drifted into a deep air-conditioned slumber. Two hours later, at 4am, I awoke with a jolt to the spectres of Eddie Harris and Les McCaan. This is our Sunday, they insisted, so I reached with drowsy digits for my discarded laptop and whaddaya know?!  We suddenly (miraculously?) made contact. Now, fueled by caffeine & cigarettes, and a crazy lovely love for this song, I’m gonna knock this sucker out.

This week will be less wordy that usual, partly due to my fried-egg sunny-side up brain, but mostly because this song sings for itself.

How to introduce “Tryin’ To Make It Real Compared To What” ???

What can possibly be said about one of the greatest songs of all time?

All I can do is tell you what it means to me and urge you to form your own fibrous connection. And you will. You will. It’s that damn good.

When I was 15, my Dad and I took a long dusk-to-dark ride through the New Mexico mountains. Our headlights guided us around treacherous curves which my father — an expert driver and Motor City son — took smoothly, sweetly, safely. The moon was fat and the stars glittered like sugared candies. It was the kind of memory that sticks to your ribs; the kind of living that gives life texture, taste and deliciousness. It was the kind of  time that carves into your soul and (RE)MAKES you into a new configuration (concoction?) of your self. It was there, in that cushy comfy night, that I first heard “Tryin’ To Make It Real Compared To What.” It was also the second, third, fourth and fiftieth time. We played it over and over and over while reveling in the troubled beauty of the world.

Ten years later, my Dad was dead.

There would be no more moonlight rock-out rides; no more trading barbs over breakfast until he broke into a grin over my writerly wit; no more mounting our motorcycles at dawn and VVROOM-VVROOMing into the rising sun. 

There was no one to call when I needed to remember who it was that did that amazing fucking song. 

After all, that crazy beautiful fucker had turned me onto so many songs over the years and I figgered he’d always be around to help me keep ’em straight.

What was the song we used to play on the pontoon as we floated lazily down the Maumee River? Right. Take 5. Dave Brubeck. I remember now.

Who was it we were listening to that 3am by the fire? Ah! Buddy Holly. Duh.  

Who was it that did that kick-ass cool song that we couldn’t get enough of that night in your Lincoln, with the fat moon and her spilled candy?

Huh? Who? Hello? Dad? Where the hell you’d go? Hello?…hello…hey…hello? Daddy?

Damn that silence sucks.

Fortunately, there’s now such a thing as google. I typed in “tryin to make it real compared to what,” and was led to youtube, where Eddie Harris & Les McCaan broke my heart all over again. Then fixed it. Then broke it. It was awesome. I hit replay at least a dozen times. Oh. Such goodness. Such beauty. Such power.

My body flooded with rock & roll relief.

The song returned to me, like a gift, an act of cyber kindness, and now in the spirit of punk rock gospel, I am passing it on to you. I hope it breaks your heart and blows your mind. I hope it carves into you and sticks to your ribs. I hope it stays with you forever.

Is that too much to ask? No, I really don’t think so. Listen to it, see for yourself. Then go buy the record, download it onto your ipod, add the song to a playlist — spend some quality time with it. Let it add taste and texture to your memories… all the while striving to make it real while asking “Real?… Compared to what?”

Like a Buddhist koan, there’s really no answer but the question props your mind open.

TRYING TO MAKE IT REAL COMPARED TO WHAT

I love the lie and lie the love
A-Hangin’ on, with push and shove
Possession is the motivation
that is hangin’ up the God-damn nation
Looks like we always end up in a rut (everybody now!)
Tryin’ to make it real — compared to what? C’mon baby!

Slaughterhouse is killin’ hogs
Twisted children killin’ frogs
Poor dumb rednecks rollin’ logs
Tired old lady kissin’ dogs
I hate the human love of that stinking mutt (I can’t use it!)
Try to make it real — compared to what? C’mon baby now!

The President, he’s got his war
Folks don’t know just what it’s for
Nobody gives us rhyme or reason
Have one doubt, they call it treason
We’re chicken-feathers, all without one nut. God damn it!
Tryin’ to make it real — compared to what? (Sock it to me)

Church on Sunday, sleep and nod
Tryin’ to duck the wrath of God
Preacher’s fillin’ us with fright
They all tryin’ to teach us what they think is right
They really got to be some kind of nut (I can’t use it!)
Tryin’ to make it real — compared to what?

Where’s that bee and where’s that honey?
Where’s my God and where’s my money?
Unreal values, crass distortion
Unwed mothers need abortion
Kind of brings to mind ol’ young King Tut (He did it now)
Tried to make it real — compared to what?!

(Music break)

Tryin’ to make it real — compared to what?

Your Own Personal Jesus (Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel)

Posted in country music, Music & Life & Sundays, Mythos, Spirituality & Religion, Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 20, 2010 by alphabetfiend

Have your personal Jesus call my personal Jesus and we’ll work somethin’ out. How’s Sunday work for ya?    

For this week’s Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel, I’ve chosen a song that’s gone through quite a transformation since its early 90’s hey-day. Originally done by Depeche Mode, “Personal Jesus” got a whole new spiritual life when covered by the late great Johnny Cash.    

    

Johnny Cash recorded “Personal Jesus” for his 2002 album American IV: When the Man Comes Around. Brilliantly produced by Rick Rubin, the album is a masterful collection of Cash covering songs by such diverse artists as Nine Inch Nails or Simon & Garfunkle. (Hurt; A Bridge Over Troubled Water) It’s clear from Rubin’s song selections that he’d listened to a lot of old Johnny Cash records. Each song is a glimpse into Cash’s psyche, soul and sound.    

    

“Personal Jesus” was an especially perfect choice and yet not at all obvious.    

Johnny Cash? Depeche Mode? Whuuut?    

C’mon, think about it! “Personal Jesus” was made for Johnny Cash. It’s a Jesus song! And damn can Johnny sing us some Jesus.    

“Gospel music is part of what I am and part of what I do,” — JC    

By 2002, singing about Jesus was old hat to Cash: he’d struck an earthly aching chord with songs like “Redemption”, “I Saw the Light” or (my fav) Billy Joe Shaver’s “Old Chunk of Coal.”    

Sinner? (Johnny Cash)

Johnny was the sinner striking out towards redemption.    

There was a sadness in Cash: an ill-healed injury, a bruised history. Yet Cash wasn’t brow beat or beat down. He wasn’t ashamed or unwilling to change. Johnny Cash was a work in progress… he was “Us”. For all the hurt his voice conveyed there was also yearning, learning and hope.    

Before I heard Cash’s cover of Personal Jesus, I never saw the song as spiritual or even especially meaningful. It seemed, to me, to be more about SNARK than SPIRIT.   

With that voice like an open gash, Cash gave it gospel. Personal Jesus” was never meant to be a spiritual hymn or religious statement. Dave Gahan reportedly wrote the song about heroin, after battling a nasty addiction to the stuff. (Guess that explains the snark.)   

Saint? (DM's Dave Gahan)

For me, the Depeche Mode version elicits memories of an illicit afternoon of stolen sex with my high-school boyfriend who was supposedly my ex-boyfriend (who should have definitely stayed an ex.) He’d shown up with his shiny new CD, hot to trot, hopin’ to be my very own personal Jesus. While he sang along,  fancying himself as unholy savior, I sat there thinking A) This again? What am I doing? and B) He bettah not be thinkin’ he’s my personal Jesus. Until I finally busted out with “Y’know you’re really not” and he said, “Oooh, yes I am.”    

Let us take a moment to thank our blessed father who art in heavan, for it was Johnny Cash who took ultimate and final possession of “Personal Jesus.” Sorry DM fans, sorry MM* fans, but it’s true. “Personal Jesus” is Johnny’s. Always will be. Sorry ADC but you aren’t my personal Jesus. Never waz.    

Everyone must find something to give their life texture and meaning, be it Jesus or Johnny Cash. We’re all setting our own moral barometers and looking for guidance — in the pages of The Koran or in the pages of Nietzsche. Whether we find peace in ancient psalms or Ginsberg poems, we’re all in search of the joy that obliterates pain, the light that illuminates the dark.    

    

What is more personal than Jesus?    

Often, when someone’s found what they’re looking for, they’ll become convinced that they have what the rest of us need. But spirit is a private matter. No one can save another’s soul. Even those belting out “Jesus Loves Me” beneath the same rain-pelted church roof  are singing to their own singular versions of God’s first-born.    

Historian/Author Stephen Prothero explored the many-faced Jesus in his book American Jesus. The book examines how Jesus has affected our culture and how our culture has affected Jesus.    

No religious personality has captivated so many Americans for so long as Jesus. Indeed, as Boston University historian Prothero demonstrates in this sparkling and engrossing book, Jesus is the one religious figure nearly every American, whether Christian or not, past and present, has embraced. From Thomas Jefferson’s cut-and-paste Bible to Jesus Christ Superstar, from the feminized Christ of the Victorians to the “manly redeemer” of Teddy Roosevelt’s era, from Buddhist bodhisattva to Black Moses, Prothero surveys the myriad ways Americans have remade Jesus in their own image.    

(Publisher’s Weekly)      

    

Whether you view Jesus as a diety or not, there’s no denying that Jesus has become an American icon. Chances are, you too have your own personal Jesus. We should all have our own personal Jesus! Who doesn’t sometimes need to reach out and touch faith?    

Personal Jesus    

Reach out and touch faith
Your own Personal Jesus
Someone to hear your prayers
Someone who cares
Your own Personal Jesus
Someone to hear your prayers
Someone who’s there    

Feeling’s unknown and you’re all alone
Flesh and bone by the telephone
Lift up the receiver
I’ll make you a believer    

Take second best
Put me to the test
Things on your chest
You need to confess
I will deliver
You know I’m a forgiver
Reach out and touch faith    

Your own Personal Jesus
Feeling’s unknown and you’re all alone
Flesh and bone by the telephone
Lift up the receiver
I’ll make you a believer
I will deliver
You know I’m a forgiver
Reach out and touch faith
Your own Personal Jesus
Reach out and touch faith    

This video is beautifully done — sun-faded familial shots of Johnny & June intercut with raw b+w photos of haggard looking celebs. (Kris Kristofferson, Kieth Richards, Dennis Hopper, Billy Gibbons, Kate Moss, Sheryl Crow, Justin Timberlake, Johnny Depp, Chris Rock, Lisa Marie Presley, Travis Barker and Kid Rock.)    

   

Who or what does your Jesus look like? Who’s listening to your prayers? What do you reach for when you’re all alone, just flesh and bone by the telephone?   

I sometimes suspect that Johnny’s personal Jesus was June.    

    

After June died, after they buried her, the Robot Boy was reading the paper when tears welled up in his green eyes. I was… surprised.     

Wow, he said. Johnny’s not long for this world.    

RB passed the paper and pointed at a photo of Johnny Cash at June Carter Cash’s funeral. Cash, in a black suit and tie, was seated in a wheelchair; his face was graven and distant. A man was offering condolences, hand out-stretched, but Johnny saw right through him, as if he were in a whole other plane of existence. As if one or both of them were ghosts.    

They’ll be one of those couples, predicted RB. It won’t be long, now that June’s gone.    

And it wasn’t. It wasn’t long at all. I cried and cried the day Johnny died but having seen that picture, I’d say I was prepared. I could see the peace in it.    

    

*Marilyn Manson also covered “Personal Jesus.”    

The Holy Banana is from Stuff That looks Like Jesus, a gallery of one Jesus after another, whether in a dusty moth-wing or in the chocolatey layers of a kit kat candy bar.     

“Dead Characters” (the Jesus Big Boy painting) is by the ever-brilliant Mark Ryden.“Jesus with Desk Lamp” is by Branden Martz (just one of many amazing multi-media artworks on view at his website.) Expect to hear more about Mr. Martz!    

American Jesus by Stephen Prothero is available at Amazon.

Sonic Youth’s “Sacred Trickster” (Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel)

Posted in Friendship, I Heart My Love-Tribe, I Heart Tricksters, Lipstick Shamaness, Mythos, Spirituality & Religion, Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 13, 2010 by alphabetfiend

Last Sunday was supposed to be a special birthday-honoring trickster-themed double edition of  The Punk Rock Gospel, but you know what they say about the road to hell…        

Despite my good intentions, I wasn’t able to swing both Gogol Bordello’s “When the Trickster Starts a Pokin”  and Sonic Youth’s “Sacred Trickster.”        

I was too busy eating bon-bons and being spoiled by the Robot Boy. No biggie. The glossy bow-topped packages and the birthday cake carried over into the rest of the week so why not trickster anthems?       

        

The “Sacred Trickster” is the first track on Sonic Youth’s new record. “Eternal” was just released June 9. It’s Sonic Youth’s 16th album and their first album since 2006. “Eternal” — cover art by famous folk-artist John Fahey — is the band’s first album on Matador Records. “Eternal” finds SY creatively-charged and still rockin’ as they return to their old school indy roots and revisit past aural forays:        

Twelve tunes that are a fireworks display of Sonic Youth touchstones. From the primal no wave attack of its earliest days, to the radical chording and song structures of its 90s period, to the more focused and contemporary explorations of the last five years. (Amazon bio)        

   

    In the song, Kim Gordon refers to West Mass noise artist Noise Nomads and French artist/painter Yves Klein.       

        

Sacred Trickster, I want you to levitate me. Don’t you love me yet? Press up against the amp, turn up the treble. Don’t forget.        

   

Sacred Trickster makes me wanna light a cigarette and dance inside my own smoky tornado. I wanna build bombs! I wanna be a girl in a band! I wanna wear my fox-ears to church and bang chaotically on the church organ while reciting lines from Ani songs: I’m tired of being the interesting one, I’m tired of having fun for two. Just lay yourself on the line and I might lay myself down by you. I wanna draw chalk mandalas or fly kites fashioned from old love letters.        

Makes me wanna press up against the amp, turn up the treble.        

Makes me wanna make noise, trouble, love.        

Mostly it makes me wanna ask more of myself: to reach down into my own heaving, hurting place and to dig around in the sadness until I’ve recovered the sacred.        

"LadyFox" by painter, Carolina Hardigree

  

And when I’m done asking more of myself, I’m gonna turn around and ask more of you. And you and you and you.        

I’m going to want you to do for me and to come through for me. I’m gonna want you to make me dizzy when we’re just sittin’ around. I’m gonna want you to levitate me. Can’t you do that for me? Can’t you rid me of all the steely hardness that holds me down? Can’t you blow into me with your breath until I’m light as air? Can’t you lift me from the bed — from my bondage, my ache, my sorrow — and send me up up up with the soft shush of a pink balloon. Why won’t you levitate me? Don’t you love me?        

Or do you think I am asking too much?        

I want you to blow my fucking mind.         

Is that asking too much?        

As Ani sang, I want somebody who can hold my interest, hold it and never let it fall, someone who can flatten me with a kiss that hits like a fist or a sentence that stops me like a brick wall.        

When did we stop expecting to be IN AWE?        

Why are we arrogant if we seek greatness in ourselves or greedy if we expect greatness in others? Why is it too much to want it all? Since when is the status quo enough for any of us?        

So I wanna rub elbows with the sacred, so what? So I expect you to levitate me, why not? Don’t you love me yet?       

       

The Sacred Trickster is that part of yourself that wants to steal the raspberries and chase the gingerbread man.     

The Sacred Trickster is the lover who makes you better by pointing to the bigness in you and saying Gimmee gimmee gimmee.     

The Sacred Trickster is the friend who cracks the secret code and then the nut and then a smile.     

The Sacred Trickster is the melody inside the noise, the meaning inside the poem, the puppet show theater inside a hallowed-out 1956 TV.     

The Sacred Trickster is the rock star who has you pressed against the throbbing amp… the writer who wrote that line (the one that kills you every time)… the painter who has convinced you to cuddle the sly white fox. You open up your cozy covers and Fox closes in tight, nestling, nuzzling, stinking like star dust.      

Who is The Sacred Trickster? He’s you and she’s me. That’s the way it should be.      

        

 Sacred Trickster        

I want you to levitate me        

Don’t you love me yet?        

Press up against the amp turn up the treble        

Don’t forget        

Getting dizzy sittin around        

Sacred trickster and the no tech sound        

I wish I could be music on a tree        

Noise nomads and me        

Levitating on the ground        

Uh huh uh huh        

Uh huh uh huh        

Uh huh uh huh        

Uh huh uh huh        

Whats its like to be a girl in a band?        

I don’t quite understand        

That’s so quaint to hear        

I feel so faint my dear        

Getting dizzy sittin around        

Sacred trickster and the no tech sound        

I wish I could be music on a tree        

Noise nomads and me        

Levitating scootin around        

   

Summon the Sacred Trickster! 

Thanks for tuning in to today’s Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel. Enjoy this, the official Sonic Youth “Sacred Trickster” video as released by Matador Records. It’s ferocious fun in a Gossip Girl meets Guerilla Grrl kinda way.      

***The LadyFox painting (above) is by an extremely talented, emerging artist named Carolina Hardigree. We’ve featured Hardigree’s work on Cream Scene Carnival before and we will again; because she is brilliant, amazing and mythic-minded. My kind of girl! Carolina Hardigree’s work can be purchased via her own website @ Black Bird Fine Art.       

Sonic Youth’s Eternal is available on Amazon.

The Gift of Time (or I Shoulda Been the Queen of Sheba)

Posted in Alphabetfiend, Art & Culture, Books & Writing, I Heart Friends, I Heart My Love-Tribe, I Heart Steampunk, Mythos, punk rock, Sexy Bitch Steampunk yum, Spirituality & Religion, The wisdom of the universe with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 9, 2010 by alphabetfiend

 I’ve never been one to contain my birthday celebrations to just my one official day (Yes, that’s right, I’m her.  As if you didn’t know that already. Stop feigning horror and surprise.)  

I’m shameless so I’ll go whole hog and admit that I usually try to get myself a birthday gift (yes, I try to be this self adoring and it’s harder than you’d think! I challenge you to it. Stay posted for details.)  

These gifts aren’t about momentary id. They’re about honoring the passage of time… like a little salute to the universe or a thank-you note to the big bang. This life thing is alright. Thumbs up on that one. Havin’ fun. Wish you were here.   

  

I try to pick something for myself that honors where I’ve been and heralds where I’m going, hokey as that sounds. I try to keep the trickster in mind and transform when transformation is called for… this is how I cheat death. My stint as trickster’s apprentice has taught me that much.   

This attitude is not effortless on my part, though many see it that way. Others are 100% on to me. My senior year in college, my honors advisor called me into his office to tell me that my perfectionism would surely be the death of me — and it was unneccessary to boot. My jaw dropped. What perfectionism?  He chuckled at my incredulous reflection all agog in the shiny surface of his desk. He motioned at that shiny, stunned me as if to say, There. See. So I challenged with what I saw as irrefutable logic: “I’m no perfectionist! Why I’m forever falling short and fucking up.” And then he was howling, at first with laughter and then with fury, because he was right and he knew it. He hadn’t used the word “death” lightly.  

I later ranted to my friend Thom, stamping my foot like a child as if to punctuate my imperfection. Dr. Hoch’s a dick, y’know, cause he don’t know, y’know, cause like I’m no perfectionist. I’mnotI’mnotI’mnotnotnot.   

Thom smiled knowingly, “Oh, please. Your ‘fuck-ups’ are other peoples’ ‘crowning glories’.” Then he hedged,  

Honey, c’mon, really? Letting up a little? Not the worst idea ever. Is there any thing left to prove at this point? To who? Profs love you. When class lets out they go and sit in your seat, grinding their asses into the warm wood, moaning oh yes I’m touching her ass through magical osmosis.”  

Thom never passes up a chance to use the word “ass” or to ease my worries either so I put the issue away, for that day. But damn if it hasn’t reared its ugly head again. And again. And again. I still don’t think of myself as a perfectionist so much as a chronic self-saboteur. Even then I wonder if its all some secret fate the trickster has in store. Maybe I fuck-up to save myself from the tyranny of perfection or maybe I’m the tyrant.    

These two sides of my personality are forever waging war within me. Typical Gemini!   

One side sees my birthday as a defeat and a deadline: Oh! Woe! I was supposed to have been The Queen of Sheba by now!   

That bitch is no fucking fun at all.  

The other side sez “And just for that shit, yer ass ain’t never gonna be the Queen of Sheba. I’ll make damn shit sure of it.”  

And that cunt is the reason I’m not the Queen of Sheba.  

She’s also the one you wanna party with. Unless of course you’d rather not be man-handled by a bouncer when your date — saucy mouth, double d’s clad in a punk rock tee, rhinestone tiara — refuses to respect the fucker’s a-THOR-i-tye. But hey she’s good in bed so you go with it.  

  

Birthdays are ALL ABOUT THE PARTY so the perfectionist is a rock, a rock wrapped — like a gift! — in the paper of the fox trickster fuck-up. Rockpaperscissors. Paper beats rock. I win! I scream! You scream! We all scream for ice cream. The 9-year-old in me that expected the 36-year old to be a famous writer by now — jeesh, what have you been doing with your life you loser — must wear a conical party hat. She must bow her head to the fuck-up as the fuck-up schools her on the pleasures and sorrows of adulthood. Sex, weed, HBO, Austin, punk rock,  falling in love, this sci-fi invention called the inter-net, disgracing yourself regularly, getting lost and then found. Oh, such sweet distractions from perfectionist abstractions. Yes, that’s right youngin’, the inter in internet does stand for inter-galactic. Doesn’t it? Or not. Don’t get me lyin’!  Best grown up fuck up pleasure of all? Not having to know motherfucking everything.  

The fuck-up snaps the elastic under the perfectionist’s chin which causes her party hat to go askew. She lets it stay that way. For that alone she deserves a gift. I try to pick out something nice but clever. A talisman of sorts. Something that sez to Time, “Bring it on, bitch. I’m not askerd of you!”  

"Siamese Dream" by Studio Thirty Four

I put a lot of thought into the gifts I give myself but this year I’m at a loss. Sure I’d love that steampunk motorcycle (It’s a beaut! You’ll see it when I post the “Happy Birthday, Steampunk Seductress” page. Soon, my sweets.) But I’m not $70,000 dollars worth of worth it!  There’s more affordable options — Ringleader’s mustache necklace or clownie vest??? I’m getting a new tattoo (my sweet clownie Miss Van) and I just started back on Cream Scene Carnival so…. I dunno. I’m in no hurry to choose. I’m happy to be writing again and that’s enough for me. For now. I’ll still choose something concrete cause I’m a hedonist alive in a physical world and I fuckin’ love cool shit.  

I don’t think the universe objects to the affection I lavish on myself. If anything, the gods appreciate my gusto. How else do you explain the fact that aside from the gifts I give myself I also get birthday gifts from the universe. I do! It’s true! Every year, through some strange turn of events, a gift arrives from no where sent by no one. I was halfway through this post today when the Robot came in with a box from Amazon and began to dig through it furtively, setting mysterious treats aside for his masculine half-assed wrapping treatment. I watch as he peers at the receipt with a perplexed expression, “Did you use D’s gift certificate to get Visions from the Mechanism: The Industrial Surrealism of Jeffery Scott ??” I shake my head and his brow furrows, “No?” I shake my head again. He holds the book up, as if the sight of it will jog my memory. “You didn’t order this? No? Cause I sure as fuck didn’t.”  

I begin to clap my hands with giddy anticipation, squealing “Oh! It must be my gift from the universe! Gimmee!” and he tosses it with a shrug cause he didn’t know the universe gave gifts but turns out it does. He’s seen it enough times now to know it’s true. Thank you to The Thrones! I love it! It’s the perfect gift considering my steampunky desires of late.

Stem Sell part II by Jeffery Scott (30 pages into my new book!)

I pour over the book, licking my lips as I turn the slick pages, page after dark page of mad maxxian sexbot steampunkery. I’m so enchanted by Scott’s mechanistic vision that I don’t notice my Robot as he unwraps a just-arrived CD (The Flaming Lips doing Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety.) He pops it in and presses play, hiking the volume. I’m so absorbed in my book that I think nothing of it until Stardeath and White Dwarfs come on strong and “Time” fills the room with it ticking, graying melancholy:  

 Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.  

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain.
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.  

So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again.
The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older,
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.  

Every year is getting shorter never seem to find the time.
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone, the song is over,
Thought I’d something more to say.   

With the smug swish of a fox tail, the trickster’s sly smile crosses my face . I hafta laugh at my own gemini duplicity — one side, snide, saying “Not enough, more more” and the other side saying, “Oh, thank you! So much! Much much.” One twin pushes, the other twin pinches.  

Titled "I Love you Anyway" or "The Girl Makes Peace With Herself"

We are slutty siamese twins with totally different taste in men. One sister went black and swore she’d never go back but, alas, she shares a vagina with her twin (and she’s got a yen for geeky white men.) Hey, homegirl, at least she’s not a lesbian!  

To my perfectionist side, I give this — the Flaming Lips version of Floyd’s “Time” with Stardeath and White Dwarfs ringing in 2010 at a New Years eve show in the FL’s hometown of Oklahoma City. I wish I had seen this show live!!! This video is shot beautifully by professionals who had total access. Less tha 5000 people have viewed it.  

“Sweet, ” sez Sister Fuck-up, “Let’s watch this sucker like its (black) boy on (black) boy porn. Oh, hell ya! Now pass the hash pipe.”  

The Siamese Twin art above is available on Etsy. “Siamese Dream” is by Studio Thirty Four  and “I Love You Anyway or The Girl Makes Piece with Herself” is by rowenamurillo

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