Articles

A Lovesong for Elliott Smith

I read the words on Elliott’s fan maintained but somewhat official website; “Memorial service to be held for Elliott Smith…” I was checking to see if he was going to be playing in Ireland, which he wasn’t. He wasn’t going to be playing anywhere, ever again.

I had been an Elliott Smith fan for about a year at that point. I was already aping his songs. I probably have been, to some extent, for the entirety of my “career” as a musician. I was young, only sixteen. I still am young I suppose, but it seems like a very long time ago. I feel like a different person, but still the same. I was always slightly melancholy, without even trying. I vomited effortless cynicism and sarcasm.

To that extent, I had found my music. I had found someone who had managed to do the “one guy with a guitar and the truth” thing, and do it sincerely, beautifully. It felt like a piece in a musical puzzle that was defining what I was supposed to do or be. It sounds delusional now. It probably was.

The day I read that he had died, I don’t believe I cried. I probably have done since. I did curse the world, and whatever fates had conspired to end his life. I listened to all of the songs I had downloaded. I had hunted for a year for his work in music shops nearby.

Of course, after he died, they stocked him, in a gesture of rock star myth perpetuation. Why the fuck are people suddenly interested in an artist when they die? All I see are lost albums. I see a man who was thirty six, only eight years older than I am currently, a man who was in the absolute prime of his musical life, despite extreme adversity that included a serious drug habit, and all of the demons that torment so many of us. A guy who could create the bones of what would become “From a Basement on a Hill”, which I would argue is the best posthumous release of all time.

Did I find his songs so sad before he died? Did the allusions to mortality ring so true? I’m not sure; it’s hard to remember. I definitely didn’t think “Needle in the Hay” was a happy song. All I knew was that it was the most beautiful music, not music, sound I had ever heard. It hurts that he will never compose another song, and that countless mediocre bands will live into their seventies. There is no justice in popular taste.

The new documentary, “Heaven Adores You”, will give you some insight into the man. It doesn’t bother with the myth, talks directly to the people who knew him best without becoming too gratuitous. Nobody wants the details on his addictions, bar tabloid trash websites. Find more information on http://www.heavenadoresyou.com.

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Poetry

Morning-time Motorised Ritual Becomes Venue for Criticism

Slithering sycophants,
Cradled by the bosom of benevolent business,
Intelligence never equaling greed.
Toss them pigs some more feed.
Empty days,
Empty years at sea, floating in obscurity.
I thought I would be famous, I was wrong.
Everything I want is gone.

Grey and dismal in spring and in summer,
Graceful and hopeful yeah she was a stunner.
What the hell is joy anyway?
Gone for eternity, here for a day.
Where the hell is your pride anyway?
No self respect without drama and sex,
Fit so fake with your protein shake.
Pout shut out, your open mouth,
Never produced anything of value;

Picture perfect what a bitch you became,
Flicker frenzy I remember your name.
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Poetry

An Ode to Hope

Do not dismiss hope in favour of fear,

Hatred takes hold in hearts that revere,

The negative spaces that outline your soul,

Driving a wedge to fill in the hole.

Whole and hole are one and the same,

Freedom is taking on some of the blame,

Accountable always and willing to change,

Know when to destroy and when to arrange.

The love that we hold inside of our hearts,

Rusted and rushed and made of false starts,

Is love none the less, emotions run high,

Without an embrace we may as well die.

Open your heart to the warmth of the sun,

Attempt beyond heartache to love everyone,

This life is a fairground, the world is a ride,

A coming and going like wind and the tide.

Mechanistic in nature I cling to the bits,

The littlest fragments of hurt when it hits,

Frail like the kindling that burns in the hearth,

Over and over before I could start.

We are not the computers that we use to take flight,

The tools don’t define us, they bask in our light,

A machine with perspective and a heart made of gold,

for all it’s misgivings tries to care for it’s old.

Open your heart and open your mind,

Remember our singular similar kind,

Strength is in numbers and the power of word,

Ensure you are clearly and effectively heard

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Poetry

Shields – a quick reflection

Your greatest gift was when you tore,

My heart out of my chest.

The cavity you left behind,

Made me work to be my best.

You ask for my forgiveness,

I tell you not to fret,

Your gifts of shells and shields from pain,

Are the best i’ll ever get.

You shower me with sorrys,

Darling, don’t you see?

I realised i lived for you,

Instead of being me.

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Poetry

The Lipstick Obliterate

Lips kissing lips,

Embrace and intertwine
Sepa-ha-rately fingertips.
Each face was like a canvas, to place a piece of art,
And softly as it pressed, it worked into the heart,
Believing for a minute: moments, tender and sublime,
Wasted time.
Fracturing a godsend, artist, lover; this miscarriage of justice is a note.
Untrue ripple spread in perfect circled lines, to bail the water from the boat.
Crying: save the souls of sinners, never terse when saying worse.
Drive body to the brink of death, drive shotgun in the hearse.
Time dreaming time,
When whiskey turns to brandy,
When brandy turns to wine.
Celebrate the constitution, enabling this woe,
Cut to little pieces; reality — all a show.
Casting and characters, reels and lines.
Fishing for compliments, pulling up mines.
Desolate in the room, dark and dismal, where love long ago lost.
Clarifying emotion, adrift in the ocean and bitter as frost.
Burning the truth to protect the core;
Wasted time, as before.
Begging to stay, on the walk to the door.
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Poetry

Second Choice – A Poem

My loves, they come and go like trains,
Steal away, leave the rain, never to come again.
This is the bread and butter of it all,
A stutter, small, a christ – broke in front of you, watch me fall.
You’ll be second choice until you’re dead,
Always words instead, always words for other men instead.
The cream of dreams assembles bots, bits enact a code,
Sent the machines scattered – searching for you, on the road.

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Poetry

New Years Eve 2011 – A Poem

Innocent love, you and I,
impossible, and yet we tried.
Our time it spanned one, just like this,
a year, for us to laugh and kiss.

With velvet wings you pulled me close,
you wrapped me up, you overdose,
and growing sick of my discourse,
you leave, and you leave me of course.

I don’t mean to paint you wrong,
that’s the way of wretched songs,
that’s the way of the world, lover.
More of which I’ll soon discover

For when my brushstrokes land upon you,
when my easel bends to greet you,
all my words, that some call art,
just the thoughts of broken hearts

Happy new years, little lover,
I gave you more than any other.
Still so little, still so useless,
I tried, i tried, but I am hopeless.

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