ONE HUNDRED GREATEST SONGS TO SINK INTO

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Most of these songs are popular; ideally, they would be obscure and new to you, but you probably know most of them; but here they are, a type of song, defined by…”sink into.”  The criterion is somewhat unique: the songs are too good to be “background music,” and yet, because the songs have a certain nonchalance, a certain laziness—which can be a virtue in music—they will drift and wash over you, and not demand too much of you; and yet, because these songs are so wonderful, you should find yourself wishing the rest of the world would be quiet so you can listen to them.  Maybe you would like to fall asleep to them at night—and if you do fall asleep before the song is ended, is it still then not a good song? Where has a song gone when it still plays, and you are sleeping?  Many of these songs seem like they were written for that purpose—for the sleeping, not the waking, brain or ear.  The excitement here may be that so many genres are represented—why shouldn’t one be a fan of many different types of music?  Music would want it so. Looking at the list after picking these songs, we noticed that very few of them (“How Fortunate The Man With None” the notable exception) pontificate—and this makes them so much more interesting, various and powerful. There really is nothing to say. Music knows this. Science knows this. Math knows this. Humor knows this. Love knows this. What you actually say, is not that important in these areas. The way you don’t say it, though, is extremely important. You just need to look and hear. Genius looks and hears.  Meanwhile, the rest of us fret or talk. The songs are in no particular order. They are all good. If you do see a song you don’t know, go on you tube and listen to it immediately, because we guarantee all 100 of these songs are the greatest of their kind.  —the Scarriet editors

Fade Into You —Mazzy Star (deliciously insouciant)

Year Of The Cat —Al Stewart (almost like a movie)

A Whiter Shade Of PaleProcol Harum (Rock and Bach)

Horse With No Name —America (just a couple of flattened sevenths)

America —Simon & Garfunkle (life flowing into melody)

A Day In The Life —The Beatles (the first really transcendent rock song)

Tomorrow Never Knows —The Beatles (one chord will do)

Venus In Furs —Velvet Underground (fashionable amateurism)

Video Games —Lana Del Ray (best pop song of the 21st century)

Cosmic Dancer —T. Rex (glam sweetness)

Nights In White Satin —Moody Blues (most popular song of its type, perhaps)

The Rain Song —Led Zeppelin (this band did not just rock)

Two Thousand Light Years From Home —Rolling Stones (Ruby Tuesday & Lady Jane lost in space)

Alone Again Or —Love (strangely haunting 60s California band)

Riders On The Storm —The Doors (only the Doors)

Claire de Lune —Debussy (needs no comment)

Prelude To The Afternoon of A Faun —Debussy (and modern music begins)

Piano Concero No. 17 (slow movement) —Mozart (Mozart was maybe better slow than fast)

Moonlight Sonata (first movement) —Beethoven (the template of ‘sink into’)

Piano Concerto No. 4 (movements 1 & 2) —Beethoven (maybe his greatest pure orchestral work)

Symphony No. 3 (3rd movement) —Brahms (the majestic, autumnal Brahms!)

Mazurka A minor —Chopin (such a darling sweet piece; Horowitz is on you tube)

Gymnopédies No. 1 —Satie (I could listen to this forever)

Nocturne No. 1 —Chopin (maybe the greatest pure composer of the kind of music on this list)

I Want You (She’s So Heavy) —The Beatles (the lads get heavy and roll)

Daphnis et Chloé, Suite no. 2 —Ravel (classical swoon)

Radar Love —Golden Earring (riding is sinking)

In A Gadda Da Vida —Iron Butterfly (1968. Doors influenced)

When The Music’s Over —The Doors (Persian nights, babe)

The End —The Doors (crawling along)

Season of The Witch —Donovan (must be the season of the hurdy gurdy too)

How Fortunate the Man With None –Dead Can Dance (a meditative masterpiece)

He’s Simple, He’s Dumb, He’s The Pilot —Grandaddy (this song is like flying)

Autobahn —Kraftwerk (doesn’t try to be menacing, heavy, or cool. A pleasant ride)

I Fall In Love Too Easily —Chet Baker (we all do, don’t we?)

Midnight At the Oasis —Maria Muldaur (the 70s schmaltz industry)

Blue in Green —Miles Davis (a trumpet singing from the mist)

Love To Love You Baby —Donna Summer (Song as sex. In poor taste, unless done right.)

Light My Fire —The Doors (when FM radio was supreme)

Your Woman —White Town (the trumpet sample of this 90s tune knocks me out)

Sunshine Superman —Donovan (intricate groove)

I’m Not In Love —10cc (masterpiece of layering)

Guinnivere —Crosby, Stills, and Nash (a girl’s name can be everything in a song)

Across the Universe —The Beatles (John Lennon’s ode to stretching out)

The Spy —The Doors (come go with Morrison into the house)

The Look of Love —Dusty Springield (Bacharach is very romantic)

Us and Them —Pink Floyd (adolescent self-pity given a melody)

Liebestod from Tristan und IsoldeWagner (swimming in swimming music)

Air That I Breathe —Hollies (this is what love is like)

Adagio for Strings —Samuel Barber (sad never sounded so good)

Air —Bach (The illustrious Bach—inventor of music?)

The Lark Ascending —Vaughan Williams (music that hides on the ceiling)

Surabaya Johnny —Lotte Lenya (German musical theater. Wilde. Brecht. Ja.)

A Day In The Life A Fool —Jack Jones (walking around, lost in a song)

Claire —Gilbert O’ Sullivan (lavish and sensitive)

Poetry Man —Phoebe Snow  (there’s a 1967 song called Painter Man. Almost as good)

The Way We Were —Barbara Streisand (Almost anyone can sink into Streisand)

Stranger In Paradise —Tony Bennett  (I’m there, Tony)

It Was A Very Good Year —Frank Sinatra (nostalgia lets you sink)

Humming Chorus from Madame Butterfly —Puccini (hushed charm itself)

Sea of Love —Phil Phillips (low budget production can sound luxurious, too)

The Crystal Ship —The Doors (half-slumbering poetry)

Indian Summer —The Doors (the poetry of cheap lounge music; must be Morrison and his band)

Lonely Days —Bee Gees (Melodies, voices, and a subtle heaviness)

First Time Ever I Saw Your Face —Roberta Flack (the first time ever the 70s)

Canon in D —Pachelbel (top 40 baroque classical)

Reasons To Be Cheerful Part 3 —Ian Dury (languish in lunacy)

All Or Nothing At All —Frank Sinatra with Harry James (Great lyrics in a minor key)

Layla –Derek & The Dominos (the formula is simple: great song and then add a great part 2)

Low Spark of High Heeled  Boys —Traffic (this song has length, reach)

Lush Life —Nat King Cole (great songs like this usually comment on a whole genre)

Third Stone From The Sun —Jimi Hendrix (a session guitarist to an icon overnight)

Is That All There Is? —Peggy Lee (a little talking can do wonders for a song)

How Soon Is Now? —The Smiths (Laughing gas melancholy)

This Guy’s In Love With You —Herb Alpert (relaxed yet passionate)

What’s Goin On —Marvin Gaye (Studio genius was everywhere during this era)

Me and Mrs. Jones —Billy Paul  (wall of sound melancholy soul music)

Space Oddity —David Bowie (One of those songs with everything: production, lyrics, hooks)

Rocket Man —Elton John (lonely outer space song his best ever, except maybe Benny & Jets)

Chasing Cars —Snow Patrol (will you lie with me?)

Transdermal Stimulation —Ween (A slightly “depressed and bored in the suburbs” vibe)

Pavane For A Dead PrincessRavel (grief shared)

It’s A Sin —Pet Shop Boys (Yup)

Kiss Kiss Kiss —Yoko Ono (Yoko matches the Beatles excitement at times)

Another Star —Stevie Wonder (This artist projects love, pure and simple, like no other)

Hey Jude —Beatles  (Paul talking to John, who was losing his mind. Hey John. It’s going to be okay.)

House of the Rising Sun —Animals (Several genre toppers happen at once in this song)

I’ll Be Around —The Spinners  (Simple hook genius)

Waterloo Sunset —Kinks  (the guitar in this)

California Dreaming —Mamas and Papas (multiplicity of voices is first rate)

Bittersweet Symphony —The Verve  (feel like walking down crowded streets while listening)

The Girl From Ipanema —Astrud Gilberto, Joao Gilberto and Stan Getz (do you sway or melt listening to this?)

Time of the Season —Zombies  (panting rhythmically to pretty melody)

Crimson and Clover —Tommy James (fin de siecle aesthetics meets trashy pop)

American Cowboy —Jada (Hint of hooker, but more important: hooks!)

The Winner Takes It All —ABBA (Romantic self-pity has never been better expressed)

Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again —Bob Dylan (Dylan kept the long ballad alive, if not entirely seriously)

Melancholia —The Who (Don’t know this one? Best Who song ever.)

White Rabbit —Jefferson Airplane (guitar and vocal sound are so good)

My Sweet Lord —George Harrison  (Sink into Beatle/Hallelujah-mania)

 

 

 

 

 

WIT FOR FLUTE AND ORCHESTRA

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Wit’s relationship with me

Is my relationship with you

In poetry; this is what poetry

Is; this defines what I do.

Poetry I do all alone,

But with it, I can play any tone.

I can be more myself with it than with you.

I heard of someone, today, who,

Worked all his life, and, at the age of seventy two,

Had no one—no one!—to leave his money to.

So I am going to write this poem to you.

We can’t live naked; Wallace Stevens doesn’t  fit

In nature; we need a roof—and wit.

Labor is necessary all the time.

The sun is hot, and into the sun we have to climb.

This tragedy of commuting we cannot share

With anyone, and if we should so much as stare

At someone else with desire, it’s called a crime.

But most desires are passing; only wit

Saves us. This poem is my gift which wraps it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

OWNED

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The artist wants to own what he sees,

The poet wants to own what he hears,

Like I wanted to own you,

You, and all your fears.

But the painter and the poet find

There is too much to own—none of it will be owned.

Ownership, in creation, is the first thing that is barred.

Poetry is not war. In poetry, peace and forgetting are.

Put the painting away. Whatever is wanted is marred.

Of course I want to own all this.

But who owns the last moment’s kiss?

Do you remember when I held you and every living flight of your face was mine?

Do you remember when I loved you in the flowers, and we drank the shadowy wine?

The mind wants to own the body.

The body wants to own the mind.

Why are the more than loving always the less than kind?

I can have this, but only if it doesn’t do anything and it’s blind.

We find there is too much to lose,

So much to lose—that nothing is finally lost.

The body is immense and the mind doesn’t know what to choose.

Take my hand! It’s mine, but now it belongs to you.

I am gone. The distant mountains are blue.

Did you miss me? I’ll find something else to do.

Of course I want.

Do you remember when I held you and every living flight of your face was mine?

Do you remember when I loved you in the flowers, and we drank the shadowy wine?

 

 

 

 

GOD

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God, you must be hiding a lover somewhere.

God, tell me the truth, I’m in despair,

Tell me, tell me, what did you create?

The human? I am one. But look at this template.

I thought the human was the creation, but no;

People? Am I a person? With eyes and words? I don’t know.

You are hiding a lover. Can I say this? I think I can.

The template isn’t human. It’s woman and man.

People don’t exist. We are one of two.

And I want the other one. Tell me what to do.

They are all the same: they surrender with a sigh.

And before that and after that they coldly go by.

WHAT IS MADNESS

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Madness is caused by too much goodness.

When I was bad, I relaxed and loved.

Too much goodness is madness.

The thesis may be difficult to prove,

But it’s true: sanity is when you don’t give a fuck:

I’m still in love with her; she’s moved on.

Years later I still obsess about her, because

She doesn’t give a fuck. I was her pawn.

I was afraid to make her angry. She was always angry.

I was loving and good and never let myself be angry with her,

Until one day, I got really angry at her

Because I never let myself be angry with her,

And I did something stupid and lost her forever.

I’m the crazy one because I still love her

And she’s sane, because she doesn’t give a fuck.

She didn’t give a fuck about anything.

She wanted to be anonymous. Kissing her

Was like kissing water. I knew her

Not to want anything: kids, career,

Art, she didn’t want to make anything,

Didn’t want to leave a mark.

Smile or frown, she liked to disappear into the dark.

Not giving a fuck is why she’s sane—

She continues with her pretty life.

She’s gone, and yet I love her—my caring is my pain.

I never knew someone so sane, so beautiful.

And this was because she didn’t give a fuck,

And I was expendable, another source of her rage;

She cared, like the rest, about looks, about age,

But to care that we care is what makes us insane;

And everyone knows love is the worst madness of all.

The good care, and this defines madness.

Not caring protects one’s happiness and gladness.

The bad can fall into ruin, it’s true,

But they ruin their body, and don’t lose their mind when they do.

The self-centered are sane—the things they care about are few.

The proof is seen in religion—don’t religions seem completely mad?

Fanciful, superstitious, yet strict, sadly seeking to make people less bad?

The good find it difficult to reconcile

The bad with the religious desire for good—since the world is bad all the while;

The world, which doesn’t give a fuck,

Makes those who care too much—simply out of luck.

By all that’s sane and beautiful! If only she would kiss me again!

Exactly as before! When she seemed to give a fuck, back then.

THE TROUBLE WITH JEALOUSY IS THAT IT LOVES

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“I’m just a jealous guy”–John Lennon

~

The trouble with jealousy is that it loves,

Holds on sweetly, sweetly as it loves,

Finds grace in the small spaces where it loves,

But it holds onto pictures, and spies

On things it should not spy on; who loves

Without jealousy, or looks into just one pair of eyes?

The trouble with jealousy is that it knows

Love is not love; love constantly pretends

Love loves, love is loyal, and loyalty never ends.

Jealousy loves, even as it looks

Into homes, gardening tools, trash compactors, books.

Jealousy holds aloft the pulled weed,

Calculating necessity and speed

Of putting gardens in order; nature’s high need

Is thick in the margins of every property,

Where jealousy looks, as far as the eye can see.

 

 

 

FEELINGS AND FACTS, OR: OTHELLO FIGURES IT OUT

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Feelings, such as jealousy and fear, are extremely common, and those who say all sorts of negative feelings don’t exist in their heart from time to time are lying.

There has been a tendency in our day to give subjective feelings a great deal more importance than they deserve. 1. We sometimes get so worked up about our feelings about feelings, we make them more important than actual crime—slander, for instance. 2. We work up such a hatred for negative feelings, which are nonetheless very common, we often mistake negative feelings for negative actions; we mistakenly believe feelings permanently mark someone’s character—they do not.

Feelings are ephemeral—they only have the potential to influence our actions; and negative feelings are common; they belong to everyone. So why do we assume feelings are more important than they are? Ironically, if you believe the falsehood that negative feelings are highly influential and corrupt, you give feelings more influence, just with your belief.

But here’s the truth.

Laws—rules which govern and punish negative actions—form the essence of a fair and just society.

And laws are based on facts, not feelings.

Hard evidence is necessary to convict.

If you hate X, this is not proof that you have harmed X.

Negative feelings—let’s take the most obvious one—hate:

Hate is not only common feeling, but it may reflect a good: as when we hate what is bad or disgusting.

Let’s look at a typical example using a negative emotion: jealousy. We are all jealous, and, depending on information, vague or otherwise, which may come our way, we all can be very jealous from time to time. Feelings of jealousy, however, like hate, or other negative feelings, are just feelings. It is not a crime to feel jealousy, and, if you have jealous feelings, this does not mean that you are a “jealous person.” Someone may be making you jealous. The only thing which feeling jealous means, is that you are having jealous feelings. It does not mean you will harm or attack or stalk or harass anyone.

And further, if anyone accuses you of harassment, simply because you express feelings of jealousy, the feelings of jealousy which you express are not proof of anything.

The accusation of harassment, however, is actually something far worse—it is a crime. Slander.

Laws—based on actions, hard evidence, investigated and proven—have nothing to do with feelings. The phrase, “cold-blooded killer” comes to mind. In a just society ruled by “laws, not men,” facts are observed, and arguments are based on facts; feelings have little importance. A jealous lover can make an accusation, and the jealousy of the accuser is not the issue; only the facts surrounding the accusation matter. And if the accused is jealous? This doesn’t matter, either. In the law, subjective feelings do not count.

Ideologies which pre-judge—feminism, for example—increase the tendency to radically over-estimate feelings as signs of truth. Men who happen to have negative feelings for a certain amount of time are tagged negatively forever, as the ideology “proves” its case, as generalized, unexamined slander expands and grows. Another example (gaslighting) would be if a man were cheating on his wife and he made her feel like a jealous person, simply because she had jealous feelings.

Feelings can be very powerful things. When people begin to believe that having a few jealous thoughts is proof that one is a permanently “jealous person,” one can easily see the potential for mass psychological harm.

 

 

 

CAN A POEM BE HAPPY, AND TELL THE TRUTH, TOO?

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Can a poem be happy, and tell the truth, too?

Love, there is no truth except as it relates to you.

So this poem must find a way to make you happy

And praise is what love loves; the world, flattery.

So I’ll ask love how to praise you best

Before my eastern poem travels sadly to the west.

A poet only praises if the poet has seen, or heard,

A sensory delight, and can turn it into a word.

A poet praises—so happiness can also be true;

The sun, light, word, earth—turning in you.

A poet can only praise what love in love has done.

Love, tell me, as the horizon in the west ascends to the sun,

How does love look to you? Look! Cloudy, hungry, skies

Cover the sun. Mother! Accept what’s seen by your child’s eyes.

Praising mother cannot be done.

The origin of love and words are hers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOLLY

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I saw the folly of others—

And said what I saw.

I hated law breakers.

I loved the law.

I rebuked the folly

Of others drinking wine.

I was perfect.

But now the folly is mine.

I fly to folly, and sing with folly.

And all the times I couldn’t,

I could, with Molly.

Molly showed me folly.

Molly showed me wine.

I break laws with Molly,

And folly and Molly are mine.

 

POETRY MAKES ME UNHAPPY

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Poetry makes me unhappy.

It makes me not me.

It’s easy to imagine and say

Night lives in the beautiful day.

Like a hypnotist, poetry can tell

Me I’m sleeping, and things are not well,

And I should remain sleeping

And in my imagination end all horror and end all weeping.

I’m happy after the poem is done;

I slept beneath a sleeping sun.

I danced—and the people saw

The poem and its poet are a law

Unto themselves. I still dance.

I still love. I still laugh. In a trance.

 

 

 

THE BEST

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Honor the best.

The best saves us all.

It appalls you to experience it?

Let it hypnotize you and appall.

Let it murder your pride, individual.

The best saves us all.

I was forced to admit she was beautiful,

Breasts, hips, large; oh! waist small;

A face unparalleled; I cannot turn away,

Ashamed to know a sight wins my heart,

A truth unable to admit, and only in a poem, say.

We only live because of the best.

It kills the pride in all the rest,

Making them run to the banal,

Which has its place, like the beautiful.

The king of kings made me see

I’m not that great. And now I’m free.

I NEVER GIVE OUT MY TRUE LOVE’S NAME

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I never give out my true love’s name.

Is love my god? My god is shame.

In the dreaming garden I walked along,

Too ashamed to sing a song.

Love may be the moon, smooth and bright.

But shame rules the details of the night.

All I whisper when no one’s there

From my true heart? Shame doesn’t care.

The sad images which lie in my heart

Belong to love. But shame rules my art.

Shame rules all I see and hear.

Love hides. Never spoken. Though here.

Shame lives with millions. Do I blame

Love? Shame is not afraid of love. Shame

Is an army of poetry. Shame is not afraid.

Do not love your love, he said. And I obeyed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

THIS POEM NEEDS MUSIC

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This poem needs music,

Beautiful and new,

If this poem would say

All it wants to say to you.

A melody is what it wants—

A melody that haunts,

A melody making sure

Thought is profound and pure

In presentation and intent,

Like a meadow harmonized with a tent.

There is food within,

And water and wine

And in birdsong and shadow you and I may dine.

The harmony of melody

And words, saying

“I love you,” needs a quartet playing.

The scene I paint might be

A shore with trees, to aid the melody,

As you and I speak of the beach

(Love, sweetly, just out of reach)

Where figures of betrayal stand. Do we stay?

And leave Shelley where he lay?

 

 

 

NOBODY WANTS WHAT THEY WANT

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I’ve changed my mind—I don’t need all the freedom I had.
I wanted fun, but why is fun always seen as bad?
I’ve changed my mind—I don’t need all the freedom I had.

I guess I don’t want to go out and see everybody there.
I made one little joke—and now everyone has to stare?
I guess I don’t want to go out and see everybody there.

I really don’t like him now; I thought he was funny at first,
But now I see humor which turns ugly is absolutely the worst.
I really don’t like him now; I thought he was funny at first.

Love will upset you if it lives in your mind, even if it goes in peace.
If I dump my boyfriend and he still loves me I will call the police.
Love will upset you if it lives in your mind, even if it goes in peace.

I want to get out of this but I love him so much.
I have trouble with words. I have trouble with touch.
I want to get out of this but I love him so much.

I think I love winter. I don’t want it to be spring.
I want this color, and I want to say this thing.
I think I love winter. I don’t want it to be spring.

I’ve been a little unsure since he removed his hat.
I wanted to take from this hour and I wanted to give to that.
I’ve been a little unsure since he removed his hat.

I need to leave. This scene is too urban and loud.
Thinking of safety in numbers, I selected this crowd.
I need to leave. This scene is too urban and loud.

I had a chance to take off my clothes. But now I want them on.
I followed him into the clouds. Now the mountain and the sun are gone.
I had a chance to take off my clothes. But now I want them on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I WAS GENTLE AND TRUE

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I was gentle and true.

But she was not.

So pardon me that I’m not as gentle with you.

She was untruthful and unkind

So I’m not saying what’s exactly on my mind.

She was someone I cannot forget

So I’m not able to love you yet.

I was upright and true.

I don’t know if I can be so with you.

Through her love I learned

To hate. I would perish if I burned;

Feeling love again with that fire,

I would only mock my highest desire

With that which never loves as it should,

Because she was bad—and I was good.

If I love you, I will not call her,

I will only call out your name,

But it can never, never be the same,

And our love will be a little smaller.

Our love will have an understanding

And, when under the trees we kiss,

It will be a yearning for love both of us miss,

And the kiss for that will be the kiss for this.

Under those scented trees, will a great love stir,

When you kiss madly what is gone, and I think of her?

What will you feel as I lean in to kiss you?

That love is sad? And can never be new?

 

YOU CAN’T DEFEAT THE PATRIARCHY

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You can’t defeat the patriarchy.

It takes too many forms, it lives

In too many ways, the forms

Zeus used invade you innocently enough,

Crowning your sight with objects and vistas,

Animals, scenes, sunsets, infinite,

A funeral pyre’s burning death

Closing your eyes, shortening your breath,

The empty ache of all desire never

Satisfied, except when hate and fear

Run you far away from here

Where never-ending change

Decides how far desire may range,

Which otherwise remains in bed

Curled up with flesh, sleepy and fed.

 

 

 

 

WHY DID YOU LOVE ME ONCE

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Why did you love me once, and never again?

Love should be like the sun and send

Light interminable. First you loved me as a friend,

And friendship is so close to love, love

Thinks friendship is what love is, but if it was,

I did not know. A thief is called a thief because he steals,

But I wanted you to take from me. The lover feels

Everything is stolen, as light steals away from the sun,

The orb of all light giving out its light to only one,

Giving, giving, giving. And still it is the sun.

But add to this blind burning, one belief,

The sun becomes responsible. And you became a thief.

They told me you missed my light when you were in your bed.

In the knowledge of your window you saw the moon instead.

They said as you were walking down the avenue

You smiled. To be speaking. And the speaking wasn’t you.

The sun can be everywhere, but I was asleep.

Love can be everywhere. Lights into the libraries creep.

As friends, our next step was love—love is when friends touch

Out of their friendship—light isn’t light so much

As something slower and more solid, the mortal hit,

A palpable hit. We did this once, and then you quit.

You wanted the dark earth to be once more, the sun,

A light, only, a light, too light, shining its light on everyone.

 

 

 

 

REALITY

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Reality becomes a play

As soon as you say

Anything about it. In that room

Is the consciousness of war, death, the doom

Of innocents, all in that room.

As soon as you take a picture of the ape,

You can say the human is just something on tape.

The rumor of the image

Is true, once you film the mirage.

The moment Cleopatra hated a man

Who loved her, map-making began.

Isn’t this poem true?

Now that it’s been read by you?

By the time you see the video, sorrow

Will exist, or not exist, tomorrow.

Here is the building. Now you can prove

Anything can be built. Even love.

 

 

 

 

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