Liz’s Weekly Poetry Series: Project Butterfly

by lizard

I’ve been obsessively listening to The Terror, a new Flaming Lips album (released April 16th) currently getting panned by critics.

I think the critics are wrong, but that’s just a matter of taste. This album personally resonates, and has therefore sparked some language of my own.

I haven’t enjoyed a thematically cohesive album like this since Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs. Both albums, IMHO, tap into something important. Here’s an example:

Once a band achieves a certain amount of success, evolving creatively becomes increasingly difficult, partly because that’s not the industry’s priority; commercial success is. From the “panned” link above, a failure to reproduce the formula of past successes is how the critic begins:

Expectations for a new Flaming Lips record are soaring high, mostly based on the fact the band always delivers brilliant music. The feeling is you can always rely on a Flaming Lips record. Or can you?

I think the feeling we are left with after listening to “The Terror,” however, is we miss the sound of singer Wayne Coyne’s undistorted voice and the variation seen on other records by The Flaming Lips. And that feeling is there from the opening track – usually a strength for The Lips.

Feelings are subjective, and this critic is certainly not speaking for me. I think the album is brilliant, an opinion that, for me, is solidified by each subsequent listen.

What I wrote in response is partly derived from the lyrical content of the album. If you listen closely, you will hear. Anyways, for the purpose of this post I’ve decided to title this poem PROJECT BUTTERFLY.


we will all laugh at gilded butterflies
—King Lear via Megan Fox

lips the terror flaming
ghosting out the tunnels
wires in the concrete
footsteps grate in rhythm
over shards, debris
chanting, hissing gas
(please play keys, strings)
lips the terror flaming
host to nameless horrors
a great leaving commences
reverberation as prayer
the calm of the field shifts
to high-hat, to snare drum
to layers of sonic birthing
something from despair
a stairway out?
or maybe away?
or maybe lips to tell
the terror
you shall not remain here
you cannot claim
the whole sad wretched crust
for Archon lust & shaman
fireworks; MicKey ultra—
their show is hydra, relentless—
say no different in daylight
then paint the pavement
with careful eyes…
because the mountains know
your business
Mr. Skink
it might be wise
to remove the earbuds
hear the birds
and let April pass over
your head

—William Skink

  1. Djinn&Tonic

    “Hydra, relentless…” , indeed. Thx, Stink.

  1. 1 152 Poetry Posts to Celebrate April, National Poetry Month | 4&20 blackbirds

    […] Project Butterfly […]

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