Archives for posts with tag: Music

peru licensed Pablo Borca
COVID Lockup in Lima
by Rose Mary Boehm

It’s quiet Sundays again. Our Presi
(and his band of braves) have decided
that we’ve had enough fun. Back to total lockup
on Sundays. Just heard the police giving someone
a hard time. The woman was walking her dog.
What, the poor dog can’t poop on Sundays?

So, today there are no cars, no dog barking,
no young voices laughing. I look out of the window
and the only living things are the palm trees
and the ever-increasing flock, colony, fleet,
parcel, or dissimulation of birds. The Pacific
is gently sighing its waves onto the pebble shore.
No witnesses.

But during the week it’s COVID entertainment.
And they are getting better. Bring a smile
to my face every time they pass. A trumpet,
a guitar, a drum and a singer. They make
their way along the boardwalks of Lima
to keep us locked-up folk smiling.
At first it hurt a bit. But they

must be practicing their craft. Every day
they keep the rhythm better, the singer
almost hits the right notes, the guitar
seems to be strumming with more confidence,
the trumpet no longer tortured.

Let me celebrate the bringers of cheer,
not wanting anything else but smiling faces
at the windows of the many high-rises along
the seafront. Every fifty meters or so
they stop to play Peruvian huaynos,
dances of happiness since Inca times.
I swear there once was a gaggle of police
in uniform who jumped and stomped
their hearts out.

PHOTO: Peruvian couple dancing Huayno, a traditional musical genre typical of the Andean region of Peru, Bolivia, northern Argentina, and northern Chile. Photo by Pablo Borca, used by permission. 

peru licensed mark tucan

NOTE: Huayno is a genre of popular Peruvian Andean music and dance. It is especially common in Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina, but also present in Chile, and is practiced by a variety of ethnic groups, especially the Quechua people. The history of Huayno dates back to colonial Peru as a combination of traditional rural folk music and popular urban dance music. High-pitched vocals are accompanied by a variety of instruments, including quena (flute), harp, siku (panpipe), accordion, saxophone, charango, lute, violin, guitar, and mandolin. Some elements of huayno originate in the music of the pre-Columbian Andes, especially on the territory of the former Inca Empire. Huayno utilizes a distinctive rhythm in which the first beat is stressed and followed by two short beats.

PHOTO: A Quechuan man with traditional dress and drum (Peru, 2018). Photo by Mark Tucan, used by permission. 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I am delighted to have this opportunity to write a poem in honor of the people here in Lima who have only one wish: to see the rest of us (especially the over-65s who are still in strict quarantine) stand at their windows and smile and clap. They are simple folk and could sure do with some money. But they do it from the goodness of their hearts. I find that very moving. At times even the police join in. Police have also in the past been driving slowly up and down the streets, windows open, playing happy music at full blast. You have to love the good intentions.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A German-born UK national, Rose Mary Boehm lives and works in Lima, Peru. Author of two novels and Tangents, a full-length poetry collection published in the UK in 2011, she’s a three-time winner of the Goodreads monthly competition. Recent poetry collections are From the Ruhr to Somewhere Near Dresden 1939-1949: A Child’s Journey and Peru Blues or Lady Gaga Won’t Be Back. Her latest full-length poetry manuscript, The Rain Girl, will be will be available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all good bookshops starting on September 10, 2020.   

licensed Iakov Kalinin
Venetian Midnight Tea Nocturne
by Terrence Sykes

   The man in 119 takes his tea all alone – “Verdi Cries,” Natalie Merchant

falling winds reverb the centuries
through my open hotel window
ritual midnight tea
cusp of today yesterday tomorrow
what distant isle shores
steeping origins once docked
Ceylon – Formosa – Mauritius

watching the moon sail over
Salute’s silvered light
Accademia’s bridge creaks
in remembrance of tourists
yet the echo of Bembo
halts my fountain pen
into limbo

ten days I came to
forget the past
one week has already passed
but I remember
each night the rising
floods my room
from the enjambed window

across the Grand Canal
Punta della Dogana
riding endless waves
Vivaldi’s autumn
echoing emitting ethers
though winter is not far away
longing for the other

seasons of my life
could I play them from memory
yet no violin nor fiddle
at hand or within reach
drawing a map in my mind
upon the pages of my soul
endless ramblings

along the way from portals
decommissioned churches
wandering & meanderings
what treasures wash along
the canal walls
if only I had faith
to baptize my grasp

cosmic concerti must end eventually
gathering my scattered verse
souvenirs camera
journaled memories
I rise – ajar the door
place the tea tray
upon the passage floor

awaiting checkout
spring fades into summer
purloin one last croissant
shut the entrance door
but the open window
back to this room
will never close

PHOTO: Grand Canal and Basilica Santa Maria della Salute, Venice, Italy. Photo by Iakov Kalinin, used by permission.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Several years ago, I heard Natalie Merchant sing “Verdi Cries” … I listened over and over … it drew me in … of course I’m a tea lover and a loner  … so I decided to do a poem …. IMAGINING myself in the song … I took the liberty to use Vivaldi since he lived and worked in Venice …

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Although Terrence Sykes is a far better gardener-forager-cook . . . his poetry-photography-flash fiction have been published in Bangladesh, Canada, Ireland, India,  Mauritius, Pakistan, Scotland, Spain, and the USA . . . he was born and raised in the rural coal mining area of Virginia and this  isolation brings the theme of remembrance to his creations — whether real or imagined.

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Towpath
“I’ve got a mule; her name is Sal, fifteen miles on the Erie Canal”
                                                                      –Thomas S. Allen, 1906
by Julie A. Dickson

Along the water’s edge, the canal, the locks
cutting a swathe through towns and farms,
water glistening in the sun, I sing beneath my breath
a song about Sal, walking the towpath, pulling barges
along the Erie Canal to the next lock, water rising or falling
to allow the barge passage, weighed down with cargo.

Sal had a job, walking the towpath, perhaps fifteen miles
as the song describes, with a man leading her, long rope
tethered to a heavy loaded vessel, her burden to bear.
Did Sal mind her position in life? Did she live long?
Did Sal yearn for pastures and freedom to run and graze,
instead of spending her days on the towpath?

The canal is visible from many roads along New York State,
locks appear as bridges to nowhere, I often gazed at them
from the back seat of my father’s car, singing about Sal.
The towpath of our lives is a tether to responsibility, focused
as Sal was, on the task in front of us, not on the beauty of the canal
alongside, water reflecting old factories, birds feeding on its banks.

The song, made famous by Pete Seeger and others, taught children
about early life on the canal but we didn’t know its meaning,
plodding along, making a living, fulfilling a purpose in a small niche,
Sal led barges loaded down with goods to the next town, her mind
on walking, but thinking perhaps of the hay waiting in her stall.
Tethered to tasks, we don’t see the canal, eyes only on the towpath.

PAINTING: “Erie Canal” by John Henry Hopkins (1825) via William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan.

Dickson_Erie Canal copy

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I am a lakes girl, a New York State girl, having been raised around Lake Ontario and Lake Erie; water is in my blood, and I would drive the length of the state just to view the canal and farmland. The bridges to nowhere were a mystery to me throughout my childhood.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Julie A. Dickson is a New Hampshire poet whose work addresses nature, current events, animal welfare, elephants in captivity. Her poetry has appeared in various journals, including Ekphrastic Review, Poetry Quarterly, Blue Heron Review, The Avocet and The Harvard Press. She is a member of the Poetry Society of New Hampshire, and has coordinated workshops as well as 100 Thousand Poets for Change. Her full-length works of poetry and Young Adult fiction can be found on Amazon.

PHOTO: The author along a stretch of the Erie Canal.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: When completed in 1825, the Erie Canal, which spans 363 miles, was the second longest canal in the world (after the Grand Canal in China) and greatly enhanced the development and economy of New York, New York City, and the United States. (Source: Wikipedia.)

IMAGE: “Current route of Erie Canal,” map by Rosemary Wardley. (Credits on this page.)

green-lovers-1915 marc chagall
Gestures
by Wilderness Sarchild

Some gestures are universal
no matter the language of origin:

Hands clasped in prayer
Head shaking yes or no
Two thumbs up
Wink of a flirting eye
Raised middle finger on an angry hand

Helping a person stand up who has fallen
Feeding the homeless
Risking your own life to save another

One gesture’s universal meaning
has changed in the past few months:
Wearing a mask in a store
used to indicate a robbery.
Now it just might save your life.

PAINTING: “The Green Lovers” by Marc Chagall (1915).

mask self portrait

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: One of the benefits of sheltering at home is that I am finding more time to write.  I’ve written a poem almost every day since March 1.  Before Covid-19, I was lucky if I wrote one poem a week. I like starting with a prompt and seeing where the poem takes me. If the journey from beginning to end surprises me, that is a good sign that this is a poem I should continue working with until it feels ready to share.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Wilderness Sarchild is an award-winning poet and playwright. She is the author of a full-length poetry collection, Old Women Talking, published by Passager Books, and the co-author of Wrinkles, the Musical, a play about women and aging that has been produced on Cape Cod for the past three years.  She has won awards for her poetry and playwriting from Veterans for Peace, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Chicago’s Side Project Theatre Company, and the Joe Gouveia WOMR National Poetry competition, judged by Marge Piercy. She was selected as Poet of the Week on Poetry Superhighway. Wilderness is also an expressive arts psychotherapist and grandmother of six.  She is a social justice activist and is a consultant/teacher of skills in conflict resolution, consensus decision making, mediation, meeting facilitation, and empowered aging. Wilderness lives in a cottage in the woods in Brewster (Cape Cod), Massachusetts, with her husband, poet Chuck Madansky. They are surrounded by wild neighbors that include turkeys, coyote, fox, deer, squirrels, giant snapping turtles, and birds. Visit her at  wildernesssarchild.com  and wrinklesthemusical.com.

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Behind the mask
by Patrick T. Reardon

(mask)

Behind the museum glass,
a polished marble scream, frozen,
with large round eye openings,
pale stone, gray as smoke,
worn in ritual by one with sharp edge,
honed for soft flesh,
animal
or enemy
or the one offered by village
as sacrifice,
unmasked.

(masque)

Behind the court entertainment, the work:

A fashioner draws scenery lines,
writes actor lines,
makes believe a make-believe,
stages on stage a world,
shapes events,
characters,
couplings, uncouplings,
frown up, smile down,
god of the machine,
for three hours distraction.

Then:

Disintegration,
atomization,
expiration,
clock strikes,
and fashioner, home, fashions scrambled eggs and toast.

(mask)

Behind the cloth, covering nose and mouth,

lungs and a heartbeat, as vulnerable as a virgin;

an actor prisoned in a madman’s script,
as random as spermatozoon
in the splash gamble race to a future;

a slowly cartwheeling anywhere-everywhere catastrophe,
like the first cancer cells,
the clot,
the rip in hidden flesh,
that I will walk away from
or won’t.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: For a long time I’ve liked the Ryuichi Sakamoto song “Behind the Mask,” covered by such people as Michael Jackson and Eric Clapton (great rendition!). So, when I started doodling, that was the direction I went. Of the three parts, the bulk of the second section was written first. It was followed by what’s now the opening section. The last was always last.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patrick T. Reardon, a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, is the author of eight books, including the poetry collection Requiem for David and Faith Stripped to Its Essence, a literary-religious analysis of Shusaku Endo’s novel Silence. His poetry has appeared in Silver Birch Press, San Antonio Review, Ariel Chart, Cold Noon, Eclectica, Esthetic Apostle, Ground Fresh Thursday, Literary Orphans, Rhino, Spank the Carp, Main Street Rag, The Write Launch, Meat for Tea, Tipton Poetry Journal, UCity Review, Under a Warm Green Linden, and The Write City. Reardon, who worked as a Chicago Tribune reporter for 32 years, has published essays and book reviews widely in such publications as the Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Crain’s Chicago Business, National Catholic Reporter and U.S. Catholic. His novella Babe was short-listed by Stewart O’Nan for the annual Faulkner-Wisdom Contest. His Pump Don’t Work blog can be found at patricktreardon.com.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!