Archives for posts with tag: Song

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How to find your voice
By JC. Sulzenko

It’s not every day your voice forsakes you.

From childhood on, I learned songs by ear—nursery rhymes, carols, Broadway tunes, gospel, folk, and rock.

I sang around campfires, on long car rides, in a mass choir, and later in an a capella group.

Just after my mother died, I dropped out. I got used to humming anthems and pop songs to myself, to whispering lullabies to my grandchildren.

Until the other day, when I had my granddaughter’s attention and remembered that song about wheels on the bus.

I heard the melody in my head and started to sing, but the notes, the words came out with a rasp and off-key.

I drank cold water and tried again. I switched to a simpler rhyme, with the same results. That’s when I had to admit my singing voice was missing. I needed to find it.

I began in the top left hand drawer of my dresser where I keep practical things—nail files, combs, unopened lipsticks and compacts, single buttons, along with an array

of discouraging cloth facemasks. What had I hoped to find there? If not my voice, then a clue as to where it had gone and why.

I rummaged in the back of my closet, behind the silk sheaths that won’t fit until I emerge from this claustrophobic cocoon, my wonky hip is replaced, and I can exercise without

pain. I pulled out my jewelry box—I’d forgotten the crystals I wore to the last party we attended when we could go wherever we wanted. I put them back.

I speculated. Perhaps my singing voice had gone dormant under the fine snow, which fell for a day, a night and sculpted the landscape to its design.

Or perhaps, constricted by lockdowns, my voice escaped and fled into heaven’s blues, icy Blues. Or perhaps it simply lost itself, whatever the reasons.

It needn’t worry that it’s not good enough. The child will recognize her grandmother’s music, even on a small screen.

ART: The Banjo Lesson by Mary Cassatt (1893).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: As most of my interaction with everyone outside the home, including our family, has become virtual, I noticed how my own inner and outer dynamics have shifted. Sometimes for the better. Sometimes not. Prolonged isolation has affected my self-discipline, my sense of purpose, and my readiness to write. It also has made me realize how much I miss singing with other people. Instead of shelving poetry ideas as I am wont to do at this point in my life, I felt some urgency to compose “How to find your voice” once I saw Silver Birch Press’s call for “how to’” poems. As an aside, I recently joined an online choir and enjoy the sessions more and more each week.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: JC Sulzenko’s poems appeared on Arc’s Poem of the Year shortlist, Maple Tree Literary Supplement, and Oratorealis, in anthologies and online, either under her name or as A. Garnett Weiss. Silver Birch Press and The Light Ekphrastic publish her. In 2020, her work appeared in Vallum, the Naugatuck River Review, and the Poetry Leaves project. She won the Wind and Water Writing Contest and the WrEN award (Children’s Poetry) and judged poetry for the National Capital Writing Contest in 2019.  Another Dysfunctional Cancer Poem Anthology (Mansfield Press) the Poet’s Pathway, and County CollAboRaTive projects featured her in 2018. Point Petre Publishing released JC’s South Shore Suite…Poems (2017). Her centos took top honours in The Bannister Anthology (2016, 2013). She presented workshops for the Ottawa International Writers Festival, the Canadian Authors Association, the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, the Ottawa Public Library, and a number of Alzheimer societies, among others. She has published six books for children and co-authored poetry chapbooks Slant of Light and Breathing Mutable Air  with Carol A. Stephen. Based in Ottawa, Canada, JC curates the Glebe Report’s “Poetry Quarter” and serves as a selector for Visit her at

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.

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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.

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

gold dust woman
Patton and Gold Dust Woman
by Sarah Frances Moran

In 1998 I spent most evenings
locked in my room. Stereo blasting.
Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours on repeat.

It was that awkward age of sixteen.
Where nothing in the world feels right
except for yourself, you’re always right.

I remember writing my song analysis that year
on Gold Dust Woman. Explained in front of 30 other
students what I thought Stevie was talking about.

If I thought they looked at me in a strange way before
it was nothing compared to this.

Of all those teenage memories swirling around
the riffs of Lindsey’s guitar and Stevie belting out
did she make you cry, make you break down,
you’re always what I think of and what moves me.

I rarely remember the mean kids at school
or that song project. I barely remember my stubborn awkwardness.

But I remember your low howl.
The way Stevie’s voice in that one song
would set you off better than any fire truck.
The way you’d look at me with some sort of longing
reserved for creatures that aren’t human, throw your head back
and ah oooooooooooooooow throughout the chorus.

That song pops up now on my playlist and it reminds me
how you taught me what unconditional love is. What a bestfriend is and      how
things that aren’t human are oh so very beautiful too.


PHOTO: Patton and Sarah, 1998.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This piece is about the dog I grew up with. He was a pitbull mix and was truly a best friend to me and my brother. He would howl like crazy whenever I played “Gold Dust Woman” [from the 1977 Fleetwood Mac album Rumours]. Whenever I hear that song, I think of him. They don’t live long enough.


Sarah Frances Moran
is a writer, editor, animal lover, videogamer, queer Latina. She thinks Chihuahuas should rule the world and prefers their company to people 90% of the time. Her work has most recently been published or is upcoming in The No Se Habla Espanol Anthology, Elephant Journal, Drunk Monkeys, Rust+Moth, Maudlin House, Blackheart Magazine, Red Fez, and The Bitchin’ Kitsch. She is Editor/Founder of Yellow Chair Review. These days you can find her kayaking the Brazos in Waco, Texas, with her partner. You may reach her at

If you don’t know why people celebrate Cinco de Mayo, here’s a fun, fast way to get a history lesson from a song written and performed by Jonathan Mann. Happy Cinco de Mayo!

You say tomato, I say tomato…Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers sing “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” (music  by George Gershwin and lyrics by Ira Gershwin) in the 1937 movie Shall We Dance. In this clip, Fred and Ginger not only sing, but also dance on roller skates. A classic!

“When you’re lost in the rain in Juarez and it’s Eastertime, too…”

Recorded August 16, 1956. Ella sings and Satchmo sings and plays.

The great, multi-gifted Judy Garland — singer, dancer, actress — belts out “San Francisco” in this segment from a 1960s TV special.



Song by Mack Gordon and Josef Myrow

You make me feel so young

You make me feel so “spring has sprung”

And every time I see you grin

I’m such a happy individual.

The moment that you speak

I want to go play hide-and seek

I want to go and bounce the moon

Just like a toy balloon.

Painting: “Red Balloon” (1922) by Paul Klee.
Music: Listen to Frank Sinatra sing “You Make Me Feel So Young” here.