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Ocean Oddity

by Tom Harter

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1.
His end came just as unexpectedly as every moment of feeling truly alive. This end was also simple, unexceptional, and without fanfare. It was not, however, without fear. He was afraid. Every fear he had ever experienced was vibrant and vivid now. It was all that was tying him to the Earthly plane. Then he saw her. Androgynous and beautiful. Sensual and intelligent. She seemed at once familiar and unknown. His fear was quelled only by her eyes. They were different colors, or at least that is how they appeared. He was sure he'd seen those eyes before. They calmed him because they were laughing and they were kind. He could see a beautiful, strange, handsome version of himself reflected in her eyes. In a ghostly voice only she could hear, he said, "Who are you? Am I dead?" She smiled and said, "Who? That is a difficult question now. Once it was easy. Well, not always easy. For a time I did change names and faces as easily as changing a shirt. But I guess I had a few memorable names. In this form? Well... call me Ziggy. And no, you're not dead. But you will be; when you're ready." He said, "I.... I'm afraid." She said, "Of course you are... take my hand love... " Fears (Stay Here With Me) There is no wind in the ocean There is no fear in the sea So take my hand love until this turns around And stay here with me There is no death in the ocean There is no illness in the sea So take my hand love until this turns around And stay here with me There is no sex in the ocean We're making love here in the sea So take my hand love until this turns around And stay here with me
2.
His fears were calmed. And when his moment came, he simply slipped below the surface. At this moment, he entered a vast, eternal ocean. All the pain of life ran away and all that came before was merely just a fleeting memory. He found this water to be a comfort. He didn't have to swim or struggle. Motion was given and received. Looking around from beneath the water, he saw alabaster columns rise holding the universe above in a starlit dance. He realized now his home was everywhere and every soul was one... and every when was now. He turned expecting to see her, but in her place stood a handsome, ageless man shining like starlight. But this man had the same mismatched, kind, and laughing eyes. "What do I call you now?" The androgynous man looked down at himself seemingly amused by the change and said, "Well, this could cause confusion for you I guess. You still think gender is... well.... a thing. See, it really is just a strange sort of mirror which only exists for fragments of time. Some people stare at the mirror more intently. That's all it is really." Then he laughed. "I suppose you could still call me Ziggy... but, well... hmmm. It will amuse me if you call me Starman." Unexpectedly, a young girl with indigo eyes suddenly appeared and poured sand into the Starman's hand. Laughing, he blew on the small pile of sand making it glow before he hurled it into the Universe sky above. Experiencing the magnificence around him caused the illusions of life to leave the mind of the recently departed soul. Both within him and without him, walls began to fall. When the Walls Fell (Tragedy) There are indigo eyes that beheld the disguise giving sand to the dead man's hand Spinning into the night with a shout of delight as astrology changed the band And the Starman was pleased when the dead woman sneezed at the stardust he blew so far And though nothing has changed, it's all rearranged as Paul chases shooting stars When the walls fell It's a toxic surprise when you swallow the lies like something's been long foretold And tragedy spins as Satan he grins with perfect teeth he capped with gold When the walls fell And when the walls fell I heard William Tell wipe away all your tears my love The salt giveth life killing darkness and strife, the angels giving Satan the shove The sky is an arc but love is a spark, it's easy if you just believe And I'm no one today, but I just have to say, you can give or you can just receive When the walls fell
3.
Ziggy returned with a flash and gave him a brilliant smile. "Let me show you around" she exclaimed. He looked with heightened vision, no lenses on his eyes, to see what was foretold in ancient rhymes. As Ziggy guided him deeper, he thought of all the words and songs he'd heard, all the sacred rants and holy tomes. He knew they fell short of what he was seeing. For here before him were ageless childhood illusions. Imagination made so real. The source of all the fragments musicians and the holy had used to light their souls and paint heaven upon Earthly moments. "It's your first night in town kid. I know just the place to take you. You need to unwind." Her laughter as she said these words was infectious and he could not help but join in. Ziggy grabbed his hand and they sank swiftly, down, down, down, into the depths to vanish far below into a neon glow. He momentarily thought, "Why are there neon lights in the ocean?" before Ziggy dragged him through a doorway of light. Mermaids (All Hail) In the darkest depths of the ocean is where you'll want to be There you'll find the dancing girls you've always wanted to see They shine luminescent there like downtown city lights They will give you perfect days and they will give you endless nights All hail the mermaids Far below the sea All hail the mermaids There for you and me Hanging there suspended is a silver shining pole You can stay for hours there, you just have to pay your toll The ocean isn't heaven without craving some love You may call it sinning, but it all comes from above All hail the mermaids Far below the sea All hail the mermaids There for you and me There for you and me There for you and me There for you and me There for you and me
4.
He became overwhelmed by the lights, the noise, the dancing, the sensuality. He had to get out. So he snuck out the back door into an ancient alleyway; a seemingly forgotten corner of the heavenly ocean. While the alley resembled what he might have seen during his life, it was far cleaner. But compared to what he had seen of this ocean so far, it seemed dark and disheveled. With the pulse of the music behind him he began to look around. There, beneath a crude shelter, he saw a man; a broken soul wrapped in a frayed and faded blanket. He was homeless here in the home of everything and every when. "Oh no... I know you!" The recognition hit him hard and the memory returned easily. He had once tried to steal this man's wife. The Starman appeared smiling and said with a wink, "You need to be careful which corners of eternity you decide to wander down." The homeless soul looked up and saw them. Despite being broken, he appeared all the more angelic. Then, without moving his lips, they heard him say, "Everything that is, and everything that was, has a simple meaning of simply because..." Desdemona (Shattered Diamonds) "My downright violence and storm of fortunes May trumpet to the world: my heart's subdued Even to the very quality of my lord" - William Shakespeare She said it was fate As if that's a thing When it's all just moments Waiting to sing Everything that is And everything that was Has a simple meaning Of simply because Of Desdemona Did she despair? Or did he run away? To the blood on the tiles Or a heartbroken sway? Nothing that is And nothing that was Sings a beautiful song Beneath the static and buzz Of Desdemona Push her away She's nothing but air She husbands in heartbreak Shattered diamonds she wears For Desdemona
5.
Running from the alleyway he screamed, “Leave me alone! This can't be heaven! These reminders of failure can't possibly exist here!" "But they do," Ziggy said. "This is where you finally close those pages. Your friend back there?" He cringed at the word "friend." "He still hasn't found the cover to his book. He will eventually. He has all of eternity to get there." "What... what can I do for him? For myself? There has to be something!" Ziggy sparkled momentarily, and then said, "Look here." A window, like a mirror or a television screen, opened in the water. He approached and looked. He was shocked to see the wife of the homeless soul; the woman he'd once loved so much he had risked everything. God, it seemed ridiculous now. From this distance, from here, from eternity those moments seemed so shallow. Shallow like water. "Tell her. Teach her. It may help you all." Ziggy said. Slowly... she looked up. She had been writing alone at her desk; of course. She was beautiful and just as he had remembered her. Maybe this mirror showed you what you wanted to see or was actually looking back in time. The room was dark and her surroundings were hidden from him. But he could tell it was late at night as she gazed into her mirror wearing only a dressing gown. From here in the Ocean, her soul looked so bright. In fact, what he saw reminded him of a beautiful porcelain mug which had been shattered and put back together with gold in the cracks. Across time and across love they locked eyes for one final time... Sky in Moon (You Can't Hide It From Me) Water and energy Brain on fire Stars down below Silence in wire Some bitter cold Broke and live Wings to sail Wheels to drive Sky in moon Don't reside Weep the stars Just to slide Sky... sky... sky in moon In a life Look up, it's a super moon In a boat Bring the tune Sky... sky... sky in moon Don't reside Weep the stars Just to slide Oh sky... sky... sky in moon I feel the water now I feel the water now I feel the water now I feel the water now You can hide it from everyone But you can't hide it from me Sky... Sky in moon Don't reside Weep the stars Just to slide Oh sky... sky... sky in moon Oh sky... sky... sky in moon Oh sky... sky... sky in moon Oh sky... sky... sky in moon
6.
From opposite sides of the mirror, they looked at each other. He in the vast eternal Ocean, she at her desk. Did she understand? How do words from eternity sound to the ears of the living? He knew what he was trying to say. He wanted her to know there is light in the darkness, there is no need to live in despair, and the golden cracks in her soul are beautiful. And, most of all, here in the Ocean, she would be heard. She laughed, looked down, brushed a strand of hair behind her ear, and shyly smiled. The mirror went dark. "Do you think she remembers that specific quote you cleverly buried in the bridge?" Starman laughed as he closed the view-screen into the world. "Dammit. I can't keep up with you changing back-and-forth like that!" "You'll get used to it." "So I have a question. Since you can open a window on anything and everything, you, me, and every soul can see the pain, suffering, and evil in the world. Why don't you stop it?" The Starman shimmered for a moment as if he would change back to Ziggy, but then the glow dimmed. He said, "We can’t stop choice, and for some the choice is violence. Violence causes all pain and suffering. Violence is the root of evil. You may have heard money is the root of all evil. Well, money is violent and is a cousin to the violence of greed. Selfishness is violent. Blind faith is violent. Wanton lust is violent. Hate is violent. Arrogance. Ignorance. They are all violence." Starman created the screen again and revealed all the pain of the Earth across all of space and time saying, "There's a trigger in a gun..." Triggers (Gunfire) There's a trigger in a gun It's made to be used There's a trigger in a gun No you won't be abused There's a trigger in a gun It's pointed at you There's a trigger in a gun And here's what we do Gunfire There's a trigger in a gun It's all about love There's a trigger in a gun I swear on heaven above... oh... There's a trigger in a gun It's a beautiful thing There's a trigger in a gun Touch and make it sing... oh... Gunfire There's a trigger in a gun The curtain is drawn There's a trigger in a gun Soon it will be dawn... oh... There's a trigger in a gun Just a sensual touch Yeah, there's a trigger in a gun No, you won't feel much From the... Gunfire
7.
The onslaught of violent images overwhelmed him. How long had he been here? How long was now when now is forever? How long ago had he died? What is death once you are eternal? What does eternal mean? He found he had tears flowing freely from his eyes. Ziggy took his hand and she smiled, "It's okay. The tears just feed the Ocean. How do you think all this came to be?" "Ziggy, how does anyone survive a life? How did I survive? How do the souls of the world live in the face of this suffering?" She looked more beautiful to him than she had yet. Her eyes each seemed to glow with a different inner light. Without a word, she pointed to the screen. Yes... all the suffering, pain, and evil were still there. But now he could see a very faint, very fine line. It ran through everything: every broken moment, every flawed person, every unfulfilled hope, every infection or illness, every broken dream, every fear, and every broken heart. He saw a wire... The Wire (Wings of Night) There's a wire In the sky With a message For every eye And through this wire In the night You can find me In sacred light The wire's through the dark The wire's through the light The wire's through your heart if you set it right When you choose to forgive And when you choose to fight The wire will guide you past the wings of night And this wire You cannot see it Until you find it And do not flee it Oh love is brilliant And love is long Love is sacred Love is a song The wire's through the dark The wire's through the light The wire's through your heart if you set it right When you choose to forgive And when you choose to fight The wire will guide you past the wings of night And through this wire In the night You can find me In sacred light
8.
Looking away from the screen, he felt a sense of calm. Still, he felt the need to chuckle and say, "Love is everywhere and holds everything together. That's kind of corny isn't it Ziggy?" She wasn't there. "Ziggy? Starman?" He was alone in the vast eternal Ocean with the Universe Sky above him. God, it was beautiful. God. Is this God? Is it made by God? God? What the hell? Hell... what is hell? Is hell what exists through that screen? "Yes, in a manner of speaking," she answered his unspoken question. He heard the words in two voices. Ziggy in one ear. Starman in the other. "Yes, hell is there in life. But hell also exists here until you finish your book and close the pages on your mistakes and your pain. You have to leave all the poisons and infections behind, as it were. Then you'll know that a true heaven exists here in the Ocean." These words echoed in his head and raised the one question he feared to ask. "Will I live forever?" After a long pause, the voices said… "Yes... as long as you are remembered..." Burning Car (Memory of Me) From where I stand I can't see the other side There is no addition when you only divide When we forget how to be More than all that we are Might as well drive off of a bridge in a burning car The moon is in the sky this morning The fire on my skin is learning While I've just become a memory of me The streets are filled with dirty raining The sunlight does its mighty shaming While I've just become a memory of me... memory of me If I push you away And I say it with love Does it feel any less, any less like a shove If I flip-off the wind And dine on the dust Is forgiveness found here beneath the rust? The moon is in the sky this morning The fire on my skin is learning While I just become a memory of me The streets are filled with dirty raining The sunlight does its mighty shaming While I've just become a memory of me... Nothing causes nothing to be And I can't convince you to see On this final flight of what I used to be The moon is in the sky this morning The fire on my skin is learning While I've just become a memory of me The streets are filled with dirty raining The sunlight does its mighty shaming While I've just become a memory of me... Will you remember me?

about

What if heaven is an ocean and David Bowie met you at the gate?

credits

released May 1, 2019

Credits
Words and music composed by: Tom Harter
Produced, recorded, mixed, and mastered at: Waiting for Guitar Studios, Green Bay
Engineered by: Tom Harter

Musicians:
Tom Harter: electric and acoustic guitars, voice, bass guitar, keyboards, drum programming, and samples
Jeni Funk & Emily Paulson: vocal harmonies

Dedications:
For David & Iman
For Brad & Elizabeth
For Todd

Thanks to:
Emily Paulson: For your ears, your voice, and your support from the very beginning.
Jeni Funk: For loving my songs (and for telling me about it at just the right moment) and for your voice.
Jason Kruk: For your time, talent, words of encouragement, and energy sent from afar.
Chris LaFrombois: For studio tips and tricks, for listening to me complain, and for supporting gear acquisition.
Sara Zacek: For being my musical partner, and for listening both critically and enthusiastically during the years of work.
Zane Stillings: Your editorial eye and your kind words ensured this would be a much better product.
Marc Golde: Your editorial ear and your kind words ensured this would sound so much better.
Anne Piotrowski: For comparing “Desdemona” to one of the greatest rock songs of all time and for friendship.
Dan Weaver: For your lessons and your friendship.
Tony Louscher: Thanks for loaning me your brilliant prototype guitar. It is genius and it helped me finish 2 of these songs.

Patricia: For everything.

Please support the following retailers:
Quimper Electronic Systems
Luthier’s Workshop
Heid Music
Sweetwater Sound
Lloyd’s Guitars

© 2019 t. l. harter

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Tom Harter Green Bay, Wisconsin

Guitarist, singer, songwriter.

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