LION-EATING POET IN THE STONE DEN
by Sean
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.

 
Lion-eating Poet in the Stone Den


Neutral Milk Hotel - "Two-Headed Boy Part 2". Jeff Mangum came to Montreal last night. He played a beautiful show, the songs that mattered, his voice almost unchanged. He wore a plaid shirt, a newsboy cap. His haircut was the same as it has always been. He opened my heart right up, lifted words and wordless syllables to my lips. He reminded me that every time I make a metaphor with flowers - blooms, buds, curls, - it is a tribute to him. But in spite of all this, I am not sure what Jeff Mangum was after. He came back to Montreal after years away, sang his cranberry melodies, asked us all to sing along; and maybe he was after money, or solace, or reverie or community or some full-circle kind of peace. I really don't know. He gave nothing away. He smiled, quipped, eyes flicking around. He drank from that plastic bottle of water. He seemed disappointed, sometimes, in himself. He seemed most alive when he was singing. He sang old songs and offered no clues. Today I listen to "Two-Headed Boy Part 2", feel its full force; and I wonder what it means, when a man is selfless and concealed. [buy]


Gillian Welch - "The Way It Will Be". E---- lifted her hood and went out into the fiery streets. There were yells in the air. The rioters had already been chased through F---- Lane so now the road was empty, full of smoke and sirens. The Tesco was boarded up, the shoe shop, but someone had broken the window of the Greggs. E---- wondered what you would loot from a Greggs. She stood in the shattered glass, peered into the bakery. Part of her expected crumbs, so many crumbs, feathery bits of puff pastry. But the inside was clean, undisturbed. Cheap cakes sat under glass.

E---- walked up the street. She was sick with missing M----. She was streaked and raging. She heard sirens and felt as if they were batting against her. This city should be full of crows. Not rioters, cops, just a million black crows, watching from the eaves, clicking their beaks. She didn't want to ever see M---- again. Wanted him to live in a green valley, where the sky is always white. [buy]


---

You have until midnight GMT to buy If Destroyed Still True #6: Iraqi Kurdistan edition, a zine by my friend Nine. It is £3, black and white, utterly exceptional. I met Nine when I lived in Edinburgh. But she has left that city, taken her life on her back. She is a traveller, now. She is sensitive, serious, alive. She tells good jokes and listens hard. Earlier this year she visited Iraqi Kurdistan. IDST6 is about her time there. It is a photocopied cut-up job but in its content it is so beautiful, thoughtful, a testimony of feelings felt and questions asked. Nine's gift is the way she strings together pieces of things - honestly, humbly. These strings of pieces teach and move me, in a manner that almost nothing else ever does. I recommend this little book passionately, unreservedly. £3, shipped anywhere in the world.


(read more about the poem above / listen to it read)

Posted by Sean at August 11, 2011 11:53 AM
Comments

No joke, Gillian Welch's "The Way It Will Be" came up on my AudioVroom stream. I loved it.

Posted by Jeremy at August 11, 2011 10:21 PM

I remember one of my college professors mentioning that poem once (variations on the syllable 'shi'), but kept forgetting to Google it. De-lurking to say thank you for posting that picture! (And I like that translation better than the one in Wikipedia, ahaha.)

Otherwise, excellent post as always. "He reminded me that every time I make a metaphor with flowers - blooms, buds, curls, - it is a tribute to him" hits home in a lot of ways for a lot of people, I think.

Posted by Amanda at August 12, 2011 9:57 AM

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about the authors
Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

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Mitz Takahashi is originally from Osaka, Japan who now lives and works as a furniture designer/maker in Montreal. English is not his first language so please forgive his glamour grammar mistakes. He is trying. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Reach him by email here.

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Dan Beirne wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.

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