One Second Saviour

randomkindnessOne Second Saviour by Philip Scott Wikel

 

don’s liquor store,

a homeless woman kisses my hand

my heart swells and i’m a one second saviour

 

her husband bows as if in reverent prayer

i gave him 3 dollars on thanksgiving and

he probably drank it all but he’s still alive

so he must be eating

 

i see them and now every time

hope that the shelter opens soon and

i know it will and they’ll be warm at night

and less dirty

 

she’s red in the face

with the swelling of skindrenched

in alcohol and relentless sun

but her spirit’s intact

and she kisses my hand

i’m her one second saviour

and they’re happy to see me

Notes on The Julian Day – Like Who Cares Right? (Haha)

Gateway to Elysian Fields
Gateway to Elysian Fields

Midnight 12am: It’s that time of night when one can be convinced that his quiet, mindful wanderings might have some relevance to other wanderers of the Elysian Fields. Sleeping people don’t talk back and folks like me with grand delusions find this time suited to their wayward, wanderlusting minds.

For those of you wondering why we chose the name “The Julian Day.” To the best of our knowledge the “actual” julian day is the day inserted into the month of February every leap year. This is the day that balances the calendar and literally balances time. In a world where everyone and everything seems hell-bent on throwing us and the entire world out of sync:

“We like the idea of achieving balance and evening things out to create a harmonious wholeness.”

Even if achieving that means first, throwing everything out of whack. It’s only when we experience chaos that we define our truest foundations.

Our first EP is called Sohei.

Sohei in Japanese means literally “monk warriors” or enlightened soldiers. Lofty title right? We’re doing our best.

With Sohei we’ve created what we believe is a powerful musical document that underlines the struggle for a higher spiritual and emotional connection to humanity that is musically and thematically coherent. We’re not interested in singles. We want all of the songs to contribute to a homogenous, and sonically courageous whole; each song contributing to a unified statement. We’re hoping you all will enjoy it as much as we’ve enjoyed, and are enjoying creating it.

The new EP (if we ever finish it) will be called “A Place Called Everywhere.” 

It’s our belief that as the world grows smaller and smaller with each passing day through our interconnectedness via the internet, skype, cell phones, and all the other techno stuff, soon wherever we are will be a place called everywhere. What will that world be like? We’d like to explore that with this next round of songs.

Preview of “A Place Called Everywhere:” https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/thejulianday/508010318?token=792d5193

Rhymes and Reasons by John Denver

johnThis is one of my favorites by John Denver:

So you speak to me of sadness and the coming of the winter,
The fear that is within you now that seems to never end,
and the dreams that have escaped you and the hope that you’ve forgotten,
and you tell me that you need me now and you want to be my friend,
and you wonder where we’re going, where’s the rhyme and where’s the reason?

And it’s you cannot accept: it is here we must begin to seek the wisdom of the children
and the graceful way of flowers in the wind.
For the children and the flowers are my sisters and my brothers,
their laughter and their loveliness would clear a cloudy day.
Like the music of the mountains and the colors of the rainbow,
they’re a promise of the future and a blessing for today.

Though the cities start to crumble and the towers fall around us,
the sun is slowly fading and it’s colder than the sea.
It is written: From the desert to the mountains they shall lead us,
by the hand and by the heart, they will comfort you and me.
In their innocence and trusting they will teach us to be free.
For the children and the flowers are my sisters and my brothers,
their laughter and their loveliness would clear a cloudy day.
And the song that I am singing is a prayer to non-believers,
come and stand beside us, we can find a better way.

 

Bear in mind, I don’t believe this song is meant to endorse Christianity in any way.

It’s perhaps best looked at as an elaboration on The Julian Day’s song “Idolatry.”

My son has to be the coolest kid in the world…

gromAt 16, my son has to be the coolest kid in the world. He follows no one, does his own thing and believes in his own ability to accomplish his goals. He’s not interested in alcohol or drugs which, at sixteen, and especially in this day and age, is amazingly cool.

He’s not fixated on sex. He has a good understanding of what makes a truly good person and he knows bullshit when he hears it, which, sadly, is quite often. But he doesn’t take shit from anyone and is happy to point out to others the shortcomings in their thinking. He’s a good listener and is good about taking in the “facts” and weighing them against logic, reality, and experience; a rarity these days.

He loves to surf and does it for all the right reasons; because it’s healthy, a spiritual experience, and it connects him to the universe in a way nothing else can. He doesn’t talk about his supposed conquests in the water but instead feels enriched and enlivened deep down in his soul. He has no need to brag or prove himself. He just loves the ocean and he knows there’s little that words can accomplish in relating this to others.

He takes nothing at face value and knows that the arbitrary labels, titles, and manufactured images we assign to ourselves and others are meaningless. He knows that people are never what they appear to be or want us to believe they are. He knows they are not what and who they think they are and it doesn’t take him long to see the truth in another’s true being. And he knows we are never what and who we THINK we are, but merely a composite reflection of what we do and say.

On the larger scene, he knows most politicians are liars, that organized religion is mostly for the hopelessly lost, that most authority figures don’t deserve the least bit of respect, and his elders (most of our elders and peers are so busy working on their 13-year-old versions of themselves so as to render themselves little more than silly children) better prove to him that their supposed “wisdom” can hold up in the clear light of day.

When I grow up I’d like to be just like my son…

In Search of Beauty

muralha1

In Chapter 15 of Ticket to Ride, Morgan finds himself in the town of Lagos, Portugal; frustrated in his search for beauty and truth:

“Once, I wandered around the entire diameter of the town trying to picture it when all that existed was the part of it contained within the old walls; very insular and very much counter to modern sprawl. The new architecture outside of the center was some bastardized, watered down, low-budget version of true workmanship.”

“You just shouldn’t f___ with perfection,” I said to a couple of tourists, snapping away with their camera, she, in a flowery summer dress and a floppy hat and he, in loose trousers, a sport shirt and loafers.

They looked startled, as if I’d woken them up.

“What d’ya mean then?” the guy replied, with an English accent.

“Within the walls there was a plan. Outside it’s just sprawl… f___ing sprawl… should’ve just left it alone.”

The guy furrowed his brow, “Been to Mulligan’s Pub then?,” changing the subject.

“I know, accentuate the positive… when life hands you lemons…“

“Make lemonade,” the girl finished, sneaking a smile, “have you been to Mulligan’s?”

“… pucker and frown first, it makes your sugar-driven smile so much the sweeter…” I said to the girl.

“But about Mulligan’s,” said the guy, getting impatient.

“… and when you laugh,” I said, looking now at the guy, “try not to feel like a jackass or a mindless hyena.”

“Look mate, I just asked about Mulligan’s.”

“Place is like flypaper.”

“Right then, cheers.”

“See ya ‘round.” I said smiling.

They walked away, looked at each other incredulously, exchanged a few words, looked back at me, and quickened their pace.

I turned away and walked along the main street which lead out of town and into the orange groves. There were workmen there, tapping stones into the dirt, one by one, making a sidewalk in the old manner. The sun was hot on their backs and the care they took in placing each stone seemed to me to be somehow honorable and charming but very tedious and tiring at the same time. They were dressed in heavy canvas work clothes and were sweating heavily. The whole thing led to what would be some big resort. If the charm of the town wasn’t dead already, it would be soon. These guys would never stay there. Lucky if they could afford a drink there. [end of excerpt]

Explanation

Something of an antiquarian, Morgan sees very little in the modern world that appeals to his aesthetic sensibility. It was in this vein that I wrote the following short piece for a local newspaper a while back. And it is because I share this sentiment with Morgan that I enjoy visiting the nearby city of Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara has managed to fuse the old with the new in a manner that celebrates the old while gently incorporating the new. It has a center at State Street, and from there, continues in all directions like reflective ripples from a fountain.

A Retreat from the Desolation of Urban America

by philip scott wikel

In days of old, architecture was considered one of the fine arts. One’s home, one’s church and even one’s place of employ could be looked at with a sense of pride and appreciation of the human ability to create beauty out of lumber, stone, concrete or brick. One’s eyes would first be drawn to the foundation and then up along its facade, then still higher to it’s roof line. People would stand in awe and reverence because buildings could be seen as the tangible equivalent of poetry. And then came the utlitarianism of the 1940s, 50s, 60s and 70s. And now, when one drives down a street like Thompson Boulevard in mid-town Ventura, the stark, square, stuccoed ugliness repels the eye and the soul and one is inclined to push harder on the gas pedal in a retreat from the desolation of urban America.

Note: I wrote this about 7 or 8 years ago and have since seen, what I feel, is something of  a general improvement in community architectural projects. Even so, I believe there’s still a great deal of room for the improvement of our public places. Much like us, our towns and cities need a center. And out from there a homogenous whole. Homogeneity often creates harmony, and we could use a little harmony now and then.

los-lugares-abandonados-mas-bellos-del-mundo-7A Final note:

While I loved Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead and the celebration of the independent spirit embodied in her protagonist Howard Roark, it might be time to try to get back to a collective vision of beauty. That, of course, is only possible if we haven’t already strayed so far from traditional beauty as to be able to agree on what form it may take. Nature and Natural Forms might be a good start. Nature doesn’t try to be beautiful, it just is. We could use something we can all agree upon nowadays.

What do you think? I’d love to hear it.