Archives for posts with tag: Songs

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 …


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.

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 (

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).

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.

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

by Crystal Cook

Her image was taped up high
on the wall in the record store (you remember those, don’t you?)
It was her hair that caught my eye,
it was was lovely and brown
and ten thousand times longer than mine.
It was the seventies (you remember those, don’t you?)
and it was all about the hair.
The longer the better
and hers was the longest,
the best,
and most beautiful.
Her name was Crystal Gayle
and I thought it must be fate
that she and I would share a name.
I wanted to be
like her one day
with hair down to my feet,
and while I waited
and wished it would grow
I wore my nightgowns upon my head
like cotton wigs,
flowery fabric trailing behind me
wherever I’d go.
I listened to her songs
on the radio
pretending she was me
and I was her
until one day I simply forgot
and I cut my hair
while hers continued to grow.
The poster came down,
the record shop closed,
the seventies
and Crystal Gayle
became memories
except every now and again
I think about her hair.

PHOTO: Singer Crystal Gayle, circa late-1970s.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When I think back on my childhood memories, Crystal Gayle and her long, flowing hair are always among them. I was never the little girl tiptoe dancing along in the ballerina dresses, I never played princess or dreamed of shooting high into space in a rocket like the other girls in my neighborhood did. I simply dreamed of having hair down to there, just like Crystal Gayle did . . .

crystal (1)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Crystal Cook — otherwise known as Qwietpleez here on the interwebs — goes by many names, most notably “Mommy.” Proud wife and mother four, she is an Autism Warrior Momma and an advocate for those with special needs and their families. She writes about about life and love, the good and the bad, the serious and the silly over at, and sometimes to make some spare change for Venti iced coffees, she writes about other things. She has been a guest writer for Sammiches and Psych Meds, Mamolode,The Mighty, and a contributing writer for the books Lose the Cape: Never Will I Ever (and then I had kids), and Fall in Love With Writing.

tim gainey
Memories nudged to fore
by Vijaya Gowrisankar

As red light stops the taxi and wait begins
The melodious tune from teashop radio tickles my senses
The soulful voice, lyrics and music touch my core

I am back with my best friend in my childhood
As we run, our hands held tight across the garden
The dry leaves crunch beneath, feet leave imprints on the mud

We race over to the swings, and wait for our turn
Attempt to catch the butterfly as it flies across flowers
Our turn arrives, we hold on tight and swing together

In rhythm with each other, our giggles turn to glee
The breeze carries our joy to the birds that perch nearby
Up and down, in tandem, faster and faster, till the sky seems near

Seconds turn to minutes, till our small hands grow tired
We slow down, sweating, out of breath and exhilarated
Hair sticking to our faces, we look at each other and smile

Clasp our hands once again – ready, steady and race
Across the garden and the small lane, till we reach our homes
Then we part, with a silent promise, to meet tomorrow and enjoy

The taxi jerks as light turns to green and the song slowly fades
I dial her number and wait for her delight as she recognizes me
We share stories, of childhood and recent times as the miles go by

PHOTO: “Star Girl” by Tim Gainey. Prints available at

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “Purano shei diner kotha” is a song written by Rabindranath Tagore. The song shares the story of two childhood friends and all the activities they did together.


Vijaya Gowrisankar
 released her first book of poems Inspire in 2014. The book features more than 100 poems on topics such as Nature, Life, Positivity, and Change. She is passionate about writing poems from childhood. Her poems have appeared in various publications.


Hopelessly Devoted to You…
by Rie Sheridan Rose

It doesn’t matter where I am…
It doesn’t matter who is with me…
When the radio plays
“Guess mine is not the first heart broken…”
My mind drifts back to you.

You will always be the one who got away—
The heart I could not tame.
Do you ever think of me…?
Across the years that lie between us?
Do I invade your dreams, as you do mine?

We’ve lived as long apart as we lived before we met.
I might manage now and then
A week or two without thinking your name…
And then that refrain will sigh
Through the speakers…

And though I am now in love with someone new,
I will forever be “Hopelessly devoted to you…”

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “Hopelessly Devoted to You” from the 1978 Grease soundtrack.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rie Sheridan Rose has written five chapbooks of poetry. Her poems have appeared in Penumbra, Illumen, and Wolf Willow magazine. She has poetry in Terror Train, Bones II, and Abandoned Towers as well as the 2016 Texas Poetry Calendar and Speculative Poets of Texas Vol. 1. She is also a lyricist, and has written words for many songs recorded by Marc Gunn.

AUTHOR PHOTO: Rie Sheridan Rose circa 2012 at her mother’s 75th Birthday Party.