Welcome to this sandbox of experiments and experiences, most working, some under construction.

A list of things

Video

I've had a great time at my current position as digital media specialist at Reed, where I have the chance to interview students about their thesis experiencea>, create over a dozen videos concerning the Reed canyon that are posted on itunesU, or crafted videos and visual imagery for events and other projects. Here are a few . . .

For Reed's Centennial Celebration event held on Sept 23, 2011, I edited a variety of media for most portions of the program; some recaps are here (scroll down to Sept 23 for a recap video).

A quick tour of the Reed ski cabin:

A teaser for Centennial Reunions last year:

Multimedia

Personal Project: imageEuropean tour 2001

Created as an online multimedia album of a European tour with mward.

Personal Project: imageBiking

Lo-fi project created with a handheld digital camera. Made the sound loop, and incorporated several shots of biking throughout Portland, as well as an old (Flash 6 required for this one).

Personal Project: imageJeff London

Created in Flash with several images to accompany a song from this Portland singer-songwriter. Random image masking after the first minute or so, to keep it interesting and non-repetitive.

Personal Project: imageSoundscapes

Created with the intent that after the initial few seconds, the piece would run itself - the images are set to randomly loop and rotate throughout, creating new montages of the images. Mainly eyecandy, but it was fun to create, and morphed to the Jeff London piece above. I also took this idea and applied it to the Born Magazine project.

Print

Reed College imageReed College

Posters, ads, brochures, fliers – a variety of print projects that I've worked on over the past 5+ years I've worked there.

The Business Journal image The Business Journal

Various projects here. I've worked as an ad designer for a stretch, and have returned for contract work on several publications. As the ad designer, I worked with the sales staff and advertisers to develop advertisements. Color correct for newsprint, preflight PDF files going to film, creation of PDF files, FTPing of files. Troubleshooting of computer problems and conflicts

Daily Journal of Commerce imageDaily Journal of Commerce

I've worked on a few ad designs for this newspaper also

ESCO Corporation imageESCO Corporation

I worked on a print publication within the marketing communications department, where several editions of a Materials Specifications catalog (one over 400 pages) were compiled. This project emphasized technical writing and communication skills, including catching grammatical errors, creating a graphics standard and consistent layout for the catalogs. I worked with the communications department as well as the engineering department to procure new drawings and implement new data into the catalogs.

Music

I've got a collection of music that I can't easily organize or categorize; some of it has some pop snippets, while others are more soundscapy, or would work well as a soundtrack to movies that I haven't worked on. I should be posting links to these someday. hopefully sooner than later.

Past music projects

  • mward
    I've played bass and assorted constructed sound loops for his live shows in the past. there is a live cd from the euro trips that is available and which features giant sand alumn, as well as jordan hudson (of operacycle and the thermals )and myself.
  • norfolk and western
    I've recorded and toured with this band for many years. Great folks there, miss playing with them!
  • tony moreno
    i have two albums out on keep recordings, based in tucson. stop by and visit their site, they've got some great stuff out.
  • born magazine
    A great online experimental art site. Somewhere there's a collaborative work with Luca, an Italian designer; I created with soundpieces that he created the visuals. a fun project, working with someone half way across the world.

Music Reviews

Grand & Failing

  • J-Sin @ Smother.net

    One thousand. That’s a number that’s going to be quite special in Tony Moreno’s illustrious career whose work as both a solo artist and as a member of Oregon’s Norfolk & Western is already quite accomplished. After his previous album “Leftovers From a Wake” was limited to a mere fifty copies on CD-R label Keep Recordings, which were hand-signed by him and obvious sold-out quite quickly, his follow-up effort “Grand & Falling” gets a massive boost and is limited to a dramatic leap to a thousand hand-numbered copies. Why the jump in numbers you ask? This tremendous folk artist pummels through fourteen of his most adventurous tracks to date with the type of intensity one rarely finds on a lo-fi indie folk album. Joining forces with Americana’s heart and indie folk’s genuine sensibility. In all true-to-life form, Tony Moreno escapes the trappings of the underground lo-fi scene with a record that whispers to the masses en route to groundbreaking textures not properly heard since the farm folk of the early 20th century amazingly re-postured in a timeless package of melodic storytelling.

  • Jon @ Blue Mag

    Norfolk & Western's Tony Moreno picks up where he left off on his Leftovers From A Wake LP with Grand & Failing, his second release of sparse acoustic soundscapes, blended field recordings, and hushed vocals released this year. "Moving to California" opens with the disc with a stark tale of illness, poverty and the Great Depression laid on a bed of spartan acoustic guitar. "Raise the Birds" and "Great Train" are two of a number of organic, wordless meditations on Grand & Failing. The mix of acoustic guitars, vintage tremolo, and soft organs color this album as with Leftovers From A Wake, laying out a rustic, yet severe, folk landscape. Sounds congeal and take the shape of songs on the fragile "Longest Day" and "Driving By Moonlight", the latter featuring the vocals of fellow Oregonian and KEEP Recordings artist Shelley Short. The movements towards songcraft, an obvious gift of Moreno's, tend to make for the strongest and most resonant parts of the album. While the instrumental interludes and phantom field recordings set a tone of desolation, isolation, and regret, the more conventional songs on Grand & Failing provide the pathos. The roughly recorded "Longest Day Reprise" that closes the album replaces field recording stories with microphone bleed conversations and adds a warm piano to a scene that Moreno has, over the course of two LPs, vividly created for the listener.

  • David Jenkins @ Americana UK

    An album of folk backed spoken word that’s intent on raising a smile. Perhaps best known as a multi-instrumentalist in the breathtaking Portland, OR band Norfolk and Western, Tony Moreno has elected to fly the coop once more on this his second album proper. ‘Grand and Failing’ is an album of fond reminisces, casual contemplation and didn’t-we-all-used-to-be-crazy retrospection. Wistfully strummed folk is skilfully combined with archival interview/newsreel footage of eccentric Southerners, painting them all to be slightly mad. At a time when the Deep South and its inhabitants (one particular Commander in Chief springs to mind) are regarded with mild scorn for their belligerent and cocksure manner, these songs remain charmingly naïve. On first listen, one could be forgiven for dismissing the spoken word songs as poor taste, or on occasion, racist, but once Moreno slides us a knowing glance, the ironic textures become clear and the songs accumulate a doe-eyed warmth. Although the bulk of the tracks are instrumental, Moreno will occasionally grace us with his whispered vocal. His slightly off-kilter observations on the annals of Southern cultural history are similar in style to Will Oldham. Any intentional “mockery” is carried out lovingly so, and in a sense, proudly portrays a bygone (and perhaps imaginary) era when human error could easily be forgiven with a wry smile. Rose-tinted spectacles aside, ‘Tuesday Failing’ is a bitingly funny spiritual about “A man from Savannah, Georgia who would sell Watermelon” backed with ambling acoustic guitar and harmonica. Sadly, the album falters slightly during its closing phase as one gets the feeling Moreno falls in a circling pattern. There is also a nagging indecisiveness about the album as a whole, mainly due to the eclectic mixture of playing styles which makes it difficult to accept whether Moreno knew exactly where it was all going. There is no denying Moreno’s talent and ‘Grand and Failing’ proves that his best may be yet to come.

  • David Jenkins @ Foxy Digitalis

    Tony Moreno's auspicious debut earlier this year, "Leftovers From a Wake," was a subtly beautiful record. It was quiet and intimate. It told the story of a hundred ghosts who just wanted to be heard. Moreno's ability to mix samples from interviews with his acoustic-based music is impressive to say the least. "Grand & Failing" is this Norfolk & Western member's first CD release, and floats toward structure moreso than its predecessor. In a way, it's sad to see the loose-leaf nature of "Leftovers From a Wake" put to rest, but it's also good to see Moreno expanding as an artist.

    "Grand & Failing" features his voice more than those of others. While the interview samples are still present, Moreno sings quite a bit here. The good news is that he has a good voice, and it's hushed nature fits in very well with the music. These songs still have undercurrents of Appalachia running through them, but they seem less sparse than their "Leftovers" counterparts. I would never guess that Moreno composed and recorded these pieces in Portland, Oregon.

    On tracks like "Longest Day" and "Driving By Moonlight," Moreno uses his own words and voice to convey a message, rather than samples of someone else. He does this well, though I prefer when he just shuts up and lets some random stranger do all the hard work. "Driving By Moonlight" is vaguely reminiscent of Norfolk & Western, especially with the female background vocals. Layers of instrumentation keep this from becoming a boring, typical pop song. Moreno's acoustic guitar work is, as always, impressive. "Longest Day" starts off strong with a background of murky piano notes and acoustic guitar plucks laid underneath various ambient sounds. It's a beautiful mesh of the structured world Moreno is drifting towards these days and the more abstract nature that was prevalent on "Leftover From a Wake." His haunting lyrics and vocals act like a search light, piercing through the haze of the music. It's a hopeful song steeped in melancholy that feels like it will break under the pressure of bowed strings and pulsing bass. This is easily one of the album's strongest moments.

    But where Moreno truly shines, is when he takes a backseat to characters he's unearthed on old interview tapes. This is his real specialty. Tracks like "Moving to California" and "Tuesday Failing" tell the stories of another time in another world. These voices of faceless people add so much life to these recordings that it's almost overwhelming. Musically, these are once again based around Moreno's wonderful acoustic guitar playing. Layers of harmonica and field recordings add to the organicness of them. Hearing the woman singing from her soul on the latter, and the story of Sherman Loop on the former and his family's move to California will move the most hardcore cynics out there. Especially Loop, as his story is the tale of so many families that moved west in search of a better life. Moreno's playing is sparse which allows the voice sample to breathe. This is perfectly done. This is the best song on "Grand & Failing" and is the right choice to open the record.

    Tony Moreno continues making a name for himself outside of Norfolk & Western. As "Grand & Failing" proves, he is a unique voice. His compositions are minimal at times, but in the empty spaces he leaves, his songs really come alive. It's a testament to his talent and songwriting ability. Honestly, I am far more excited about the next Tony Moreno album than I am the next one from Norfolk & Western. "Grand & Failing" is definitely a winning proposition.

  • Caitlin @ IndieWorkshop

    Tony Moreno has mixed a good, folksy stew with Grand & Failing. He’s used vintage-era recordings of men and women telling different tales while a soft piano or gentle guitar work plays throughout. “Moving to California,” has an older man explaining why he had to leave his home and the trials of the time while a quiet echo of guitar picking slowly crescendos. My favorite track is “The Fix.” Solely instrumental, the song enters with a twang-like twist and captures the feeling of an elderly Southerner tapping his foot to the steady beat. In fact, the majority of Grand & Failing gives off this old American nostalgia.

    If you’re from the South, you’ll get the musical images right off the bat. Sad, drooping houses at sunset, small-town grins and country boy blues; this is what encapsulates the album. However, if you do not live in the land of two seasons, use your imagination and listen to Grand & Failing on a day during the Indian summer or after reading Mississippi’s William Faulkner. The soothing vocals on some of Moreno’s more ambient songs play like a humid, rainy afternoon while others carry a more upbeat mix of acoustic guitar and talk-recordings.

    Moreno keeps to an indie-folk acoustic sound throughout while remaining unpredictable and original. Speaking of original, if you count yourself as one of the many who enjoy owning limited edition items, you’d better hurry up and buy one of the 1000 hand-numbered copies of this album. Even if the exclusivity isn’t alluring, definitely check this out. Like a good book, Grand & Failing never gets old.

  • Georgiana Cohen @ Splendid

    The Portland, Oregon music scene continues to dazzle with the breadth of talent hoarded in its leafy, well-read enclaves. Tony Moreno carries that torch on his second full-length CD (it's his first available in a release wider than 50 copies, but it's still limited to just 1,000). In these portraits of Americana, Moreno conveys both an awe and a weariness of the world around him. His songs are rich in content and context -- elegantly framed narratives and landscapes that carry the songs with affecting, artful arrangements.

    Opener "Moving to California" is a spoken word piece trailed over slow, winding guitar that tells the riveting story of a man who moved to the West Coast from Indiana for his health. An arthritic man's lament becomes a microcosmic tale of the transcontinental migrant worker. In another spoken track, "Honeyhole Cliff", a man engages the listener with the story of how the eponymous precipice got its name and reputation. In "Tuesday Failing", Moreno experiments by meshing the spoken word with the sung, as a recording of a woman singing about selling watermelons in Georgia is followed by a phone conversation. On tracks like the plushly reverbed "Raise the Blinds", and "Great Train", with its meteorological assortment of accordion swells, percussive rumbles and boiling cymbals, the keenness of Moreno's musicianship takes center stage. And when he takes the mic, his non-waking whisper yields the appropriate weight for the songs he sings, like the exhaustion he wisely bears on "Longest Day".

    One of the greatest things about Grand and Failing believe it or not, is its packaging. Keep Recordings has a tradition of releasing hand-numbered or hand-signed limited editions. My copy bears no inked inscription, but the packaging delights with its simplicity and ingenuity. Thin, recycled cardboard comprises a folder of sorts, with a liner notes card tucked into an inside pocket and the CD held in place by a nub glued to the opposite side. The printing on the front and back of the disc look as if the cover was hand-stamped or typeset, giving the disc an even homier feel.

    But as great as the packaging is, don't let it distract you from the shiny round thing inside -- that's pretty good, too.

  • Matt Dornan @ Comes with a Smile
    Issue #16: AUTUMN 2004

    Taking centre-stage for his second release on the desirable Keep Recordings, Tony Moreno make for the most reticent front man in music. Employing regukar Norfolk & Western associates Adam Selzer, Rachel Blumberg and David Welch, alongside the vocal support of Shelley Short, and assorted found recordings, multi-instrumentalist Moreno has a voice one could safely classify as restrained. Barely rising above a whisper, his narrative endeavors scarcely encroach on his charming, rustic mood pieces. The music of 'Grand & Failing' is even more subtle than that of N&W, as delicately assembled montages of tentatively picked guitars, bells, ambient creaks and whispers shift hazily into focus. The alternate version of "Driving By Moonlight", heard on this issue's cover mount - sung by Short - positively screams in comparison to the album's hushed take. 'Grand & Failing' is as intrusive as crackling firewood, or the distant clatter of brass kitchenware signalling an imminent hearty meal.

  • Matt Shimmer @ Indieville

    Grand & Failing is the second solo offering from Norfolk & Western member Tony Moreno, following a successful, limited-to-50-copies debut CDR entitled Leftovers From A Wake. Continuing in the trend of combining historical themes with folk-based melodies, this album manages to outdo its predecessor, making for an extraordinarily touching collection of Americana-influenced soundscapes.

    Tony Moreno's focus here is on the guitar part, which gives this album its warm, cozy atmosphere. Though there are occasional vocals ("Not Quite Right," "Driving By Moonlight"), the majority of the album is instrumental - with spoken word and field recordings filling out the rest of the space. The album begins with an interview about someone's migration from Indiana to California way back when, in the vein of GYBE! (remember the Coney Island speech?) - though it has a stronger Americana element to it. Ultimately, guitars come into the equation, accompanying the spoken part. This formula is used a few times on Grand & Failing ("Honeyhole Cliff," "Tuesday Failing"), giving the album context and establishing an interesting storytelling tone. The majority of the disc is simply instrumental guitar folk (think Fahey, but less experimental), though hushed singing sometimes enters into the equation.

    Over the duration of these fourteen all-too-short tracks, Grand & Failing manages to be both low-key and touching. This album can be something you play in the background, or something you devote all your attention to. Either way, it's a success.

Leftovers From A Wake

  • Jeff @ Delusions of Adequacy

    Tony Moreno, multi-instrumentalist for the Portland, Oregon band Norfolk & Western, has a number of other musical projects, including his solo efforts, which combine found recordings and soundscape-style instrumentation. On his latest collection, "Leftovers From A Wake", Moreno brings to mind the rural American south on an album that flows as much like a work of historical literature as a novel.

    There is something intangible but obvious that draws all 13 tracks here together, letting them flow as one cohesive work rather than a collection of songs. Moreno uses recordings of conversations and interviews as an intrinsic component of many of these tracks, weaving around these old-fashioned discussions soft guitar, keys, and other sounds. And even when there are no conversations, there are soft samples, hushed and atmospheric vocals, the sound of a guitar or a saw or synths, perhaps, all blending together into hushed and melancholic sounds.

    The overall effect is like traveling back in time. Moreno includes enough of these conversations - about a church fiddle player or making moonshine or just the pleasures of laying in the sun in a pile of freshly raked leaves - to involve you with the character talking, but never draws them out to be boring. The tracks feel drawn together, but there's enough change between them to keep the album fresh and interesting. It's as if Moreno is telling a story without words, letting the interviewees do the speaking, letting his instruments paint the picture.

    While each of these tracks has soft and melancholy music, most are instrumentals with samples and guitar. There are a few that feature Moreno's vocals, however, and these tend to feel more like individual songs. "Blood Meridian," for example, features Moreno's plaintive vocals over acoustic guitar in what sounds like a small room, a shack perhaps, with the surrounding sounds drifting into the mix. There's a country feel, soft and rather sweet, to "Far and Wide," which gives it a very traditional feel. And Moreno almost whispers the vocals on the title track, making you strain for every word and every barely strummed guitar note or background sound.

    " Leftovers From A Wake" is the first album from a small label with a unique approach. The idea behind KEEP Recordings is to make every release a keepsake. To that end, the albums are restricted to a run of 50, hand-numbered, hand-signed by the artist, and with unique, homemade packaging. this one comes in a hand-sewn fabric pouch. The pouch and old photos on the packaging add to the backwards-looking theme to this album, help give an old and sepia-toned tinge to the music inside. It's an album that looks as pretty as it sounds. Highly recommended for lovers of carefully crafted music, melancholy soundscapes, and the Southern heritage.

  • Rooney @ Blue Mag

    Tony Moreno, a member of Portland's Norfolk & Western, has released a curious recording called "Leftovers From A Wake" on KEEP Recordings, a label that specializes in releasing CD-R projects with handmade artwork in limited runs of 50 or 100. The CD opens with the voice of a seemingly older Southern man answering unknown questions. The voice and what it says immediately creates an association for the album: field recordings. Throughout the cd various voices, most with noticable drawls, tell stories about some nebulous small towns and times past. While the dialogue suggests some mythical, gothic South now somehow lost, the tone clearly takes precedence over the content. I never really tried to follow what was being said but rather zoned out and settled into a swampy daze. Soon sparse, meandering acoustic intrumentation begins to bubble underneath the dialogue. The music is vaguely rustic in a Dirty Three, Jim O'Rourke kind of way - acoustic guitar, organ, mild feedback and tape loops. On track 6, "Blood Meridian", actual sung vocals appear for the first time. They're vaguely Tweedian and sound as if they were recorded through a toy microphone into a cheap boombox. Far away and desperate, the lyrics are pretty much indecipherable. Afterwards, soothing parachoial mumbling returns for most of the remaining tracks (I hesitate to call them songs, in any traditional sense).

    " Leftovers From A Wake" is a rich, perplexing recording. It's both self-indulgent and painfully sparse, textured and layered yet largely inaccessible. Nevertheless, there's a lot to like about this record if you accept the challenge and the richness laid out by Moreno's ambition. It's plodding, contemplative nature creates a soothing, droney trance of Harry Smith-esque Americana. It's searching and organic, if not chock full of pop hooks.

  • Brad @ Foxy Digitalis

    " This story, I think like many stories, is partially true and partially fantasy" begins the interview sample on "Phantom Houses" from Tony Moreno's "Leftovers From a Wake." This is an excellent summation of what this album is to me. It's a little bit of reality, and it's a little bit of a dream. Moreno is a member of Portland-based Norfolk & Western, and this is his first solo album. It's full of sound bites from different interviews of everyday people and rich, warm textures. Acoustic guitars are the main weapon in creating this portrait of a Northern small town and the different samples are like ghosts; they haunt this album and bring it to life at the same time. It's a beautiful, if sad, dichotomy of simple places in simple times.

    " To me, I like living just where I am" relays the voice that opens the album. This is a voice that could be your grandfather telling you he loves where he lives. I can't help but picture a small log cabin in Vermont, with this old man sitting in his rocking chair, peering out the window as snow blankets his property. This vision carries into "Waiting Simplified" seamlessly as more spirits clutter the landscape. Delicate piano plucking highlights a woman talking about learning to drive after the war.

    The voices scattered amongst the disjointed compositions are the real treasures here. Each voice tells a different story; it captures an era that seems long forgotten. Moreno provides the perfect backdrop for the characters to be reborn. As the child in "Drive the Nail" shows off his different animal calls and whistles (a frog, a freight train, a chicken, a turkey, and a dog), the music moves along sleepily underneath. Quiet, melodic notes on an acoustic guitar are backed by a simple drum beat, and together they feel like a lazy walk around a secluded pond. Crisp air coats your lungs as you skip rocks with the girl next door. It makes me want to visit Mississippi. Moreno makes the South feel so inviting.

    The interview samples aren't the only vocals on the album. Moreno lends his voice to a few choice songs like the languid "Blood Meridian." His use of ambient sounds likes doors opening and floors creaking doesn't distract from the music, they enhance it. It gives the feeling that he's playing it in the room. One of my favorite effects he uses on this track is the doubled, whispered vocals, with a higher pitched, more painful vocal track laid on top. It's chilling.

    On "I Had a Time," he paints the portrait of an old Victorian home, long abandoned and run down. Imagine taking a tour of the grounds and hearing the remnants of strained pianos and soft guitars of an outdoor get-together a hundred years ago. There's so much history here, and you swear you can hear the sun setting on everyone as they clutch each other to keep warm. Two men discuss the illegality and merits of sharecropping on "Saturdays" while Moreno lays an electronic beat underneath. It's a dramatic contrast, but works out well. "Far and Wide" is the most straightforward song on the album. It has a typical acoustic guitar, bass, and light percussion rhythm section, with Moreno's voice quietly highlighting the end. This is a song of hope, and a song that promises you that these ghosts aren't here to hurt you, they just want to tell you their story.

    It's not easy to incorporate both sound bites from interviews and different sound effects into an album and still keep it cohesive. Moreno does a brilliant job of keeping this album together. His grasp of warmth and texture to paint pictures through music is impressive, and he knows when to use his voice and when to shut up. There are so many nuances here that it can almost be overwhelming. You feel like you're peering into the souls of these people and they are completely unaware of it. It's almost uncomfortable, but at the same time you feel like they're your family; you feel like you've know these people your entire life.

  • Brett @ Splendid

    Tony Moreno, of Norfolk & Western fame has assembled a terrific collection of atmospheric pieces carefully assembled around fascinating found sound recordings, which run the gamut from the elderly reminiscing about their youthful experiences with music, to the retelling of rural ghost stories, to weirdly exotic bird calls. While many albums have employed found sound recordings as an added flavor in their musical offerings, Moreno seems to be constructing fragile acoustic homes where these unknown people's stories can spread out and find their footing. Several of Leftovers' tracks make little or no use of found sound (and a few are fairly straight-ahead slo-core vocal offerings), but Moreno's willingness to share the stage with these surprisingly revelatory snatches of other people's lives makes the album a rare treasure.

    On an album filled with amazing musical and human moments, what is the most arresting? "Saturday" makes as strong a case as any. It opens with a description of the tuning of a mandolin, taken from a 1939 archival recording of American folk songs. Abruptly, a more modern-sounding recording interjects. An African-American man, apparently describing family history to his own relatives, details the real-life struggles of his ancestors (who were apparently brought north to work in coal mines), whose story was fictionalized in the John Sayles film Matewan. These two recordings, each of which says something profound about twentieth-century rural American history, are underpinned by barely-there bass and electric guitar figures, a simple rhythm track and hints of feedback. The music serves to anchor the pieces, adding to their already-considerable resonance without grandstanding.

    Each track on Leftovers From A Wake, whether standard vocal/instrumental ballad, gentle instrumental meditation or musical/found sound hybrid, is a fully realized exploration of meaningfully American themes. As if the disc needed another layer of uniqueness and resonance, the pressing of this remarkable album is limited to 50 hand-signed, numbered copies, available from Keep Recordings. Oh, and all of this goodness can be yours for six dollars. If you have any interest in the transportive effect of gentle, well-made music, you should buy one while you can.

  • Matt @ Indieville

    Tony Moreno's Leftovers from a Wake is by no means a "pop" record, although it is no stranger to accessibility. The first disc on the newly formed Keep Recordings imprint [dedicated to limited editions of around 50 copies each,] it is a folk-influenced experiment in instrumental soundscapery and spoken word storytelling. Throughout the album's thirteen tracks, Moreno combines historical interviews with guitar and electronic accompaniment. The results are very moody and often heartwarming, blending modern textures with archaic themes.

    While Leftovers from a Wake may face a limited fanbase due to a lack of "single"-calibre compositions, it isn't the type of album that can be considered flat-out boring. Moreno's guitar playing is inspired and dramatic; this is especially evident on folkscapes like "Hole the Size of My Heart" and "Saturdays," as well as straightforward acoustic folk numbers "Blood Meridian" and "Leftovers from a Wake."

    Overall, Tony Moreno's album is a great accomplishment - while it's largely a full-length soundscape, the inclusion of many accessible guitar melodies and a few delightfully sorrowful folk ballads will warrant repeated listens. As a whole, this is a tremendously pleasant homemade release - its artwork is beautiful, and the music itself is no different.

Videos of Music Performances

super xx man at acme in pdx nov 2006

super xx man at acme in pdx nov 2006

norfolk video of shortest stare

norfolk & western @ PDX Pop Now! 2005

Music Shows

Music Shows

Past Music Shows

  • 1/6/07 - Portland, OR playing with the Truly Me Club at Someday Lounge
  • 12/29/06 - Seatttle, WA playing with Super XX Man
  • 12/20/06 - Portland, OR playing with the Truly Me Club at Mississippi Studios
  • 12/20/06 - Portland, OR playing with Norfolk at the Doug Fir
  • 11/13/06 - Portland, OR playing with Super XX Man (cd release show!), Quiet Countries, and Jared Mees at Acme. Super XX Man was just covered on OPB radio.
  • 11/9/06 - Portland, OR playing with the Truly Me Club at Someday Lounge with the Dead Science.
  • 2/10/06 - Seattle, WA playing with Norfolk at the Vera Project with Karl Blau, Mt. Eerie, and
  • 2/9/06 - Olympia, WA playing with Norfolk at the Eagles Club with Karl Blau
  • 2/8/06 - Portland, OR playing with Norfolk at the Doug Fir Lounge with Karl Blau
  • 1/14/06 - Portland, OR playing with Norfolk at Portland State University with John Weinland and Loch Lomond
  • 12/17/05 - Portland, OR playing solo at a house show with Bark, Hide, and Horn, and Point Juncture WA. Email me for location.
  • 12/9/05 - Portland, OR playing with Norfolk at the Wonder Ballroom along with Point Juncture, WA's long awaited cd release
  • 11/10/05 - Portland, OR Playing solo and with Truly Me Club and the Graves
  • 11/1/05 - Eugene, ORPlaying with Norfolk, opening up for the Decemberists
  • 10/18/05 - Portland, OR Playing with Beltline and Tractor Operator
  • 10/16/05 - San Luis Obispo, CA At the Frog and Peach playing solo and with Beltline
  • 10/14/05 - Tucson, AZ At the Red Room solo and with Beltline and Campo Bravo
  • 10/13/05 - Los Angeles At the Knitting Factory with Beltline
  • 10/12/05 - San Francisco, CA Make Out Room, solo and with Beltline and Jeffrey Manson
  • 10/11/05 Eugene, OR Playing with Beltline
  • 9/3/05 - Portland, OR Playing with beltline at sabala's in portland; check back for beltline and moreno solo west coast tour dates in October.
  • 8/26/05 - Portland, OR Won't be playing at the Know in Portland - just got back into town from a wedding, and haven't had time to practice with the rest of the folks that help me out. Check out Pentecost Hotel along with milk and hello damascus, though!
  • 8/25/05 - Portland, OR Playing with Norfolk and Western at Dante's in Portland.
  • 8/6/05 - Portland, OR Playing with Norfolk and Western at Loveland in Portland
  • 8/4/05 - Portland, OR Playing in the COBRA at Acme in Portland
  • 7/1/05 Portland, OR Assisting the noble Beltline at the Acme, playing alongside Parks and Rec
  • 6/26/05 Seattle, WA Playing with Norfolk and Western at the Tractor
  • 6/25/05 Portland, OR Playing with Norfolk and Western at the Doug Fir
  • 6/24/05 Portland, OR Performer in John Zorn's Cobra at Acme
  • 6/17/05 Portland, OR Acme, 9 p.m., with Keep Recording's Morning Spy.
  • 5/31/05 Portland, ORPlaying with Beltline for the record release party on Keep Recording at Doug Fir
  • 5/1/05 Portland, OR with Noel Thompson and Susan at the end of the May Day Bike Race
  • 4-30-05 Portland, OR with Noel Thompson at the City Repair Benefit, SE 21st and Division, 1 p.m.
  • 3-17-05 Porltand, OR Red and Black Cafe with Eric Messler from the Graves.
  • 2-29-05 Portland, OR Playing with Norfolk and Western at the Rock and Roll Girls camp benefit with Point Juncture, WA and another great band.
  • 2-19-05 Portland, OR Sitting in with a local band playing pedal steel at Space Monkey coffehouse.
  • 2-9-05 Portland, OR Tony solo, opening up for mward at the Know.
  • 12-30-04 Portland, OR Tony solo (ably assisted by Suzanne on cello and Noel on drums) at Nocturnal with Point Juncture WA, Andrew Kaffer and Ben Galaday
  • 1-7-05 Portland, OR Tony solo (along with Adam on drums) at Red and Black Cafe, with Like a Circus Fire and Beltline

Blog of Music Shows, Narratives, and Other Personal Events

Truly Me Club 11/06

truly me club image played a show 11/06 with the truly me club at a new bar in portland called the someday lounge, where they've got a streaming live video feed. their website has archive of the show. however, their video mask is a bit lacking - doesn't give you the whole view of what was shot that night (jason, songwriter of truly me, is cropped out), nor does it give you a timeline control, so you have to watch the entire show from start to finish. i know, pickypickypicky. to see the whole thing, here's a link to the streaming video unskinned, as they say in that techy speak. probably will launch your quicktime player, but then you can resize it, move the timeline about (hint: we play at around 2:15), see the entire stage, etc. enjoy . . .

3/7/06

11/3/05

just finished a one-off show with norfolk, opening up for the decemberists.

decemberists imagedecemberists imagedecemberists imagedecemberists image

decemberists imagedecemberists imagedecemberists imagedecemberists image

a week before, we had a fun video shoot (click on photo for bigger pic).

norfolk imagenorfolk image

10/18/05

az sunsethome again. 3k+ miles in one week, longest stretch was last night, getting from san luis obispo back home, 12 plus hour drive . . . thanks to james and courtney for the hospitality in slo, and the rest of you for the putting us up in the three different states we stopped at . . .

10/14/05

cactus imagela went off better than expected, as several of rob's friends made their way out on a thursday to catch the early show, first a standup duo followed by a new yorker with attitude singing of bad relationships and whiskey, then us . . . played for one drink ticket and nothing else, as the club had a guarantee for the ny guy, then didn't make enough money to start dolling out the minimal dollars to pay us. similar to what happened last time i played, if i recall correctly . . .. they had four different music shows going on that night at the knitting factory . . . driving to tucson tonight, either a 7 hour or 10 hour drive to get there, depending on traffic, though so far it's been pretty smooth . . . rob's friends we stayed at in la - i had a double take moment of a picture of a couple on their fridge, then i remembered who they were. turns out rob's friends had officiated this couple's wedding, one of whom is a cousin of a friend up in Portland, whom we'd stayed at a few times in san Francisco, making for a smaller world.

california, driving through the desert on 10 east, a big oasis of a casino along with the chain standards clumped about it like tumbleweed. wonder how much different a casino is than a prison, looking at the walls surrounding it and trying to keep all of the occupants inside through any means necessary.

cactus trio

looks like they take all their cars and drive them down a dirt road, then leave them there for the vultures to strip away the tires and the seats, leave the roofs and hood ornaments to slowly rust.

rest stop in the middle of nowhere part 2 (a few miles past the sign that said state prison: do not pick up any hitchhikers): eric's comments on the bathroom's cleanliness: if you washed your hands, they'd be dirtier than if you didn't. rob asked, "did you notice the dead chicken?" . . . The next turnoff down the road: Neighbors Boulevard.

now passing into lightning storm, looking like it's touching down on the road 10 miles ahead. mini thunderstorms on our right, and strips of tires like discarded snake skins on the medium . . .

lightninglightning

10/12/05

morenofirst leg of long trip, going from eugene to san francisco, an eight hour drive in normal conditions, and today is looking pretty good, blue patches alternating with high cotton ball clouds, no threat of rain . . . driving in a rental, as rob opted out on putting 2k + miles on his car with the off chance of it breaking down. nice ride, much more comfortable then the ride we would have been in, though of course we have more stuff now, a few extra guitars and such . . .

remembered a morning several months ago. was biking to work, going down sidestreets, moving west in the southeast, which means the houses get nicer every block. it was around seven thirty - sometimes i wake up earlier than normal and can't get back to sleep, and rather than toss and turn all night, i get up and go to work - and saw her walking barefoot down one of those streets that are unpaved and full of potholes, barefoot in a nightgown and walking, who know from where or to where. i can't seem to remember the look on her face, which means it might have been something that wasn't too memorable, though you would have expected the face would have told a story, but there was no story in her eyes.

reading a nice collection of stories from mcsweeney's, which makes for great touring reading. small snippets of absurd stories that help punctuate the miles of clouds and thick green forests of southern oregon. read a passage, ruminate on the thoughts of the impossibility of the reality of the trash compactor in the death star from the first star wars.

testface testface in eugene

house shows - nice playing them, as opposed to playing some random bar in some random town. much more personable, similar to a speakeasy in the sense that people there that come are all friends or friends of friends, and they come for that reason, as opposed to small clumps of people sprinkled at a bar. or worse, no one there at all, and you're playing to the sound guy and the first band, who are wishing the had loaded out their equipment and escape out the back during the middle of the song. some nights are like that.

stayed at dave from testface in eugene. nice, as last time we stayed there, he was working on his garage into a work studio, while i was working on mine. he did a nice job, installed a loft with a few futons that we slept in. nice workspace, great place to shut the door and lose track of time . . .

and the weird thing about writing, and damning thing is that you need to stop when the editing voice kicks in, even after you've turned off the spellcheck and are typing with your eyes closed to get the flow and rhythm of breathing into the words and damn they typos and dropped commas,etc, when you find yourself obsessing over getting the words typed correctly and backspacing ad deleting the past sentencewordparagaph, questioning the words and thoughts, that's when the thread is lost and you're falling. there's a time for writing, there's a time for editing, there's a time for recording, there's a time for editing and mixing. . . .

and there are stranger things, diving into the past. i have a box full of dozens of notebooks filled with ramblings and rantings and sketches and such over the past fifteen years, and i keep thinking after i get in the accident that leaves me to convalesce for six months, i will dive into this box, and start copying and scanning in the good parts and burn the rest. there's usually a couple of good lines or ideas per page, and the rest is garbage. then there's the words typed into the computer years ago, then backed up on another system, the usual just-in-case sort of thing. and this computer's got words from eight years ago and newer, filled with dusty memories . . .

there are the birds at night. this one outside, it tries out two or three patterns or jingles, then tries some different melody. and there are patterns he/she tries out, variations of the same pattern, not unlike a coltrane searching about in the key of a for the right sequence.

a bird flew by, making a sound like a pair of denim jeans running by overhead.
killing henry, and other practical matters
stealing home, and other practical matters
midnight in a minor key

and other thoughts, of passing time and obsessing over relationships, of wondering how lobotomies are performed, and remembering past roommates. there was one whom I wrote a song about, he was a firefighter, not the kind who would be at the station playing cards in the rec room in the middle of another 24 hour shift of waiting for something bad to happen, the a/c kicking on silently overhead, pushing the cold air into the room quietly from the corner. no, he was the kind that worked the forest fires, ridge runners, digging trenches, clearing the brush, trying to impede the advance. he had stories to tell of snafus of being caught in the path and of lying under blankets huddling, hearing the pass by him with a great crackling and blistering and heat, and of some not making it out. of passing out on cots on break, sweltering in the gear while the flames continued their assault upon the trees. as it works most everywhere, the more he worked, the more he got paid, and the overtime is what made it really lucrative, save for the minor job pitfalls. but anyhow, the song was about how he was saving up to bring his wife over from Japan, which is another song in itself. anyhow, he laughed about needing more work to bring her over sooner, and i thought it would make for a beautiful warped love song about this person who started forest fires all for love, along with all the disturbing thoughts not mentioned, kind of like a whitewashed disney-esque tale that in the end has the two in love together, but doesn't go into detail with the number of animal, plant, and humans that died, or the arrogance of love that makes killing all these alright for one's own desires.

other digressions: an experiment that I was going to try and perform to see if I could go a week without oral communication, to test out the theory whether a member in society could function without opening his or her mouth except for consumption. This written when I was unmarried and was lot more free to explore these thoughts.

"to remember you i drink and i've been thinking of you all night"

late aug 05

wedding imagewedded . . . thanks to james moore of defunkt theatre here in Portland for the shout out in this month's edition of the Portland Monthly. Besides being one of the best playwrights on this side of the hemisphere, I googled James and found he's also a percussion instructor with the ohio state university marching band, founder and ceo of geopartners research, and a doctoral candidate in the learning and teaching area of the harvard graduate school of education, among other things. Crazy . . .

late june 05

what you've heard is true.

early june 05

have a few new rough sketches of ideas in the sounds section. let me know if there's anything worthy . . . probably need to get some of the pics i've been taking over the past half year too, have a bit of a backlog going on.

late may 05

been busy recording with beltline as well as my own thing. playing around with midi, for better and worse . . . weather finally warming up to a nice portland summer . . .

mid feb 05

spring is around the bend, and keeping busy planting, as well as finishing up a small studio in the back of our house; keep recording's compilation is now at, with some great tracks from beltline, dolorean, and charlie parr among others. pick it up at keep recordings website . . . just picked up the graves' new album finally as well as corrinna repps album, both available on hush records, and have been really liking the stuff. hopefully they'll be touring in your area soon; corrinna apparently is working on a new album, recording at type foundry with adam . . . starting to book solo shows for march and april, so check back for that . . . have posted up reviews of the past two albums. check them out on the keep site or go to the reviews page on this site.

eve before the election

the time has finally come to elect a president, hopefully.

other than that, the newest edition of comes with a smile (issue #16), as put out by the very nice folks at hinah records, should be hitting the newstands within the week, though it sounds like there was some gremlins at the print shop . . . this edition will be featuring an alternate track of mine from grand & failing as sung by the wonderful shelley short, formerly of portland, now of chicago, as well as tracks from giant sand, the decemberists, mark eitzel, and tara jane o' neil.

near halloween time, 2004

news of late: playing a few solo shows in october, november, and january; check the norfolk site for that sorta info . . . will be doing a quick n dirty oregon-nor-cal tour, playing with the illustrious beltline. Thursday, Nov. 4th - Eugene, OR @ Lucky's w/ Testface and The Woods, Friday, Nov. 5th - Redding, CA w/ Kelly Bauman , Saturday, Nov. 6th - Chico, CA @ Moxies w/ West By Swan . . . that's all for now.

somewhere in time

canoe imagei have long been away from this writing, but am back, at least for tonite . . . many things to update; new release on keep recordings has been getting some great reviews, thanks to the hard work of jeff out in tucson for all his time and energy. i should be compiling a list of the review and posting it in the near future, as well as getting a few more shows lined up, which will be posted on the norfolk and western site for now . . . more thanks to chad over at hush records for putting the new album in his newsletter, and for putting out some damn fine records over the past few years, with more to come . . . a recent collaboration with a filmmaker, ted davee, has been made into a short film that will be shown over here in portland. ted created this great award film called crowfilm - try and find it if you can . . . for the piece, i collected a variety of noises screeches and such that he mixed into his piece, a film on pipes and tunnels, made from actual video footage of sewers that i believe the city of portland have done in the past. hopefully he'll make a performance piece out of it, and we can do a live sound installation piece to accompany his film . . . geez, what else? . . .

late-jan 04

the snow has melted almost, though there are still ugly rock-looking clumps of black snow piled up here and there. now it is trying to avoid falling on the loose gravel that is on the bike lanes everywhere . . . had second solo show ever, which went moderately well if i was cat power (hah!). a few technical mishaps kind of threw of the whole rhythm, but that's good in itself, otherwise i'd be a smooth operator, which i never will claim to be . . . some nice reviews of leftovers from a wake have come about thanks to jeff's handiwork. they can be found at delusions of adequacy and blue mag. thanks for the kinds words on that one . . .

jan 04

"the snow has arrived here in portland, and the norfolk album is out on hush records! also, the kind jeff over in the the sunny tucson land has put out leftovers from a wake on his new label keep records, so please check out the new design package, as well as the other artists on his very nice site . . . and what else? a new homebrew collection of songs/'scapes is available, entitled grand & failing, which I can mail off to you after gluing up the home-packaging job here at grand & failing household. thanks to all for their comments and opinions on putting it together . . . maybe be doing a re-do of the willy wonka soundtrack with norfolk, after the new year's settles in, then hopefully start doing some shows for the newest album . . .

aug 03

norfolk album should be arriving any day now; release date is coming up through the mighty fine folk at hush records. . . . and yes it is true, there are tshirts available through them . . . norfolk to be playing the music northwest showcase in early "september with other film guerrero bands. adam and rachel will be out touring the east coast in september, then adam will be doing a solo tour out in europe for all of october while rachel tours the states with her other band, the decemberists. then norfolk will be touring the west coast in november. busy busy busy, eh? . . . i've got some solo things works that i've got recording at type foundry under adam's care; hope to have finished by november, when the band will be back in portland to cool their heels and hopefully start work on another album . . . other than that, trying to milk the last days of summer before i go into hibernation mode, and start writing and recording for the next eight to nine months, and see what comes of it . . .

may 03

norfolk album finished! adam has had it mastered, and advance copies are available at the norfolk website . . . I've been working with several non-profits in the Portland area, developing some print and web material for them, which has been great . . . west coast tour coming up in the end of June for norfolk and western playing with the mighty fine band, the decemberists. traveling from vancouver to los angeles and back . . .

april 03

"have returned from the norfolk west coast tour and recording shindig that lasted a little over a week. i think we traveled in the van for over 50 hours in that short time period. a wee bit exhausting, but managed to make it back, in one or two pieces, definitely in need of a little repair here and there . . . word from barcelona is that every night at ten the folks turn off all the power, open the windows and begin banging and hollering at our president's actions. wish there were more people like that here, rather than being sucked into the bs that cnn and the official line that is being spoonfed to people out here. one of many thoughts of the past few months: how many countries have we ever truly "liberated" to democracy? and how many countries have we given arms to or trained (and currently train, read about the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation - sounds a bit like al qaeda here, only in an official classroom rather than the lo-fi desert that the other terrorists use) in the use of weapons/counter-insurgency/torture/murder/etc for "democracy"? . . . perhaps i should get off the soapbox, but seems like there needs to be some clanging inside our own country to fight the official bs line of saving democracy for the free world. we should stop the creation of dictators and terrorism here at home first.

march 03

"time is going by quickly . . . i am honored to be working on a collaborative piece with Luca, a flash designer out in Italy (who has got some great stuff on his site) for born magazine (mission statement from their homepage: "...an experimental venue marrying literary arts and interactive media. Original projects are brought to life every three months through creative collaboration between writers and artists."); i am the sound designer for the piece. hopefully i will have the url to post on that soon; i believe it should be the end of this month. . . . norfolk going on tour at the end of this month, and to record at Wavelab Studios out in Tucson. we'll have some hairy fifteen hour drives ahead of us, but should be good fun . . . donna and toots version one has just been launched, which is clothing design sweatshop here in portland oregon (owned by my girlfriend, aww shucks, draw shapes with toe in sand).

jan 03

happy new years . . . new site posted. hope you like . . . norfolk going on tour in feb up to seattle, and a west coaster in late march, if things work out . . .

oct 02

just got back from a brief nw tour with norfolk and western. played here in portland, oregon, then up in anacortes and seattle, washington, up to vancouver bc, then back to olympia. met some very nice people who gave us space to sleep, namely the Department of Safety in Anacortes (check out their website, see some shows, sleep at their hostel), Stef's house in Seattle, and Adam n Jason over the border for lending their floors.

norfolk and western also has their site launched as of now. more content coming in daily. big news has been that we've been invited on the Sparklehorse european tour in november. 4 out of 5 can go on the bus, so i've elected to stay home, man the posts, and save a bit more money.

i still plan on putting up mp3s really really soon, but have been bogged down working too much and preparing for the euro tour, but should have some free time in november to put things up, now that there is a whole lotta web space available for posting.

"

aug o2

finishing up a few projects this month and september, then will turn my attention back to updating this site with the past half year of projects and such . . . norfolk and western will be playing a few shows in early october in portland, seattle, and hopefully olympia and vancouver, bc . . .

apr 02
norfolk and western have returned from the brief tour with johnathan richman up in the northwest. we had a good time playing up here at the aladdin, showbox in seattle, and in olympia. found another old jc higgins bike in seattle that i couldn't turn down.

norfolk and western have been selected to perform at the first annual meeting of tape op, the recording magazine that should be by your bedside, if it's not already. the show will be in sacramento in may, playing with several great bands, including calexico.

mar 02 "
i have returned from the mward/gorky's zygotic mynci tour in one piece, more or less. drove 2800 miles or so in less than a week, from los angeles california to vancouver bc . . . sf music hall is probably the nicest place in america i have played in. great staff, sound, food, everything . . . nice to be home, though it feels like the road is still moving underneath my feet.

also, the official norfolk and western cd release was on march 8 at the blackbird here in portland oregon. if you are looking to get one, they should be available at all music stores here in portland, or you can contact john at filmguerrero

recently had a show on march 9th with mward and jordan, opening up for theplanetthe and the jicks, stephen malkamus' band, here in portland at the crystal ballroom. quite nice show.

bert is still around, though with a few more gray whiskers on his chinny chin chin.

i've got the pictures posted from the 2001 ward euro trip, along with past pics and other assorted stuff. view them here.

"

Lyrics & Other Words

a collection of past writings from lyrics and whathaveyous. I have a rather large box filled of notebooks written in my 20's that I have yet to review and edit; hopefully I may do that, and post these here.

unreleased

a holiday

i’m going for a holiday
don’t know when i’ll be coming home
i’ll be gone for a little while
be sure to close those shutters when it‘s cold
i’m going for a holiday
when the snow comes i should be home
i'll be coming home
some day i will come home
had me a whiskey summer
wishing I was somewhere closer to you
than my worn pictures/memories
and now the fall leaves’ve been whispering to themselves
their plans to all rush to the ground/give in to gravity
and soon the rain
will stop falling
giving way to the snow
they all must say goodbye
must say goodbye
because they will always
leave you wanting more
leave you wanting more
suppose that’s life and that;s good
leaves you always
wanting more

from grand & failing

longest day

the longest day is over
and all the cubans have found their way home
the longest day is over
and december will always be weighing on your mind

all your friends are over
and they have taken all your drinks
and are laughing at you again

and you’re hoping for a breakdown
to get you out of this tin shed
and start walking this land with your thumb

and too often memory gathers its shards and stands waiting outside a greyhound bus stop in wichita
and the faces that you pass by
they stay with you
through the next twenty miles
and when you died did you feel
your body getting lighter
as you hovered above that operating table
could you feel a smile on your face
and did you see my grandfather
is he still drawing history even now

the longest day is over
and if i could be my own country
if i could be my own country
then this will do for now

grand & failing (not quite right)

thought i heard your voice this morning
long after you had left and gone
you were was calling for our little one to come home
from where he had gone
thought maybe you had turned
into a ghost on me once again

thought there was something not quite right yesterday
when i saw a man kicking another when he was done
a group of others stood and watched the fray
and more than a few added to the blows
above our door the birds kept up with their flirting
while half a block away the blood began to flow

thought of things as i sat and watched
and like the tide the crowd finally ebbed away
and i thought that day was a beautiful one
it was when your son was born that day

catalog

(your) promises are like leaves in the fall
by winter they’re gone
red rimmed eyes
smoke-filled lies
like the barnyard sparrow
how you know (when) to fly south
for the winter
and i’ve kept a catalogue of all your dirty little thoughts
of how many lies
you’ve tried to smile away
of how many other’s recycled thoughts
you’ve tried to pass away as your own
everyone has a cancer burning inside of them
your lies are like a cancer
burning you inside
one needs to stay for a winter
for the rain to wash them away

on my mind

and the day i went blind
i could still see your smile
the teeth that shone like
stars in the night

and you still carry that
moonlight smile
that melts my inside every time

tell them they’re high, that they’re on my mind (2x)

it was late
summer time
and the sun had turned the roses
the color of dust
the color of dust
last night i had fireworks
light off in my head/mind,
and they flared and sparkled and burned
until there was nothing left inside

driving by moonlight

driving by moonlight,
reaching past 70 to cut a few minutes short,
pinch the arm am i still awake
the night holds the light tightly in its grasp
not letting a sliver sliver out cold so what, rains so much
the fireplace will warm at least with the
light
light

dust so high
feels like walking through thigh-high sand
three legged couch makes for a
poor shoulder to sleep on
and there’s holes in the floors
can’t walk around after dark
throw the curtains into the fire

pull another book down in front of the light
watch the words dance about the pages
and thinking about painting the ceiling a new shade of
white
white

sold it all, kept on driving
pulling away from nothing
sheets for curtains
you can feel the air breathing
between the glass and the skin thin cotton
and the walls they have been breathing
and the books they have talking
to themselves at night

from leftovers from a wake

leftovers from a wake

with the moon
weighing heavily on your shoulders
you’ll keep walking on til your shadow
disappears
cold
cold is it
cold it was
and you will breathe in, breathe in the rain
lonely as god
and white as a winter moon
as we find ourselves
amongst leftovers from a wake

and there will be time
for traveling on for more
sunset miles and miles and you
you’re lonely all the time
lovely all the time
ever since he left your side and tonite
your sins are opened wide
and there’s nothing
for the rain to wash away and when
when you grow up
you find the moon
the moon is full of lies and roses
roses can leave
saccharine scars
and how long can you wait
for this water to turn (to wine)
(note: “lonely as god, and white as a winter moon” taken from a mt shasta description by poet joaquin miller, natl geographic oct 2001)

blood meridian

i have come from a hell
seeking water for these lips
i have walked across deserts
with scalded souls
i have followed a judge
who had made gunpowder from coal and piss

i have come for the gold
promised of every scalp
i have liberated
unjustly from its head
and one asks how far a man can travel
without water or blood on his hands
and lord i have wandered
i have wandered
but never alone

and the judge he says
drink up
drink up
for this night
thy soul
may be required
required of thee

from the picturetime collection

picturetime sweetheart

got a wartime lover at the turn of a century
but never can i hold her closer
than the lipstick she leaves on each letter she writes
she lives so many miles away
she’s a beautiful as first snow
and the air about her
always smells like red wine
and she never leaves you like a bottle at closing time
forgetting her is as easy as losing your shadow

got a picturetime sweetheart
whose letters I leave unopened
for fear of finding these words:dear tom I still love you
always have and ever will
but my dear the miles between are too far
so the time must come
to write these words to say to you
and I hope not to bring you down
but every good love
every pure love
every good love must come
to an end

so I turn off the lights
and close my eyes
and I can still see her pictured in the walls of my mind and I’m a stray dog who keeps
coming back
to the memories of when I held her last
it was a picture perfect postcard
of a paris in the rain
and oh how it’s taped up in the walls of my mind

so if you ever find a place dear
where the suns sleeps in summer
where love won’t wither on the vine
be sure to send a postcard
I’ll be sure to tape it
To the wallls of my room
It’ll still be there waiting
for your return

would if i could i would

would if i could i would
call you friend or lover
and to this world I add
that i wish you were here
tonight on this ocean of roads
and that we were drifting
lying on our backs watching the sky move overhead
with the moon nuzzling up to the clouds,
because sometimes my dear
the night gets so beautifully
lovely
lonely

yellow line

thought of you as I crossed that yellow line
trying to find a river to bury this car
now I find myself driving past widow’s houses
thru an aging land divorced from still waters

and I caught myself, I caught myself falling again
and I found myself, I found myself dreaming again

sold it all kept on driving
looking for a place where the snow meets the sand
a place where the bridges have melted in the heat
but nothing, kept on driving

driving thru places where the pictures are bolted to the walls
and the walls they have been breathing
and the books they have been reading themselves to sleep at night
places where gideon’s and cable can always be found

met a stranger took a gamble and lost everything
now I find myself building stone walls for nothing
and waiting and wondering
if you’re still counting stars until I come home

and I caught myself
I caught myself falling again
and I found myself
I found myself dreaming again
and I found myself
I found myself high again
and I caught myself
I caught myself crossing that yellow line once again

more fingers than teeth

welcome my son
to this land of four seasons
of present tense here and now
there’s such a rush to get outdoors
for the sun hasn’t gone yet south to sleep
it’s been so long since I heard your smile on the phone
i’ve been swimming near the bottom for too long
waiting for the hunters to leave
waiting for the leaves to turn to rust
then lord will I give in to settling down
of planting seeds and waiting for the trees to rise
that’ll be the time when cars stop breathing
a time when i’ll have more fingers than teeth

leaving las vegas/waiting for the water

and i’ll be leaving in the morning from las vegas
in a pine box that’s built for two

and lord it’s been a long one full of moonlight smiles
and warm summer hands but lately i’ve only been feeling
ocean water with its rise
and eventual fall

and lord have i been drinking
just to stop the thinking
and lord have i been drinking
just to stop the thinking
of the lovely one
that you’ve taken, taken from me
and lord this easy life’s not so easy
when you’re living it with nothing to fill
the emptiness inside
and lord it’s a long one to wait
for the water to turn back to wine
and sometimes water so sweet
and sometimes water so bittersweet

and lord have i been drinking
this water from the wine
and lord have i come to believe that when you took her
you left a part of her in me
that’s kicking and screaming to be let out
that’s slowly dying inside of me
and lord have i been drinking
just to stop the thinking
and lord have i been drinking
yes i have been drinking
and lord have i been sinking
have i been sinking

the marathon runner

i can fly but i have a fear of coming down
at 25 i learned to craw
in two years i'll be running away from here
and last night i ran a marathon
and i waited for the stars to burn themselves out
because the stars, they blind more than the sun

bromaldehyde
bromaldehyde

and somedays the nights are too long to wait
for the mornings to come
and somedays i'd swear the mornings
have disappeared
and last night i ran a marathon
with my feet nailed firmly to the floor
and i won't stop running
til the morning if it ever comes

bromaldehyde
bromaldehyde

mind spinning
filled with thoughts of what i can't do with you
and tonight i'll hold this candle til i burn
and i wonder if i can make it through the last call
without a not so nervous breakdown
because i can fly but i have a fear of coming down
i can fly but i have a fear of coming down

in the eye

thought by now
I would have
forgotten your smile
spent a year last week
trying to forget
wasn’t sure
if I was supposed
to drink what was given to me,
smells like
something
you put on your skin after you cut it
the moon has come
and gone
the birds
are starting to look for the worms
and you’re as
beautiful
as first snow

from other collections

turning right, motioning left (broken turn signal)

been driving like i'm in a movie
never really see what's going round
can't remember the last time that my feet
have touched the ground

been driving like i'm i a movie
where nothing works on the dashboard
because it's all made of cardboard
and there's no back seat but a backlot
and wherever i go it feels like someone's watching me
and wherever we go and whatever we do
the water's still coming in at my feet.

but nothing ever felt so real
as this driving
nothing ever felt so real

salsipuedes

been driving for days
must’ve fallen asleep at the wheel
woke up in a town called salsipuedes

the air here tastes just like whiskey
and i stand here waiting for my memory to return
then i’ll drop my glass and split in two

at the cock’s crow it was 106 degrees
in the shade of my shadow
my car was a black oven on wheels
so i got out and walked the street
past gardens of steel rust
and fences with barbed fangs
couldn’t find my reflection much less a stray thought
to call my own

this town’s more like a prison where everyone wants to get out
the houses stand here til the last nail rusts then they all fall in a silent heap of termites and dried blood
you can smell the poison in the air

out here even the devil shovels his own coal
and out here you take those wings off your shoulders
out here you take those wings off your shoulders

hole in the head

and these words that come to your hands
they come from a hole
that hole is in my head

my head it feels so heavy
it feels like falling to the ground
and the ground is very damp
so very very damp
from this hole in my head

and more words come to your hands
more words that you can hold
these words you put in a box
a box that lies by your bed
a box that overflows
with these words from my head

and these words might make you sigh
and these words might make you cry
and these words might make you laugh
and these words might make you go to a 3-story window
overlooking the sky
the sheltering sky overhead

kingsbury

black painted on white, falling to the green
another roll with another's life
kingsbury pale, where have you gone
where have you taken my life

with my head full of plaster and lungs made of smoke and clothes filled with soot and ashes
let the first blow fall softly on the nail

just let me down easy
let me down slow

i can dance upon the tip of a needle without breaking skin
i should’ve been a mountain not a leaf
to be blown about carelessly

sullen october eyes

tennessee’s not the place to be when you’re sitting on a park bench and writing a letter to keep yourself company

you say you find it’s easier
to let the liquid down before the words come stumbling out
if at all

sullen october eyes
closing towards the winter
sullen october eyes
have done their best

waking to a new face in the mirror every morning
what i want to know is have you found yourself
and you wonder if people remember you wrapped in cracked leather and laugh, lala la la

sullen october eyes closing towards the winter
sullen october eyes have done their best

north, smoking

and isn’t it funny how you wish for more fires to burn
with the thought that the burning
will bring you closer to her

a thousand acres of flame
that wave but do not drown
as they reach for the sky
and bring
everything down

thought i’d start on my way
north smoking
light a match every hundred miles
thought i’d start on my way
north smoking
light a match for a friend
but i lost faith in fires