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Elegies and Creation Songs

by die Hoffnung

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    Die Hoffnung's "Elegies and Creation Songs Lp on White Vinyl". Letter Press Printed Cover. Only 30 left of the letter pressed cover.

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Let paint be light. Let white move on the waters. Keen black mountain peaks. Broad blue-bright skies. Let paint be life. The brown creeping things. Herb-yielding green. Happy little trees. But no man, no woman. No machinery. No color of dominion. Inviolable scene.
Of the things to be learned—not found in books—taught only by blows: taking a punch, being stolen from, or worse, asking a bride. These are lessons of fire, the sweet sound of breaking glass. Like my whiskey-lit kin and a house aflame. Now we ride. Muscle and taut desire. Steered and branded or saddled and broke? Do you believe in refusal or escape? As though the desert could grow flowers. As though we could make a home here. How do you explain to the horse about the broken leg?
Words swarm, a halo of thorns, dove-claws and devils, gaunt choiring whores. Paradise so petrified. Streetlights bloom ever through rain-drops of iron. And rainbows in oil, and riots of noise, glass castle horizons, all speak through my voice. The bastard son of creation. Oh, heaven! Oh, heaven! Oh, lambs forsaken. I crack smiles on crooks. A flower splits stone. Or am I the stone, and grace the gold rose? Grace breaks our frames, lead slugs on bone. And glory’s the beacon in microphone chrome. Oh, I’m a microphone! I’m a microphone! I know! I know all shames and joys, oh! Martyr the fool. Repent human truth. North of old Eden I’m forgetting, too. Green tea in the mornings. Whole magnums of champagne. Water all day. This thirst unslaked. Outside! The window’s ice like diamonds, the snow off-blue. I keep the fire all day. For inside is just cinders, ash, and dross. I never knew how quiet it could get here at the top of the world. Aurora borealis—so far from the slums of Shaolin. Fake your own death and let the new songs begin. Words whisper. Sermons sleep on blank white sheets of ice so clean.
In the desert, in a foreign land, in an armored personnel carrier, amongst men my own age, I sought for myself what there was left to see: abandoned minefields, burst oil pipelines, rubble. The last letter from my editor read, “The war-free edition just surpassed us in sales.” Still I filed my stories on time, mirrored house style. How we fall back on work when there is nothing else. I think of rubble and how easily the skin of white people burns in the sun. If the map precedes the territory, then we speak from the future. If the map precedes, then this is science fiction. The question remains: where are we now? For there is a war--between those who know there is a war, and those hellbent on denying its very existence. In my letters home there was a different tone.
Baying of hounds in the cold dead of night. A dream of sleep. A child’s cry. Other people’s children. Other people’s pets. Wake to sirens, car alarms, bird cries. The lives of others impressed upon us. As a boy, I dreamt of racing cars, never the crash, only the speed. Now I think only of distance and never coming home. I never dreamt of you with child. I never thought you’d have a daughter without me. Lives leak through windows, peeping telescopes. This street’s a cosmos, orbits and echoes, the mocking squalls of our mission*’s failure. *Two lone survivors, a million earths colliding.
Sky and sea struggle. Tossed between, I hack. Hack at wind, hack at wave. I’ll beat them both back. Heaven will crack, and surf will clap. I’ll wallop the welter, chop-chap the blasts and smash the surge to wrack. Fishes and fathoms, gouts of gurgling brack, tangled tongues and tendrils and puckered sucking black oceans attack, slobber and smack, swallow the hairy hero. Says he, “I’ll outlast the <gasp>…the <gasp>…the <gasp>……………….” Latrine, savor kings, gilt grains, grand envy. But grieve drowned drabs, poets, the rude, the revering. The reef is but servants’ bones salt fingers break on, and on and on and on.
The acolyte to his son: Appraise the sun, great gaudy failure. Vulgar, loose light. Fools’ gold and copper. And easy air, as free with pauper as king. Cheap thing. Unbred. No father. No culture. No keeper. No deed. Create behavior. Invent unease, beauty, new need. Wring out mean prayer. The Market will answer. The Market to the son: Listen, lamb: the ringing coins; the monger’s tongue; the tallying drums. All once was lonesome waste, tranquil horrors. I trembled—a safe-crack shake—into pieces, scattered my assets across space, ash and embers the gears of glassen windy grace transfigured. The Halleluiah: Hurray! Hurray, the gilded day! Bless belief, service, and praise repay! The Market: Came dragons, a ruthless race, but no brain for figures. And microbes, what brilliant flakes, no ambition. Brutes cried out, a wild and naked plaint: give us yoke and master. A new ape, its tricks and artful face, was delivered, up-raised to trade the night and day, dirt and sea, bright machines, revelry. And weapons and wounds—what harmony!—rebuild and mend, alms unending, righteous fees. The Entrepreneur’s Prayer: Make haste to save me, Marketplace, from pagan love and heathen peace. Sell me your answers. The rest forsake. The rest forsake. Give me their grace, wealth incarnate.
Presages, fragmented remembrances: a kiss just below the ear, then a mosquito’s whine. Days in the wake, these days hereafter. One lover awake, one fast asleep. Clink of glasses, cups into bells. A taste of sweat. Taste of brine. Roll like ocean swells. How salt sticks. A borrowed book. An aftermath. Bells back into cups, a nostalgia that corrupts. The wind in wires, the brass and sirens, the whispered choirs from crabgrass stadiums: they’re broadcast through cracked ceramic, bones battered on chatter and static, but the shatters transmute it, transmit it. Wake at dawn. Refill the feeder. Wait for further signs. Pull the weeds one by one by hand. Scrub the kitchen while old songs play. Now pray for a better day.
Pullman 10:12
Trains laden with trucks to carry the new cars to the asphalt lots at the edge of town. As these trains leave a trail of black smoke against the night sky, you see these lots. Coming home or finally escaping? Unfurling in these car lots, along lines of consumer confidence, is an impossibly tall flag on a grey, steel pole. The night sky is just stars until we make constellations. Like stories our parents told us so we could sleep. Nothing now but in images: the train speeding past your grandparent’s farm. The lingering image of someone you once hopped a train with, when you were younger. Now staring at a computer screen during long afternoons at work. As we stare, is there not something also staring back? Wires, entrails—paths. If there was ever a time to stop this procession, then surely that time has passed. If there is a time to deny this procession, that time is now. The steel of old conquering days betrays decay, as our labor’s lust remains buried in flame, in rust and rage.


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White vinyl, includes download code.


released December 19, 2017


Travis Fristoe
Jim Marburger
Jon Marburger

Cover and Label Art:

Mike Taylor


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die Hoffnung Gainesville, Florida

die Hoffnung was:

Travis Fristoe
Jon Marburger
Jim Marburger

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