Imaginary Sleeping With You (by Gandre’)

Click To Hear Shannon Play With Words

This wasn’t written by me but a poet named Gandre from Germany. She used to have me narrate all of her poems as she said I sounded like Klaus Kinski. She was a strange bird but a mind blowing writer and poet. Scientific even. She always apologized for her English but had a command of it that few English could even match. Partly she wanted to know how her words were supposed to really sound together and so yes, she was using me. Sigh, my fate. We used to talk on the phone and she had an angelic voice and was just beautiful. But she rather liked having benefactors over boyfriends. Either the angels stole her back, a sugar daddy or the misty ether. All I have left is this funnily read poem by yours truly. I had fun adding sounds to the words and part so she could feel them in action.

A Love Note

Sometimes the universe will let me divine a little something on the human condition and I’m compelled to share it. Hope it touches someone out there…

A lesson on love. Even as soft as the human heart is, it has bones to protect it, yet even so, it remains vulnerable and exposed. Proof of your own love’s strength is knowing that even as much as we love someone, you cannot sacrifice yourself upon their ramparts. Which does not mean you do not love honestly, intensely, openly or whole. It just means you do not love tragically. This is the rub of life. We love so much at times we want to burn for someone, but to do so means the end of you. There is no honor in that. Only self sacrifice and no one is worth that, even if we love them beyond words. Love does not want pain in the end. It wants peace and joy and not eternal suffering and death. This is the real test of a strong person and where real honor lies. Those that love foolishly are really only that in the end, fools. So don’t be one. Grow and go live instead. ‪#‎CSLewis‬ ‪#‎TheFourLoves‬

 

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Shannon On National Public Radio

Click To Hear Shannon’s Interview

When I was growing up, I loved the radio. WLS in Chicago and “Animal Stories” or Paul Harvey (who once mentioned me on his show!), Wolfman Jack, Kasey Kasem and so many others. I would buy crystal radio hobby kits and build them with my solder iron and at night, move the antenna wire around my headboard to catch the signal just right. I would also play with my voice and create characters and did my best to emulate and immitate the rise, fall and other nuances of my favorite MC’s voices. All of this made more ironic later when at 15 I learned that my biological father had been a radio announcer and confirmed without doubt, I’d inherited at least his voice.

Before the video game craze

Before the video game craze

Eventually, like lots of young intellectuals and music snobs in the making, I learned there was nothing cooler than National Public Radio. Other than sugar & cream, it was the other condiment for your coffee. And I lived for this station and their relative affiliates from state to state. I couldn’t wait until announcer Karl Haas opened his “Adventures In Good Music” with his intellecutally amused, “H-E-L-L-O every-one, I’m Karl Haas.” And of course Garrison Keillor to modern day storytellers, was the Mark Twain we never got to meet. My co-pilot is Lake Wobegon Days! In High School, when public radio was still largely classical music, it was my soundtrack for artistic all nighters, and continued later in my art school college years. Sadly my affections have waned as now, NPR has just become a government control tool funded by the worst of government operators and the wildest of liberal, Leftist political circles. I know, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water, but let’s just say I savor my memories and my fingers, eyes and ears now shun the call letters. You know, Paradise Lost an’ all of that.

Karl Haas & Arthur Rubenstein

Karl Haas & Arthur Rubenstein

But “Back in the early 2000s,” a tall yummy writer with naturally licorice red hair, Heather McHelhatton, contacted me about doing an interview for the Minnesota NPR show, “Savvy Traveler.” That was also a goodie back then. The show’s announcer, Diana Nyad (Champion Swimmer) had one of those smart, sardonic, even bedroom tonalities that you just wanted to worship and take a bath in. Sticky good. So when one of her field agents, Heather wanted to interview me about Savannah’s growing paranormal reputation for the show, I was beyond thrilled. I really wanted to do a good job for Savannah and myself. Which I was all about promoting Savannah to the greater world and having my name on the marquee as such. I’ve been criticized and hated for what people have called self promotion through the years, but if that’s all people think its been, they just don’t get it. Anyway, Heather was familiar with Savannah and had lived here for brief writer meditation periods, but didn’t know much about the ghost scene of Savannah. She arrived with headphones attached to a very cool 4-Track recorder and after sitting on a bench in Monterrey Square around sunset and did a “Testing, Testing, Testing 1-2-3,” we went off into the night together as we discussed many subjects tied to Savannah’s weirdness and mysticism, real and imagined.

Heather & Her Map

Heather & Her Map

Heather’s Website (Click To See)

Heather has a very silly kind of demeanor and was a lot of fun to be around. We had a natural repoire and I just did my best to conceal that I really just wanted her job instead of my own. She made it easy really and it was kind of like we were just hanging out as friends more than as interviewer and interviewee. To our credit, the NPR folks after hearing it, told her they didn’t just want to use me in a soundbyte, but wanted me to have the whole 7 minutes of the episode. This was manna to my ears! I felt like I was following in the footsteps of my heroes or something! Joining the ranks! And yeah, as my mom was a fan of NPR, I think as her son I couldn’t wait to tell her!

On premiere night, which was around Halloween if I recollect correctly, it sounded so smooth. Diana narrated the front end and the back end, introducing the episode and to me the coolest thing of all, was the music that they used to close out the episode and not sure if that was Heather’s choice or not, but it was music after my own heart — Massive Attack. Which at that time, was the coolest kid on the block. Unfortunately my own recording version in this article doesn’t really let you hear it-hear it but to me, it was the icing on the cake. Heather also did an amazing job with the narration and of course, I bow to her for her production of it and honoring me with the participation. Heather has since become a novelist, writing several smart story books that allow the reader to kind of go their own direction with different options. Yes, like grown up Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-Books. I’ve got them all autographed. Last I heard she’s writing a novel where I’m a character driving a tour bus in Bonaventure and something about me carrying around the head of a statue but that’s that last thing I’ve heard….

One of my greatest validation moments regarding came later, at go figure, a coffee house. My home away from home was Savannah’s The Sentient Bean on the south end of Forsyth Park. Still the city’s best I think and occasionally I moonlight there reading poetry and telling an adventure story on stage. I was talking to a newly arrived barista, and while he was making up my latte, we mentioned what brought him to Savannah. He said, “well I grew up in Minnesota and years ago I heard this story on NPR about Savannah being haunted and after that, I knew I wanted to be here.” Yes, job well done and one more recruit secured for Savannah.

Massive Attack

Massive Attack

 

 

My Favorite You

by Shannon Scott (C) 2015
Click To Hear Shannon Recite This Poem

So many you to choose
So many you to know
So many you to admire
So many you to grow
The you that rises so early,
to make herself all pearly
The you that breezes the city
and makes hard work look so easy
The you that decorates, stays tidy
and keeps things so straight.
The you that wears things sassy
but keeps it all so classy.
The you that creates words of feeling,
and pushes poetry’s ceiling.
The you that brushes canvas,
and gives your soul’s color new compass.
The you that senses, sees, shoots,
and gives film unimagined roots.
The you that records ever word of every song ever heard.
The you that is there, gives much care.
while others just stare.
The you that plays, nurtures & defends,
one of man’s best friends.
The you that rolls and jams,
showing of one of the world’s toughest lambs.
There are more yous in you than there are minutes in a day.
There are more yous in you than this poem can’t help to convery.
With you, one is never bored with things to say.
You make art of yourself in every possible way.
My favorite you?
How can I pick?
Me choosing a favorite is almost sick.
Maybe the best is yet to be done.
But if I must, there is just this one.
Its my pet favorite and my secret crush.
The one I caught glimpses of and made my love blush.
Now and then I could conjure it with a joke.
Or if I said something wry.
When this you came it was so revealing and unshy.
All that was kempt, came unkempt,
and it would let fly.
High walls tumbled, muscles unrumpled,
and blood filled up.
From deep inside you this beautiful sound,
began to go eruptible.
Joyous noise completion and vibration uncorruptible.
Jarring was its witness.
But seductive none the subtle
Head rearing back, eyes gleaming lightning beams.
Tears welling up
Champagne bottles shooting streams.
Cheeks filling peak for the coming shrieks.
Lips slivering long, delivery ready,
for your heart’s song.
When it sprung on the air, it surrounded me,
and spun me like a top.
But so delicious to hear I never wanted it to stop.
When I felt of its causation?
I never felt such glad sensation!
I’d done something well in your heart’s nation.
Your body in perfection.
Your soul’s music a vexation.
Your spirit in its truest,
and suddenly on vacation.
Your laugh…
You. Laughing.
This is my favorite you.

Wellsprung Waxation

By Shannon Scott (C) 2015
Click To Listen To Shannon Read This Poetical Work

Ah, the delightful slope of heartwrench and accomplishments.

In which while sliding your feet reach the muck before the stable ground before your mind does.

Thus is life. Have minds like ours come to concur?

The fact that you’re just here is promising.

The prizefighter mentality has not seen too relinquish far enough to let that dark shadowy mixture that’s swishing in the back of your mind to claim grounds to your brain matter.

This is good.

Those abstractionary realists who tiptoe around society that suspects them to be stepped in cynicism?

Could in fact be holding the golden ticket to deeper levels of rest amongst outside clatter.

Perhaps rest came to you when you needed it…

My point is — that healing feels no rush for closure.

And while you’re being bumped or bruised as you continue sliding down or up said slopes of self acknowledgment and disparaging.

You’re not alone.

Consider yourself an experiment.

Reweave yourself with confidence that mistakes are a part of the purifying process.

Drinking My Words Is Good For You…

Yes, you literally can now….or kind of. I’m really happy to present to you 5 loose teas called AntiquiTeas that celebrate 5 amazing women who spent major parts of their lives in and around Savannah, Georgia. This is the first installation and more will arrive with different themes.
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Juliette Low – Founder of The Girl Scouts and true eccentric.
Flannery O’Connor — Author of “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” and “Wise Blood.”
Caty Littlefield Greene — Wife of Gen. Greene & co-inventor and partner in the cotton gin.
Mary Musgrove — An Indian Princess who broke all of the rules & made some of her own.
Jane DeVeaux — Visionary educator who beat the odds with her illegal slave schools.
Mary Haskell — Teacher, lover, editor & financial benefactress to poet-painter, Kahlil Gibran.

I’m a tea drinker so this was an amazing opportunity that came to me courtesy of my friend, Sharon Cobb, proprietor of Griffin Coffee & Tea Company. She desired to do this series of teas but wanted my take on who the women should be and how to orient a whisper of their life stories on the labels of the actual teas. She sent me the teas late last year in 2014 and I spent about a month drinking them and attempted to align certain teas with the women who I felt they spoke to in an esthetic way. So yes, it was more than just randomly slapping a label on a tea for the sake of and the end result left us with a greater feeling of substance and pride. I felt if I could really do the women justice in words, and paired those to the right flavor, it would become a greater sensory experience for the buyer. But beyond that, would intrigue customers to learn new things about women they’d heard of, and then entirely new things about women they’d not! I kind of took a selfish pleasure in imagining them drinking these teas while either doing that research online or hopefully, reading books about them. Or yes, even talking to each other on the phone or in groups about these great women of history. So for me, these teas have been an act of true women empowerment and made without downing men or “the sexes” or citing obvious historical adversities and certainly not latching onto the ambiguity of “feminism.” I sought to inspire people in the purest and truest meaning of the word “inspire.” Let the benevolent actions of the people speak to the seekers, not the politics. And what better way to do that then through their palates? Exactly.

THE WOMEN..

I will say that as I came up as a researcher and then storyteller in Savannah, the histories of certain women really blew my mind and spoke to me at great levels and made this tea project even more perfect. I had known about Caty Greene as this charmer during The Revolutionary War but upon discovering that she really completed the Cotton Gin and was equal partners in in with Eli Whitney, I realized history books had jilted her as much if not more than those who literally robbed her and Whitney of the machine itself.
James Frothingham (American artist, 1786–1864) Catharine Littlefield Greene Miller b
I suppose I grew up with a fairly generic and sterile concept of Juliette Gordon-Low, but years ago upon aquiring a mint condition, 1958 copy of “Lady From Savannah,” written by her nephew and niece as an almost protest act to expand the minds of the world and The Girl Scout organization itself, I was forever hooked and am only sorry I never got to court “Daisy.” She was the wild strain of the family, spoke many languages (including Native American), was a belle, but survivalist and artist. She sculpted, painted, and did wrought iron ironwork! Other than empowering girls for the future by teaching them home industriousness, also taught them how to hunt and hand to hand combat. An early Girl Scout handbook chapter was titled, “How To Disarm & Maintain A Burglar With An 8 Inch Piece of Cord.” Nuff’said.
Juliette Low in Pearls 1922
As a man, obviously when you hear women in particular, say, “A good man is hard to find,” you kind of cringe or laugh, but when I learned a young girl once famed for traveling the country with a chicken that walked backwards, coined the expression and was born in Savannah, I was more than intrigued by Flannery O’Connor. I had also seen John Huston’s incredible film take on her “Wise Blood” novel in high school. She also wore sexy nerdy glasses and walked with a limp like Lord Byron so she was unconsciously hip and to me, sexy as heck. And how many writers can be called “Southern Gothic Christian Realist” in the same sentence? She was witty, wry, and once said, “Friends don’t let friends read Ayn Rand.” What’s not to love!
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We all grow up hearing about Pocohantas, but narely and rarely, does one encounter the stories of the Indian Princess/Queen, Mary Musgrove or as she was known to her people, Coosaponakeesa of The Wind Clan. She was the highest paid non-English person outside of the crown, earning in today’s money, millions of dollars a year as official interpreter of Georgia’s founder, Oglethorpe. And by the end of her life (c.1767), was the largest land owner in the colony. She often wore the colors of war & peace in the same outfit and rabble roused with the best of them and I think of them all, Mary makes me wish for a time machine so I could lay eyes on her. She was a spirit and sight to behold is my gather!
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Savannah has a culture not unlike vodun/vodou(voodoo), called “root.” Instead of witch doctors there are root doctors. And the most famous name tied to all of that in these parts of The South is DeVeaux. Just saying the name aloud in certain corners will get you the most interesting looks. Jane DeVeaux may not have been a root lady but something tells me she cast a spell over the eyes of her detractors in order to run an illegal slave schoolhouse in the middle of the city when such things were punishable by death and banishment. But she did it and continued to raise the minds of others up well beyond slavery. Sadly no picture of her to date, but here’s a photo of her home and the school. To me she symbolizes that even while there were slaves, there were movers and shakers during the thick of slavery who found a way to break the bonds and live free. A lesson for us all. As Dick Gregory said not long ago, “We’re all on the plantation now.”
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I can say without any hesitation that the most serendipitous tea lady so to speak, is Mary Haskell. Close to the day I left Illinois for my first year of SCAD or The Savannah College of Art and Design, my English teacher walked up the drive and handed me Kahlil Gibran’s “The Prophet,” one of the 20th Century’s most recognized books anywhere in the world. The story all about a young man leaving for the world and being questioned by his town people on his understandings of certain life truths. So to arrive to the city where not only his lover and benefactress was buried, but to discover that most of his paintings and drawings were in the nearby Telfair Museum, I was beyond convinced that nothing in the universe as it happens is accidental. Mary Haskell not only offered him her love, but her translation & interpretation skills (he was Lebanese), but also paid for him to go to the Paris Academy. She was often his muse more importantly in his written and other art works. Thankfully she did not burn their 800 love letters and published them as “My Beloved Prophet.” I visit her grave in Laurel Grove Cemetery here often and I think we’re in love but you know…
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One of the neat things we’re offering is a personalized AntiquiTeas Tea Talk for your special event or women’s group. I show up with visuals and while you’re experiencing the teas to taste, I’m pouring stories over your imagination about all of these women. We can price it for small and large events. Its a perfect thing to attach to formal or casual events. Just let us know and we’ll create something teamazing!
ORDER YOUR ANTIQUITEAS TEA SETS OR INDIVIDUAL FLAVORS HERE!
Buy AntiquiTeas Here
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Bonaventure Cemetery Poster Now For Sale!

I’ve done a number of incredibly cool posters for Bonaventure After Hours & my event, Dinner & A Cemetery, but this is the first poster I’ve created for Bonaventure as itself. While I art directed, the very gifted artist, Matt Duplessie helped me once again create something great for the artistry of my business! Matt Duplessie One of the things I’m constantly making people aware of, is how every detail of Victorian cemeteries, not matter how slight, has powerful symbolic meaning to spirituality and the many disciplines. Cemeteries are full of secrets. The poster you see here was derived from a 19th century image devoted to the fraternal order of The Odd Fellows. Their credo as an order — “Visit the Sick & Dying. Educate The Orphan. Bury The Stranger.” Sounds like a real party right? Actually there were known as the fun lodge among the many “friendly societies” of the 19th Century. In the poster we find many symbols hidden in cemeteries both literal, and via the flowers you see. The Calla Lily (Resurrection, Love), the Clasping Hands (Goodbye to your earthly home, hello to your heavenly & also Masonic handshake), The Beehive (Industriousness, Community), the Heart In Open Hand (Charity), the All Seeing Eye (God Watching Over All) and The Three Links (Friendship, Love & Truth) of The Three Link Fraternity. There’s also one surprise in the poster that I’ll leave particular people to discover and when they do, it will hold very special meaning but I shan’t tell. The poster is 12 x 18 on high gloss, acid free paper and is just stunning. You can order one here on Amazon for just $10.00, $4.95 regular shipping or can upgrade expedited. I’m happy to sign them if requested. Mailed in a sturdy tube! Bonaventure Love & Truth Poster
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To Dance For A Vampyre (Feat. Shannon Scott)

WARNING: Contains Adult Subjects, Some Profanity & Sexual Situations)

In 2005 I was invited to read for film about vampyres. I didn’t care much about them or for them, but the film paid, had some talented people involved, and after a test kiss with my female co-star, Tara Rinko who had stunning eyes, I was in for the 12 weeks of shooting. It also conincided strangely with my own time spent with a vampyre house, which was more like a group of tragically deluded children. I’ll write about them at a later date as they were a true, sanguine, or blood drinking house (I did not participate). The film became a strange allegory for my own life and sorting out its demons. I was always a person tortured by lusts and passions and it was only until shooting the film that I realized this was the crux of the vampyre personality and all the more reason it was in my life as a project. I was confronting my own darknesses and torments. We filmed this in an unoccupied house in downtown Savannah, a strip club called The Gold Club, along with Bonaventure Cemetery. My life ran a regular pattern for those 12 weeks. I would film the vampyre film all day, doing one or two ghost tours, then go back to the set to do more filming. It was like while confronting my own demons, while making art, I was becoming even more like a vampyre in my own life.

The story is basically about Francis the vampyre who has been alive since The Civil War, if not before, and long before the 21st century, he had lost his lover, Bathory to the war itself. After a century and more for searching for her, he finds her working at a modern day strip club, although its from sketching her in a random way, that he begins to realize this is indeed Bathory. He becomes decided in his mission to seduce and kidnap her, realizing that she is not “awake” to her former self and that he must resurrect her unconscious vampyre mind to once more join him in their journey. She eventually does, but only after staking him in the heart (Spoiler Alert!) and he dies in her arms. Strangely, but I could relate to that actually.

One interesting character note was that instead of having my character sleeping in a coffin, they decide to use a bed that I own that is made entirely of cemetery gates from Laurel Grove Cemetery here in Savannah. The gates probably date from the 1850s but the “headboard,” are these arching acanthus vines that would have been the entrance arch to a family plot and then the “footboard” is part of the fence from the plot with running boards coming from another part of the fence’s original foundation. The bed once reposed insde of the Hamilton-Turner House of Savannah and believe it or not, was in their wedding suite! Oddly its the only time the bed was really used by me or since and is just sitting in my garage in pieces. For a time, I had it on disply in my house for ghost tours and you can see it there in the photograph in this article in a picture that was taken for ESQUIRE Japan. That’s also my dog Mina in the bed with me who ironically, I named for Wynona Ryder’s character in the film “Bram Stoker’s DRACULA.” And she was my Mina for 16 years passing on in 2007.

The Victorian House in the middle of summer was beastly hot which to some degree was fine as I knew I would be doing a sex scene and that I wanted to lose some weight before filming it. The day we shot the sex scene was beyond surreal and interesting. Probably 10 crew members in a tiny little room, all hovering around the bed, camera lights and a rather larger 35MM film camera with crane, creening down and hovering over the action. Not trying to sound too cheeky but it did give you some empathy for your every day erotic film players. I’m pretty sure we spent somewhere around 8 hours or more, filming that scene. I had decided that since I was a regular walk-around-the-house-in-the-buff type, and frequently sunbathed in the nude, that I was going to take the whole thing in stride. I just pretty much walked around in ala birthday suit and did the scene unapologetically. You pretty much have to either cast any doubt to the winds or as I did, I just told myself, “Man, you look GOOD.” And I did so there. Plus my sexy costar made it easy and I was actually shocked, but she was much more nervous than I and at times it was really tough for her to be the object of focus. Thankfully there were some libations on the set that day!

So that’s that really. The 21 minute film, which is not on video, but actually shot on 35mm celluloid, was a fun little project. It showed at the one of the Savannah College of Art & Design Film Festival events and funny, but at one of the after parties where the crowd was dominated by many Spanish girls, I got recognized and they all kept saying suspiciously, “Vampiro! Vampiro!” Sadly, they did not ask for my autograph, nor a date. I believe the test film later sold in Hollyweird for a bigger project but do not believe that it was or has been made into a longer film. I had lots of fun doing it and learned a lot about myself too. It became part of the story of self, and shaking off my spiritual darkness and am glad I have the memory…

Rose Hill Runabout!

by Shannon Scott (C) 2015

(Click to Hear Shannon Read This Poem In Character)

I don’t care about anything out there!
I don’t care about the pitch fever traffic or the unkindly stares!
I don’t care, I don’t care, I don’t care, Don’t care, Don’t care, Don’t care!
I’m happy right here where the dead people sleep!

Rose Hill is my pasture and I’m its happy sheep!
There are slopes to run & stone bridges to leap!
Wildflowers growing and grass beneath my feet feet feet!
Grave markers to read and new dead people I need to meet!

I don’t have time for you old world of the living!
You might be driven but you sure ain’t livin!
There’s no peace out there or rest for the wicked!
Stress is your game and your spirits are constricted!
You won’t be my misery and I won’t be your convicted!
Here in this place I’m one with me and stay uplifted!

What’s that you say? You say you laughing at me?
That’s okay because in here you’ll soon be.
Away from all of that out there where you ain’t free.
You just can’t see, can’t see, can’t see.

So you go about your business, hustle and dread.
I’ma roam round here awhile, where you think its dead.
Might even move in, I’m so partial to this stead.
Lie down awhile, take in the cool earth ‘neath my head.
Listen to the river roll by and the train on the tracks too.
I’m home in here with the breeze and the quiet.
Not out there with you in that life laugh riot.

The Church, A Cemetery & My Not So Religious Weekend

 

 

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By Shannon Scott (C) 2015

NOTE: Having just seen The Church in concert recently for what is probably the 4th time, I decided to scratch up this review I wrote for their 30th Anniversary Tour in 2010. I think it says something about the force that music is and also why this band is so enduring.

There’s the church, and then there’s The Church. There are cemeteries, and then there is Rose Hill. Both have been my passion and love for quite some time. I spent a little time with them both this past weekend. Saturday night in Atlanta marked the last night of the 30th Anniversary Tour for the band The Church and then Sunday marked another day in the 170th year of Rose Hill Cemetery.

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The Church as some may know, are best known in the states for their 1988 hit, “Under The Milky Way Tonight,” a haunting, melancholy and cerebral love song of sorts. I remember being 17 and lying on the hood of my 1978 Trans Am inside of an Illinois cemetery surrounded by corn fields, staring at the stars with a girl I loved and the song reverberating off of headstones as it played from the car, moving around the cemetery and night air like some singing wraith. The song and the band became a part of my consciousness and lead singer, Steve Kilbey, a part of my hero base. The man feels art and makes it. He draws and paints, writes and sings, and in the same way some people eat. No lie. And unlike most rock stars who just go around spending money and doing interviews and carry around a kind of glam approach to their craft, Kilbey and crew remain humble honorees to their art.

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Ah but the show. It was a nice crowd of maybe 1000 or a spread out 750. One of those places where there isn’t a bad seat in the house really. Since most reading this aren’t fans per say, I’ll spare you the whole play-by-play. But what I will share that I was reminded what tactile musicians they all were and one other significant thing. A revelation that I will say may at first sound like stating an obvious, but for me it was a kind of revelation that gave me new appreciation as a music lover and as fellow artist. That as a band, they are all telling a story with each song and that each of their contributions is a voice that they add to the story whole. And that without the setting of the band, they could not tell the same story. A story yes, but it would not be of the same scale or meaning. Anyhow, this thought prompted me to see them more as storytellers than just musicians and I began to observe and listen through the rest of the show in an unexpected way. I began to see them more as 4 primordial neolithic beings gathered around some fire and making this sound or that one as they searched for the sound that would shape the story they were trying to tell or perhaps already existed and had found them to help it be told. Some bands strike one as exacting a will, and then other bands, like The Church, are like a will exacting on them. Even so, what gets fashioned in the end, with such cool, loving and even jaded narration by their spirit guides-man, Kilbey, is something very special to behold indeed. I’m not quite sure why they officially chose the name The Church, but I’d have to say that they are love of their own unique organization. Without going to hippie with it, I mean they are a “love organization.” Even in their most dispirited or even cynical songs, they never just remain inside of that one vein and always have some note of benevolence undercurrenting the messages and all is about four good-natured fellows. Like introspective advisers that you would turn to for learning and healing, but less of titles or of an institution. What hey offer you isn’t dogma in repeat but more about vibrations that will in turn do something for you that is meaningful to you and for you. The Church really are some lovely human beings mostly. Relatable magicians amongst the spirits.

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Unfortunately the next day I woke up from my little dream space inside of the in-love-with-itself, City of Atlanta. Albeit in a very comfortable bed which I did not want to leave. Don’t get me wrong, because my loathing of Atlanta is much akin to those who say, “I don’t support the war but I support the troops.” I like some of the individual things there and some of the individuals themselves but like Oscar Wilde said on his death bed, “Either that wallpaper goes or I do.” So I did and apparently Atlanta is still standing doing its thing.

Greetings From Atlanta by R.Land

Greetings From Atlanta by R.Land

Yuppie Shitholes by R.Land

On my way home down I-16 from Atlanta to Savannah I couldn’t quite shake the overall loneliness of my brief time in Atlanta. I think I relate more to the homeless people stammering around or marching purposefully with their empires stacked high in grocery carts than I do the rest of the population. So  I decided I needed to get grounded in one of my favorite cemeteries, Rose Hill. So after a quick stop for some coffee, I made my way around to the steep hill entrance of the 1840 cemetery. I knew right away that I was going to find a high perch overlooking the river and would soon puff away on one of my favorite cigars. After that the universe would just kick in and take effect. It was a pretty hot day but a decent breeze and big puffy clouds rolled across the sky like ghostly zeppelins in a parade. Anyway, the cemetery is a masterpiece of Italian styled terracing and reminds me that at one time Macon was truly a great city of great business, minds, statecraft and the arts. And you know what? I’m convinced that for all of our corporate commercialized surroundings & techie gadgetry, that our world is actually so much less than civilization was at one time. Rose Hill and other cemeteries are like “today’s” dirty secret in that they reveal the past in brilliant respects and show the present for all of its weaknesses.

Rose Hill Monument by Jennifer Anne Sparatore

Macon today is a fairly rough around the edges & very poor looking town. I mean sure if you’re only measure of quality is by the number of drive-thrus and gas stations that a town has, then yeah, Macon and many other cities are virtual Renaissance Romes. But if your measure is deeper and more complex than that? Say involves literature, poetry, painting, art, stone masonry, sculpting, hand-craft, philosophy, work, effort and valuing what you possess and taking care of it all to make it last? Than cemeteries like Rose Hill once again expose us for the frivolity of the times and the soul sucking of human kind’s individuality going on all around us. Or at least if you believe that the greatness of a time can be and ought to be defined in that place’s architecture, city scape or yes, its cemeteries. In fact to look at Rose Hill, one might even doubt that the place of today and the cemetery in those places have anything to do with each other. That’s how shocking in contrast places like this can seem. As one wanders through one almost in a daze asks, “where did the culture go that belonged to this?”

Rose Hill - Macon 040

But civilization philosophy aside, I just wanted to get grounded by the transporting energy there. So as planned, I found my perch and eventually lit my cigar and then after some puffs decided that I might just take some pictures with my little phone camera, not knowing if it would do the place justice or not. I began to wander and would wait at times for the sun to come out to catch the very contrasty light. I wanted to share some of the scenery with everyone. While I was sitting up on this grave plot above the river that right below has some train tracks, a poem came to mind that I knew I kind of wanted to express in some kind of way. I just got a few beats of it and just put it together below. I think my inner poet sometimes takes on the voice of a Southern black woman and I accept this just fine really. I mean if that’s the voice speaking through, it’s the voice that you accept and borrow you know?

I don’t care about anything out there!
I don’t care about the pitch fever traffic or the unkindly stares!
I don’t care, I don’t care, I don’t care, Don’t care, Don’t care, Don’t care!
I’m happy right here where the dead people sleep!

Rose Hill is my pasture and I’m its happy sheep!
There are slopes to run & stone bridges to leap!
Wildflowers growing and grass beneath my feet feet feet!
Grave markers to read and new dead people I need to meet!

I don’t have time for you old world of the living!
You might be driven but you sure ain’t livin!
There’s no peace out there or rest for the wicked!
Stress is your game and your spirits are constricted!
You won’t be my misery and I won’t be your convicted!
Here in this place I’m one with me and stay uplifted!

What’s that you say? You say you laughing at me?
That’s okay because in here you’ll soon be.
Away from all of that out there where you ain’t free.
You just can’t see, can’t see, can’t see.

So you go about your business, hustle and dread.
I’ma roam round here awhile, where you think its dead.
Might even move in, I’m so partial to this stead.
Lie down awhile, take in the cool earth ‘neath my head.
Listen to the river roll by and the train on the tracks too.
I’m home in here with the breeze and the quiet.
Not out there with you in that life laugh riot.

Some of the photos need a little explaining. Probably the most interesting and quite possibly, one-of-a-kind, burial aspect to the cemetery is this man-made but very nature grown in, “valley” between what I’ll call the  two main sections of the terraced cemetery. Which is where I spent the bulk of my time taking photos so when you see the shots of the stream, this is running through that area. There are graves here that were constructed to be resemblance of the purported Christ tomb of the bible and in fact a few of them have large rocks in front of their doorways that are the spitting image. There is one shot where you see a small enclosure in the hill which has some bricks around it and it looks like an open mouth. This is one that either fell apart or was dismantled by the family or vandalized, etc. I’ve actually crawled into before in past visits and there were 4-5 bed like graves going back that used to hold the caskets or what have you and one of the neat things about being in there is that the tree roots from the e hill above are growing out of the ceiling so are kind of dangling in the air here and there and it’s really quite strange. It’s a little damp and slimy in there and you can tell kids hang out in it from time to time so there’s a bit of an uneasy feeling about what might crawl over you or who you might bump into but with a little cleaning up it would make a fine little vagabond abode.

In the end, my visit really did achieve the hopeful effect. I won’t lie, I’m rarely happier then when I’m in a cemetery. I feel more connected and abundant with thought and feeling and some part of wholeness kicks in for me that I can’t quite get anywhere else. While in Rose Hill, it took mere seconds, for me to feel “at home” and happy and at ease and at peace. But if I think about it further, certain historic cemeteries are full of everything I love in life – scupltures, wrought & cast iron, flowers, birds, trees, fresh air, history, symbols, and all of those things combined into different compositions at every turn and so many different ways to spend your time looking at them and revisiting them. For someone like me who can be easily pleased (or disturbed) by my esthetic surroundings, the right cemetery can be the definition of absolute beauty to the senses. Its uplifting and peace instilling all at once. There’s also some unconscious knowing built-in to those feelings that one day I to will be a part of one permanently and may my resting place be just as affecting as is Rose Hill, which on this Sunday, for a time, was my church.