No Single Cause: A Response Poem

The Call

“The word ‘earthquake’ in Padaung literally means ‘the shaking of the dead’ — one of the two things we believe cause the tremors of the earth, the other being the stirrings of the big fish that guards ‘the drum of desire’. I was more frightened by the idea that the dead were shaking our house than by the movements of the fish. I used to have arguments with my friends and my brother Peter about whether earthquakes were caused by the dead or the fish.”
   Pascal Khoo Thwe: From The Land Of Green Ghosts

The Response

The earth trembled for the dead
had all at once turned in their graves
when they heard the big fish
watching over the drum
of desire had stirred
up more rumours about them.

Bad Eye

I visited my shrink, said I’m sure I just need glasses–
I can fake a smile with my good eye
but the other one’s forgetting
how to apperceive the lie.

That’s excellent! she beamed. We’re making progress.
It’s a sign you have an eye now on the future.

I guess we’ll go on living

After taking my record collection out of its four year stint in a storage shed a few years ago, I was horrified to discover that many (60+) of my most cherished albums had suffered from misting of the vinyl. The ones that suffered were those that I had taken great care to protect with heavy PVC sleeves, and others that happened to be packed tightly next to them. I was in such a rush to inspect each one for damage that I failed to notice all of the misting had happened around that one type of PVC sleeve.

I searched the internet for causes and solutions, but could find nothing definitive. Some attributed it to PVC outers, some to plastic inners, some to acids from paper liners. As for solutions, there was one common opinion; to throw them away! It was only some time later that I got around to the task of sorting through my singles collection, at which point the cause was confirmed beyond my doubt. All of them were in heavy PVC outer sleeves, and all were all but ruined!

Since then, I have been slowly replacing the damaged vinyl with ‘Very Good’ or ‘Near Mint’ original pressings, and shuffling these into my original album jackets. The jackets for most of my collection are still in great condition apart from a few cases of foxing here and there, but I don’t mind that so much. It doesn’t affect the enjoyment of the music, and it adds a bit of character and authenticity to their existence.

I was very pleased to find a copy of Timothy B. Schmit’s eponymous album of 1987 today.

Timothy B

The vinyl itself is in excellent condition, despite the jacket being on its last legs. I was 19 years old when I first bought this album, within a week or so of release, and I was into collecting everything Eagles. I still am today, truth be told. Even as my musical tastes have developed and mutated during the last 30 years, the Eagles will always be my first true musical love; the first band I chose for myself and defended my love for against the peer pressure of my heavy metal worshipping friends. When Glenn Frey died on 18 January 2016, Mum called me the same day to ask if I was ok, and my brother sent me a text message offering his condolences.

I wonder what will happen to my record collection when I am no longer around to appreciate it. Will it be broken up into pieces and cycled through second hand stores until it all becomes tatty and unloved? It would be nice to be able to gather the strength to give it all away to someone of my choosing before that day comes, and exorcise myself from its possession over me, but for the time being I’ll keep giving it my love.

A bubble blowing betta

Bob and Alice were debating the virtues of rationalism and empiricism while walking to uni together, when they decided to stop at a pet shop along the way.

“Look at the bubbles this betta is blowing,” said Alice.
“Seen one bubble, seen them all,” replied Bob.
“True,” Alice admitted, “but have you been there and done that?”