Voltage Hymn



Rise perfect voltage, pow'r and light
whose majesty is unconfined.
Indwell this luminary night
the shining darkness of the mind.

Your inward speaking wakes the dead
and by its tongue they understand
the excellence of words unsaid
the silence that you can command.

Pure generation - turbines turn
in deepest earth where few may go.
These mortal coils forever burn.
This is the truth we all must know.

Copper and iron make the life
that flowing current - liquid love.
mated as man and fated wife
like waters fall endless from above.

When we are risen, turned to light
then we shall see as those once blind
transformed as day is turned to night
filled with the brilliance of your mind.

My Secret Mess

I've been writing by hand again - Pilot G-2 gel pens on lined paper. These early drafts are a slithery secret mess, full of cross-outs, blobs of black ink oozing through the pages, words I can't read ten minutes later, arrows pointing upward and down, private abbreviations and meaningless squiggles. I just finished a new novel - the whole thing done first by hand. A thousand words a day at my kitchen table, then downstairs to the screen and keyboard. Typing them in reduces the heady generative chaos. It's necessary of course, if I want anyone else to read the words. But every time, I feel a pang of loss. Creativity is a mess, or it's nothing.

Happy Doomsday

High point of the weekend: singing shape note music for three hours at a Mennonite Church. No mikes or amps, no instruments, no audience, four part harmony, a couple dozen people, loud and raw. Some of the songs - like my current fave, "Doomsday" - go back to the mid 1700s. "Behold! with awful pomp, the Judge prepares to come. The Archangel sounds the dreadful trump and wakes the general doom. The living look with dread, the frightful dead arise, start from the monumental bed and lift their ghastly eyes." Out of the grave - singing. Up to the skies- on wings of wonderful-terrible song.


When I get sick, when the fever spikes, my thoughts get scrambled. The flu hit on Friday and by Monday, I was hot, achy, and delirious. The whole time, I was reading Brian Jones: The Making Of The Rolling Stones. Highly recommended (the book, not the flu.) Brian founded and named the band, and taught Mick and Keith how to be rock stars. It's not a happy story - but full of exotica, sixties high flash fashion, beautiful girls and journeys into weirdness. Fave episode: Brian travels to Morocco to record a crazed all-night ritual to conjure up the Great God Pan. A sacrificial goat, endless drumming and dancing. I was feverish through the whole thing (the book, not the ritual.) Do me a favor - find it - I think it's all true - and see if what I remember is actually there.

A Clockwork Orange

Behind glam rock - and Bowie was honest about this - lay A Clockwork Orange. In 1971, the film version was released and glam exploded. Walter Carlos (soon to make the transition to become Wendy Carlos) created the soundtrack. It was mostly thunderous classics (Beethoven, Purcell's Funeral Music for Queen Mary, the Day of Wrath) mutated by early analog synthesizers. On the screen, wild goon squad teenagers rampaged in bizarre costumes. On my turntable: the soundtrack album. Carrying secret copies of A Clockwork Orange became a fad among my high school friends. The book, the movie, the music, spread their vicious tentacles far into our suburban nowhere culture, and we talked much about "tolchoks" and "groodies." For a while, we lived the imaginal droog-life: not much violence, plenty of secret words.