There is no resurrection without death.

And by death, I mean the total, unmitigated release of everything we are and think we have. The body quits. We do not have a soul or consciousness that lives on in what is known as the “afterlife” – that is a Platonic concept handily appropriated by the early Christian thinkers. It has infected Christian thinking for millennia.

We no longer have any control whatsoever over who we are, what others think we are or have been, or the circumstances our dead body finds itself in. No one and nothing is looking down, or up at us.

We are dead. About as much life as a package of ground meat.

Whatever shape that death takes – cessation of life, relationship, physical ability, occupation; whatever cause whether by self, disease, others’ actions, accident – we lose.

We don’t like losing. We don’t like letting go of this bag of blood, viscera, and bones that hold our dreams and loves and hates together. Our success-oriented, positive perseverance, grit-focused, and stiff-upper-lip society forbids it.

So when it happens, when this shell we live in collapses, when the values and actions that our consciousness cherishes fall away into shards of meaninglessness, there is nothing left.

When Jesus died, he died as any other human being did. Like any other human being does.

The striking thing about the resurrection stories in the Gospels, as different from each other as they are, is that not only were the appearances unexpected, they were unrecognizable. Whether, as some claim, they are historical accounts in the sense that they “actually happened”, or metaphorical symbols, as far as the narratives are concerned the witnesses were totally unprepared for the appearance of a recently crucified and quite dead teacher in their midst. There was nothing in their experience they could compare it to.

There was no sense of “coming back to life” here. There was amazement, terror, fear, and disbelief.

So what to make of Easter? Is this a parable, a metaphor, a popular contemporary way of thinking that in spite of bad things happening everything’s gonna be all right? Shall we always look on the bright side of life? Is this an expression of the human consciousness rebelling against death and its inevitable finality?

Perhaps.

The desire to believe in an afterlife is phenomenally strong and historically and culturally pervasive. As humans, we stand appalled at the thought of nothingness, of the Néant, of oblivion.

However, the afterlife does not solve the problem of death, as if death were a challenge to be overcome. Indeed, the concept of an existence transcending death is the greatest death-denial of all.

The only thing that remains is the mystery of memory, should we be so fortunate as to have people remember us.

So then as the Christian calendar moves toward Easter and its attendant mysteries, this dance of death and resurrection takes an interesting turn for a humanist and non-believer like myself.

The central assumption of the resurrection in Christian dogma is the action of the deity expressed like this:

“God raised Jesus from the dead”

This, in my view, is the ultimate Deus ex Machina – God pulls the rabbit out of the hat. God did it. It’s a kind of theological McGuffin.

The execution of a teacher for calling out abuse and fraud in contemporary religion, culture, and politics makes for an interesting plotline. Good grief, it makes for a news story. You do not need a prophecy to know these things. Look what happened to journalists opposing the Russian oligarchy or the house of Saud.

Furthermore, that plot takes a more fascinating turn when what was supposed to be the predictable result of radical political opposition turns into a theological and cosmological reach through an interpretation that hinges on the reconciliation of what was perceived to be a split in the Divine/Human relationship.

For that, we can thank Paul of Tarsus, a brilliant, crusty, and judgmental asshole if there ever was one.

The rest is church history, in all its more than two millennia’s worth of fissiparous existence.

Nevertheless, the question for many remains unanswered: what happens when someone or something dies? Where do they go? Where are they now?

I suggest we change the subject of that question: what happens to us who are left behind when someone or something dies? Where do we go? Where are we now?

What happens when we grieve, experience loss, regret, remorse, shame?

Paul Court, a good friend, wrote in his song, “Grief is love with no place to go.”

The dead have no use for us. The wound their death leaves in our lives and hearts and consciousness may or may not heal. Whether it’s a loved one, a hated one, whether our feelings are secure or ambivalent or damaged, whatever follows is irrevocably changed into something unfamiliar, unexpected, and alien.

You see, we the living are the ones who have to learn how to live again.

The resurrection is not for the person or relationship or way of life that dies. That entity no longer exists, except in our memory. There is no life for the dead after death.

The resurrection, this strange exile of transformation in our existence, happens to us who remain.

“You’ll Have My Memory” – album Small Things Shining Bright, W&M Edward St Moritz

Sunrise in Wiarton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“Corporal Richardson” started out as a personal poem around Remembrance Day. I was reflecting on the unimaginable destruction to the human psyche during the  Second World War (My father had survived the ravages of WW2 in Holland, and my mother and her family were concentration camp prisoners during the Japanese invasion of Indonesia. They were children at the time and their emotional scars lasted their lifetimes).
            In particular, a story I had read caught my imagination while Canada was in military operations in Afghanistan. A soldier had shot himself while there. I didn’t catch the name, but the event compelled me to write something about what happens when hell breaks loose around you, and despite your training to steel yourself, you realize that it is all too much for your bag of bones and dreams.
            I made Corporal Richardson female. Shit happens to all of us. 
            The last few bars of the song is a short quote from “Flowers of the Forest” a Scottish lament played at Remembrance Day services after the two minute silence. 
            I dedicate this song to all those with PTSD, those who survive it, those who didn’t, and their families.
Corporal Richardson came home today 
Fought in a war that was far far away
Two weeks to go from a eight month stay 
Corporal Richardson came home today

Corporal Richardson saw her friends die 
blood on the road and blood on her eyes
truck in the air where birds ought to fly 
Corporal Richardson saw her friends die

Terror's a word we don't know at all 
Security's politics have put up the walls
We don't pay much except taxes and fear 
and hope it will all go away by next year

Corporal Richardson cried in the gloom 
where an acid burned girl moaned alone in the room
No time to think it all happened too soon 
Corporal Richardson wept in those ruins.

Then she got the letter “No lover, no more. 
Things aren't getting better and I'm out the door”
You leave a sweetheart to kill or be killed 
but it's not for the country or forms that you fill

Corporal Richardson can't take no more 
Her hope and her memory are far distant shores
They cleaned her despair and her stains from the floor 
Corporal Richardson .... 

(Instrumental)

Corporal Richardson came home today 
Fought in a war that was far far away
Two weeks to go from a eight month stay 
Corporal Richardson came home today

©2016 words and music by Edward Moll (SOCAN)

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An old flame resurrects into your autumn years. I wanted something with the feel of a Parisian bistro patio, wine, and a pack of Gauloises. And the black magic of memory. I love what Anna did with this.

She turned and fell into his arms for this one time
and he caressed the naked curve below her ear
He swore he’d never let her drop his guard again but now she is so now and here
Remember this? she did not have to ask it when she pressed her hip into his memory so near
she knew as soon as she stepped through his open eyes his cool reserve would disappear

(refrain)

Is this the way old lovers recall a passion’s nova long since cooled
who knows how wintered flesh remembers the touch of a rendezvous of fools
What was this thing? Cafe and consequential fling
that gaze two seconds longer than a heartbeat grows
“How are the girls? Your grandson must be thirteen now did your ex-husband ever know?”

(refrain)

this is the way old lovers recall the suns of passion long since cooled
who knows how wintered flesh remembers the touch
This rendezvous of fools

[Break]

The small talk fades in phantoms of their half-caught breath
there’s no surprise to where this conversation leads
He’s soft, she’s dry, but still they lie in tender naked summer skin filled ecstasy
So this surrender to the history of lips and sweet denial of the of rules
They’d rather be beside each other than beside themselves
This rendezvous of fools

La la, La la, la lala lala lala lala lah la la….ce rendezvous des fous

©2014 words and music by Edward Moll (SOCAN)

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“You have ten minutes to live. You have a pen and paper. Write. In 3...2...1...”



Thank you my love your body was light

Thank you my sons you are hope

Thank you my landlord for keeping my nights

Thank you my friends for the dope

Nothing but memories and single malt scotch

Nothing is there when time runs out my watch

Everything living and dying at once

Here I am there you are and it doesn’t rhyme and I don’t give a shit


Get out hypocritical measly church mice

your bells never did ring till twelve

I’ll get nothing from you but I’ll give some advice:

Take a break from your eternal selves

Nothing but martinis, old hopes and lost dreams

No one to help me with outrageous schemes

Everything dying and living at once

there you are, here I was and the rhyme doesn’t work for a’ that


(Interlude)


Nothing is left but my body in bed

Everyone's waiting until I am dead

Stories and rumours don't mean as much now

Here we are, How are you

And our time's running out like my breath

Farewell to those beautiful women, my friends

to music, to food and to wine

Goodbye to nakedness, sweat and the bends

I’ll be gone, but you’ll do just fine.

I’ll be gone, but you’ll do just fine.

I’ll be gone, but you’ll do just fine.

© 2016 words and music by Edward Moll (SOCAN)

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The songwriting assignment: something outside your usual genre about a subject that genre doesn't work with. So I ran with it. Or sat with it...

I read your name and didn't want to know you
Thought I was alone inside this stall
Seven numbers on the side
Someone's sharpie, someone's pride
I saw the writing on the wall

Other men scrawled along beside you
Left and right for favours big and small
Invitations and abuse
Words like hammers grammar loose
I saw the writing on the wall

Lonesome loops and lines across the doorway
Scratches of a child pretending to be a man
Threat and insult waiting for an answer
Raw desire etched on paint with one lonely hand

I could stay and add to shards of stories
tell this tiny room I'm tough and tall
Sign on for posterity
but this bowl has enough of me
don't have to say a thing at all
I've seen your writing on the wall

© 2016 words and music by Edward Moll (SOCAN)

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Two-thirty in the morning and I wake with “These dusty roads you walk on”. When a lyric snags you sometimes it won’t let go.

Those dusty roads you’ve walked on
Water them with grace
Recall with gentle kindness
A lover’s sunset face
Memory’s a Greyhound
Drivers, Joy and Pain
Know you’ll never see those pictures
Quite like they were again

Take all the homes you’ve cried in
Fold them in your tears
Stow them in your closets
Won’t need them for years
Sometimes when you’re lovely
Sometime when you’re old
Forget you ever hid them away
So much foolish gold

Chorus:
You’ve been a slave in Egypt You got lost in Guelph
Never found those exit signs from fires in yourself

Now you sit in winter
Snow around your knees
Your dreams sink into drifting
hopes slow down and freeze
Time no longer matters
Sky fell yesterday
One damn thing over and over and over
Black and white to grey

Chorus:

Hostage to remembrance Stockholm in your heart
You’d like to have her to yourself, but you’d rather be apart

Take any road you’ve walked on
travel there with grace
Recall with gentle kindness
Your lover’s sunset face
Memory’s such a Greyhound
Drivers still Joy and Pain
No, you’ll never see those pictures
Quite like they were again

©2016 words and music by Edward Moll (SOCAN)

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I was in the choir and she was in the pew.
Her eyes captured me, and even if we are no longer together, they still do.
To anyone who has loved and lost and loved again.

She got hair like prairie grasses She got fingers like a bird
She got a turn in her ankle that upside downs my world
She got ferris wheel laughter She got party in her mind
And the thing that fin’lly got me were those take no prisoner eyes

Take your Mona Lisas take those Playboy nudes
Take’em all away from me they don’t get me in the mood
Throw away my Mercedes scrap all my silk ties
Lay me down and bury me in those take no prisoner eyes

She got supernova lovin’ she got manners like a queen
She got the best bullshit detector that I ever seen
If I lose her at the station in the smell of sweat and fries
I know she’s gonna find me with those take no prisoner eyes

Take your fancy dining take those fancy sheets
Take ’em all away from me I got what I need
Throw away my illusions lay waste to all my lies
Lay me down and bury me in those take no prisoner eyes

(Instrumental)

Take your fancy dining take those fancy sheets
Take ’em all away from me I got what I need
Throw away my illusions lay waste to all my little white lies
Lay me down and bury me in those take no prisoner eyes

© 2016 words and music by Edward Moll (SOCAN)

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Maybe 60 is too young to think about death. I remember thinking “What do I leave behind?” One evening after I had finished a set with this song, a woman told me, “My father died three months ago. The question always bothered me, ‘Where is he now?’ Your song answered it. Thank you”.

Thank you, ma’am. It’s one of the reasons why I do this.

When my time is o’er and my days are done
When life’s sweet sorrow will end what it’s begun
When you burn my bones scatter ashes on the ground
You will have my memory to know I was around

My God’s a flight of starlings my hope’s a winter moon
My love is the lips of my sweetheart my lord a serving spoon
Won’t knead my bread no more the old guitar won’t make a sound
But you’ll have my memory to know I was around
Chorus:
And I won’t need a saviour to have my sins forgiven
I won’t need a bible to get me into heaven
All I’ve needed was your finger’s touch
Your voice, the sweetest sound
And you’ll have my memory to know I was around

Sometimes through the joy and sometimes through the pain
You’ll miss my body warm and want me back again
You may feel so lost like you never will be found
But you’ll have my memory to know I was around
Chorus:
So don’t go to the churchyard and weep over the stones
Just keep me in your heart and you’ll never be alone
All you needed was my lover’s touch
My voice the sweetest sound
And you’ll have my memory to know I was around

And I won’t need a saviour to make my living whole
And I won’t need a church pew to satisfy my soul
All I’ve needed was your lover’s song
Your voice, the sweetest sound
And you’ll have my memory to know I was around

©2016 words and music by Edward Moll (SOCAN)

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Roy Hickling wrote a song with the phrase, “a quartet of horse”. I misheard the pronunciation of the animal. Lengthen the vowel, soften the sibilant. That’s my dark, twisted, apocalyptic mind at work. The phrase hung like a bat in a cave until I went armed with a coffee into the loft of a local cafe (I’m looking at you, Bohemia). I emerged an hour and a half later, read what I had written, and thought, “Which demented little room of hell did my mind just come out of?”

Refrain:

Four whores of the end times hungry as sharks 
Penelope, Ecstasy, Nightmare and Dark
They lie with you , lie to you Tie you in knots
No one, nothing will save No one, nothing will save

Penelope’s innocent, charming and wise
Fools and philosophers fall in her eyes
she takes you with guile
she baits you with truth
She grins as you gaze into fantasy’s booth

Ecstasy’s horny as Sunday in hell
Wet with desire for your soul’s brittle shell
With your brains in her sex She’ll blow out your mind
Unchained , unseemly, unhinged and unkind.

Refrain

With Nightmare it’s weeping and gnashing of teeth
You’ll wish you were dreaming ‘way back in Westmeath
When she’s finished with you Not much left on the plate
except bits of bitterness, terror and hate.

How will you pay when the bill comes due,
When they stand at the door you just came through?
What will you say to their outstretched hands :I’m all out of flesh - you don’t understand!”?

When Dark finally enters you can’t see her smile
You can feel her small heat, it may last for a while
And when her while’s done She will let you fall
into nothing, nothing, nothing at all

Four whores of the endtimes hungry as sharks
Penelope, Ecstasy, Nightmare and Dark
They lie with you, lie to you Tie you in knots
No one, nothing will save [Repeat 3X ]

© 2016 words and music by Edward Moll(SOCAN)

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I like food. I like sex. Any questions?

Walk in the house after working for the man
Honey's in the kitchen sweating garlic in the pan
Smells so good, smells so sweet
I ask my baby “You got any meat for that

Chorus

Cookin' in the kitchen My baby's so good at
Cookin' in the kitchen Just like he should
Cookin' in the kitchen He stirs it so fine
When he's cookin' in the kitchen he is mine all mine

When my baby bakes bread He makes me sing
He kneads it and he kneads it like a living thing
He got strong hands to slap and fold
That dough on the counter
It never gets old, that

Cookin' in the kitchen With my baby tonight
Cookin' in the kitchen till the morning light
Put that loaf in the oven and let it rise
till it's hard and hot and steamy and oh so nice

Dessert is special dessert's a treat
dessert with berries he's squeezin' so sweet
Whipped cream, chocolate sauce, biscuit on the side
We go into the bedroom to go and hide all that

Cookin' in the kitchen take it to bed
Spread it on your body from your toes to your head
Cookin' in the kitchen never stays in one spot
Cause when you're cookin in the kitchen every room gets hot

Chorus

Cookin' in the kitchen mm mm mm
Cookin' in the kitchen yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
Cookin' in the kitchen never stays in one spot
Cause when you're cookin in the kitchen every room gets hot

©2016 words and Music by Edward Moll(SOCAN)

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