Archives for posts with tag: Music

Hands of young potter
Throwing a Perfect Pot
by Tobi Alfier

IF I had an imaginary skill it would be as an artist. I would wear flowered sundresses and sandals, braid my hair, and have a booth at the long-gone Whole Earth Marketplace where I would throw pots all day. I would take them to my aunt, the REAL artist, for glazing beauty and then to a studio that rented kiln space. I would sell my work for what amounted to ten cents an hour, make friends with all the other hippie-types with their VW vans and a dollar fifty-two in their checking accounts, say “yes, I saw Ghost” a hundred times a day to all the “real” people coming to shop, and be perfectly happy. I would trade a bowl for a pair of dichroic glass dangling earrings, shave my legs never, and sing Joni Mitchell songs, or all the songs to Hair, in my head as my hands got strong and the clay did my bidding.

PHOTO: “Making a pot” by Best Photo Studio, used by permission.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I’m still a bit of a hippie. I still know the words to most Joni Mitchell songs and most of the songs to Hair. But the art is gone. Others in my family are blessed that they can call themselves artists. I can’t even pick out paint colors.

talfierABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tobi Alfier is a multiple Pushcart nominee and a Best of the Net nominee. Current chapbooks are The Coincidence of Castles from Glass Lyre Press and Romance and Rust from Blue Horse Press. Down Anstruther Way is forthcoming from FutureCycle Press. She is the co-editor of San Pedro River Review (

The Versatile Singer
by Leslie Sittner

I sing in church choir
Holy. Holy. Holy.

I chirp Doris Day tunes
yodel as Teresa Brewer
growl as Marlene Dietrich

I sing in high school choir
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah Chorus

I doo-wop as the Chiffons, Chantels
get some respect as Aretha Franklin
jazz it up as Billy Holiday

I sing for my supper in a college bar
harmonize with Peter, Paul, & Mary
warble as Barbra Streisand, Carly Simon

I take lessons with Joyce Voice
learn to croon Anne Murray, Nora Jones

I honky tonk as Dolly, Loretta, Tammy
croak as Janis Joplin, Bonnie Raitt
scat as Ella Fitzgerald

I take a performance class
sing Bette Midler’s Wind Beneath My Wings
at a New York City nightclub

I am ready
I make a demo


lately I am Adele

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION:  This is me in 1983 singing on stage at Dangerfield’s. It was the promised gig for the students at the end the singing class. My boyfriend came in from Boston to see me. He said it was great…Fortunately, this production was early, before the club opened to the public.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I’ve always loved to sing. In the shower, driving in the car, when I clean the house, to soothe my (deaf) dog. No one really heard me as far as I know. Until that performance, I imagined I could sing. I guess not. The tape of it didn’t lie. Writing this forced me to think about all the singers I like and why. Also, how much a speaking and singing voice changes as you age. Deeper, less range, more effort with weaker results. Although it’s not so disturbing if you didn’t have much to work with from the beginning.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Since returning to upstate New York after 25 years in Manhattan, Leslie Sittner has been turning to the written word as a form of self-expression and reflection. She began this journey two years ago and is finding her voice in different formats. Two of her stories are now available in print in The Apple Tree by Third Age Press, and on-line prose at 101Words and 50 Word Challenge. A variety of prose and poetry can also be seen on-line at Silver Birch Press. She is finishing a book about travels with her ex-husband and hopes a publisher will find it as humorous as she and her friends do.

When I Stand on a Spotlit Stage
by Alice Morris

I am a world-class, class-act singer
When I stand on spot-lit stage
Patsy Cline, Dolly, Patti LaBelle, Ella, even Mahalia
Stand in awe
Of me
My voice, they say, is soothing, and soulful
Beyond compare

I have more fans than
Elvis, Johnny Cash, BB King, The Beatles, and Hendrix combined
And just when the word thinks I
Have reached my apex —

I switch

To the black and white of
Symphony halls
The woman
With sticks
Bringing down
Rolling Thunder
On kettledrums

Watch me —
Stage left, in back, watch closely —
See how I throw myself into the drumming — see how I withhold

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Me, 1968, as a high school junior playing the violin, but longing for the excitement of a great singing voice, or being a powerful force on kettledrums. (Photo from high school yearbook, edited by Alice Morris.)

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My wish for a melodic singing voice became especially strong when I had two young children who often covered their ears when I sang to them. As for kettledrums, in forth grade, I wanted to play this instrument, but percussion, like Little League in the mid-50s, was for boys. But I was able to “choose” the violin, which hurt my neck, and always slightly smacked of insult to me.

Morris– 1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alice Morris, a Minnesota native, earned her BS in English Education from Towson State University, and her MS in Counseling from Johns Hopkins. After applying her training as an educator, therapist, and later, as a real estate agent, Morris continually found herself returning to her passions of building, art, and writing. Her art has been published in a West Virginia textbook and The New York Art Review. Recently, her poetry has been published or accepted for forthcoming publication in three issues of The Broadkill Review, included in a chapbook, two poetry collections, two anthologies, the Weekly Advocate, and the Starting to Ride blog series by Silver Birch Press.

by Jennifer Lagier

My dream singing dazzles the audience.
Despite lack of training, rehearsal
turns all four chairs on The Voice.
Pitch-perfect, effortless trills
win over critics, mesmerize listeners.

I rival Maria Callas,
give Taylor Swift
a run for her money,
excel at it all: opera,
jazz, rock and roll,
heart-rending country.

Any vocal I record
zooms immediately
to the top of the charts,
turns to platinum,
trends on I-tunes.

My imagination evokes
a rich, earthy vibrato,
flawless soprano.
In real life, notes curdle,
stick in my throat.
I screech off-key,
an untuned, tone-deaf diva.

PHOTO: Maria Callas performs in the title role in Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma  (Paris, May 23, 1964).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My voice is so horrible, when I was a children’s librarian, the kids would beg me to please not sing! I’ve had dreams where I am a fantastic singer, then wake up with a sore throat from trying to make my recalcitrant vocal chords perform what they simply cannot do.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Lagier has published ten books and in literary magazines. She taught with California Poets in the Schools, co-edits the Homestead Review, helps coordinate monthly Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium Second Sunday readings. Forthcoming books: Harbingers (Blue Light Press), Scene of the Crime (Evening Street Press), Camille Abroad (FutureCycle). Visit her at

AUTHOR PHOTO: Jennifer Lagier selfie, performing for her long-suffering dogs while at her laptop in the kitchen.

Sing Sing Sing!
by Tricia Marcella Cimera

I want to sing
like a songbird!
I do, I really do!
I want to sing
like Celine, Mariah,
and Patti too!
Yes, I do!
I want to sing
like a
whole heavenly host
of angels
on their very best hour
of their very best day
and they live in eternity
so that’s forever
and that’s
a mighty long time
(yup, that’s a nod
to the late, great
I do, I do, I do!
I want to sing
so that people
every place
at the sound of
my voice!
I — oh.
I already do.

PHOTO: Singing superstar Mariah Carey.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem came gushing out of me a like a great big song which I’d love to sing for all of you, each and every one of you! But I won’t. Yet and still — singing is a talent, a skill that I wish I had, I do! But I don’t.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tricia Marcella Cimera is an obsessed reader and lover of words. Look for her work (some forthcoming) in these diverse places and elsewhere: the Buddhist Poetry Review, Dead Snakes, Foliate Oak, Fox Adoption Magazine, Hedgerow: A Journal of Small Poems, I Am Not a Silent Poet, Mad Swirl, Silver Birch Press, Yellow Chair Review and Your One Phone Call. Her poem “The Swear Poem” was recently selected to be in the Chicago Poetry Press/Journal of Modern Poetry’s Poetry of Protest edition (JOMP 19). Tricia volunteers locally, believes there’s no place like her own backyard, and has traveled the world (including Graceland). She resides with her husband and family of animals in Illinois/in a town called St. Charles/by a river named Fox. She can’t sing but she does it with gusto.

AUTHOR PHOTO: Schnitzel Platz Restaurant, Glendale Heights, Illinois.

The Cellist
by Emma Filtness

I want to rub hearts raw with horse hair, each wrenching note snagging on wet, pink muscle; to feel the drag of the bow on flesh, in breath; to make that awkward bray and mourning moan.

PHOTO: Cellist Alisa Wellerstein in concert.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “The Cellist” is a little prose poem written after hearing a particularly beautiful and heart-wrenching cello accompaniment in an attempt to capture the emotional impact such sounds can have on a listener. It also made me wish I could play the cello (“Three Blind Mice” terribly on a violin when I was 12 is the closest I’ve got).


Emma Filtness
teaches Creative Writing at Brunel University London. She has published poetry and flash fiction in magazines and journals including Popshot, an illustrated magazine of new writing, and Pins and Needles, a journal of contemporary fairy tales. She likes writing about foxes and evil road sweepers, among other things.

Author photo by Joe Norman (Ibiza, 2014). 

by Joan Leotta

Here I am!
Center stage,
seated at a Grand Piano
Music flows from my fingertips
as I smile at passersby.
Classic busts smile at my skill with classic
works—Beethoven, Bach, Mozart.
Popular tunes? Of course.
If you can hum it,
I can play it.
My brain has but to wish
and sonorous becomes
with me.
Can you hear it?
My music transcends the bounds of
ordinary sound waves.
No need, however,
to watch for my Carnegie Hall debut,
because, though I took one
entire year of lessons,
I never did practice.
But you must admit,
I do look good
sitting at a piano!

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This photo was taken with me sitting at (and poem inspired by) the magnificent grand piano in the lobby of Gran Meliá Fénix in Madrid this past May.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I always wanted to play the piano. However, once I took lessons, my interest diminished. It seemed that the work required was not equal to the “instant” results I had imagined. So, now I listen to great music. I try to look good at hotel pianos. I do hear the music even if to others it is as imaginary as my skill.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joan Leotta is widely published in US and international publications as a journalist, essayist, and poet. She has four books of historical fiction in print and one picture book in print and another on the way!

Jan Alexander

My Indigo Voice
by Jan Alexander

In my dreams I’m the world’s steamiest singer of torch songs. I step on stage and you are breathless; I’m truth dressed in sequins, taking you aboard my spaceship that touches planet rapture, then explodes. My voice carries the soul of broken hearts past: Nina Simone, Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, and Violetta’s deathbed aria. I sing chords of blue even when I’m young, and my voice grows deeper indigo as I live through my own tempests.

I sing in clubs heady with wine and perfume and desire; fragrances that waft through my songs and tattoo your heart. My songs are flames you can’t extinguish. You cling to my songs for heat when you’re adrift in an arctic sea of loneliness.

My voice, though, has no soul mate. My voice has soared to planet rapture and knows you can’t get there without wearing a blindfold. It has seen all self-deceptions and good intentions, all the half-truths in the language of seduction. My voice tells you love is a mirror of your own longings.

My voice has taken me through airwaves that reach every latitude. My voice fills frangipani-scented gardens and improvised boudoirs, it fills your head as you contemplate a fuchsia sunset. Somewhere, every night, I’m singing at a silver microphone. The piano is lacquer, the encores are euphoria. My songs are my home. They’ve brought me a life of love as opiate and adventure that always ends with too much truth. I’ll sing a deathbed aria myself someday, and after that my songs will float through the universe, infinite.

PHOTO: Jan Alexander borrows a guitar and acts out her glam fantasies. Photo by Paul Oratofsky, September 2015.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jan Alexander lives in a New York apartment with her husband, two cats, and the nightly background sound of swing, cabaret and blues standards. She is a worshipful listener but can’t carry a tune and has given up trying, even at karaokes or in the shower. She formerly worked as a journalist in Hong Kong and China and has written two novels inspired by her time there, Getting to Lamma, and her new novel, Ms. Ming’s Guide to Civilization, which was serialized on in the first half of 2016 and is now in search of a permanent home. Her short fiction has appeared in 34th Parallel, Everyday Fiction ( and the Neworld Review (

lynn white
Part of the Chorus
by Lynn White

“If I lived inside my dreams
I could be most anything,”
sang Ray Davies.
It sounds personal when he lists
the things he could have been,
but I think it may be universal,
a list of similar dreams
that belongs to us all.
Top of mine would be to sing.
Not a singer on stage.
On stage I’d be a dancer or actor,
No, I’d just be part of the audience,
part of the chorus,
in tune with the rest.
joining in the Happy Birthdays —
not God Save the Queen, though,
that would be a step too far.
But “You’ll Never Walk Alone”
at a football match would be cool.
Just part of the chorus,
able to meet the eyes of the rest
without embarrassment.
No one nudging me to sing
more quietly.
No one concerned that my discords
would distract them from their
A welcome voice,
in the chorus,
in tune with the rest.

PHOTO: The author in 2012, ready to sing along regardless at a Ray Davies concert in the Roisin Dubh (Galway, Ireland).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The “My Imaginary Skill” prompt put me in mind of the song “Dreams” from the film soundtrack and Kinks’ album Percy. So that was my starting point.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places, and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy, and reality. Her poem “A Rose For Gaza” was shortlisted for the Theatre Cloud “War Poetry for Today” competition 2014 and has since been published in several journals and anthologies. Poems have also recently been included in anthologies, including Harbinger Asylum’s To Hold a Moment Still, Stacey Savage’s We Are Poetry: An Anthology of Love Poems, Community Arts Ink’s Reclaiming Our Voices, Vagabond Press’s The Border Crossed Us, Civilised Beasts from Weasel Press, Alice in Wonderland Anthology from Silver Birch Press, and a number of rather excellent online and print journals. Visit her on facebook and at


Dream Dancing
by Linda McKenney

I’m best in the car. When using cruise control, I dance. My feet are tapping away to a jazzy piece of music. But put me in front of an audience, and I’m a failure. My mother was a dancer and used to tap dance in the kitchen while we were having breakfast. I pretended that she was annoying, but secretly I wished I could do that too.

I’ve auditioned for musical plays and, well it’s a dance shame. We line up in several rows and given dance steps. First step — not too bad. Second — I’m still in the game. By the third, and repeating them in sequence — I’m crashing into other dancers or they’re stepping on me.   I always place myself in the back row hoping the director will not see me. Unfortunately, he rotates rows and when I’m in front — I’m done.

Once, at a formal party, a coworker asked me to dance. This is another area, where I do not do so well. Following a confident, thinks-he-knows-what-he’s-doing partner is unnerving for me. When he told me he was going to dip me, I begged him not to. He ignored my plea, and proceded to drop me on the dance floor. Now I suffer from PTSD – Positively Terrified Shamed Dancer.

I still fantasize at times, about jumping up and dancing on a table in a restaurant, as if I’m in a Fred Astaire movie, but I’m sure I’d fall off. And at my age, jumping up on anything is unlikely.

So I will never be a Martha Graham or Ginger Rogers, but I will continue to groove to the music in whatever way I can. I’ll wobble onto the dance floor with my walker someday and wiggle my hips (they’ll still be in good shape because they’re titanium).

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Me at an early age just wishing I could walk, let alone dance.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Linda McKenney is a Personal Life Coach, Motivational Speaker, and Writer, specializing in Mindful Living and Eating. Her creative nonfiction is published in Silver Birch Press, 101 Word Short Stories, The Survivor’s Review and Helen: A Literary Magazine.  She also has an alter ego at Susanbanthony.liveShe continues to dream about dancing because, after all, life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.