Fondly: Fumbling in the Dark

November 7, 2013

fndlygrphc

It was dark before he even got home.

 

He, of course, forgot to leave a light on. This meant fumbling in the dark, something he should be used to by now in every sense of the phrase.

 

He didn’t do anything for the first thirty seconds through the doorway. He just stood quietly; his dog jumping in place in the mixed euphoria of his best friend’s return and dinner.

 

He took a deep breath, placed a calm hand on the dog’s head, and sighed before heading to the kitchen.

 newestrings

As the dog inhaled his dinner, he mixed a drink. Carefully—deliberately.

 

Solemnly.

 

The kitchen window had already transformed into a mirror, giving him a darkened, slightly obscured reflection.

 

He looked more disheveled than normal.

 

Usually, it was a part of his charm, but now he just look defeated.

 

Deflated and beaten down.

 

It wasn’t any one thing. It was every little thing. One thing after another, in every part of his life; raindrops collecting in a bucket that was just about full.

 pollbk

He didn’t bother taking off his coat, merely loosening his tie as he walked back to the living room, his dog trailing at his feet.

 

When he flipped the switch to turn on the lamp, he was met with a flash and a pop, followed by darkness. That was his last light bulb.

 

When it rains it pours.

 

He took a drink and sat down, as his dog curled up beside him, head in lap.

 

Left to fumble in the dark until sunrise.

mtchmid

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Fondly: Not for me

November 4, 2013

fndlygrphc

She climbed onto the sink, her towel falling to the floor, her back to me.

 

She was putting on her makeup for a show; I was merely admiring the view.

 

She leaned in closer to the mirror to add her eyeliner and fake lashes.

 

I looked at her feet. They were filthy.

 

I had neither seen anyone, nor anything more beautiful in my entire life than in that moment.

 

But she wasn’t doing it for me.

 

And she had no idea what either fact did to me.

mtchmid

I’ve got rhythm.

October 25, 2013

nxt

I never graduated college.

This is a fact that I’m both proud of, and mortified by.

I’m proud, simply because I managed to become a success regardless. It’s proof that if you figure out your goals, make a strategy and have a little patience, you really can do whatever the hell you want.

I’m mortified, because I consider myself an intelligent individual, but school somehow never worked out for me. With the exception of a few distinct years, I got good grades, by and large. When I dropped out, I literally had a 4.0 GPA.

But it was always a struggle.

It was always a pain.

I hated very second of it.

And I never really cared if I didn’t understand how it actually applied to me and the life by which I was surrounded.

len

In grade school, I was so underwhelmed by lessons and over stimulated by thought, my third grade teacher inadvertently invented “Independent Studies” for me. She figure out how to put my energy to use, by writing books, and plays, creating sets, binding, etc.

My mom tells me that if it had existed back then, I would have been diagnosed with ADHD. When I was a kid, they called it hyperactivity and gave us Ridlin. But mine was confined to my mind. And thank god. Rather than some prescription that made me calm and complacent, I had a teacher that figured out how to help me put my mind to a better use.

Not that I don’t believe in the usefulness of antidepressants and medication when truly necessary, but as a child, the mind is a great coping mechanism.

art2

Sometimes, I think I have dyslexia. Words get jumbled when I read, and if I write too fast, I literally write words backwards. But if nobody tells you there’s an excuse, you don’t have one and push through it.

And if you’re lucky enough to have parents that instill a passion for the simple act of learning, discovering…if you indeed love to embrace the fact that there is still so much unknown, it’s really easy to push through.

To evolve. Every day.

Case in point. I always believed I had no rhythm. I couldn’t even snap in beat to songs I sang, and knew intimately.

One day, a band member called me out.  I don’t know theory; I don’t know shit, aside from what rests in my soul. I have no problem with criticism, especially when it’s as constructive as this was. I was snapping on the up beat, when I should be snapping on the down.

It wasn’t that I had no rhythm; I simply had the wrong rhythm.

Mind. Blown.

It’s like learning that 1+1=3. Like learning you’ve been tying your shoes wrong your entire life. Such a simple, mild adjustment. We have to be open to the fact that we don’t always know. Even when we assume we usually do. Because, even when we know so much, we have to be open to the idea that we’re wrong; that we don’t know shit from shine-ola.

This is a fatal flaw in the world—we all have egos.

But once you shed that—once you admit that the key to knowing everything is the simple fact that you know nothing at all, that’s when you can truly figure it out. When there are no rules, no egos, no pomp nor circumstance, but rather, an open mind. That’s when the magic really happens.

Me…?

I’ve got rhythm…

…now.

An Eloquent Regret

October 25, 2013

rs

I wish my words were stronger

I wish yours were for me

I wish you’d held on longer

And I wish I’d set you free

But wishes are just poetry

An eloquent regret

And the future is unwritten,

Another past to happen yet

mtchmid

We all lose.

September 29, 2013

rs

I don’t write love songs.

The world has enough of those.

I do write about love, but only in the perspective of loss.

Because that’s universal.

We all lose.

But not everyone loves.

cliche

Nocturnal Admissions: Kindling at the Ready

September 27, 2013

len1

I have had a rather strange week. Strange only in contrast to the week prior, full of professional oddity and the type of strange that has somehow become my norm.

This was an inadvertent, self-imposed variation of a semi-solitary confinement of sorts. I didn’t try to cut myself off from the outside world, save for brief moments of self-supposed wit and charm via the social satellites of love…

I just did.

I’ve mentioned in recent posts that, save for poems and short chapters, I have been a bit at a loss for words.

It’s not that they aren’t there; there are simply far too many. Far too many unfinished chapters and half-started explorations stemming from a mind that moves faster than the hand, whether by ink or keyboard.

I am, by trade and reputation, an emotional, passionate man. I am learning from experience that I am best admired from afar, lest you see the unavoidable truths of the temperament found within me; found within a complex man in search of simple things.

I am, by trade and reputation, a tornado.

But this week, without planning such, my emotion has been vacant, my passion focused and quiet. There have been brief moments of contentment, longing, angst and melancholy, but they only creep out like a soft light emanating from underneath a bedroom door.

Without trying, I’ve spent the week in a cosmic ambivalence, by and large, shrugging the universe off in trade of simple images that say more than my words ever could.

More than they ever should.

Loud images, in a quiet place, my mind focused on nothing but.

icarus

It is an artist’s burden to feel so damned much all the time. It allows us to display these emotions, explain them, or at least show the world they exist, so they can feel them too.

Or perhaps, know they aren’t alone.

Without, of course, the privileges and benefits of slowly going crazy as a result.

 pen

Emotional ambiguity. To exist in this state for too long is a tragedy for any man or woman. But for me, right now, it’s kind of necessary. Even were it not, I am here nonetheless.

I’ve thought too hard. Longed too hard. Spoke too hard. Loved too hard. Lost too hard.

Sometimes I drink too hard, and perhaps I simply live too hard.

It can make a man tired.

 newestrings2

Sometimes, when I feel everything, I need a little time to feel nothing.

But.

It’s a farce. Deep down, I know better.

Hard as I may try, to stop feeling altogether would be to stop living.

And regardless of how one lives, for this brief moment in time, we are alive.

Perhaps this emotional dissidence is merely a temporary calm before a rather large storm.

The biggest blazes all start with a spark, and I am but kindling at the ready.

mtchmid

Tangle of Lights: When Words Fail…Art pt. 2

September 26, 2013

len_art

Far too often, my work has ideas of its own; no matter how well I plan out a project or try to envision it as a finished piece, even before I begin, I know it will go where it must.

Me? I merely go with it.

It’s like steering a runaway horse that you know won’t stop until it wants to.

You hold on tight, and hope to god you don’t get lost.

It’s a very stark contrast to my creative process for advertising. That is a system all its own, with calculations in both strategy and risks. It has a budget, and far more accountability on a fairly immediate level.

But deadlines are for the mad.

This most recent one has taken me into a dead forest full of petrified skulls hiding in the mud, if you look close enough.
clsup1
Sometimes I vomit my emotions publicly through words, through music and performance.

Other times, I merely exorcise or, more to wit, recognize my demons.
newroot2
I’ve reached the stopping point for piece number two in my series, it’s ready to be ignored for a spell, so I can return to it with a little separation.

So it’s on to the next process, the next piece of the series, and in the most obvious of clichés, the next piece of the puzzle.

nxt

I haven’t any idea just how far deep this rabbit hole goes.

But.

I’m okay with such things.

Hell, I jump in head first, regardless of how I might land.

theroot2d

Tangle of Lights: When Words Fail…Art

September 24, 2013

len_art

I don’t always get to pick what I work on. Sometimes, I merely must.

Sometimes, I want more than anything to do just one thing.

But I do something else—entirely.

It’s not a misdirected obsession, merely an opportunity to follow my inner muse wherever it may lead.

Sure, today I wanted to work on an essay about the importance of writing by hand. The scientific background attached to a higher plain of thought resulting from a journal.

I’ve been researching it for months.

But my words are hard to come by these days, save for the occasional misread poem or random short chapter.

I wouldn’t call it writer’s block, so much as a motivational lull.

Words are so much easier to misread than art.

Art is open.

It was meant to be misunderstood, made personal in message, kept individual by the souls that witness it.

When words fail, the simplest truth is found in a more direct emotional response.

I started a new piece tonight, a new process to fall into and be swept away by. The second in a series focused on the roots of human emotion.

More specifically, mine own.

This has been the primary subject of my therapy recently, both in a licensed professional’s office, and in my own head and heart as I create songs, words and art.

But words have failed me as of late.

I am fortunate to have so many outlets—so many options to express myself.

Through eloquence, through a messy rage, through melancholy, I can look deeply into my own dark soul and search.

My mind is mine. My mind is mined.

My mind is always on public display, to help avoid confusion of character.

Why look to the words of others, when it’s already there, waiting for you to see?

So until I find the words, the process continues, as do I.

theroot2(click it to see it much larger)

But this is merely the beginning.

smoke

This isn’t you.

September 20, 2013

rs

Ambiguous little words.

Closed to accomplice, open to interpretation.

Lost in vanity.

Vague messages on a grander scale.

Born after one passing, left in another wake altogether.

This isn’t you.

This is an altogether different song.

This is me.

And my ambiguous little words.

Often overheard, rarely understood.

newestrings2

Tangle of Lights: the Process, Part 2

September 20, 2013

len_art

The process. There’s a process for nearly everything in life. From grieving to growing, everything is some sort of process.

But the process of creating, this is different.

For me, it’s deliberate. Like a long, slow fuck.

This is nowhere near completion, I like taking my time, devoted to every inch of the canvas. We’re about 50 hours into this one, now…

bloggrphc-Recovered-Recovered

I’m not one to finish too prematurely.

theroot

Do You Remember…?

September 18, 2013

rs

Do you remember?

How it felt?

I do.

Every inch.

Every drop of sweat.

Every scrunched eyebrow, moan, curse and scream.

I remember it all.

And I remember why it mattered.

These are but moments, rife for nostalgia.

But I remember, nonetheless.

newestrings2

Tangle of Christmas Lights: The Process…

September 18, 2013

len_art

 

The process.

 

I love it.

 

It is, in essence the art, more so than the final product.

 

The process is what gives the masses their pretty picture; their art.

 

The process is what I treasure most as an artist.

 

The fear of finishing, not because it isn’t done…

 

Because I’m not.

 

len

 

I’ve been working on a piece for a good 20-30 hours now…starting with individual pieces that will ultimately barely be noticed, if at all, save for the moments when a drug-addled college kid stumbles across my work and stares too hard…which is just hard enough for why I did it in the first place.

 

It has to start somewhere…

art1

 

and from there it went. I continued adding things, moments, faces, torments, stress, baggage of sorts…Symbols of a man’s mind when he can’t find the silence.

 

evolutionaryscream

(click the image to see a larger variation)

Where it goes from here, I do not know just yet. The process is far from over.

Just wait and see…

Nocturnal Admissions: Cotton swabs and mortality…

September 16, 2013

len1

Mortality.

We all die eventually.

That’s the big joke about life.

There is but one guarantee.

The wise man is aware of this, and uses it as a sound argument for taking full advantage of this temporary disposition.

Those of us less sound spend our time wondering how…

Not if, that’s a given. Not when, that would ruin the surprise.

How.

rn2

I spend (far too much) time thinking about this.

I’d like to think my obituary will speak of a final heroic act revolving around the rescue of puppies and orphans from a fiery death, but…

I know better.

It’s going to be something stupid.

Like a Q-Tip.

How many people ignore warnings and do as they choose, only to meet an untimely fate that will one day be fodder for urban legend?

People have literally died as a result of a cotton swab.

Something random and odd like this, in all likelihood, will beat every bad habit I have.

newestrings2

Today, I decided. I’m not going out like that.

I used my finger instead.

My fingernail cut the inside of my ear.

mtchmid

It just goes to show, you have little control over the chaos of the world around us.

It proves that it doesn’t matter how I go out. Nor how I came in.

It only matters what I’m doing while I’m here.

chairs2

I don’t care what rhymes with hug me.

September 6, 2013

flmstrp

I have written a lot of songs. I’m pretty proud of them. I know that not every lyric penned is that perfect, life-changing message, but by and large, I say what I need to say, and in a way that seems to work, at least for me. Today, rather than writing about the deeper things on my mind, the toils and troubles of being alive in an imperfect world (screws fall out all the time) I decided to pull just a few of my absolute favorite lines from Strawfoot’s catalog. I know not everything I write is great, but I feel like there are great moments hiding everywhere in this world, if you look hard enough—even in my songs.

It’s also fun to step back and chart my growth as a writer, from time to time. The band’s sound has evolved, and so have I. So, without further adieu, here’s a nice little time line of my lines.

45

I can tell by the way you look, clear as homemade gin

Your mouth is full of hornets, and your body’s built for sin

 –Achilles Heel, Chasing Locusts

You grab the bottle, I’ll hold the glass

We’ll toast the future and forget the past

You got an itch, I lost my cool

You ran your mouth, I broke the golden rule

–Effigy, Chasing Locusts

 

I wish I had a conscience,

A voice I could obey

I wish I had a heart

But my chest is made of hay

Wish I had a fiddle, for on it I would play

I would play until the lord takes me away

–Fiddle and Jug, Chasing Locusts

rd1

I’d scream right up to heaven if I thought it’d do me good.

I’d wash my hands of sin if I really thought I could

I’d speak my mind right now if I had half a mind to give

And I’d lay right down and die if I had ever really lived

–Broken Crown, How We Prospered

 

Well you think your words are final,

That you speak the gospel truth

But you speak them with a forked tongue

And a fang left for a tooth

–Hole, How We Prospered

 

Whiskey in the morning, scotch the night before

My back is full of carpet burns from snow angels on the floor

–Seven Ways, How We Prospered

 

I gave you everything, till everything was gone.

I’m marching on.

–Funeral March, How We Prospered

 

sf

Go ahead and lie to me, say I’m the only one

I could be your Icarus if you’d only be my sun

–Poison Me, 1000 Tragedies

 

Abuse me like a drug, drink me like gin

For every veil that’s shed, I find another sin

–Unveiled, 1000 Tragedies

 

I never meant to shatter such a fragile little thing

It was not an invitation for the sadness that you bring

Deliver Me, 1000 Tragedies

 

You didn’t love me, until I went away

Until I tried to leave you, it didn’t matter if I stayed

–Goddamned Shadow, 1000 Tragedies

 

You’ve been lying to yourself more than anyone but me

As my boot scraped cross your floor you hoped I wouldn’t see

Are you the victim or the killer, whose heart is beating now

I’ve heard more stories than our pages should allow

–Telltale, 1000 Tragedies

 

You’re a troubled mind, an empty soul

A catalyst, a rabbit’s hole

I hate to say, though we know it’s true

I have to fall out of love with you

–Fool, 1000 Tragedies

 

I hate my wrinkles, my skin and bones,

I hate my weary face

It’s always staring back at me,

It whispers sweet disgrace

I hate the things you said to me

And all the damage done

Mostly I just hate the fact I’m not the only one

–Wrecking Ball, 1000 Tragedies

 

You were always so far away, even when you were so near

Even when you were in my arms

You were never really here

I’m tired of your ghost, and I’m tired of the blame

I’m tired of excuses and I’m tired of the pain,

You tried to fly away but keep rapping at my door

But to still the beating of my heart I cry out nevermore.

–Nevermore, 1000 Tragedies

 

I miss your taste, your warm embrace,

Lips fuller than the moon.

But I I despised the long goodbyes,

And all the promises of soon.

We lived through all the seasons

And stood through all the weather

So how’d we end up here,

I could swear we came together

We lived a thousand tragedies

We’ll live a thousand more

And I’ll just keep on dancing

No longer keeping score

–1000 Tragedies, 1000 Tragedies

 

 

 

doinmydo

New Music Monday: This ain’t Mary Poppins…

September 2, 2013

sf

When we play a Beggar’s Carnivale, we usually learn about 10-15 songs per show. Some we write, some are existing originals, and many are covers, as requested by performers. By and large, our covers are exactly what you’d expect of us…Tom Waits, Devotchka, , Gogol Bordello, etc.

 

but.

 

Sometimes, the requests are…out of our comfort zone.

 

But we persevere, and do our best to make them ours.

 

When Jeez Loueeze approached us with Chim Chim Cher-ee from Mary Poppins, my first reaction was one of dread.

 

A Disney song? Us?

 

But then I remembered something. I am a rather large fan of Dick Van Dyke. He’s one of the last great song and dance men in Hollywood.

 

Plus, how can you say no to Jeez?

 

So we learned it. Played it. And honestly, it’s become one of my favorite songs to sing, original or otherwise.

 

So, enjoy, download it while you can.

 

 

bnd1

Fondly: Grip

August 27, 2013

fndlygrphc

Back on the porch.

The music was on, his dog playing in the yard, running in wild circles, as if it were the first time there. He had stayed inside too long for either of their own good.

It was just too cold.

He always said there was a difference between being lonely and alone, but the former was overtaking the latter. So he hibernated, sharing a jail cell with his thoughts.

He pulled away from everything but work, and even that had become a struggle. He had given in to the blinking lights, unable to tell which voice was his—which thoughts were healthy.

Which thoughts were true.

But his fractured brain, two hands holding tightly to that which it could not change, squeezing as hard as they could, were finally starting to loosen their grip.

Fortunately, it was just before he lost his.

Another season in every sense of the word.

But it was still cold.

And he was still alone.

hldymid

Lost Art.

August 25, 2013

len_art

 

I admit, I wasn’t thinking things through. I wasn’t thinking ahead. And I didn’t learn my lesson after the first or second time.

 

I have now.

 

I made the mistake of using the women I loved as the subjects of my art. Art made beautiful by the work, by the models, by the intimacy of the moment in which it was created.

 

Art that will never see the light of day.

 

Work made obscure when things went awry.

 

Art that will adorn no wall out of respect for those that do not respect me.

 

Is this a tragedy?

mtchmid

For me, it is.

 

Because regardless of the subject, regardless of history, this is my work. My attempt to create something stirring, something beautiful—something true.

 

I can do nothing but accept this. Appreciate the process. And learn from it.

 

And create new work for the world to see.

 

art1

snow

August 24, 2013

rogue

Once upon a time, the broadcast day ended.

Once upon a time, we could sleep without talking.

Snow is just a season’s mark now.

Sleep is but a mode.

Our world.

So immersed.

So immediate.

So apparent.

Living, breathing, pulsating snapshots of a past we cannot ignore—

A present so lost in posture and presentation.

The future, merely a meme.

Moments of solace in assumption

Until our world comes back around again.

We can try to hide—

Try to pull the covers up over our head…

But we talk in our sleep.

Always there.

Always on.

Our world.

So accessible.

So obvious.

So inadvertently tragic.

tv

Fondly: From the mourning

August 22, 2013

fndlygrphc

“I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you…”

 

She whispered it over and over again in my ear, neither of us letting go.

 

Neither of us able.

 

It was the dead of winter, the point that beats down the last of us standing, driving us inward—driving us down. It was overcast inside as much as out, as nothing but gray crept into the bungalow through the curtains. The cab idled out front, its lights on, the trunk already open.

 

She had spent her last night with me, not him.

 

That meant a lot. Or at least it meant something.

 

We held tighter, as she continued whispering the same phrase, over and over.

 

“I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you…”

 

So many times I started to believe it.

 

So many times I wanted, more than anything, for her to stay.

 

But she had to go, and I was the one who convinced her as much.

 

So I closed my eyes and listened to her mantra, feeling her warm breath in my ear, each word a kiss, each word, mounting proof that ours’ was a tragic tale, more so than a divine comedy, unless it was one of errors.

 

“I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you…”

 

newestrings

 

I Dunno

August 14, 2013

rs

It came on by mistake.

I thought I had deleted it.

but for the first time since,

I let it play—

I let it go.

And for the first time since,

I dunno…

I remembered how I felt the first time I heard it.

newestrings2

It doesn’t change a thing, because we do indeed know.

But I smiled anyway.

For the past.

I smiled for the hope.

For the chances taken.

It changes nothing.

But I smiled nonetheless.

smoke