sub-morphine alt-country songwriter

one look over the cliff….

Dead Flower Motel will be my latest release. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking over the idea of Dead Flower Motel and what it means. I guess I am talking more about the metaphysical land between our beginning and end.  Not the land that we stand on, or the empty highways, or barren deserts, the echoed canyons, starved cliffs, plentiful mountains, or the trails we carve with our boots. The land is in our minds. The thoughts we take with us through our lives. I’ve lost myself plenty and traveled enough to discover what it means to me, and there will likely be more to come.  But it is temporary.

I had a friend pass a little over a year and a half ago. Her death has been very very hard on those who knew her best. She was a wonderful young spirit and her life was taken too soon, the result of a very tragic accident. And I fear sometimes that I can’t say more. But death can unexpectedly reveal a void, within our likeness of being, that will extend for an indeterminable stretch of time, inside happiness which we strive to live. We are all precious to someone else. Our lives, though they are very dear and fragile, are too often taken for granted, something that is easily overlooked.

Not long after Lauren’s death, I began to think of dead flowers. And I thought very deeply about how we are not that different from flowers ourselves. We grow. We blossom. And we pass through the beauty of each day, showing our colors, our tenderness, our joys and we look to others to reflect ourselves. After she passed, a friend of mine, who was very close to Lauren, wrote to me, “After all, we are all just renting.” And that is so. How we exist, looking around at ourselves in a world of color, so quickly we are gone. We are all just renting. Our time is quick. And that is how I uncovered the idea of Dead Flower Motel.

I have written this poem for Lauren. I have also written it because art, music or vision is sometimes the only way to communicate. Dead Flower Motel is not a record about death, but about life and how we must embrace the journey through our days. Our love. Our fear. Our forgiveness of that reality we cannot understand. No matter how confusing the days may sometimes be. We get back out on that barren stretch of road and take a look at the depth of our vision, across landscape that decorates the dreams before our eyes, seeing the sunrise, but looking for those who have the courage to lead us through the colors of sunset into tomorrow.

hope you enjoy…

To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears. - William Wordsworth

One day, I was standing above a cliff looking down at the ocean
where wave after wave crashed on the trembling rocks
and the water climbed with violent memory.
It screamed at the living and turned to mist, bleeding away
into the cracks
and very slowly carving a shape that resembled coastline,
just before another wave came and toppled the crest with violent roar.
My path ended and an endless black wish began…

I saw you standing there in front of me
looking out at the curse that swims
beneath the surface of the dark water,
your cold shoulders and hair blowing back into the drift of sunset
like the trees bowing away from the ocean
afraid to show their courage,
guarding the tiny houses and little campfires where people live.
I fell slowly into my own skin.


the miles I drove were no longer there,
no longer in time with one another..
They were just worn paths in the earth
separating me from where I was
and where I now stood,
like empty caverns of canyons
that are laced with rocks and scars.
My time is divided before and after,
who I was and who I am now,
before you and until I see you again, by no fault of my own.
But I was no longer afraid, no longer broken.
And I was again able to regain my footing and brace myself inside my clothes
so I could reach out for you like you were still here.

I saw dead flowers.

I watched the petals grow dark, wilt in joy,
tear from the vine, and then fall slowly to the ground
where they curled against the soil
and crawled back into the womb of the earth
so they could plant seeds for a new and better me.


And the night sang blue midnight tears,
that fell onto my blanket,
so the stars,
naked above me,
could decorate the sky and deliver me through today before tomorrow,
where I could reject the dark shadows within my own mind
and again hear echoes ring into new echoes…

My breath is fog against the cold night.

Sometimes I shutter so in my sleep
so I can shake the horror of the day, before my rest,
and let my dreams again gleam like the water in the moonlight.
I hold true to the reflection of the stars
and forgive their desperation to ripple into golden memories,
where you remind me
that it is not a mistake to make our time here beautiful.
Even if soon,
I will be in my bed, where I’ll remember,
you are with me,
and we are flowers.

In memory of Lauren Johnson

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