Everything trivial
is erased.

It is being alone
on a high place of moorland or mountain

with the howl of the wind, and the fool,
scrambling on all fours, whimpering,

somewhere below and behind you,
desperate to comfort,

to keep up--

by Kerry Hardie

from Only This Room

#201: Wheels of Fire by Cream


Wheels of Fire by Cream (1968)

Favorite Tracks: "White Room" and "Sitting on Top of the World" and "Passing the Time" and "As You Said" and "Politician" and "Those Were the Days" and "Born Under a Bad Sign" and "Deserted Cities of the Heart"

Thoughts: Our first Cream album!  I'll be honest, all I know about Cream is that Eric Clapton was in it.  But I knew I would probably love this album, since it's classic psychedelic/blues rock.

I've definitely heard "White Room" before...was it in a famous movie?  There's a very good chance I heard it on Supernatural, since they use classic rock liberally (which is probably my favorite thing about the show).

"Passing the Time" seemed pretty boring at first, but then it turned into this darling sweet orchestral fable/song before launching into a harder rock.  Loved it!  Take me back to 1968.  Well, just for the music.  But then I want to come back to now.  :)  "As You Said" was also surprisingly beautiful and folk-infused.  I think I even heard a mandolin!  It was so lovely.

I didn't love the second side as well as the first, it was a bit darker and more psychedelic  but I still really enjoyed listening to it.  Overall this album rocks and I would definitely recommend it.

Is This Better Than The River?: I wouldn't listen to it as often as The River, but I wouldn't argue it was worse!

I want a print of this for my Autumn decor


{click on it for full size}

Variation on the Word Sleep


I would like to watch you sleeping,
which may not happen.
I would like to watch you,
sleeping.  I would like to sleep
with you, to enter
your sleep as its smooth dark wave
slides over my head

and walk with you through the lucent
wavering forest of bluegreen leaves
with its watery sun & three moons
towards the cave where you must descend,
towards your worst fear

I would like to give you the silver
branch, the small white flower, the one
word that will protect you
from the grief at the center
of your dream, from the grief
at the center.  I would like to follow
you up along the long stairway
again & become
the boat that would row you back
carefully, a flame
in two cupped hands
to where your body lies
beside me, and you enter
it as easily as breathing in

I would like to be the air
that inhabits you for a moment
only.  I would like to be that unnoticed
& that necessary.

by Margaret Atwood

October Cats


One is the color of graham crackers and milk;
cornbread with butter and honey;
a stack of pancakes drenched with maple syrup;
peaches and cream (is anybody hungry?).
The other's tiger markings, gray and white,
are lit like alabaster from within,
foxy, rosy, ruddy; dusky blush.
Who would have thought we were so famished for
the tawny, the caressable? No longer
now splayed out along the floor for coolness,
they reconfigure for the coming season
into shapes of meatloaf, tugboat, owl.

by Rachel Hadas



Sitting in a doorway,
in October sunlight,
peppers, onions, tomatoes,
stale bread sodden with olive oil--

and the air high and clean,
and the red taste of tomatoes,
and the sharp bite of onions,
and the pepper's scarlet crunch--

the body
coming awake again,
maybe there's more to life than sickness,
than the body's craving for oblivion,
than the hunger of the spirit to be gone--

and maybe the body belongs in the world,
maybe it knows a thing or two,
maybe it's even possible
it may once more remember

absence of pain.

- Kerry Hardie

#202: Dirty Mind by Prince


Dirty Mind by Prince (1980)

Favorite Tracks: "Dirty Mind" and "When You Were Mine" and "Gotta Broken Heart Again" and "Uptown"

Thoughts:  Who's that standing in a studded blazer, hankerchief, and bikini bottoms?  IT'S PRINCE.  (If you want to see him dance in that outfit, here you go. You're welcome.)  And I couldn't be happier to have him finally appear on the list.  Is he weird?  Yes.  Eccentric?  Very.  Self-absorbed?  Sure.  More obsessed with sex than James Bond and Captain Jack Harkness put together?  Probably.  Is he an unbelievably talented performer/songwriter/musician/artist whose genius and impact on culture and music cannot be measured?  Without a doubt.

I have had to defend the greatness of Prince to many a person.  I usually tell them to just watch Purple Rain and get back to me.  My go-to karaoke song is "Raspberry Beret," which I heard for the first time in high school after buying Prince's Greatest Hits at a Sam Goody in Spokane.  I also found my junior prom dress on that trip.  What color was it?  Purple.

Dirty Mind is Prince's 3rd studio album, and today it is exactly 32 years old.  If you try to find videos of the songs of this album online, good luck.  One of the less awesome things about Prince is he is SUPER harsh on people posting his music or photos of him or basically anything related to him without his permission.  Since I usually listen to my albums via YouTube, I am very lucky to have this album on my iPod, so there's no problem. Let's journey into Prince's dirty mind.  Which--anyone familiar with his music will tell you--is very dirty.

The title track is very fun and funky.  We've actually heard "When You Were Mine" before, waaaaay back at #486 when Cyndi Lauper covered it.  (Don't tell Prince, but I think I prefer her version.  The vocalization is just more interesting to me.)  I was pleasantly surprised by how sweet and Stevie Wonder-ish "Gotta Broken Heart Again" turned out to be!  I mean, it was even family-friendly!  (Well, compared to most of his songs.)  The album ends with "Partyup" which has a great chant at the end: "Gonna have to fight your own damn war, 'cause we don't wanna fight no more!"

Is This Better Than The River?:  I wouldn't say that.  It's too short!  But I loooooved it and highly recommend it.  Can't wait for more Prince to show up on the list.

if the cat isn't next to me, I usually find him here


On his window pillow.

the burden she assumes



Time to believe that the thin disguise
On the face of the blessing in disguise
Will never be pulled off,

That the truth that's still in hiding
Will stay there, far in the dark.
All that can be revealed is revealed.

All that can be learned from the burning house
Was learned the first time, when the smoke
Blackened the walls in every room.

So much for more experience. What can grow
Has grown; what's small now stays small.
No portion waits for those who deserve more.

The flowers in the yard of the blind and deaf girl
Will never smell any sweeter to her
Than they smell now to any of her visitors.

The music she imagines will never compare to ours.
Her best day will brighten with no joy
That hasn't brightened our day more.

Time to admit that her steady cheer
Is the burden she assumes to keep us here
Touching her fingers for a while.

- Carl Dennis

#203: Abraxas by Santana

Abraxas by Santana (1970)

Favorite Tracks: "Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen" and "Oye Como Va" and "Incident at Neshabur" and "Mother's Daughter" and "Hope You're Feeling Better"

Thoughts: First of all, I am loving that cover art, which is apparently a painting by Mati Klarwein.  I have, in general, really good associations with Santana.  I remember my dad loving his stuff when I was a kid, and once I learned that he played at Woodstock, Santana earned tons of extra awesome points in my book.  But I say I have good associations 'in general' because one little song released back in 1999.  Can you guess what it was?

I was 14, and it was a huge hit.  Santana's collaboration with Matchbox Twenty lead singer Rob Thomas: "Smooth."  At the time it was hot and sexy.  Now whenever I hear it it's sweaty and boring.  It was overplayed like nobody's business.  I remember an interview in which Rob Thomas said he met his wife when shooting the music video (click if YOU DARE to hear the song one more time in your short, short life), but the wikipedia page--and those are never ever wrong--claims he wrote it for her.  Conflicting stories!  I was waaaay into MTV at the time, so I'm going to trust my teenage memory.  Anyway, should we get to Abraxas finally?  Yes.

Classic songs that I recognized immediately: "Black Magic Woman" and "Oye Como Va."  I was dancing in my seat to "Hope You're Feeling Better."  Overall, fantastic classic rock, and I definitely recommend it, though I would probably listen to it as background music at a party before I'd pick it on my iPod for personal listening.

Is This Better Than The River?:  I thought about changing the new measure of greatness to Tea for the Tillerman, but decided to keep it at The River for now.  I think it's because Tillerman's ranking doesn't offend my whole person.  We have to wait until we come to another album that absolutely belongs much closer to #1.  That said, this album was not better to me, but great nonetheless.