Why is this god smiling?

A weekend trip in which I encountered several ancient gods in their temple - specifically room 201 in the Cleveland Museum of Art, showing larger-than-life portraits of Apollo and the five Muses, as well as Cupid and Psyche.

Huge neoclassical French portraits of Apollo with the muses, Cupid and Psyche, et al. And Cupid has this big smile, which is described as being interpreted at the time as “an ungainly teenager smirking.”

The insightful listener will note that Kalamazoo is not one of the towns on the way from Ithaca, New York to Cleveland. It is in fact the make of Gibson archtop guitar, made in the 1930s, that I was playing when I got the rhythm riff for this - and I swear it wanted to teach it to me.


i visited Olympus through the Cleveland door
nearly lost two fingers for a woman with a sword
froze my knees in the Erie breeze, but did it for the child
the gods do not find favor with a mortal who smiles

through Olean and Ashtabula, after Kalamazoo
Conneaut and Salamanca, bought a bottle there too
i didn’t have to do it, but i rode those extra miles,
‘cuz the gods do not find favor with a mortal who smiles

i visited Olympus through the Cleveland gate
so i could ask Apollo before too late
why he looked so solemn, with his laurel crown
with Cupid nearby grinning with his bedsheet falling down
he said: Would you buy a used guitar from a crocodile?
Mortals don’t feel favored by a god who smiles.


tjw: vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass uke, harmonica synth drum pad