Monday, September 24, 2018

Music I used to listen to

Discovering T-Rex in my teen years had something about it of finding dinosaur bones in your backyard. Alternative/grunge was mainstream, so you had to dig further in a way. Not that I was trying. I didn't like Stone Temple Pilots, Smashing Pumpkins, SoundGarden, Green Day, etc. Or anyways, I may have listened to them from time to time, but I never bought their albums. I bought Radiohead. I bought John Lee Hooker. And I bought T-Rex.

Then there was discovering that T-Rex used to be the flower child, Tyrannosaurus Rex, in what would seem to be a vindication of the cliche about every rock band's ultra-naive folk period as depicted in This is Spinal Tap. But I listened to T-Rex from the start because of their simple hooks - their lean freshness sustained by the odd. Bolan was always about the hooks. And he carried a melody very, very well.

Listening to Tyrannosaurus Rex, that sense of returning to the melodic and uncluttered was even greater. And I think it was so because Marc Bolan's duo with Steve Peregrin Took (!) had a depth that was lacking as Bolan's drive towards glam rock, and hence his split with Took, showed up his hook-based songs too often in a glaring, vapid light. I think Took was that necessary provider of the weird and the odd, the suspensions and inversions and all the musical terms I don't know about because I'm not Rick Beato; the counterpoint that was more than counterpoint because it was a deepness, it matched the hooks and grooves so well. I remember some of their pure, simple tunes haunting me for several days in the high school hallways one rainy autumn.

Like this one:

I mean, that's a Hobbit song. Not an Elvish song. But a Hobbit song that was picked up way back when, before any Hobbit can recall its origins, as a Took or Baggins was wandering along some forest edge or field and overheard Elves singing, and so adopted it. Or the part of it he could remember. You can picture four or so Hobbits humming and singing it among themselves as they make their long trek on foot.

And I know. The hippy faux Lord of the Rings fantasy poetic lyrics (and sometime album art), dedicating one of their albums to Kahlil Gibran, etc. And to repeat: the full name of his back-up vocalist percussionist and general other instruments player was Steve Peregrin Took. I love that. He was a genius. So was Marc Bolan. I hope they are both making music in heaven.

And you know what? There are worse things. Far worse things.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Friday, September 7, 2018

Monday, September 3, 2018

The Wait

Fireworks, father, father, fireworks.
Vancouver is hippodrome to them in the west.
Sonorous over the high-rise front, they
clap the summer slate and bring a silence
out, that's ever pending in the vast cement.

They bereave the room while champagne pouncing,
dazzling crowds that have flocked to the bay
to be dazzled. Each crane splay, willow-spring
star blow you could not care less about.
Inlet's view has emptied the streets.

Shortly on the show's expiring
people will overwhelm them and flow
back through. Traffic will be gummed, so to stay
until wending ways are cleared would be wise,
or try now and leave before they come - father,

they're just around the window frame, father,
fireworks, fireworks. Loneliest things
to take up air, they make the fiercer art
that lies unkindled, between us here,
take up space, demanding. Ancient clay

that's mute, having no words comes up from
years of a youth, unknown until now.
Pressed to the flesh of it, I bow,
and you are pressed past the living hours,
as each poorer minute, you gain the door,

as up past the ceiling tiles are no more floors.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Brick by brick

I didn't know about this huge icon triptych that was commissioned for the World Meeting of Families in Ireland. With the title Amoris Laetitia under the central image of the Holy Family, it is outstanding; luminous and quietly monumental.

The icon(s), painted by Mihai Cucu, was venerated at the pontifical Mass. Also the altar cross used for the Mass is a beautiful penal cross dating from 1763. It is probably a second-class relic. Who knows.

"The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."

Who would have known about these wonderful liturgical contributions under the consensus of the faithful, when people are jumping the gun to declaim their condemnation of some mildly newfangled vestments, which in situ - on the wearers in an outdoor environment - don't actually look half as bad as the critics claim?

Oh well.

"Jesus, in fact, wants to shake the Scribes and the Pharisees from the error in which they have fallen, and, what is this error? It is that of distorting the Will of God, neglecting His Commandments to observe human traditions. Jesus’ reaction is severe because much is at stake: it’s about the truth of the relationship between man and God, the authenticity of religious life. A hypocrite is a liar; he isn’t genuine.

"Also today, the Lord invites us to flee from this danger of giving more importance to form than to substance. He calls us to recognize ever anew what is the true center of the experience of faith, namely, love of God and love of neighbor, purifying it from the hypocrisy of legalism and ritualism." --Pope Francis, September 2 Angelus Address

Wednesday, August 29, 2018


The grocery store I go to has a piano that customers are encouraged to play if they feel inclined. A man on it this evening was playing this.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Monday, August 20, 2018

Sand Leaves

A few of the very bottom leaves. They are always small and the first to go yellow and cure, outside under the plant. They are called sand leaves because of the dirt spraying up on them from watering and rain.

I picked up those three from the ground and put them in my car, and with the heat of day they very quickly gave off that sweet tobacco smell - Virginia, or Canadian Virginia.

I can't describe how much I love that smell. It is one of the glories of God. He gives these leaves that give sweet aromas after they have died and dried - like Katsura leaves, and like the Pacific Northwest's own Vanilla Leaf, or as it also called, Sweet-after-death.

Sunday, August 19, 2018