kid mystic kaleidoscope untitled world learns english practice dying shades of grey jonah ani uncle seth's false gospel rerum natura dream usher markers

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kid mystic

Mother spoke in tongues of ancient texts
while I was suckiling from her breasts
Dad’s vision said the end was soon
one time when I was in the room

I’d give on of my twin sisters a pinch
and both of them would flinch
Cousin Steve was really great
tried to teach me how to levitate

Angels spoke to Grandma everywhere
not to me, but I was there
angels spoke to Grandma
not to me, but I was there
not to me, but I was there

[audio: mystic/kid-mystic.mp3]

Afterword… Our hero is born. A volcanic sense of inadequacy characterizes much of his youth, this is understandable when you meet the cast. They did a lot of metaphysical camping, this clan.


A silhouette, I focus out
Delicate ear, I am a shout
The cadence of a slow, deep breath
I never pause to fill my chest
A patient dream that wants to rise
I will not close more than one eye

Whatever rhythm I begin
there is another joining in
a Dream that wants to rise
I will not close more than one eye

Shadows pulse to draw the spark
an arm of fire feels for dark
Threads of light arrange to rope
frames combine kaleidoscope
Sleep decides it will unfold
but fear designs an awkward hold

Whatever rhythm I begin
there is another joining in
but Sleep cannot unfold
fear designs an awkward hold

The patient Dream wants to rise
I will not close more than one eye
Sleep decides it will unfold
but fear designs an awkward hold

Whatever rhythm I begin
there is another joining in
there is another joining in
Whatever rhythm I begin

[audio: mystic/kaleidoscope.mp3]

Afterword… The antagonist arrives. Kid Mystic is more than a little disturbed by the shadow monkey on his back, he is constantly spooked and stalked by an intangible other that he can only describe as a haunting Dream (a nightmare). Let’s just say his Third eyepiece is blurry at this stage. This may be the finest song I’ve written, whatever the hell would decide that (me).


We were at the altar on the day you were baptized
everyone who held you has the moment memorized
But thankful memories have mingled with a grief
because the blessing was too brief

That is why your irthday never passes easily
we can’t help imagining the person you might be
In your abscence our lives are not as sweet
the family grows, but never seems complete

Sometimes we see a babies crib
and feel a spike between our ribs
Something always stays awake
in the empty cradle that we make

When we are afraid that it might hurt to speak your name
we agree in silence that you’re there with us the same
that familiar silence we keep returning to
is a room we share with you

Some of us feel guilty for not visiting your grave
you are still included in the way that we behave
Knowing now that we never disconnect
just listen to our thoughts to measure your effect

Only spirits speak so clear
It was our love that brought you here
that’s how we know you wait somewhere
and each of us will hold you there

[audio: mystic/untitled.mp3]

world learns english

The children of Wales in formative years
can summon old Celtic with polyglot sneers
So kids, what’s the translation — I mean how would you say
‘My useless language is dying away?’

Study some numbers and you’ll see who’s dumb
to get into business you only need one

The world learns English to climb up a wrung
if you want to be heard speak in this tongue
The Tower of Babel is now in reverse
we’re bringing together what God had dispersed

It’s not really true to say cultures collide
some get erased, some spread out wide
Which brings us to you, and your obsolete ways
we might use your dead language to coin a cute phrase

But the key to your future is learning to blend
Comprende, Katalaves, Verstehen Sie, friend?


[audio: mystic/world-learns-english.mp3]

Afterword… The Kids’ young cultural survey. More death, abstract imperialism.

practice dying

Get high on ether when there’s no one in the house
pretend it’s the big one at the moment you pass out
It’s just rehearsal, but it’s comforting somehow
to practice dying now

Hang out in funeral homes and make an honest bid
lay in your casket and let them close the lid
abra cadaver, roll your eyes back in your head
practice being dead

Don’t feel stupid, we’re all scared
no one wants to burn in hell
There’s still time to get prepared
start out now and finish well

Try painting tunnels on the ceiling in your room
imagine your birth backwards with a bigger, better womb

Take little trips out of your body now and then
and if the rapture comes maybe you’ll ascend
You know the saying ‘once you learn to ride a bike’
well, that’s what dying’s like


Get high on ether when there’s no one in the house
pretend it’s the big one at the moment you pass out
It’s just rehearsal, cause that’s all that life allows
but you practice dying
because you’re almost dead
practice dying now

[audio: mystic/practice-dying.mp3]

Afterword… Early on it is clear death has a monoply going. The Kid decides to try and make some peace with the inevitable, clearly not being able to “beat em’ “, he makes some half hearted (but important) attempts to get ready to “join em’ “. A how-to manual for familiarizing yourself with the big shift. Despite these efforts, he is unable to truly dismantle the fear and get some joy going in the You’re Gonna Die department. Strangely, there is a deep yearning for something that requires death, the way to the Dream is through the Nightmare.

shades of grey

I try to stay awake
when the world is dark
cause when I dream of you
I wake up with marks
Mother says it happens
falling out of bed

More like falling from the stars
that’s where all my nightmares are

You’re too ugly to be angels
but you hide in the sky

You don’t look like ghosts should
too stiff and small
but I don’t know who else could
float right through the wall
Three bony fingers
scrawny little limbs

God made your bodies the wrong size
to have those great big oval eyes

You’re too ugly to be angels
but you hide in the sky
You’re too ugly
but maybe you are

[audio: mystic/shades-of-grey.mp3]

Afterword… These episodes of testing theboundaries jar loose memories. Some hideous scenes from childhood bubble up, and it turns out the hero did not suffer an uneventful youth. He vividly relives time spent with distant (in more than one way) relatives, and recovering the trauma helps him realize that his fear is like a big black flashlight that he points at everything. He has developed the habit of passing out with fear at his own projections. Death and altered states, he allows, may be yucky because he makes them that way.


The dogs are still expecting
your father is a general
Benjamin’s a murderer
your sister is a sponge
your mother is a worker

Jonah, I ran into your mom, she isn’t aging very well
sometimes I think her face is gonna burst
cause hiding pain is work, and your mother is a worker

Jonah, some thoughts about your sister — her eyes are always closed
ever since that day she’s held a certain pose
it’s not a coma, she’s the opposite of numb
some people soak pain up, and your sister is a sponge
and your mother is a worker

Jonah, I still see Ben, but if i bring your name up the conversation ends
cause he loaned you the shotgun you took up to the cabin
whatever people say, he only hears the words ‘Benjamin’s a murderer’
your sister is a sponge, your mother is a worker

Jonah, Jonah, news about your dad — you thought he drank before
now he drinks, his body is at war and his stomach’s never full
cause your father is a general, Benjamin’s a murderer
your sister is a sponge, your mother is a worker

Jonah they gave me your goddamn dogs and I’m sick of what they do
they bark at everything until they see it isn’t you
cause the dogs are still expecting, your father is a general
Benjamin’s a murderer, your sister is a sponge, your mother is a worker

[audio: mystic/jonah.mp3]

Afterword… Here, the Kid takes a snapshot of the circle of people affected by his friend Jonahs’ suicide. He gets a good idea of what happens when a person lets the fear win out, when a teetering life chooses devolution. Where did all that pain and awful energy go? Jonah becomes a demon, simultaneously creates and goes to hell (his own fear). It’s all laid out, if Jonah is even listening (he’s not). This oddly helps build the heros’ resolve to heal and transcend himself.


I enter the room and nervously smile
we haven’t had time by ourselves in a while
I feel powerful here in your timid embrace
how familiar the fear on that delicate face

You’re clutching your dress
You stare at your feet
but I just want you more
when you try to retreat

Ani, it’s only flesh
it isn’t such a cruel request
because love is
the special things we give
and when you cry and shake
you know it only makes it
worse for you
so close your eyes until I’m through
and make me happier than ever before
now that’s the Ani I adore

When I study your body it makes me aware
of my fortunate place in our dissimilar pair
like the strength of my hand exploring your skin
and the porcelain frailty of your quivering chin

You’re serving them both
though the difference is wide
the man and the demon
never divide


[audio: mystic/ani-i-adore.mp3]

Afterword… Another demon takes the stage. Ani is somehow related to Kid Mystic, and so is the man who abuses her. Again, this is literally hell: fear, pathology.

uncle seth's false gospel

In a cave near home
I found the scroll
Old Hebrew, or something close
written on it

Stooped over thick volumes, slow working
translation came as follows (roughly)

‘Though shalt write about yourself, you please me when you do
My wish for mankind is for mankind to study you. For I so loved the world
that I gave you three chords, so you’d write about yourself… ya-da ya-da ya-da,’ — The Lord

Not a shock, because
Who’d forget Great Uncle Seth’s
frustrated ancient Hebrew

He used to hold me
hostage on his knee
and tease me with some secret
God told him about me

Refrain Seth, I was your favorite
you died when I was ten
I never loved you back
and I remember why again

Did you see me spread your ashes
when we cremated you?
There’s been another fire
and I spread your gospel too

[audio: mystic/uncle-seths-false-gospel.mp3]

rerum natura

In somnoe ineo metus
et post velum alter animus reperio
in asper coritas salteramus
et sine cutis concubatimus
vis impetus ex gaudium
ex gaudium et terror

per speciem
‘ut quisque et vir optimus
ita difficilleme alios improbos
tum, si equidem

cum asper coritas saltero
sic nihil agis quin ego audiam
per somnum sive vigilans
quo rerum natura ditesceres versutus

translation came as follows (roughly)

In sleep I enter fear
and behind the veil I find another soul
we dance with rough affection
and copulate without skin
a paroxysm of joy
of joy and terror

‘the more a man is
the harder to suspect wickedness
in others’
then, if I for my part

dance with rough affection
so you do nothing I do not hear of
in sleep or watchful
the world becomes artful

[audio: mystic/rerum-natura.mp3]

Afterword… I wish I hadn’t written this song in latin, but oh well. Here we are, our hero has made a decisive move. In Uncle Seth’s, he basically flipped the bird to the notion of staying stuck in his own ego, he has always felt something bigger on the horizon. At this point, he has concluded that walking face first into a fucking horrible Nightmare (God-the DREAM) is better than staying stuck where he is, afraid (literally) of his own shadow and lonely for something he can’t articulate. He makes his move. In sleep, he confronts the evil beast that has hounded him since birth, the dark ubiquitous force with endless faces, and it is none other than….. himself. He finds another soul, but it is himself. The Demon/Nightmare was actually the God/Dream cast in the shadow of his black flashlight. His Third eye has come into focus, and the Demon turns into an Angel, the Nightmare a Dream.

dream usher

You think in such unlikely ways
to whisper out your careful phrase
Never ending verse arrives
divided into many lives

Show me where to put my ear
so other voices disappear

My face keeps tilting toward the sky
for the fire I should recognize
What burning there became my skin
which ember do I have within

Show me where to point my eye
and see your face in each surprise

I touch a few and still betray
what you would have my heart survey
I should move as far and wide
as the strangers that I sleep beside
In dreams I usher in
unfamiliar eyes and skin

Show me how to spread my soul
Show me where to point my eye
Show me where to put my ear

[audio: mystic/dream-usher.mp3]

Afterword… In fact everything looks different. He is now part of and witness to an ecstatic poem. He becomes a co-creator, and spills with the joy of being reunited (with what he was never seperated from).


We run toward lightning flashes
we tunneled in here through a flame
We lean into air that crashes
the wind is how we came

However You retrieve us
even death cannot confuse
the markers we will use

We have no struggle when submerged
the water brought us forth
We dream with our backs curved
the circle is our course

However You retrieve use
even death cannot confuse
the markers we will use

[audio: mystic/markers.mp3]

Afterword… Death no longer looms like a threat, it is a sacred promise. Fear has been transformed into knowing. The Kid-hero boy now invites all he previously resisted. He dances with all that is, was, or will be.

All Songs © Copyright 1992-2004 Stuart Davis

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