The Wordman Of Alcatraz

by Mr Bennett

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    Mr B gets his spoken word hat on with this 8 track album of notes on solitary refinement.

     name your price




The giving and taking of advice is dangerous business. But advice is everywhere. In the storm, in the nursery rhyme, in the dog’s eye. It is particularly unsavoury when uninvited, but then galleries are full of uninvited expression so it’s usually better out than in. Everything preaches. All of life sings. Eat the chicken, spit out the bones, just don’t stop listening.

Some years ago I wrote a little book called The Wordman of Alcatraz. For a brief period it was my life's work. Then I wrote some more things. Anyway, it was never published. I got tired of trying so I spoke it into being.


Described as notes on solitary refinement, The Wordman Of Alcatraz is dense with hard-won lyrical wisdom and lots of advice you didn’t ask for.

In this album, Mr Bennett plays the lyrical fugitive who has served his time as a musical wanderer. An itinerant iconoclast released as it were from a prison of adventure, carrying with him into a new daylight nothing but the distilled chapters of a lifetime of observation and experience. The words that are spoken in the eight tracks that make up this album were taken from a suitcase full of little spiral bound notebooks, the kind Bennett was rarely seen without. That’s a lot of scribbles on planes, trains and automobiles. Sleeping in lobbies and on stages after performing.

"Canada's MR Bennett, a Burroughs/Cohen voice for our times & an albums-worth of awesome" Robbie (Bandcamp Staff Picks)

"Mr Bennett...gotta listen...this guy can you describe'm diggin"
(Drew Marshall Joy Radio Toronto)

"The Wordman Of Alcatraz leaves me speechless"
(Melissa Masser Avenue A Records NYC)

"I am so addicted to the new album...this is gold and I want more. Thank you for the premium tracks! "
(Dan Ka Minnesota)



released 07 November 2012

Written, recorded, mixed, performed and produced by MRB.
Mastered by James Paul @ The Rogue Studio Toronto.
JD Roth ( - Loops/bass - The Protest is Over
Simon Wilkinson (The - Music - Alcatraz / Dojo
Marion Hill - Piano - Old / It's Not Your Fault



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Mr Bennett Toronto, Ontario

Songwriter. Poet. Minimalist. He's been called a lyrical laureate. A prophetic voice. He's been compared to Dylan, Cohen, Waits, Burroughs and Reed. Mr Bennett certainly walks the road less travelled. A good inheritance for those who like to think while they listen.

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Track Name: The Protest Is Over (Explicit Lyric)
The Protest Is Over

Nobody’s listening
Stop buying their things
The protest is over
Stop buying their things
You’re making them kings
You’re making them princes
You’re making them fuck you
Don’t be ridiculous
Why should they listen
You’re buying their things?
You’re wasting your breath
Stop buying their things
You’re making them rich
Stop buying their things
You want to rule the powers that rule the world?
Stop buying their things
You’re wasting your time
You’re wasting your money
You’re wasting your mind
You’re upsetting yourself
You’re upsetting your spouse
You’re making them kill you
Stop buying their things
It’s not easy
Stop buying their things
They’re only doing it because they are allowed to
Stop buying their things
You’re making it possible
You’re making it bad
You’re suffering
Caveat emptor
You’re hurting yourself
It’s not their fault for selling you things
It’s simple
Stop buying their things
If you want them to go away
Don’t be ridiculous

Copyright Mr Bennett 2012
Track Name: Alcatraz

Be careful not spend your life
Waiting to be understood
It will be wasted
The fruit is the last thing
On a tree’s mind
So don’t mistake change for growth
Or growth for maturity
The aim is to cultivate character

Don’t be afraid to avoid
The gratifying but usually distracting
Allure of association
It’s long journey
It’s a solitary journey
Where we interact
But we are alone in the
Odyssey of volition
Do not interrupt this equation
It’s God’s crucible
Walk away from what you are not
Much association is
Shallow gratification
Bourne of the trickery
Of insecurity
The time-wasting detours of discontent
The empty nervous chuckling
Of the unaddressed soul
Don’t have too many friends
There is only one temple
But there are
Many many pillars
You better know your job
After a lifetime of
Learning how to convert light into energy
Leaves don’t fall
They jump
Death gives life
Things don’t happen to you
Things happen for you
Stop calling God the devil

Copyright Mr Bennett 2012
Track Name: Velocity

The harder you push, the more resistance you encounter. Don’t go too long before you realise that radical is soft and gentle. Hardness will always oppose love. Things go the way they want to go. Even God doesn’t usually interrupt, wasting energy like the rest of us. There are many kinds of pushing. Most of the time, pulling and pushing are the same. Just as laziness and impatience. These are all temporal things, and therefore secondary at least. I do things because I am things, and because it gives me a process. Engagement. Occupation that’s all. The soul does not need an event. A walk will do. A destination is not necessary. Plans are good too, but the seemingly random and uninvited moments of the process will still interrupt. To force is to impinge, and therefore not to work by love. Pressure forms the diamond, but the diamond is not soft.

Copyright Mr Bennett 2012
Track Name: The Excellent Danger
The Excellent Danger

That which goes on in the absence of impression. When the mind is younger, you walk into a room full of people and wonder what they think of you. After a certain turning, the equation reverses, then like most things becomes inconsequential. Flowers bright and rare in the deep woods go through their seasons. Death and flourishing becomes them, regardless of being seen. Most are not. The grass is not greener. There is no other side. Very few can avoid the strangely arousing fatality of comparison. You spend your life looking for what you’ve already got. You spend your life trying to impress those who have impressed you.
Each of my dreams is a white cane clicking where the curb once was. Every sentence uttered just a bucket full of holes. Still, the waters come without regard. Love and wind with no preference of person. Like all things true; a beautiful mess. The muse, jealous and relentless, haunting the me I wish I knew. “Live unknown if you would fulfil your calling”.
Strange voices, coloured shadows. My heart spreads reclining, a still liquid waiting for a backward falling mind. Ripples and waves, thoughts like striped towels hanging on the line. I live in two worlds. The squinting dolphin swimming effortlessly through one element while breathing the air of another he knows not. I am the beginner who doesn’t ask why. Standing in front of the mirror not seeing. A thin apparition quivering in the heat of the road. I check my watch but do not catch the time. I am the juggler and the balls. Jonah and the whale. Circles and spheres. Elaborate and unadorned. Curiously happy and troubled because I love and do not know. Because I love, and do not know. .

Copyright Mr Bennett 2012
Track Name: Dojo

Don’t be too eager to subscribe to teachers and ways. Even if the ancients insist. Of course there is merit in acquainting oneself with many things. Skills, techniques, forms. There is merit in mastering only one. But there is more virtue in deeply knowing one’s own way, and what is and isn’t needed for it. This requires great courage and deep learning. It also requires objectivity and compassion so hang on to your most trusted friends, even if they don’t always understand. Remember to be gracious but determined, both with yourself and with others. Not many people practice themselves and it will be intimidating to most. Remain open but decisive. Do not close your heart, the pain is necessary. Only when the grape is crushed and hid away in darkness does it yield mature wine. Avoid criticism and comparison, they will put holes in your bucket. Go to the mountain. Go to the valley. Go to the desert. Go to the well. Ignore time, just keep practicing. Repetition ingrains technique. Technique provides options. Explore many, knowing you will only use a few fully in this life. As you accumulate ways that work, remember to let them grow too. As you do. Then learn and forget. Few things are fixed, all others pivot from them. I’m not always changing, you just haven’t seen all sides of me yet. I am rolling, tumbling, turning within the circuit of my way. Enjoying to the full the limitless variations of my limited self. I part the light circle each time I choose. The sword is right. Rotating, orbiting in the spherical miracle of my designated shape. Light and dark. Hot and cold. Open and closed. Near and far. Water, wind, tree and rock. I am substantial and insubstantial. Co-creating. Nothing mystical about it. Only that which is unique and beautifully threatening. You are surprised because you anticipate. Though seasonal I remain unknowing. Surprised and surprising. Playing in the life of deaths.

Copyright Mr Bennett 2012
Track Name: Old

Why should I
Clutter my world
With trying so much
When everything always returns
To what it is anyway
I should have done nothing
All those years
While my character blossomed
In the decay of maturity
I am old without regrets
That’s a good thing
That’s a good thing
For one so frustrated
By his own light
When I was asking questions
Writing everything down
Flowers were living
And dying
Without giving a damn
They brought happiness
For a moment
And then went
I wish I could have
Gotten old
A long time ago

Copyright Mr Bennett 2012
Track Name: It's Not Your Fault
It’s Not Your Fault

The world is not nice. It’s not supposed to be. Just like love. Squint heartily at anything and anyone that implies otherwise. Rights and manners being the new righteousness. Another T-shirt to wear so we don’t have to live the difficult and unacknowledged life of thinking for ourselves. Feigning subscription for identity. Sameness for oneness. Information for knowledge. Technology for community. Ever new morals for virtue. Smugness for composure and, worst of all, charity for love. Accepting too much too easily. Our minds have gone limp. We surround and congratulate ourselves as discerning and knowing victims. A very old sense of quality and authenticity has lapsed into a humiliating subscription to all manner of insulting commodity. Alas, we treat art with the same disrespect. Talent-less stars and leaders, appearing and disappearing like popcorn in a darkening sky. Packaged heroes flagrantly and unwittingly mock any sense of integrity with an embarrassing display of mediocrity, because they are allowed to. When even the radicals have become flaccid and full of the need to be adored we are doomed, destined for a pliable future of proud gullibility, where falseness is the least of our problems. Western man has always suffered uncontrollably from the fear of death, or worse, the fear of having his hard-won pleasures interrupted or stolen. Or worse still, revealed as shallow and temporal. Being as he is largely descended from new world seekers, he wants now more than ever all the resurrections, but less than ever the deaths. This is the sound of the North American playground, broadcasting back to it’s more mature plunderers. The hybrid cacophony of a voracious lifestyle, where nature and principle are imprisoned by escapism. A theme park built on a fault line of incremental exhaustion. It doesn’t even look good on paper and quite obviously cannot be sustained. So why is the world increasingly influenced by such adolescence, in exchange for a trinket? It’s not your fault, but it’s your problem.

Copyright Mr Bennett 2012
Track Name: Dignify The Trial
Dignify The Trial

Theft is not always a bad thing. Steal yourself back from vagueness. Till it aches bittersweet like one free beer. It is no mild peril. Let contending be the burglar in the house of your malpractice. Dignify the trial. No one is going to do it for you, though some will try. I am only ever here, trying hard not to miss feeling these moments. The ones that float like twigs down the steady river of me. Rocks, falls, turns. Desires like salmon resisting the flow. Never-mind, I do not stop. You can’t steer a parked car. The river moves and rests at the same time. You must interpret everything into your own language, otherwise you can only think you are doing the work of an artist. An artist is one who engages with creativity, especially when they are not making art. An artist feels and encounters their way. They know there is no such thing as confinement.

Copyright Mr Bennett 2012