15 Years of Prattle and Din

by swampmessiah

supported by
David McCooey
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David McCooey It's impossible to pick a favourite here. Despite the title, this album stands a marvellously coherent whole. The music is edgy, dark, and extremely well done. The words and vocal performances sit perfectly in the musical context. If you like intelligent poetry+music, you'll love this.
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    The album comes with a CD booklet with a brief history of those 15 years of prattling and dinning, plus tray art for a CD jewel case.

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This collection was originally released in March 2011 to a few friends.


released June 28, 2015

All words and performances by Michael Myshack (aka Swampmessiah). Most loops are original recordings by Michael Myshack, though some are from commercial loop discs.



all rights reserved


swampmessiah Saint Paul, Minnesota

I was born in Duluth, Minnesota in 1957. I've been drawing all my life and painting since about 1975; I started writing poetry and rants in, maybe, 1976; since 1996 I've been recording those poems and rants, usually with a "musical" backing.
I live in Saint Paul, Minnesota. My partner and I have two children. I have a day job that is in no way artistic.
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Track Name: Music, the Beginning
In the beginning
the unimaginable.
Not of time,
not of space,
not measurable
by our senses—
is music
for the ascetic.
Even the most abstract
is an extension
of our senses,
of touch and hearing
measuring the pulses
of the universe,
and extrapolating,
and naming,
the movements
of the living
is our perception.
is existence.
is what we can know.
Complete stillness
is imagined
as the stillness
of a chair
is imagined,
as the stillness
of a mountain
is imagined,
as the stillness
of the heavens
is imagined.
Human stillness
is like floating
on a current,
like an electron
in its lowest shell.
Our stillness
is moving
just enough
to take a step,
to utter a word,
to see
and listen.
after stillness
is death.
Without fighting the current,
without rising
to a higher level of excitement,
we cease to walk,
cease to talk,
fail to see
or hear,
and drift
into coma
and death.
Like the universe,
for we are of the universe,
motion is our essence.
Whether mindless
or planned,
is our only certainty.
is the treadmill,
from the burden,
turning a tight spiral
of utility.
Or mathematics
is a prayer
or celebration
of motion, a euphoric cry
ticking along
like the metronomes
of chaos.
is the animal’s analysis
of the universe,
in the pulse of light,
the pulse of air,
the motions of water
and of plants rising,
the deepest vibrations
of the earth
and, most of all,
an animal’s own pulse.
Music is the cipher
by which we comprehend
the bonding of molecules
and the birth
of galaxies,
the replication of cells,
the shifting of continents,
the migrations of birds,
the ebb of tides,
and, most of all,
the only accounting
of ourselves
with the slightest hint
of truth.
Track Name: Evil 1
Evil is a person,
or a people,
reduced to a black hole:
the balance and dynamic
of a star,
the symmetry
of a solar system,
the gift
of its radiance
into an uncontrollable
Evil is a fragment,
one little piece of a person,
or a people,
that grows
beyond recognition of its source,
that grows
to dominate the whole,
that grows
until it is the person,
or people.
Evil is self interest,
consuming, conquering,
with no concept of any other self,
no sympathy, no compassion,
no friendship.
Evil is the judgment
in the name of the father,
in the name of the mother,
the children, the ancestors,
in the name of society
and propriety,
in all the names
that mask the inner truth,
in all the names
that hide bigotry,
avarice and voracity,
the rejection or punishment
in honor’s name
that’s really in my name.
Or your name.
Evil consumes.
It does not give
or take
or ask any questions.
It mutters no truth
that can give peace—
only words
that ripen fear,
putrefying doubts,
turning difference
into not wine
but a flavorless poison
masked by a heady aroma.
Evil cannot be entered
the way a mouth is entered,
a stomach is entered,
an intestine is entered.
Track Name: Night Rain
Whelmed low, settle me night sky.
One drop, another drop; cold rain
over the holds of thought.
They fall, they merge, dispelling
sympathy as well as fear.
Distending to the beaten street,
the hanging leaf, the fallen leaf
pressed smooth to the pavement,
the drifting leaf, the flowing dirt.
I am flushed with quiet,
hushed into words heard floating,
and I ride the stream so smoothly.
Track Name: Coverage
Light glides down your cheek
the way rain sheets over glass
in luminous, rippling descent,
engulfing every curve of bone
or soft flesh, penetrating folds
and disappearing with your breath
as it drops between parted lips.
It falls in distorted cadence
like a streetlamp through old glass
enshrouding you in cold mystery.
I could spread over you warm
and embracing like the sunrise—
let me be the light!
Track Name: Effigies
These kisses of my hands, once so eager for
your limbs, are but an effigy of the pain
we made to finish ennui and the midnight lore
of empty sleep. Their shadows linger in the refrain
of their chance enclosure, gripping your
enigmatic heart, whose memories have lain
closed to my deeper gifts of embrace,
leaving just kisses congealing on your surface.
Track Name: Passing
Passing lightly through the air
I begin to see things differently—
I look upon myself without a care.
I couldn’t really see the change
or what had caused it but all
that was normal was now strange.
Many thoughts that were once right
were now as inappropriate as my
actions were not reactions to sight.
Something’s here, I’m on the brink
of a positive course of action, but to
find why I must move I must think.
Can I change these changes? Do I dare?
Maybe for the moment it doesn’t really matter
while I still pass lightly through the air.
Track Name: Miasma
Black dogs upon my back,
black fog rolling through my veins,
siamese tom yeowling in my brain…
trying to get out!
…dripping into my mouth
to sting my throat,
burn my lungs with vitriolic fumes.
Trying to get in…
to get in…
come in?
Night gives no peace—
darkness provides no asylum—
abrasive nocturnal silence
holds no hope of surcease,
no comfort.
I can still see…
and I know.