About love

I don’t want to write about love.
Because it seems to go only two ways.
Either the heart is broken
or you’ve found your everything.

A twist in fate or
a “how it should always be.”

There are other kinds of love,
I know,
but this one gets most of the stories told.
I think it’s because people crave it the most.

Maybe I shouldn’t focus on the beginning or end.
But the in between.
The real center of
how it was and came to be.

That’s where you find the labor,
the heart of the binding and intertwining.
Where everyone wants to be.
That milky world of planning futures and learning
how each other see.

But then,
even the middle will split like a rotted tree.
So many paths could a relationship go,
but in the core of it,
though complicated,
there is still only one of two ways that unfold.

Together or alone.

Mountaintops

At the summit
we have only boulders
to bear witness
to our gain.

The upwards march
of a silent cadence
through the trees
now below us
like the cities before.

The wind has strengthened.
Clouds move fast
and though we are closer,
the sky still stretches
beyond the horizon.

Our bodies are tired
yet resilient
such a natural place of rest.
The worry of tomorrow
seems so distant
when the world
is laid out before you.

Good Boy

There you sit on the deck,
paws so elegantly crossed.
Head held high,
observing your lot.
The breeze brings a scent
that distracts you
for but a second.
Ears perked tall,
the sound of a door
closing in the hall.
But funny you missed
the squirrel on the fence.
The warm sun
was just too much,
as your snout tipped down
and sweet sleep you found.

Paths

The forest is full of green,
dripping with the dew of spring.

Wildflowers open to the sun.
To such beauty, you cannot be numb.

Birds chatter and then sing
songs about the seasons changing.

Though the path through is narrow
the world around appears so wide.
Ever stretching beyond my vision
into the far depths of the mind.

Helen’s

The twang of strings
echo all around the yard.
Cousins are playing over there
in the sheltered garage.

The chairs have been set out.
Wooden, iron, and folding.
Mismatched but jovial
like the family they are holding.

We run along the porch
barefoot with dirty grins.
The summer nights are long
and the planks below us have become
the deck of our pirate ship.

There’s a tower out in the woods
that the older kids climb.
They yell at us from above
smiling and hiding their smokes
like it’s a crime.

Food on the table’s gone cold
but nobody cares.
Desserts all ready gone
even the dogs got their share.

Harmonies meld on the wind.
Dancing has started on the gravel floor.
Laughter and love shared by all,
a piece of the family core.

TO THE GROUND – Death Cab for Cutie

Following the ninth studio album, Thank You for Today, Death Cab for Cutie released The Blue EP in September of 2019. The Blue EP is a set of tracks that didn’t quite meet the theme of the previous album, but still belonged in the Death Cab collection. The EP seems to follow the lines of destruction and the pursuit of tragedy in it’s wake. And yet while the album’s sound is another progression away from the delicate but pained nature of Death Cab’s former works, the song “To the Ground” brings it into focus.

It begins with distorted notes propagating between octaves and eerie background tones. This is cut into with heavy drums, creating a pulse for the song that is almost animal like in energy. Two guitars create a harmonic centerpiece that is eventually staved off to a single guitar melody.

Gibbard’s vocals come in while we are met with the story of a car crashing off the side of what is presumably a steep cliff. The car plummets into a valley where it burns up and with time, nature reclaims it. Vines and trees split though the center, animals begin to call it home, and it disintegrates back to the ground from which it came.

The chorus often repeated “../To the ground/..” and sections of the verses are elevated in a sense that the words are held onto while the music behind it continues to move forward in a strongly calculated rhythm. I quite enjoy how the words hold you there momentarily before dropping off that ledge and back into the rolling energy of the rest of the song.

After the second chorus everything begins to swiftly dive into chaos that ultimately builds into a solid note that is bridged into the vocal’s smooth plateaus of the chorus. The frenzy is reminiscent of The Beatles “A Day in the Life;” all pieces of the song completely swept up into this massive sound that makes your own thoughts hard to focus on.

Dropping back to the chorus, the music is peeled back until we are left with the same sound that kicked it off.

What I really enjoy about this song other than a good story – which I always appreciate – is the pure movement from the notes. Every piece has been fitted together and functioning so seamlessly, yet the sound is still vibrant and somewhat wild.

There is also a noticeable absence of the human element in the lyrics. Everything is addressed from the material standpoint of the car and the natural state that it erodes to. There is a central focus on the circle of life without the mention of the person or persons that would have been within the vehicle during the crash. This is a fairly unique way to approach a song about a crash this violent – most songwriters would simply play to the emotional loss for such an event.

I greatly appreciate that Death Cab found a way to get this song out; it is definitely one that should enjoy a limelight of its own.

Please take a listen to the song here and check out the full lyrics below.

Enjoy!

____________________________________________________________________________________________

“To the Ground” – Death Cab for Cutie

Lost, lost control
Slid and began to roll
And on the wings of an ocean gale
Crashed right through the rail
Down to the valley below
To the valley below

Down in the charred remains
Stripped the chassis clean
And the bramble grew through the frame
‘Til it swallowed everything
Swallowed everything

Return to the ground
To the ground
Return to the ground
To the ground

Trees growing tall
Weeds covering all
And the animals made their homes
Underneath its fusted dome
All things come around

All comes around
Comes around
Returns to the ground
To the ground

Ground
Around
Comes around
To the ground
To the ground
To the ground
To the ground

Silence

With silence it kills
the routine and comfort.
Fear has grown to its strongest hold.
Do you look forward to another day,
empty and silent?

As we hide,
time and limits play our minds.
Another era is left behind,
the unprecedented rises.

With it comes forced change,
death of old ideals,
preservation of false security,
and the birth of another reality.

It is in dark times
when we can be at our the weakest.
Do not forget the freedom
that was once yours.

Present

I hear the glass ringing on the linoleum floor.

The shotgun is in Pat’s hands, cocked. The wood chair scrapes across the floor with an urgent pulse. He runs downstairs. He is faster than me or Leroy.

Stillness rocks the air after his footsteps.

We wait.

A single shot explodes the quiet followed by a gasp. There’s some choking and the sickening sound of flesh hitting a hard surface.

I bite my lip. This had already happened twice before this month. They were becoming more frequent.

Leroy and I head into the basement to find Pat standing over the body, the gun draped lazily to his side. His lips are moving as he says the prayer.

God does not save us all.

The boy couldn’t have been more than sixteen. His long, disheveled hair laid matted in a pool of red. His eyes were still open. Blue.

As we pick him up, I notice the thinness of his body. The black clothes swing loose around him. His spine prickles my fingers. It’s still warm.

Behind the house, we drop him by the shed. Pat is cursing as he begins to dig another pit. There are a lot of them now. We’ve begun to mark them with stones. Not to remember – just so we don’t dig any old ones up.

Pat tells me to clean up the room. I shoot Leroy a look of annoyance. I always get the dirtiest job.

I gather up some rags and shuffle back, pausing along the way to get the droplets. In the basement, you can almost see where he was laying a few moments before.

There is blood on the ceiling. I scowl.

I get to work, every so often stealing a glace up at the broken window. The sky beyond is blue, clouds slinking long and wide.
I like to pretend sometimes that it is another summer day. That later I will go home and tell my mother about this crazy dream. We would laugh and order a pizza.

My stomach growls even as the red bleeds through to my fingertips.

Pat calls me a dreamer. He says that at some point I will realize that there’s no use wasting thought on the past or the future. We now have only the present.