Friday, July 21, 2017

Bea Garth Enters the 1940s Contest



Tonight I'd like to post Bea Garth's tribute to Janis Joplin, an artist who has been honored more than once at The Song Is..  However, Bea's tribute is remarkable, for it imagines Janis being alive today.

JANIS

What happened to you?
You should be here now
with your gritty sardonic laugh
the way you’d tilt your head,
your wild plum colored hair, shawl and bangles.
The black sheep,
they called you ugly in your Texas high school,
you learned to go your own way,
discovering, to your surprise, your voice
belting out high raspy crescendos
transcending the angst of solitude.
What would you make of it,
the Now of Now,
the way the world
is spinning out of sync?
Would you be forever chasing
that elusive Other,
breaking boundaries
always searching for that impossible, quixotic One?
Or maybe just maybe by now
you finally found him or her,
your broken heart healing at last
as you curl up cat-like in the lap of genuine love
with a house, garden,
a horse in the barn out back
so you can go out for long rides
and all those grandkids.
I just can’t see you giving up though,
you’d have to sing
all that feeling bundled up
ready to explode from your soul
unable to put up with any bull,
the sincere angst of your cry
helping to heal this lowly sphere
with your sardonic insights,
you, our cantankerous Earth Mama,
with the wise beauty
of your wild penetrating eye
and scratchy, soul-shattering voice.

(written to Janis Joplin)
by Bea Garth

Here are a few more of Janis' songs.  I hope that these are not repeats from earlier entries!

The first is her "I Need a Man to Love":  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NRzxu_Hak8 

I have always liked "Flower in the Sun":  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=natCa2asaq4

Here is her "One Night Stand":  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nc9saY_XcXY

I'll finish with "One Good Man":  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIHgZHDJlZY

Enjoy!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Bill Cushing's Potpourri

Photo by Chris -- 2009
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/


With this title, I think I must be watching too much Jeopardy! this summer.  Tonight I am posting a non-driving poem and several poems about water, all by Bill Cushing.  Even though the non-driving contest ended, as a non-driver, I am always happy to receive poems in this category.  I am also happy to receive poems about water as well.


RIGHT ON TIME


While waiting
at the bus stop,
he approached,
asked for the time.

Once told, he recited
the bus schedule
            within that time frame
for both lines
that run
past here,

plus

where they meet the outgoing driver.

“But I never really depend
on either one,” he said,

forgetting, I suppose,

that it was he
who asked me

for the time.

-- Bill Cushing



AT A MOUNTAIN WATERFALL

water slaps
my face
forcing my eyes
shut
as we climb
            crablike
                        scuttling
            platform
                        to platform
            along the rocks
that form         an opening
not more than   a half-foot across
                           and
from that six-inch
                        aperture
                                    water
                                    shoots
                                                out
                                                and
                                                down

rocks
            run
            in steps
                        handholds
some jut out with
holes    in them

vines crawl
down
and—nourished by
                        water that
            splashes
                        runs
            pounds
                        and
            flows—
begin to
take root
as they
touch
down
on
another base of rock

holding a stone
shaped
like an ax
blade
as big
as my hand
and as thick
and
almost as flat
except for one
hard wart at
the broader end
           
other men
might have been
here using rocks
like this one
chipping them into tools
and weapons

this island
reminds one
of all things

primitive

-- Bill Cushing 
The poem above first appeared in Barbaric Yawp, and it is also part of Bill's book, Notes and Letters.



PELICANS

Slowly circling,
the pelican

drops like a stone
into water.

Then climbing the
air, he stops, and

with a single
motion of wings,

glides on the wind.

-- Bill Cushing



SAILING
            for Joseph Conrad

I have always taken
the four a.m. watch:
those three hours before dawn when,
inhaling the moist sweetness
of a new day, we awake
and escape last night’s darkness,

leaving technology
to experience
quiet and primitive satisfaction.

The ocean rushing underneath,
its volume
dependent upon current hull speed,
spills a phosphorescent wake —
the only natural source of light
besides the moon.

Rolling up and down,
swaying into balance
on the balls of my feet while
cradling the warmth
of a mug’s contents.

Soon
an orange sliver appears
and grows, as the sun
finds the seam in the weld
that fixes sea to sky.

-- Bill Cushing

The poem above appeared in River Poets Journal and the UK anthology Along the Shore

If you go to this link, you can hear Bill read "At A Mountain Waterfall":  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKQ3wG6mQ3s 


To listen to "Sailing (for Joseph Conrad)," go to this link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQymn92EFxY

I had meant to post a video of "Music Isn't About Standing Still and Being Safe":  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odMJPXePsn4

To finish up, here is some Afro-Peruvian jazz!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07vv6u5noPU

This video was actually recorded in LA:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qm5FWxhm1vE

I'll conclude with Tony Succar's TED Talk on Afro-Peruvian music:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keboPv6ZAvE

Enjoy!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

More with Will Mayo



A while back Will Mayo sent me some brief bios.  Arlo Guthrie was born in 1947, so I think I'll start with him.

Arlo Guthrie's Surprise Visitor 

by

Will Mayo

I met this gentleman, with his long brown hair and beard and trimmed down physique, backstage at one of his concerts back in 1984. He was very cordial and well mannered at my accidental interruption.

"How are you doing?" he asked.

I stood stock still. Surely, this, I presumed, must be somebody famous. I knew little of the matter then.

He then proceeded to walk onstage and rock the audience to the rafters. Neither one of us ever looked back.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Remembering One Long Past

by

Will Mayo

Still, it was the first President Bush who, when approached by a homeless man on his way to church asking, "Mr. President, will you pray for me?" , replied, "No, but come on in and you can pray for yourself."

So the President and the beggar sat praying in the church. Years passed. They came and left, came again and again. The beggar left a dollar each time in the collection plate drawing the envy of millionaires. They all stayed and prayed though the President eventually left office and moved away. But the beggar in the church remained. He stayed, became a part of the community.

One day, as it happens, several years later, the beggar died of cold and fright on a winter's bench. Word got around to the parish where he had prayed. The rector in particular was quite disturbed.

"Would anybody," he stammered, "Would anybody care to take up a collection for this poor man's burial?"

Monies flowed in across the River Styx in surpassing amounts. It was staggering to think how much this church, full of billionaires and patrons of the arts, cared for this little peasant. Staggering, too, was the tomb built for the man. It surpassed in grandeur many a monument in the nation's Capitol. Sunlight gleamed across the concrete surface and it was said that if there was a God in Heaven he smiled that day.

Funny thing, though. His name was a mystery, so they simply chiseled in "John," nothing else. It could be heard far off in their prayers, "...John...John...John..." And then there only remained the whispering wind.

Easter Sunday, 2017
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Miss Dickinson Takes Up Her Pen 

by

Will Mayo

An explosion went about inside Emily's brain. A gun went off. A scream was heard in a neighboring house. She commenced to write. The world would never be the same again.


McCandless In The Wild 

by

Will Mayo

"Happiness is only real when shared," Alexander Supertramp said before he died in the land of ice and snow. The bear, the deer bore witness to the pain. And then they too went away.

Photo by Travis Mars -- 2006
In The Ruin Of Love

by

Will Mayo

Is there a ruin where there lies not love?
Where lovers have not made tryst
and fumbled at every button?
Where what has pleased the eye 
has not then too pleased the skin
as bodies wrapped to and fro
in the ruin of what once was and what will be?
There in the fumbling down ruin
lies many a lover's kiss
in the ruin of all that once was deemed holy.
So too do I taste you upon my lips
though you are not here
in the ruin of being,
in the decay of body and soul.
Here lies one man who once hoped, once dreamed
and now casts an eye another's way
and so then beholds another ruin.
It begins again.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

I don't know if I've posted anything by Ted Curson.  I remember that he was a special guest at a gig I went to back in the 1980s.  The song he played that evening was "Graft and Corruption."  I remember him banging on a cowbell.

Here is his "Song of the Lonely One":


Another song of his is "LSD Takes a Holiday":  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiw8gMCrj-M


I'll finish with "Straight Ice" from The New Thing and the Blue Thing:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8DKulkUPW8

Enjoy!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Welcome to Blanca Alicia Garza!


Tonight I'm thrilled that I have another poet who is new to The Song Is...  As her poems and bio reveal, she is not new to poetry, though.

Destiny 

She is clothed with an inner strength
and laughs without fear of the future.
eye shine, ignites sparks in my heart.
she judges none, and walks with grace.
Her dreams are in a technicolor palette
and lights her way through the darkness.
She adores dancing in the pouring rain
Blowing dandelions in summer breezes 
Talks to the moon about her eternal love 
She smiles as squirrels dance in trees,
loves spending time watching kids play.
Her dream was to be a great writer, but 
falling in love with a poet was her destiny.




A Bed of Earth

My time has come 
I was not ready 
But she does not forgive 
I'm here in this cold box
I wonder if I loved enough 
I can't feel the sun now 
and tear drops are falling 
watering thirsty soil 
I feel them all crying 
but I cannot hear at all; 
silence is just deafening. 
I have blessed peace and 
tranquility within my heart. 
Although my soul aches 
for those I left behind, 
I can feel a strong rhythm,
it is a much loved Mariachi
playing my favorite songs?
I'm singing now, so loud!
Don't be sad my loves
I'm in a wonderful place,
with roses in a bed of earth
tears and sadness are gone.

(Initially published on Indiana Voice Journal)

"Tattooed" by Thomas Leuthard, 2011


Flaming Wings

She had fire 
on her wings, 
and deep wounds 
in her heart, 
reborn like a phoenix 
from the burning 
ashes of Hell, 
she had a shattered soul 
and it was coming out 
through her eyes, 
warm and salty tears 
like an endless rain. 
But still she is not defeated, 
she'll wipe her tears and 
spread her wings wider, 
the time to soar even 
higher has come.

(Initially published on Whispers)

Bio: Blanca Alicia Garza is a Poet from Las Vegas, Nevada. She is a nature and animal lover, and enjoys spending time writing. Her poems are published in the Poetry Anthologies, "Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze", and "Dandelions in a Vase of Roses" now available at Amazon.com. Blanca's work can be found in  The Poet Community, Whispers, The Winamop Journal, Indiana Voice Journal, Tuck Magazine, Raven's Cage Ezine, Scarlet Leaf Review as well as Birdsong Anthology 2016, Vol 1.

I've heard much about Carla Bley, but I've never actually listened to her music.  Here is her "Lawns" with Steve Swallow:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkBU5aM_6zM

She often played with Charlie Haden.  Here is "Ballad of the Fallen" with a full roster of artists:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3txwortlGsM

This is "Who Will Rescue With You?" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6s0cjSUDJE

Here is a more recent recording with her trio:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ou5PE1AZy7g

I'll finish with her "Fleur Carnivore":  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncESJhJb9zU

Friday, July 7, 2017

Welcome to Kim D. Bailey and S. Liam Spradlin!





















This evening I'd like to post some engaging, heartfelt poems by a poetic power couple, Kim D. Bailey and S. Liam Spradlin.

Walnut Street Bridge

Why build a bridge?
Beams and planks fastened
together with iron rods.
A motionless frame stretched
like an accordion far
across a once empty space.
A Bridge -that has the same ending
for me as it does the old man
with a cane, as unshapely as his knees.
Why build a bridge?
a suspension of sorts stapled in the sky,
a long esophagus
swallowing its admirers who
dare to leave the safety called Land.
Where mankind is supposed to walk.
What if we were to be content
just being by the waters,
not over them?  I feel the entire bridge
give under the weight of each 
step I take. While I drawback my breath
as nearby reflections lean across the water.
My eyes capture the serenity of the moment
Like the mockingbird catches the wind.
I envision my reflection
seized by the waters below. Then I
am reminded how easily I am moved
by the smallest ripple.
Some boards where I now
stand have begun to rot.
I wonder how many hurried ankles
have twisted when a high heel gets stuck.
How many children have explored
these planks with tender and precarious
fingers, only to stand up crying
when a splinter is all they find.
I think about the few souls that have
unsettled the even surface below.
Were they overwhelmed with sadness?
Like the rhythm of a coiled anchor,
heaved overboard, slapping a corroded and
slippery chain all the way down.
I came here tonight to walk.
To walk across a bridge.
A bridge purposefully placed to take me
from one destination to another.
But I worry what I find will
be no different from what I left.
I sit down on a bench that
is not made for the curve
of my spine. I begin to
write without thinking. What
is holding me now? Is it the air? Or is it
my belief that something
solid hangs under me?
I cannot miss the cracks in this bridge,
they are everywhere I step.
If I could leap over these cracks then
I could leap over the bridge.
But I can't leap, I can barely jump.
The waters below carry drowned secrets
Misplaced by water and time.
Here great river. Here is a quarter.
Take me downstream till I sink.
Bury me in the mud, or inside
an old shoe that a young fisherman
will swear is a catfish. Let him
keep the quarter for his efforts.
I need to be moving now. My
fear of heights keeps me an
arm’s distance from the rail.
I am a little more than halfway across
and I want to turn around.
Why not build bridges on land?
Oh—but we do. Over streets
and highways, railroad tracks
and anything else
that may slow us down.
Whoever invented bridges
solved the world's problems.
So why can't we build bridges
over hunger, fear, hate, intolerance,
injustice, inequality, disease, pain,
prejudice, terrorism, and all things evil?
Why can't we go back to 1970
and float on that that round piece of vinyl?
Thank you, Paul Simon & Art Garfunkel
For building a Bridge Over Troubled Waters
You saved my sisters (every night)
Thank You, Naomi and Wynonna Judd
they built a bridge in the country.
“between your heart and mine.”
And yes Wynonna, I do believe it's time.
I am nearly to the end now
where a homeless lady rests, expecting my change.
Nearby, a mother and her daughter
stop to look for a phone or camera.
The young girl wipes her fingertips
on the frills of her dress.
she is eating plain potato chips.
Maybe we do need bridges after all.

S. Liam Spradlin





Steps in the Night

She Walks
won't talk
Balks
At my Talk
High heels click
Cracks in the sidewalk missed
She walks
on my name
Written in Chalk
Hopscotch
Down a dirty sidewalk

Her shadow falls
on the Graffiti walls
Lights along the bank dance
Where’s my chance
Ain't no belt
on my button fly pants
I scream
At the back of her head
Her ears are dead

Her stare
Glares
In the moonlit air
She don't care
What’s fair
Problems
tailor made to share
Ain't no shame
When I'm to blame
Last seconds
of my Last Game

Her collar turned up so high
Keeps the world out...
Ain't no shout from the crowd
in a 12-round bout
Till a right hook connects
Above the neck
Lights out

The mat is cold
I'm climbing the ropes
Playing the crowd
while all my hatters
keep wondering how
I look down at my feet
I'm back on concrete

She's disappeared
I hide in fear
I ain't scared of the dark-
But I am the spark
A willow cries
From the pain inside
Sidewalk
is two-person wide
I tried

To mask the pain
In my brain
Like a bullet train
with no breaks
Rolling on my veins
Inside my heart
Tunnels Dark
She stops and starts

On Time
Never late
Don't hesitate
Like a bull outta the gate
She crushes the ground
with the moves she makes
My heart ducks
Eight Seconds
Is long enough

She goes
Distance grows
and I don't know
if the change
on the ground
from my pocket holes
Will be enough
To buy my soul

S. Liam Spradlin





Woman at the Well

I don’t want to be the woman at the well,
walking so far to fetch water
for a man who won’t make me his wife.

I don’t want to be that woman
who was taken time and time again
only to be coldly cast aside.

I don’t want to be the woman who sees a man
and does not recognize him
as the Savior, the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

I want to be the woman who takes his hand
and knows in Him
there is everlasting life.

I don’t want to carry this weight on my shoulders
all the pain of those who came
and walked right out my door.

I just want to drink the living water
the kind that fills me up
and keeps me coming back for more.

I don’t want to be the woman at the well
desperately drawing day by day
from an empty place.

I don’t want to throw pennies
in a fountain, well or spring,
hoping my love will finally show his face.

I just want to drink the living water
the kind that never runs dry
the kind that never leaves me thirsting for more,

or leaves me with these tears in my eyes.
I don’t want to be the woman at the well
I want to be the woman worth fighting for.

Kim D. Bailey
March 12, 2013




Remembering What I Never Had

Days used to run
together,
stacked and covered with dust
like old books used
for decoration
instead of being read.

No stories were told,
no plots thickened.
Just shells for covers of
blank pages,
to hide the emptiness
bound within.

I never noticed them
until you came along
with words written on your heart.

That same heart
you placed upon
your torn and jagged sleeve
of a shirt you bought
at the thrift store.

While we walked, winding
zigging and zagging across streets
and bridges, connected
caressing and caressed,
by an unknown wind
blowing against wood
and steel,
wrapping us in its
warmth.

I remember what I never had, but
I am not sorry.

I’ve found the lost piece of myself
here with you,
the part of me I longed for
and missed
something once lost
though I never knew
existed until
I looked into your eyes.

Kim D. Bailey

April 1, 2017


A Phoenix Rises from the Ash

I am the fire
torching all in my path
unforgiving undiscerning.
                Move or burn—
for my flames are fierce.
licking at old wounds
scorching those who
leave a scar.
Red, molten, lava,
hot.
Your guilt or
innocence,
                no matter—
for at some time
you broke a
heart,
and that is all
that means anything
now.

Kim D. Bailey
February 25, 2017




Meant to be Broken   
S. Liam Spradlin


Promises...those we make to ourselves.
Or maybe like the promises we make
To God. The ones we make
When we find ourselves
Overwhelmed by a situation
Of our own creative ignorance.
Promises. Like those drowned out in
Static words between cell phones.
Promises. That bring out the laughter
In senseless childhood friends.
Promises. Like dandelion seeds
Riding saddle to the April wind.
Promises. The ones we remember
Are the ones someone else spoke.
Promises. Cannot exist.
Like a proud drop of rain
Begging to be hidden away
In the desert’s crumbling veil.
Promises. Sound good.
Like our favorite song making a U-turn
Down on Cyclone Corner.
Promises. Shared among lovers
Like a thick mud shake and two straws.
Promises heard.

City Blocks
S. Liam Spradlin

This afternoon I walked downtown.
I followed the same path I first
Memorized by streetlights and
Building tops. Not stoplights
And street names. Today-
I walked looking down, or
Maybe looking in. As I walk
Thoughts pedal across my mind
Like the soft click of a plastic
Straw caught in the silver spokes.
Today I noticed the cracks in the
Sidewalk down on Main.
I imagine my heart looks
Very much the same…
Everything cracks
The faces I meet are only voices
Mingled among the cities
Constant rumble. All I
Can really hear is the cautious rhythm
Of my soles pressing against the
Concrete. Although I am not
Lost, I feel alone. A fast blast
From a car horn is not recognition,
Rather a rude interruption of my thoughts…
I go back to thinking of all the places you could
Never be. A confused waitress questions
My response… “Table for One.”
She leads me upstairs to
A window from which
The sun has already passed.
I sit down alone.
And you are there.




Rigidity

S. Liam Spradlin



 Soundlessly the massive steel beam swung outward
 High above the push of the city street.
 A single cable grasping the arm of a
 lonely crane positioned against the careless sky.
 My existence mingled with the normality of
 Strangers- whose footprints vanished into those  
 That followed. Between my hurried reflections, I found sanity
  In the convenience of a street vendor’s hot pretzels
  While swallowing the burn of impatient exhaust. A street
  corner musician sets an empty tip jar down
  on a torn speaker. I had been saving pennies
  since a child…I would keep them in empty peanut butter jars.
  I still remember mom cutting the bread in triangles.
  An empty cable swung carelessly High above the city street.
  I had been carrying the weight of the world Like a
  knapsack full of copper and steel. I wanted to be free
  from the confusion, But I stood... 
  Waiting on the Green Man.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
S. Liam Spradlin writes poetry and nonfiction. He has been published in the 2017 annual edition of The Sequoyah Review, a literary journal published by the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where he is currently majoring in Sociology. He has also been previously published online and in print with the Scarlet Leaf Review. He lives in Fort Oglethorpe, GA with his partner, published author Kim D. Bailey. You may contact S. Liam via Facebook at Facebook/shan.spradlin

Kim D. Bailey, a 2017 Pushcart Prize Nominee, writes Women’s Fiction, short stories, poetry, non-fiction, and a weekly column for Five 2 One Magazine. She is poetry editor for Firefly Literary Magazine. She is editing a third novel and does freelance editorial work. She's published in several online literary journals and print magazines, podcasts, and has taught writing courses online. She currently lives in Fort Oglethorpe, GA with her partner and published poet, S. Liam Spradlin. You may connect with her at www.kimbaileydeal.net or Twitter @kimbaileydeal, Instagram @kimdbaileyauthor or her Facebook page https://m.facebook.com/AuthorKimDBailey/

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tonight I thought I'd post the music of a self-taught pianist, Ryo Fukui.  Born in 1947, he is another musician who is eligible for the current contest.


"Autumn Leaves" is from his first album, Scenery:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpYibfCLYWU

You may prefer "Early Summer":  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wW_dYLcate4

I'll finish with his "Bouncing with Bud":  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPM2372VpFQ

Enjoy!