Kansas

Black birds gather
and rise
a crescendo
into the blue sky.

On the plains,
horizons stretch into eternal lines.
All of it naked
and undisguised.

Fueled by the freedom,
storms build with rage
bringing with them untamed wind
and dark days.

Life seems only easy
for those who embrace the solitude
amongst the endless sea
of the Kansas plains.

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TRACES

This place is littered with memories.
Woven into the grass,
tucked in the cabinet corners,
slid between the window panes,
looking into the past.

There are scents
that bring sounds.
Stealing the present,
hiding behind closet doors,
waiting to be found.

Words split and fill rooms
and the tone stirs emotions.
Long since sleeping,
buried in time,
Shackles breaking from false conundrums.

So familiar is every creak of the floor
and hairline crack in the wall.
But, even with the faces,
there is still distance
and threads of change
that seems to leave only traces
of the child I was then
to the adult I am now.

Mary and Lana

Oh, Mary and Lana
were just two nuns
with too much time
and not enough fun.

Out in California
at the old St. James Catholic School
they were teaching and running things,
guiding youth through God’s rules.

In their days of slapstick rulers and prayers,
they heard about a place
alone in the desert
where secrets have no case.

Dazzling lights,
delightful sounds,
ironic facades,
and money everywhere
to be found.

Oh, forgive them Father
for the first sin laid
was greed and dreaming
of a glamoured life
every day they waked.

Oh, Mary and Lana
were just two nuns
with too much time
and not enough fun.

Together they were smarter,
moving numbers,
creating distractions,
fooling all the others.

Dressed in boxy black
through the week.
And sparkling on the weekend with
suitcases full of cash.
In Vegas,
their dreams could last.

One trip turned to many.
And so they became the queens
of the penny slots,
rewarded with high dollar suites
and free daiquiris.

Greed is a funny thing
and addiction is just one
of it’s nasty lots.
And while the two were careful,
Eventually, they got caught.

It may have taken
St. James over ten years
to catch on to the sisters’ game,
but they found out
all the same.

Long since retired,
resting in old age,
bowed in prayers.
They came for them with handcuffs.
“Criminals of the state.”

But like good a Catholic,
St.James weighed forgiveness
and decided the two passed the test.
No charges were pressed.

For, Mary and Lana
were just two nuns
with too much time
and not enough fun.

Fast Talk – Houses

Dexter Tortoriello (aka Golden Dawn) has put out a very easy but sobering single with Megan Messina called “Fast Talk” off of Houses latest EP, Drugstore Heaven. This song was an instant like for me, before even hearing any of the lyrics. The bouncy clicks on the keys and the delayed chords give off this cloudy, relaxed, and nostalgic feel that is too much to pass on.

So it was no surprise when the first lyrics (Me and my best friends / cursing down west end street) come in, that they too relate this emotion.

But let’s move a little further into the lyrics. The next thing we find out is cruising was part of Dexter and his friends way of hiding from the cops and, in the end, it ended up with all of his friends dead. For “…we’re born to die young / But we’re just trying to live in peace.

A heavy snare hit brings us to the chorus where those chords step down a few octaves and the music feels a bit more driven. And that emphasis is needed for the chorus’s stinging words: So maybe heaven is a ghetto with no bad blocks / Shangri-La dealers at the bus stops / And maybe god is just a cop with we can fast talk / So if you’re guilty and you know it, put your hands up / ‘Cause karma’s just a different word for bad luck / And what if death is just another pair of handcuffs / Then we’d better run.

And then things got heavy. So many things can be construed from those words. I can in no way say I can relate to this situation in a non-metaphorical way, but what I take away from it is a couple of sad truths.

The first is a reality where being arrested is ultimately a death sentence. Going to jail is more terrifying than trying to run for it. That slim chance of being able to escape is worth more of one’s life than working through the sentence.

The second is that aging out of this situation gives one a heaven, a Shangri-La, and a god. But each of those things are still tainted. So in return of living through all of the craziness in youth, the life given is once of mediocrity. An uneven fulfillment that could easily leave a person with depression and melancholy.

Dexter has given this explanation for the song: “…meant to be a memorial for a group of friends I had back in my late teens. Thematically it’s almost like a ballet where you keep driving around the same blocks, and people start disappearing from the car because they’re going to jail or dying.”

The next verse and bridge on gives more to the theme, but again no positive notes. Instead we’re left with thoughts of drugged out nights and a hope for a better life. One that doesn’t involve dying young like everyone says.

Please take a listen of this fantastic tune here and don’t forget to check out the full lyrics below.

Enjoy!
_____________________________________________________________________________________
“Fast Talk” by Houses

Me and my best friends
cruising down West End street
Hiding from cops
and driving circles around the block
all week.
All of my friends died
out on West End street.
They say we’re born to die young
but we’re just trying to live in peace.

So maybe heaven is a ghetto with no bad blocks
Shangri-La dealers at the bus stops
And maybe god is just a cop with we can fast talk
So if you’re guilty and you know it, put your hands up
‘Cause karma’s just a different word for bad luck
And what if death is just another pair of handcuffs
Then we’d better run (x2)

All of our friends went crazy on LSD
Sailing their cars through the big bright city streets
And everyone who knows our name
Says that we ain’t ever gonna change
They say we’re born to die young
But we’re trying to find a better way
They say we’re born to die young
But we’re trying to find a better way

So maybe heaven is a ghetto with no bad blocks
Shangri-La dealers at the bus stops
And maybe god is just a cop with we can fast talk
So if you’re guilty and you know it, put your hands up
‘Cause karma’s just a different word for bad luck
And what if death is just another pair of handcuffs
Then we’d better run (x2)

Phone call: Word up?
Hey, what’s up, man?
Just sitting around and I’m gonna be 32 years old tomorrow.
And I feel half completely alive
And half completely dead.

We hope and we pray day after day
They say we’re born to die young
But we’re trying to find a better way
We hope and we pray day after day
They say we’re born to die young
But we’re trying to find a better way

So maybe heaven is a ghetto with no bad blocks
Shangri-La dealers at the bus stops
And maybe god is just a cop with we can fast talk
So if you’re guilty and you know it, put your hands up
‘Cause karma’s just a different word for bad luck
And what if death is just another pair of handcuffs
Then we’d better run (x3)

To my buddies…

Dogs are such an unexpected wonder.

Never could I have predicted the amount of joy,
warmth and boundless love
they bring me.

How they care about all the small things,
and the simplest
that make them happy.

Snuggles and cuddles,
to my favorite two.

When I leave,
I don’t walk through that door.
That door opens slow.

Dull carpet and lackluster wallpaper.
Rooms that look like all the others.

People moving in herds,
yet still that one trying to push past,
to arrive at the same place
only a few seconds fast.

So many coming and going.
I can’t wait until I’m out.
Through doors, elevators, trams, and stairs,
moving and waiting, too much time to count.

The pallor of a concrete parking garage
never looked so good.

When I leave,
I don’t walk through that door.
That door opens slow.

Isolation

In the darkest hours
of the night,
I drift through the city,
eyes worn and thoughts strayed.

A fog has settled.
Hazy blankets filling every void.
Yellow light held by specks of air,
radiates in spheres.

Signs streaked with
efflorescent lines,
dripping as I pass by.

On a road ten lanes wide
and a city full of millions.
The grey mist swallows me
and from within it,
I hide.