Archives for posts with tag: Singers

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.

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.

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

Wuthering, Wuthering, Wuthering Heights
by Cathy Bryant

Kate Bush sang of her just as I
had imagined her: Cathy, Cathy,
at the window, shrieking
to be let in, like the wind.

I longed to be Kate, too,
wild and beautiful as she was,
just as the Cathy of whom she sang.
She gave me hope
that Cathys could create
and escape.
I just let out, now,
my inner Cathy, my inner Kate.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Writing this was a joy. I loved and identified with Cathy in Wuthering Heights, but was not exactly filled with hope for myself, given her end! Kate’s song was so beautiful and so eerily perfect that it rekindled my joy, and the fact that Kate has triumphed through difficulties of her own, makes her one of my idols. It was a pleasure to write about both of them, and my relationship with them.

wedding 002

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cathy Bryant worked as a life model, civil servant, and childminder before writing full time. She has won 22 literary awards and writing contests. Her work has been published in over 200 books and litmags, such as The Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Eye to the Telescope, and Futuredaze. Cathy’s books are: Contains Strong Language and Scenes of a Sexual Nature and Look at All the Women (poetry), How to Win Writing Competitions (nonfiction), and Pride & Regicide: a Mary Bennet Mystery (a novel). See her listings for cash-strapped writers at Cathy lives in Cheshire, U.K.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: The photo is of me in my wedding dress last September, by the Unicorn Gate in Macclesfield, just before I married my Heathcliff (only he’s much better than Heathcliff).

A Tale of Two Jennifers
by Jennifer Hernandez

We were born months & worlds apart
in the late sixties, J. Lo in the Bronx
of Puerto Rican parentage, and me
in Fargo, North Dakota, child of
Scandinavian Lutherans.

Because I was living in Mexico
at the time her star exploded
with the release of Selena,
we have an inextricable connection.

I couldn’t give my name
without a smile and a query,
Jennifer Lopez? My reply became,
¡Claro que sí! Never mind
my blue eyes and pale pink skin.
Hey — if they wanted me to be
J. Lu, then J. Lu I would be.

It’s true my alma Latina
is buried deep under
una exterior gringa.
But in those days
I could sing in Spanish
and shake my hips
hasta la mañana.

IMAGE: Poster from Selena starring Jennifer Lopez (1997).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When I was four years old, I told my parents that I wanted to be Mexican. I liked the sound of Spanish, and I really wanted long, dark hair. One of my proudest moments as an ESL teacher was the day one of my student’s mothers — who I had only talked to on the phone — met me in person for the first time and was surprised to discover that I was a gringa. I have no illusions. I am well aware that I am not Latina. But I do love raising my children in a bicultural family and working with students with many different language backgrounds, including Spanish.


Jennifer (Lundstrom) Hernandez
lives in the Minneapolis area, where she teaches middle school, wrangles three sons, and writes for her sanity. Her work has appeared recently in Mothers Always Write, Silver Birch Press, Talking Stick, and Visual Verse. She has performed her poetry at a non-profit garage, a bike shop filled with taxidermy, and in the kitchen for her children, who are probably her toughest audience.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Me at the beach in Mazatlán during my J. Lu. days

L’amour s’en va
(for Françoise Hardy)
by Françoise Harvey

Disappointment is a flavour I carry with me;
it’s salt cast behind me against men of a certain age and disposition.
Eyesight marred by music, they read V as D and hope they’ll see
you, smouldering behind your fringe in a mouldy flat in Peckham;
you, behind the lines they thought sang from that story.
We neither of us ask to be stalked or talked to or misread
but I have to shield myself against the wince that is my lack of your glory.
No beauty, it’s enough to bathe in the afterglow of the light shed
by you, and smile, and nod, and sprinkle salt on their tongues
by being older than the you they cling to, by not knowing your songs.

PHOTO: French singer/actress Françoise Hardy, 1960s.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I jumped at the chance to take part in this call for submissions. My parents occasionally tell me I was named after Françoise Hardy, but I’m not sure how true this is. As well as writing poetry/prose, I also sing and play a number of instruments –- with no results that go beyond soundcloud –-  and the name comparison tends to come up with middle-aged and older men either before they meet me in person or if music comes up in conversation (it’s never been mentioned by women). I have been accused, when submitting writing, of making up a pen name, and someone has turned up on my doorstep with an Ebay parcel (a cheap Asda dehumidifier –-  très glamorous) they could have posted, just to see if I looked like her. I don’t, and the utter disappointment was awkward and palpable. Basically, Françoise Hardy has haunted me in my interests and beyond for most of my life. As far as I’m aware, I have never heard one of her songs. I sort of resent the comparisons, because she’s not someone I could ever live up to –- and actually this resentment made me pick a form to work with for this poem, to keep me focused and stop me just having a bit of a rant.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Françoise Harvey lives in the North East of England. She writes short stories and poems, and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in publications including Bare Fiction, Synaesthesia Magazine, Litro, Agenda, Envoi, The Gingerbread House and anthologies Furies and The Casual Electrocution of Strangers. She is one of the founders of Literary Salmon ( and works at Mslexia magazine.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Getting in touch with my French side, playing in a park in Paris, 2010.

After ignorance, blessings
by A. Garnett Weiss

Without much prompting, I return to that moment fifty years ago,
while we waited together for a book on reserve at college.
The librarian bellowed my last name.
We both stepped forward, lightly bumping hips.

Shy as a virgin, I felt heat rush to my face
as the man at the desk glared through thick lenses.
“Leonard,” he harrumphed, dismissing me.
Just then, I realized who you were.

So did the other undergrads, the spectator chorus,
who stared as though it was my fault to carry
the same family name.
I bowed my head, rejoined their line.

Even as poems and songs brought you more fame,
I didn’t become a fan, though I recognized
some tunes, knew bits of lyrics from the CDs
my mother listened to every day till she died.

But after you had to come down from the mountain
’cause someone had stolen away with your wealth,
after you started to tour, that’s when I fell for you.

I saw you perform live a first time, then again, and again,
just to hear you sing of love and loss and longing in that voice,
its low-growl purr seductive as the melodies that play in my mind.

Which is how I’ve come to regret having no kinship with you
either in blood or in the way you make your music turn words
into a benediction.

PHOTOS: (Left) Leonard Cohen, circa 1960s; (right) the author, around the time described in the poem.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When I first read the call for the SAME NAME series, no celebrity in real life or fiction came to mind, but, on second thought, I remembered clearly the incident at university that gave rise to “After ignorance, blessings.” That “meeting’” with Leonard Cohen (Cohen was my maiden name), turned out to be my one and only “brush” with him in Montreal, Canada, just as he was gaining profile for his prose and poetry. It’s also true that I became a fan only as an adult and as a result of being seduced by his words and music, his artistry, at the concerts I attended, in spite of the less than “intimate” settings—hockey arenas in which he performed for some 5,000 others. That I would wish to be related to him is only natural, since I would love to have some of his talent in my genes!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A. Garnett Weiss’s poems appear in anthologies, chapbooks, on-line, and in local and national media, either under the pseudonym A. Garnett Weiss, or as JC Sulzenko. Her work has been shortlisted for Arc Poetry Magazine’s 2014 Poem of the Year and appeared in Vallum: Contemporary Poetry. Silver Birch Press included her poems in a number of its series, and she is the sole Canadian in its October 2015 chapbook anthology, Ides. She sits on the selection board for Bywords and is the inaugural curator for The Glebe Report’s “Poetry Quarter.” Breathing Mutable Air, her first chapbook collaboration with Carol A. Stephen, came out last June. Visit her at

captain tennille
“Where’s the Captain?”
by Alarie Tennille

Asks the clerk holding my credit
card, asks the person I just met.
They laugh at their corny joke.
I smile, too, relieved to hear
a stranger pronounce, “Tennille.”

It never kept company
in the phone book. The first day
of school, I’d wait for the long pause
after the S’s and announce, “Here!”
Once I jumped into the J’s. Our water
bill came to Mr. Linville.

Then, in 1975, the radio announced,
“‘Love Will Keep Us Together’
by the Captain and Tennille.”
Saved! I was pulled into the harbor
of my distant cousin’s fame.

Time passes, fame’s knot
loosens, but for a while I enjoyed
being a household name.

IMAGE: The Captain (Daryl Dragon) and Tennille (Toni Tennille) on the cover of their 1975 debut album Love Will Keep Us Together.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I’m happy to have a unique name, but it does present challenges. I’ve met very few Tennilles, even relatives. I used to have to pronounce and spell both Alarie and Tennille everywhere I went. I was so stunned to hear “Tennille” announced on the radio that I had to go to a record store to make sure. Having a famous cousin turn up was a blessing. For at least a decade, most people got my last name right. Thank you, Toni Tennille!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Alarie Tennille was born and raised in Portsmouth, Virginia, and graduated from the University of Virginia in the first class admitting women. She misses the ocean, but loves the writing community she’s found in Kansas City, Missouri. Alarie serves on the Emeritus Board of The Writers Place. Alarie’s poetry collection, Running Counterclockwise, was First Runner Up for the 2015 Thorpe Menn Award for Literary Excellence.  She’s also written a chapbook, Spiraling into Control, and her poems have appeared in numerous journals including Margie, Poetry East, I-70 Review, Midwest Quarterly Review, and Southern Women’s Review. Visit her at