New Double Album

art of affliction cd cover

Mark Agnor – violin
Andy Baker – trombone
Sarah Beske – cello
Lexie Bloor – vocals
Chuck Bontrager – violin
Scott Burns – soprano & tenor saxophones
Susan Cook – alto & baritone saxophones
BJ Cord – trumpet
Christian Dillingham – bass
John Elmquist – bass, vocals, composer
Robert Fisher – viola
Jim Gailloreto – tenor saxophone, bass clarinet
Bob Garrett – percussion
Bethany Hamilton – vocals
Tom Hipskind – percussion
Katherine Hughes – violin
Carol Kalvonjian – violin
BJ Levy – trumpet
Aaron McEvers – alto saxophone
Ben Melsky – harp
Ryan Miller – trombone
Paul Mutzabaugh – piano
Chris Siebold – guitar, vocals
Andrea Tolzmann – violin
Ben Weber – viola
Cheryl Wilson – vocals
Jeff Yang – violinArt – Nathan Tolzmann

In the Spring of Agitation
In the spring of agitation,
agitation of the spring,
just like that, up I popped. I popped and popped again.
Buttons, crowns, and fungus lush.
Go stools of toads through rooms of mush.
Thrice thrilling gills, refreshing flor,
introduced through sternward door.
Oties peyd and cybins pscilled,
spores in loam the gloom hath killed.
Sweet fungi gilled and cacti quilled,
like a mushroom of morel, I popped and popped again, in the spring of agitation.Sometimes There Is a Crack
Sometimes there is a crack.
Sometimes, when there’s a crack, you fall in.
Sometimes, when you fall in a crack, you are alone
or accompanied
or both…….alone and accompanied.
And whether
or alone
or both,
your mind wanders
to the edge of things
to the end of things.
to one….…last……nerve…
Sometimes, in the crack, there’s a hole
and in that hole there’s a crevice
in which there is a split
in a pit
in a cave
in a crater.
And you fall in
to a gap
in a fissure
in a fracture
in a rupture
in a rift
in a break
in a breach
in a space
in space
and then,
at the end and the edge of things,
there is just one…

Puppy In a Frying Pan
I put a puppy in a frying pan,
I put a walrus on the grill,
I put a panda in the microwave,
I tried to poach a small mandrill.
I was laying on the sidewalk
petting seven six-legged possums,
when up came a five-eyed, toothless crow
and a speech began to blossom.
(He’s just cooking up a puppy dog, it isn’t going very well)
He said, “For a nickel and for good luck, I’ll let you puff my feathers, friend.”
(Lord, have mercy on this oh so screwed pooch.)
and for a dime and a big old hug
I’ll strafe some zombie-type mall-walkers.
That puppy just sweated, it would not die,
lay slimy, grey and panting.
Said, “why not give the freezer a try?”
then he started some feverish ranting.
(Freezer wouldn’t kill the puppy dog, but his tongue, it sure got hard.)
He cooked a puppy in a frying pan.
Where is that puppy now? Have a look in the freezer.In the Garden
Mama’s in the garden.
Granny’s in another room.
Baby is in the tub.
Sonny’s got things well in hand.
Daddy-o is in the garage.
Baby’s diving in the tub.
Granny is knitting up a storm.
Mama’s dancing for the rain.
Everyone’s in their place, lingering.
Sonny is slowly going blind.
Daddy sure is swinging hard.
Baby’s bobbing up and down.
Granny’s face is going long.
sporting the stare of one thousand yards.
Someone’s hanging out in the garage.
Daddy’s hanging by a thread, hanging by a thousand threads,
Baby floats facing down.
Mama’s in the garden.Sleeps Around, Sleep Surround
Left eye looks around, sleeps around
right eye makes a sound, looks around
cross hairs, cross your eyes, glassy eyes
cross your fingers, cross your heart
eyes lying on the ground, balls rolling all around
sleep sound. Sleep around and around.
Sleep sound, sleeps around
Lounge around, spell abound
stray eye wandering, stands her ground.
Sound of sleep surround, gather ‘round
lying all around.
The right eye rolls along, the other sees a song (and if looks could kill).
Sleep sound. All around. Lying ‘round and ‘round those lying eyes devise to shut it down,
shut it down.
Sleep sound, sleep surround, sleeps around, ‘round and ‘round.
Lost, found, stirs ‘round.
Room by room now sleep around.
Right eye, wrong eye rolling around.

A Dream
That was quite a show last night, tales were spun, stems were wound.
I was in and out of the starring role,
not exactly a dark horse, nor a confection.
Some things were real, other things were true.
I spent the whole time trying to remember something that I never knew.
Told myself a lie last night: the mind was right, tied up tight.
She came in and slipped a knot around me.
Not exactly the gift that had been expected.
Pulling it tight, drawing near to hear,
a final breath would warm the ear that listened to the end arrive.
One groaned, another one sighed, one made a choking sound.
Now we’re all just lying around.
There were expectations that a mess wouldn’t be made.
Who knew? And now she sleeps with one eye open.

The Very Last Nerve
So you sit and you stare and you think and you cry and you wail and you think and you plan and you cry and you bitch and you bargain and you moan and you puzzle and you think and you think and you think and you think: how can you not be so screwed?
What’s it like? What’s it like? Like a boat in a vor in a tex with the moon for an anchor with a six-inch line.
Like a kite with a chain with a ball for a tail.
Like a snorkel that’s a funnel full of fire ants.
Shoot some rockets at your eye.
You are so screwed.
In the end you’re tied down, in the end you’re tied up with the very last nerve.
Like a rebar staple in a tear in the gut from a bull of the pit.
And you pick and you strum and you stroke and you pluck and you wonder and you curse at your rotten bad luck.
And you strike and you poke and you twitch and you twang about: this is not the supper of for which you ever sang.
Hang by the thread that stretches ‘round your head.
What’s like? What’s it like? Like a baby who’s cord is a dragon with a big old hairy fire on its breath.
Like a flea in a bean with a flare gun for a light.
Like a razor wire belt pulled double, double tight.
Like a tug of war with a triple edged sword.
To the chase to the quick to the bone to the end.
And you cut and you grind and you hack and you whack and you snap and you slice ‘cause you’ll pay any price.
And you take it by the hand by the balls by the throat. Get your boot on the neck of the end of the final very last nerve.

deep, down ago,
long in Missouri,
bossman needed love
he was in a hurry.

he was a slave to fashion
and slaves were quite the thing
he went shopping one night
for her, home to bring.

the ride home was
slightly thorny,
only one of them was
even slightly…interested

she was quite surprised
she put up a fight
he barreled on ahead
to show her the light

he came in real close
came face to face,
with his hot smelly breath
stinking up the place
(when little ones came
that did not improve things.
who loves who and who
owns who gets messy.)

put her in a house
so he could have visit
whenever he wanted.
not so great, is it?

he came over one night
for a cup of sugar.
she’d had enough
of this hairy old bugger.

he wondered out loud
what was for dinner.
(something was cooking,
but it wasn’t him in her.)

she had a big stick
all ready to wail.
said to leave her be
or he’d take it on the tail.

he thought that was cute,
came in for a kiss.
she kissed him on the head
with her stick-shaped lips.
he laid right down,
took one for the white team.
thought it was a joke,
it turned into a quite long dream.

smacked him again,.
took one last shot.
a little bit alive ,
she made sure he was not.

dressed him like a hog.
out he was laid,
dead as a knob.
thin he was flayed.

adam’s apple was
peeled and cored,
jammed in his choppers,
laid by the board.

rolled him like a log
right into the fire.
turned up the heat.
she’d but one desire.

fire raged on.
babies tried to sleep,
all through the night
a furnace at their feet.
in that big brick oven,
hot as the sun,
he got just a little
past well done.

there was stuff left over,
and out the door she snuck it.
she thought it was sweet
how nicely he fit in a bucket.

Celia Part Two
She is the intellectual property of the educated man.
She kept her lover warm, so warm, attending to the fire all night long, all night long, all night long.
Now, at morning, everybody’s looking for the educated man.
He is out on the trail. He could also be found in the house and scattered at points between.
Oh, Celia brought him low.
She boiled his blood and baked his bones.

Do the Old Dip Down
Hidden in a rubber box, wearing out some rubber socks, a rubber gown for special days, and for the others: rubber smocks.
He was only trying to love the world. Everybody said, “I would rather sleep. We are quite content counting and being sheep.”

Nobody really wants to know how the sausages are made. We’re all quite content with our sandy hair, and to drink the koolest of the ade.
Waiting for the circus to come to town, he can wait forever by getting down.
You won’t get behind (3-e-&-a, 4-e-&-a) dancing in your mind.
Do the old dip down (dip down)
Do the old slip away (run away)
Do the old pitch dodge (please do)
Do the old sneak around (sneak around)
Do the old soft shoe (shoe-full along)
Do the old run along (not too far)
Do the old break out (break it on out)
Do the old (slight of foot) do the old ding dong.
He’s not leaking anymore. Some boats are not worth keeping afloat. Interest was lost when we heard the word (it was on the tube).
He pulled the plug on nothing at all (nothing at all). Manning is a little like Lancelot (a lot). This is how we want him: to be forgot.
Dip on to the down, (and it’s time to) dance to disappear.
Do the old dip down (dip down)
Do the old “ready or not” (here I come!)
Do the old squish face (look at me)
Do the old “oxen free!” (ollie, olllie)
Do the old shape shift (ball in a box)
Do the old “tag, you’re it!” (no tag backs)
Do the old break dance (spin on your head)
Do the old (fleet of foot) do the old ding dong.

did he do?
What did he do before he slept?
He wept before he slept. He wept.
What was evoked before he choked?
He’d seen a scene: a beauty queen.
What did he say before she spoke?
He choked, he choked and never woked.
His mama in the garden slept.
It was the crack on which he stepped.
We once were blind. Now we’re just dumb.
Found? Maybe not, but the dumb found.
What did he do before he sinked?
He thinked, he think-ed while he blinked.
What was he saying while she swept?
Her hand was sleight, and slightly klept.
What did he say before she spaked?
He shaked and shaked until he waked.
He’s very slow to realize
His vision’s in for a surprise.
We only got to the thirty-nine. We’ll never find the missing wink. (attacca)

Get Yer John Ketch On
Well, he put on his silver-lined jacket and started taking his own sweet time.
The least righteous of floundering fathers, he gave it all up for the cause.
Get yer John Ketch on.
Catch yer breath and get on a high count collar.
Get that thing wrapped around your neck, buttonhole it until you holler.
(Saint Blaise is gone with you need him the most.)
Get yer John Ketch on.
Catch yer breath, and swing your troubles all away.
Your plumb line reads a level head, and shoulders squared away. So sway away.
Now he’s playing the part of a possum and hanging by his brand new tail.
And the hempen cravat was fitting like a glove of rubber all down the throat.
Get yer John Ketch on.
Watch yer step, and be the stand still stepping stone stillborn in style by saying, “feeble, phony, phobe-o-phile now swings awhile.”

Real Ode to Grippo
You’re the ONE you are the UNO, you’re the last and the best hope, and you’re hanging all your chances on a spongy rubber rope.
Gone diving under cover and jumping for the gun while dancing on the coffin of the one and only one .
You’re splitting like a Lindbergh with an early flight to catch, holing up in a darkened and a garden sort of patch.
Catching flies in the dark like a cata with a comb, sinking toes into holes for a spicy little loam.
Gonna lie down dirty get up clean. You know everyone’s looking for a change of scene.
Got way down and dirty way down low, the quicksand clock is tick-tocking slow.
So you’re going on a date all dressed in a coma, and a bapti-dismal dress and a slightly cheap aroma.
Now sing for your supper and lecture for your lunch, go bray for your breakfast with your pants in a bunch.
You can chirp like a bird, you can lie down like a dog. Please hold your breath forever ‘til you sleep like a log.
You’re the ball on a tether, you’re a fly on a string, like a poodle on a leash and a flea inside a bean.
Gonna lie down dirty get up clean, make everybody wonder where you have been.
Lie down dirty, down dirty lie, your feet we’ll drag and the time will fly.
You’re the worm on the hook that is tied to the line that is hanging from the pole laced with strych number nine.
You went hook line and stinker to the bottom of the sea, rode the tide towing under with your shiny pedigree.
You’re a deep sea diver, or a walker up in space, flew a kite with a chain shackled to your sister’s face.
So rock like a baby and sink like a rock, take a bath in the sink and go walk your baby talk.
Gonna lie down dirty get up clean, it’s the cleanest dirty show that was ever seen.
Go lie down and dirty underground, you can make a giant mess, just don’t make a sound.
Lie down dirty. Get up clean. Lie down dirty. Get up clean. Lie down. Get up. Lie down.
She’s a cockamamie mama with her fertilizer fur, with a fresh pair of fangs and a tendency to purr.
She enjoys her little nap and the pressure of the soil ‘til things start to stir and coming to a boil.
Likes to lie in the garden and look up at the sky, even with three feet of dirt on top of either eye.
She’s a dirty liar lying deep in the dirty dirt, but her blouse is all buttoned and she’s smoothing out her skirt.
Gonna lie down dirty get up clean, she was smart and flirty now she’s just mean.
Lie low down fighting and come up beat. Get all hot and sweaty, start smelling sweet.
Took a post through the head, took a shovel through the heart and some roots through the gut, still she never comes apart.
Takes her bones out one by one for some bathing in the dust, prophesying to the remnants of her over heated lust.
There’s a scratching on the surface that is coming from beneath, and she works her bony fingers to the bones of her teeth.
She digs with a fury like she’s off to Shanghai. No need to send flowers, there are plenty standing by.
Gonna lie down dirty get up clean everybody’s looking for a change of scene.
She got down and dirty, got way down low, the quicksand clock’s tick-tocking slow.

No Moonlight on the Moon
This is “one of these days”.
Alice flies to the moon to find the light that hangs over all her nights.
Sweet Alice lies on the moon, a sphinx drawing lines in the dust, tugging at currents, ordering the months, hiding.
Roll over, peer down from above, pelicans flying by, bearing other dreamers.
One flew east and one flew west.
Carve an angel in the dust.
It’s not shiny at all.
It looked shiny but it doesn’t shine.
Too far to remember, too close to see,
close enough to see that there is no moonlight at all on the moon.
Having come out with a ‘pow’, she sits: cross-legged, eyes closed.
Hear the howling, some in the east and some in the west, forgetting there was ever a nest.

Sweet Virginia
I tried to love sweet Virginia, with her fluttering lashes and those long red ribbons.
Holding her hair together were a thousand black barrettes.
I tried to love her by smoking her cigarettes.
She took on the smell of a tale to tell, of many fine regrets.
I love the way she grabbed her grey coat. Such style in how she gathered her things.
Makes her big announcement, flinging wide the door.
I love best the part where she’s gone.
I tried to love crazy Caroline.
She beat her tantrum drum with uncommon vigor.
I tried to tame her by helping her pack it up.
I’m looking forward to watching her walk away.
Up in the latest iron jewelry she kept her pets dressed.
As she retreats to her white black hole,
taking her collars with their tuned tongs,
she sounds golden swaggering away.
I love them best because they are gone.

King & Koon
Brother Rodney hadn’t started school the day he met Stacey.
“Greetings, Brother Stacey. I’ll be laying right here so you can practice roping for the rodeo.”
Brother Stacey didn’t set out to make some history that hot evening.
Just a little pat down, just a little dust up. “Greetings Brother Rodney. Welcome down to the ground.
Why couldn’t he just be happy, happy with candy and billy clubs?”
“Get ready for a new high-watt roundup, a really big rodeo.
You stun me, and together we’ll stun the rest of America.”
Brother Rodney wasn’t looking for his breakout fifteen minutes.
(When you put a beating on a constant loop, it feels better and better each time around.)
Brother Stacey got a feel for making history in the movies.
“Good old Brother Rodney and I put on one heck of a show for the world to see.”
And now the dust will never settle. We’ll stir it up once again.
We’re going along but we’re not getting, and never will get, along.
A large supply of Staceys we have, and many a Rodney too.
One of them is good. And so one of them is bad.
There is not enough room for the two of them in any heart.
There’s nowhere to go.
there’s not even enough space in space.


Andy Baker – trombone
Leslie Beukelman – vocals
Scott Burns – soprano & tenor saxophones
Bethany Hamilton Clearfield – vocals
B.J. Cord – trumpet
John Corkill – percussion
John Elmquist – bass, vocals, composer
Jim Gailloreto – tenor saxophone, bass clarinet
Bob Garrett – percussion
Tom Hipskind – percussion
Paul Mutzabaugh – piano
Brandon Podjasek – percussion
Chris Siebold – guitar
Cheryl Wilson – vocals
Sarah Marie Young – vocals
Art – Nathan Tolzmann1. Prologue: Where Were You?
Where were you?
Where were you the day that you were born? the day your body was born?
Where were you the day that your frame took its first form? Where had you been?
Where had you been before the rest of you arrived? Where had you been before?
Where were you coming from?
riding around and pulling random parts out of the ground? What was the day you finally arrived?
when you came tumbling down?  When did you realize you had arrived? Words started falling awkwardly around.
It was the day that the sun came showering down. Were you digging in the dirt looking for answers? Were you gathering speed and gathering a storm? Were you peeling back the bark?
scavenging the grubs that were barking at you? Were you stepping lightly?
stone to stone? to tip to toe?
What was the day that you came and started building a palace? hanging in the garden?
in a hanging garden?
It was the day that the sun came showering down.
One minute you think you know.
The next minute, before it you know, there you go.
I’d give way more than a dime for more than just a little more time. Every date is flying blind straight in the face of what is kind.
Whether fly or rock, there is always one more. And one more sin.
The next thing you know there’s no chance to begin.
I remember everything the moment that it is happening.
If I could I’d use my teeth to bend time like I bent that dime. I don’t want to get high, but I do what to get higher.
You don’t have to be good, just appear to be winning.
I don’t have to get real high, but I should get a bit higher. You don’t need to be right if you shout just a bit louder.
2. Sunny Day
Broke out into the yard, in a little corner of the galaxy, but you couldn’t see far into the future.

Flew out into the light, looked down at the sky and staring up at me was the star of the show:

my, what a body! super hot body.

Getting started to build up a little model of a fantasy. You don’t need to see much to get the picture.
Ran away from the night, looked down at the sky, it turned its back on me.
Turning back to the job: house in the treetops.
There’s a trip waiting to be done to the dark side of the sun. No plans were made to stray from a very milky way.
I can’t leave. Neither can I stay.
Everything’s fun, funny and fun on a sunny day.
A little bird is coming from eight minutes away, you to evapora…
Not a care in heaven or on the earth, doodoodoo… Trouble’s coming sideways broad and blind.
Feel a little bit tense.
Sitting on the fence ‘twixed whither and ‘tween hence. Can’t be trying to run from such a sunny ray gun.
Waiving au revoir and getting lit up by a big-g-g-gas  star.
Daedalus sent Icarus to Helios to see what was up with all the heat that beat down on the three.
Now back to knuckle down and crack down on every little fright, crack up at the crack of dawn, it’s quite a frightful sight.
But this is what I came to see: a little trip to paradise that starts out up this tree. It won’t be long ‘til I am long gone.
3. Limbylimb
Everybody wants to climb just a little higher and then a little bit higher and then a little bit higher. Everybody wants to get just a little bit farther and then a little bit farther from the garden, from the ground.
Everybody wants to get just a little bit closer, just ten feet closer to the next solar system. Everybody wants to make it seem just a little bit better than the way it really is which is dead and deader.
Go on, brother, knock yourself out pulling yourself up to the top of the heap. Take every limb by the hand over hand over hand over fist.
Everybody wants to not sink a little bit lower, not a little bit deeper, get a little bit slower. And nobody wants to get a little bit dimmer, even a little less lighter, to be less of a fighter. Come on, now, shrink the room between you and the moon.
Lower the leaves to the level that crosses your eyes.
If you take just a minutes and you try to remember what the last thing was before your trip into the timber,
Everybody wants to think that the reason they’re higher is the steps they took to the top. Who doesn’t want to be up in a house in the sky, after all?
When you hang your head by the neck and you pull your head up by the strap of your boot.
Head up to thinner air which is where there is less resistance to the notions that were languishing in high grade gravity.
Everybody wants to get things to look somewhat shiny, though they might be dull they’ll look a little shinier.
Everybody wants to go where the breathing is easy and the weather is pleasy and the conversations breezy.
Everybody wants to step on top of one or the other of one and another, give each other a smother. Everybody wants to push the needle a little bit over to the right into the red, into the arm through the eye of the camel in your head.
Step on anybody or anything blocking the way.
You can be the only one who has got something to say, every day.
Everybody wants to make things a little bit straighter and a little bit smoother and a little bit softer. Everybody wants to be the last thing you remember when you’re turning the corner at the top.
Who doesn’t want to go party with stars in the sty of a sky, after all? Come on everybody; let’s trip to the top of the heap where it is steep.
Head up to thinner air where there is no resistance, where those thoughts can disappear, never to be heard from again.
Everybody wants. Nobody wants not.
4. Treehouse
Choose a color. Temperature: cool. Pick a flavor. Take a number.
Screw it all together now. Everyone loves a tower.
Swing a saw, draw a hammer, tie a tight tight line.
Measure once, cut twice, spin a nail, drive a pile, wrench a chisel by the tail. Do the numbers, orbit the spot, shifting the shape or thickening the plot.
Turn a nail, pound a screw, swing a pick and cry a hue.
Choose a length, height or thickness, and a favored mode of sickness.
Building closets to keep our secrets in, shades exposed to shadows in the darker rooms. Bricking in the dust of bluish master plans, winding timbers rust and twist just high enough. Grab a genus, pick a race, class or caste. And a speed: maybe haste.
Pick a style: in or out. Choose a letter of the law.
And a tense: maybe “see,” maybe “saw.”
Hitch a knot, bust a mutton, frame a gibbet, thread a thickening plot. Dream box country spaceship palace, a secret fortress that’s a sacred trap. No gorillas are allowed inside.
Big gorillas: from them one should hide.
Pinch a winch and hob a knob, hoist a joist in April. Craft a testimonial.
Plan your own memorial, form your testimony, trophy monumental, they’ll check the record dental. No one can shimmy up the social tree better than a chimpanzee.
Everyone doesn’t want to hang way out.
Things are a little hipper a little higher up, a little deeper in the canopy, up with a bug and a flea and a nervous tick.
No going down.
The only way off is up. Scatter away.
Babble it on. Chop it up.
Battles are the belfry furniture.
Fix the size, shift a shape, build your box, sand the corners, seal up the seams, tie up loose ends,
sink up into your sunken sanctuary.

5. The Bird and the Boy
What might the one say to the other?
“Why don’t you fly away with me? Why don’t you find a way? grind away with me?” How may the other then reply?
“I don’t want to get too carried away, ferried away, with and scaried away by you.”
To this the one could then inquire,
“When can you steal away with me? Don’t ennui away, sigh away, or sign away another day when you can while away with me.”
How might the other then respond?
To this the one would then rejoin,
“There’s no getting around, only getting away. You’ll find never a nest to brood in here.” After thinking about it the other would declare,
“Let’s not do the dance that leaves me here, sitting there, just to wait and stare.”

6. A Rope
Fear.A line. A signal. Gravity.
A cord to rip for safety. Umbilicus.
The sound of a voice. A groaning anchor.
A line of life for walking deep in space, in water. There are many ways to be tethered.
We try to fly, to come unfettered, yet we remain quite unfeathered. Gather your things, as you swing put some heart in those strings.
Raveling, unraveling, weave away.
Tug, suspend, building ends, upend the end. Twist and wind up your mind.
Tenses, senses spin, twirl,wind. Twist, wound, leave wound in the wind. Tangle twine, tie a line.
Straddle fences.
Loosen your things because they cling and put some heart in those strings. Wrap and coil, tension roil, lasso and so.
Knotted line, unread sign, tingling, dangling. Tug of war, tight of rope but slight of trope. String it out and up, restraining order.
String it along in your heart and use a slight ritard. Spinning your tail, sing a song that is full of stringy things. Scatter your songs, what they bring is a life on the wing. Hanging out and freely swinging. Swingalingding.
Not like Judas, not like John Brown, not like Saddam. Time is right and time is tight, the rhyme is trite.
Torque and tune, unlucky plectrum getting plucky. Unwire your mind to remain staying with your kind.
Cinching up the final cincture, robed in a rope, flying ‘round the holy maypole, no rope-a-dope.
Come to rest, you come to dangle at no angle.
Finish with a wrangle, free of any tangle.
Unloosen your things because they cling and put some heart in those strings. Loosen your grip.
Lighten up.
Let your dark thoughts slip.
Cranking on a knot of fiber, poor baby bird.  Drooping, swaying, trailing, flailing, lost the last word.
Choking, chirping, summit lurching, whims in decay, ever resting, ceasing nesting, losing your way.
7. Guttural Glottal Utterance
Choke up.
What’s the point of an easy breathing passage as you wonder away? Stop gap, bottle neck.
With the spinning and the twining and the wheezing and the whining. Choke down and anoint, you’re the miller’s stone around your own neck. Squeeze through the hourglass, creeping desperation’s finishing pass.
Guttural. Glottal. Guttural. Utterances.
Give yourself a rest, let the belt tighten around your tightening chest. Choke up, funnel down, wringing and writhing wretchedly.
Logs are jammed in your neck of the woods. Your breath will hold itself.
Hold it down, poke around, racing neck and neck. Guttural. Glottal. Guttural. Utterances. Guttural.
8. Sometimes Something
Hold me ’til I’m gone.
Sometimes something sweet and simple goes way, way wrong. So it seems the world is finished hearing this young song.
Thought it’s true: the scene was acted poorly all along. ‘Til I’ve drawn the final reward, hold me.
‘Til there is someone around, hold on fast to me.
‘Til I’m resting quietly by, wrap yourself tight around all the parts that could lead to another breath. Sometimes some things are as simple as they appear.
Just a-sittin’ and a-swingin’ and a-swayin’, soothseein’ and a-sayin’, wheezing a little tune, looking at things, engaged  in meditation in all the things I never noticed before.
Never noticed the spider deciding where heaven was. Never saw that the snake was appealing to everyone. Never noticed the kite that flew into neon infamy.
A-chewin’ the gnarly bark and pecking the wood in the canopy, and the buzzing, the beetles, the weevils, the hive-y bees.
Many a millipede marching and trampling and stepping smartly along.
Just a-twichin’ and a-kickin’, noticing that there is a baby bug walking on me.
We’re having quite a time, just the two of us, me and the apple tree.

Sipping and sucking the sap of a jungle gymnasium. Clutching and licking a toad, chasing fantasium.

The click of the squirrel and the hiss of the monkey appeal to me. The mites and the grubs and the worms make a meal of me.

Now here’s a little bird for me to speedily spirit away with. Don’t try to unspin a cocoon or you’ll tear it up.

9. Panic Bar
Saddle up a chair and sidle on up, order up a drink at the panic bar. Pulling out all the stops to cut him down, something’s ripe a little early.
She is going all in, going all out of her mind, pulling out all the hair that she could use to let him gently down to earth.
Stay there hanging on the line a little while, you look a little bored, you could use a lot of style. She is throwing him an adrena-line.
He cannot be bothered to be caught up in the excitement, the evolving, emerging, creeping panic of the hour.
She is flipping switches faster than the color of her hair goes draining from her face. Using every trick in her magic sack, pulling every string, trying to bring him back.
Sweating cold, casting spells, heart is off to the races. Fuse is lit for blowing up in the panic spaces.
Chest pounding, no punch pulling, plugging every leak and pulling every plug in sight.
Set that blue-gray shock ablaze and dig a tunnel through the roof and down the throat to see what’s left, see what’s left of the deft and the smooth and the silver tonguing groove of joy.
Nothing’s right, not the still life study, not the pulse of clever or of coy.
Spinning out, sweat and swear, curse and dare, finding tingled spines and burning hair in there. Sorcerate and incantize, cauterize with hot alarms and freakish charms.
Persuade the world to set itself aright.
Plead with every tweeting bird and slugging bug that passes by to ride the wave of panic raising blisters on the hearts of things.
A fight is breaking out at the panic bark, pump a lot of air into anywhere.
10. Wake Up, Baby
Wake up, baby, come on down. Mama’s gonna bring you round. Won’t you stand down?
Won’t you stir? answer with a little whisper? Tiptoe reaching way up high.
Pick the apple from the house built from the log in my eye.
Which would be the rescue true: falling out or falling into the blue? Oh, what can be done to conjure you?
Oh, sweet darling breathe a perfume of the rot that this uncut cord is not. Inspirate and expiration.
Let  us  have  a séance.     Clear the clutter clean away.
Breathe a little fragrance, drinking in a crystalline ballet. It’s true, there is not another side.
Channel, lock and launch your voyage.
Ease up here with me, well past the hanging tree. Ease up here with me, ease slightly out of reach. ‘E’s way up here with me.
Look around.
You can see ‘e’s come a long, long way to get to heaven’s tree. He’s back home, back to decomposing naturally.
He’s wafting as he reads decaying poetry,
11. Bonesy
…and looking ‘round for some fun, where did she go? Went to get her party dress ready for the show.
saw him hanging in there making not a single sound.
sized him up and noticed he was very, very dry.
She cut him down from the tree and what did she discover?
It wasn’t so bad with a doornail-dead  lover.
hunker down and grit your teeth, try not to pout.
swagger with a secret that everybody knows.
Dance, brittle Betty, step on all the stones.   Boogie with your baby, go clogging with his clones.
these lonely old bones aren’t getting any thinner.
fixed him up for supper at an hour after four.
she blew ‘em off and shined ‘em with a certain satin luster.
swished ‘em round and round until they came out down south.
she rode him hard and had him doing fancy flips and spiffy spins.
Shimmy, slim Jimmy, shuffle with your feet,
jam ‘til the morning, spreading somethingsweet.
in and out on the town bang a boulder beat.
Bounce, baby Billy, pop a little corn,
shake yourself silly, toot your hairy horn.
shook out a hippy tune with pretty skele-tones.
home to meet the folks, they wouldn’t let him inside.
she said she’d love him to the end of all the sticks and all the stones.
She was jealous of his stories, jealous of his toys,
regretted his attention on the other boney boys.
She dug him up for the wedding, it was more than she should carry,
foundapriestinthetrash,buttheywere more than he couldmarry.
put a mega big deposit on the iffiest of mates.     
‘cuz he was out of body, out of touch and out of sight.
just another one of many off the skeleton stack.
pray for rain in the desert, it’s coming or it’s not.
it was an everyday affair between the living and the dead.
12. Lonely Traveler
Lonely traveler.   No turning around.
Thread unraveler, leaving no trail.
float away, let it go, free of place, chug and roll, there’s no stopping it now.
Mystery solved.
He’s such a light sleeper, he’s an off drifter, and I’m a flame keeper. Sleeps in the light. Lightens the light. Stays up all night.
lean on every lighted lamppost.
Not a body.
Never anybody any more.
Distant fader, retreater, bon voyager,
over and over and over and ever and ever and ever.
and sometimes not, turns out not so hot. That, then, is this.
This is a big “not.”
A mighty tight knot, a slightly loose noose; both might have the might to reduce things to this point. Heaven reabsorbs all the things that are heaven-sent.
13. Epilogue: Refractor
And everything goes to pieces, and even those pieces come apart, they come apart and join together to become part of each other.
A part of a part of a part of a part of a part of what was never broken has been breaking, coming not together into one of our unmaking.
It comes apart, it becomes a part of a part and becomes another part. It goes to pieces and those pieces start to party.
It becomes a part of a part of a part of a part again, fiber by fiber by fiber by fiber by fiber by fiber. Peeled apart and pulled together, bits and parts and pieces broken up, broken down, disintegrated, dis? assembled and particulated.
Drawn together, grown apart, forced together, blown apart.
A head, a foot, a tooth, a beak, a feather, a finger, a meanish streak struggled, fought and sought a way to pull themselves together.
But once it all is thought and said and done and, finally, ignored, the universe becomes with itself quite bored.
A hair, a toe, a slice of life and a pound of flesh are more than enough to satisfy the drive for strife, to smoothen out what once was rough; the body parts that parts of speech can harm and heal, condemn and preach.
We dwell on fractions, on parts per billion, on inserted slivers, shards and shivers, in margins, on borders.
We are sin forgivers, fault forgetters, slightly tight offense committers. Live in the gaps, in the in-betweens, in the spaces and the missing spots.
We hang in cracks and deep ravines, dreaming up every sorrier, feebler plots and schemes, inhabiting tribes in manufactured factions, awkwardly contrived, and feeding on the lurid and minute distractions, coagulating, coalescing and collapsing into clans, congratulating ourselves on corrugated, perforated and punctured plans.
And everything goes to pieces and even those pieces come apart, they come apart and join together to become parts of each other.
A part of a part of a part of a part of a part of what was never broken has been breaking, coming not together into one of our unmaking.
It comes apart, it becomes a part of a part and becomes another part. It goes to pieces and those pieces start to party.
fiber by fiber by fiber by little by little by little…bye bye bye…
We float on matters of degree, in parts, in hints, in subtle clues, upon divisions none can see. Ecstatic, exotic tongues and pointless points of rigid views, we dangle from branches in channels, following tangents, vectors in greens and yellows and various hues, from actions taken in marginal sectors, but in soothing tones with shades of blues.
Drawn from a deep well, by opaque, eternal hands, we were drawn together. Assembly was required for worth and witness.
Fought to a draw, withdrew with quarters, drawn and quartered, bricked and mortared. Everything goes to pieces.
Even those pieces come apart.
What wasn’t broken has been breaking right from the very start.