State of the Mind

It is in this hour we unite.
Though we are separate,
we peer deep into the
chasm: humanity, a full
and vacant space, voids of mind,
we acknowledge nothing,
see nothing, and
feel nothing.

It is in this hour,
the false power approaches.
It dwells inside the land,
an alien lost and dirty
with gun in hand
and truth in heart.
He grins his final grin
as he crosses the border
of the mind.

Transcend the
transgression;
do not hurt him.
Vast fortunes burn
in our nations’ towers!
Do not hurt him!

He is an alien from a foreign land,
and we, our unified conscience
geared towards war,
have destroyed
the antiquity of life,
pummeled the gift of choice,
and prostituted what we call
freedom!

It is in this hour we unite,
different people with differing stories,
separate though together, conscious
paradoxes, separatists, and we
peer into the yawning void
and erase the seeds sown
long ago by an ageless,
greedy hand.

We step together, our cadence
solemn, resolute. We shed
green energies to heal with love;
we shower light replete with
shining sun to cast the duality
away. We find the honor
to repel the lies, and
the courage to remove
the sties, the legion
infecting every eye,
and return vision
to the navigation of
one’s life, and return
providence to free will
and security to all.

 


“State of the Mind” was originally written in 2005 and is a piece regarding the poet’s political/social views of the time. The piece is still relevant in today’s socio-political climate. Though limited, this type of poem does make appearances throughout the poet’s career, as he feels artists and poets cannot ignore any part of the human landscape. Whether overt or symbolic, the patriotic poem, or that which utilizes social commentary tempered to political thought, is a constant theme occurrying throughout the expanding library of this writer’s work. It is forthcoming in the new collection of poetry,
The Vanishing Poet (soon from Virgogray Press). All rights reserved.

 

 

Resonance: Pretty Hate Machine by Nine Inch Nails

Of the songs that stand out, “Head Like a Hole” and “Terrible Lie” are probably the two songs I was familiar with before I knew the name Nine Inch Nails. My musical coming of age not until I was in my adolescence, there are vague memories of a muffled rendition of “Head Like a Hole” playing on my sister’s stereo behind closed doors. I didn’t know what it was, I would have been about six, but what I did know is it was different from other things, the things I usually heard my sister play on the radio. Flash forward to my burgeoning hormonal teenage years. Bored homeschooling dNine-Inch-Nails-Pretty-Hate-Machine-Album-Coverays of music catalogue perusals led me to the discovery of band called Nine Inch Nails. I didn’t know who they were, there was no internet back then, at least not one readily accessible to a middle class citizen in the mid 1990s. The album I acquired then, some of you will remember was called Broken, an E.P that forever changed the way I saw music, and realized its intense power over emotion and influence. It was at this time that I connected “Head Like a Hole” to Nine Inch Nails. The problem was, for a boy of 13, in the era of the compact disc and accessibility to music only available through purchase or radio and cable music television, the album Pretty Hate Machine was scarce (available in cassette tape at the time, but who bought cassette tapes then?! They were as passe as compact discs are today, however, back then, CD was the way of the future). When I finally got my hands on Pretty Hate Machine we were somewhere in limbo between Downward Spiral and The Fragile. It was much needed to fill the void of material. Retrospective to 1989, here we see another musical act before its time, creating a mix of rock and metal elements with electronic and dance. But wait! you say, what about industrial rock? A look back to such acts as Front 242, Ministry,  Throbbing Gristle, Nitzer Ebb, Laibach, and Skinny Puppy, to name very few. Still, Trent Reznor and his Nine Inch Nails assisted in jarring open the door of this unique mix of electronic and metal to a larger public in an era that was geared towards darkness and Armageddon. This aural plea from the soul of this madman pleased the environment as it trudged toward the new millinium, and it began with “Head Like a Hole,” a song all at once rebellious and angry as musical and catchy. I always tend to look at they lyrics of things and could only imagine what or who he sang about. Was it just the concept of money and those either ensnared in its greed or its influence of power? Either way, the song was a protest by its own right. “Terrible Lie” is another song noteworthy for its timelessness, and the song I admired for its depth and texture, its tangible angst, an element not easy to wield. The song aims of betrayal and self-doubt, lack of control and lack of forgiveness. Its mechanical open a wretched alarm to the listener, brandished throughout. The gothic gray and gossamer white synths that wine in the back, the chatter of electronic buzz and banter, Trent’s distinct vocal pate shredding and moaning against they raucous but acute music. Another hit to come off the album, a single also hip and recognizable, “Down It.” This song began to show how versatile the band could be, not secluding its anger to the dark of night, but also in the light of day, chipper to a point, still with no recourse but to trick the listener. A classic industrial track, it became one of their most popular songs early on. The album carries on this way presenting something I find somewhat more ‘marketable,’ or user friendly for what it was. The language of the album, minimal inferences socio-analytic commentary as one bears in “Head Like a Hole,” as much the expression aggressive diatribe offers and sex. Many songs are riddled with innuendo and requiem, explorative to orgasmic ends, some laden with shame and others curiosity. It was enough to keep this gay boy wondering and smitten by the thought of Trent Reznor.  Another personal fave, on the album is “Sin,” a track tucked sonically away at the back end of the album, and a song I feel laid a path to where their next musical exploits would go. A nice hallmark of some tracks on this album, also I think laudable, are the many tracks accessible to a dancefloor: “That’s What I Get,” “Down In It,” “Kinda I Want To,” “The Only Time,” a caviatte seen scarcely as the bands catalogue expands. The conclusion, the post-industrial, retro electronic jam, “Ringfinger” completes Pretty Hate Machine on a high note, listeners eager for what’s to come, and for those just learning of Nine Inch Nails, an oasis of sustenance and dynamic origin. Twenty years on this classic still timeless as I put it on repeat.

Nine Inch Nails – Pretty Hate Machine
1989, Interscope Records

Tracklist:

  1. Head Like A Hole
  2. Terrible Lie
  3. Down In It
  4. Sanctified
  5. Something I Can Never Have
  6. Kinda I Want To
  7. Sin
  8. That’s What I Get
  9. The Only Time
  10. Ringfinger

 

This review of Pretty Hate Machine by Nine Inch Nails is written by Michael Aaron Casares. All rights reserved. 

 

Remittance (Reprise)

It was in observation
of manipulation.
She used
her mental prowess
naturally throwing screens
at conflict,
hiding the truths
needed,
protecting the secrets
accumulated.
Her vast trail grew
like the shadows long
tails tethered to the
horizon sun.
Twilight grew
in her eyes.
She was tired.
The attempts
at manipulation.
The unlauded successes
of its unintentional existence.
A great book for the
counter culture.
She’d stood on one side
of the line by necessity
for so long she was unsure
at first how to feel
when good fortune
brought her to
the other side.
And how at that time
the magnetic draw
she fed on increased
and strengthened.
She had no choice
but to stand
where she stood.
The prewritten law,
the contract signed upon
(re)initiation, feigned at
as a victim’s house,
acknowledged
the many paths
to take,
agreed the poisons
of the world
would overtake
the soul
if the sun
was going
to shine
on peace
and goodwill,
to overcome
the counter balance
incumbent from
this game’s inception.
The trade off
for those who
will or will not exist
in the heightened world
of the future, the point
being to assist another
dying world, or to learn
again.
For now her resolve
asked for piety, for
forgiveness |
amongst the shadows.
Her resolve to adapt
to the onslaught
of challenge
and awkwardness,
to grin through
once regulated emotions
of pain and suffering,
to continue transmuting
the darkness of the soul,
to carry on as a beacon
of higher awareness.
She had once learned,
deep inside a dream,
the memory existed.
Beyond the sun and galaxy,
in a space accessible to opened souls,
the maps of many paths reside.
If she guided to it with her heart,
she’d remember the choices she made;
if open she’d easy navigate
the river of the soul
to starlight
and the inner healing
of its energetic core.

 

“Remittance” is written by Michael Aaron Casares. All rights reserved. 

Remittance

It was in observation of manipulation. She used her mental prowess naturally throwing screens at conflict, hiding the truths needed, protecting the secrets accumulated. Her vast trail grew long like the shadows long tails tethered to the horizon sun. Twilight grew in her eyes. She was tired. The attempts at manipulation. The unlauded successes of its unintentional existence. A great book for the counter culture. She’d stood on one side of the line by necessity for so long she was unsure at first how to feel when good fortune brought her to the other side. And how at that time the magnetic draw she fed on increased and strengthened. She had no choice but to stand where she stood. The prewritten law, the contract signed upon (re)initiation, feigned at as a victim’s house, acknowledged the many paths to take, agreed the poisons of the world would overtake the soul if the sun was going to shine on peace and goodwill, to overcome the counter balance incumbent from this game’s inception. The trade off for those who will or will not exist in the heightened world of the future, the point being to assist another dying world, or to learn again. For now her resolve asked for piety, for forgiveness amongst the shadows. Her resolve to adapt to the onslaught of challenge and awkwardness, to grin through once regulated emotions of pain and suffering, to continue transmuting the darkness of the soul, to carry on as a beacon of higher awareness. She had once learned, deep inside a dream, the memory existed. Beyond the sun and galaxy, in a space accessible to opened souls, the maps of many paths reside. If she guided to it with her heart, she’d remember the choices she made; if open she’d easy navigate the river of the soul to starlight and the inner healing of its energetic core.

 

Remittance is written by Michael Aaron Casares. All rights reserved.