1000 Candles to Meditate to

Like a moth to the flame, I too am unable to resist the urge to lose myself. Staring, contemplating the light of one thousand suns embedded into, yet subdued by, the surface of a nearby moon, I feel small. Each on it’s own path to extinction, indifferent to my own. Redirecting my thoughts, I feel immense as I now watch an undiscovered amoeba transmit the last of its signals into the world before fading to black.

Take a moment to watch time pass as William Mackrell’s 1000 Candles dance to our delight, competing for oxygen.

Recommended Soundtrack: Headaches + Foxes In Fiction

via Colossal


The Aurora

Terje Sorgjerd spent a week in national parks bordering Russia. Armed with patience and a motion control dolly he endured the -25 degree Celsius temperatures to capture this dance of the spirits. As I watched the sky birth florescence I began wondering what this must have been like for the first man to wander the arctic. Without being jaded by omnipresent visual effects or explained in terms of ions, photons or magnetism, what would seeing the shifting night feel like? Would it resemble a dream? Could this have been the source of his very first dream? Was he brought to his knees by terror seeing his ceiling morph? Or did it fill him with an unexplained warmth forcing the bitter cold from his mind? Whatever effect it had, it must have been powerful, spiritual, and the source of many stories shared with any he encountered. But without experiencing the aurora borealis first hand I’m sure they would have thought his stories to be the ramblings of a mad imagination, warped by arctic isolation.

Side note: I’m not a huge fan of the editing or soundtrack choice, but it will fuel the wandering mind nonetheless. I recommend muting it and scoring it yourself. I accompanied my daydreaming with Memoryhouse.


Landon Speers’ Nocturne Self-portraits

Serene, quiet and tranquil. These words come to mind while looking at the nocturne self-portraits of Landon Speers. Although hidden from our voyeuristic gaze, his eyes appear to be emanating a peace so pure that one could only attain while drifting within a dream of a dream. His bed transforms into a moonlit cloud and we wish to have the same dream tonight. This, all from looking at the images. But that’s not the whole story. In Landon’s words,

“For several weeks leading up to the series I’d been suffering from nightmares nightly. I woke up feeling anything but refreshed as the subject matter of these dreams chased me through each day and then joined me once more in bed at night. I began to wonder how I looked during these dreams. Did I look as miserable and distraught as I felt when they occurred?

In an effort to explore this, I took four times the recommended amount of sleeping pills for a few consecutive nights. I positioned the camera directly above my bed and set it to automatically take a portrait once an hour throughout the night. The following is a selection of images from these nights.”

Look into the images again. Do you see them differently?


Introducing a new poetry feature curated by contributing writer Michael Barron

This time last year I was just beginning to put the final touches on my ideas for Think or Smile. Sketching thoughts on what kinds of things to share, what feelings I wanted people to take away from it and the voice it should have. For someone who gets bored quite easily, I think a year is a long time without a change. So a couple months back I returned to the sketchbook, jotting down thoughts with the hopes of bringing in some new ideas to the site. Something not only different for the site but for me too. I realize that I’ve drifted towards postings things I’m familiar with, music, art and the areas they intersect. Lately one of these areas for me has been literature and poetry, I find it’s a wonderful launching pad for creative explorations. But I know very little about the subject and typically gravitate towards the classics. Well I aim to change that, dig a little deeper and hopefully take you along for the ride. And the best way I know how to get good quality is to ask someone who lives it, breathes it. So that’s what I did.

I’m delighted to announce the addition of a monthly poetry/short prose feature curated by writer, editor, drummer, ex-acrobat, Michael Barron. Each post will be featured along side art created in response to Michael’s selection, either by myself or other guests artists. We hope you’ll join us on our explorations.

You can read more about Michael on the about page and see his first poetry feature here.


Join Me on a Walk to the Recycling Bin

The Pigeon
Tired of changing, I slid off my chair and landed
in a pile of old food. Something nice
began to happen to my bones. Knuckles
softened and dislodged. Wads of material pleasure
traveled around my veins like swedish fish,
as I gazed outside at the sidewalk and its environment.
A burgundy glow was climbing the side of a building,
ejecting sparrows from their darling nooks,
and it was exactly like the difficult concepts exiting
my face. I don’t know how to endure this prognosis.
A sedan of great sorrow will arrive in the city.
Trees planted in rows will shake off their bark
to show off repulsive holes. The excess lust
expended into the space around our beds
will freeze into a more perfect megalith,
its magnetic rays shooting up into the night.
But it hasn’t happened yet. We can still be ourselves.
Please, join me on a walk to the recycling bin.

-James Copeland

I forget how I first met James Copeland.  But the first I heard of him, or heard anything by him was a poetry/music event for the poetry collective, Ugly Duckling. in March of 2009.  It was his first poetry reading, and by some strange cosmic coincidence, Holy Spirits’ first show.   There were four poets reading that night, all well in their own right, but James’ reading stuck with me.  Here was a man dressed in soft, forlorn clerk attire, with a relaxed book-on-tape voice reading work with memorable lines like “Danger spelled backwards doesn’t spell Undanger // that’s just not the way things operate // in this version of time”, and “somehow the moon looks just like a nostril.”

I didn’t become friends with James Copeland that night, but I started following his work of which, at that time, was scarce.  Or there was plenty, but he was not sharing it.  Sometime later, he self-published his first collection of poetry titled Why I Steal. He wouldn’t let me buy a copy, instead he made an obvious turn of his head implying that perhaps I should grab one and walk away before he “noticed”.  Reading Why I Steal was like reading an extended Far Side comic.  There was a strange silly sort of humor that hinted at something deeper and more telling.  His poems creep up on you the way an existential crises might set in while washing your car or eating a bowl of cereal. For this reason, I find his work terrifying in the most relatable way possible, the terror of benign everyday occurrences and objects.

James is now on working on his third collection to be titled The Pigeon, a sequence of untitled but separate poems. Above is the first poem out of twenty-five. Perhaps you might purchase the collection when it becomes a physical object, or perhaps you might see it performed live with me on drums and another musician creating ambient sounds. It’s like a band but with a poet as the vocalist instead of singer. Perhaps visions of beatniks from the 50’s wearing ugly berets and black turtlenecks while beating on a pair of bongos comes to mind. But rest assured, we are a far cry from that.

James is currently the Managing Director for Ugly Duckling Presse and has an art blog dedicated to found trash “walter scott”.

Accompanying art: Nathaniel Whitcomb


Think or Smile | Nathaniel Whitcomb © 2011