Call Me Ishmael; volume 7

by Patrick Shea

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about

Buy the book at: www.lulu.com/shop/patrick-shea/call-me-ishmael/paperback/product-20300323.html

In the summer of 2008, Brooklyn elementary school teacher and musician Patrick Shea set two goals for himself—to read Moby-Dick, and to write a song every day for two months. Those two goals quickly merged to become to beginning of the Call Me Ishmael project. Three years later, Shea had written, recorded, and blogged about all 135 chapters of Moby-Dick, plus the epilogue.

The book contains the lyrics to all 136 songs from the project, along with free downloads of all 8 volumes of music. The book also includes an introduction to the project as a whole, and an afterword for each volume of songs, written by the author.

Some responses to the project:

"Patrick Shea’s highly imaginative, wide-ranging song cycle takes us chapter-by-chapter through Moby-Dick. Shea’s innovative, haunting lyrics share the fecundity and suggestiveness of Melville’s dazzling novel."
--David Reynolds, Distinguished Professor at the CUNY Graduate Center

"There is music in Moby-Dick because Melville put it there. But there is another kind of music that comes from readers who, once they have read Moby-Dick, simply have to sing. Lucky, then, that we have Patrick Shea whose clever, amusing, stirring, happy, sad songs do not attempt to retell Melville's classic story but give added musicality and life to Melville's thought."
--John Bryant, Editor of the Melville Society and Professor of English at Hofstra University

"Patrick Shea’s songs are deeply insightful responses to Melville’s masterpiece. They illuminate the power of Moby-Dick and enrich our experience of that remarkable novel. Shea understands that, at its heart, Moby-Dick is an orchestral work. Its chords resonate throughout Shea’s lyrics."
--Bill Kelly, President of the CUNY Graduate Center

credits

released December 2, 2011

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Patrick Shea Brooklyn, New York

Patrick is a nerd, a book lover, a math afficianado, an Ishmael, and an Ahab. He lives in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn with his wife and two daughters. He grew up in Portland, OR; and has also lived in Grinnell, IA (for college); and Austin, TX.

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Track Name: The Hyena
Chapter 49: The Hyena

In the worst of times,
When every angle aligns
To create the last ordeal,

Take the joke,
A great, affectionate poke
From the cosmos to a great contender.

Oh, you row, row, row,
To speed your slow,
Sufficient death.

Now a sailor's will
And testament do appear
As a way to while to time,

But the prudent sot
Finds humor yet in his lot,
And by sot I mean the great enchanted
Masses of mankind who manage,

Oh!, to row, row, row,
And ho, ho, ho;
To laugh and jest.

(c) and (p) 2010 Patrick Shea
Track Name: The Log and Line
Chapter 125: The Log and Line

Log and line
Hanging from the outside railing,
Idly warped by elemental ability,
Exposure, stability.
And sometime heaved into the open open,
Held by rotten line
And towed behind the rush of ceaseless time.

Life-line, life-line!
Keep your grip on me
Until my captain reels me in
To be mended.

Life-line, life line!
How could you succeed?
Nothing left so torn could hope
To be mended.

High and low,
Daft with strength and daft with weakness,
Coupled yet by sweetness,
And never rent --
No such strength is heaven-sent! --
It lives beyond our briefness.

(c) and (p) 2010 Patrick Shea
Track Name: Jonah Historically Regarded
Chapter 83: Jonah Historically Regarded

Everybody knows Jonah,
The whale, and its use,
As they used to know Hercules,
And the trials sent by Zeus.

But do we have to believe it?
It speaks to the soul
With impossible fantasy;
The facts aren't the goal.

(Don't confuse the two!)
History and story,
One tells no lies
And the other is written not to be boring,
To shock and surprise, oh!

History and story,
Both tell a tale
To communicate truths of life to our quarry,
To lift mystery's vail.

(c) and (p) 2010 Patrick Shea
Track Name: The Honor and Glory of Whaling
Chapter 82: The Honor and Glory of Whaling

We're a fraternity,
And the last common-beautiful in a long line
Who trace paternity
To the regal and dutiful, both alike

In their dominance
Over nature's providence!

Now take the Greeks --
They had offered Andromeda to appease
A great leviathan,
But then Perseus did slay it to save her life,

And they sang, "All ye virgins of the Mediterranean Sea,
Raise your bosoms to the future you'll get to be!"

We're a fraternity,
Even Jonah and Hercules do comprise
We captains of decease,
Though their victory was endurance, it's still a fight.

And Vishnoo; god of all creation, social elite;
Heads our roster with a fluke in place of his feet!

And we sing, "Na na na na na na na, na na na na na,
Na na na na na na na, na na na na na!"

(c) and (p) 2010 Patrick Shea
Track Name: Ahab and the Carpenter
Chapter 108: Ahab and the Carpenter

He's the unsung jester;
He presides with sniff and sneeze.
He's a bullshit tester;
He's a flutter up in the eaves.

With a hem and haw
Pointed high and low --
Nothing tests your wits
Like a man who's slow,

And Ahab stares into the great unknown expanse,
A litmus shifting with the man's unknowing plans.

(c) and (p) 2010 Patrick Shea
Track Name: The Carpenter
Chapter 107: The Carpenter

You take a man alone
And he's an island of soul,
You take them all at once
And what's the difference?

Well, every man alive
Thinks he's an island of soul,
But every man alive
Is just a duplicate:

One wants an ear drilled,
One wants a bird cage,
Stubb wants stars on every oar!

But this equation of man
Comes out to negative one,
And it's The Carpenter's soul
That makes the difference:

Come for an ear drilled,
Come for a bird cage,
He'll paint stars on every oar!

He's the difference,
Difference;
He's the difference.

Well he's a man at odds,
He's every interest,
And as he fills the needs
He stands indifferent.

There's not a man alive
Who stands indifferent,
But he's a man we prize
To be indifferent.

Come for an ear drilled,
Come for a bird cage,
He'll paint stars on every oar!

He's indifferent,
Different;
He's indifferent.

(c) and (p) 2010 Patrick Shea
Track Name: The Deck towards the End of the First Night Watch
Chapter 120: The Deck towards the End of the First Night Watch

When the going gets tough,
The tough get going!
You see, the winds are getting rough
With no signs of slowing.
Just like a steeple on a bluff
Feels the worst of the blowing,
So the loftiest truck feels the worst of adversity.

Malady weighs for the rest of my days,
But I know the tempest will push me through.
Lift every sail, the worst we can fail
Is Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

(c) and (p) 2010 Patrick Shea
Track Name: The Pequod meets the Delight
Chapter 131: The Pequod meets the Delight

It was a wind-blown summer's day,
Time was passing like an open book in the breeze,
Colors bled out into the nothing new,
Then we passed her in her grievance.

All eyes turned to the shattered boat,
Splintered planks as sun-bleached corpse,
Then a hammock sown into a sheath
Around a lifeless memory.

And Ahab trumpets for catastrophe,
And strikes his purpose into their misery.
The ship cries out for resurrection, now,
But death comes first, and then a sea of tears.

There hangs a coffin on the taffrail
For all to see as we speed away
Into his everlasting promises.
The coffin waits to save a solitary soul.

(c) and (p) 2010 Patrick Shea
Track Name: The Prophet
Chapter 19: The Prophet

Well, you talk about a soul deficiency,
And you wax about a man who's come undone,
And you speak in opposition, then before our very eyes
Say so long and hallelujah, better him and he than me.

And it's easy! It's so easy
To make it seem the secret's inside of you.

You're a plot device, you speak in pronouns,
And disfigurement suggests the same within,
Did you strike into the darkness and escape a different man
Or are you just a reference to an older way of writing books?

And it's easy! It's so easy
To make it seem the secret's inside of you.

(c) and (p) 2010 Patrick Shea
Track Name: Measurement of the Whale's Skeleton
Chapter 103: Measurement of the Whale's Skeleton

A yard, a yard, a yard,
Down to the smallest marble.
And all you grasping for the truth
Should honor the proof
Of greatness tapered
To the trivial and minute.

A fluke, a fluke, a fluke,
Down to an utter nothing.
The graceful tiller of the seas
Is lost to the breeze!
The spark of animation gone,
Obscuring the form.

Measure and catalogue remains,
But don't call the sum of all a whale --
The sum will surely fail!

A life, a life, a life,
Down to the fossil record.
As all you searching for the stars
Do not look to cars.
Though each cold skeleton exploded
Out from their hearts.

(c) and (p) 2010 Patrick Shea
Track Name: The Prairie
Chapter 79: The Prairie

Now read the face,
See everything placed --
Rest assured,
Once inured
No doubt you will meet
Nobility steeped
In each corner, all around.

From prairie there rose
No sign of a nose,
But it's fine,
We don't mind.
It's simple and sleek,
And no one can tweak --
Even kings can't boast the same.

And oh, take note!
And oh, it's plain!
And oh, the world bespoke
In his visage just the same.

Now look at the brow,
Could heaven allow
Such a mind
Laid behind?
It's not that he writes
Or speaks to our plights,
It's the genius of his life.

(c) and (p) 2010 Patrick Shea
Track Name: The Sphynx
Chapter 70: The Sphynx

The deadliest calm,
A song indivisible
By the lonely.
Here is a man,
All alone. Oh!

The stillness of hearts,
We know as analogy
Drawn to nature.
Here is the sea,
Old and worn. Oh!

But love, ever blessed, is only known
Yet in our hearts!
Yet in our hearts!

The breeze of your touch,
A life to the miserable,
An elation.
Move me an inch,
Then a mile. Oh!

(c) and (p) 2010 Patrick Shea
Track Name: The Funeral
Chapter 69: The Funeral

Tick-tock:
Massive life to chalk,
And all foul inclinations rise.
The proof of a total disregard
In intemperate scavenging.

Think here
Of a death to fear,
As all grand intellection sums
To a nothing, to a phantom, a disgrace
To those remembering.

Umbrella sky
In the purview of Venus,
But out of the sky
Only frenzy and rape,
Not by design or divinity,
Only by absence of mind.

By chance,
Every touch and glance
Dissolves, but not all agency relies
On existence; your specter lingers on
With false alacrity,

To scare our savagery.

(c) and (p) 2010 Patrick Shea
Track Name: The Tail
Chapter 86: The Tail

Fishes and worms, wriggle at my feet;
Never the whale, oh no!,
His body won't allow a gesture meek --
And wriggling means you're weak!
Wriggling means you're weak!

Think of the greatest forms of beauty that we seek;
Marbles of demigods --
Hercules, shaped to the last oblique!
Strength and beauty meet!
Strength and beauty meet!

And, hey, what's the difference?
With no lost significance
You turn the implications meant
Into the world's disease,
And its betterment?:
Your social ease.

God in the Sistene seems a Minotaur of Crete
Next the the Christ, his son,
Always painted just a tad effete --
The beauty's in His speech!
The beauty's in His speech!

So take a cue, my child, watching from your seat,
Letting the world sink in
Before you stand to act or stand to preach --
Wriggling means you're weak!
Wriggling means you're weak!

(c) and (p) 2010 Patrick Shea
Track Name: The Dart
Chapter 62: The Dart

It's the harpooneer that makes the voyage strong;
It's the harpooneer that makes the voyage strong;
He needs to dart that iron hard and often long.

You give that kid the job of superman;
You row him 'til his feet can barely stand,
Then expect a dart with strong and steady hand.

And we sing it:

All along we're wishin'
For the worthy manumission
Of the working slave that leads our long parade!

Give an idle song to the man in the corner,
Give an idle song, 'cause his corner does lead,
And his work will come when we create the need.
But the dart will miss if you work him like a steed.

And we sing it:

All along we're wishin'
For the worthy manumission
Of the working slave that lead our long parade!

(c) and (p) 2010 Patrick Shea
Track Name: A Squeeze of the Hand
Chapter 94: A Squeeze of the Hand

When a week of typhoons goes to your head
And brings you down,
When a reckless blood-quest wakes you in bed
And brings you down,
Never fear,
We got a tub of the right stuff!
Never fear,
Squeeze all the lumps from the white stuff!
Never fear,
It's silky-smooth and the smell
Will take your mind away!

Squeeze the sperm!
And lose the reason!
Squeeze the sperm!
And feel the feeling!
Squeeze the sperm!
And let your worries slip away!

When your cabin-boy goes soft in the head
And brings you down,
When your best friend almost dies in his bed
And brings you down,
Never fear,
We got a tub of the right stuff!
Never fear,
Squeeze all the lumps from the white stuff!
Never fear,
It's silky-smooth and the smell
Will take your mind away!

Squeeze the sperm!
And lose the reason!
Squeeze the sperm!
And feel the feeling!
Squeeze the sperm!
And let your worries slip away!

(c) and (p) 2010 Patrick Shea

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