Category Archives: Lyrics & Music

“Life is for the living. Death is for the dead. Let life be like music. And death a note unsaid.” ― Langston Hughes, The Collected Poems

7

“All 7 & we’ll watch them fall
They stand in the way of love
& we will smoke them all
With an intellect & a savoir-faire
No one in the whole universe
Will ever compare
I am yours now & u are mine
& together we’ll love through
All space & time, so don’t cry
One day all 7 will die”

– Prince

2016 04 Apr 23.04.16 11.21PM Snapchat-4492316920341982313_a

© Violet Ashes 2016

After The Storm

This morning I drove around listening to Mumford & Sons, trying to find distraction & since then it has been a day filled with contemplation. Good contemplation can, of course, always be done while shopping. Navigating my way through racks of women’s clothes, shoes & jewellery. I found myself standing in the jeans section & looking at the way the store was divided. They used nicer & more marketable words but each section was clearly thus;

Section 1: skinny, young & hip – lovely fabrics, cut well – sizes 6 – 16 only
Section 2: older, fatter, sensible – basic colour wheel & no imagination – sizes 10 – 18 only
Section 3: maternity / so fat you might as well buy maternity – all in garish colours & floral prints – sizes 16 – 26 only

I wandered through each section & also noticed that what was a size 16 in Section 1 was a totally different Size 16 to that in Section 2 & in Section 3. I was confused. How can you call it the same size? What dressmaking school did they attend? I did not understand.

I bought something from each section just to mess with their statistics.

I had to negotiate the grocery store after that – one of my most loathed tasks. People everywhere with no clue what they need or want. People picking things up, smelling them & putting them back. One lady ran over my foot with her trolley. I just stood still on the spot & was tempted to scream.

At least the coffee aisle was the one closest to the entrance of the supermarket. How convenient, I thought. Then I noticed it is the same aisle as the chocolate & lollies. How conveniently annoying – putting something everyone needs next to something everyone wants. Pure evil. I did not give the Cadbury’s hazelnut chocolate any eye contact as I walked swiftly passed & kept my head down all the way to the opposite end of the shop where they keep the milk – you need a winter coat all year round down there.

By the time I got home & invented something for dinner, tucked it away in the fridge & sat down to fold socks my mind was racing. Racing with anger for all the fat people who like coffee & cannot avoid the chocolate. For all the skinny girls that want to dress sensibly but cannot find clothes to fit & fat women that want to dress stylishly with the same problem.

Noticing that I am middle of the road on all of these issues only gave me further pause.

I knew I was avoiding my real problems by filling my mind with trivial ones & only adding to my anxiety but I couldn’t help myself. I took a peak in my email for anything exciting that might have happened in the 10 minutes since I last looked. An email stood out – a WordPress notification from the blog of Jain Carey Photography. A post entitled “After The Storm.” I opened it. I stared at the photograph. I was whisked away to shores of still water & instantly, I was calm. I am always affected by great art & today was no different. Perhaps I should take a copy of this photo in my purse with me the next time I visit the supermarket.. I could have stared at that photograph for many hours, I could have started at it all day… had the washing machine not beeped…

After the Storm by Jain Carey Photography

After the Storm by Jain Carey Photography

After The Storm — Mumford & Sons

& after the storm,
I run and run as the rains come
& I look up, I look up,
on my knees and out of luck,
I look up.

Night has always pushed up day
You must know life to see decay
But I won’t rot, I won’t rot
Not this mind & not this heart,
I won’t rot.

& I took you by the hand
& we stood tall,
& remembered our own land,
What we lived for.
& there will come a time, you’ll see, with no more tears.
& love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill & see what you find there,
With grace in your heart & flowers in your hair.

& now I cling to what I knew
I saw exactly what was true
But oh no more.
That’s why I hold,
That’s why I hold with all I have.
That’s why I hold.

& I won’t die alone & be left there.
Well I guess I’ll just go home,
Oh God knows where.
Because death is just so full & man so small.
Well I’m scared of what’s behind & what’s before.

& there will come a time, you’ll see, with no more tears.
& love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill & see what you find there,
With grace in your heart & flowers in your hair.

Lightning Bolts

Zeus-Hera_shadowsineden.blogspot.com

Last night I dreamt of Zeus & of Hera & their children. Eileithyia – with her watchful eye has followed me through the last two years & two dead babies. She whispers to me & although I understand her in the dream I do not remember her words when I wake & yet her words haunt me.

I awoke with pain lingering in my abdomen & tears on my cheeks. My husband asked me what was wrong, why was I crying & I maintained, “I’m alright, I’m fine” but I am never sure if I am.

The two dead babies in my dream – they float. They stare at me but they do not talk. I know who they are, even now, but they are not mine anymore. Eileithyia runs her hands over my back & through my hair. Whatever she says, upsets me.

I am not the same person I was before I met Eileithyia in my dreams. I am not as fickle or forlorn but I am the same amount of furious. There is a burning in my belly, a ferocious fire that wants to burn the world down – holding in my words, my thoughts & my feelings for fear of hurting people is like having lightning bolts streak through me minute by minute. If only I did not care. Perhaps I could let it out & the burning would stop. Perhaps I would be reduced to Ashes. If only.

We do not talk about these things anymore, my husband & I. I am too angry & he Is too sad. All the waiting & the disappointment. The passion & the pain. It beats down our door every month & we fall deeper in all the time. We both know it cannot destroy us, we know no matter the outcome we are stronger together & stronger than anything the Gods could throw at us. But in the meantime, our daily lives are filled with hope & uncertainty; of conversations not endured & decisions not made.

“People ask me how we are,
We are, I say, mostly lost.”


Lightning Bolts – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Two lightning bolts were delivered to my room,
They were gifts from Zeus.
I rock the bolts in a bassinet of pine.

People ask me how I am,
I say “I’m all right, I’m fine.”

I push the lightning bolts in a pram,
Till the sun goes down & it gets dark,
& the girls from Jubilee Street hang out their windows,
& they wave & ask me how I am tonight.
I say “I’m good, I’m all right.”

In Athens all the youths are crying from the gas.
I’m by the hotel pool working on a tan.
People come up & ask me who I am.
I say if you don’t know, don’t ask.

Zeus laughs – but it’s the gas.
& he asks me how I am.
I say “Zeus, don’t ask.”

My lightning bolts are jolts of joy,
They are joy boys from Zeus.
I feed them porridge in their booster seats of knowledge.

& in the cradle of democracy, the pigeons are wearing gas masks.

My lightning bolts play in the elevators,
They slide down the hotel banister,
& Zeus throws a gas canister,
& it spins around the pool,
As pigeons wearing respirators steal the lightning bolts.

Zeus wants them back.

O my bolts of joy,
O my darling little boys.
They are lost to us.
& people.. .
They are never coming back.

At night I watch them sleep,
& cry years of tears,
& it’s not the gas.

People ask me how we are
“We are,” I say, “mostly lost.”

 

Back In The Tori Forest

I have had 4 days with the new Tori Amos album: Unrepentant Geraldines & although I have only heard it all the way through, oh, about 30 times I feel I can safely say this is an unrepentant masterpiece.

It is Tori back to where we all want her deep down – at the piano with a soft drum & guitar hum, suitably, in the background. Her voice floats over a range of tracks that explore stories of unapologetic & unrepentant women through art & from various points of view. A shapely yet delicate web of experience, memory & desire have made up this album & I could not help feel it must have taken significant time to compose. I have since read that Tori wrote these songs “in secret”*. Through this solitude Tori has produced some of her most melodious & distinctive sounding songs to date.

There are epic tales in these odes (‘Wedding Day’, ‘Wild Way’), beautiful, haunting lyrics that whisper & curl around you as lullabies do (‘Weatherman’, ‘Invisible Boy’, Maids of Elfen-mare), fun & bizarre tunes (‘Giant’s Rolling Pin’ & ‘Rose Dover’), a duet with her daughter, Tash (‘Promise’) that would touch the heart of any mum & then there are those special few that will be your favourites (‘Trouble’s Lament’, ‘Oysters’).

I was lucky enough to get hold of the deluxe edition of ‘Unrepentant Geraldines’ which has one extra track & for me it was everything I felt was missing from the album & this track remains my favourite: ‘Forest of Glass’. I found the darkness & depth of the track completed an incredible album. An unrepentant album. And as ever, I remain, an unrepentant Tori Amos fan.

Forest Of Glass – Tori Amos

Steal me away
Steal me away
From where I stand
Although I’m kneeling down
On the ground
Steal me away
Steal me away
From where I stand
Although I’m kneeling down
On the ground
The owl hoots and the moon beams through
A doubt awakes a voice dares to ask
Will you follow
If you love him you will follow
Will you follow
If you love him you will follow
If you love him you will follow him even ’til
His forest of glass
Forest of glass
His
Robbing the muse
Is, Is that what I’ve done
They turn and laugh
Back you do cannot do
We are the robin’s muse
And we will sing for you
Lift up your head
Lift up your heart
Lift up your head
Lift up your heart
The owl hoots and the moon beams through
A doubt awakes a voice dares to ask
Will you follow
If you love him you will follow
Will you follow
If you love him you will follow
If you love him you will follow him even ’til
His forest of glass
Forest of glass
His
Steal me away
Steal me away
From where I stand
Although I’m kneeling down
On the ground
Lift up your head
Lift up your heart
Lift up your head
Lift up your heart
Lift up your head
Lift up your heart
In his forest of glass
Forest of glass

Mirror Sculptures by Rob Mulholland

Mirror Sculptures by Rob Mulholland

*Tori Amos on ‘secret songs’ and SA“. IOL. 26 March 2014

A Place Called Nirvana

Like teens all over the world, to me, the death of Kurt Cobain was devastating. I was 14. It was the day after my birthday. 

20 years on as I watched Nirvana inducted into the American Hall of Fame I thought about Kurt constantly. For days sentiment hit me in a big way. I still have ‘In Utero’ (my favourite Nirvana album) on repeat wherever I go. The lyrics to ‘Very Ape‘ spurn me on.

I read Kurt’s journals daily in a sleek black hard-covered book that was published after his death which contains scanned pages from his journals, notebooks, bits of paper, letters he wrote – even his suicide note. I laugh & shake my head at how much of it is filled with his dark humour. Anguish, yes, but he had such a good sense of humour.

Today I looked through my own journals from around that time. The 1990’s were my teen years & Nirvana’s influence on my mind & my writing was clear. I found a poem I wrote which is made up of different Nirvana song titles. I laughed again… & shake my head…

A Place Called NIRVANA

You are like Lithium
& you Rape my Spirit.
Your Apologies Smell Like Bleach
& Buzz from your mouth.

As you Come In Bloom,
I hear your Heart-Shaped lies
Sifting through me like an Aneurysm.

A girl about to Turnaround,
My Lips are Beeswax & Hairspray,
Holding in Tourette like words
That could Drain You
Of the Territorial Plateau.
On which you Sliver.

Nevermind this (New Wave) Downer.
Last Night I Slept with Polly,
Then Sold her Sunbeam for a Gun
So I could Burn Out & Fade Away.

Written by Violet Ashes 1994
© Violet Ashes 2014

Journals & In Utero

Journals & In Utero

 

Things Have Changed This Is Not The Movies

Travel Alone by Neslihans

Travel Alone by Neslihans

Things have been hectic for the last few weeks & weeks are turning into months since we lost our second baby. Corsmor & I have tried many times to sit down & talk, to discuss the future, but every time we do life interrupts us with phones, doorbells & distraction.

My writing is on hold again with so many other obligations, I worry every day that I may lose my ideas or that my characters will run back to their forests. Gone forever. In my mind they have lives I struggle to ignore. I keep thinking about all those movies where life is perfect. Movies with whole neighbourhoods of families that support each other – the evil always coming from the outside in, not the other way around.

In the movies people go off the grid all the time. They say “no” without consequence. In the movies family & friends are sensitive to your feelings & understand when you need them to leave you alone. In the movies, people support you when you need them & they don’t try to push you to be something you’re not. In the movies family & friendship are not a one way street. In the movies miscarriage trumps someone else’s dentist appointment, writers are heroes & everyone can have babies.

In the movies.

In real life there is no such fairy tale. The real world crashes in on your every private moment. The hours between dusk & dawn are no longer sacred. Those minutes in bed between the kisses good night & the kisses good morning are under threat of interruption.

Since these last few hectic weeks have ‘tornadoed’ through our home I have found myself growing angry & restless. I am fed up with the world outside. I want some time, time in the dark. Radio silence.

Music is one thing I use to disappear out of real life. I have found myself with a whole new playlist on my hands this year. Expressing so many different emotions.

This song by Bob Dylan is, at the moment, at the top of the list; because after the last few hectic weeks having to bury so much inside I feel different. My perspective on what is important to me has shifted. What I need to focus on is me & my writing. If there is to be a baby or a writing career then the focus needs to come higher on the priority list & that may mean some relationships have to suffer, well then so be it “I used to care, but things have changed.”

Things Have Changed – Bob Dylan
A worried man with a worried mind
No one in front of me & nothing behind
There’s a woman on my lap & she’s drinking champagne
Got white skin, got assassin’s eyes
I’m looking up into the sapphire tinted skies
I’m well dressed, waiting on the last train
Standing on the gallows with my head in a noose
Any minute now I’m expecting all hell to break loose
People are crazy & times are strange
I’m locked in tight, I’m out of range
I USED TO CARE BUT THINGS HAVE CHANGED
This place ain’t doing me any good
I’m in the wrong town, I should be in Hollywood
Just for a second there I thought I saw something move
Gonna take dancing lessons do the jitterbug rag
Ain’t no shot cuffs, gonna dress in drag
Only a fool in here would think he’s got anything to prove
Lot of water under the bridge, Lot of other stuff too
Don’t get up gentlemen, I’m only passing through
People are crazy & times are strange
I’m locked in tight, I’m out of range
I USED TO CARE BUT THINGS HAVE CHANGED
I’ve been walking forty miles of bad road
If the bible is right, the world will explode
I’ve been trying to get as far away from myself as I can
Some things are too hot to touch
The human mind can only stand so much
You can’t win with a losing hand
Feel like falling in love with the first woman I meet
Putting her in a wheel barrow & wheeling her down the street
People are crazy & times are strange
I’m locked in tight, I’m out of range
I USED TO CARE BUT THINGS HAVE CHANGED
I hurt easy, I just don’t show it
You can hurt someone & not even know it
The next sixty seconds could be like an eternity
Gonna get low down, gonna fly high
All the truth in the world adds up to one big lie
I’m in love with a woman who don’t even appeal to me
Mr. Jinx & Miss Lucy, they jumped in the lake
I’m not that eager to make a mistake
People are crazy & times are strange
I’m locked in tight, I’m out of range
I USED TO CARE BUT THINGS HAVE CHANGED

Violet Dirge

 

PianoDeath.jpg

Not long ago I was asked which songs I want played at my funeral. I have always thought this a private request & although it is written in my will & there are a few close to me that know what needs to be played, I began to think more about this & about why I feel so protective about these songs.
 
Had I chosen the songs for me? For my family? For my husband? Would there be any mourners to hear the songs? Would they cry…? Do I want them to cry…?
 
I started to look across the web at other blogs & found that a lot of people are talking about this subject. I started to ask my friends & family about this. Almost all of them had a clear idea of what they wanted to be played at their funeral. Even though they will not be there to hear the songs or see the reaction it seemed intensely important to them.
 
Music has been a huge part of my life so I found it a difficult decision to pick just one song, so I settled on three & the version of the song is just as important as the song itself. It was a private experience, I am protective of these songs, they have been on every compilation I have ever made – they have been everywhere with me. These songs are like children to me. I will love them forever & I never grow tired of them. The lyrics speak to me, they remind me of events & emotions. I think about them constantly. They have been constant companions throughout every stage of my life.
 
To settle the question, yes, they were chosen for me. Not my family, my husband, or anyone else. And come the day that they are played the mourners may all look around the room & wonder why they are being subjected to these songs but (I hope) there will be a few in the room who will hear me in the songs & know why I chose them. If not, then they will be left with the puzzle to ponder – perhaps they can listen to them on a journey somewhere & think of me in a new light.
 
In The Air Tonight (Live Version) Phil Collins
 
A Forest (Acoustic Version)The Cure
 
Precious Things (Album Version) Tori Amos
 
There is one more song which I keep just for Corsmor, my Husband, it is not to be played at my funeral unless he chooses. It says so much about us & how we love each other – something I’ve described in the past as “nice weird”.
 
Deep In The Woods (Album Version) The Birthday Party (Nick Cave/Mick Harvey)

I have uploaded them to my YouTube video channel, you can view them by clicking on the name of the songs above.