The Tale of Sitting Duck

Sitting Duck,
frozen with fear,
couldn’t paddle, couldn’t fly,
frozen knowing,
that below the Beast was coming,
from below.

And so it did.
Rapacious gaping maw,
black gorger,
wide open,
all teeth,
snapping and gulping and swallowing,
’till all there was left
in the universe of the duck
hemmed in by teeth closing
was the rooting slathering tongue,
of the Beast.

Sitting Duck,
it’s mouth gaping in fear
as it fell into the cavernous jaws
of the maw,
suddenly,
inexplicably,
lunged at the great beast’s tongue,
and beaked it,
then…
realizing…
beaked it harder and still harder,
beaked with all it’s might,
and held on for it’s dear Sitting Duck life.

The great Beast gasped,
then gabbered,
then stuttered, then coughed,
but still Sitting Duck wouldn’t let off.
It wheezed, and sneezed,
it buzzed, it teethed,
it spat and ululated,
and raced to and fro,
but still Sitting Duck wouldn’t let go.
The Beast flabbered and gasted,
couldn’t swallow, chew or catch,
on it’s tongue, Sitting Duck,
unrelenting in his latch.

For hours, then days, then weeks
the duck wouldn’t release,
and the Beast,
swimming in circles,
writhered and railed,
then paled,
and fell weak.

Then Sitting Duck –
now mighty from feeding on the great Beast’s tongue –
flexed it’s wings,
and heaved with it’s mighty beak,
and beat and beat
as hard as it could,
and harder and harder,
and lifted the limp beast by the tongue into the air,
higher and still higher.

Then with a great gasp,
Sitting Duck spat the Beast from Below,
and it fell and it fell
tumbling down
far and still farther,
and then kerashed and kersplattered,
in a terrible horrible glabble,
of guts, and teeth and bones.

Sitting Duck –
Mighty Sitting Duck –
now descended to the splattage carnage,
winging back down to the ground.
There it fluttered and flapped,
and bippity-bopped,
and picked all the very best bones of the lot.
It stacked them in order,
tight, interlocked,
and built,
bone by bone,
a beautiful home,
from the bones of the Beast from Below.

0-The Beast from Below 1-Sitting Duck, Frozen with Fear 2-The Maw 3-The Beast Buzzed Teethed Spat and Ululated 4-The Beast Flabbered and Gasted 5-It Fell and It Fell 6-The Beautiful Home

PopUp Solo Set

I now have a pop-up solo set which I can perform most anywhere.
Folk, blues , funk punk, ambient, sound art and just plain noise,
there’s even a couple-a a-cappella, and a long poem runs through it.
Visitations from Dorothy, Abe Lincoln & Jiminy Cricket,
Improvisations, train wrecks, I can’t quite predict
how it will go,
every piece has a life of its own,

and away it goes…

Dare Drive

Normal-Rockwell-Boy-on-High-DiveBless the drive
that compels you over
the great divide.
The faith
by which you take
the great leap.

You don’t need to know how to fly.
You never dive into wide open sky.
You can’t see,
yet,
the unexpected
astonishing
weaving
that will emerge beneath and before you,
a net
work
of new openings
and surprising ways forward.

 

Fascism & Utopia

a poem for extremists everywhere

Blacktop Mountaintop

 

Fascism is a hair’s breadth from Utopia.

Those who try to force funnel the hard grit gravity ground of everyday into Utopia,
to compel it across the great divide,
turn into extremists, slavemasters, witchhunters.
Naiively they set out to purify the strain, exorcise the demons, exterminate the wrong thinking, abolish the Mixolydians.
They wind up razing the terrain,
sterilising the DNA,
creating mutants and monsters,
which they,
and subsequent generations,
spend their lives chasing,
or running away from.

Pure seeds are so fragile.
Little trees planted in the scarification after the burn.
Acres upon acres,
hectares upon hectares,
kilometres upon kilometres of burn…
God the heat,
the scorching heat on the mountains of burn,
blacktop mountaintops as far as the eye can see.

Here we plant the little tree, the pure seed, the clean gene, the clear clean code,
and wait,
utterly simple single-minded, mono,
for the perfect shoot to grow.

 

 

 

* In my youth I spent summers planting trees.  One season I was in the mountains around Prince George, BC. The mountains had been completely clearcut and then razed by fire, an endeavor so grand in scale that it was, at the time, the only human project significantly visible from space. We planted only one species – one believed to be most profitable 60 years hence when it would be harvested –  to replace the grand diversity that had previously dwelt there for millenium, and returned home each day, head to toe, black in ashes.

 

Enantiodromia

This fragment – an accidental improv featuring Greg Hopen on saxaphone, Jordan Wallace on bass, Dave Kimpden on drums and Nik Beeson on guitar – was recorded live off the floor in Dave Kimpden’s drum studio by a boombox around 1997. Nik’s voiceover was added a couple of months later.

 

climbing without ascent
running without advance
were you thinking about dying?
or are you dying to be reborn?

Mississippi River twisted meandering - Harold Fisk map

One of Harold N. Fisk’s amazingly beautiful charts of the twisting meanderings of the 2,320 mile long Mississippi River in 1944.

Between the straight line of evolution
and the circle of revolution,
in a held tension,
is a gyre.
In tension, creation,
In tension creation,
In tension, creation.
Snake advances by vacillation along the ground,
gyrfalcon’s wings beating up and down.
In the greatest tension, the greatest creation,
and the greatest creation is the gravest danger,
and destruction is tension held taut beyond limitation.
Taut ’till broke,
bent ’till rent,
the acrobatic art
splits apart,
and the acrobat
falls.

The fearsome fire white hot burning up,
white knuckled clenched fist gripped tight,
the teeth that grind in the night.
The parched string screaming taut,
bow pulled,
quivering,
arched,
shivering back,
bent to point of rent,
releases
the piercing pointed
arrow of light,
seams bursting,
splitting
apart.
FLAME OF CHANGE
WELDERS FLAME
FLAMES TO BURN THE PAST AWAY

Enantiodromia through the wall that is the inside of an egg.
Primal instinct in integration with x-ray vision.
A bow of hope pulled to the tightest taut,
bent to the quivering razor edge of rent,
knocked with an arrow that was blackest coal
but through fear’s anguished energy
was crushed, fused and crystallised
into a piercing pointed diamond
of sharpest compassion.

 

 

The Casa Dentata

casa dentataThere was once a village where no one ever fought.
Conflict was outlawed.

When angry the villagers counted to 10,
or 20,
or 30,
or as long as it took,
for their anger to pass.

In this silent village
the silent children roamed
with sticks and stones,
switch, switch,
swack, swack,
annhilating every living thing in their paths.

At the top of the hill
overlooking the town
was the Casa Dentata:
a castle in the shape of a molar,
the courtyard of which was a huge cavity,
an open pit mine,
drilling out enamel to supply
the silent town
whose teeth were all ground down.

Replacing the Sunrise

We crossed the water –
shed –
tears.
Now the river flows the other way,
the tide
turns
over
turns
our universe,
and the sun rises from another horizon.

– Indigenous Rights Circle, KAIROS Circle fest, May 2012
I overheard a fragment of a conversation, “…replacing the sunrise…” – moved me…

The Tale of Sitting Duck

the black gorgerThe sitting duck
frozen with fear
couldn’t paddle, couldn’t fly,
frozen knowing
that below the beast was coming
from below.

And so it did,
rapacious gaping maw,
black gorger,
wide open
all teeth
snapping and gulping and swallowing
’till all there was left
in the universe of the duck
hemmed in by teeth closing
was the rooting slathering tongue
of the beast.

Sitting duck
it’s mouth gaping in fear
as it fell into the cavernous jaws
of the maw
suddenly, inexplicably, lunged
at the great beast’s tongue,
beaked it,
then, realizing,
beaked it harder,
beaked it with all it’s might
and held on for dear life.

The great beast gasped,
then gabbered,
then stuttered, then coughed,
but still Sitting Duck wouldn’t let off.
It wheezed, sneezed,
spat and ululated,
it buzzed, it teethed,
it raced to and fro,
but still sitting duck wouldn’t let go.

The beast flabbered and gasted
couldn’t chew, swallow or catch,
’cause on it’s tongue
was Sitting Duck,
totally focused,
still latched.

For hours, then days, then weeks
duck wouldn’t release,
and the beast,
swimming in circles,
writhered and railed,
then paled,
and fell weak.

Then Sitting Duck,
now mighty,
from feeding on the great beast’s tongue,
flexed it’s wings,
and heaved with it’s beak,
and beat and beat
as hard as it could
and harder and harder
and lifted the limp beast
by the tongue
into the air
higher and higher.
Then with a great gasp,
Sitting Duck spat
the beast from below
and it fell and it fell
far and farther
and went kerash and kersplatter
in a horrible glabble
of guts, and teeth and bones.

Sitting Duck,
now descended to the splattage carnage,
winging back down to the ground.
There it fluttered and flapped
and bippity-bopped,
and picked all the very best bones of the lot.
It stacked them in order
bottom to top,
tight, interlocked,
and built,
bone by bone,
a beautiful home,
from the bones of the beast from below.

Silver Salmon

Silver Salmon

O good song,
drop down my throat
into my heart of sound
and dangle my soul
over my dark vibrato.
Crack my armour,
melt my stones,
down in that dark heart
I’ll sing my way home.

I cough and I hack
what’s holding me back
then the air rushes into my lungs.
The bones in my back
go crickety-crack
then my guts they come unstrung.
When the rock in my crux
is wracked and wrung,
when the tremoling has begun,
then the knots in my soul come loose;
ropes running writhing,
swinging fists of pain,
striking and striking my heart bell again and again,
and then I’m ringing, I’m ringing, I’m ringing,
then I’m a black bell singing, singing, singing.

O good song
you breathe into
my whole body
whole.

O good song
you breathe me into
a clanging, knelling,
temple gong.

O good song:
your sounding dives down
to find the elusive silver salmon.
Find it with your singing,
find it with your ringing,
chase it down with your dark vibrato,
a bright silver flashing,
a shaft of light flick’ring,
a ripple, a glimpse of muscle
flexing in the deep.
No catching, no latching,
no holding, no grasping,
wily, slipperish, she must always run free.

O good song,
you brave dive down
soul hoping only to ride
the wild fish wild;
no reins, no bit, no bridle,
she’ll only let you ride her
if you give, if you give, if you give,
all of you,
all.

She is onely,
she is whole,
complete, unbroken,
and you own
only one thing to her worth heeding,
only one thing, maybe, she’s needing,
your pain, your fears,
your secret tears,
your terrors and taboos,
your screws come loose,
your trembling gashes
which are always bleeding.

She is onely;
ever unbroken, ever wild,
and the only way she’ll let you ride
is if you show her all you hide,
only let you know her name
if you display your most crippling shame.
She’ll let you near
if you expose your most dear fear.
You win by losing, pay out your victory dues,
Maybe you’ll succeed, seduce, if you offer up your wounds;
your scars, your cracks, your tears,
Your grooves’ll groove her.
Bare the throat of your being
and there, here, now she is,
wild and bare, loosed hair,
but don’t stare.
Nor even look.
‘Cause everything wild either freezes or flees before man’s rapacious glare;
snake’s alive,
she’ll eat your flesh, your bones,
turn you into stone.

O good song
breathe me into
my whole body
whole.

O good song
breathe me into
a clanging, knelling,
temple gong.

You wish only to ride
the wild fish wild
for then you know
your song sings true.
Only when you ride
the wild fish wild,
only when you ride
the wild fish free
will your song sing true.

The Mouse that Roared

They say ‘silent as a mouse’ ,
but there was once a mouse
still more silent than that
for this mouse never even opened his mouth.
But make no mistake, there was good reason for this;
the mouse knew,
from experience true,
that if he opened his mouth not a peep would come out,
not a peep,
but a ROAR!

The mouse that roared could bring down a house
with the vast sound that would come out
when he opened his mouth.
All the other animals would flee in fear
with that awesome sound ringing in their ears,
save only a few,
the big, brave and dumb,
who from miles around, from far and from near,
would round about come,
to seek out the roar, the source of the sound,
’cause to rule the forest you have to show your might,
you have to give it a fight,
O what a sight!

The lions and tigers and bears would show up,
and rhinos and panthers,
and boa constrictors,
and hippos and leopards,
and poisonous lizards,
scorpions, spiders and laughing hyenas,
elephants, crocks,
and great big gorillas,
but by far worst of all
for a mouse so small,
were the falcons and owls and eagles all regal,
with their eyes that could see day and night night and day
the tiniest movements a tiny mouse could make.

The battleground was prepared all could see,
and all did battle because none could see,
beyond his own wish to rule
his wish to be right
to rule the forest
if not right, then by might.

The gorillas threw down fruit from the trees,
the scorpions brought the bears to their knees,
owls warred lions and tigers through the night,
the falcon drove the rhino right out of sight,
the lizards ate the spiders with glee,
the eagles erred in coming down to see,
the spiders bit the boa constrictor,
the elephant stomped and thought he was victor,
the hippo downed the poisonous lizards,
the panthers and leopards fought though they’re sisters,
the crock bit the hippo right in the butt,
and the hyenas laughed ’till they split a gut.

In the end all were done and none won,
save one who looked on, alone, unsung:
the mouse, the mouse that roared,
who stayed out of the fray and whom all had ignored.
He crawled out from his hole,
surveyed the state of dismay,
and announced that the forest
was free for a year,
or a month or a day,
’till the big brave and dumb
would regret what they hadn’t overcome or won,
and would gather together,
and defeat one another again all over, and all over again,
and the mouse could then announce, once again, plain as day,
that the forest was free,
for a year or a month or a day.

—————————————-

That is why,
you must now know and now see,
that the mouse that roared never made even a peep.
He escaped the uproar his roar would make
and lived alone, yet safe, in a cave.
He bit his tongue, trained it to behave,
knowing yet, if the time should come,
come what may, maybe it would,
that he could open his mouth and roar in need,
and roar he could, roar loud, indeed!

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