Week 442 // A Morning in Spring

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Always the case
It all comes around
The spring will return to you
You’ll notice the sound

I was awake
I heard you stir
The song from the window sang
We knew all the words

Wait for the dawn
Wait for the morning light
Reaching its long fingers across the room
Settling on you as I look upon you
Wait for the dawn

Always like this
The deepest of blue
The flourish of amber tones
The arc we move through

Always like this
We wake and we go
We crack from the seams of us
Until we come home

Wait for the dawn
Wait for the morning light
Reaching its long fingers across the room
Settling on you as I look upon you
Wait for the dawn

Notes
This time of year, my neighborhood starts to wake up early. Later on, in the summer when the city gets hot, it won’t go to bed at all. This morning the birds awoke and announced themselves as the darkness was barely beginning to crack apart. Soon, the engines and stereos greeted me as I pondered the changing light and listened for the breath of my wife sleeping next to me. These morning moments are treasures, and they are also fraught with anticipation. I want to savor the sounds and sensations, but I’m acutely aware of what the light brings with it, and the inevitability of routine. Sometimes it’s lovely to awaken, and tragic to be awake.

~M.E.

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Week 441 // Dog​-​Eared Pages

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I’ve got blisters on my hands
I got space between my ages
I’m just looking for a friend

Light from a corner of the past
And dog-eared corners of my pages
Just how long does a moment last?
How long does a moment last?
How long does a moment last?

I got band-aids in my shoes
I always double knot my laces
There are some habits you don’t choose

Light from a corner of the past
And dog-eared corners of my pages
Just how long does a moment last?
How long does a moment last?
How long does a moment last?
How long does a moment last?

Notes
This week’s track is a quick little number about habits, memory, toil, and time. There are some moments you have push through, some you long to remember, and others still that repeat themselves day in and day out, as long as you live. We like to look back to the dog-eared pages, but the bulk of the story lies in between them. That’s as far as the idea took me today. With the kernels of the idea that I could capture, I made up this song.

~M.E.

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Week 440 // Watch Him Explode

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Pull the Earth apart
Put it back together and then
Something comes up through the cracks
Running from something again

When I was a boy
When I was a boy
Winning was something else

When I was a boy
When I was a boy
The hero was something else

Pull the kid apart
Or crumple him up in a ball
Watch him explode in a thousand stars
Watch them drift down on us all

When I was a boy
When I was a boy
Winning was something else

When I was a boy
When I was a boy
A hero was something else

Notes
I grew up enamored with comic book superheroes. I’m still in love with the genre, both their boutique-by-comparison four-color comic incarnations, and their seemingly ubiquitous multi-billion-dollar film franchise counterparts. This week, the fourth Avengers film is predicted to shatter box office records, a fact which would mystify my 8-year-old self. Not only were the Avengers merely 2nd or even 3rd stringers compared to the far more popular X-Men back then, but comic book movies of the day were often dopey disappointments. The genre was meant for kids; teens who liked superheroes pushed the outer limits of socially normal. And then the genre grew up with my generation of fans, and followed us into adulthood. Suddenly everyone needs heroes in their lives.

I suspect the current popularity of comic heroes begins in large part with 9/11. My generation came of age with real-life televised horrors broadcasting from New York. We had a super-villain to rally against. The binary morality of good and evil has been on the lips of every president I can remember. If only there was a hero to save us. Today we are a bifurcated culture, and we see enemies all around us, enemies across the aisle, enemies in the white house (we anointed a hero to topple him, and he let us down), enemies at our gates, enemies hiding within. Our superheroes spend as much time beating each other up as they do the bad guys. The newest film appears to be a fantasy about the heroes of a decimated world coming back together after a protracted rift led the whole universe to ruin. We see that rift cut through our own world. These have ever been parables.

I love these heroes, but our need for them lays bare our vulnerability. It used to be that only kids longed for heroes. These days we’re all looking to the the sky.

~M.E.

P.S. Don’t misunderstand me. I’m geared up for Thursday night previews for Endgame. The Avengers are about to give old Thanos what for, and I’m going to be there with bells on. I’m just amazed that pretty much everyone else on Earth is going to be there with me.

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Week 439 // A Missed Opportunity

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When I catch my breath
On the side of the road
I’m not quite sure where I am

And it takes a while
Before I notice a sign
The road likes to tell you where to go

Follow it this way
All the way home
Just follow it every step
You know where to go
When you pass all the people
Don’t look right at them
Don’t look them in the eye

And the people know
In the dark we will feed
We will take the blood from the earth

And the map will lie
And the neighbors will lie
And I’ll search for the face of a friend

Follow it this way
All the way home
Just follow it every step
You know where to go
When you pass all the people
Don’t look right at them
Don’t look them in the eye

Notes
After listening to this song, I disagree with it. I wrote the lyrics somewhat stream of consciousness, and I arrived at themes of an urban distrust of our neighbors, of strangers, and of others in general. There’s some truth in there, but it isn’t the whole truth. It isn’t most of the truth. I dismissed the quiet smiles on my block, and the simple ways that people help each other out all the time. I missed the bulwark of kindness and civility that makes life in chaotic place possible. This surely exists in some way in every neighborhood of every city worth a damn. It’s mostly the loudest voices that are hostile. I’ll write this song differently next time.

~M.E.

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Week 438 // The Colors You Will Name

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Every day is something new
Oh the world in front of you
Oh the colors you will name
Oh what a day

Feel the motion of the wind
Feel your stirring heart within
Heed the hour without delay
Oh what a day
Oh what a day

Here we are, we walk with you
Here we swear to see you through
Here’s a promise we have made
Oh what a day

In the forest you will grow
Meet the goddess you will know
Mother does not lead astray
Oh what a day
Oh what a day

Crest the hill and meet the rise
See it through your father’s eyes
See it clear and far away
Oh what a day

Feel the motion of the wind
Feel the stirring heart within
Heed the hour without delay
Oh what a day
Oh what a day

Notes
This weekend the world met Eloise and Eloise met the world. She is the daughter of friends so very dear to me. I won’t meet her for a little while, but that doesn’t mean I can’t sing her a song.

She’s a child of Maine, and the daughter of deep and mindful parents. I tried to divine the influence of her mother and father, and to summon her surroundings as I made this song. I wanted her to feel the depths of the power and magic in her world and family. Since she’s a baby, I know that the words won’t mean much for a little while, so I tried to put something ancient and wordless into the drone of my voice. When she’s older, she can tell me how well I did.

Hi Ellie. Welcome to the Earth. Make yourself at home. See you soon.

~M.E.

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Week 437 // The Fake First Signs of a Season

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The fake first signs of a season
Holding up hope to believe in
Holding anything bright
To walk away
Just to walk away
I am awash in the moonlight
I am laid bare in the sunlight
Everything I have obscured
Is plain to see
I am plain to see
I am smaller now
I am honest now
I am golden now
I’m beholden now
And I am open to you

The fake first signs of a season
Holding up hope to believe in
Holding anything bright
To walk away
Just to walk away
I am awash in the moonlight
I am laid bare in the sunlight
Everything I have obscured
Is plain to see
I am plain to see
I am smaller now
I am honest now
I am golden now
I’m beholden now
And I am open to you

Notes
First things first: it’s April Fools Day, and I have to admit that I completely believed the viral news of the day that “Billy Corgan Is Taking Over Nirvana For a 2019 Tour”. I’m not linking the article here because I feel stupid. I had dizzy 90s kid fever dreams of watching the Smashing Pumpkins frontman absolutely demolish Cobain’s immortal catalogue somewhere in a North American arena this summer… until I actually read the article, and noticed that it was a total farce. I hate this “holiday”. But still, the spirit of the day is seasonally appropriate. Spring fools us again and again with false starts and outright lies for weeks on end, until, little bye little, it actually arrives. We, along with the spring, shed our winter defenses in fits and starts. Disingenuously at first, and then with full intention, we husk away the layers and the extra baggage, and we let our guard down.

~M.E.

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Week 436 // When E’re I Pleased

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I think of it now and then
I had a life up in the trees
I had the animals for friends
I’d come and go when e’re I pleased

And oh my soul
I’d shout to the moon
I’d never grow old
Or so I had assumed

Then I traded this for that
My bargain won both love and gold
I put a feather in my hat
It flew the first wind that took hold of it

And oh my soul
I’d shout to the moon
I’d never grow old
Or so I had assumed

I think of it now and then
I had a life up in the trees
I had the animals for friends
I’d come and go when e’re it pleased me

And oh my soul
I’d shout to the moon
I’d never grow old
Or so I had assumed

Notes
The approximate cutoff between my youth an my maturity occurred sometime around the moment that I emerged from the forest. What I mean to say is that I was fairly aimless and unrefined before I left New England for Brooklyn. It really wasn’t all that long ago in the grand scheme of things; I was a late bloomer after all. Still, back then I knew not of responsibility toward another human being, and I barely knew how to take care of myself. Between bouts of deafening madness, I was having an incredibly fun time. Then I got my shit together, more or less.

I love the forest, and I love that it is the touchstone for my youth in my imagination. I believe it will also be the touchstone for some future moment of my experience. In the meantime, however, I’m left to idealize it. Somewhere in my memory, I’m like a Disney character with birds and squirrels perched on my shoulders. Honestly, it’s not all that far off from the truth. I’ve had profound encounters with nature, and it has informed my view of the world in powerful ways.

This is a song about looking at that idealized encounter with nature and youth with a wry and knowing gaze. It’s also about understanding the great fortune in my personal growth and actualization. Sometimes I miss where I was. I’m glad I’m where I am. I’m looking forward to where I’m going.

~M.E.

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Week 435 // What to Do

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Hey man when the sun comes up
Dig a tunnel underneath the riverbed
And what you find down there
If it’s good you bring it to your foreman
He’s gonna tell you what to do

Hey man when the sun comes up
Dig a tunnel underneath the riverbed
And what you find down there
If it’s good you bring it to your foreman
He’s gonna tell you what to do
He’s gonna tell you what to do
‘Cause man it ain’t up to you

Notes
I play a lot of guitar in my down time, and write a lot of licks and and parts that that never turn into finished songs. Most of the time, I’m playing around in idle moments with a several distinct and fairly developed ideas, but many of the songs that I post to this site are invented from whole cloth in the breath just before I sit down to record them. I put off writing the ones that I really like. I have two ideas percolating at the moment that I wasn’t brave enough to write this week. One of them could be really great, and I put off finishing it last week as well. In its stead, this song is playful and has a good lick. If I wasn’t going to finish the one I really like, I wanted to offer up something enjoyable. It’s about labor and authority. It’s about digging. In the coming weeks I hope to dig a little deeper and finish the other other one.

~M.E.

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Week 434 // Up

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Stay up late at night
You’ve got ’til the morning
Join me when you’re able
I’ll be here

Stay up late at night
You’ve got ’til the morning
Join me when you’re able
I’ll be here

Notes
I’ve written lots and lots of songs about being up late, alone with myself—I did one just a few weeks ago, in fact. This one is is a bit of a role reversal, however. It’s been midterms in Rebecca’s law program, which means she’s been burning the candle at both ends. I’ve been going to bed by myself a lot of nights. This has been a regular thing since she started school, but it it’s not something I had ever had to get used to since we got together. This song is about drifting off while she’s out there doing what needs to be done. It’s a song about a new normal.

~M.E.

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Week 433 // Only Children of the Last Days of Earth

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Been looking back there
To the start of it all
The land was empty
And our thinking was small
I hid my fingers
In a fist in my rage
Swung at a giant
I was bleeding for days

I’d never fought a holy war
I’d never set a fire around belief
I’d never seen the stars before
I’d never known the way I should be

Looking out there
At the fate of the world
The smoldering embers
Of invectives we hurled
We’ll run for cover
We can live out our days
The water’s cleansing
But the mark always stays

I’ll never cast a stone again
I ain’t never gonna leave my post
I’ll whisper to you now and then
I’ll never see a holy ghost

Only children
Of the last days of earth
Your words are startling
And your art is your worth
You hide your fingers
In a fist in your rage
You swing at giants
and they all run away

You’d never fight a holy war
You wouldn’t set a fire around belief
You don’t look to prophets anymore
You don’t ask about the way you should be

Notes
I look around to see that a cohort that grew up just behind me, one that I always thought of as children, has taken a pretty comfortable seat in their adulthood. Not only that, but their fiery youth has tempered, and they strike me as a fairly responsible set—at least the ones that I interact with in my day-to-day life.

Behind them somewhere, rabble rousers are still rousing rabble, and I look to them with perplexed curiosity. I consider them in comparison to my own peers, who shouted with impotent urgency at the heavens (I did this until my throat quite literally bled). Have we already fought our battles? What did we fight for? Did we win? No, obviously we didn’t. The “Only Children of the Last Days of Earth” are the rabble rousers over the next horizon, or the horizon after that, or the one after that. They are the ones who finally win.

~M.E.

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