Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Once those stains get inside you, they're incredibly hard to scrub away. Once there's been that taste of the poison, there's no rinse that will erase it from the tongue. It will all remain anchored to the buds and in the tissue. When the eyes have seen, they cannot unsee. When a heart's been trashed, it can only pick itself up so much. A body is always capable of lying to itself. Most of the time, this is the only way that anything gets done. It's the lies that get us to go against our grains and better judgment, with whatever feeble payoff that might be out there for the taking the only thing that we could possibly hope for. Most of the time it never comes through and we're left holding the bag, feeling the emptiness again in our extremities and all throughout our hollowed out trunks.
Canadian songwriter Ben Caplan puts his touch on the sorrowful beauty that's all around us. His thoughts, delivered with his harsh, but sympathetic voice, can be heard as both painful and joyous. His version of "What A Wonderful World," sung the way he sings - with a helluva fever coursing through him - makes it obvious that there is more good than bad out there, but it can be hard to tell the difference. It might feel as if the deck is stacked against us, but the trees of green and the red roses too are there to experience if we look. He sings, "Human suffering is an ocean and it's dark at the bottom of the sea," but there are beautiful souls out there and they will constantly seek more of the same. He sings, "I believe that we are all dead or dying," but he mostly believes in life and its hidden charms, the brilliance that can always be had, even if we're stuck with much of the residue.
*Essay originally published July, 2013