The Art of Affliction and The Science of Feeling Groovy

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.