AFTER ABERNETHY 

Henry Ford's Streets:

    I am calling onto you now from this life that soon will pass. I am holding onto thoughts I hardly knew. And I am thinking of the gamble that we made through all the years, cuz in the end, the great magicians disappear. 

     So as we skip along the roads here, we make poems with our tracks. And growing through Henry Ford’s streets are tuffs of grass. And they are soft beneath my feet now, as the daylight stretches on, knowing darkness comes, but always leads to dawn. 

     We’re coming to a point now when everything will change, it’s getting stronger with each passing day and the world just seems so strange. We’re coming to a point now when everything will change, it’s getting stronger with each passing day and the world just seems so strange. 

     Cuz’ I’m wondering what are we fighting for? Don’t ask them they don’t give a crap. We’ve taken over Iraq. And on the TV screens, what can we believe anymore? When the world’s in smoke, our minds have broke, and all I wanna do is toke.

Manifest Destiny:

     All alone, the crest of day. Trains go by this field of hay. The factory’s steam starts darkening the skies above. I rest and dream. Miles of landscape trickling down. Buildings rise, can’t see the ground. We’re lost in clouds and busy crowds, with cars that take us round and round.

     I feel battered sit and think to myself, such better ways than this overgrown wealth. Instead we’ll use it to better the health of the empty minds piled up on the shelves. Though our lives have prolonged, such narrow lines we walk along. Our hair styles change and we’re rearranged, with nothing really happening. So send this message homeward for me. In hand or horseback through the trees. Atop a cliff where the sun meets the sky, and read it all for quickly it’ll die.

     It’s our calling they say. Onward more! Manifest Destiny, or a flattened gore. Cuz’ we’re seeing all that laid dark- it’s now shinning shore to shore. But now this field where I rest is cold, scarred, ripped away. Cuz’ we’re being all that we can be.

     So I’ll scream until it’s different now. When we’ve taken enough to recognize these troubled ways. Till’ the smoke lifts and clears the skies, ending the gray. Colored life will fill our eyes. If only to recognize, there’s nothing between every thought in every mind. Cuz’ if the people would march the streets, we’d be waving our arms and stepping forward on one beat. 

     So I’ll pray, its coming up different now, cuz’ we’re choosing to sleep or to open up our eyes. As the world starts its countdown, we’ll make something real from this life before it dies. 

The Victorian Hoedown:

     I can’t wait to hold your corset, the tangled sentence world whistled aside me, whistled away with birds and passing sounds. Like broken horse and coal steam engines, we hop the latest great invention to town girl. Chasing around and round’ this sound on fingers, we count the folks who came by train, calling us insane because we walked here, through broken trees with glowing leaves. Passed an old lady who sits alone, in a hut she made of moss and stone just to hide in, far from the world that she created.

     But running away. Won’t stop what will come our way, one day when,

     We find out that we’re being cheated, cuz’ having so much more than needed blinds us, blocking out light until the night comes. But from that night will come a dawn, shining light down strong, unravelling time sphere, melting away, memories fade into dust, in the seas. Blown through shriveled, little trees. I’m begging on my knees. 

     A watered stone will compromise, crumble up in the changing tides. Because the hardest substance cannot stand, the water’s softest, in the land.

    All these psycho crowds start dancing, lifting skirts and prancing till their heartbeats, won’t slow their feet, on past the creek and gators. Gas lit lanterns shin like moonlight, tossing hats and quarks, squandering moonlight, ten gallon jugs, ten thousand hugs to receive, with this blind faith little team, that we built, while on our trips, and nightly dreams. 

     A watered stone will compromise, crumble up in the changing tides. Because the hardest substance cannot stand, the water’s softest, in the land.

Cats And Rabbits:

     Time is told by windowsill light, streaming ore your fair frown. In a dusty lace or dress of disgrace- fragments of your mere gown. And a girl inside cast to never glide carries weight. Less the cats and rabbits fairytales equate.            

     I can see it comes in circles, playing games with little girls. Try to find the garden but- The first will lead through hours of fables with slight of hand and tricks of mind. To resurrect a birthplace equation, that’s stricken as our souls unwind. And oh’.       

     The dreaded force that lies in our, our darkest spots and rapes our minds. But God is like a burning coal. Though he comes and he goes and he lives up in his cloud land and always lends a helping hand in bettering what’s long gone wrong. 

     Clenching we embark on turmoils. God’s and witches’ gifts we’ve spoiled. Standing tall we fall beneath- To dusk’s dark room. Searching for reason. The ancient trees and lasting stones, who see us lost, along twisted pathways, that nature soon will overgrow. And oh’.

     The fairgrounds and stripped hats atop a voice whose patenting and constructing every paragraph, to scare our brains into buying everything and though it’s driving me insane I cannot stop, I just want more.                              
     Losing thoughts and resting our minds, finally we stop and take a breath and count up our finds. Giving thanks we regress, to a stateless time. Old reason and rhyme have no say. We will soon embark upon such fateful days. 

Baffled And Praying:

     War anchored pawns, their disease, death was so contagious that men came along just to see. Then, put their caps on. Through the night, dusk till dawn they stormed through the trees, bringing tales. And they spoke of the masses they watched fall. How each waking life should feel so small.

     Within the palace walls of ivory and sunset halls, came voices echoing in laughter. In gold chairs that line the room and tables filled with feasts of food. A stout monkey sits atop his throne. And he tells me the things I should believe. And it spreads, circling the seas.

     The way things are going, till our lives are gone. We whistle in boots on the lawn. We’re baffled and praying, our eyes open wide. Revealing the blindness that hides.

     Open fields of concrete slabs and rolling wheels. Is this what we’ve come to see as real? Above all the neon thrones of fast food shacks and homes upon homes where, sad slaves keep running in their wheels. When way up in castles made of glass, is run this system bound to crash.

     The way things are going, till our lives are gone. They tell us have faith and stand strong. But when nobody does it, it means something’s wrong. We’re missing the point all along. So I call unto you now. Please head the call. It’s time for the towers to fall.

Oh Mother Mother:

     Oh Mother, Mother take, what you want from me. And bury your intentions with my soul. Till the old familiar foe’, comes stumbling down the road, with a casket march and sorrow in his stroll.

     So move the pots and pans, all covered now with soot. And place your inklet feather to the wood. And mark of the time when the sunlight last did shine, and the tree limbs cast their shadowed tangles lines.

     So come as you walk, and take me to this land, of places we once dreamt that we could see. Where oceans crash and winter laughs, the sands that make us whole. Oh and down now, spinning down now we will roll. 

     Now the train’s a rolling ore’ the hills, its foggy steam left passed. And it’s coming now to show us what we’ve trashed. A place of grace, the hidden box, and hand carved colored building blocks. With time to lay and drift into the clouds, while slowly spreading out what’s tightly bound.

To Meet My Bonnie:

     When the Indians fought we seldom thought to let them have their land. But their red faces have come to chase our covered wagon caravans. As the south plantations are taking over the nation, and tearing down what was God’s creation. The west coast rim our final destination. We’ll holler and we’ll shout, as we ride in on Zeus’s thundercloud. 

     We stormed the land yes one, two, three, ha ha. Ha ha. To find a better place to be, ha ha ha ha ha ha. But a bigger storm’s a come about. So round on up your horse and cows, cuz’ a mighty large tornado’s done come, to take us where we belong. 

     Oh the great big skies sure can make us feel little. When we’re hitching through a farm with your horse and fiddle. I’ll remember the words my bonnie said, before we stop to rest our heads, and prepare for what’s ahead. 

     We spied a town the likes as we’d been wishin’, and filled on rum and ammunitions. The dolls with cotton hands for the fishin’, took to our delight. They knocked our socks off and we rolled around all night. 

     When daybreak came we were thrown into the rain, where a poster hung with our faces and names, saying ‘these two fellows are wanted to blame, for the lost rum and stolen cocaine’. So we did a bump, and took a swig of fame. 

     The riverbeds were filled with gold ha ha. Ha ha. Oh the treasures to behold, ha ha ha ha ha ha. You could find it almost anywhere, so my bonnie packed and moved out here. And we built a land of silk and fur, and lived happily here after.

     Now our skin’s all dry and we’re hiding in a cabin. Has the world slipped away from our hands, what happened? Oil and paved streets and tax forms and radios. You crazed young ones will never know, that it was we who made you grow. Cuz we trailed across, these lands, to build what you have. They built what we have. I’m so fucking glad and sad to say- goodbye- la da da da.   

The Circus Minds:

     Over the oceans and down, down, through blistering winds and sand. A lineup of marching teachers hold their bayonets in hand. They brighten the dark with blinding sparks and bombs through which we speak. Till we braid their locks and stack their blocks they have no final feat. Until the ancients are overthrown and we accept defeat.

     Cuz’ the air outside’s so deadly still it’s tying me in knots. As the billboards staring down on us are soaking up our thoughts. When a stronger brain just goes insane for fear of what we lack, I am counting down the waning days till everybody cracks. 

     And we will finally feel the time, through which miles and miles of facts will unwind, and a new light so divine- of the circus minds.      

     But previous and prior to our times will get much worse. Submerging into sand and wind while dying from our thirst. Cuz’ if those first in line with tricks and jokes forget to watch their steps, our lemming minds will lead us to a future we’ll regret. 

     But in the meantime we’ll decide, which of these railroad tracks we will ride. For there’s seldom a chance to hide, from the coming great divide.

Life From What Was Here:

     When every day’s spent up on the high wire, there’ll be no laughing, dancing, till all of us conspire, to find a way to move around, without crashing to the ground. Singing the brightest of our days will soon be gone.

     Cuz’ when the ones on top keep forcing us to find, our ways through tunnels rising with the tides, until the current throws us down, and we tumble ore the grounds, calling out for help to stop this endless ride.

     So don’t go out there pulling troubles in. Let them melt and pass off through the open winds, down, down, down away.

     So I’m waking up and reading all my books. In a garden spot where no one seems to look. And I’m wandering around, in this dizzy quick built town, spreading out my wings and watching as I rise. While discovering new places in the skies.

     Now I’m drifting over hills, moving forward as we speak. Looking out on all this world, empty lives and busy streets. Because it’s time we open up, to a life we couldn’t touch, and we can see it if we care, shinning brightly though the air. Shining brightly in the sky, pushing everything to life. Making life from what was here. Making life from what was here. Making life from what was here. Making life from what was here.

Silver Spoon:

     A waned, old, silver spoon, covered in spit at my side. Where a broken CEO sucks his thumb drifting out in the tide. A dazzling sign of lights, illuminating the crowds, of the blank faced western race, getting off as we’re laughing out loud. 

     An opened world of light, hovering over our heads, as a dream place shares its grace, drifting down as we sleep in our beds. Our souls will compromise, life of sacrificial lamb. Only this time’s no surprise. Don’t we see what we hold in our hands?  

     In this life, in this land, I am sickened and sad. Building up, tearing down, not a trace, leave no sound. Making footprints, whose image is dusted away in this frantic parade. 

     And down in her heart she was sad she was sad. All the people depressed made here mad, she went mad. Cuz’ she only looked out, across the skies, till the view she was gifted with died. Now she shouts, ‘they see it all. For the oceans around, they’re not walls, they’re not walls. And this cheap fixed disguise only opens our eyes, regulations built to be defied’.

     Now I’m seeing so clear. All these things disappear. They were once in my mind, always taking my time as the cobwebs, of innocence build and the greed is successively filled. And so we’re leaving today, packing up, get away. Holding out on the road, anyplace we can go, but the earth’s shape, just brought us around, always ending upon the same grounds.

Apostel's Drink:

     Ratting out the swartwouts a trampling through the courthouse. They’re polished up and busy with the quadrivium. From a man on his perjink in bagwig and cufflinks, saying ‘you’ll be black buried for the things you have done’.

     But either way you’ll spite me, don’t try to rewrite me, I’m traveling home to children and the half widowed nun. But either way you’ll spite me don’t try to rewrite me. My afterwit’s a coming, after I have my fun.

     So they ushed us pudendous, said straighten up with no fuss. The gate lifts above when two fortnights have gone. With black legs like slapsauce, gone tut mouthed and quite cross, apostles drink vinolency to the sky. 

     But either way you’ll spite me, don’t try to rewrite me, I’m traveling home to children and the half widowed nun. But either way you’ll spite me don’t try to rewrite me. My afterwit’s a coming, after I have my fun.

     All the mulishness through drunk lips as the poculent get quick fixed, they stroll about the gutters in search of good love. Till the willie-waught comes often and not a soul is sloffened, when the all sorts is empty, this story is done.

     But either way you’ll spite me, don’t try to rewrite me, I’m traveling home to children and the half widowed nun. But either way you’ll spite me don’t try to rewrite me. My afterwit’s a coming, after I have my fun.

Lyrics Meaning:

     Henry Ford’s Streets is a fable of sorts, a poem that spans almost 100 years. It is a dichotomy of both new and old to create a picture of what the world was like before paved streets and automobiles took everything over, and perhaps what it could be like afterwords as well. 

     The point where everything will change is about a change in consciousness I felt and still feel is coming and occurring, as we ring in a new era of post-modernity. I then bring us back to the present, referencing our often vapid mainstream culture and media, as well as the desire to turn to a medicine in the end that I felt helps people see the truth. 

Lyrics Meaning:

     Manifest Destiny is a song that depicts an indigenous person’s perspective on western modernity as it seeps into their land during the founding of the US. The “flattened gore” is a reference to the paved streets- continuing where we left off in the last song- and the “cars that take us round and round” refers to the notion that in spite of all of our technology, we really aren’t getting anywhere.

     “Seeing all that laid dark, it’s now shining shore to shore,” refers to the perspective of pioneers and those who founded this country, who moved west all the way to the pacific, blazing their trail. We conquered the entire landscape, and destroyed the lifestyle and those inhabitants that were once here in great numbers. 

     The end is a positive message, that of hope, that of the idea that people are waking up to see the errors of these ways, and the destruction of the natural world that modernity is causing. It implies that we need to change the current state- like in the last song- to a new state- a post-modern state, before it’s too late. “We’re choosing to sleep, or to open up our eyes”. Some of us have chosen to awaken to these truths, while others choose to remain asleep. 

Lyrics Meaning:

     This song is more carefree and whimsical than the first two. It still depicts something of an old fashioned world, that is then juxtaposed with the present. It speaks of the good old days, when industry and inventions were radically shifting the way we all lived. It was fun then, it was wild, it was filled with jazz and color and light. 

     I then jump to today, and imply that we have reached a point where enough is enough. We don’t need all the fancy things we keep inventing, as they are in fact contributing to our overall destruction. 

     A message of ancient hope is drawn from the Toa Te Ching, which is- although water is the softest, most free flowing element, and earth and stone the hardest, with patience, over time, water wears away even stone. 

     My reason for sharing this message is to say that the greedy, hustle and bustle economics and a desire to always make newer and bigger and greater things, will eventually in itself be worn away by those forces that are peaceful, tranquil, and easy going. Over time, the meek shall prevail, or, 'the slow one now will later be fast', as Bob Dylan sings.   

Lyrics Meaning:

     I was in a pretty whimsical headspace in my late teens when I wrote this song. Again, my friends and I were into the idea of mental expansion, so my poetry and themes came out somewhat psychedelic even when I didn’t try. There was kind of a lost world in me, a world of old imagery and design. I was also beginning to work on a novel that I would spend the next four years writing, which contained similar themes.

     I was particularly intrigued by stories that had a main young female lead character who experienced an otherworldly journey- like Pan’s Labyrinth, Alice In Wonderland, and The Wizard of Oz. There was just something fabled, almost archetypal about the naive young woman, who goes out to seek the extraordinary. Cats And Rabbits touches on these themes but goes on to express more deep rooted spiritual truths about our society.   

Lyrics Meaning:

     Baffled And Praying is one of my most political songs. It sticks with the theme of using old time metaphors as a direct reference to our current state of politics. It explains men who are riding into war on horseback and many are slaughtered in the battle. ‘Men came along just to see’ explains how the royalty used to line up to watch their people fight wars from a distance, for entertainment. A few messengers ‘storm through the trees bringing tales’ back to the castle. They tell the monarch about the losses they witnessed as they mourn. 

     ‘Within the palace walls.. came voices echoing in laughter’. The ones in charge don’t give a damn about their losses. ‘The stout monkeys sit atop their thrones’ refers to our presidents, and our leaders. ‘They tell me the things I should believe, and it spreads circling the seas’ refers to the world domination and exploitation of our government, and our occupying and invading so many other countries.

     I then go on to paint a picture of nearly the exact same thing taking place, only today, with ‘castles made of glass’ referring to sky scrapers which are occupied by CEO’s and business men who essentially control our economy and our politics. 

Lyrics Meaning:

     It took me a long time to realize what exactly this song was about. I always knew it was about loss, someone who died, a long time ago, like in the 1700/1800’s, and the story of a messenger coming to have his mother sign off on paperwork pertaining to their death. 

     As I played it once I realized it was a young man who died at war, and it was being sung from the perspective of his spirit who was watching over his mother as she is informed of the tragic news. She is standing in their kitchen, washing soot off of cooking equipment, and she recognizes the outfit worn by the messenger who’s coming up the road, and knows immediately what this means. She collapses and can’t handle the reality.

     The rest is written from the perspective of her son’s spirit, ‘down now spinning down now we will roll’ as it ascends into the realms beyond this one. He is looking back on all that he experienced in this lifetime which was cut too short by the tragedies of war. 

Lyrics Meaning:

     This song, as I used to introduce it on stage, is about ‘the real’ founding fathers of our nation, who were a bunch of misogynistic, racist, and immoral bigots. It was inspired loosely by Ken Burns’ The West documentary. It follows the pilgrimage west via the wagon trail in the mid 1800’s, then branches off to follow the story of two young men who venture out on their own. 

     They get into plenty of trouble, stealing from a small town, sleeping with prostitutes, and doing cocaine and drinking to their heart’s content. They sleep under the stars as they travel forth in the ‘wild west’. The know about the gold rush and are on their way. Once there, one writes back to his wife to explain the fortunes that lay simply in the riverbeds. 

     The end is sung from their perspective, after modernity, paved streets, more regulation on property ownership and taxes, electricity, and the radio have been invented. They are lamenting in a cabin, where they choose to spend their final years as friends, sometime in the late 1910’s or early 1920’s, in their late 80’s or early 90’s. It’s their time to go, and they pass on leaving behind their legacy as a missing link in our history. The final lines thank them for helping found the world we have today, in spite of their wrong doings.  

Lyrics Meaning:

     This song was inspired loosely by the artwork of Henry Darger. Henry Darger was an artist born in 1892 in Chicago Illinois. During his lifetime he was reclusive and appeared to outsiders to have multiple personality disorder. Few knew him or knew what went on inside his apartment where he lived most of his life. 

     Over 60 years he wrote a 15,145 page book as well as made hundreds upon hundreds of paintings and scored even some music to go along with it. All of his art took place in a magical, strange world inhabited by various characters including armies of small girls with magic powers, and armies of strange men in colorful professor hats who ambushed and fought these girls. There is a great documentary about him called In the Realms of the Unreal, named after his mega novel. 

Lyrics Meaning:

     Life From What Was Here was written when I first moved to Seattle to attend music school, and spent a week alone in an apartment before my roommates showed up. It touches on the idea of how we are struggling as a society and a nation- ‘the ones on top keep forcing us to find our ways through tunnels rising with the ride’ referring to the fact that those in power are holding us down and the conditions in this country are growing tougher and tougher.

     Then I move on to explain my own sort of solution to how our current state can overwhelm us. I describe my simple existence in this massive, epic city I live in. The end is sort of a battle call; a call to arms, the idea that somehow deep inside, we all know we’re bigger than all of this and we have the ability to do incredible things. ‘Spreading out my wings and watching as I rise.. discovering new places in the skies’. 

Lyrics Meaning:

     The beginning of Silver Spoon depicts a CEO who’s lost everything, floating out in a sea of rising water caused by globing warming, which was caused in part by his actions. The dazzling sign of lights represents the aspects in which our technology and global market is vapid and simply made to entertain and distract us. 

     I mention a spiritual aspect to it all, and that in our dreams we are opened to a higher realm that we can draw energy from. Then I talk about how fast paced our modern culture is, with buildings being built only to be torn down and rebuilt, as everything constantly updates itself. I call this a ‘frantic parade’. 

     I talk about a young girl who saw through it all. It made her become severely depressed to know the truth of the circumstances we face, but at least she knew the truth. And it’s this truth that allows all of us to ‘see it so clear’ as ‘all these things disappear’.      The end brings up the notion of somehow escaping these truths, but the earth is round and it will bring you back to where you started, ‘always ending upon the same grounds’. This is symbolic of the fact that we can’t run away from our problems, and that they have now become global scale problems that we all have to face together.  

Lyrics Meaning:

     This song came about in an interesting way and made for a perfect finale. I wrote most of After Abernethy for no particular reason, on the backs of the pages of an Old English word of the day calendar my mom had given me one christmas. I decided it would be fun to turn them all over, and try to write a song using as many Old English words as I could.   

     The words span from between 1550 and 1750 or so. As I dissected the meaning of each word, I realized a whole lot of them had to do with liquor or drinking. I realized an old drinking song would be perfect. Every strange word means something real, and actually by definition fits the storyline perfectly. 

     This song tells the story of a bunch of drunk slobs who can’t break their habit. They get arrested and let out again, wind up in the gutter, avoid their responsibilities like their wives and children back at home, and learn nothing from their mistakes. The chorus is their mantra, essentially saying, no matter what you won’t like me anyway, so I might as well be a slob and drink myself silly. 

     A scene from the film Gangs of New York where a musician plays a song while walking through an old pub, as well as the song ‘Master of the House’ from the musical Les’ Miserables helped inspire this song. The actual recording is live from a festival I played in Vancouver BC. on Mt. Whistler.