"People think they know all these things about other people, and if you ask them why they think they know that, it'd be hard for them to be convincing." Elliott S.
This is dedicated to artist William Blake, a man who hated generalizations. My apologies to Elliott’s myth. BlaspheME — I believe (oops) I will commit.
EXHIBIT E: Elliott Smith – NOTED
Here goes NOTHING…
Happiness — by Stevie Smith
Happiness is silent, or speaks equivocally for friends,
Grief is explicit and her song never ends…
Stevie Smith spoke of suicide. Wrote about death. Laughed with, at it. Swam circles around the allusion, but didn’t commit to the end until taken by brain tumor. Stevie Smith was not Bobby Fuller.
Bobby Gaston Fuller — committed to suicide fully — by the LA Coroner who then changed the determination to accidental death due to asphyxiation by gasoline. It CAN happen. But, unfortunately one of the cops threw out the can found in the car thinking it wasn’t important. [NOTE: Details.] Months ago, when I called the LA Coroner’s office to find out why Rock NYC was getting charged for talking to the coroner about the Elliott Smith case, the voice first said – Oh –Bobby Fuller.
Bobby Fuller — who fought the law and the law won? Not. From my understanding, both lost. No one who knew Fuller would’ve either expected him to die during a session of gasoline ingestion [sans jest] or to beat himself about the face and chest; but friends do jump to conclusions, I guess. Though few know of Fuller; and perhaps know Elliott Smith, no better, still, Bobby fuller was not Elliott Smith. And maybe those who knew Smith sometimes doubt they knew him at all. Steven Paul Smith’s no less baffling death stands at the half commitment to a motivation. Determination: inconclusive. More likely that someone could stab himself than drink gasoline; siphon tube, match at hand, but neither could’ve lacked determination to commit to such endings. However, one’s got to know the circumstances to understand motivation…and, unfortunately, that is not an M.E.’s job.
According to the general listener’s take, Elliott Smith’s life was one long suicide note ending with an alleged “real” one found on a sticky post-it. The general view also accords that if ever there was 100% proof of a melancholic-holic abolished by his own hand it was contained in Smith’s brand. Suicide. Something sticky spilled on that notion and by gum — amal-glum stuck to Smith like fly paper. If you’re gonna soar sore, something is bound to pore out and touch someone like blue ice dumped from a passing plane. The general public below thinks the sky is falling. Get too close to the sun — we all traipse through your waxy wing residue, Mister. Glum sticks forever to one’s clod-hoppers. See most every write up about Elliott Smith for that SPIN on the axiom. But – I’m not pouring anything on too heavy here, am I? Gasoline, maybe.
Suicide? Smith’s parting words to some he knew — many years before his death — dwelled in his musing. If not an amusing muse; an amusement. So they say. Be that if it may, it’s still too easy to pin the tale on the one who quietly roared about nothing and everything. Suicide speak is relative to the existential philosophy. It’s impossible to diss /cuss life without death – east or west – it seems more real to philosophers than the illusion of life and morality. Elliott Smith was an artist. For all the “evidence” of a quotidian depression — both underscored and overrated — what IF— metaphor was metaphor and poetry was the what for –- told tales — and not the end of the story as mostly stated? Is it really plausible to divisively determine the culpability of an artist whose work made his own image? Imagine that Elliott’s mistake was allowing those clues to beat a path to the door(s) of general perception [NOTE: A Bill Blake take] and to take a life of their own. Knock, knock — who’s there?
The more I looked at Elliott Smith during this endeavor to find out why his case stands open, the more I personally became uncomfortable calling the subject of the objective — “Elliott”. “Elliott” was containment. A form. A hiding place in plain sight with no certain center, but a lot of hoops and fragments and fractures, pieces from which behind …Ugh. STOP — you know – who wants to hear about some subjectively slitted sheet? Most only want to hear his music. Why else would they listen to dense metaphor…? Maybe they don’t hear it that way. The first layer of interpretation functions fine, so that’s where it stops. “Don’t wait to be hunted to hide. That’s always been my motto.” [NOTE: Molloy. Composed by Sam Beckett.] O – OK, then. Ready or NOT. Here I come! ALL E, ALL E OXEN free.
The white lady … little one…the wolf man… son of sam…dead imagination…oblivion…lost ones or — W(HOW)ho can take a rainbow- — sprinkle it with — do what? You mean — cover it with an impenetrable cloud of deflection that the general listener will bounce off of like radiation off of a lead curtain? Not loud, not proud -– ladies and gentleman —- Elliooooooott SMITH. Though ANA-lie-zing takes NOTHING away from lionizing -– from his work, we take whatever thing we do. What IF E was masquerading as poetry? What if NOT? If you want to focus on the curtain as locus -– go ahead — it allowed him to nurture the lack thereof. Absence. Silent presence. Nothing. [NOTE: Sam Beckett] Nothing is more real than nothing Poof. There’s no proof of anything with nothing. But it’s richer mining when not minding ditch digging along the Elliott Camino Real in clod-hoppers. NOTHING’s a whole lot of something when you think about it in terms of mani(n)fested destiny. But none of it wouldn’t have mattered if not for the open ended story line.
QUESTion: What did Elliott Smith have in common with protagonists Scarlett O’Hara, the Wizard of Oz, and James Joyce, Sam Beckett, Soren Kierkegaard? General listeners might list a couple of denominators. Drugs — alcohol… wind?
Scarlett O’hara covered her ambitions well in a dress stitched from a curtain in order to save what mattered most — home.
Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Isaac Norman Henkel Emmannuel Ambroise Diggs [NOTE: The Wizard of Oz] was a master of projection. Not just a talking head. He gifted others with self-possessed gifts: courage, a heart, a brain — a way home. But the man behind the curtain was really just a guy from Omaha, Nebraska… Waaaaaaait a second…
James Joyce. Portrait of An Artist and Chapter 7 from a more/less than obscure tale about beating it home.
Kierkegaard. O (ye) general public – LISTEN to what I don’t say! MOTTO: Consider the SOURCE — not SOREN — the messenger with bad hair impersonating a slacker impersonating a bon vivant with a bad attitude. Transcendence is Relative 2 Rotation. Sublimation: don’t live home without it. Either/ Or.
Sam Beckett. Joyce’s homey. The Anti-Semantic from O–pa—CITY – Vivified in Oblivion. Neither/ Nor.
Like those listed, it wasn’t image or imagination E lacked. An artist stood behind his product. POINT BLANK: Elliott Smith is an artifact.
Exhibit E. ID: EL – I – OT – with a T for good measure. TS [NOTE: Not the AngliCAN poet.] T-Symmetry. Backward. Kicked in the ass by entropy in a system not of one’s making. MATTER of fact — backward — “El –li –ot- t” – SI – IS — etymologically — “one’s ear to God”. BUT — before you think I’m going all PRO-found here…WAIT!
GOD-OT? [NOTE: The T is silent.] No. Beckett [NOTE: The T is not silent.] would’ve said it if it was so so he said. Creator. Breath. Blown… up. Out of proportion. Who’s your daddy…The Boot…Big Bang. Bull. Yeah. Bull. No, really. In the early days – God was a bull. And to many, is still. Our Bog is Dood. [NOTE: More Stevie Smith.] And this dude was definitely bog, Elliott Smith. [NOTE: The Coreolis Effect. Spin that Olaf Bboggs could get behind. See Sam Beckett run the show from the WC.] GODILLOT. Combat boot.
E knew what was in a name and — more importantly — what was NOT. Beckettian Who Do…the unnamable. No Name #1 to No Name # 5….Coincidence? I think – NOT. But coincidence and parallelisms became the little engine that could link and lift these fragments into the fragged ship that became known as Elliott Smith. RE-Joyce. Opposable thumbs up. You say you want an involution – well, you know – drop the subject. Object to oneself. Go UN-PROnoUN!
It stands to reason that an instantiated manifestation of an artifact –Exhibit E – Elliott – was constructed by one reticent yet savvy individual with a penchant for using a palm and a stick to disturb his backtracks to give the impression that he was a one trick pony. I don’t know NOTHIN’ ‘bout birthin’ no ‘magination! (Like hell.) E knew where he came from – maybe just not precisely which auscultation would inspire respiration per clod of dirt. That’s the nature of art. Yet — O — vacuous truth — no different in that regard from other artists was El –l – ot –t. What is visited upon those latently receptive to discovery can elevate in the momentary. And take you out. Way out. Where no one will even bother to look for you anymore — Stephen Dedalus!!! You get back here! At least wear a helmet if you aren’t going to tether your ass to flat terror no VA and sail off the deep end! [NOTE: NOT the United State – SpanishISM for the state of NO go.] So — which way did E go?
Whaddam tryin’ to cypher IS — truth and art and creation don’t — happen in a vacuum – or — avoid. In general, it takes a belief system to make them happenstance. Influence, confluence, elements, conditions. Amalgam. Suck it up believers and non-believers alike. Composition is the means to the end. It is the end. Work, work, work, Edison. No MOJO? Work? Whadda you crazy? YEAH — even artists and genies don’t see MOJO coming. But one might catch a pitch in the pitch black when listening. Like – it IS crazy! But, once upon a time in an artist’s hands – it’ll breathe and take on a life of its own and with a little elbow grease and spit shine, become your reflection. Universal birth via abstract conception… detonated. BANG! BAM! K-Boom.
And that’s where I come pokin’ around the compost pile. Back to paraphrasing William Blake – “If I don’t create my own system I am doomed to live by someone else’s.” And so I come pokin’ around. This ain’t no straight line continuum. No, this ain’t. And I come pokin’ around. Back to where I started. WAIT! A circle? And along the fragmented “Examignation” [NOTE: Jimmied Joyce] I stumble on more mere mortals who illuminated the dark with their handhelds for grift grafters. [NOTE: From the Tree of Life/ K, Bud?]
WHOly Slitted Sheet! Dante Alighieri? Son of Sad –WOE! Why – it’s flippin’ Filippo (a.k.a. Giordano) “The Shadows of Ideas” Bruno – the fiery, enthusiastic quantum visionary monk burned at the stake for putting so much at stake for proof’’s sake instead of heaven’s! Common denominators for this Chain Gang — The G word—dare I say it? O – UN-speakable reality! K – I will — memory — mathematics — nomenclature — Oh, my! Veni, vidi — Vico!? Jurisprudence Giambattista! Get thee B — hind – our Deacon Beacon BECKETT?! Poetic progeny of Joyce — my — word — a veritable ROUND table of sticky wicket ala Chapter 7 from Ulysses. Why — ELLIOTT SMITH! What is this sheet? Where in hell is “Master SAD — Mister Misery”? In the 8th circle, of Canto XXX, bustin’ on falsifiers with Virgil and Dante, I suspect. I’m seeing why E didn’t bother to clue the general public into the possibilities. Nein. Most would be even more lost for reasons other than disillusionment. WHERE would be the point? We all interpret according to our experiences anyway. It is what it isn’t.
Elliott Smith was not Bobby Fuller. Elliott Smith was not William Blake. Elliott Smith was Steven Paul Smith. And Stevie Smith was Florence. [And I am not Delia Bacon] Common denominator: Observer. Hell—O. If we ask Steven to stand up and explain himself — he can’t. Nah. He’s gone. And Elliott left the building. Gone with the wind. Probably would say “Talk to the robot hand” anyway. SO – instead we have to listen to tales of brave…Waaaaait a second… of which we pretty much just get to hear the tale end … it overshadows what many read as foreshadowing…but. The more I looked, the less I saw the means to that particular end. Suicide? Upon listening again –-St. Cecilia [NOTE: Patron Saint of Music.]! The end is NOT in his music —- OR lyrics — NOT — is not the end. It’s just more Beckettian WHO DO. Heads up. Son of Slam Dunk. E had ENDgame [NOTE: Beckett.] Zugzwang! [NOTE: Game theory. It is sound.]
If you want to talk about ES’ genius — I personally am only using the word to illustrate popular perception because I think we do folks an injustice by lobbing the G spot every time we see a real piece of work. And I mean Arthur Conan Doyle real [NOTE: Sans faeries.]; bustin’ up the tyranny of mediocrity. G-N-I-US strips away street cred and 75% perspiration where petal pedal power hits metal mettle and feet touch ground and allows for the general humanity of an individual. How about really good at something instead? So good, many didn’t notice just HOW good he was? Where he could skip giant steps by 25%? Up or down. Metal — pick up…zip, zip…zugzwang…and move his self and others from or to ground zero. Creativity is a spark in the dark. Mobility. Motility. Metal. Conductivity. A medal is a hero’s reward forged by mettle and a ball peen. Hammer away, Master Smith. Exhibit E’s take – SHAPE — a demonstration of the circumferential… parallel relations…per revolution…par revelation.
Call it a take on a guy who gave away a lot and nothing. He wouldn’t be a zero if he wasn’t such a hero… Oh, I like the hero aspect of our protagonist E… Beckett, Kierkegaard, Dante, Joyce had places for theirs to go to, too – to hell and back — zugzwang — but was that inevitable aspect –- just a speck of our antihero? You know what they say about making assumptions. So I am going to go headlong into one… the zero. Affix that hole where the rain came in and caused the flood that floated them through their tribulations to tribute.
E: Punch and Judy-ism. Elliott wore the curtain so well it became confused with message. Elliott starring as — Dante in hell –- Dante in purgatory, Dante in love — and heaven, as well. Up and down he fell. But it wasn’t “curtains” for him. It was his take. His discovery. He caught onto the tales of others and went along for the ride. Maybe he figured sooner or later others would catch onto his… Oops. His mistake. It became a super hero cape. A turban? His zero — a halo(gen). Truth is ineffable when seemingly accessible and heard precisely so.
I’m not a recreational reader (believe it or not). No fondness for it. So I don’t necessarily feel the ties that bind to a literary itinerary. Everything I found was found along a scavenger trail. I, with my kerchief, tied in a neat bundle at the end of a stick from which I poked around under the loosely turned f —– bucket — shuddup –- did not. Nah, played hunches, is all. And this is the result of my own crap — shoot! I am the stickman in my own game. Quolibet! A quodlibet … No matter wither, O — if I’m writing about a relic — bits of bone and hair and nail upon which that I might hit –-might NOT yet — I still recognize a crapshoot and this may amount to just that. Quaqua — E man qua E man — my take –- from observation — and from speaking to some who knew him. I’m just an observer — as were they. So — aren’t we all? As was Smith. Through the window of my bathyscaphe I see, si? We all live in a submersibilant don’t we all [NOTE: No matter the shade of yellow.]? Shhhhhhhhhh. You gotta limit the tourism. Don’t encourage gawkers like myself to rubberneck. But then — to me — the Emperor [NOTE: Butterfly.] isn’t wearing a curtain!!! He’s wearing nothing, et al. HOW CAN I NOT STARE? He looks human. And, in the music industry – THAT’S WEIRD! [NOTE: HEY! Whadda ya lookin’ at?? NOTHING.]
If Elliott Smith wasn’t considered synonymous with his creation –- I might be less apt to get out my stick to scribble my diagrams in the dirt. Alas, I am a fan. Long on wind I am. An admirer of his work (cough, cough) — but, there’s already enough mire clogging the cogs of the Deus Ex Suicide Machina – this Windtalker [NOTE: Navajo Code Makers] — Exhibit E.I am just a lowly watcher who is interested in what makes things go round (and hum when I get too close). The longer I watch — the turbine spins backward (does this mean I am left brained or right?) –- stare too long, it appears to not be spinning at all (forget I asked). I ponder the idea of having to fend off the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and fame with one’s own hand and still strive to stay clean and alive when the sheet hits the fans. No wonder so many hit the bottle or anything that takes away the sting. Do I blame Elliott? I sorta kinda do, to my surprise. He put himself wherever when he knew better. But then I blame myself for not trusting my own intuition. So — who am I to point my stick and blind a p(i)lot? He wasn’t part of my social circle. So I don’t harbor disappointment to any degree -– 0 % irrevocability. Nothing hiding under my tell or see. Yep. I am a neophyte new to this fight or flight appreciation for Elliott. Seems there are 2 camps racing round outside the doors of perception. Dood-dah. Dood-duh. Round and round they go. I am merely an observer in the stands. OK – maybe NOT anymore. I crashed the party most everyone wanted to leave alone. [NOTE: Bettin’ on the nags.] But — It takes 3 –- perspectives to create a medium: 1 — 2 create –- 2 — 2 see — and 3 is the interpretation N between. “3 pins. 1 pinhole.” [NOTE: O – Beckett!] K –So I continue poking around in the dark. Let’s go, already. Let’s GoGo get real lost lost with Elliott Smith! Because that was the first song of his I ever actually heard knowing who it was playing it. And I suspect it fulfilled his objective. It’s precisely how I found Elliott Smith. I wasn’t looking.
PING. PING. So much shhhhh —it’s at the bottom of the see. Seems Elliott wasn’t the only one who couldn’t make a sound [NOTE: PING. A drop in the Beckett bucket]. Many of those around him reacted in kind. Still waters do run deep. From the window of a bathyscaphe they found the Titanic in 2 pieces 80 years afterward. E’s case has about the same odds. Unfathomable. I want to see “Elliott” brought UP and OUT into the light. Direction and depth relative. ANA. The perfect prefix for a bog. IN, ABOUT, ON – AGAINST– NOW – But — with enough apologies to go around –- and round – and it might take as long as it took to sink and raise the Titanic. There are folks who think an excavation disturbs uneasy calm. It’s a fact. Can’t bring life from artifact… so don’t go TELL it on the mountain. Keep it under rap. Desist detonating a depth charge. Dang. She wins the race — again — hands down — that ship – the BIG T. So I help rearrange the musical deck chairs with Rock NYC…
I am attempting something unnecessary — brash, impolite. I want to look at Elliott’s penchant for camouflage and hiding in sight. I am rude and nosy. Ouch (Get off my —! Uh, uh. No CAN do.) And I don’t — believe he didn’t leave trails for levelers. Even lobsters leave and follow trails halfway across the acqua floor via electromagnetism. Whadda misfortune! But — you can’t lose IT. Magnetism. Stillness conducts. Yes,m. Ism – I am choosing to look at it this way. We’re all composed — an arc of electrons — IONS. ISM. Sufferin’ suffixes. It’s my aphorism and I’ll cry if I want to! Some crackle. When lightning strikes some can no longer get close to a device without something going a-wry. A random act of atmospheric occasion changes lives. CatasTROPH(i)E engraves char(actor). Decomposition-ism. [NOTE: Saul after witnessing the stoning of Stephen. St. Paul.] Conversion – it’s ELECTRIC! But some are just born that way – or not born well enough from the beginning that they conduct a path that never finds ground. Instead, they rise. So I turn over the stones leading to Beckett and Biiiiioooon! The Original Half Baked Buns in the oven – by way of Carl Jung – and the concept of living life without having been born…how about backward? That’d throw Keirkegaard into the pile of — hot CROSSed buns. Did E take a cue from these masters of presentation and (missed)perception who make HEY! of despair? Hay — Maybe. CHECK, mate. [NOTE: And I did.]
I hear from a couple of birds who knew Exhibit E that he disturbed compasses with palpable density [NOTE: NOT literally]. So easy to get caught in the draft he created by standing still. Don’t know if anyone can say they knew him well. The bog’s a well too deep to tell. Elliott radiated — messed with air — and (to some) breathed it rarified — many who knew him learned to hold their breath…pick a reason or a version. (Besides not washing hair.) With an alter ego born on the day the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, we might as well /will throw that on the pile of exclusionary (blown up) bits that make a man who he was to be… a stealth bomber. Foreshadowing AND fission. Literally.
We all know E was no stranger to spillage. We know E was so blue. But what we general public types whom E didn’t think about generally think about E – there’s quite the limited perspective from others, too. BUT — do tell (those he knew well) -– I hear E would hold your hair for you while you spilled, as well. And hold your hand. So – anyone who knew him well enough to say he was centered on a singular notion of — HEY! I‘m Mister Misery –- get your own riff –– I say they better say he was no less in need than they –- and they would know it –– but maybe won’t say.
But it’s the future listeners and kids in need of a hero that I think about. It’s too damned easy to get lost in spin. Centrifugal force keeps you pinned, butterflies. Make your own wings. Stay away and out of and from paraffin. (Unless you were born with functioning gills.) Crack — a book instead — if you want to be under the influence. Look at the crash site between what IS and EFFIN’ NO WAY. Don’t believe the HYPE(o)dermic hyperbole. If you want to get literal — E didn’t shoot up. Implication probability: injection = category math theory = ID mapping distinct arguments/ objects to distinct images/objects = 1 to 1 = inclusivity = I hate math [NOTE: I mean, ME. I hate math.] HEY! Did I lose you? See Wilfred Bion for grouping possibilities on this magical Mister E tour. I’m just sayin’. Ma—maaa—MAPS! E was into laying it and ALL out in the spaces between. Coordinates, GEO–metry — syntactically. Co–sines. Good luck finding that right angle. Relation ships are spatial. Passing in the dark. Play it again, Sam — in the key of E. UN-LOC. [NOTE: Level of Consciousness – Line of Code – Load of Crap.] the door. Yeah – Because I'm selling encyclopedias!
Knock, knock – who’s NOT there? [NOTE: At the Doors of Perception found by Huxley — Origin – Blake] Getting to know you – getting to know the concept of NO-Thing [NOTE: To the tune of The King and I]. How many artists — thinkers — does it take to keep this continuum going? One – to change the bulb — by shooting it out and/or just plain turning it off – or on. Wink, wink. Blink, blink. Everything looks different in the light of counterintuitive comparison.
Son of Sine waved and signed off by his own hand? Elliott Smith versed curses? Hell! Most might say it so. E’s voice was the sine wave that carried the message out. Hear it? It’s all over the… What the… huh? LemME see that! E layered his stuff with sooooo many triple threat definitives — how the hell he can be lugged — tagged — as a juggernaut is Bion to me – yeah – Bion. Wilfred Bion. Beyond Becket – the Bion(ic) Man — Beckett’s twin in absentia. No way in hell E didn’t come across Bion along his way. Joyce. Beckett. Kierkegaard – Dostoyevsky – ardent reader E. Didn’t bore very easily — unless it was into a psyche like a boll weevil into a 1000 thread count. A shroud, for crying out loud. 2 ply yarn! But that lady was in the Bion/ Beckett white pages. I call snake eyes – Estragon needs new boots, baby! And toss ‘em ‘gainst the lack of controversy. Die – di – id — DIDI! It’s how you say it. Or don’t. What’s the differential if I’m wrong? So what – BUTTON UP, BUTT IN? Yeah. That’s why this mess exists in the first place and why I have to keep scraping my clod-hoppers. Shh — it’s real.
E-mission. E was Mercury, folks. The story didn’t belong to him alone. But I don’t plan on convincing anyone in particular of this unpopular notion. The interior life of the anti-hero was mapped by a convincing courier; interpreter — messenger — with built-in sonar. The transducer: implications and applications inherent in his own experience and sheer CANdela power. Radiant intensity. ROC solid. [NOTE: Signal detection theory.]. The inner world of artists passes truth through the smallest world borders. Mercury [NOTE: Hg 80]. Heavy metal mouth, Elliott Smith, had a light, life. MOJO he was not. The MOJO found him in the dark. Flint reconnaissance. WAIT! THIS IS Sam, I am certain — Son of Sam knew the plight of being lost, sightless – white – and gone. We all create better in the dark. But we execute in the light. So here’s a little light reading to kill time…
“All poetry has to do is make a strong communication. All the poet has to do is listen. The poet is not an important fellow. There will always be another poet.”
So said Stevie Smith. Not Steven Smith — Florence. I think Elliott would agree with Stevie. I think Florence would recognize and find Steven in the dark, no matter how lost he got himself.
Elliott — Wolfman. King’s Crossing overture. Ovid? No. Freud. Wolves in trees. A dream of the abused patient of Sigmund Freud. Wolf Man. But do I know I am certain? NO. But I can guess any way I want because he – E — left the doors of perception wide open. If Freud could change the landscape with his perspective on perception — why, then, oh why can’t I? Why do so many accept at face value what could very well be a Freudian luge job? Forget the slip. This is a ride down a tricked up, ice slicked mountain. From the top of the lift — between 2 points of access. [NOTE: Ugh.] Weeeeeeee. Who says taking a spill isn’t fun? If there’s NOTHING to catch you -– you might fly. There’s freedom in spillage. Truth. Well, at least momentarily. And that’s all that counts. E had it going on in the department of double entendre and we take the slide in stride. And assume…
Suicide? But – wait! But there is a list of listening sublimators who made it through the spill. That spill was a tumble; maybe a broken collarbone… a broken crown… but not a broken man. Which way Id E go? My point —
Is at the end of my stick. Another view. Who takes a writer at his word when said word is written in clue? Okay – so there are whole religions founded on the premise. Evidence to some. Ya gotta have faith to make it happen. But –- THE LAPD? WHY — if they did — did the police take such a thing at face value? Fraught with contractions, contradictions, allusions and the intrusions of folks just like me -– non-readers. Because E literally played it to the hilt — OR — Did E? OR did he just “fit” type – context. Do the rest of us have writer’s block… we only see what we think we hear? We get what we see.
Regardless — it is within Elliott Smith’s rights to have a comb pulled through the criterion nits caused by his own wits. If for no other reason than to give another interpretation to a vastly underdeveloped view of material that means so much to folks who need to know that their beloved beacon actually created in the dark. More to my point: Exhibit E couldn’t have sublimated his reputation as a Suicide Machine without the help of an audience who thought the sky was falling. Curtains. Symbiosis. And the power of the peddle meeting meddle. Media. If you’re an artist fond of a pratfall, it would be one one would be hard pressed not to punk poker faced. Metaphorically speaking, E might’ve held his cards close to his nose, but E was not Bobby Fuller. For the record, I’ll bet Bobby Fuller wasn’t the only one who knows he wasn’t the one holding that siphon at the end – of his nose.
Nothing can be more contemptible than to suppose Public Records to be true. So said William Blake.
OK. Shake a stick and kick metaphor out the door — FACT. Did either/neither, Fuller or Smith, get an investigation that refused to accept a premise and denouement that seemed as strange as fiction? Is intuition at odds with method? Science sees artifacts created through an investigatory error. When we can’t explain the difference between reality and an anomaly — ARTIFACT. So if you can’t name it – you can’t call it. A cigar is a cigar no matter how bizarre the context. Coroners can’t play hunches. Their book is closed on Elliott Smith. On the other hand: Detectives can work a hunch — but they have to have evidence in hand. So they wait. And wait. And wait. The doors are left open; and so continues the debate.
O—PIN–ION: It shouldn’t be acceptable that an open case should suspend simply because E questioned existence or talked about suicide or had a hell bent battery capacity that went to 11.
It shouldn’t be acceptable to let it go because we don’t have patience for understanding shorthand or density. Casting out remorse through discourse. Crying at the drop of spillage — even if we think he feigned or cried wolf. Withdrew. Walked around talking to himself alone. (I’m the only 1 who understands this object pronoun — Boo Hoo — ? -– would sound about right — if or not true.)
Despite; in and without spite; should not an implicit series of adaptations to disallow a contiguous investigation. Possibilities should stand for us if our contemporaries don’t or won’t, no matter the reason for refrain. [NOTE: Futility — respect — anger — protection – divergent paths — rejection — he wanted to die anyway he was — soooooo sad.] Measurement conversion chart for sadness, please. [NOTE: Factor in frustration, resignation and —acceptance — a.k.a. Victor — E.]
I get the point that E was sad at X’s — with an infinitesimal amount of zeros. But a decimal point of a possibility that he didn’t commit suicide — to miss that point is sadder. Sad is not reason enough to accept at face or farce value a tale told by one no less configured than he.
Artists own this conundrum. Plenty of artists spoke fluent suicide speak – but enacted no act or activity. It is no less valid a take than the opposite reaction. Stevie Smith was not alone. She didn’t do it. Neither was Steven Smith that day. He was not alone. But if E was a guy with flow follow through –- hand and home made history — if he drew, in stickman fashion, from inspiration, the “anxiety of influence” [NOTE: A Pseudo Longinus-tude: along the latitude bordering “On The Sublime”. William Smith.] On that note: there are a few literal allusions that illustrate why E might not have preempted himself…
Kierkegaard – who spoke of it didn’t do it. Belacqua Shuah – imagined — planned it — died accidentally. Vladimir…Estragon…Didn’t – DOstoevsky. NO. Beckett — Unheard of — didn’t. Though he was stabbed in the chest – YES — he lived and forgave his assailant [NOTE: Iron-E.]. They stood with and withstood with plenty to say…and went on… and on though they claimed they couldn’t. And on E listed…listened –- was aware as Stephen Dedalus of the devil and the deep blue, see — but he caught a second wind and changed passages. Then — (anti)gone? Did E ID with the protagonists? The creators? Or the form? This is not Catcher in the Wry or RYE phantasy, pholks [NOTE: At least 51% proof to apply.]. ANA-lysis of catch phrases in his work — where — whence — what and why do — I – an antagonist — have the gall and gale to do this? It isn’t that complicated an answer. Because the guy gets such a one-sided, short sighted look see in most of the media that I consider — can’t help but think — that if he didn’t make his bed alone… there was plenty of short sheet schrifting going on before he passed away – but nothing like the slitted sheet afterward. First clue: the so-called attempt at an ending off of a cliff in North Carolina wasn’t one. Alive, he denied it at least once in public. And we know from a credible source he said the same in private as well. [NOTE: FACT. A tandem fall. 2 people. Drunk. Did not, in the dark, a suicide make.] For the love of Henny Penny and O Henry! Here Smith — allow us to shove you off a cliff. Clap, clap, clap. How we love our tragedists. And E complied with the gist because — a twist’s a kick in the pants? Couldn’t E ignore ignorance/ resist public insistence? Maybe he did — too well.
Who stepped forward – to the edge – jumped to a conclusion —to say, in his stead, that E might’ve been a messed up mystery – but he was no worse than many? [NOTE: I know for a FACT – there were a couple of folks who did – we’ve talked. So I won’t say there weren’t any.] It is one thing to say he was deep. It is 2 things to say he was funny. It is better 2 say – HOW — in manner. HOW it IS.
Elliott Smith was and IS a trip. I stumbled over both him and my finds in random scavenger fashion. So – to me – it stands to reason — If I can think it… and that’s all of what I am saying. There are many ways to see. My own bull and wool pull is just as valid as the general view being paraded as record by the majority.
Ever since we started looking into trying to get this case closed – whatever the outcome – I looked harder at Elliott. There are some elements to Elliott’s penchant for telling it and hiding in plain/plane sight. It’s elementary my dear Watt-son. He told stories out of order and out of con-text. But it’s all there, just not what we all might glom onto — O, doom. O, gloom – O, say can you see it ain’t necessarily so? Beckett as Bohdi – possibly? Could it be Elliott was taken by NOThing? And just what part of NOT or NO THING do we generals not understand? Everything. Flux — dynamics. The myth.
Drugs. Fact. Absolute reality. He did. He indulged. Introduced by a known source. Got too close. And discovered this?
“That the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.” [NOTE: The Blake take.] And learned that he was GOING NOWHERE fast. E RECOVERED ground –- tectonically — vertex-ted, verily.
That — white lady? Beckett/Bion territory in my estimation. But crack cocaine makes a good layer of prima facie dust on the euphoric-metaphor-morphoric rock that gets slung at Elliott by his own slingshot. Though he recovered, it’s still ground covered over — and over. Metaphor hardened to an assessment of his core. Being that we know it was possible – but it’s what we don’t see that is really real. NEED = NEEDLE. [NOTE: Collision coarse diction/ ad hoc relational addiction.]
The other: Humor as justification for humanity. Elliott Smith was funny — don’t you think? “If you think round is funny.” [NOTE: My favorite “Raising Arizona” reference — and shape.] In context – and out — round IS funny. Point A to B on a radius that keeps disappearing. The TazMANIAn Devil – an eat my dust whirlwind tale spin so big of I show you round IS FUNNY I think it! Dante did. As did Joyce. And Beckett. And Kierkegaard. Divine Comedy. Expecting one thing and getting another. Absurdity, hilarity ensue. Resilience, silly. “Excessive sorrow laughs. Excessive joy weeps.” [NOTE: Another Blake take.] Life. Death. Can’t have 1 without the other. Deal…2 keep ‘em – keep ‘em guessing. UN-happiness is funny. [NOTE: Buster Keaton. 3 Stooges. WIL E CoyotE. Beckett.] In REVERSE ES REVERE(d) the upside of down – di-stilled.
DEAL: Cell your soul — thrive in pauses – between bars [NOTE: Beckett. Yes.] — 1 might get a get out of jail free card somewhere along the monopoly by industry, by gosh. The gist is 2 create, 2 work despite 2 selves bored though 1 might be with the compl-I-ance –- even if the tools and steps are (mis)taken by those who don’t get process. Repitition, cycles, stasis — don’t mess with MOJO. Unless and until 1 is within it – 1 DOESN’T KNOW. WE DON’T KNOW anymore than we do know when we are creating. We shouldn’t hold E’s words as PATTER(n) — evidence. Pin the tale on the observer. But that was exactly what became evident in the evidence that stands against and with him in suspended animation.
And leads you to believe a lie when you see with, not through, the eye. Bill Blake
WHOlistically speaking — take in the big picture when you look at the big nothing. E indulged his muse. No stranger to the subterranean — he even looked for Mole People in the tunnels of Manhattan. [NOTE: Anti-societal reclamation — not sci-fi creatures. FACT.] Another bird who knew and loved E told me this was in keeping with his questing, exploring, inquiring. E’s need for kneading, developing things — E-volving – N-dulging — D-vulging –- quietly carried through his work -– but the formula was in HAND. He was a stickman [NOTE: Ontospeleologist — writer – reference curse-ive Beckett speak]. The topology, lay and lie of the land, was his choosing. E Sprinkled archetypes and orchestration through die-O-(d)rama, diegesis, to be sure. Shades of Belacqua, Eveline, Molloy, Malone, the Cantos, Celia, Eremita, and on. But to be true to one’s muse and integrity of material requires a perspective against which one measures the world — one’s own rule of thumb. Automatonic – robotic — or NOT.
ElIoTt’s true genius: when and where he took a fall. Part Grace. More like Son of Sam. He was really good at dusting off and getting back up. A rise was coming to pass. Elliott was clean — in focus. He was integrating worlds; selves; battles for interior turf becoming skirmishes. Elliott – the bull — not fabled flower. Stubborn… Headstrong. Strong. True: A heart that lasted up to 80 minutes after being stabbed straight through. [NOTE: Rendered in the coroner’s hand on the autopsy report – pg. 15. Maybe it’s just me, but that speaks volumes in its simplicity.] For a man who supposedly tried to take himself out – he sure did hang in there.
And Exhibit E hangs – still. My miss/ take — he deserves as much wait on the scales of justice as the other who was, if not present and accounted for, part of the tale. Bare and bear (the) witness’ post mortem tales — not metaphor — though no less out of order. Where’s parity when common sense lags alongside of disparity? The nature of metaphor is not the organic biology of fact. Real wolves come in all shapes, sizes. Sheep’s clothing won’t make it no way easier to spot them, Ulysses. See Joyce. See Odysseus. This odd-essay is relating — 8 years past. O — pen. Curtain — eyes. Knock heels 3X. Steven Paul Smith deserves another look, see? Chuck impassivity — All E, All E, OX ES/XO ES — IN COME FREE. KICK the CAN — home.
“When I tell the truth, it is not for the sake of convincing those who do not know it, but for the sake of defending those that do.” William Blake.