‘Frank’s Wild Years’ by Tom Waits

tomWaits - Copy

More song lyrics as storytelling:

Well Frank settled down in the Valley
and he hung his wild years
on a nail that he drove through
his wife’s forehead
he sold used office furniture
out there on San Fernando Road
and assumed a $30,000 loan
at 15% and put a down payment
on a little two bedroom place
his wife was a spent piece of used jet trash
made good bloody marys
kept her mouth shut most of the time
had a little Chihuahua named Carlos
that had some kind of skin disease
and was totally blind. They had a thoroughly modern kitchen
self-cleaning oven (the whole bit)
Frank drove a little sedan
they were so happy

One night Frank was on his way home
from work, stopped at the liquor store,
picked up a couple Mickey’s Big Mouths
drank ’em in the car on his way
to the Shell station, he got a gallon of
gas in a can, drove home, doused
everything in the house, torched it,
parked across the street, laughing
watching it burn, all Halloween
orange and chimney red then
Frank put on a top forty station
got on the Hollywood Freeway
headed North

Never could stand that dog

Sufjan Stevens’ ‘John Wayne Gacy, Jr.’

This is another song lyric as storytelling, here on that fine line of finessing the grotesque, but there is certainly no sensationalising or obviously glamourising. This also, like the recent Jason Isbell, shouldn’t be divorced from the melody which in this case is sublimely beautiful and that is why it works so emotively in its juxtaposition:

His father was a drinker
And his mother cried in bed
Folding John Wayne’s T-shirts
When the swingset hit his head
The neighbors they adored him
For his humor and his conversation
Look underneath the house there
Find the few living things
Rotting fast in their sleep of the dead
Twenty-seven people, even more
They were boys with their cars, summer jobs
Oh my God

Are you one of them?

He dressed up like a clown for them
With his face paint white and red
And on his best behavior
In a dark room on the bed he kissed them all
He’d kill ten thousand people
With a sleight of his hand
Running far, running fast to the dead
He took off all their clothes for them
He put a cloth on their lips
Quiet hands, quiet kiss
On the mouth

And in my best behavior
I am really just like him
Look beneath the floorboards
For the secrets I have hid

Tory Scumbags

It wasn’t a great move for Angela Rayner yesterday to call a Tory scum MP ‘scum’, and I don’t blame her one jot, because it allowed that scum party to have a momentary, slightly elevated position from which to dribble some self-righteous drivel, this only marginally above the effluence and big fat liebergs in which they normally reside.

Elephant’s Storytelling

isbell - Copy

I’ve written before about song lyrics as poetry, and Elephant by Jason Isbell is certainly poetic, but it is the storytelling that is most affecting. It shouldn’t be divorced from its melody, and this is a superbly written song, but I share for that plaintive, heartfelt storyline:

She said Andy you’re better than your past
winked at me and drained her glass
cross-legged on the barstool, like nobody sits anymore.
She said Andy you’re taking me home
but I knew she planned to sleep alone
I’d carry her to bed and sweep up the hair from the floor.

If I had fucked her before she got sick
I’d never hear the end of it
she don’t have the spirit for that now.

We drink these drinks and laugh out loud
bitch about the weekend crowd
and try to ignore the elephant somehow
somehow.

She said Andy you crack me up
Seagrams in a coffee cup
sharecropper eyes and her hair almost gone.
When she was drunk she made cancer jokes
she made up her own doctor’s notes
surrounded by her family I saw she was dying alone.

I’d sing her classic country songs
and she’d get high and sing along
she don’t have the voice to sing with now.

We’d burn these joints in effigy
cry about what we used to be
and try to ignore the elephant somehow
somehow.

I buried her a thousand times
giving up my place in line
but I don’t give a damn about that now.

There’s one thing that’s real clear to me
no one dies with dignity
we just try to ignore the elephant somehow
we just try to ignore the elephant somehow
we just try to ignore the elephant somehow
somehow
somehow.

MEATliquor

Ten years ago now I finally got to try the Dead Hippie burger at the MEATliquor in Jubilee Hall at Covent Garden. Two beef patties, seeping juice and grease, winking pink, onions held: it was delicious. No queue, and great to sit up in the mezzanine watching the market surfers below. If there had been a next time it would have been the chili dog and the corn puppies [corn meal wrapped around polish sausage, deep fried]. My kinda food.

Having said the above, it looks like ten years later the chili dog and corn puppies are no longer available. Ah well – it’s still possible to drool over this menu.

menu

 

‘Polaroid’ by Willy Vlautin

Lyrics to this song from the Richmond Fontaine album Post to Wire

Everyone inside was half ruined and almost gone
Outside in the frozen parking lot
He held her in his arms
As he led her inside her glasses fogged from the cold and
They both stood there dressed in their best clothes
“Has anyone here seen my dad” the girl called
“Cause he hasn’t been to work and I don’t know
Where he lives anymore”

Not everyone lives their life alone
Not everyone gives up
Or is beaten or robbed or always stoned
Not everyone

The bartender bought them rounds
And made a toast and
With a Polaroid he took their picture and hung it
Up on the bar mirror all alone
And for a little while it was like
The whole world was alright like
No one was beaten or forsaken or had given up
When they’d just seen light

Fake Views

7

fake views

8

The first picture was taken at the end of May when I placed that slice of feathers in the hedge, hoping to fool anyone who passed into thinking it might have arrived their by natural means. The second picture was taken earlier this month, and in the unlikely event anyone has spotted by chance in passing – at either time – it would be interesting to know their surmises, but especially the surprise and sense of genuine discovery for the second. Perhaps the winter will expose more of that encore shot, back to its original deception.

When Someone Should Be Ashamed

I

A blush or a cringe are on the spectrum. When shall is too active for those whose movements are constrained by emptiness. Guilt horizon in the far off distance. The subjunctive mood is a pipe dream when people who have everything wish it so. Do not endorse an embarrassment with a slip of the tongue or an ungrammatical utterance. A restraint within being ashamed is in holding back the urge to defy, or prevent the pretend there are angel-wings attached to a soar up incredible heights. If you believe in something right you have to believe there is a wrong.

II

Everything is the
utterance of urge,

being active with
a pretend of blush;

and those attached
to restraint have

the mood to slip
into embarrassment.

People endorse
movements
ashamed.

III

To believe it is ungrammatical to
prevent movements in the subjunctive
tongue makes the angels blush at their
active wish for utterance. To slip the
wings from restraint and soar is more
than dream or pretend; to defy distance
as more than urge. Mood heights are
constrained by this embarrassment. To
dream of the far horizon is holding
back something subjunctive in the soar
if it isn’t. Incredible holding: wrong
to be ashamed of the wish. Attached
by movements in the dream of wings
slips restraint in a spectrum of things.