Archives for posts with tag: Songs

Connected in Song 
by Christine Stevens

She died too young
Body taken by ovarian cancer
Soul freed by faith in God

I watched the gradual eroding of her body
The changing topography of death
The way cancer eats away the soil of existence
Reducing what was once solid to layers of soft sand

After my mother died, I still caught glimpses of her
In a fox tending her cubs
A yellow butterfly landing near by
Answered prayers for a sign

One day, in the sanctuary of the Honda CRV
Just as I turned the ignition key
Trying to drive away from the sadness and loss
Her song came on the radio
James Taylor’s soothing voice
Singing my mother’s loving message

When you’re down and troubled
When you need a helping hand
You’ve got a friend

No request made
No sign demanded
Just the synchronicity of song
Reaching out from a mysterious place
Disguised as just another tune on the airways

From inside closed windows
Covered in goose bumps
I sang my heart out through waves of tears
Celebrating the reunion of souls
Separated in form
Connected in song

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: How does the perfect song come on the radio, play in the grocery store line, just when we need it most? After losing my mother to ovarian cancer, an innocent song came on the radio in a grand moment of reconnection that inspired this poem.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Christine Stevens is the author of Music Medicine, The Healing Drum Kit and The Art and Heart of Drum Circles. Visit her at

EDITOR’S NOTE: “You’ve Got a Friend” was written by Carole King and first appeared on her 1971 album Tapestry.

Rock(in’) It
by Todd Duffey

One humid day
on a back yard deck
in Houston, Texas,
It was 1983.

One white boy,
padded down like
the Michelin man,
spun on his helmeted head
to the seminal song “Rockit”
while his mother watched
from a bathroom window.

He fell, and bounced
off himself, off his padding.
He moonwalked, poorly.
He then violently rippled his body,
his chin smashing into the
cardboard underneath,
then his knees.
Chin, knees. Chin, knees.

He stood, then whirled his
leg around, twirling, then falling
to the ground, where he curled up
and spun sadly on his back.

He was Rockin’ It.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I tried many things as a child. I was too small to play sports, so my mom put me into dance classes to keep me active. I fell in love with the adoration of the audience at recitals, and ventured out into breakdance, as it was something the cool kids were doing. But the dexterity it took for me to shuffle my tap shoe to “New York, New York,” or ball change my way through The Rolling Stones’ “Get Back,” were different from what it took to thrash my body on the ground to the 1/16 tempo of an electronic breakdance beat. I gave up the dancing life and moved into acting, where I could break hearts, not bones.

todd duffey

Todd Duffey
is the annoying waiter from the cult film Office Space. He was also the puppeteer and voice for the puppet squirrel Scooter McNutty on the kids’ show Barney and Friends. He’s been acting entirely too long and has many stories about these adventures. Currently he’s being considered for publication for a memoir he’s put together after years of drinking and trying to forget said stories. His stories and writing style are as he thinks — no filter, just get it out and deal with the offended people later. This is a true-to-life moment from his life, when he was trying to learn to breakdance. His mother actually put him in a breakdance class, where he failed miserably. He lives in Los Angeles, where he still believes “he coulda been a dancer, if he could only get the shit off his shoes.”


To Rage
by Crystal Brinkerhoff

The smell of rain on pavement offered relief from the stale, fast-food odor of the car. The captain of the basketball team drove with the windows cracked, her sister in the front seat next to her, me in the back.

We’d lost our game. Again.

I was tired of losing. Tired of feeling inadequate. Tired of welcoming other teams onto our court only to lose in front of our home crowd. Tired of psyching myself up each week that this time would be different. This time we’d find our magic. Only to fail.


We were heading to a local pizza shop to commiserate our sorrows as a team. A postgame tradition. Lose on the court together. Eat our feelings together.

The song on the radio changed and, with it, the energy in the car. We sang, all three of us shrieking along with the music. A declaration of: I am woman, hear me roar.

Rock your body.
Rock your body right.

The volume pulsed through the car, filling every bit of me. It felt good, this attack to banish the feelings of embarrassment and disappointment. To rage.

Even if it was to the Backstreet Boys.


AUTHOR’S NOTE ON THE PHOTO: Senior year of basketball, winter 1999. Playing in the gym of the only team in the league worse than us. Go Lady Irish!

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Writing brings me peace. It allows me to express myself in a way that’s sometimes difficult to do in the hustle and bustle of a large, busy family.


Crystal Brinkerhoff
is the reluctant wife of an outdoor enthusiast. She is a stay-at-home mom of five kids, one Chinese exchange student, and one dog. Writing keeps her grounded in her busy and demanding life. She is currently working on a YA fantasy, a memoir-style collection of stories, and blogging. Crystal has an active online presence, utilizing twitter (@crystalbrink6), linkedin, facebook, and a website at


Cool Blue
by Gillian Mellor

“Cool blue.” Track 4, side 1. The cassette sits, redundant in my palm; my ipod plays the song in my ears. I’m returning the cassette 25 years after you lent it to me. Social media helped to track you down.

I exit the train, hail a taxi and walk to the garden. I sing “Cool blue” softly to myself under my breath and wonder if you can hear. I have bluebells from home. I lay them with the cassette next to your name. Reality hits, tears appear. I’ve missed you.

SOURCE: Originally published in The Fankle (2014).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This piece of flash fiction is about “Cool Blue,” track four, side one of the Touch album by Eurythmics. It was released in 1984. It is just over 25 years since I left school, when the copying of cassettes took up more of our time than we’d now care to admit.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Gillian Mellor lives next to the West Coast Mainline just north of Beattock, Scotland. From here, she fits in writing in between everything else. Sometimes, she tidies the shelves in her local bookshop.

kenny g

Stripping For Kenny G
by Susan Mahan

It never fails.
I stop dead in my tracks
at the sounds of Kenny G.
The pied piper of heartstrings,
I would follow him anywhere.
One by one,
he peels away
my distractions and my fears,
dropping them with abandon
to the floor of my sensibility.
Listening to “Songbird”
I am stripped of my worries.
I close my eyes, and join him
on a soothing, sultry ride to the moon.
Just the two of us,
dancing across the nighttime sky.
My brooding soul finds peace, and
I am completely happy,
even as I wonder how
the strains of a saxophone
can break my heart,
but not make me sad.

In a defensive world,
Kenny G leaves me

Me and Kenny G.

I might as well be naked.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan Mahan has been writing poetry since her husband died in 1997. She is a frequent reader at poetry venues and has written four chapbooks. She served as an editor of The South Boston Literary Gazette from 2002-2012. She has been published in a number of journals and anthologies, including Silver Birch Press.

So Happy Together
by Joan Leotta

Most couples decide on their song
by the time of the first dance.
We discovered ours last week,
driving home from an errand.
Blaring out, from across time
on the “oldies station,” came the
declaration that
there is no way to love
anybody but you.
We smiled at each other
noting the truth of those words —

True words
for days of
happiness, arguments
irritations, quiet, and soaring joy.
True words
for the small
ordinary, moments and hours
of hugs, dinners, walks.
True words
bolstering our souls
as we daily, together.
shoulder the infinite sadness
of losing our son.

Moments to minutes,
hours to days —
every day
for thirty-eight years,
deeply in love,
happy together always,
now with a song that is ours.

ABOUT THE SONG: Happy Together” was written by Garry Bonner and Alan Gordon, and sung by The Turtles in 1967.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Pretty much the way it is in the poem—We were driving along, near Valentine’s Day, on the country roads behind our house. It had always bothered me that we did not have a “song” of our own. And it just hit me when this one came on the air—”Happy Together”—that’s us!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joan Leotta has been playing with words since childhood. Joan recently completed a month as one of Tupleo Press’ 30/30 poets and has poems current or forthcoming in the Knox Literary Magazine, A Quiet Courage, Eastern Iowa Review, and Silver Birch Press. Her fiction includes a four-book series tracing an Italian American family from 1860s (US Civil War) through modern day from Desert Breeze Publishing (Secrets of the Heart, the latest), a collection of short stories, Simply a Smile, from Cane Hollow Press, and a picture book emphasizing the importance of the father-daughter bond, WHOOSH! from TheaQ. Joan, a Pittsburgh native who lived for many years in Washington DC, now resides in Calabash, North Carolina, where she walks the beach, collecting seashells with husband Joe. You can learn more about her work at

PHOTO: The author and husband Joe — Christmastime, Rome, Italy (2014).

love shack
You, Eternally Memorialized
by C.A. Cole

I’m writing a love flash, a poem without line breaks, hummed to the
B-52’s, love flash, love flash, short, like the time we spent together. If you’d stayed, it’d be a short story, maybe a novel, but since you weren’t capable of sustained attention, a flash is all you get.

SOURCE: “You, Eternally Memorialized” first appeared in 50 to 1 (Feb 4, 2012).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Our town has a free weekend of music every summer, Bohemian Nights. At least one nationally known act is featured during the event on a stage which closes the main east/west downtown street. The year the B-52’s were featured, “Love Shack” kept going through my head as love flash, and that seemed like the perfect metaphor for high school relationships.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: C.A. Cole lives in Colorado where she used to write flash with a partner in coffee shops but now has go it alone. Recent work has appeared in Smokelong Quarterly, Blotterature, NonBinary Review, with a short story upcoming in Blood and Thunder.

PHOTO: Still for MacBeth, high school English assignment, Smithboro, New York.

by Rebekah Curry

You walked in the leaves
where I would lie down.
I heard angels singing; I left them
in the garden. Distance, mountains,
the fall around me in the cold.
You must leave me, I know. Empty places
called out to the darkness below.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “Herbstlied” is an erasure poem from the lyrics to the Alexi Murdoch song “Crinan Wood.”


Rebekah Curry
is an alumna of the University of Kansas and the University of Texas at Austin. Her chapbook Unreal Republics is available from Finishing Line Press, and her work has previously appeared in journals including Antiphon and Mezzo Cammin, as well as two anthologies of poets from her home state: Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems (Woodley Press) and To the Stars Through Difficulties: A Kansas Renga in 150 Voices (Mammoth Publications). See more at

elton john

by Jen Maidenberg

It starts as a gleeful dance in the kitchen while you fry up turkey bacon and lip sync in an effort to swallow tears of turning 40, of your parents now old enough to be your grandparents, now dead instead of driving across the wrong bridge to Philadelphia or hollering at you to leave your brother alone.

Last time you heard it was on a yellow school bus sitting in the parking lot outside Beth El awaiting an 8 a.m. departure to New York City, a trip you remember only in pictures, in the primary colors of the puffy winter jackets you all wore then. You sat in vomit that day, which may have been a different day because the bus with the vomit was a chartered bus, but still.

In the kitchen, you sway with closed eyes, unable to dissolve the image of your brother swinging from a branch of the weeping willow tree in your grandparents’ backyard and
I guess that’s why they call it the blues.
The kids stare, but there’s no use explaining how if they’re lucky they’ll one day hear this song and recall the smell of turkey bacon…frying in a pan.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues” is a song composed and performed by Elton John, with lyrics by Bernie Taupin and Davey Johnstone. It was released in 1983 and reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. The author remembers first hearing the song on 98FM Philadelphia through a portable radio, while playing with her brother in her grandparents’ backyard in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

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Jen Maidenberg
is a professional writer and editor living in Israel. She is a candidate (2015) for a Master of Arts from the Shaindy Rudoff Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Bar-Ilan University. Her creative nonfiction column, “My Time, Your Place” is published bimonthly in District Lit, an online journal of writing and art based in Washington, D.C.

Cry Me a River
by Perry S. Nicholas
          Remember? I remember all that you said.
           You told me love was too plebian,
           told me you were through with me and…

Even though we were travelling together,
we were separated on the flight home,

ended up sitting half an airplane away, still angry.
It might as well have been a mile of black sky.

I located the clip on the back of your hair,
but you couldn’t spot me at all over your shoulder.

We panicked, then laughed when we told
each other later of a similar thought:

what if this plane went down, and we perished
at odds, you dodging a puking baby, me

holding onto an old man gabbing grammar?
I’d reach for you mouthing our sad song in slow motion.

Hands extended across the seats, our love
falling hard into a river, a divided descent.

EDITOR’S NOTE: “Cry Me a River,” written by Arthur Hamilton in 1953, was popularized by Julie London in her 1955 recording and subsequent TV appearances.

perry nicholas

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Perry S. Nicholas is an Associate English professor at Erie Community College North in Buffalo, N.Y. where he was awarded the 2008 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Scholarship and Creative Activities and the 2011 President’s Award for Classroom Instruction. He received the SGA’s Outstanding Teacher Award on two occasions. He has published six books and one CD of poetry.