Tag Archives: death

Preserving the Wildflower – Postcard #69 via video

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.

Note: Also available in audio-only via all normal podcast channels and elsewhere in this library.

Simon, Stolen, Shame – Postcard #84

A heart-wrenching poem about an abducted boy called Simon – who lived nearby, was my age and sorta looked like me – in Surrey, BC 1982 – by the “Beast of BC” Clifford Robert Olson (NO relation). Recorded and contributed to Dark Poutine Canadian True Crime podcast – shared here for posterity etc.

RIP Simon and the others.

Be wary for: Simon, Stolen, Shame – Postcard #84
(10MB, 5:27, mp3, stereo)

Continue reading Simon, Stolen, Shame – Postcard #84

Signs in the Wild – Death Society Meeting and Dancing Unit

Often, I find signs interesting, amusing or occasionally useful or just aesthetically curious or intriguing. Here are some, i have others. These are from Sri Lanka.

Rest Me Naught

Rest me Naught

The partisans attacked
Shortly after sun dawned
Trapped behind the lines
Two days after the treaty signed

Under grey sky I consider
Am I the last one to perish?
Perhaps the final number
In a redundant skirmish

Papers signed inky in a rail car
I’ll never chance to see
Peace comes for some
But no solace arrives for me

The religious get their rites
Murderers given last meals
I’m ordered a shovel
And to get down on my knees

Night-flashes of lost loves
Forever gone forlorn
First flash of eye glance
Waking early on a first mourn

Distant desperate acts
Seeking a fleeting peace
Unadvised by the muddy
The needy and the weak

Boots and coats removed
To strip last identity
The cold doesn’t sting
As much as anonymity

Trenches are flooded
Mortar shells rest unused
Canteen still has drops
Munitions stockpiled to abuse

Grandmother will never know
When my corpus lays
Flowers will grow eventually
While a Legion prays

I am unknown to no-one
Forgotten by unborn kin
What counts as victory?
Who credits this a win?

No photo in a locket
Soggy letters long left to rot
Telegrams remain unanswered
No lover to forget me not

(All my years for naught)

Witnessed Own Autopsy

Autopsy etc. table, wood (Kerala)
Autopsy etc. table, wood (Kerala)

On a hardwood slab I witnessed
My very own autopsy
Carved by Portuguese explorers
In the 16th century

Chipped out my draft obituary
On a petroglyph red canyon wall
Will be covered up soon enough
By flooding rivers and reservoirs

Guilt, grief, cold and sorrow
Ride in the seats beside me
Loss settles in, ticket punched
Ready for the full night ride
In which sunrise last forever
Evidence of absence of time

Roll past all the caskets
Rotting for eternity
There is “really nothing inside“
But exhume just to see

Vasco’s bones are dug up
And carried to his home
I’ll leave yours in the ground
And sit beside alone

I’ll read you endless poems
By Whitman, Baudelaire and Keats
Bring flowers black like coffee
Open like the Chinese fishing nets

Hospital Letters and Flames – Postcard #77

In hospital with sedated Grandpa, Dave reads complete “Letters from Russia” epistolary literature project with frequent interruptions from visitors, nurses and medical apparatus. The letters address issues of class, revolutions, monarchy, war, trade, and love in the context of Napoleon’s foray into Russia in 1812 through letters from a cobbler to his fiancé in Paris. Then finishes with Walt Whitman heading on the open road (which ole Gramps was so fond of doing himself).

Featured music: Mark Olson (music, guitar, vocals) and Dave Olson (lyrics, drums) “Little Flame” – recorded to 4 track cassette, circa 1996. 

Breathe easy for: Hospital Letters and Flames – Postcard #76
(82MB, 1:00:05, 192k .mp3, stereo)

Continue reading Hospital Letters and Flames – Postcard #77

Not Being There (for Rod) / notes

Not Being There (for Rod)

 

(page 3?

Not being 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 Diamond? 

 

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

Tactility of Loss

Tactility of loss
A Pantheon of pals
Ash goes to ground
Ride on endless highways
From Timpanogos
To Olympus

Underway in the Aegean
Thoughts of Odysseus
And his compatriots
Most fond and trusted

Feeling so so alone
Along on a ship of celebrant retirees
And a smattering of newlyweds
Their future i’ll never know

A teleporter does me no good
Body buried and tears all shed
While In Aqaba pretending
To be Lawrence or Wilfred

I sit with futile cigars
And a bitter drink
And wonder
Why not me?
I can count six distinct times
In a four year stretch
Where i’ve fallen with no idea
Where i’d ever be buried
Buried and rotted without a sound

Oh Rod Howard, how grateful!
I was a man without a tribe
When i found you at the center
Of everything curious
Making bonfire look like a
Mere lighter flame

Everybody’s favorite
Never an unkind word
From or about you
Making magic
Never on time
But always worth the wait

Odysseus sailed here
According to Homer
Whose existence is debated
Escaping villains in caves
Out to scheme his way to
Kindly strangers
With flagons, actual skins,
Of undiluted wine

Your children, your joy
You had no need to run away like me
All your quests took you home
To parents who understood
Your heart, head and desire
To live
Full on

The chatter around me deafening
Who do i commiserate with when
No one knows your lofty heights
Your speed, your softness
You heard me hurt and came without hesitation
Late, but just on time

Rocky coastlines await me
In the coming hours
No helipad exit could
Provide ointment

I will arrive to sit
Perhaps a picnic
At your stone
Perhaps i’ll learn the origins
Of your middle name
Maybe you’ll join me
We’ll play X cassettes on a box covered in stickers
Tom Waits warbles and we’ll make a Jim Jarmusch film
To chronicle your days
From Sunset rock in Los Angeles
To sunset trips in desert canyons
Which still echo with your laugh

I wear a Greek fisherman’s cap
And blue woven shirt
Made as coarse as burlap
For shepherds and taxi drivers

Tear it off and scream
Why you? Why now? Why this?
But no answer impending
And frankly i’d be booted from the cafe

Not a hedonist glutton madman you
Taking corners fast because
You knew the limits of your tyres
Fine tuned for performance and attributes
No one else can define
Except those of us you wrested and cajoled
Invited next to you

These rocky headlands
Come into view
As the ship horn bellows a lament
Now as low as my sinking Mediterranean heart
The blue sea unworthy of my unholy
Reflections of me a mortal
Always running towards something you found
Right at home

I snap a photo of a saddest angler
Who never held a Rod
As sleek and strong as you
Held together glue, sounds
Cracking against the bluest sunset

##

Rod Ash 1969-2017
Big brother to us all

(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

##

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