Sunday, July 27, 2014

Gem of the Bayou: St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Paincourtville, LA

In late afternoon light
tainted by scenes in stained glass
creating a subtle rainbow
residual incense wafts
as we walk toward the chancel.

An odor of sanctity
captured in cavernous sanctuary
upward-rising to the rafters.

Largest building in dwindling town
stretched along straight roads
between the canebreaks
and the occasional refinery
along bending banks of ever-widening river
the Gem of the Bayou reminds of a reality
transcending the fields and marshes

that stretch between the Gulf and Baton Rouge.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Significant Song Number 6

:"Lonesome, On'ry, and Mean" by Waylon Jennings

   This is the title track from Waylon's first Outlaw album, released in 1973. Already the process mentioned in Significant Song Number 5 had moved along quite well. Waylon was the bassist of Buddy Holly and the Crickets who gave up his seat on the plane that crashed "The Day the Music Died". This album was the first that Waylon co-produced and shows his distinct imprint. Reaching #8 on the Country charts, the album cemented Waylon's career and paved the way for greater things.
   The song has a definite rock beat and demonstrates the blending of genres. Jokingly, I say I want it played at a retirement party, should I have one, primarily for the title's sake.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Significant Song Number 5: "Wild Horses"- Flying Burrito Brothers Version

We will never know if this is truly a Jagger-Richards composition, solely Gram's work, or some collaboration. I suspect the latter. What is certain is that the Burritos had the first release of the song, and it is Ur-Country Rock indeed! Since several of the Burritos were in the Byrds earlier, the songs were played on the FM stations, since Country was not cool back then. Gradually, we longhairs liked some Country artists, especially the Outlaws, and some Country fans respected the hippy artists. No matter who plays the song, and it has been covered numerous times, it's simply a fine song!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

People along the way

Going half-way across the country
Thousands of faces flash by
In rest areas, attractions, streets, businesses.
Some of them stand out
For one inexplicable reason or another.

Shuffling from their SUV,
A family heads to the Lone Star
Leaning at the Sabine River Rest Area
Standing in front of thick gray clouds
So they can take each other’s picture.

Far from Hessen, in the Hill Country
German cuisine is served in a frontier house.
For a moment her native language
Floats in the air amid the Texan drawls
As it used to not so long ago.

Praying silently in the cathedral
With arms stretched along the railing
Her daughter converses as well
Discretely, impatiently speaking
Into her I phone.

Couple of our approximate age
Unhappy at everything
She fusses at restaurant hostess
Then unleashes a torrent of spite
At his day-long negativity.
Later I intentionally walk by them
As he slowly eats while she
Sits clutching her elbows
Not even caring to look at him.

From several feet away from the fountain
Tawny-tressed girl and mother standing.
Daughter appears to want a drink but refuses an offer

As her mother expresses her thanks anyway,

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Observation Point 13, Ft. Drum, New York

Tree stretching toward Canada
Wispy clouds hover in summer sky
Vacationer’s paradise unfolding
Except for the large orange circles
On a small, man-made hill
Surrounded by the rusted wrecks
Or yesterday’s automobiles.

Radio transmissions crackle
Over in the Fire Direction Center
As bratwurst and kielbasa sizzle
Over on several hibachis.

Fire Mision! All human activity stops
As the hundred-pound rounds
Slam into the circles from a distance
Of classified information.
The plates have already been passed,
And as an FM rock station plays “Tommy”
By The Who, the howitzers blast away
At a few more wrecks.

Every shot has been in the box
And everyone his happy.
Like if good on OP 13 as
Lunch continues and I regret
Having taken so long to enlist.
Had I known the Army could be
This good, I would have joined earlier!

Significant song Number 4: "Like a Rolling Stone", by Bob Dylan

I first heard this in Canada, somewhere in rural Ontario. We were there on vacation, and the local CBC station played this as we drove. My brother and I were thrilled; my parents were not but did not say anything. What impressed  me then was the length and the story line.

This epic was released almost a half-century ago: 20 July 1965. Recently the original lyrics sold for $2 million.

Monday, July 7, 2014

A reading of an Auden poem not many would know.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

 Significant Song Number Three- I better start numbering these now.

     Ray Davies has an extraordinary talent as a lyricist, in addition to being an outstanding composer/musician. He creates stories about people, places, and situations  in very appealing ways. "You Really Got Me", as great a rock song as there is, lacks the poetry, but Davies evolved form that and found his own voice.
     I saw this performed live in Irvine, CA, in 1976, and would have seen it again in Santa Fe, NM, in 1987 had it not been for a rain at an open-air concert.In 1979 and 1983, when visiting the UK, naturally I thought of the song as I went through the station and whenever I looked at  the "dirty old river".

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Hear it recited by me!

Reviews Are So Very Important to Writers, and So Hard to Get

      When my first poetry book was published seven years ago, I dutifully asked readers/friends to review it. That book, Places and Times, ...