the swansong cycle (part two): black swan (the piano & balalaika elegy)

desolation is just a word
desolation is just a feeling
it’s nothing to do with me
yet i cry anyway
i plan to rise above it all
one of these days

when i can fill no more
when i begin to finally pour
let this last gasp elevate me
let this last gasp make me to soar

 

by TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2018

beautiful homunculus

love ripped through your brightened veins
you wondered how much you could possibly take
the blood (a choir) roaring inside you
rushing to shape a song inside you

naught can be done to hasten the healing
but you have to know they’re only scars
and i love you, my homunculus
hurt and all

your voice was sandpaper’s rasp
no one understood, who among them could
blood in a cage, no doors inside you
no release for the song inside you

naught can be done to hasten the healing
but you have to know they’re only scars
and i love you, my homunculus
hurt and all

you’re loved, deplumed, so no more pretense
no longer can you be about mere survival
blooded for life, a kindling inside you
the filaments of song deep inside you

 

by TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2018

i may never

you died in the month of may, didn’t you
when you slipped and fell from the dead god’s hand
you knew then that you’d only led yourself astray
that silence was not the only silence

and all you could think to say
how is my life not mine
never have i deserved to die
never was i requested to live

you’re the once and ever failure, aren’t you
you never could shine as bright as they
all crafted jewel and curated moments
superior vessels built for purpose

and all you could think to say
how are these tears divine
never have i deserved to die
never was i requested to live

you’re the shadow that shrank behind, so you
became harrowed when tracing your heart song
and moths stole along, they ate your pockets
and then all of your dreams trailed sore away

and all you could think to say
i am the last of my kind
never have i deserved to die
never was i requested to live

 

by TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2018

EARS WIDE OPEN // bussed & buzzed (liplocked)

We wouldn’t be going against our hearts to say that we wrote this one as lyrics for another sappy and silly love song. We even tried to create a melody, and Tony almost had the cheek to sing to it. Alas, we’re much better singers and musicians in our heads than we are in actual recordings. And, quite frankly, we’d have to wait until Hell turned into a winter wonderland before any famous recording companies began a bidding war for this potential… erm… ‘hit’. (Will Rihanna be pushing Beyoncé aside to perform with us any time soon? Probably no.)

Anyway, common sense prevailed, and Tony did his best reading instead. Yes, he mustered as much heart and feeling as he could, and all to the accompaniment of a wonderful track by Kai Engel of the Free Music Archive. This poem is based on a real event that holds special significance for the two authors. Perhaps you, Dear Reader, will also be able to make it your own as you reflect on your loves, both past and present.

 

bussed & buzzed (liplocked)

we kissed on a jetty high above the fishes
where warm swells loll in gentle squishes
where sundog sprawls over planks like a cat
and morn’s dew hangs tight like an acrobat

we kissed on a jetty ramshackle and treen
where birds chirp loud in kerfuffle and preen
where air tangs the nose, spicy and salted
and time’s put on hold, stately and vaulted

sometimes dreams do come true
sometimes no
sometimes love says to you “adieu”
sometimes “hello”

we kissed on a jetty ’tween shanties bareheaded
where moorings in summer are a web of ropes threaded
where jong-jong gently knock wood together
and pair to wrest free from seabed’s tether

we kissed on a jetty scalloped and shelled
where stormwater drains acapella and meld
where the sun swings low beyond the equator
and nestles sleepily in an extinct crater

sometimes dreams do come true
sometimes no
sometimes love will gift a horseshoe
sometimes a blow

we kissed on a jetty ’neath stars’ cutting swathe
where moonglade outlasts nude lantern’s bathe
where anemones bloom below neptune’s throne
and crabs sleep like heirs under mossy stone

we kissed on a jetty at the mouth of time’s flow
where the days are real quick and the nights are real slow
where ardour pulses through the veins of conviction
and temptation receives cupid’s benediction

sometimes dreams do come true
sometimes no
sometimes love colours you blue
sometimes yellow

 

Text by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
Audio by KAI ENGEL & TONY SINGLE
Image by TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2018

As I Went Out One Morning

Thomas Paine tried to usher in the Age of Reason. Hippies tried to usher in the Age of Aquarius. Then came me. All I can do is age.

I am filled with false hope at the moment. This might be due to the fact that the day is still young and nothing bad has happened yet. I feel like I’m trying not to be fucked up. Really, truly, I do. And I’m trying not to fuck up by fucking others up.

On any given day I feel like I’ve smashed myself on the rocks of indifference, like I’ve lashed myself to the wrong mast with the wrong sail and then headed off in the wrong direction. I’ve crashed into a lonely desert island, and am about to slide from the brine-slicked crags to vanish over the waterfall at world’s end. But today? Today, so far, I feel pretty alright.

It was in my teens that I made a terrible discovery. I discovered that a man could cry. That man was my father. His tears were for my mother’s brother. I’d entered the room to find him laid out on his bed, hands pressed over his eyes as if to hold them in. Really, he was only trying to hold in the pain. It seemed an unconscious act of self preservation, as if to prevent pain itself from seeping out and consuming him. But it was already too late. My father’s face was wet with tears and loss had clearly eaten him up from the inside. It was a powerful moment that unearthed deep, unspeakable things within me. I became afraid of dropping into that abyss at the edge of the earth.

Johnny Cash once sang about a man who couldn’t cry. The man had been like that for as long as he could remember, and when he finally did cry it rained for forty days and forty nights. Then he dehydrated and died. Then his family, friends and associates began to fall victim to horrific happenings and in some cases met a tragic demise. Is this really how it is if a man dares to cry? The world falls apart? Everything comes undone?

Okay, now it’s beginning to feel like the last days again, and hope is waning… but of course it would. It’s false. And time marches on, goose stepping like a hateful Nazi over the memories of once held dreams, over my carefully buried hopes and fears. I’ve learned not to cry in the presence of others but it isn’t always easy to be so scrupulously contained. Sometimes you cry in the worst place at the worst possible time. We’re not all machines. It just happens and there’s nothing that can be done about it.

Let’s face it, the older I get the more emotional triggers I find. Take right now for example. I’m walking past a church sign that says we’re ‘too blessed to be stressed’. It’s probably a good thing I don’t own a gun. Not that I’d use it. Not really. I’d just think about those self-righteous godomites and get myself all twisted up and spiteful inside. And then I’d slink away to take a Pepto-Bismol or two. Or three. Hell, guns make me nervous anyway.

No, it’s far better to dwell on other things. Happy things. Like puddles. Look, there’s one now. My very own sky hole in the ground. I could just step off and drop through to the clouds beyond if I wanted to. It’s the lure of transcendence. I fall for it every time. Who needs to get on a boat to disappear? Just do this. Only… well…

…I can’t.

Not really. Damn reality in all its bloody-minded literalness! God fucking damn!

Sigh.

 

by TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2016