MUSIC: Inadequate Objects

This has been floating around the Internet for the last few months, but I apparently never shared it on here.

Inadequate Objects is a spoken word album set to dark soundscapes. It features nine original poems of mine, each one set to an original composition of mine. The mood is dark, apocalyptic, perhaps dismal, and is a merging of two of my main creative outlets: music and words. Hope you like it.


  1. Emergency Exit (6:49)
  2. Body on the Tracks (6:01)
  3. The Anatomy of Rock ‘n’ Roll (3:30)
  4. A Gathering of Faint Shadows on the Wall (7:00)
  5. The Lily Notion (5:14)
  6. The End of the Rainbow (4:55)
  7. The Wound and Will Always (6:03)
  8. Generational Disease (6:37)
  9. Horn of Empty (5:05)

Words and music by Ian Witzel
Voice recorded by Jake Cacciatore at Naropa Recording Studio, Boulder, CO


POETRY: A Gathering of Faint Shadows on the Wall

The body is a vice.


experiments in the light

a unified flicker


on our way to the bar

4 blondes in an arcade

an intensified theatre

suspended security

waltzing with whales

in a car full of left and right

a tumultuous leech is going up to the trees with the elevator oxygen

brothers in crisis


pregnant flowers

enlivened by songs leaking out of silenced ears

kissing the scorched horses off to the calm massacre

floors of gas shaking the war dry

the death of gravel

the aroma of sponges

restless tendons saddled to the backs of jewelled slaves

manifestation grasped from diamonds

lichen balls cradled in

her jewel-encrusted forearms

all in halftone


out on the flight to the lost,

the storm we cannot father,

out across the coquette and fields

just another game show


there are cracks in the prize

lectures falling, fragile

no message to the troops

no blemish in their nature

an interference

uniquely terrified of the council


this is spoiled burden

years spent crept under tables

crawling behind bushes, orbs

praying no one will see

hiding on the stage in front of everyone

all the eyes that don’t see

all the ears selectively programmed


we can never be anything great

until the rabbit hole blows up.


I don’t know how we can keep teaching the wheels to spin

they are castles of jam hardened by war.

When we get to the meadows of battle

the harvest always suffers for it

there will be nothing but daisy chains of rage

gangs of tulips soaked in blasphemy

lawnmower punks tortured by wool.

The hornets ignore the creepers weaving around chain link

they melt away under the friction

we swim in the mucus alone

eating mixed fabrics in the quiet night



poisoned thread spools dilate the muffled seas behind wet tongues

talons scratch atoms of smoke and you never could see the stars

because they are always going to be bigger than you

and I never could see the death running rampant on the streets

because I’ve been too focused on the death inside me



the lottery of the body

underneath a corroded idea where convertibles are irreversible

we always lose ideas

they will be replaced with dirt


the couch folds up centuries of forgotten dust

Intestines flare at the sight of car horns

we scratch away for more life

a scowling dance locked up in the house

an oval amnesia

it was worth being frozen.


The heart is still beating


into chain-link.

A sluice slowing to eventual pause.

A midnight stroll into the clear void.

The same carbon-copy language.

Another day rises

One more tattoo on the soul.

Another cobalt yolk running down the sides of the valley,

bathed in membranes

where all the broken cats crash into acts of vigilance

clawing through compost bins as the

feathers and skin fly around.


The heart is a clock

embracing the verb in the science of breath.

The body is listening,

utilizing persuasion, inhabiting the prize.

The prize is ill-gotten.

wrapped in some 21st century thermal

The arteries are tarnished.

None of this is making sense.

Warm flushes invade the cheeks as muscles blush ashamed of the feeling of being confused by joy.

How can you enjoy? For whom do we need to seek joy?

Are we falling?

Slow drift inside letters

try to steer

float towards the spiral cannon of nothing firing through garbage cans full of gunshot victims, the only creatures still allowed to crawl the streets in agony because we all know the floods of blood won’t make a difference to the invisible armies continuing to march through our living rooms and the news will still tell us they are coming for us and the gun show is still scheduled for next weekend

The fear. The fire, the primetime storm

kicked in the chains

that fear that tends to boil entrails and burn cheeks.

An experiment in legible context.

Sometimes it fills the whole page,

spills over dripping onto the floor.

Wasted words for years wasted

wasting away the mind.

Time lost to fear taking control.

And down into the sea the shadows fall

There will come a time when it’s time to make fear afraid.

POETRY: Emergency Exit


A murmur in time,

the pure destruction,

superb spins of asphyxiation,

the succulent wastes we destroy in time,

knee deep in deals, conscriptions,

the perfection of sterility,

a numb grayscale pounding sunlight into the ground,

into a scream of chaos,

drowning the powerless nuclear whimper,

a bargain for the blind dogs wallowing underground,

sitting on an elevated colander,

listening to a cicada symphony.


This is not an emergency exit.

There is no tattered staircase to climb down.

Just a plunge through the liquid sink,

prepared to swallow rocks.

Pebbles can corrode the senses.

The blind spirits swirl in the shadows,

the active radio is infested,

screaming unfinished insults at children, kin in boats,

the sunlight puddling into dust,

into chaos, a chaos repeatedly warped,

locked in dropkick, filing down a rose thorn.

People initialize themselves for the premiere of a new local preset.

The games of food are routine war zones, cellular bombings, the napalm of the intestine, murmurs bleeding from the beating clock, a curly shine in this jungle heist where chaos drains the rivers and plants beef trees, exhaling tranquil maladies, one little explosion in the pasture dungeon, the sunlight on an undivided highway, choking in extravagant rescue, the postmark of democracy shipping chaos, the chaos of past administrations drifting at the bottom of the jar, the search for the plastic fountain, a quest in artificial annihilation, baked in fade out.


This is not an emergency exit.

It’s not a fake backdrop.

Sometimes you can escape but it’s still there.

It will follow you past the break in the siren’s murmur.

Please decipher the coils of the living, place the chaos in the jar, shake the minister into destruction, into mayhem, into diverted throats, the chaos of our generation will be the epitaph of our mass grave, unmarked for the ages swimming in sludge, heads snapping back at the mere thought of destruction, seeing double as they tow the furniture away, screaming a shining torch, the spotlight for chaos, chaos through the keyhole and past the thick green air to the place where we all fade out, a translucent descent into sand.

Vessels of structured chaos, sunken ships curling at the whirlpool of the mouth, overhead pipes bursting under the pressure, the wires of time suspending chaos above suffocated blankets of hope, drenched in flames, red hot water you can set your watch to, flowing down the hillside, a decayed gravity, an ornate genocide of the senses.

You can walk right into the scenario and experience the lava on the city streets for yourself. The resources are now able to showcase stamp collections long forgotten by the coveted transport sequence. Just start at one and try forgetting the zero. Nothing like getting a different hairstyle every time you want to go to the circus after dark. Try hanging yourself with a helium balloon filled with chaos and loop it back around, back into vibration, into distortion, feeding back into chaos, tapping into the thump, the exploding hearts looping around and around, capitalizing on its own destruction, a senescent ravaging, the purity of extermination is only skin deep, the chaos of inside will only rise to the surface in the sloppy afternoons of revelation and perversion, streaking across the twilight slowly melting onto the canvas,

the chaos stretched thin, taut, tantalizing, a loop of waste for your cactus soul, a place where it never ends, where the chaos is served striped on silver trays caramelized in its own horror show,

We are exaggerating ourselves.

This is not an emergency exit.

It must mean more than night. That’s all the porous enclaves can script before having to call in the professionals. It will be worth the trip to the external notions of time. At least I hope it will be.


chaos in a loop, chaos in a loop, chaos in a loop chaos in aloop chaos inaloop

Body On the Tracks

Howling into a dog’s ear,

the wasted days          unraveling spirals into the curls atop a head of hair.

The only curls to hold their shape for the duration of infinity.

Time s t r e t c h e d                thin                  across              the salty plains,

dotted with coarse hairs,                                             rained on by sweat,

licked clean by soap afterwards.


The mountains and valleys detail horizons of the body,

immaculate,                                                                                        immersing,

drowning desire in a pool filled with liquid conquest.

Yet under the porous soil is nothing interesting.

The surface is too alluring.

No one is interested in looking deep.


Train wheels               r ic o chet        off the tracks,

slipping on wet planks

                                    pulverized by gravity’s

sick                                          heavy                                       tug.

Amongst interruptions by the sweeping sands of Saharan homicide

the train rumbles through the deluge.

The brainwashed trailer is leaning                                                      on its side

trapping the unaware,

                                    inducing involuntary segues into ragtime.


The piano immolates and sets the pianist       alight   with pumpkins and telephone boxes,

melting plastic reeking of Thanksgiving.

The call cannot be made

when all you have in your pocket is

a paper clip                                                     3 pennies                                             and applause.


The diva croons in the lounge car,

whiskey           slo shes out its tumbler

onto formica while the water trickles

down the window pane, changing course

with every       jump   in the track.


Scratching the surface makes you bleed.

Exposes vulnerable corpuscles to outer elements of deception.

Take your heart out;                                                    it will shrivel and dissolve,

A beating raisin


by the smog.

The black market specializes in naïve hearts.

The more helpless

the better paired with steamed broccoli

and a gallon of vodka.


We drink from our arteries the thick wine of life,

forcing us to experience sensation, feeling.

When the artery runs dry……                                    ….we continue to feel.

We are gliding into the cement park,

surrounded by a dingy moat

dotted with body parts colliding.

The clapping drowns out the rain.


Intense burning melts the skin,

                                                dripping off muscles

onto the concrete road map

chasing us in manmade circles.

A trail is formed that you can follow……………………………………………………………….                                                             .……..back to your former lives.

Soon that will decay, too.

It will join the grandfathers,

            the Nazis,

and the sense of community at the bottom of the bin.


There will come a day

when each of us are at the bottom.

There will come a day

 when we tumble out.

On another day

we will bind atomic forces together,

forming a new existence, another chance.


Another full moon shining insanity down from up there.

Did everybody forget to listen?

Two tiny words manage to pass through trembling lips

only to be replaced by another voice.

one reason why I don’t talk much


Shouldn’t we know better by now?

Are these mistakes somehow more heinous than others?

Stable stances are being swept                                                                                   to the side

by the scraping sparks of the plow

coming to clear me away.

I’m standing in the way of self-destruction.

Don’t mind me. I’ll move.


The storm just had to come on the one day I felt valiant enough

to leave the past behind.

The city council robbed me of my integrity.

The state impounded my heart,

charging storage fees for the past 5 years

ever since that flooded evening

when I trapped it under a tennis racket

and walked away.

Sunset Kaleidoscope

This image is an overlay. I created a geometric kaleidoscope shape from squares and circles and filled in some of the spaces with solid color. Other spaces allow the picture underneath to shine through. The picture underneath is of clouds at sunset.

Sunset Kaleidoscope

Suburban Power Outage

An oldie but a goodie. From 2005, this piece is made with acrylic, outlet covers, the plug from an old coffee maker, and hundreds of words and phrases cut out from the newspaper. It speaks to the overloading of our energy grids and the bland and beige cookie-cutter appearance of the suburbs.

Suburban Power Outage

Some Thoughts On the 4th from Bob Collins

Bob Collins was the legendary morning host on WGN Radio in Chicago for many years before his untimely death in 2000. The week of Independence Day 1996, Bob shared some thoughts about the holiday and what it means for America. These words are still extremely poignant and relevant today as they were 20 years ago. It feels very appropriate to share what Bob said today. Some words have been changed to fit the times, and any italics have been added for emphasis.

[241] years ago this week, representatives from thirteen colonies spent a sweltering summer considering, discussing, debating, and acting upon, what had become an intolerable situation with the mother country. After much deliberation, this august body forged a masterful document that even now, in the [dawn] of the 21st century, defines us as Americans. These men risked their lives, their fortunes, and their personal liberty to create this cornerstone of our American democracy. “When in the course of human events…” The Declaration of Independence. [Today] we’ll all go out and spend time with our friends, and attend parades and watch fireworks to commemorate this event. We’ll all stand with our hats off and our hands over our hearts for the passing of the American flag and we’ll feel duly patriotic. We may think about our family roots and rejoice or bemoan our place in the American Dream. Then it will all be over for another year. And most of us won’t even bother to vote in an election. We’ve all heard the old saying, “You can be anything you want to be.” Perhaps you’ve also thought of it as the embodiment of the American Dream. Well, I’m here to tell you that’s a lie. A bald-faced lie. You can’t be anything, have anything, or do anything simply because you want to. What we have as Americans is the framework to make our dreams come true if we are willing to do what is necessary to make it happen. If Patrick Henry, John Hancock and their compatriots had merely wrung their hands and complained about the situation they faced, we might be still a colony of England, instead of citizens to the greatest nation on Earth. Through hard work, determination, and sacrifice, they and all the patriots of our 200+ years have shown us that we can be whatever we are willing to be. This is the American Dream.


New Song: The Factory Gardens

I’m finally making an attempt at putting a beat into my music. Pretty much everything I have made up to now lacks some form of percussion or rhythm. Time to change that. There are still the drones and noises synonymous with my w.x name, but now you can almost dance to it.

Enjoy and share with those you think will like it, and stay tuned for new music soon!

A Liquid Balance (For Jack Collom)

This post is dedicated to the memory of the great poet Jack Collom, who sadly past away yesterday morning at the age of 85. He was a fantastic writer and a profound teacher. I was lucky enough to be in one of the last of his famous Eco Lit classes he taught at Naropa University in Boulder. To honor him, here is a poem that I wrote in that class.


Whirlpools swirl over rock.

Minerals suffocate underwater,

fish drowning on the shore.

Water, the clearest elixir,

source of life, both good and bad,

cleanse me, replenish me,

inundate me in your liquid sinews

Too much of anything can kill.

Too much fire can burn.

Water can extinguish my burns,

but too much and I wash away.

Spring to stream, snow to sewage,

water, you are shaping me.

I can float away with you

I can ride your waves, crash with them.

Take me where I need to be.

Wet rivulet coursing down

to the creek, to the river,

expanding greater and greater

towards the unfolding ocean.

Heavy liquid weighing me down,

droplets carry me to

the blackness below

my own body of water

returns to where it all began.

Rest in peace and poetry, Jack. You were a shining light in this dark world, and though I only spent a little time learning from and working with you, you have left a great mark on my life. Thank you, sir.