Archives for posts with tag: Music

woman-at-tbe-piano.jpg!Large
Misplaced Keys
by Kaki Olsen

A lot of things were “lost in the move” when my family relocated from Oregon to Massachusetts. Some books never made it into a box and Dad accidentally left my hamster in a hot car in West Virginia.

We were bereft of other things in the process. My sister sold off my favorite stuffed animal when I missed one of our yard sales. We had to sell our antique train seats. Because we had no room for it, my mother left the piano that she had grown up with in the care of friends.

Nearly two decades later, those same friends announced that they were moving and wanted to know if my mother would like to reclaim her old piano. She still had no room for another piano and she impulsively blurted out, “but my daughter would probably love to have it.”

And so it was that the piano was professionally moved from a living room in Oregon to a cramped student apartment in Utah. It was at least five feet tall, weighed 600 pounds, and had no decorations other than a gold-leaf “Steinway and Sons” on the music stand. As soon as the mover cleared out, I sat with reverence at the 1918 Model K piano and played my favorite Beethoven.

A few weeks later, mother and piano were reunited for the first time in decades. With the same sense of respect, my mother sat at the familiar ivory keyboard and sobbed her way through Debussy’s “Claire De Lune.”

I could fund a number of dreams with the sale of the piano that was restored to me, but I’ve never been able to disregard the history that tied two generations to an 88-keyed treasure.

IMAGE: “Woman at the Piano” by Henri Matisse (1869-1954).

kakipic1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kaki Olsen is a disability case manager who spends most of her off-work hours at her computer. She has been a published essayist since her debut at iEmily.com and her first novel, Swan and Shadow, was published by Sweetwater Press in 2016. She is an alumna of Lexington Christian Academy and Brigham Young University and her advice on the publishing process has been featured in AuthorsPublish’s e-zine as well as their Get Your Book Published: 10 Authors, 10 True Stories, 10 Ways to Get Your Book Published. Both books can be found at Amazon. She has been a guest speaker at two colleges and several conferences. When she is not at a computer keyboard, she enjoys playing several instruments, studying new languages, and traveling to foreign countries. Her published works are catalogued at kakiolsenbooks.com, while her critique of the written word is found at kakirecommends.com.   She appears on Twitter as @kakiolsenbooks and can be found on Facebook.

clinton

Mercy, Merci
by Melanie Villines

It’s election day 1996 and I’m in Paris—covering an ulcer conference as a medical writer. Everywhere I go, people ask about “Beel Cleentone.” They love him here—the American hipster in shades with a saxophone. But the conference is over and I’m free to spend a week on my own. I change hotels and check in to a place on the Ile St. Louis recommended as Parisian perfection by a famous psychic who used to live here. That must have been a long time ago, because this place is worse than a dump—it’s scary, with thick peeling coats of wallpaper that seem to move. My room is close to the street with windows anyone could jump through. I manage to call a spot where I’d stayed before and book a room. I run outside, rush down to the main street and hail a cab. I duck my head inside. “Do you speak English?” He shakes his head. I open the door and sit in the taxi. I try to explain my problem in the simplest way I can. “Mon hotel est mal,” I say and point, then point in another direction to show that I want to go somewhere else. He gets the message, zooming down narrow streets to the hotel, waiting while I get my bags and check out, zooming across town, pulling up at the new spot, helping me inside with my bags. I give him a 200-franc tip. Later, I sit at a café, ready to read with my prescription sunglasses—but they are gone, lost in the shuffle to change hotels. When I return to the hotel, the concierge hands my sunglasses to me. The cab driver came back with them. Was it my trying to speak French? The big tip? Or was it Beel Cleentone?

PHOTO: Bill Clinton plays “God Bless the Child” on the saxophone (Arsenio Hall Show, June 1992).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Melanie Villines is a writer who lives in Los Angeles. Her latest novel is Windy City Sinners (Sugar Skull Press, 2015).

accola-17
17 (An Edge or a Precipice)
by Rosie Accola

Conflicting entities
silk thrift store camisoles purchased on balmy summer days
when family vacations and size-five shoes still fit.
The cashier gave me $3 off because
it looks good on you
That was the first time I realized
that maybe I was pretty enough
to get something I’d actually want
instead of mute boys with longboards/acne/shy smiles.

Floral print skirts with fabric starting to pill,
it’s the first day of school.
My history teacher’s favorite band is Jimmy Eat World.
When I was 12,
my favorite song was “23.”
Now,
I listen to Courtney Love howl.
I know the downbeat better than the weight of my own footfalls.
Courtney’s real.
She’s teaching me how to snarl,
through the slats in all the lockers.

I practice a grimace in the mirror,
I’m learning how to yell
that this crooked body is
mineminemine/
I’ll still flinch at yr touch.
It’s less about unhappiness,
it’s more about unrest.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Me, at 17, drinking black coffee at a ski lodge like an emo ‘lil shit.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Usually when I write poems I’ll just piece together little bits of found dialogue or fragments that I scribble in little notebooks or on my phone. All of my untitled poems are referred to as “Sad grrrl #” ‘cause I come from a long line of emo femmes. For this piece, the title is a Stevie Nicks reference/ a call to the fact that seventeen was when I started to explore aspects of myself that are still relevant today.

accola1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rosie Accola is a zine-maker, editor, and poet based out of Chicago, Illinois. Her first chapbook of poems, Feel Better, is out now via Goblin Prints. She is the online editor for Hooligan Mag and the Entertainment Editor for F Newsmagazine. When she was 17, she wore too much eyeliner and listened to a lot of Hole. You can follow her on Instagram: @rosieaccola

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Me, today, equally, if not more, emo.

klepetar
Seventeen: Fight or Flight
by Steve Klepetar

When I was seventeen, a man almost hit me
with his car as I crossed the street
on the long hike to school. He shouted through
his window, threatened me, then jumped out, fists
large and ready, until other drivers honked him back.

What made him so mad, I’ll never know.
That I was seventeen, daydreaming lyrics
when he hit the brakes? Did his coffee spill?
Had I ruined his day, or was it already
a shamble of anger, resentment, wasted time?

He had no idea how hot I burned,
how my forehead glowed like heated steel,
how I wandered through the valley of fight
or flight. I heard his door slam, saw his tail
lights flash as he fishtailed down the street

and disappeared into the morning jumble of cars.
All day I felt him rising in me, a poison fish
churning through a muddy sea. I dangled him
from the end of my pen. In gym class I dribbled
him down the court in a fast break of rage.

At lunch, I tore his flesh and washed him down
with a carton of milk.
That night I sat strumming my guitar,
and as I played the three sweet chords I had mastered,
transformed him into a song about a catch yanked over gunwales

flopping, guttering, suffering in a language only I could understand.

PHOTO: Steve Strumming Soulfully (17).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: What I remember most about being 17 is how my friends and I infuriated adults, even when we weren’t trying to. Fortunately, I had my guitar and the three chords I knew, and I could sit in my room strumming soulfully while I brooded on the injustice of it all.

klepetar1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Steve Klepetar’s work has appeared worldwide, in such journals as Boston Literary Magazine, Chiron, Deep Water, Expound, Phenomenal Literature, Red River Review, Snakeskin, Voices Israel, Ygdrasil, and many others. Several of his poems have been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize (including one in 2016). Recent collections include My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto and The Li Bo Poems, both from Flutter Press. His collections Family Reunion is forthcoming (Big Table Publishing) and A Landscape in Hell (Flutter Press) are forthcoming in 2017.

holifield-gzbc2
We asked the 97 contributors to the Nancy Drew Anthology (Silver Birch Press, October 2016) to send photos featuring the book in their home environments. Author Michelle McMillan-Holifield provided this portrait of herself and the collection in front of the Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Michelle contributed the prose poem “Quest of the Missing _______” (featured below)  to the 212-page anthology.

Quest of the Missing _____
by Michelle McMillan-Holifield

Nancy Drew #19 Quest of the Missing Map: First “adult” book I read completely by myself cover to cover, no help. Third grade. As I turned that last page, a sensation overcame me that I could not put into words at the time, but what I now recognize as satiety, accomplishment. I swung my pajamaed legs over the side of my bed and, book in hand, one eye lingering on those last few words, skipped through the house. Quest: my mother’s approval. I proclaimed my emphatic Guess what? and pirouetted, pliéd, as I leapt into her lap. She knew my success. My intellect never a mystery to this woman.
*****
My mother read the first 18 Nancy Drews aloud to me. Her devotion stirs me. Makes me wish I could have children so I could devote my nights to reading aloud to them a few chapters a night, while their sweaty little heads rest on my shoulder. Embolden their sense of adventure. Look up words we don’t recognize. Do all women want children this badly or is it just the women who can’t have them? In all my medical records, the reason for my infertility eludes me.
*****
There are no answers, Nancy. Not to this mystery. My body has been examined. The microscope, the magnifying glass, all manner of invasive instruments—they’ve all been sleuths on the case. And I wish I could call you in, turn the case over to you, present you with the evidence: ultrasounds highlighting oddities in my ovaries, calendars where I’ve mapped out my cycles and counted the days from one set of pills to the next, the + or – tests. All. Failed. You work out the symbols in my mysterious ultrasonic photographs, and I’ll nurse the fractures webbing inside my heart.
*****
In sixth grade, my mother would not let me spend the night with a friend, so while she chatted with my friend’s mother, I slammed my elbow through her truck window. This was an accident on purpose. What I mean is I purposely elbowed the window, but I had no clue it was weak enough to shatter at my rage. I thought: I’m jinxed. I’m caught. I lied, cried, told my mother I slammed the door too hard. Never mind the large hole surrounded by a web of hairline fractures. Never mind the trail of blood down my arm that started at my elbow. My mother: on the case. I was questioned. I lied and lied then later signed my confession in a letter I left on the table as she slept. My savings account was confiscated. All one hundred and twenty three dollars.
*****
Is it a sin I have not confessed? Has the blessing of children been confiscated? Did I curse myself somehow? I confess that in my twenties I claimed I did not want children. And I have confessed that confession before God, aloud, and begged forgiveness. I am an only child, my mother’s one chance to have grandchildren; I carry my guilt like a too-heavy purse I can’t seem to put down. That yoke (I put it on myself) is burdensome. I confess I am not as good a sleuth as my mother: I haven’t been able to glean from the nuance of her voice how she feels to have a daughter who is less. Childless, less than a woman. An unsuccess.
*****
Nancy, you are motherless. Does it feel the same as this: broken, fractured, jinxed? You are missing a mother; I’m missing a child. Did you leave clues in a secret diary? Did you confess you missed what was missing so much you splayed your body face down on the bed and let your screams soak the sheets? I confess I miss curling up in my mother’s lap, laying my sweaty head on her shoulder as she read and read until all the mysteries were solved. Quest: questions answered. Quest: to conceive a child would be as simple as conceiving of a child. Quest: to be less childless.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Here I am  in front of the Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, Mississippi. I’m the only author from Mississippi featured in the Nancy Drew Anthology, so I tried to capture a place that speaks of the state’s creative history. The Blues is an integral part of Mississippi and American musical history and Ground Zero Blues Club is owned in part by Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michelle McMillan-Holifield studied poetry at Delta State University in the Mississippi Delta. Her work has been included in or is forthcoming in Boxcar Poetry Review, First Class Lit, The Found Poetry Review, poemmemoirstory, A Quiet Courage, Red Savina Review, Vine Leaves, and Windhover, among others. She is an MFA Candidate at the University of Arkansas/Monticello.

Find the Nancy Drew Anthology at Amazon.com.

boombox1a

Magic Box
by Keith Dwyer

My prized possession has abilities that belie its humble, pedestrian appearance. It always sits in the same place in one room of my house. It can alter the emotions and thoughts of those who occupy the same room. It can transport those same people to places and events around the world and prompt discussions or even arguments. Finally, but maybe most importantly, it inspires wild, hedonistic gyrations of the whole body in spasms of unadulterated joy! What could be such an item that can do all these things? It is my Sony Boombox radio with CD player — made of black, molded plastic, with a pop-up CD player and a silver antenna . It is most likely the single greatest gift I’ve ever received, and since receiving it, there has scarcely been a day when I haven’t played the radio or a CD on it.

When the time comes that I am able to replace it with something bigger and better, I’m not so sure I will do so. I have it situated just right, so that its sound fills every corner of the room equally. It has just the right amount of functions and buttons. It doesn’t take up very much room, but yet, it speaks loudly to my heart and mind. It plays any style of music with equal aplomb. I have listened to presidents speak through it. And I have cheered or cried with all the stories it has filled its room with. In actuality, it merely serves as a medium for information and music. But without this unique, multi-function medium, I might never know what I was missing!

IMAGE: Sony boombox given the Warhol treatment.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Keith Dwyer is currently working on his first novel. An avid reader since school, he has only recently decided to try his hand at writing. It’s as hard as people tell you, even frustrating at times, but he senses the act of writing is its own reward!

michael-creese

My Acoustic
by Jordan Altman

I play guitar, not for others, but for myself. Found in a pawn shop, sitting at the back covered in dust, wanting to be rescued, needing its voice to be heard once more. I purchased it, after haggling for 5 or 10 minutes. When I brought it home, I cleaned and restrung her. Playing her, for the first time, the instrument resonates noise, that when emitted from the acoustic hollow body in combinations and sequences, forms chords and melodies. When I sit alone with the shaped wood and 6 strings of nylon, I am able to express my thoughts and feelings. If upset, I tremolo a hard riff, and my anger fades away. While sad, I play the blues, which calm my soul. A happy melody will always bring a warm smile to my face. My acoustic is not a mere instrument for the ears, but a therapeutic device for my emotions. With it, I can create anything I want, for myself or others. I can make love letters, apologies, jokes, and prayers. I may not have a lot of possessions, and I don’t consider my guitar one of them, for it is a part of me. When I play, I do so with eyes closed, as my fingers know the topography of the fretboard to the millimeter. I never break a string, for such a wound would hurt myself as well. I may play the acoustic, but it’s the guitar’s music that plays on me. To me, the instrument is my confidant, my friend, and myself. To me, it is independence, it is confidence, and to me it is freedom.

IMAGE: “Guitar and Clouds” by Michael Creese. Prince available at fineartamerica.com.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jordan Altman is a Geologist who has work from the Land of the Midnight Sun to the Canadian Shield. Recently taking up creative writing, his adventures within reality are now being matched by those of his imagination.

hunky-dory
Hunky Dory
by Harry Gallagher

I loved you from the very start,
from your first crackled groove
that hooked my thirteen year old,
want-away, inside-I’m-dying heart.

My fantastical androgyne,
you lit a fire under
a sleeping, fleeting,
heart skip a beating
would be Bewlay Brother.

To a world where cool dad
calls his boy Small z,
but you just knew he rhymed it
with bee and not bed.

And now your maker has turned out
to be merely human;
but you, my slice of perfection,
remain flawless to me.

With your tattering glam cover,
I sometimes catch your gaze,
like a poor forgotten lover
and we’ve both seen better days.

But my darling Hunky Dory,
you still speak to me.

hunky1

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Hunky Dorky was my first album and like many teenage boys (actually, it may just be me!) I grew to know the sleeve notes by heart. I love its code, where he reveals little bits and pieces of himself and his influences — I used to fantasize that only I fully understood it! Some of these details are referred to several times in the poem itself. More than 30 years later, it’s still there in my music room and is still my favorite album — what do they say about first loves?

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This photo is the only one I can find of that period and also catches an 11 year-old me-quite horrifically trying to grow my hair like Mr. Bowie, turning out more like a wannabe Bay City Roller — sorry! I’m the one in the terrible brown cord thing.

harry-g1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Harry Gallagher has been published, in the UK and abroad, by The Interpreter’s House, Poets’ Republic, Rebel Poetry, Lucifer Press, Black Light Engine Room, Clear Poetry, and many others. He performs live regularly and is co-founder of The Stanza, a monthly North East poetry event.

maddox
My Mother Gives Me a Tape of My Father’s Dance Band
by Marjorie Maddox

My dead father plays boogie-woogie
throughout the house. Even in the back
yard, emptying the garbage, I hear his hands,
sixteen and agile, thumping, plinking, and do-wopping
along the thin tape that whirs in its recorder. What years
wind up in that casing, in the canal of my ear, in the curving aorta
pumping out his beat in my veins, in this aging staff of a body.
At sixty he still loved
his songs and stretched a broken pinkie to hit the notes.
My hands only snap and tap,
the bones bumping up against age. Still,
underneath flesh I know
something’s jumping. Joy cracks
his rhythm in notes too strong to stay
in the grave, too staccato to listen
to sounds good-daying
in the bass of a previous page,
two-stepping still, though long
long since played.

SOURCE: Previously published in The Montserrat Review and in Transplant, Transport, Transubstantiation (WordTech Editions).

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: With my father, William C. Maddox, around his sixtieth birthday (circa 1987) in Columbus, Ohio.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My father had his first heart attack at the age of 38. He lived until 65, dying after an unsuccessful heart transplant. (I write about this in detail in my book Transplant, Transport, Transubstantiation). Despite all this, he was a person overflowing with joy, adventure, and humor. This was especially evident when he thumped out tunes from his old dance band, filling the house with boogie-woogie and be-bop. After his death, my mother made me a tape of his teen dance band from an old record. It remains a most prized possession!

author-photo-of-marjorie-maddox-by-dawn-snyder-2015-copy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sage Graduate Fellow of Cornell University (MFA) and Professor of English and Creative Writing at Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania, Marjorie Maddox has published 11 collections of poetry—including True, False, None of the Above (Poiema Poetry Series); Local News from Someplace Else (Wipf and Stock); Wives’ Tales (forthcoming 2016 Seven Kitchens Press), Transplant, Transport, Transubstantiation (Yellowglen Prize); and Perpendicular As I (Sandstone Book Award)—the short story collection What She Was Saying (2017 Fomite Press), and over 450 stories, essays, and poems in journals and anthologies. Co-editor of Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania (Penn State Press), she also has published two children’s books with several forthcoming. Visit her at www.marjoriemaddox.com.

hotel-cafe.jpg

SPREADING THE WORD for 13 YEARS!
Tongue & Groove

If you’re in the L.A. area on Sunday, August 14, 2016, check out Tongue & Groove — a monthly offering of short fiction, personal essays, poetry, spoken word + music produced by Conrad Romo with an impressive roster of featured performers. The 8/14/16 event has a music theme — featured performers include Eric Spitznagel, James Fearnley, Lisa Jane Persky, and David Kendrick, plus music by Kaylee Cole.

Sunday, August 14, 2016
6-7:30 p.m.
The Hotel Cafe
1623 1/2 No. Cahuenga Blvd.
Hollywood, California 90028
$7.00

Come early! Seating is limited and the event starts on time! The club is a two-story black brick building, a third of a block below Hollywood Blvd. There are parking lots on Selma as well as Cahuenga. Meters need to be fed till 8pm. Avoid Cahuenga street parking

eric s

Eric Spitznagel is an Executive Writer at Men’s Health Magazine, where he’s written about a range of topics. He’s also been a frequent contributor to Playboy, Esquire, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, Maxim, Billboard, Details, The Believer, and the New York Times Magazine, and many other publications. He’s the author of seven books, including Ron Jeremy’s bestselling autobiography The Hardest (Working) Man in Showbiz. He’s also edited several humor anthologies, most recently Care to Make Love in that Gross Little Space Between Cars?, which features questionable life advice from people like Louis C.K., Zach Galifianakis, and Amy Sedaris. His most recent book is Old Records Never Die. You can read all about it at www.recordsneverdie.com.

612x344_jamesfearnley

James Fearnley, a founding member  of The Pogues, has written a memoir, Here Comes Everybody, drawn from his personal experiences and the series of journals and correspondence he kept throughout the band’s career. Fearnley describes the coalescence of a disparate collection of vagabonds living in the squats of London’s Kings Cross, with, at its center, the charismatic MacGowan and his idea of turning Irish traditional music on its head. With beauty, lyricism, and great candor, Fearnley tells the story of how the band watched helplessly as their singer descended into a dark and isolated world of drugs and alcohol, and sets forth the increasingly desperate measures they were forced to take.

Persky + Divine

An early participant in the CBGB’s scene, Lisa Jane Persky was a founding member of the staff of the New York Rocker and more recently a founding editor of Los Angeles Review of Books. Her work as journalist, photographer, and artist has appeared in Mojo, The Pitchfork Review, The Los Angeles Times, and elsewhere, and her fiction has appeared in Bomb and has been anthologized in Eclectica: Best Fiction Volume 1. She has appeared on, off, and off-off Broadway, and in numerous films and television shows. Lisa also anthologizes at chickensinliterature.com.

dave kendrick

David Kendrick came to Los Angeles by way of a phone call from the legendary Kim Fowley. He has played with 90 bands more or less. Some of note have been Gleaming Spires, Sparks, DEVO,and Andy Prieboy. He is an avid collector of odd art and some of his finds have appeared in Clown Paintings by Diane Keaton. David’s ongoing music project, “The Empire Of Fun,” to date has released a box set plus six other collections, including the fiction story  CD set I’m sorry Mr. Kendrick, there’s a skull inside your head. Recently he has had essays on cycads and fear published by the Laboratory Arts collective Hymn magazine.

Kaylee Cole Promo

Kaylee Cole has opened for bands such as The Lumineers, The Head & The Heart, Damien Jurado, and Emily Wells, performed with the Seattle Rock Orchestra and Portland Cello Project, and nearly finished a debut album (recorded and produced by Dave Sitek of TV On The Radio). Whether she’s behind a grand piano at an ornate theater, or sitting with a keyboard on her lap at a cozy house show, Kaylee Cole is a true entertainer who leaves no audience member without an impression.