History of  Splinter aka Panther Chevron Secret Nine – Shapeshifter


It all began with an idea at the Cobb Family Retreat, our home in Cobb, CAA from 2011 to 2015. The whole thing began 1.22.2012 with a wheelbarrow full of words which became Splinter. I sort of did an exercise to list words from the skim top off my brain-top rapid-fast-as-you-can, without any regard for where or what or especially why. This gave me the block of wood, if you will, which was called Splinter. I then went in between the words and filled in the poem which became Panther Chevron Secret Nine. I suppose I had the sculpturing idea in my head that the sculptor must find the beauty inside the block of wood and Splinter was the block of wood, but I was adding the in- betweens. Shapeshifter was added to the eventual title because I felt like Panther Chevron Secret Nine was too short. But seriously, I added that because it kept changing within the iterations as I added the meat to the Splinter. Any poet or writer will tell you they sometimes fall in love with a seemingly imperfect idea and work away at it, often quixotically, to perfect that idea and within that whittling and adding and trying to remove all cliche and trying to be sure it expresses everything or nothing, it becomes a favorite child, and yes there can and will be more than one. This is one of my favorite children, which I cannot really share with music, in a normal rock or jazz situation and usually this lil baby is read once in a long while at the just right reading event. I usually don’t explain too much about origins but this story is cool and also, the beginning “This line keeps getting fatter” refers back to a night outside the Warfield in San Francisco in the 2000s while waiting in line to enter a much anticipated Widespread Panic show and everyone’s friends were joining the side of the line, not the end, so I blurted that out and am memorializing it here for anyone who joins the end of the line.
The final version is dated 8.22.2012 and with that I present to you
Splinter aka Panther Chevron Secret Nine – Shapeshifter.

Sam Flot
Maple Falls, Washington 2.24.2019
Splinters, shortcuts, fractions, parallelograms, barn doors, pine cone bebop flashlight symphonies fishlight tightfish lemur pirahbola piranha spilt or split change angular coverage cubism isn’t a prison a palette replete with rainbow galleries and rants about every rhyme thick within the changing wind in the air envelope cluster treble brewing singular intiricacies rebuilt with efficiency eagle ranch eagle nest horseshoe candle or or leatherneck hee-haw hide and speak tunneling into fractals and tracking refractions never lacking traction completely grounded on the dirt but still above it wicker gloves and linen boxes full of hands for clocks and trucks unlocked the leaping animal can not be properlay captured in statue form of odd-yssey instinct or stabilizing the alphabet’s usage without giving in to increasing or decreasing objects, subjects, bottles, boxes, bags, bins, bindles barrows bathtubs, barrels, baskets biscuits, bundles branches banquets, determined to intercede on the functional literate set of jumping monkeys sleeping through roosters and reactively smiling at people and things and rocks and swings

Panther, Chevron, Secret Nine
by Sam Flot 2012

This line keeps getting fatter as
If we all know each other
The Splinter splits from the log
First time for everything

The action happens
While the newborn Splinter is
Asking the axe a question
About our ritual work habits and those shortcuts we took
Which just leave the job done short of finished
Ship shape sure but a hair short of a fraction
Never intended to be even a half full haircut

The axe (to grind) answers his new son Splinter
Sitting on a heathen stool yelling over shoulder
With an answer-for-a-question-answer
“Who’s been telling ye to ask me that question?”

The Place must be
In heaven inevitably
Splinter is missing earth terribly
A little splinter feels the full unknown
Not knowing which way to turn
Shy and innocently lost

Who else but a toothpick
Could find a way to be lost in heaven?

Wishing to be back at the old stump
Not bumping around inside the big door
Inside a pair of perfect parallelogram pajamas
Sincerely fitting himself in the one space left open
Parked in the sitting room corner
Near the window looking down
On the Youth of The Fountain of Fauna

Overflowing with youthful water and groundwater
Collected from the recent barn door rains
The viaduct systematically deriving
All the water trucks from all the water trains
All the puddles from all the clouds
On mud lit trails and we could barely see
Who forgot we’ve been having heavenly rains
With wily winds knocking
All the precious pinecone jazz cats
Down to the ground and
The prince of the pauper poets
Feels his branches tilting to Leftists and Liberals
With capital ‘L’s
Leading the allegedly progressive thought process
Whatever’s left under that wiggling wing

Nothing will be left over
We will take out the crimson and replace it with clover
When all of this is over

Nothing will be left over
Where they gather their tents in clusters
With all the money they think they can muster
Ordering take out
All flustered

Away from the gaze of flashlight symphonies
Away from the underwater fish-light timpani and
Away from the suffocating air of apparency of
Tight-fisted phonies holding all the well-known ropes
Of all the well-known ponies with all the high hopes
Yet again
The limping lemurs arrive anonymously quiet
On the sidewalk
Outside of the building that I would assume
Houses the apartments of
The parabolic science of prescience
Signifying a predictable pretense
Of timing and substance

Choosing between
Forgetful farmers projecting or subjecting
Irrigating from the innocent river of ether
Or living like a live shark in my imagination ocean
With the inevitable essence of a plethora of the aura of piranha
Escaping the aquarium’s ever-confining atmosphere
Artistic rebel to the end, I
Spilt it first and
Then I split shouting
“Cubism is a prison!”
Don’t forget this
Don’t fret if your palette is tender yet seems complete
Replete with delectable droppings of rainbow remnants and
Long-winded rants about rosemary and rhymes
Thick inside time and thinner than air, this thyme
Escaping the effervescent envelope
Combining the trail to the slippery slope

Elementally redefining the wind or
Brewing up treble
Just by turning the knob higher and higher
It all gets louder and louder

This Amp is heard by all now
Out across flat land of the Eagle Ranch
Flying out over all ears
Above lazy sleeping lizards and
Above insomniac insect sects

The Amp is heard wherever you may find
A burning horseshoe candle
Hiding in the depths of an inefficiency kitchen
Tucked halfway in the hallway
Hidden like suddenly
Velocity’s in a closet
Left next to the fluids for cleaning
Next to the lost leatherneck hee-haw
Under the lost lid
With all the forgotten compassion
Secluded and left behind by fashion
Thrown behind the rusting toy tractor
Right behind where they hide
Standing in circles
Speaking often of fractals and pterodactyls

Are they tracking the refractions?
Of all mirrors retracting
Finding an exacting it all inside ‘the speed of’

Here I am
I find myself found
Grounded down here into earth dirt path trail

We found two of them by sound
Tunneling into lime colored linen boxes underground
All full of hands for clocks and
Teeth for rocks and thoughts
Unlocked by anyone who knows
You can never be really free

The same way you can never capture
The true essence of the rapture
On any page or any record
In any tincture or any sculpture

The leaping animal in statue form of odyssey or instinct
Destabilized by the over usage of lingering legs
Without gaining in to increasing or
Decreasing the objects and subjects
Let’s just say we are assuming
Any old under the counter-revolution will do
Listing a laundry list I found:


Determined to intercede on a iterate level
While the functional literate set of jumping monkeys
Is almost always sleeping through roosters and
More recently seen
Reactively smiling at people and things and rocks and swings


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