at the jetty we can see the wind blowing out to stir the sailboat’s cloth nothing lives outside the stress-torn sand we live on, shoulder to shoulder at the end of a roiling eternity we didn’t mean to set the forest on fire the great deserts in the center of it all stand mute proof to the foolishness of apologies and apologia and all apologism
This was back during a time when I was dealing with frenetic hand-drumming married to near-chaotic thumb piano lines. Early 2004, I think. A collection of increasingly ominous historical quotes from a variety of figures that ends with Rodney King’s sobbing plea to stop making it horrible for the old folks, and the kids.
Don’t forget to stop by the books page here to check out some fiction which you can use to subsidize my existence.
There are two versions of this track, which features a reading by Bukowski as the vocal line. The other one is breakcore, all violent head-shattering drums; this one is much lighter, with more of a dub bass feel. It’s a bit more playful, and it suits the dissolute nature of Bukowski’s poem better.
Feel free to check out some books: today’s featured titles include Disappearance, only 99 cents, which if you enjoy the action bits in books and you like apocalypse fiction you’ll enjoy; What You See Is What You Get, which manages to combine the specter of ag-gag laws with criminal trials that look more like reality TV than anything else; and 9th Street Blues, about a kid delivering cobbled-together drugs in the near future ruins of Woodward, OK (and is also the jumping-off point for my new serial novel, coming soon from ATM Publishing).
Something a little newer, this piece is a standout for me because the reading of the first part of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Lands works so well in this setting. This came about when I was entering tracks into the Making Hip Hop subreddit’s weekly Flip challenges. They never got much play, mostly because the winners were always trying to be No ID or Mike WiLL Made-It and I was trying to be RZA with a generous splash of Clams Casino from time to time. At any rate I think sample (Nancy Priddy’s “And Who Will You Be Then?”) and beat flow great together, and the poetry reading over top leads to a few moments of frisson, for me at least.
Nick Cave is easily one of the most enduring artists in the history of rock ‘n’ roll. In the 1980s he staked his name on crawling, disturbing post-punk that encapsulated the violence and Biblical darkness of a mythologized American South (this despite growing up in Australia and basing himself out of England). From 1994’s Let Love In onward, he tempered the abrasive potentials of his songs with a renewed focus on texture, including piano and gentler tempos. Despite this, both it and 1996’s classic Murder Ballads reveled in the darkness, spiking moody atmospheres with moments of bone-chilling terror and loud musical moments. The Boatman’s Call, then, is an anomaly in his catalog. Everything before and after is shot through with darkness, full of revenge, murder, and sinners in the hands of an angry God. While 2001’s …And No More Shall We Part continued on with the exploration of gentler tones, The Boatman’s Call is also a musing exploration of spirituality and love.
“I’ve felt you coming girl, as you drew near,” he sings on “Are You The One That I’ve Been Waiting For?”, “I knew you’d find me, cause I longed you here.” This is a somewhat atypical Nick Cave lyric. Also atypical is “Just like a bird that sings up the sun / In a dawn so very dark / such is my faith for you,” the opening line from “There Is A Kingdom”, a song that feels as New Testament as Cave’s other work is Old Testament. “West Country Girl”, “Black Hair”, and “Into My Arms” are all about PJ Harvey, whom Cave dated briefly in the middle of the Nineties. “Into My Arms” was also performed at Michael Hutchence’s funeral (after Cave requested the cameras be shut off, so don’t go looking for footage). It’s also the wedding song of my wife and I; it was originally going to be “Have I Told You Lately” before we remembered that latter-day Rod Stewart sucks.
That said, there are a couple of songs on The Boatman’s Call which can be considered more standard fare for Nick Cave. “People Ain’t No Good” walks that careful line between love and death that is familiar for Cave fans (and also found it’s way into Shrek 2 somehow); “Lime Tree Arbour” straddles that same line, although in that case it’s love protecting Cave from death rather than the other way around. “Idiot Prayer” is also about dying, although there’s a firm sense of fatality that accompanies the line “If you’re in Hell, then what can I say / You probably deserved it anyway / I guess I’m gonna find out any day / For we’ll meet again / And there’ll be Hell to pay.” The real summation of the album – and perhaps Cave’s career as a whole – comes on the final song, “I Got You Bad”. “Babe I got you bad / Dreaming blood-wet dreams / Only madmen have / Baby I got you bad.”
I have yet to read it, but I’m all about the sharing of poetry, especially if the author is doing a promo giveaway. It’s hard to get poetry published these days and I’m glad to see people working the artform. So – Black Racket Ocean – Kat Dixon. Remember – if you download the PDF and like it, support the author by buying the hard copy (the link is provided on the same page as the free download).