Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas Cheer

To offset the darkness of the last poem and to bring in the holidays with a big HOORAY!!! I present you with a Christmas time poem in the form of a letter titled, "Dear Santa."

Dear Santa

I have been a very, very good boy this year and I teased my little sister only a teeny bit. Somebody at school said that you weren't real and I called him a grumpy old man. I believe in you. I believe in you with all my heart because if I don't, then what else is there to believe in? God? Because that story seems to be made of magic too.

Well Santa, I hope I am on your good list because I don't want to disappoint you. The excitement of walking down the stairs to see a heap of presents under the glow of the tree can't be described in like images because it is what everything else is compared to. If only one of those boxes held a Lego set, the open possibility of anything that I can Imagine. A world that I can sink into and forget that it is my fingers that make their arms and legs move. Or maybe a toy gun so I can protect my family and the world across. BANG BANG! The hero is me! Or a bucket of army men that I can lead to the victory of everything good. Oh oh, it could be a ball glove and Dad can teach me how to play pastimes. But most of all now as a grown man, I'd love to be as excited about these toys or anything as I was back then. 

P.S. Cookies and milk will be waiting for you.

Michael Schenk

Brand New inspired

"The Archers Bows Are Broken" by Brand New inspired this poem. It's darker than the other poems I have been posting, but I don't think Brand new has ever written a happy song.

Hysterical grins and gurgled cackles

I tried to imitate humor rather
than horror because the mess is less
and nobody will start to worry.

This is funny, isn't it? 
A scalding wreckage of a 
lacerated body, unsettled and loose, 
like a cannon off its hinges,
careless of the firing commands. 
The wild man performing for everyone. 
A joke of a person, void of 
ambitions or stipulations
worthy to earn respect.

I danced on the bridge,
hat on the ground, begging 
only for a compliment or a friend. 
As I twirled and twisted, kicking piles 
of gravel rhythmically, believing that 
the pebbles sang, "You can only blame yourself."
and I agreed.

So I pinched my head long enough
and I hit my brain hard enough,
to cause a reaction,
to catalyze a movement
within myself to make a new disease. 
Something fierce enough,
something strong enough
I'd have to invent a new attack.
And in the hopes of a formula
I'd work a solution, into a being felt fit
to garner something more than a blink.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My mindest

*This is one from the bunch of poems i wrote for my creative poetry writing class during my last spring quarter in Athens. Wow, that is weird to say. And fuck, do I miss that place like crazy! I went back there a couple weekends ago to camp and completely surprised Mattias. The entire town still felt like a home to me. So in commemoration of the first place i found and turned into a home, here is a vintage Schenk poem.*

Grown-ups Not Allowed

I live in a nameless town that only wandering
children could find, only they could imagine it.
I was born twenty-two years ago and
a number six candle will illuminate
my next fifty birthday cakes.

A town where excitement worked as oxygen,
inhaling as we marched, zigzagging
through the trees and jousting sticks
upward with the rhythm of our song.

We folded pirate hats out of newspaper
and a cardboard box morphed 
into a ship before our eyes.
This ship let us triumph over rotting cold
and we floated past growing old.

Adventure roared and soared until
the day we found contentment.
The jubilee filled us like hot air balloons 
taking us around the world.

We exhaled our way to the ground, 
resting our bones that traveled the earth
and our eyes that still magically sparked. 

The dimming of our fire was prevented 
by the skipping of adulthood,
the dullness of over investing responsibility.
Instead we grew from children to elders,
basking in a life well lived. 

Hopefully some of my old Athens friends will read and remember back to the magical place that we were a part of, created, and enjoyed. I fucking miss all of you a ton. And as I said to you many times before, so long. 

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ice Cream Advice

Last summer while I was staying in Athens to take a summer class my age-old friends Aaron, Sam, and Anna came to visit me at my cabin. It is always a great time with the Gorman crew. I've been best friends with Aaron since we were two so we have inside jokes dating back to the early 90's. 

We were hanging out and watching some of our longtime movie faves when we our sweet tooths got the hankering for some apple pie and ice cream. So we trekked out to Wal-Mart for snacks and supplies. At the freezer section we stood in front of the isle of glass doors pondering which choice of the hundreds would satisfy the most. We were also trying to have a smigen of health consciousness during our indulgent snacking. The cartons that sported claims of half the calories, 1/3 the fat, or sugar free were earning our attention. Our decision was almost made on a lowfat peanut butter and chocolate chip delicacy when we heard...

"You don't wantta eat that shit."

Our attention drifted away from the ice cream and we found a peculiar man addressing us. Here was this strange man, wearing penny loafers and sockless, bidding his supposed seasoned and experienced advice on ice cream choices to four young college kids. My guestimation on his age was 46 and although I have no clue what his name was, I am dubbing him as Glen because nothing could fit better. He was rocking khaki shorts in which the fabric barely extended to the halfway mark of his waist and knees. The shorts were more white than the traditional khaki color and they contrasted the black tank top that let a tuft of blond and gray hair puff above the neck collar. A gold chain necklace sat cushioned on top of the curlies. Urgh.... hack.... Glen's head was highlighted by his large semi-tinted eyeglasses, mustache,  and the perimeter of blond and gray hair that circled the shiny bold spot on the peak.

"Huh?" I replied.
"That lowfat stuff has chemicals and shit in it. You don't want to eat that."
"Oh yeah, is that so?" Sam asked half joking. 
"Yeah, you want the all-natural ingredients. I've been going off of natural fat for a long time and it has done me no harm," Glen confirmed. 
"I guess that makes sense," Anna said cautiously. 

Aaron didn't say a word. His face blatantly showed how weird he thought this guy was.

Glen confessed, "I have to stock up on this stuff because when I go back to the East coast it is so expensive." He then continued to pile half gallon cartons into his arms until he had a selection of five different kinds. 

"It looks like you know what you are talking about," I said as I picked out an all-natural vanilla bean carton and the others okayed my decision. I think that we were half confused, partially convinced, and a little intimidated that his pals back on the East coast might come after us for disrespecting his experienced advice and choosing an ice cream with 1/3 of the calories and loads of chemicals. Glen was a small guy, but he could have some connections. 

We thanked Glen for his advice and parted ways because we needed to find our apple pie. After the apple pie was selected we headed towards the checkout. We were standing in line for a couple of minutes when Glen pops up behind us with his armful of ice cream. He sees our selection of the all-natural vanilla bean and exclaims, "That's what you want! That's the good stuff!" 

"We are looking forward to the natural way of eating ice cream," Sam said. Glen grinned at us so we left. 

The ice cream and apple pie did end up to be quite delicious and it was an interesting encounter with my good friends since the beginning of time. I just hope that I avoided a bio-nuclear stomach ache because we followed Glen's advice about getting the natural kind. 

Monday, March 15, 2010

Build Us Fiction live at The Cabin March 13, 2010.

Thanks a million times over to Sam Gorman for learning a crazy amount of our strange material in only one day for us and rocking out on drums.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

When Kid A was finished...

Thom Yorke was asked in an interview with Spin magazine, "You once said of OK Computer: "'At the 11th hour, when we realized what we had done, we had qualms about the fact that we had created this thing that was quite revolting.'" Any similar (or otherwise) thoughts about the new record?"

Thom said, "When we finished it made me cry sitting in the back of a car from start to finish... does that help?"


Friday, February 12, 2010

Another dimension in The Spacement

It has been a long time since I wrote anything so I will do just that. Maybe a few things. 

On February 6th my band and I played a show at my friend Logan's house. Mike Shine was out of town for the weekend so Zach, Pat, and I trashed as an instrumental group for the night. Logan has a big empty basement that has been converted into a bomb shelter-like venue that allows curious ears to trudge through the tide of snow that appears in one large falling, recedes and melts away, then cycles back to another onslaught. Those ears track water on the basement floor from the shoes that carry them up to the wooden stage built at the far end. The spray painted wall depicting outer space and a gigantic space monkey are illuminated by blue and green lights on the ceiling. Christmas lights lace around the stage corners. Build Us Fiction was in zero gravity on February 6th.

We played there once before with a couple of jam bands. The first set belonged to us and the crowd had not built up yet nor did we fit perfectly well with the jam bands. But this night, it was post rock night and that is our haven. EPIC.

The first act was a single person playing loops and samples. It was really mellow and a great way to open the show and get everyone's earbuds hungerin' for big guitars, bass, and drums. I had previously recorded dialogue from Donnie Darko and edited it together to make a creepy 4 minute clip. We turned off all the lights in The Spacement and began the clip. "I've been seeing stuff... like really messed up stuff," confessed Donnie and Frank the Bunny immediately replied with "Wake up," in his spine shivering voice. The drums and bass began their thumping forewarning of war, apocalypse, whatever else may come. As the pulsation of drums and bass carried onward, Donnie and his therapist discussed what would happen if the sky were to open up and bring the conclusion of the world. The thumping continued and Donnie asked Frank, "When is this going to stop?" in a childish voice.

"You should already know that." 

I enter with bowed guitar and the sonic atmosphere truly is in outer space. The three of us slowly grow more aggressive. The drums become more sporadic and intense. The bass moves from its gradual thumping to the pounding melody of the entire song. My drones spin out of control, collecting anything in its path with an encompassing swirl of sound. The hairs on my bow split and lash out like tentacles. We went wild and ferocious and then calmed down, watching our storm blow away and the next one rearing in the distance. 

The crowd made more noise and applause than I am used to. It was a warm feeling. 

In came the ominous bowed guitar to begin "Sleep Is Gone." It's slow and wavering like the next storm holding back to build the fear of what might come. The rains came without an ounce of mercy so even the rocks and stones were waterlogged. The drums set the rhythm for a march towards war with our blood stained swords dangling next to our hips above mud that hasn't seen grass in years. The bass keeps the pace of our heartbeats that haven't known rest in a very long time. Bowed guitar circles around the entire scene, trapping the field in a vortex we can't escape. This is a song about war in your head. Conflict has torn you apart and resolution hasn't come. You can't find peace so sleep is gone. 

I finally get to smile during the next song. "Waking Into the Sky," is my moment of realization. In this song I am content with the sorrow because it makes the happy times fill with so much importance. For the first time I leave my bow and wall of effects that I use to escape into another dimension. I strip it down and let it go exposed. People can now hear my mistakes, but it feels good and even when the song is bare of its usual otherworldly effects I like to build up to something bigger than realities we occupy. 

Our fourth and last song of the night was a new one called, "Figment of my Imagination." It is made up of three movements and no repeating verses or choruses. In the first movement we groove. Imagine that, a post rock band grooving. But this song embodies a fascination of mine. I find wonder in the polar opposites of the scale. Really intense things and extremely delicate moments are spectacular to me. The middle ground is unbearably boring. My obsession with Sigur Rós is perfect proof of this statement. The only feeling I can muster while listening to Incubus is nostalgia. I listened to them everyday for six years and now it's like looking at old memories in a photo album. They fall into the middle ground while Sigur Rós is stampeding on the intense terrain  and tip toeing through the tall grass. That is the core of this song. The ending is by far our most intense finale and I was in another galaxy while playing it. The applause at the end woke me up from my dream. I fucking love that alarm clock.