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Monday, June 22, 2015

New Poem - Wine

Hey.

Here's a look at a new poem.  Patreon donors got to see it first.  For a chance to see daily, curated content that I make, and to be a part of an artistic, delightful community, click here to become a patron today!  You can do for as little as buck a month.  Ten bucks a month or more gets you a personalized monthly poem like this one!

WINE
 It was....twelve? 
Fourteen years ago? 
The past is microfiched, stretched into 
Quick, rolling sheets. 
First day of a new year. 
Circuit knocked out power in the boiler room. 
Lowest level of the ship. 
Elevator to breaker, just two hundred feet. 
Pitch with limpid decay. 
Flashlight, a useless prop. Crawling on my knees, 
And as I felt for the railing, heard the vessel gently moan as she rose and fell, 
I was stabbed. 
With no noise, I screamed. 
And, though this was a tomb of rust
and make-believe, though I had led thousands of strangers
to this altar of fear 
and cackled inwardly as they cried, 
For that moment, I was horribly, tenderly alone. Only I could flip the switch, 
A thimble of blood lapped out of my thumb, 
cast a shadow on the predator, 
Wine. Two glasses. Party guests from the night prior 
Went exploring without a map. As the old year sought its requiem, 
these two strangers spent the evening 
between the sprawling husks of rusted, slightly leaking plates. 
And now, no more. 
Hand throbbing, I pressed 
towards the bow. Foot by precarious foot, 
Testing the darkness. I had counted these steps, 
once,
fifty-four. Sighted, I'd been known to race them
and terrify a crowd in under six seconds. 
Not here. An hour lapsed 
until I finally stood up 
opened the box 
flipped the switch 
and roused the beast awake. 
I smiled, sadly. My hands reeked of dried 
merlot and iron. Another year 
with the same old ghosts. 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Mandrake - Original Song about Mental Health

Hey.

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month.

As someone who's had a pretty rough go with this for as long as I can remember, I think it's important that people talk about it with one another, just like you would with any other physical illness.

Think I've finally stumbled onto a song which best describes what it's like for me.  I'd love for you to view it, to share it with others who intuit this illness in their lives.

lyrics

when youre born
youre given land
yours to till
inside your heart
do what you will
birds of paradise
or a hedgerow maze
or something stoic if youll pardon
like a rake and a taciturn zen garden
but the earth is
vulnerable
through sun and shade
try as you might youre
helpless
by the crop laid

chorus
you never knew
you never thought
youd find
another weed
a little seed
this kind
beyond reproach
beyond compare
the mandrake
of old
despair
you never knew
you never thought
youd find
another weed
a little seed
this kind
beyond reproach
beyond compare
the mandrake
of old
despair

second verse
oh
ive tried
its an unyielding root
such a tenacious brute
and people come
they stop and stare
their temper
unconcealed
they chide me
tidy up your goddamn field
other lots
oh my
theyre so serene
or is my camera lens
just lined with
vasoline

chorus
you never knew
you never thought
youd find
another weed
a little seed
this kind
beyond reproach
beyond compare
the mandrake
of old
despair
you never knew
you never thought
youd find
another weed
a little seed
this kind
beyond reproach
beyond compare
the mandrake
of old
despair

bridge
sometimes chemicals
they kill the leaves
those horrid thieves of joys
yet deep within
the husk remains
it stains
the poisons it deploys
how noxious smelling
is the air
wish i had some strength
inside
and the tools to turn this
tide
even knowing ill have
died
when i hear that mandrakes
upturned roots start
screaming

third verse
still
youre
here
and im here
lets have a lunch
outside
lie down together
hide
on clover beds
so soft and green
sing me a
whaling song
and tell me just how your own
gardens wrong
and well laugh
tumble into our skin
our pupils shutter
wide
well finally blend
in

chorus
we never knew
we never thought
wed find
another weed
a little seed
this kind
can we reproach
can we repair
the mandrake
of old
despair
we never knew
we never thought
wed find
another weed
a little seed
this kind
can we reproach
can we repair
the mandrake
of old
despair

outro
its just the life
im working with
the life im working with
the life im working
with
its just the life
im working with
the life im working with
the life im working
with
tale could have ended
half a dozen different ways
how the hell
did i live this long
join me and sing along
never had much respite
from a decades old malaise
how the hell did i live this long
join me and sing along
sickness grows in silence
i broke it wide open
shivering violence
how did i live this long
join me and sing along
and if your gardens reckless
youre hungry for mercy
fear that youre feckless
reach out
youre a hand
im a glove
i love
that youve lived this long
find help
join me and sing along
ohhhhhhhh
its just the life
im working with
the life im working with
the life im working
with

(additional scatting and cheerful nonsense)


Monday, May 4, 2015

Hobos, Tramps, and Bums - Newest Song for KOTH

Hey.

Here's the last new song for the show.  One Gilly sings to distinguish between hobos, tramps, and bums.

Can't wait to put it up again and see what you think!


lyrics

hobos
tramps
and bums

in this poor lil world
more common
than your thumbs
but they aint the same
they got a different flame
that burns them
through their gums
those hobos
tramps
and bums

well
a trampll beg
and a bumll steal
but a hobos steady
like a wagon wheel
pick the crop
carry slop
take whatever meal
be it steak
be it ole wind pudding

oh those
hobos
tramps
and bums

in this poor lil world
more common
than your thumbs
but they aint the same
they got a different flame
that burns them
through their gums
those hobos
tramps
and bums

well a tramp
hell be sleeping
through the break of day
and a bumll
pick a scrap 
if you look her way
but a hobo keeps working
till his fingers fray
he keeps busy
his heart aint dizzy

hobos
tramps
and bums

in this poor lil world
more common
than your thumbs
but they aint the same
they got a different flame
that burns them
through their gums
those hobos
tramps
and bums

bridge
well a tramp
he aint but loaf and wander
and a bum
she drinks and wanders
a hobo works
and wanders
if you cant suss out the difference
well i guess youre pretty dumb
those hobos
tramps and bums

one more time

well a tramp
he aint but loaf and wander
and a bum
she drinks and wanders
a hobo works
and wanders
if you cant suss out the difference
well i guess youre pretty dumb
those hobos
tramps and bums

hobos
tramps
and bums


Monday, April 20, 2015

Smokey -First Draft of New Song for KOTH

Hey.

Slowly but surely working on an updated version of KING OF THE HOBOS.

Here's the first new song. Gonna be the second song in the show.  Gilly sings it as an ode to his new love, a red six-string cigar box guitar named Smokey.


lyrics

every heart got a song to sing
every object got a whisper o time
found the box what a shiny thing
on the tracks bout a mile
from the saint louis line

she was fire red hot
and i couldnt let go
later that night
caught a country show
strum by a fella
named les paul
and it came clear
and i understood
got me to thinking
found some wires and wood
now id have a girl
at my beck and call
id call her

chorus
smokey
gentle like the
mother
i never had
unassuming
smokey
simply speak your chorus
and ill be glad
all the friends ive known
now dust and bone
and my empty little guts
like a sack o stone
yet merrily ill play
oh smokey
were whats left today

second verse
every heart got a song to sing
if you dont whats the goddamn reason
you rise
sing it soft for a nick o courage
loud
kick the devil right square in his eyes

well ive sang each days
when my arms were sore
only rhythm was my sleeping snore
waking off the weight
from another night
fore i sang for anybody else
you see
these little ditties they were meant for me
now i got a girl
feels so good and right
i call her...

chorus

bridge
if i breathe
and i just start moving
smokey heals me and keeps me fine
hear her speak while my fingers sliver
feel them bleed as our souls entwine
if you cant be handsome be useful
its what james always said to inspire
hell i aint one for smarts or manners
smokey and me were a house afire
if i breathe
and i just start moving
smokey heals me and keeps me fine
hear her speak while my fingers sliver
feel them bleed as our souls entwine
if you cant be handsome be useful
its what james always said to inspire
hell i aint one for smarts or manners
smokey and me 
were a house
were a house 
were a house afire

third verse
every heart got a song to sing
listen close
hear the sound
its the kindness you weep
add some words from the book o suffering
put them together
its a fortune youll keep

she was fire red hot
and i couldnt let go
later that night
caught a country show
strum by a fella
named les paul
and it came clear
and i understood
got me to thinking
found some wires and wood
now id have a girl
at my beck and call
id call her

chorus

every heart got a song to sing
every object 
got a whisper o time


Monday, March 30, 2015

Patreon - the what, the why, and how to support Jara

Hey.

For over two weeks now, I've hosted an artist account on Patreon.  Patreon's like Kickstarter, but ongoing and monthly.  You can donate as little as a buck a month to support artists and receive special content and exclusive content before others do.

In these 14 days alone, I've posted:

Behind the scenes production photos
Diary Entries
Alternate tracks of previously recorded original songs
New poems
Little-known songs I've written
Sneak peek at scripts and excerpts of plays I've written
Easy, direct access to my You Tube song and poetry videos.

The site allows you to comment, provide feedback, post your own artwork, and share things together as a community,

So, why am I doing this?

Sure, it's a way to encourage more creative daily interaction.  But the heart of it is that I'm paralyzed with fear because my day job has issued some pretty tight fiscal cuts.  Got my first check after the changes last Friday and spent hours balancing my checkbook and making up a budget based on my monthly expenses.  And it's way worse than I thought. Due to my day job, due to increased medical expenses this year, and due to a lack of paid acting work so far this year, I'm short about $830 a month.

Yeah.

And this is with me living a pathetically spartan life.  Spending an average of 15 bucks a day on food.

So, I'm scared.

I'm hustling to find more acting work, part-time work. I've established this Patreon account.

www.patreon.com/jara

Don't know how long the center can hold.  Not sure what else I can strip away or do without.  Doing all I can to avoid more debt.

Realistically, I need to make $1000 more a month before taxes to break even, and $1500 more a month before taxes to actually start making inroads into my acting career.  But how?


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Trophies - poem

Hey.

Here's a new poem.  Donors to my new Patreon account got to see it a week ago. I'll explain tomorrow more about the Patreon situation, and how it's a more updated, more communal version of ODES AND NONSENSE.

Used to find it 
Garish, 
Shivering myself warm in some dusty winter lodge, 
Gazing upon a prostrate 
Bear skin rug. 
Glass eyes wide and blinkless, shining glimpses of the crackling fireplace. 
Seemed wasteful. 
Beyond the logistics of recreational murder. 


Creating and hunting a monster Is a rich person’s game. 
One needs professionals. 
The most patient, effective 
Tools to tear out flesh. 
One must isolate that still-beating 
Note of empathy, muffle it into a cold, tuneless void. 
One must suffer to make the silent, shockwave sounds of greater suffering. 


Some years ago, Through savings and death and inheritance, 
Through the compound interest of dissatisfaction, I found my own quarry. 
Chose my hunting party. 
Slouched uneasily in the orthodontics chair. 
And, with a minimal gloss of anesthetic, 
Had a front row seat to the death of that beast. 
His gnarled and yellowed fangs, wrestled brutely 
From their bleeding stumps. And yes, 
Though it was and remains 
More waking terror-torture than  I’ve ever known 
I demanded those nine teeth be surrendered to me. 
In a paper envelope, creased with a thin stamp of blood. 
But what marks me apart from other hunters is this: 
They’re not displayed. 
No pride or pompous pleasure fills 
A room with this torment, this work. 
They’re tossed in an unused closet, along with 
Old, handwritten love letters and mementos 
From mentors long dead from cancer.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Four Years In the Blood

Hey.

So, I'm in a diner. Torn seat cushions. Greek football on the radio. On my second cup of coffee.
And I realize, for the first time since I've moved here, the start of a new year hasn't been punctuated by frantic, creative desperation.

2011 - Get here. Push through the snowstorm. Rebuild. Find new artistic work at all costs.You have lost everything.  Get moving.
2012 - Prove yourself. Do summer stock auditions and as many shows as you can.
2013 - Take a risk. Pull out that solo script you've been scared to do for a decade -edit, submit, produce and perform GHOST ON A STICK.
2014 - Join SAG-AFTRA. Realize that you haven't dealt with death and loss and a corrupt sense of self. Go back to therapy. Do meds.  Make a brand new solo show and hustle that as hard as possible.

And now? 

There's uncertainty. Not in a troubling way.  But in an open, inviting approach. Maybe a solo show will take off this year.  Maybe more poetry will follow.  Maybe love will chime in my bones. Maybe work in TV and film will begin.  It's an exciting future.

So, let's get to the heart of why I jot these down each year. Mark the notch of time. Ego? A bit. More importantly, it's to remind me that it's never done alone. Every inch of what's been accomplished is the result of countless people (only a handful of which are personally thanked today) who have shaped me and kindly supported my odes and nonsense.

Here's what's been done, what I'd like to do this upcoming year, and my thanks....



WHAT I'VE DONE

Produced and performed KING OF THE HOBOS  -   Guys, this is the quite possibly the best thing I've ever done. A one man hobo musical set in the Great Depression.  All the current music is available online to stream for FREE (or, if you want to download it, you may purchase)  Plans are in motion to edit the show to an hour and twenty minutes, do another workshop this year, and then pitch it for an long term Off-Broadway run.  I owe Abigail Taylor-Sansom so much for finding the heart of the piece and continually pushing me as an artist with this work. 

Wrote four new songs -  Apart from new songs for the hobo musical, I also wrote some individual new music as well.  Some much more refined work than the past.  Songs about mental recovery, loving in New York City, and bracing for uncertain, hopeful change.

Came back to poetry - after a break, I found myself stumbling back into poem-making.  Re-released my book of poems, RAMSHACKLE, and did a reading of it in NYC as well.  Started two new poem cycles - The Divorced Dad Poems and Texts From Last Night Poems.   All in all, wrote FORTY poems this year.  Here are some of the best.

Jumped into fun theatre projects - another launch of PAGEANT PRINCESS, a daunting, intense affair doing all three HENRY VI plays in rep with Hamlet Isn't Dead, and a production of Vicki Mooney's play BROKEN HEARTLAND.

Wrote the start of a new play (THE MUSEUM OF BROKEN RELATIONSHIPS) in a glass fishbowl - such a wonderful, weird experience. Every word you type displayed to the world for the two hours you crunch. Making something brand new out of nothing, for the first time, in front of strangers. Being completely fearless. 

Finished the first draft of THIS GREAT MORTALITY - my play cycle about the Black Plague and a loose factual account of how it affected Avignon, France in 1348.

Lost 67 pounds - Started 2014 at 300 pounds. With diet, exercise, and meds, I've knocked it down to 233. No longer pre-diabetic. 

Wrapped a short comic film with Abigail, Rocky, and Megan Jeannette Smith.  - it's always a treat to collaborate with these sweet, talented beasts.  And Conor Stratton's camera work was top notch.  Can't wait to see the final product!


WHAT I'VE LEARNED 


 - A diet of expectation is appropriate and healthy.  I've come to say this at least twice a day. It's on a card at eye level by my desk. 

 - Always leave a party when you start to feel sad.
 

- Before you were making things in an effort to earn glory or fame or wealth or any money at all, before you were making things to garner potential status or affection, or prestige, you were making them for yourself. As a quiet, invisible child, alone. Start there. Remember that. 


GOALS



Here's where I get unconventional this year.  I'm not getting specific. I'm gonna focus on three spheres of human quality, and with each undertaking I do, I'll ask myself:  how does this improve or limit me in these three areas?

I want to use this year to further deepen and improve in the following three tenets:


SELF-LOVE
SELF-CARE
SELF-RESPECT

And now, let's define them.


Self-love - Internal maintenance and growth.  Mental health. Physical health (eyewear, dental work)  Time given to rest and to goof off and to create. Consistent examination of negative thought patterns and limiting behaviors.


Self-care - external maintenance and growth.  Apartment upkeep. Clothes.  Food,  Walking. More engagement with friends. 


Self-respect - Appreciation of abilities and esteem. Taking professional stock in myself. Being prudent with time on external projects.  Accepting compliments and praise whole-heartedly. Being open to receiving love.



 Thanks to the following people:
mi mama   
Jelina Seibert and Dave Seibert  
Jeric Jones and Stephanie Girard 
Bekki Doster 
Mark Kinch
Megan Jeannette Smith
Emily Travis
All those who helped produce KING OF THE HOBOS
Tess Suchoff
Bobby Lux  
Patti Cox
Mike Valloney
Katrina Lenk
Shannon Algeo
Jen Ponton
Sarah Baskin
Sarah Dacey Charles
Meredyth Kenney
Everett Goldner
Alan Corcoran
Sigi Gradwohl
Michael Geffner
 Robin Rightmyer
David Andrew Laws
Kristen Penner
Lorelei Mackenzie  
Abigail Taylor-Sansom
Rockford Sansom
Dianna Tucker Baritot
Adam Baritot 
Malini McDonald
Vicki Mooney
Tony White
Vicki Oceguera  
Tod Engle