Thursday, January 17, 2013

♫ 3-118, The American Goldfinch: Meaningful Lyrics

♫ 3-118. The American Goldfinch: Meaningful Lyrics
    It was surreal to walk about the estate which had recently been bequeathed to me. Its grandeur would have beguiled even the most celebratory descriptions of one such as Jane Austen. Even when the estate had been in the previous possession of its former master, Lord Ian, its natural, and man-made enchantments, seemed immeasurable to me. Remarkable accumulations, produced by people on whom nothing was lost in their living—which Henry James would have most likely been quite proud of—were cradled within some of the most beautiful hands nature had ever collaborated in the landscaping thereof. All of which, in the legal agreements of man, had become mine; for I had been the last great apprentice to Lord Ian before his disappearance, and thus, unto me, various documents demanded the estate and its contents were to be bequeathed.
    Many regions of the estate exceeded mortal ownership. One of such destinations on the wooded, and lawn graced property, held special endearment to me, even though it was but one of many highly selectable options from a catalog of desirable possibilities. It was on the ivy flanked, upward curve which brought one up from a great ravine into the posterior lawn leading to the dorsal terrace of the primary house upon the estate. This was the clearing where small circles of light complimented a quadrangle of Silver Dollar Eucalyptus trees which always found even the most undetectable breezes to sway about upon. Further enhancement was provided by the ring of sentinel like Sequoia sempervirens which largely surrounded the clearing. This clearing was a magnet for miraculous manifestations of light and fog.
    I was far from the only life form which enjoyed the clearing. It was also where I held regular meetings and meditations with one of the areas greatest appreciators of its splendor, the Carduelis tristis, also known as, the American Goldfinch. The bird would arrive in comfortable numbers while vocalizing in the most precise polyphony. There was a communion of calm which I could sense forming between all of us when we would congregate there. Soon, from their league’s numbers, I began to recognize one as some form of their leader. The one who became specifically recognizable to me found a personalized name from my archives of thought. I prefixed the term “King,” to the Latin name of the breed and their apparent director became instantly recognizable to me as “King Carduelis Tristis.”
    As the American Goldfinches would arrive I would smile, and the air would seem lighter to me. Then as their ranks were clearly joined by King Carduelis I found myself surprised to notice that I would suddenly sit or stand upright, a bit more straighter that commonly, while offering a respectful nod of recognition to the King, which over time, seemed as if returned back to me by his majesty.
    Sometimes my attempts to explore the estate, its secondary houses, sheds, and surprising quantity of underground root cellars and bizarre book rooms, would bring pleasant, post-exercise exhaustion upon me. Which would find me desiring seated rest upon a flat topped, knee-high boulder within interiour ring of the Silver Dollar clearing. Contemplating such fatigue, from such physically active explorations, I would begin to wonder how on earth Lord Ian—an ethnomusicologist—could have possibly accumulated a rather hidden, modestly reduced, American equivalent to Louis XIV’s, Palace of Versailles, complete with the French landmark’s charm, yet devoid of its decadent absurdities. Ethnomusicology is not commonly associated with the accumulation of tremendous wealth. Then, it dawned upon me, what if Lord Ian had once inherited the property in much the same manner by which he saw to it being inherited to me, his apprentice, after him? My mind began an accounting process of funds I had randomly acquired here and there throughout the estate. These pleasant surprises of financial empowerment would just appear, as perhaps a fat bookmark of stacked bills adorned with the lovely, drooping mug of Benjamin Franklin, or some excessively matured, U.S. Savings bond, of the type which mature to a second power per accumulated decade of patient withholding.
    Sometimes, there in the clearing of light and fog, amongst the scents of eucalyptus and pine, as I would ponder what else Lord Ian may have been involved in to have achieved such an opulent property, King Carduelis would arrive and make this strange eye contact with me. When I would be the only homo sapien present I would look left and right as if I could share the possibility that King Carduelis was actually unified in thought with me. I laughed off the absurdity of such, yet could not shake how much at moments he reacted like the dog who walked with me in my youth. Who, when his name was called, would look me in the eyes to acknowledge the receipt of some form of communication.
    The clearing was a place where memories of slightly curious statements made by Lord Ian, during his mortal life time, specifically to me, would become ever more curious, to the point of sometimes causing goosebumps and eerie yet exciting feelings of possibilities for speculation.
    One day I tried something that would form into an addictive and empowering process. Just for fun, I asked Lord Ian a question. Yes, the same Lord Ian who was no longer amongst us physically. There were these answers which would come back, through that voice which one might hear when reading silently, as the poet Thomas Lux might suggest. I decided that the first and fastest answer that sprang forth using this process would officially be considered as the true one, as the others may have been colored by my own mortal thought processes and experiences.
    “Lord Ian, what else were you into, besides gesamtkunstwerk, and ethnomusicology?” I proposed to the ether while out in the clearing one day, while alone amongst its light, fog and earth born Silver Dollars.
    “My name is partially a pseudonym.” was the first and fastest response. Quickly thereafter came the league of the American Goldfinch. Adjoined to them was the one most recognizable to me from amongst their ranks, King Carduelis Tristis. I chuckled at the irony of his arrival’s timing. Just for fun I spoke audibly: “Very funny.”
Although it was most likely coincidental, just then, they broke into song, using those lyrics which you feel when there are no mortal words worthy of the communication conveyed through the song, such as “La,” and then “La-la-la,” again. And so the lyrics to my next gesamtkunstwerk composition had been decided, not by advanced mortal vocabularies, but instead, by an American Goldfinch.

Additional works by Marcus James Christian, “Marcus Unlimited,” are available through:
    and Apple iTunes.

♫ 2-118, The American Goldfinch: Saturday Songs

♫The American Goldfinch: Saturday Songs
    At the end of town there was a seldom traversed road. It was most likely neglected for a chorus of reasons as opposed to a singular cause. Most people were unaware of what the often damp and sandy, red clay road led to. Before surmounting its first ascending curve, the one lane unpaved path, and the waist-high, light-yellow and green grasses which enclosed it on either side, were all that were visible relative to the road’s true, incalculable value.
    I had been visiting what existed at the end of that road for some time, many years in fact, and only found the road and the cause for its existence through handwritten directions verbally transmitted to me by Lord Ian, (most likely a pseudonym) who was the owner of the estate which the road led to. The road, and its attached estate somehow still elude the attentions of various GPS and internet map satellite systems.
I had known Lord Ian since my youth, yet was unable to complete my studies with him then, as I had been dubbed “prodigious,” at an early age. Being “prodigious,” means “ready to work” and thus work in the trade of Gesamtkunstwerk brought me across the threshold between small town country life, and the controlled chaos of crowded cities. In the latter, amidst the grand concrete labyrinth, this prodigy’s work began in situations otherwise commonly reserved for men at least twice my age. Following experiences which produced an encyclopedia set worth of personal and professional experiences, I eventually returned home, seeming perhaps to some, more prodigal than prodigious. My return home allowed me to resume my long neglected apprenticeship with Lord Ian, upon the estate grounds at the end of the winding, red clay road. Past the series of large, strategically placed pine trees and road turns, a long and elegant, green lawn appeared and led to the pillared patio of a long standing estate house. If the facade of the house was reasonably impressive, the backyard, which was invisible from the front, due to a myriad of ivy, Italian Cypress and other—perhaps strategic—landscaping for privacy considerations, was deceptively immense. Even after countless Saturdays at the estate, as Lord Ian’s apprentice, I was little closer to experiencing the entirety of the estate.
Lord Ian was, amongst other things, an accomplished, and highly regarded ethnomusicologist. Oddly, we had met in the high brow circles of the opera world. In between on-stage appearances, Lord Ian, who had often functioned as a consultant to the various operas which I performed within, would often discuss matters more obvious to his persona as an ethnomusicologist. On many separate occasions, this one particular book would be presented to me, by Lord Ian, at often the strangest of times. It looked as if it had been a professionally published book at some time, yet was infinitely obscure and may have possibly been devoid of an ISBN number. I have since never found the book on During my apprenticeship, while I was learning the old ways of our trade, I was in return teaching Lord Ian the new ways. On a typical saturday at the estate, Lord Ian might present a near disintegrating, ages old form of sheet music, which would be complemented by my presentations of analytical, or production oriented, audio software.
Yet, there was that ever present book, which he was always mentioning his consultational involvement in the creation of. Yet, he did so with reserved tact, and often mentioned I could borrow the book as long as I would, “give back.” Lord Ian, being tuxedo formal when called upon to be such—as well as a master of multiple languages (English, French, German and Italian, at least)—would always bypass a logical sentence structure when referring to the return of specifically, “that” book. He never said, “when you are done with the book ...”: ”...give it back,” or “...return it.” Instead, he would specifically say: “give back” without variation. This odd phrasing was never followed by “the book,” and over time it created this enduring curiosity within my mind. Was he referring to something of value that I would find within the book, and was that potential value, that I might “give back” intellectual, financial or otherwise in nature? The phrase brought about my own meditations upon the mysterious nature of mysterious phrase, and its strange tense.
Saturdays at Lord Ian’s estate were always enchanted with a mythological energy. Labor, which I would never have done twice for others at such meager pricing, was done with pride and enthusiasm. I sometimes felt as a squire which perhaps King Arthur might have placed into the service of tending to the round table, and various ladies of the lake.
    Lord Ian’s library contained rare, amazing and beguiling artifacts which often demanded my attentions upon discovery thereof. Finds such as priceless, possibly unpublished, handwritten manuscripts like, Oberste Gesangstechnik (tr. “supreme vocal technique”) authored by one of Wagner’s personally preferred Heldentenors, or an unattractive Xerox of ancient scrolls arguably attributed to Pythagoras, such as The Secret Powers of Music, would not be uncommon finds while employed as the singular apprentice to Lord Ian. One day, Lord Ian had been reported as missing. As his last will and testament found the light of day, a number of things had been granted to a number of people, including myself. When I arrived at his estate to humbly retrieve what had been bequeathed to me, I was met at the front gate by an American Goldfinch, possessing brilliant gesangstechnik.

Additional works by Marcus James Christian, “Marcus Unlimited,” are available through:
    and Apple iTunes.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

♫ 1-118: The American Goldfinch Collection: “The Rooftop Tea Garden”

♫ 1-118: The American Goldfinch Collection: “The Rooftop Tea Garden”
©2013 Marcus James Christian, marcusunlimited.

Upon an enchanted estate — somewhere in the midst of America,
there is a billowing, lace-like mist, which waltzes about in ever evolving circles.
Forth, from its ever curling, and ever embracing cotton facade,
various wonders emerge.

Many pass by the estate,
yet never become an audience,
to the full complement of its wonders.

I am so thankful that we have been allowed to explore its splendor,
in a way that others have chosen to make impossible for themselves.

Through its unadvertised labyrinth of enchanted ivy, and London-like fog,
we walk, move, float and sometimes fly,
enjoying the ever unfolding enchantments,
which our new estate provides to us continually.

Upon the estate—there are:
many houses,
and castles.

One of its grand, high climbing gray castles, possesses an unparalleled rooftop tea garden:
just beneath the clouds.
There, carpets of four-leafed clovers adorn the sky high garden,
from which black gates and see-through fences arise.

Often I can be found there,
in the presence of beautiful forms of life,
who graciously receive my inspired compliments.
Never do I take the company of such lightly.
I am ever thankful for such.

Sometimes, there within the gardens dimensions,
We are visited by royalty,

King Carduelis Tristis, visits us there,
and imparts great wisdom upon us.

He answers questions,
while also creating beautiful curiosities within our minds.
He and his royal court have said they enjoy Gesamtkunstwerk,
especially the kind which the way of things, frequently and generously,
commissions me to create.

A hand hewn, perfectly contained, fountain motivated stream spins long “S” shapes around perfectly spaced statues of people and animals pulled forth from perfectly formed selections of carrara, marble and other fine carvable stones ideal for ideal results brought forth by those highly skilled in the art of sculpture creation.
. . . and there they stand.

Amidst the shale stones,
which help to form the basin bed of the stream coursing above them,
diamonds and spherical sapphires shine:
in record numbers and record breaking sizes.

Permeating all of such a miraculous environment are the silvery tones,
sung flawlessly by the American Goldfinch:
the Carduelis Tristis,
Which sings: “La,” and then “La, la, la …” again and again.

In endless varieties of reason wrought, compositional and performance realizations.

Additional works by Marcus James Christian, “Marcus Unlimited,” are available through:
    and Apple iTunes.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

♫ The American Goldfinch: “Our First Meeting and Conversation with King Carduelis Tristis and his Court.”

The American Goldfinch: 
“Our First Meeting and Conversation with King Carduelis Tristis and his Court.”
©2013 Marcus James Christian, marcusunlimited.

    After being blessed by the company of You and Yours, I longed for our collaborations and various discussions on a wide array of subjects. Each of such discussions brought wonderful justifications to the feelings I had always previously held in regards to the overall way of things. The mere existence of You and Yours was to me a verification that there were many better ways to attend to many of life’s various issues.
    One day, while on a walking discussion with You and Yours, we came to a clearing in one of the forests upon our newest estate’s grounds. Simply being within the space of the clearing caused us to feel exceptionally beauteous good feelings. The clearing was hewn entirely by the unperturbed progression of nature. Yet its appearance seemed to suggest that there was some form of additional purpose to its courtyard-like design. The rich black earth seemed like a carpet which was surrounded by furniture in the form of mostly large gray stones of individually unique shapes and variances in size. Grand walls—columned with evergreen trunks—stood like pillars holding up the open skylight above the enchanted clearing.
    As the sunlight reached down through the skylight, it made the illumination of the mobile diamond fortress, which in my possession you traveled safely within, its first priority. Through such an endeavor the light of the sun was multiplied and transformed into shimmering tones through which you emerged to a height and volume noticeably more similar to that of my own. Upon this, we were joined by a choir, rich with audible and visible magnificence. The arriving choir consisted of the American Goldfinch in respectable numbers. Though only those humans abiding by certain parameters of Ahimsa could see You and Yours, in your enchanted forms, it was obvious that the gilded birds could see you as clearly as they could the indestructible beams of sunlight that leaned against the atmosphere between heaven and earth. Their adorably curved heads moved about like ballpoint pens drawing angular shapes as they tracked each of your flickers, flashes and changes in position. Some amongst their leagues hopped after you, and took short flights to keep up with You and Yours walked in a circle admiring the enchantments of the clearing and all of its miraculous design elements.
    Suddenly the American Goldfinches organized themselves into a circular perimeter about the open center of the clearing. The center of the distant sun backlit a flickering silhouette which played with the light emanating throughout the clearing. You and Yours placed your hands upon my shoulders and good feelings radiated from us and everything in our midst. From the sun formed silhouette above, there descended another American Goldfinch arriving in singular fashion. He brought with him a uniquely noble and important aura which coincided with an additional phenomena resulting in the most inspiring and startling of surprises upon my consciousness . Suddenly, all of the American Goldfinches gathered there were as easy for me to understand as the vernacular of the surroundings most familiar to me throughout the dominant percentage of my conscious physical existence.
    From the crowd, of the brilliantly colored birds, came the most lovely of communications escorted gently into my ears upon translucent tones: “King … Oh, it’s the King, our King … Make way, make way.” they said. These and similar statements, billowed forth from the crowd of the American Goldfinches gathered there in the woods, and became pleasantly and instantly apparent to me. Their utterances of respect were clearly devoid of the tone of forced requirement. It was evidently clear that the league honored their king through desire.
    I sought the eyes of You and Yours and in silence we agreed upon the wonderment of the occasion. One miracle led to the next and thus there came forth the grand addendum to the glorious events of that day. King Carduelis Tristis—as he later became known to me—walked forward and addressed us directly, and we understood his every word.
    “Welcome fellow royals. I extend our gratitude for your honorable visit to one of our many courtyards.” he said.
King Carduelis continued:”What brings you here to this courtyard which we share with the Alces, the Bos Primigenius, and other select associates.”
Between the King’s words he would respectfully transition his gaze upon each of us, letting us know that he considered us a highly important audience to his communications. I also believe that he admired our appearances in the same manner that we admired his and the other highly attractive American Goldfinches which stood as his loyal entourage.
I spoke in the same respectful manner I would utilize to address any worthwhile monarch: “Well Sir, first off it is an honor to be in your company. Regarding the nature of our visit, well, we are here as the result of my fortune within the kingdoms of men, through which I have been bequeathed the ownership of this estate. Yet, I desire only to care for and nurture this space which is not only mine, but yours as well.”
The Kings court of American Goldfinches reacted verbally to my statements: “Oh my that is wonderful … splendid … he and those with him are fine sharers … caring, and considerate.”
“Splendid.” said King Carduelis Tristis. “My feelings are certain that you are an ally, welcome amongst us, both you, and You and Yours.”
The King offered each of us a humble nod of acceptance to which we gladly returned in like fashion.
I had temporarily set down a small satchel, which contained my journal. It had slid to the open end of the carrier and had its pages gently breeze blown open to one of my most current operatic compositions, which was then a work in progress. One of the maidens of the King’s court began analyzing and studying the pages, which the journal had fallen open to. The page under her observation contained various gestural sketches, texts and musical notations, in light grey tones of exploratory pencil strokes. I recognized she was a maiden in her King’s court, as opposed to a knight or other form of male American Goldfinch, as her colors were softer than the King’s bold yellow-gold coat.
“Sir,” she said. “Will you complete … this one?” A feather tip of her outstretched wing pointed to a sketch.
“I certainly had planned to,” I responded, “however, the lyrics have not yet come clear to me.”
“Oh,” she said. “It is because it should simply be ‘La,’ and then ‘La-la-la,’ again.
I paused to look at You and Yours to see nods of agreement with her claim, and suddenly, I knew the suggestion was correct.
“Of course,” I said. “To rise above the limitations of mortal languages, ‘La,’ and then ‘La-la-la,’ again. Of course, why was that not clear to me sooner?”
The epiphany arrived in an envelope of good feelings and King Carduelis Tristis was imbued with great pride at the unanimous admiration for his court maiden’s well received advice.
“Yes,” said the proud king. “I am surrounded by brilliant and beautiful maidens, am I not.”
“Sir, thou art so.” I replied with a slight bow and a respectful nod of agreement.
The King became pleasantly distracted by something in the distance and then said: “New friends, my court and I must attend to another matter temporarily. Thus concludes our current first conversation, please assure me it will not be our last?” he said.
“The first of many, most certainly.” I replied, along with a shimmering layer of agreement vocalized by You and Yours.
With hops, skips and jumps, the American Goldfinches took to the airs above our newest estate. Their energy and enthusiasm was positively contagious and enlivening. You and Yours then asked to return to the interior of your Diamond Fortress to which I gladly obliged in the assistance of. Through the woods and mist of miracles we went, upon the winding and inspiring walking paths of our enchanted new estate. All the while I was considering where the “La’s,” and “La-la-la’s” would go upon the staves of my next operatic composition, which was enthusiastically a divine collaboration with You, Yours and the American Goldfinch.

Additional works by Marcus James Christian (pseudonymous as Marcus Unlimited) are available through:
    and Apple iTunes.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

JUKEBOXES: At Home Amongst the Banana Trees and Rooibos.

JUKEBOXES: At Home Amongst the Banana Trees and Rooibos.
©2013 Marcus James Christian, marcusunlimited.
I have always loved adventures, however, I have always loved coming back home just as much. I chose this planet after asking you, and everything else, from where could I do the most good. This planet, which as of this data box recording, lacks a formal name, has proven to continually be a place of inspiration and positive development for our beloved collaboration, our opera of good deeds throughout the universe.
When I emerge from the clouds, within the wingspan of my aircraft—the Branta—I am commonly met by a wash over of very good feelings. There is a contiguous line of banana trees which almost seem as if they are walking forth from the thick line of light which adheres the horizon of the forward, distant sky to the terrain of our new “second home” planet.
    The banana trees, and their glorious fruit, are not the only delicacies which I was fortunate enough to have planted here by friendly, acquainted master farmers who promised to keep this location out of common discussion.
    As of this writing I recognize that am continually improving in regards to my ability to see what I am sensing in terms of your feelings. The smiles of you and yours have become energy sources, much like the superior nourishment of the fruit provided to me by the banana trees. My affections and thankfulness for the banana fruit requested the accompaniment of a beautiful collaborator to its tastes and elevated nutritional values. Thus, after wishing with loud thoughts one evening, which you and yours heard well apparently, I woke to find a sizable field on my new home planet filled with African Rooibos. You even taught me how to make the finest tea from the red bush and the combination of it and the banana fruit is as divine as Italian baroque arias as escorted into audibility by the highly qualitative voice of the mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli—of Earth. The inspiring accomplishments of men and women of Earth have not paled in comparison to these miraculous experiences and locales out here beyond the stars visible from the mountains of Earth, in fact the earthen masters of Gesamtkunstwerk, either in part or in whole are constant references and inspirational sources to me when I am out here. Reflection upon the lovely achievements of living creatures of anywhere, when joined by the powers of you and yours, have allowed me to be a powerful component for the expansion of the greater good here.
    I am now entering one of the many stone abodes in my possession here on this new planet. I can hear the ever subtle etchings of this data box which is recording my thoughts as I desire it to do such, yet, I doubt it can fully capture my enjoyment of the aroma rising forth from the lovely stone cup filled with Rooibos Tea, and the woodsy, clean, sugary effervescent perfection of the banana I am peeling within the steam of the Rooibos rising up from the stone mug on the table beneath it. I know you and yours have a way of experiencing these pleasures as well, and I recommend that you do so.

~Jean Juke.

PS: I have included a compositional excerpt inspired by this data box entry as well as an illustration.