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Transvalue's latest outing is their biggest yet....larger band, bigger sound, even some singing and, of course, the usual screaming...ranting...growling...

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Chuck Britt • Poems-Vocals
Michael Vlatkovich • Compositions-Trombone
David Crigger • Drums-Percussion-Electronics
Dominic Genova • Bass
Glenn Horiuchi • Piano
Vinny Golia, Jay Hutson & Bill Plake • Woodwinds
Lou Gonzales & Mark Underwood • Trumpets
George McMullen • Trombone
William Roper • Tuba
Melanie Cracchiolo & Chuck Sabatino • Lead Vocals


Warren Hartman • Keyboards
Mike Turner • Congas
Matt Cooker • Cello
Jeanette Wrate • Percussion

• Group Vocals •
Danny Block   Devora Block   Aaron Britt   Larkin Higgins
Milena Miller   Alison Pipitone   Damon Pipitone

Produced by: David Crigger, Chuck Britt and Michael Vlatkovich

Recorded and Mixed by: David Crigger
All Words by: Chuck Britt
All Music by Michael Vlatkovich - except
“The Kissing Song” by Warren Hartman
“For Alec From Pappy” by David Crigger
A Thank You Records release - MV012

play track 1 1 • Not Knowing (3:14)
play track 1 2 • The '58 Retractable Hardtop (17:02)
play track 3 • I Have These Tears (7:13)
play track 4 • Frances' Cheeks (5:46)
play track 5 • Wars For The Numb (01-21-91) (3:52)
play track 6 • Wedding Song (11:26)
play track 7 • The Father (4:36)
play track 8 • Of Dancers (5:40)
play track 9 • For Alec From Pappy (3:00)
play track 10 • The New Day (8:05)
play track 11 • The Kissing Song (6:56)


Not Knowing

Behind a door
No room is small enough for me

I cling to an imagined you
A smaller you
A less terrifying you
A less like you

I know you feel the darkness
I know you are moving away
I know you are sliding faster than my arms can reach
I know I have taken more than you can give
I know I have given you more than you can receive
I know my oddness is too much for even your strong soul
I know I am now alone again
I know I will be swallowed by the dark
I know I will never feel your sun filled hands again
I know I am just another lone inhabitant in yet another dark room

I don’t really know............ what to do
I admit I don’t really know where I am or who you are
What.... What do I feel?
What do you feel?

Not knowing... your light folds around me
Not knowing... I tremble with feeling

Not knowing
Our tears touch
On our cheeks

- back to top -

Home on Rt 10

Rough, dry rows picked clean
Photo: Norman Kulkin

Land, Man, Sea
A force of Nature
Charles Hamilton Britt

The garage in Powell

The Gift in the garage in Powell

The Dream

The Reality


The ‘58 Retractable Hardtop           

Barren and frozen 20 years ago
Erie ore boats
Slip in low and embarrassed
Ride out high as if trying to stay out of the cold dirty water

One hundred miles to the south
A red brick house full of pain
In the middle of a corn field
Rough dry rows waiting to be picked clean

I sit in the ’58 retractable hard top (parked in the side yard)
It opens up and down like a Nike silo
But I don’t feel safe.... I feel embarrassed
As I wait for Father

Up and down
Playing the radio all the time
Wishing for a “normal” adolescence
American Bandstand girls and buddies to teach me about sex

Dad bought this classic for me
Seat wells rusted through to the tail pips below
Quarter panels gone...engine seized (they were doing 60 without oil)
But the top works.....up and down like a Nike silo

Waiting for him to pick me up
For the trip to the Airport to work together

And his discourse on authenticity and quality
Corrupted power and the communist conspiracy

Up and down like a Nike silo
Big flat panel of Erie steal trunk lid
Whines up to reveal the thicker top panel at rest in it’s box
It flexes up and out as the front tip rotates from underneath

The straightened assembly reaches forward
Yearning to touch the chromed windshield frame
Where two corkscrews mate with two metal vaginas
And I don’t know what a vagina is

I sit there in the driver’s seat
But AM I driving my own life?

I thought I was...
At least I thought I was supposed to
Or are my parents their elected officials
And the local draft board are doing that?

I had a sense that I wouldn’t make it
I had a sense of being alone when I shouldn’t be alone

He pulls up the driveway
I get in for the drive to the airport
His anxious, angry, earnest and determined monologue begins
I listen for hope.... for some visible faith

For thirty minutes we move over rivers through small woods
Over the highway and across the flat land near the airport
He sings his quality blues
But he also sings his own stuckness.... his own desperateness

He tilts against what men are just supposed to acquiesce to
He does honest things that piss people off to keep his soul alive
He is judged a gross man

He is unable to give in but will he give up?

Something in his will-ing-ness
Something in his felt pain
Something in the irony he kept pointing out
But would he ever get somewhere with all this?....would I?

He had to make it or where was I?
He had to keep believing in his own vision
He had to learn to surrender without giving up
He had to tilt with the windmills that I shared with him

Or I would be completely alone when I wasn’t supposed to be alone
Or I would be naked in a world of armored people
Or I would be faithless in a world of faithless people
Or I would have nothing other that my inner alternative world

But as he tilted I was embarrassed
I wanted more than anything to be normal
What he gave me instead was his ongoing struggle
His pain.  His not giving up.  His vision of the possible.

We worked on that old Ford for about two years
Got the engine done and some of the body work...
Then my marriage, my child and my moving 2500 miles away
We had to grow back the rusted parts... at a distance.

Even at that distance I found myself sitting in that car
Watching the metal vagina receive it’s phallus
Waiting with dry throat for him to pull in the drive
Wandering what his fury would demand of me this evening

I knew that the ’58 Retractable Hardtop...
Was a gift he tried to give me.... a true surrender
Trying to reach out without words to keep me near
Trying to tell me he wasn’t giving up

Twenty years that old Ford rested unfinished
While we worked on our lives.... not giving up
It sat in the garage...filled up with parts and possibilities
We labored 2500 miles distant from one another

But as near as the garage....and the memory of a gift
Unfinished business being sanded, polished and painted
Protecting the Erie steel from further cancer
Protecting my son from some of the pain but none of the possibilities

Us kids didn’t let Dad forget
They told us to say what we felt
Over decades his willingness listened
He kept his passion and but his hate and fear faded

We are all able to see his healing now
The magical healing of husbands and wives
The magical healing that makes healed sons and daughters possible
The “magical healing” that took years and years of not dying

How he managed to persevere
How mom was able to tolerate his terrible pain
How we kids managed to wait in angry, faithful hope
How life managed to put off tragedy for us.....I don’t know

Dad called today to tell me that he blew up the tires
(They took air after all these years)
And moved the Retractable Hardtop out with all it’s parts
Because he was giving it to a friend

Someone about my age
At first I was angry (even though I had asked him to sell it)
Then I was worried that it might mean a giving up
But I realize the deepest feeling was completion

Dad kept it until he felt like he was done
He had work to do and “Don’t get in the way...damn it!”

He was determined to be finished..... before he said he was finished
He was determined to be a good father

You can fish in Lake Erie again.  We never gave up.
My son goes off to work with passion and hope
Perhaps he will remember my Dad as one who didn’t give up
Perhaps someone will read this and wish to have a Dad like mine

As I sit in that old Ford in my head
And run the top up and down
It is finished and it is a real beauty
I am done being embarrassed and am now full of pride

- back to top -


I Have These Tears

I have these tears
Then I move away
As if they held evil

I back off and shy and forget
Like being screamed at
Then going blank
Into that no-where

Where frightened children go

I look east at the sunset
The Cascade crest is drawn crisp
Blue above dark brown
A goose honks and flies
A fox in a low field leaps four legged

After a mouse I can’t see

I have these tears
I have the courage to push them away
Not the courage to feel them
The courage to die
Not the courage to live
The courage to numb myself
Not the courage to look into the eyes of my pain
Not the courage to demand my space to live
Not the courage to forgive those eyes

The robin is as red breasted
As the daffodil is yellow petaled
Our green grass grows quietly
Spring giving rebirth to the cutting and the dying
(I dream of spring and worry about mowing...Ha!)

A rather large humming bird buzzes me
She considers my feeder
Full of red nectar
She asks:
            What can you know of life?
            One quick moment of deep feeling
            The child is grown
            The next quick moment
            They must say goodby to you
            Why are you waiting to feel?

I reply.... trying to buy time:
            What will all the pain get me?

She replies understanding me between my words:
            The time is for feeling
            Fear wastes the time
            God doesn’t trouble you with
            Pain or joy you are not ready to feel

I ask:
            Why do I have the fear?
She replies:
            You have been hurt
I ask:
            Why do I still fear?
She replies:
            You are still in that no-where place
            Where frightened children go
I ask:
            How can I get out?
She replies:
I say:
            I think I must stay where I am
She says:
            I have these tears

The eastern sky is dark
The once solid mountains
Are lost in the night
I can no longer see
My gentle humming parent
I am haunted by the sound of her words:
            I have these tears

Now I have to pretend
I don’t know what to do

- back to top -




Yes... Your children and their children's cheeks actually did do that..



Frances’ Cheeks

The service is over
Tears shed and wiped
Your family files out

You had such beautiful cheeks

I see them on your children
And their children
Supporting radiant smiles

Even with the biggest change
Looking them in the eye
Darkness wanting to fill their hearts

Their cheeks like yours
Too full of forgiveness, trust and hope
For vacant grins or frowns

Their glowing smiles
On your cheeks
Fill this deserted room
This dark heart

With light

- back to top -


Wars For The Numb

War is entertainment
We watch fake wars when there is no real war
When the real war starts we are riveted
Hypnotized.... “The real thing”

We send our children to die
To fill our emptiness with their bodies
To fill our empty TV evenings
To keep our newscasters heroic

We start a new war every twenty years
In case we run out of war stories
We must not run out of war stories
We must keep the numbness quiet

Oh War, please entertain us
Keep us numb, we pray
If you abandon us
Our pain will be upon us

We must be entertained
We have a right to be entertained
Or the real war
Will rage un-numbed within us

- back to top -


Wedding Song

The horror
Only survivors made us

Eons of fear and voiceless estrangement
Eons of coercion, violation and destruction
No one knew

Hopeless waste hidden behind man’s narrow role
Hopeless waste hidden behind woman’s narrow role
Hopeless waste hidden behind racial, regional and national chauvinism
Hopeless waste hidden in the assumed right of parental brutality
No one knew

Hopelessness lurking in obedience and innocent trust
Hopelessness in men numb with power, fear and obedience
Hopelessness in women numb with fear and obedience

Hope draining from frightened children wondering who to trust
No one knew

Eon upon eon of coercive power and holocaust
Untold generations of wasted potential
No one knew how to stop it

In spite of this holocaust to the planet and those it supports
Gentle, clear, determined, undaunted wisdom gathered mass
Quiet relentless survival in hopeful children grown up

There came a dawning of the power of hope

Hope hidden inside men willing to take risks of feeling
Hope hidden inside women willing to take risks of decision
Few knew

Hope rising in the face of coercion
Hope rising in the face of violation
Hope rising in the face of holocaust

Hope rising in the face of silence
Hope rising from the urge to honesty
Hope rising out of the mystery of genuineness
Hope rising in the heart of the coerced
More knew

Out of the mists of war and waste came our mothers and fathers
With a rising sense of personal value and responsibility
With a rising feeling for those who have been wasted
With a rising belief that it can be different

Now you  come to try your hand at caring for the children
Now you  come to try your hand at experiencing each other
Now you  come to try your hand at wasting no one and nothing in nature
Now you come to try your hand at remembering the holocaust
Now you come to demand choice and refuse coercion
Now you come to offer choice and give up coercing
Now you come to take responsibility for your decisions
Now you come to try your hand at learning from mistakes
Now you come to choose asserting feelings not blame
Now you come to remember that punishment has accomplished nothing
Now you come to show your children how to understand
            the consequences of their choices
Now you come to remember that you can choose to be different
            moment by moment...... Or you won’t be
Now... my friends in love
You with urgently gentle hearts
You will represent history to your children
You will remember

Your strengths will bring you painful challenges
Your weaknesses will challenge your forgiveness
Your mistakes will show you what is hidden that needs mended
Your love will take you to the most dangerous places

When you find the courage to say what you feel without blame
            he will be less frightened

When you find the courage to say what you feel without blame
            she will be less frightened
When you forgive each other the future will be yours to share
You will try to keep your children safe
You will be brutal with yourself when you don’t
They will feel blessed when you forgive yourself
Your children will feel responsible for all difficulties
You will give them the choice to be less brutal with themselves
            by modeling being less brutal to yourself
Your children will show you when they are ready to take on more
You will let them
You will not be ready
Your children will love and respect you voluntarily
Or not at all
When you stand by each other the future will be yours to share
You will choose to be different
Moment by moment


- back to top -




The Father

An over-concentration
Perhaps it was the coffee
It was strong enough
To see that father with his
Perfect little girl in the sausage shop

Three years old and already seductive
Or is it his dead innocence?
Put into her

His deadness in search
Of some screen
Any screen that will show him
The movie of the dying little boy

Thirteen years old and vacant
Or is it his absent ethics?
Put into her

His emptyness in search
Of some hole
Any hole that drops forever
The beginning of the end of the beginning

Twenty three years old and prostituted
Or is it his objectivity?
Put into her

His abandoned self in search
Of some object
Any object that has the blackness
Of his empty, lonely rage

Thirty three years old and left alone
Or is it his escape?
Put into her

His soul in search
Of some distance
Any distance that has the space
He must have to notice himself

- back to top -



Of Dancers

Two score dancers fill the floor
Forty becomes four becomes two
Swooping, yearning, crouching
Leaping, hopping, feinting.....mock scratches

Eyeing each other
They come from either side
Squinting as they warily approach the spot
That single bright spot of light

Enter the realm of the empress lion
Ready to break her long fast
With the lone long maned male
Among the coarse savanna grasses

Caramelled by the high sun
Our bodies lubricate themselves
We ignore the Savanna and
All the innocent applauding animals

Our hides burn between us
We exalt and purr and roar
We wonder at the change
The world wonders at us

The stage goes black
A moment
The spot returns
The ordinary world
Of dancers
Of lions

Of lovers

- back to top -



For Alec From Pappy                            

What a sunset....
I saw a great one last night and thought of him. 
Purples, golds, pinks, pure white and all the blues a soul can hold.

What a life....
Everybody who loves means to be here. 
He meant to be here. 
It doesn’t make sense that he is gone.

What a play....
He shared his own soul without changing a word of the script. 
He wrote a letter to me on his first day at the academy
            warning me about getting side-tracked from my creative life.

What weird poems....
He kept giving my poems back to me in funny little phone
            messages as if his love hadn’t changed them.

What anger ....
His life was too fucking short for any friend of mine. 
He has no right. 
Those who hurt him have no right. 
God has no right. 
I am so brutally kept away from him by realities I choose not to fathom or even reach out to touch.
Why should I have to deal with this?


What sorrow....
Why must some of us be so soon stolen away when we hesitate to feel the pain of our life while
others of us hang on for years and years in such horrible wasteful suspended, delayed agony?

What a wake....
Friends gathered to teach me that only frightened thoughts can keep me away from him.

What thankfulness....
I have nothing left now but thankfulness:
For his being with me while he was
For his reaching out to me
For his blues
For his rascally smile
And for feeling this deep loss.

*NOTE:  This word is to be recited each time with feeling and with both thumbs up about eighteen inches in front of each shoulder.

- back to top -


The New Day                       

When I go back I find
A white girl on a horse
Like the wind
At one with muscle and blood
All sensation and striving
In an open land
A conversation with wildness

When I go back I find

A black boy with a straight stick
Like a snake
An extension of my long arm
I yearn for the mark
The mark is the animal
Giving it’s life for my family

When I go back I find
A red girl who runs
Like a bird flies
Toes digging into the grass
As wings into wind
Air fills my lungs
I explode with the freedom of speed

When I go back I find
A yellow boy who swims
Like a dolphin
Suspended in another world
Flying under and pushing up
I am a master of middle ground
Where the sun meets the underworld

When I go back I find
Myself sometimes a boy sometimes a girl
Reaching and leaping and running and yearning
To discover every portion of my worth
I wake the family to see my new day
To test the tolerance of the tribe
I yearn to take the journey of my soul

- back to top -



Kissing Song

...And we kiss again and again
No place to go 
Like youth... again
Not believing that its time
To choose... again
Only wanting to stop 
And kiss... again
With many tomorrows
And no more todays... again

Yes and we look
Down into our eyes
Yes and we open
The dark dark door
Yes and we find
That tail of fear
Yes and we chase it
Round and round

And dizzy we stand and hug again
No place to go
Like youth... again
Not wanting to know
The end... again
Only to find the morning
New... again
With many tomorrows
And no more todays... again

Yes and we look
Down into our eyes
Yes and we open
The dark dark door
Yes and we find
That tail of fear

Yes and we chase it 
Round and round
Yes and we chase it 
Round and round... again

- back to top -