Archives for posts with tag: Musicians
Last Chance Melody
by Maryann Hurtt

two days before he gets up
and leaves
after eighty plus earthbound years
my grandpa tells me
Get out my ol’ mouth harp

it sits in a nest
of worn Kodaks
recording a now too-long life

I crank the sick bed
prop pillows
as his at one-time wife
mother of seven kin leans close
then sings old woman
cracked notes
to his wheezy harp tune breaths

a harmony of sorts
dances the air
hymns and tunes played back
in Depression time before
lead and zinc chewed lungs
and booze held sway

listen now
you might find yourself believing
for this little while anyway
in torn and tattered
stick around love

two doors down
Death waits patiently
hums along to a few hymns
knows not to disturb

Originally published in Anti-Heroin Chic.

Photo by

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I went to see my grandpa two days before he died. His breathing was awful after years working in the mines and living a rough life. He wanted to play his harmonica again. I propped up his pillows and he was able to wheeze out a few tunes. I ran back to my grandma’s…they had long ago separated but maintained something still kind. She came back with me and I listened to her sing and him play. This will always be one of my favorite memories and gives me a sense of hope even in hard times.

mah 1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Now retired after working 30 years as a hospice Registered Nurse, Maryann Hurtt listened to and savored a thousand stories. Her family members were all great storytellers, and she recorded in her sixth-grade diary that when she grew up, she wanted to be a “storyteller (a good one).” She lives in Wisconsin’s Kettle Moraine, where she hikes, bikes, reads, and writes almost daily. Since retirement and able to travel, she has had the energy to pursue researching Oklahoma’s Tar Creek environmental disaster. Her grandpa worked in the lead and zinc mines and her great grandmother and grandmother worked at the Quapaw Indian Agency, where the minerals were initially mined. Turning Plow Press published Once Upon a Tar Creek Mining for Voices in 2021. Her most recent poems have appeared or upcoming in Verse-Virtual, Gyroscope Review, Moss Piglet, Hiroshima Day Anthology, Oklahoma Humanities, and Writing In a Woman’s Voice. More can be found at

by Sarah Nichols

I had a series of mini breakdowns:
a brand-new face. Huge, huge empires.
A synthesizer.
All of this stuff.

Just shut down. Be there
but just shut down. Walk past this arena.
Walk past this thing, this music.


SOURCE: Thom Yorke interview by Daniel Craig, Interview magazine (July 2013).

PHOTO: Thom Yorke by Craig McDean, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I’m an ardent Radiohead fan, and a few years ago, I saw an interview with Thom Yorke on YouTube. He was dismissive of stupid questions, ferociously intelligent, and gave nothing away. Like his music, he made demands. The Interview magazine interview finds him in a more giving vein, and I wanted to see what I could do with it.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sarah Nichols is a writer and artist living in Connecticut. Her chapbook, The Country of No, was published in 2012, and her poem “The Mirror” appeared in the Silver Birch Press Noir Erasure Poetry Anthology (December 2013). Her work has also appeared in Found Poetry Review, Right Hand Pointing, and MiPoesias.

In her Hello Kitty hat, violinist Yunho Jeon plays “May Song,” a tune for beginners studying violin under the Suzuki method.

by John Lennon 

Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup,
They slither while they pass, they slip away across the universe
Pools of sorrow, waves of joy are drifting through my open mind,
Possessing and caressing me.
Jai guru deva om
Nothing’s gonna change my world. Nothing’s gonna change my world.
Nothing’s gonna change my world. Nothing’s gonna change my world.

Images of broken light which dance before me like a million eyes,
They call me on and on across the universe,
Thoughts meander like a restless wind inside a letterbox they
Tumble blindly as they make their way
Across the universe
Jai guru deva om
Nothing’s gonna change my world. Nothing’s gonna change my world.
Nothing’s gonna change my world. Nothing’s gonna change my world.

Sounds of laughter shades of life are ringing
Through my open ears inciting and inviting me
Limitless undying love which shines around me like a
Million suns, and calls me on and on
Across the universe
Jai guru deva om
Nothing’s gonna change my world. Nothing’s gonna change my world.
Nothing’s gonna change my world. Nothing’s gonna change my world.

MORE: Listen to the song at

NOTES ON THE SONG: “Across the Universe” is a song recorded by the Beatles. It was written by John Lennon, and credited to Lennon–McCartney. The song first appeared on the various artists charity compilation album No One’s Gonna Change Our World in December 1969, and later, in different form, on Let It Be, the group’s final released album. (Read more at

by Philip Levine

Some days I catch a rhythm, almost a song
in my own breath. I’m alone here
in Brooklyn Heights, late morning, the sky
above the St. George Hotel clear, clear
for New York, that is. The radio playing
“Bird Flight,” Parker in his California
tragic voice fifty years ago, his faltering
“Lover Man” just before he crashed into chaos.
I would guess that outside the recording studio
in Burbank the sun was high above the jacarandas,
it was late March, the worst of yesterday’s rain
had come and gone, the sky washed blue…

SOURCE: Read “Call It Music” in its entirety at The poem originally appeared in Poetry (September 2000).

IMAGE: “Blue Sky and Jacaranda Blossoms” by Kaye Menner. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Philip Levine (born January 10, 1928, Detroit, Michigan) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet best known for his poems about working-class Detroit. He taught for more than thirty years in the English department of California State University, Fresno, and held teaching positions at other universities as well. He was appointed Poet Laureate of the United States for 2011–2012. (Read more at


There ought to be a monument to the man who invented neon lights. Fifteen stories high, solid marble. There’s a boy who really made something out of nothing.”


Raymond Chandler wrote the above paean to the inventor of neon lights in 1949 — and I’m sure he had no idea who had invented the gas-filled tubes that cast such a romantic glow over his hardboiled worldview.

Turns out, neon lights were invented by Georges Claude, a French engineer who was sent to prison in 1945 for collaborating with the enemy during WWII. I cite this factoid not to open up old wounds but to pose a question that still resonates: Can we, with a clear conscience, laud the work of people guilty of malfeasance in one form or another? (The recent accusation against a well known writer/director brings this to mind.)

While surfing the web for the names of famous artist malefactors, I came across an article that explores the subject. On June 21, 2012, the New York Times published Charles McGrath‘s “Good Art, Bad People” — an opinion piece that names names and includes a thoughtful examination of the topic.

McGrath writes: “In the case of the artist, badness or goodness is a moral quality or judgment; in the case of his art, goodness and badness are terms of aesthetic merit, to which morality does not apply.” Read this thought-provoking article in its entirety here.

I feel a whole lot better now about loving neon…

Photo: Rolf Süssbrich


When you are growing up, there are two institutional places that affect you most powerfully: the church, which belongs to God, and the public library, which belongs to you.” KEITH RICHARDS 

Happy Dec. 18th birthday to Keith Richards — a bibliophile whose his first career choice was to become a librarian, according to his his memoir Life (2011), available at

Photo: Keith Richards relaxing in his home library.

Poem by Stanley Plumly

I heard him that one night in Cincinnati.
The concert hall, 1960, the same day
Kennedy flew into town in perfect sunlight
and rode the route that took him
through the crowds of voters and nonvoters
who alike seemed to want to climb
into the armored convertible.
Gould did not so much play as address
the piano from a height of inches,
as if he were trying to slow the music
by holding each note separately.
Later he would say he was tired
of making public appearances,
the repetition of performing the Variations
was killing him. But that night
Bach felt like a discovery, whose repetitions
Gould had practiced in such privacy
as to bring them into being for the first time.
This was the fall, October, when Ohio,
like almost every other part of the country,
is beginning to be mortally beautiful,
the great old hardwoods letting go
their various scarlet, yellow,
and leopard-spotted leaves one by one.

“Glenn Gould” by Stanley Plumly, from Orphan Hours. © W.W. Norton & Company, 2012.

Listen to Glenn Gould (1932-1982) play J.S. Bach’s “Goldberg Variations here.

by Jim Morrison

Maids are bickering in the hall
The day is warm
Last night’s perfume
I lie alone in this
cool room

My mind is calm & swirling
like the marble pages of an
old book

I’m a cold clean skeleton
scarecrow on a hill
In April
Wind eases the arches
of my boney Kingdom
Wind whistles thru my mind
& soul
My life is an open book
or a T.V. confession

”Maids are Bickering…” appears in The American Night: The Writings of Jim Morrison, Volume 2, available at

Photo: “Pink Curtains, New York City” by Terrie-Johnson, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Dave Brubeck:  Indian SummerLondon Flat, London Sharp
Poem by Gerald Locklin

I picked up Dave Brubeck’s latest CD
For two reasons:  Because it’s Brubeck
And because it’s Indian Summer.
He’s 20 years older than I am,
And I came to him, as my generation did,
Via Time Out, fifty years ago.
I’m still playing it, of course;
We all are.
And I’m not sure if I’m in
My Indian Summer or The Winter of my Discontent.
Or Discombobulation.
Dave is aging much more gracefully
And gradually than I am.  He has a less complicated
Existence, perhaps:  more focused on
His music and one woman.
Somehow the fingers of the great pianists
Seem never to get stiff.  I guess there’s a lot
Of truth to “Use it or Lose it.”  I use mine
For writing poems longhand, cupping water
In the YMCA pool, and carrying in those
Plastic bagfuls of groceries.  And frankly,
They hurt like hell.
He’s done the same with his brain,
Still writing  works as different yet pleasing
As the title tune of London Flat, London Sharp,
With the chromatic flats in the descending left hand
And the chromatic sharps (in the other direction: Up)
In the left;   whereas on the new CD we get,
On “So Lonely,” first an eleven-tone row,
And later the full twelve.
This was the same principle
That made Time Out and Miles’ Kind of Blue
Such perennial successes:
Immediately Accessible Innovation.
Sounds simple?
Try to achieve it yourself.
A year ago he wowed me
At a packed Cerritos Center.
Would have “knocked my socks off,”
If they were not compression hose.
Just about killed his only slightly younger sidemen,
Trying to keep up with him,
Trying to figure out what the devil
He was up to.
Tonight he’ll be playing to a sold-out
Hollywood Bowl.  I’m too old to even want
To drive there, deal with the parking,
Climb the concrete stairs to the cheap seats,
Let alone perform there!
He is an inspiration to me, to us all.
I’ll never last as long as he has,
But I’ll do my best to pack all that I can
Into what years Darwin or the Deity
Have set aside for me.
And maybe that will prove to be
The Zen of it:  that you’re too busy
Doing what you’ve always done
To count the passing years.
And thus the Autumn in L.A.
Turns into one long Indian Summer,
And when the Winter comes at last,
It explodes as one last blast
Of Arctic Ecstasy, from the Headmaster of
The School of West Coast Cool.

Originally published in Thank You, Dave: A Brubeck Tribute, Zerx Press, Albuquerque, New Mexico, copyright ©Gerald Locklin. Reprinted by permission of the author.

Read more of Gerald Locklin‘s poetry in Gerald Locklin: New and Selected Poems (1967-2007) (Silver Birch Press, April 2013), available at