Alex Raichev

Snow Geese

Oh, to love what is lovely, and will not last!
What a task
to ask
of anything, or anyone,
yet it is ours,
and not by the century or the year, but by the hours.
One fall day I heard
above me, and above the sting of the wind, a sound
I did not know, and my look shot upward; it was
a flock of snow geese, winging it
faster than the ones we usually see,
and, being the color of snow, catching the sun
so they were, in part at least, golden. I
held my breath
as we do
sometimes
to stop time
when something wonderful
has touched us
as with a match,
which is lit, and bright,
but does not hurt
in the common way,
but delightfully,
as if delight
were the most serious thing
you ever felt.
The geese
flew on,
I have never seen them again.
Maybe I will, someday, somewhere.
Maybe I won’t.
It doesn’t matter.
What matters
is that, when I saw them,
I saw them
as through the veil, secretly, joyfully, clearly.

~ Mary Oliver, 2004
Author: Alex Raichev
Date: 2012-04-24
Tags: poem
Permalink, Comment

The Cyclotrope

vimeo~21016797

Video sourced from Vimeo here.

Author: Alex Raichev
Date: 2012-04-24
Tags: video, bicycle
Permalink, Comment

The Last One

Well they’d made up their minds to be everywhere because why not.

Everywhere was theirs because they thought so.
They with two leaves they whom the birds despise.
In the middle of stones they made up their minds.
They started to cut.

Well they’d made up their minds to be everywhere because why not.

Everywhere was theirs because they thought so.
They with two leaves they whom the birds despise.
In the middle of stones they made up their minds.
They started to cut.
Well they cut everything because why not.
Everything was theirs because they thought so.
It fell into its shadows and they took both away.
Some to have some for burning.

Well cutting everything they came to water.
They came to the end of the day there was one left standing.
They would cut it tomorrow they went away.
The night gathered in the last branches.
The shadow of the night gathered in the shadow on the water.
The night and the shadow put on the same head.
And it said Now.

Well in the morning they cut the last one.
Like the others the last one fell into its shadow.
It fell into its shadow on the water.
They took it away its shadow stayed on the water.

Well they shrugged they started trying to get the shadow away.
They cut right to the ground the shadow stayed whole.
They laid boards on it the shadow came out on top.
They shone lights on it the shadow got blacker and clearer.
They exploded the water the shadow rocked.
They built a huge fire on the roots.
They sent up black smoke between the shadow and the sun.
The new shadow flowed without changing the old one.
They shrugged they went away to get stones.

They came back the shadow was growing.
They started setting up stones it was growing.
They looked the other way it went on growing.
They decided they would make a stone out of it.
They took stones to the water they poured them into the shadow.
They poured them in they poured them in the stones vanished.
The shadow was not filled it went on growing.
That was one day.

The next day was just the same it went on growing.
They did all the same things it was just the same.
They decided to take its water from under it.
They took away water they took it away the water went down.
The shadow stayed where it was before.
It went on growing it grew onto the land.
They started to scrape the shadow with machines.
When it touched the machines it stayed on them.
They started to beat the shadow with sticks.
Where it touched the sticks it stayed on them.
They started to beat the shadow with hands.
Where it touched the hands it stayed on them.
That was another day.

Well the next day started about the same it went on growing.
They pushed lights into the shadow.
Where the shadow got onto them they went out.
They began to stomp on the edge it got their feet.
And when it got their feet they fell down.
It got into eyes the eyes went blind.

The ones that fell down it grew over and they vanished.
The ones that went blind and walked into it vanished.
The ones that could see and stood still
It swallowed their shadows.
Then it swallowed them too and they vanished.
Well the others ran.

The ones that were left went away to live if it would let them.
They went as far as they could.
The lucky ones with their shadows.

~ W. S. Merwin, 1977

Author: Alex Raichev
Date: 2012-04-24
Tags: poem, audio
Permalink, Comment

The Sick Rose

O Rose thou art sick.
The invisible worm,
That flies in the night
In the howling storm:

Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.

~ William Blake, 1794

Here's my rough musical setting of the poem.

Update 2017-09-03. Laura Perrudin performs a haunting rendition with voice, harp, and multitrack:

youtube~ywdliB1J4fQ
Author: Alex Raichev
Date: 2012-04-24
Tags: poem, music
Permalink, Comment

Thursday

I have had my dream --like others--
and it has come to nothing, so that
I remain now carelessly
with feet planted on the ground
and look up at the sky --
feeling my clothes about me,
the weight of my body in my shoes,
the rim of my hat, air passing in and out
at my nose --and decide to dream no more.

~ William Carlos Williams, 1921
Author: Alex Raichev
Date: 2012-04-24
Tags: poem
Permalink, Comment

Neutral Milk Hotel Songs

The first things i learned to play on guitar were the simple, wonderfully strange songs of Neutral Milk Hotel. Below are lyrics and chords for the albums On Avery Island and In the Aeroplane over the Sea which i compiled from the official Neutral Milk Hotel website and transcribed from close listening. Feel free to email me with any comments or corrections.

On Avery Island

26 March 1996 Merge Records MRG103LP / MRG103CD (USA)

  1. Song Against Sex
  2. You've Passed
  3. Someone Is Waiting
  4. A Baby for Pree
  5. Marching Theme
  6. Where You'll Find Me Now
  7. April 1st
  8. Gardenhead / Leave Me Alone
  9. Three Peaches
  10. Naomi
  11. April 8th
  12. Pree-Sisters Swallowing a Donkey's Eye

In the Aeroplane over the Sea

10 February 1998, Merge Records MRG136LP / MRG136CD (USA)

  1. The King of Carrot Flowers, Part One
  2. The King of Carrot Flowers, Parts Two and Three
  3. In the Aeroplane over the Sea
  4. Two-Headed Boy
  5. The Fool
  6. Holland, 1945
  7. Communist Daughter
  8. Oh Comely
  9. Ghost
  10. [instrumental] (just the chords E and B)
  11. Two-Headed Boy, Part Two

Other Songs

  1. A Baby for Pree / Glow into You
  2. I Will Bury You in Time
  3. I Love How You Love Me
  4. Engine
  5. Oh Sister
  6. Little Birds

Also, here are some handy guitar charts i compiled and use for reference.

Update 2015-02-22: I found a more comprehensive list of NMH lyrics and chords at neutralmilkhotel.wikia.com.

Author: Alex Raichev
Date: 2012-04-23
Tags: guitar, Neutral Milk Hotel
Permalink, Comment

Top 5 Reasons Why Math Is Hard

Mathematics, the science of patterns, is a beautiful and fascinating subject, but it ain't easy.

  1. The field is vast and the chains of dependency long
  2. Everything has to be so "correct"
  3. Accompanying fame, fortune, and fast cars distracting
  4. Objects of study exist in mysterious, separate universe inaccessible by physical means
  5. Hole in left parietal lobe (power drill)
  6. Can't count
Author: Alex Raichev
Date: 2012-04-23
Tags: math
Permalink, Comment


Why no comments? I used to do public comments but found that moderating and maintaining them took too much time in front of the computer, time better spent playing outdoors. So these days I only do private comments, that is, you can email me comments regarding a post by clicking the 'Comment' link at the bottom of the post.