Thursday, October 8, 2009

Feature: Tim Buck Day 5

The Scream by Edvard Munch (in the public domain for US)


Just a Scream

Hey, did you hear that the world has no intrinsic soul

Just an emulsion of gravity and strings

Just a blind computational stroll

Ain't that such a scream

Hey, did you hear me howling at the stars last night

It was so cold and the wind very hard

My soul was flailing like a rudderless kite

A torn sail with no yardarm

So strange to be breathing in this spiral galaxy

Strange how you’re only real with opium tea

Strange how love becomes a calamity

Ain't that just a scream

Hey, all these days are falling like drunken dominoes

The end is stalking like a leopard in the trees

Every joy has a forlorn underglow

It’s enough to bring you to your knees

Hey, set me up with a bottle of hot, red wine

Light a candle, let me stare into the flame

Tonight I'll touch God or lose my mind

Or maybe those are both the same

So strange how love takes you deep into the dream

Strange how the riddle has skeleton keys

Strange how nakedness becomes a thing to flee

Ain't that just a scream

So strange to be breathing in this spiral galaxy

Strange how you’re only real with opium tea

Strange how love becomes a calamity

Ain't that just a scream

Music & Lyrics © Tim Buck

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8. What's your opinion of the present day music scene -- three sentences please.

A. With online networking sites like MySpace and with digital delivery, the scene is robust and exciting. So many bands springing up and all these new voices being heard.

B. As far as what's out there in the big leagues, not much interests me at all. I find myself listening more and more to the real old stuff, when melody was ascendant and cynicism not the zeitgeist.

C. In-between the emerging bands and the obnoxious big acts are some alternative artists that make an impression on me. And I owe my knowledge of them to my cool daughter: Neko Case, Golden Smog, Great Lake Swimmers.

Oh, a dirty little secret: I like Paramore! The music -- the songs.-- ain't my bag. But her voice! OMG...she can really belt out a song. I love Hayley Williams's singing.

9. Can all songs be called poetry? Yes or no, why?

Oh, no. Songs – the words and music – are a separate specie from poetry. I suppose one could loosely call anything poetry, but I think a poem must be experienced on its own terms. I'm eying your next-to-last question below, and I'm just not comfortable with mixing species. Rock or pop songs have a certain DNA, stemming from their origination in blues, gospel, and country music. It's more about the body than the mind. About movin' and groovin'. Dance is implicit in popular music, and I can't quite picture anyone dancing to a poem...maybe a ballerina and a...umm, what would you call a guy ballerina? A ballerino?

This question reminds me of a Facebook discussion I had recently with someone about Leonard Cohen's books of poetry, one of which I had read a long time ago. As good as his poems were, they still had a hybrid quality to them. Didn't hit me like pure poetry. But if anyone's songs could be called poetry, it would be his, for sure, no doubt. But as I said, it's been many, many years since I read his poems. I might have a different appraisal now. I even try my hand a writing pure poems. I like to think I can keep the aesthetic between song and poem distinct. And if I could pull it off, no doubt the wonderful Mr. Cohen can.

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