Dead Flag Blues

Saw a burned-out car on a night time street about a month back. No one was around, no sign that anyone was coming back for it. Just a car that had been on fire, and then put out, and then…

Forgot I had taken a picture of it until I was amusing myself with the “draw on” function in my phone.
It reminded me of The Dead Flag Blues, which is a poem incorporated into Godspeed You! Black Emperor‘s F#A#.

(I especially like the feel of driving around 8:20, the hands on the wheel. This is what I used to do in the wee hours in Indiana… drive around listening to GY!BE, letting my grasp of the time/space continuum slip)

The car is on fire, and there’s no driver at the wheel
And the sewers are all muddied with a thousand lonely suicides
And a dark wind blows

The government is corrupt
And we’re on so many drugs
With the radio on and the curtains drawn

We’re trapped in the belly of this horrible machine
And the machine is bleeding to death

The sun has fallen down
And the billboards are all leering
And the flags are all dead at the top of their poles

It went like this:

The buildings tumbled in on themselves
Mothers clutching babies
Picked through the rubble
And pulled out their hair

The skyline was beautiful on fire
All twisted metal stretching upwards
Everything washed in a thin orange haze

I said, “Kiss me, you’re beautiful –
These are truly the last days”

You grabbed my hand
And we fell into it
Like a daydream
Or a fever

We woke up one morning and fell a little further down
For sure it’s the valley of death

I open up my wallet
And it’s full of blood

And then a few days ago, walking down another night-time street, I saw a mostly-deflated helium balloon, slowly making its way down the sidewalk at the whim of the breeze. Which was another incredibly lonely and more than slightly creepy image.
While admittedly I’m already in the headspace for this, it made me think about how we take care of what we create, the constant threat of nature encroaching on what we’ve carved out, the ease of use of organic-feeling tech and the alienating feel of using something that isn’t quite working (when it should be working, as opposed to the chunky feel of steam-powered things).

6 thoughts on “Dead Flag Blues

  1. Ah – loves me some Godspeed You! Black Emperor. 🙂

    Are you familiar with Explosions in the Sky, Hrsta and Reason d’Etre?

    And I really should get you copies of some of my old girlfriend Ann’s shots of post-Katrina New Orleans. Haunting stuff. She has a fondness for buildings that have been abandoned by Man and are being reclaimed by Nature, and she maintains a collection of images dealing with that subject.

    Great seeing and working with you again last night, and getting to know Baron better, too.


  2. W: “I’m going to drive an hour to Lafayette to get Jones Soda, wanna come?”
    B: “Sure do!”
    W: “I have Godspeed You! Black Emperor on MiniDisc, do you want to listen to it?”
    B: “Sure do!”

    *There is a large barge with a radio antenna on it set up to charge and discharge*

    As the stubble of abandoned corn fields swept past, draw for my eyes by the headlights of a golden Buick, and the music washed over me in a cool wave I slipped into wonderful realms of imagination and realized that the soundtrack to your journey is nearly as important as the journey.

    And, that W makes me creamy.

    And earlier in the trip, that The Impossibles make spousal abuse “So Much” more upbeat.

    • I miss the Impossibles. I don’t have anything of theirs any more.

      It will be good to see you, neb. Give me a buzz as I don’t have your number any more.

      You know, I still have the blurb you wrote for me for senior speech team thing. Yup.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.