Back again. Without ever having left.
HERE ARE the first two KOEMS that mysteriously appeared during my unscheduled, bed-bound, six-week sabbatical, before I had any idea of what they were or what they wanted to be.
I still have no idea where they came from. Or whether such silliness has any value in world such as ours. But, here we go anyway…
Two more to come next week.
If you like them, share them. And, please encourage your friends to subscribe at BodhiBill.com.
WHAT an unlikely journey this has been. Ten years ago I was diagnosed, much to my surprise, with stage-three, highly-aggressive bladder cancer. The odds were fifty-fifty. My own sense was I would not survive. That I did is a miracle. Why I did, I have no idea.
But for the first six weeks post surgery, I was bed bound at home—remarkably pain free, but bored—when these curious rhymes started assembling themselves in my head out of thin air. I wrote them down. They kept coming. At the end of my recovery I had a book’s worth. Perhaps even more remarkable, none showed up after that. The collection was complete.
I split the words…to come up with KOEMS.
Next, I needed to figure out a title. No help from the muse on that. But, I noticed the verses seemed to be a hybrid of a puzzling zen KOAN and a whimsical nursery rhyme POEM, so I split the words and set the halves together to come up with KOEMS. Seemed to fit. Then I asked a dear friend, Sally Pierone, to do the illustrations and voila, I had the makings of a pocket poetry book.
I printed 40 copies and gave them to friends. Now it’s ten years later. Technology has evolved. Seems a good time to share a virtual version with the world. So here’s the introduction to the reformatted edition.
I’ll be following with the series, one KOEM at a time, over the next year. The first sets the stage for what is to come.
In total, there are 30 KOEMS in the series. Except for the first and last, which did not appear exactly at the beginning or end of the process but were clearly the opening and closing KOEMS, they will be uploaded in the order they appeared to me.
AFTER two singles released and a political video satire on the side, I’m checking in to see how this is going so far? It’s all new for me and the digital metrics are impersonal, e.g.: this many views; that many likes; maybe a few shares.
According to the data, my political satire was a hit bringing in over 4,000 views and 60 shares. I anticipated it would do well as our uber-Republican congresswoman is unresponsive and unpopular and the locals have become politically awakened—if not enraged. Timing its release to the Women’s March was pure serendipity, and my cadre of activists handing out 1,500 flyers there didn’t hurt the cause any.
My other songs, so so. Outside of a dedicated group friends that I’m grateful to have (you), new subscriptions are hard to come by. Facebook postings and even paying for boosts don’t seem to move that needle much. Maybe a few new likes. Of course, I knew I was engaging in a nearly impossible dream to begin with:
And yet, I want my songs to be heard and think they’re worth hearing. Am I completely delusional? Maybe! If not, and if they are worth hearing, by whom, and where, and how do I reach them? It’s a puzzle, although I’m more than willing to keep at it—I’m only just starting this trek after all.
ANY IDEAS, comments, critiques welcome…
IMAGINE buying a completely new kitchen for $200. Top of the line stove, refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave, coffee maker—the works. You even get appliances you’ve never used before. Plus all new cabinets, countertops and sink. The works. Catch is, the supplier picks everything for you, guts your old kitchen, installs things where he wants and leaves you with the manuals. And all the new appliances are digital with new controls, menus, sub-menus and functions you’ve never seen before. And it’s time to start dinner.
That’s what just happened to me, musically speaking. After spending most of 2017 learning my previous recording and mixing program—along with how to use its highly sophisticated tools—I’m back to square one, more or less. Many tools are similar but are in different places, and there are complex new ones to comprehend, let alone master.
It’s deja vu all over again.
I didn’t have much of a choice as Mac operating systems march ever onward. And the latest OS ate my obsolete Logic 9 program. Fine then. Yes, it’s overwhelming—and yet intriguing. Lots of amazing new features to explore. Whether I can get up to speed by the beginning of March for the release of my next Song of the Month is anyone’s guess. I’ll try. But If not, here’s plan B: To release the simple version free and then the studio version when I get it done.
I’ll keep you posted…
IN THE ESCALATING deluge of digital data—photos, graphics, videos, text—our miraculous technology has created an unintended irony. Although the computer and web have democratized media production and distribution, they have also created an overwhelming torrent of chaos and hucksterism. Everybody wants something from you. NOW!
And, I’m no different I suppose. Perhaps even worse: While I’m delighted to get your 99 cents from time to time, what I really want your attention, and I’m using the very technology that is demanding you escalate your response time to its relentless demands to instead request you stop and savor a song. Pretty big request.
All I can do is my best to make it worth your while. If you like what I’m offering, please share with others. But first, take a moment, take a breath, slow down and listen.
All day and all night: music. A quiet, bright song. If it fades, we fade. —RUMI
PACKAGING MYSELF as some kind of consumer product is beyond awkward, to say nothing of misleading. I’m far from 99 and 44/100 percent pure anything. But then, singing my songs to myself isn’t all that fulfilling either. It’s a dilemma. If it weren’t for the songs, I’d rather be doing something useful that isn’t ABOUT ME. That’s why I loved chaplaincy. But here I am, promoting myself anyway. What can I say?
I just hope I can use this little soap box to do some good.
The simple answer is this: It is a single line and four dots that appeared one day while I was hunched over my drawing board, recovering from the soul damage I’d inflicted upon myself by being a willing participant in an immoral war. Mind you, I was never in any kind of danger, stationed on Guam. I suffered no hint of trauma compared to those in combat; but selling out corrodes the soul, regardless of whatever initial relief it may provide.
So way back when, while I was doodling with my Rapidograph pen, out came this symbol. I felt it had a remarkable presence and kept it, perhaps for some future purpose.
Whatever it is, I like it…
What does it mean? I don’t know; it’s a pure symbol. On a good day, I imagine it could be a representation of the many paradoxes of consciousness. It appears to be two beings, but is not. One appears to be in front of the other, but isn’t. The one “in front” appears to be contained, but is not; it’s as much on the outside as the inside. The one “behind” appears to be vulnerable, but is actually the one that would be solid if it existed. In terms of meaning, that’s what I’ve come up with over the decades since it appeared. And yet, it may not mean anything at all.
Whatever it is, I like it and have adopted it as my logo. I’ve also given it the name Erawa, which is aware spelled backwards. Seemed to fit.