Tag Archives: death

Not Being There (for Rod)

Im not there
Instead a mediocre duo
Plays “Forever Young”
And “Fast Car”

Third time this
“Death whilst elsewhere”
Occurred in the past 5 years
Austin, Auroville, Athens

Where are you now?

“Fast enough to fly away”
Year is 1988
We are invincible
Marauding Utah Valley
Making best of seemingly
Inconsequential locale

I order a Dead Guy ale
At sea
Such an act
anathema to sensitivity

Me and a disposable fountain pen
Alone
Scribbling as fast as you drive
In an inconsequential notepad
The glue snaps with each page turned
Crackle like broken bones

Your photo on my phone
Plaid shirt, goatee
(before *everyone* sported same)
Holding a child
Is the child the artist of the lad
Who wandered to Diamon?

How do they hold up?
I asked Mikhael at 3AM
As though i expected
A reasonable answer

Next song is about
“Getting here anyway you can”
Airplane, sailboat, across deserts
Everysong is for you
Do they know?

“Holding Mountains…”
Just get here how you can
Fck, I am not there.
Not even close
Instead chasing pariahs
Around Arabia

The beer comes from Oregon
The cruise ship guitar is anonymous
Could be Mike and Denise instead

A mosaic of flowers on the wall
Covering your box
I imagine your hair
“Across the desert by caravan”
This destroys me
I wasn’t there

Next they sing
“Oceans apart”
Describing to you
Where i am
“Wherever you go”

Sappy as a Quebec maple tree
But still i stifle
I don’t want to be asked
But can’t be alone
In my room
Feeling all of THIS
This lost potential
Memories yet to make

Marty wept
Mikhael quavered
Spreading the hardest news

“How will we survive”
The answer is “we won’t”
Life ends for all of us
No SHIT, i sip again
To tentative to clapping

You are so loved
Hundreds appeared
Lined in the rain
Legendary
X will dedicate songs for you
Children will learn of you
Your parents said good-bye to you
The worst occurrence conceivable
To we delicate beings

The others gone before you
From erstwhile tribe
Many tempted fate
Litany of poor decisions
Dalliances and addictions
While you were simply
Pure electricity

Now they sing
“You’re broken”
Yesterday i would hardly notice
Stroll by en route to a chat
With an Indonesian waiter
Or Romanian photographer

Tonight the words burn incandescent
Others notice the lady is vaguely pretty
The guitarist rocks to seem engaged
And i drink and scribble to you
The people wonder about
The temperate “back home”
A concept i lost along the way
I know the air is chilly is all

“Get your affairs in order”
Is sound advice
For a complex chronic wanderer
Prone to mishaps
To me likely
But, i am convinced
No one ever expected
This incident to be you
Whisked to canyon hot pots
Just weeks before

Then “our last song is by our favorite band, the Eagles”
My cue to leave
Hate the fcking Eagles
I pull Greek fisherman hat
(Which made me giggle hours ago)
Down more tightly
Step out onto deck
Into the wind
Observe twinkling lights
From islands which
I’ll never know the names

(Poetic Farewell to) Ole Dead Gramps – Postcard #72

(Poetic Farewell to) Ole Dead Gramps

Paying poetic respects to recently deceased Grandpa in a rainforest with Walt Whitman, Charles Baudelaire, Chief Dan George and original works inspired by the globe rambling, oddly charming, big fish – while official funeral happening elsewhere. Originally recorded: May 13, 2006

Sit on a tree by the river: (Poetic Farewell to) Ole Dead Gramps – Postcard #72 (83MB stereo 192 mp3 1:00:05)

Continue reading (Poetic Farewell to) Ole Dead Gramps – Postcard #72

Wildflower, for Foster (song)

Words by Dave Olson with Mikael Lewis written in Pokhara, Nepal
Music, vocals, guitars Mikael Lewis, recorded in Utah, USA

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Wildflower (for Foster)

Foster can you tell me
where the hell you left those tapes?
I was riffing on my first guitar
you were mouthing poetry scapes

I’d go to visit your gravesite
but I’d hate to waste that precious hour
you don’t belong in flat mown lawn
when you are a wildflower

Recorded in my parent’s basement
our earnest, green, unflinching truth
unaware that three short years later
you’d be cashing in on your youth

Don’t need to pour one out for you
or leave a fat one rolled
I’ll just light the signal fires
To make sure your story is told
The tale of the wildflower

I ignored their useless platitudes
self-serving, cliched and quaint
You and I both know what the truth is
And so I share this brief lament

I visit you atop the mountain
Where freedom lives and truth is found
When morning light first hits that meadow
I’ll have proof that the wildflower lives

April 1 & 2, 2017
Words by Dave Olson and Mikael Lewis
Music by Mikael Lewis

 

Crust of Pumpernickel

Crust of pumpernickel
Reminds me of Mom
Though the reason for this
Escapes my deserted mind

Was it the flood from teenage trips
Across the soon-sprawling suburbs
To a German delicatessen
With rare meats and names too long
For my young tongue?

However, noting
Tongue is available
By t
he pound or
Even an entire kilogram

 

Preserving the Wildflower – Postcard #69

pfgb-wildflower-sm

What becomes of the seemingly ephemeral creations we leave behind? Especially in the analog-days?

Consider these in the context of missing cassette tapes made by a now departed poet/activist/scholar Foster and guitar-ing Mikael, who recorded spontaneous youthful riffs in parent’s basement in Utah. In this postcard, Mikael  Lewis sings “Wildflower (for Foster)” written by Dave in a clinic in Nepal, then adds some more verses, spiels and a poem called “Occasionally Free” – with lightning, rainstorm and crickets chiming along.

Catch lightning with Preserving the Wildflower – Postcard #69
(25MB, 14:22, mp3, stereo)

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About Being Stabbed in the Forehead (1990)

His Part:

I’m lying in bed and my wife is stabbing me in the forehead. My skull is hard and bony so she uses a rigid dagger and a mallet to chisel it through. This is a peculiar way to die but I am coming to grips with it. I figure it’s good to accept and come to grips with things, so I am focusing and channeling my energy.

I yelled at first but now I am into steps three and four, repression and denial. I don’t think I’ll make it to overt anguish, I hope not anyhow.

Continue reading About Being Stabbed in the Forehead (1990)

Lonely Cold Water Flat – Postcard #66

postcards lonely cold water flat-sm

Life in hotels, wandering alone and often blue and then the death of friends all converge in a series of poems including a song by Mikael Lewis about waiting for love in a Victorian hotel. Then, from the streets of Rome with a cappuccino comes a series about departed Rod H. Ash, including “Time Traveller” plus poetic riffs name-checking Charles Bukowski, Audrey Hepburn, Pete Best, the Fitzgeralds, Vatican’s Swiss guard and the post office by the Sistine Chapel and desert campfires.

Walk upstairs for: Lonely Cold Water Flat – Postcard #66
(13:39, 30MB, .mp3, stereo)

Continue reading Lonely Cold Water Flat – Postcard #66

Dad’s Malibu Super Sport – Postcard #65

Dad's Malibu Super Sport – Postcard #65

When I was growing up, Dad often spoke of his Chevy Malibu SS – his favourite car.  So, while on his death bed, I asked him to tell the story. He speaks about acquiring the vehicle, the budget, the deal, the financing terms and oh, also about the car and how he enjoyed having a reliable and cool vehicle as a young married man creating a life, after growing up poor in Regina, Saskatchewan, then heading off to BYU in Utah. The story is interrupted by a nurse bringing lunch and news. He died 10 days later.

Indulge me by listening to: Dad’s Malibu Super Sport – Postcard #65 (78MB, 12:08, ,mp3, stereo)

Continue reading Dad’s Malibu Super Sport – Postcard #65

Hi Mom, One Year Gone…

mom-card-close

Nov. 27th 2017 Mountain Time – Nov. 28th 2017 in Galle, Sri Lanka

Hi Mom,

Well, the date came around today. Its a foggy number for me as I was so far elsewhere in the “tomorrow” time zone and also took the brothers a couple of days to track me down to deliver the news so I actually had to look at your obituary to know exactly which date was the day.

The date shouldn’t matter and I maybe should be “unattached” according to the Buddhists or doing the whole “she’s in a better place” crap which frankly I don’t believe in – maybe there is an after-life but we have no proof and only folktales augmented by the spectre of “faith” to go on – so to me, whether there is or isn’t makes no difference (also, who’s to say this isn’t the “after-life”). Oh and to the faith of my relations, I don’t want a whole planet to “manage” if it means I must supervise wars and disease and disasters, anyhow I digress… to me, the only salient aspect of memory I feel and care to share is simply “I miss you”. That’s all. And, I want to, aim to, and am keeping your memory alive in a very tangible way.

You have no marker, your body is still at University of Utah Medical Center, used by a little squadron of medical students and there’s maybe an engraving of your name on some associated memorial wall in SLC somewhere – we ordered it, filled out the form but don’t have evidence of actual existence.

mom-program

Of course, there’s your sons and friends and grandkids still roaming around but your stories will fade if someone doesn’t keep the tradition alive. With this in mind, I post photos of you and about you, on the Internet so folks can click a button of acknowledgement, drop a few words, etc. – but to me, this isn’t all of what’s needed. With your love of genealogy – or rather the research of the stories of ancestors as they are rather than just a list of data points to perform unrequested ceremonies upon – and your interest in findagrave and tending to headstones, I want to put a stone somewhere with your full name, birth place and date and same with death, just for the “Lauralees of the future” who have the same interest as you to dig into the stories of the past.

Continue reading Hi Mom, One Year Gone…

Tribute to Grandma – RIP

Granny Selling Candles for Bright Idea Company
Granny Selling Candles for Bright Idea Company

My my the days go by, and we all chase the light.

90 years is a long time by any measure. Tis a statistical outlier who lives so long, with wit and sanity (mostly – aside for grudges and prejudices) intact no less.

As it goes, my final grandparent – my maternal grandmother, Isobel Steele Bannatyne – passed away on Saturday. She was in Indiana and will be buried in Logan, Utah (or nearby anyhow) where many of my kin live.

Shall i travel down? My first thought is “of course” but then i realized, i am weak, weary and while full of love, i am low on tolerance for emotional expression. I am raw from the past year(s) and am scared to take steps back by pushing myself. I talked to doctors who advised me to put myself first. I don’t come naturally to this. I am strong in the clutch and reliable in challenging circumstances. I was there twice last year after swearing to never go again after a visit before Grandpa died. I gave away by VW bus, my bicycles, my art so i wouldn’t need to return. I did. Twice.

“I am not needed. I am OK meditating and celebrating in my own way” – this is what i am right now.

There is an obituary but it describes someone i don’t know. My kin are religious folk and this colours the narrative of their lives. Eclipses everything else, purposely. These ways are not mine. Death can provide context for healing rifts or death can be the spectre of chaos and mistrust within families. I’ve seen both very recently.

To my hundreds of cousins, uncles, aunts, Mom, et al. Hold each other as needed. I suspect it will not be needed. 90 years is a long time.

To the rest of you, above Grandma as i remember. Sometimes in the 1970s, at a craft show selling my Mom’s candles at some craft fair. I was the frequent sidekick and candle maker and these times make me happy. Before i knew of tension caused by beliefs, intolerance – there is no judgement or blame. It is me.

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For the record: Here’s the obituary for Isobel Steele Bannatyne as published in Logan (Utah) Herald Journal.