Live Music from Ryan Adams


...Makes your soul swoon.

My daily poetry has moved offline, and as a result the posts here have dried up a bit. But this new release from Ryan Adams is too good to not share.

Recorded over a couple of nights last year, 'Live at Carnegie Hall' is musical bliss!

Ryan's music is classic from the moment it is released into the wild. And this collection of live reimaginings just lifts him to yet another level.

That stripped down, piano only version of 'New York New York'... So good!

Murdered With Complacency

the market tables will never stay overturned
neither do the fishing boats remain at the dock
one by one, provocations are forgotten
the prophet recast as attacker...disturber...malcontent

fierce resistance gives way to same-old, same-old
the canvas that sells is the pretty one
while the absurd and ugly markings are less desired
than a cactus at a birthday party

the telephone rings and busyness commences
double shots of espresso are ordered 
my bank account is automatically debited
I complain about the heat of the liquid in my paper cup

This was an exercise in taking twelve completely random words and finding a thread to connect them. I used them, one word per line, in the order that I originally wrote them down.

The words:

  • market, dock, one, attacker
  • fierce, canvas, absurd, cactus
  • telephone, double, account, heat

The Beautiful Will of Memory

Hidden in a silent street  
Resilient beauty establishing place

Forty years since the workers departed  
Crumbling facades and rotting porches  
Dropped from relevance—  
    paycheques redistributed as bonuses for executives  
Rows of tiny homes—  
    original inhabitants redistributed to long-term care facilities

But some have not quite forgotten  
The creations and memories are being rebuilt—  
    wood painted  
    iron twisted into organic wonders  
    wax scented and burned  
To help us remember the river, the wood, the hearth, the kitchen  
To help us rediscover what seemed to have been lost

Hidden in a silent street  
Resilient beauty establishing place

Note: Today's brief spattering of words hardly does justice to the feeling of rest I felt while exploring a lovely little place tucked away in an older corner of the city. If you are moving in or through Brantford I definitely recommend wandering deep into the Homedale neighbourhood and visiting Serenity Country Candles for a coffee or lunch. Breathe in the refreshing natural scents of the candles that fill this sweet little country store.


the ideal is to be clean, disinfected, orderly, everything in its place
the day plotted, schedules aligned, everything accounted for
even 'travelling time'
the battle begins fresh each day, 
and then, inevitably
the kids rise before us and litter the floor with their imaginations
now I'm scrambling, trying to put together 
a day that falls into 
   scattered intention
     'traveling time' now lost to 'cleaning up after' time
sanctuary defiled
the worry makes it fall apart quicker
the stress of fighting to regain my ideal
  destroys hope
    destroys goodness
      destroys joy in my children and their messy imaginations
it is a worthy project to start the day with intention
but at some point that intention needs to give way to 
time to sit with people and
  despite it all
to be present in the mess

NaPoWriMo 2015

I am going to attempt something wild and possibly unsanitary starting tomorrow!

April is, as they say, "National Poetry Writing Month". And so the challenge is put forth: 30 Poems in 30 Days.

You can follow along with many participants here and here and here.

I struggle to consider myself a poet (or even a writer) but I'm always up for a challenge. Come and join in the fun!

Continuing In Wonder


First, from Elizabeth Barrett Browning; buzzing with inspiration:

And truly, I reiterate, . . nothing’s small!
No lily-muffled hum of a summer-bee,
But finds some coupling with the spinning stars;
No pebble at your foot, but proves a sphere;
No chaffinch, but implies the cherubim:
And, — glancing on my own thin, veined wrist, —
In such a little tremour of the blood
The whole strong clamour of a vehement soul
Doth utter itself distinct. Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God:
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it, and pluck blackberries,
And daub their natural faces unaware
More and more, from the first similitude.[1]

And then, from a wilting H. G. Wells:

There was a time when my little soul shone and was uplifted by the starry enigma of the sky. That has now disappeared. I go out and look at the stars the same way I look at wallpaper.[2]

Between these two horizons of imagination and exhaustion lies the awareness of single person.

Where do you find yourself?

Every common bush afire with transcendence, beauty, divinity, wonder, possibilities … or wallpaper?

  1. Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Bk. VII, l. 812–826.  ↩

  2. As quoted by V. S. Owens, And The Trees Clap Their Hands (Eerdmans, 1983), p.46  ↩

#tbt: An Origin Story

Almost none of my highschool or pre-highschool artwork has survived the decades. Unless my mom has something stashed away somewhere, which is highly likely.

Yet, somehow this image of a pencil crayon sketch (my medium of choice 22 years ago) of Pimple of Battletoads fame has survived by way of my hard drive.

Back in Time Just a Little Bit More...

If I could somehow track down my original sketchbook from Grade Three I would be smiling for many a day. My Grade Three teacher tired of me continually doodling on every piece of paper on my desk. She called me up to her desk one day and presented me with a home-made book of blank drawing pages. Hoping to prevent me from filling every inch of my class work with doodles, she told me that whenever I was finished my classwork ahead of time I could ask to draw in this book. Instant love!

I had no idea that such a thing existed! A book full of blank pages for me to draw in? Unbelievable!

And just like that art went from being the itching in my bored fingers to a skill that I could picture myself working on for the rest of my life.

So that is a portion of my origin story. I'm sure that in the future more will be illuminated from the perspective of alternate universes and the such.

Religious Art: Derivative or New?

So why does contemporary religious art so often (always?) seem to drift toward the safe and secure? Why does it too often come across as being derivative and shallow? Shouldn't this art be seen as formative and spirit-awakening through being dangerously and prophetically new?

A couple sentences of partial response: I'm sure it has been said in multiple ways, but good art must have more than one meaning or interpretation. A great work of art should have almost as many entry points as there are people to view it. Not that it means anything but that the artist is dancing with their canvas in a way that frees it to become a thing all its own. This layered and varied take on interpretation is one of the main skills that needs to be seen growing in an artist over the years if they are to become truly great at their craft. A great artist can themselves approach art that they once themselves created and find new depths and ranges within it!

In my view, much of contemporary religious art, music, movies and such actually tries very hard to limit interpretation. Instead of finding the freedom to awaken and inspire, the artist has been hired to be a salesman for a particular way of approaching divinity. The art becomes propaganda.

I own that this is a short and simple assessment. What is your view on religious art?

Recommended Inspiration: Art of the Title

I enjoy spreading the love on sources artistic inspiration. Let's enrich each other!

I have long enjoyed the visuals shared at Art of the Title.

 Sequence from The Incredibles (2004) as displayed at Art of the Title

Sequence from The Incredibles (2004) as displayed at Art of the Title

Often at the beginning of very good films (and also occasionally at the beginning of not very good films) the viewer is immersed into the coming world through some kind of a title sequence which has been poured over by insanely well-refined art direction and typeface selections. Art of the Title makes it their mission to illuminate these beautiful cinematic sequences in a variety of media. Good stuff.