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The Sunday Hangover: Joel Vandroogenbroeck – Forest Spirit


At first, all you heard was the creek of the rope as if the body were miraculously pinned to the air by a set of old hinges. It could have been a photograph if not for the slight sway that occurred each time the leaves rustled overhead. A black, wide-brimmed silk hat remained atop the bowed head. A single beam of sunshine fussed with my eyes each time the wind twisted the hanging body. A loose sheet of paper lay on top of the leaves directly below the gently swaying man and only caught our eyes as the wind turned up one of the stark white corners.


“Looks like that ol’ boy had a pretty rotten day,” my riding partner said as he straightened out the front of his shirt.


“Looks like,” I said, my eyes still fixed on the dangling deceased. “I wonder what’s on that paper.”


“It certainly ain’t a death pardon!” he said before bursting into uncontrollable laughter that shook him so hard that his hat became dislodged from his gigantic tumbled mess of hair and rolled to the ground. “Aw, shit, boy. I’m just fucking around with you. Now get my hat, and let’s get on.”


“Okay,” I said as I slowly dismounted, never turning my gaze from the dead body suspended from the gnarled, great branch of an ancient oak.


The leaves gave way slightly under my feet with each step that carried me directly past my partner’s hat and on towards the paper now flapping with a bit more life in the changing breeze.


“You ain’t gonna get my hat for me, son?”


“I wanna read this,” I said, my voice resonating as if from a more wise version of myself.


The paper was delicate, maybe pressed cotton, and the handwriting, was delicate as if written over the course of a few hours.


I read the words aloud and heard my own voice fall to me through the filter of leaves above: “I couldn’t never speak, so my last words is writ. Please deliver this to Maxine, to whom I am sorry. I done you wrong, and now wrong done me.”


I folded the paper in half and then in half two more times and put it in my coat pocket on my way back to my partner’s hat.


“Well, what the hell’d it say?” my partner said, staring at me with his eyebrows rolled up high and his lips slightly parted.


“I don’t know. I couldn’t read it,” I said. “Now, let’s get on.”


Listen: Joel Vandroogenbroeck – Forest Spirit

Joel Vandroogenbroeck was an anchor member of the amazing, experimental, ethereal, multi-national group, Brainticket.  This song is from his 1979 release, “Images of Flute in Nature.”







Posted by: Jamie

Category: Music

21 Aug, 2011

Category: Music


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