In the Night

“We’ve got some t-shirts for sale
CD’s too
take us home with you.”
Loud wave of bassdrumsguitar
pounds out the babble
of misplaced dreams.

“The band needs a beer.”
Just to know if you are hear
listening in the quiet moments
between three minute power pulses.
Don’t worry ’bout sound check
everything is turned up to eleven
to cover the noise
of misplaced conversation.

Did you mean to make a pass
I missed it in the wash
talk to the girl behind me
instead
I’m still listening to the voices
across the bar
searching for a dream.

“Thank you for coming.”
We’re not always what we seem
resting between the scenes.
Curtain tomorrow at seven
unless it’s a matinee at three.

July 26, 2009 at 12:27 am Leave a comment

Starshine

In the silence of the night
Vibrations bounce
from other space

Words woven in smokey bars
Music resonating off trees
Dancers beating the boards of dance halls
send joyful rhythms through the dark

If you listen close
not with your ears
but your heart
you can feel the electric hum

Whisper your wishes
into the wind in time
let the distant stars answer
& join their song

July 11, 2009 at 1:12 am 2 comments

Spread Joy up to the Maximum!

Last week I drove to Memphis and back by myself. I’ve made long drives before so I was prepared with charged cell phone, healthy snacks and a whole pile of CDs to listen to for the journey. There is something completely liberating about flying free. The two weeks of workshops in Memphis were a lot of fun and I took a bit of time to actually get to know the “real” Memphis, not just the Beale Street tourist section. The history of music and civil rights in that city run deep, but today there are shadows around it’s former glory. Whole streets of businesses and houses are boarded up and empty while the next block over is alive and thriving.

I returned to my home with a new pile of tunes from the CDs lodged in my head that include artists like Willie Dixon, Bo Diddley, Dr. John, the Drifters, and Professor Longhair. This particular song seems to be on constant “repeat” in my brain. I had a recording of Johnny Mercer singing it, but Aretha is fun too…


What a handy thing to have in your head when you come home to a pre-foreclosure notice in the mailbox and a large two trunked red oak tree across your driveway! I’ll admit, the sight made me shed a few tears, but a few calls to the right friends had me on top of the situation quickly. This week began the Mountain Clearance Giveaway. I’m unloading the burden of stuff that has weighed me down for far too long and it’s truly liberating. Rather than making a mountain out of a molehill, I’m taking apart the mountain. One of the things I enjoy doing best is helping people find what they need. So…I’m inviting folks to bring a car full of joy by the house this week and take something you can use away with you. We all benefit that way.

Once I’m free of the baggage I don’t need, I look forward to spreading joy in my own quirky way to as many corners of the world as possible.

June 24, 2009 at 2:52 pm Leave a comment

Music in the moment

A month ago I thought I’d be in Sacramento, CA this weekend for my second trip to the Jazz Jubilee. Part of me is there dancing to the merry music of the Firecrackers as well as the other amazing artists like Allan Vache, Bria Skonberg, and John Sheridan that I encountered live for the first time out there.

Instead I’m in Asheville, which is a good thing too. I caught the tropical sounds of Kon Tiki after work at the The Wedge Brewery down on the tracks by the New French Broad river on Wednesday when the sun finally decided to shine on all the greenery and flowers from the rain. I left there with the CD With Benny in Mind so that I can listen to Allan Vache this weekend on this side of the continent.

The evening then continued with live music dancing to the Screaming J’s. I’m always amazed at how Jason Krekel & Jake Hollifield maintain a consistently rocking fun time as band members slip in and out to hit the road with other projects. It’s always surprising and always new. This week there were a couple of particularly avant garde medley transitions that proved that they are not just another rock and roll band.

Last night I was Moogified at the 75th Birthday Bash to celebrate the life of Bob Moog and raise funds for the Moogseum in Asheville. Drummer David put together a stellar line up of local musicians to record live tracks while patrons wandered through the exhibits. Molly & Jenny were like gems playing with vocals. The jam between Jay Sanders, Jonathan Scales, Andy Pond, and Mike Rhodes was sonic joy. Chris Stack was kind enough to walk me through the intricacies of the difference between the various Moogerfoogers that I would love to hook up to my clarinet and make crazy fun sound. The keyboard lounge was a treat to wander through and experiment with all the options the knobs and buttons provide. The only thing missing for me was the touch sensitive keyboard Chris developed with Moog, but apparently I’m not the only music geek who couldn’t afford to buy a crazy toy like that and the production was so limited they didn’t have one to share.

But wait, there’s more. After all that pitch bending, oscillating wonder I treated my ears & feet to the sweet sounds of acoustic gypsy jazz with the Space Heaters in the cozy little BoBo Gallery. I arrived just in time to catch a couple of my favorite leaders on the dance floor and visit with a few more players who were enjoying a night off to listen while someone else did the work. Whew!

Now it’s time to organize travel for the Poetry Alive! adventure next week and then I’ll get my down & dirty blues rock fix with Abe Reid & the Spikedrivers tonight. It may not be the musical feast I had planned, but I’m certainly not starving this weekend. Happy Memorial Day weekend to you and may you find the music that soothes your soul is brought to you live.

May 22, 2009 at 12:34 pm Leave a comment

Starting Fresh

As I peel off the layers of you
The elements are harsher
nausea swells in sunlight
rain soaks to the bone
through new skin too porous.

As I untangle the knot
the trailing ends trip my feet
the rope burns my fingers
as you grip tighter to the lifeline
that has been cutting off my breath.

I am too tired for kisses
followed by a punch in the arm,
sweet nothings whispered in private
that turn to bitter ridicule in public,
the layers of lies that provide no rest.

You say you did more for me
than anyone else in your life,
but I gave you everything.
Now there’s only love
that won’t feed your lust.

From nothing
I’m starting fresh
raw with spit fire & tears
fighting to take care of myself
for the first time in years.

May 11, 2009 at 4:06 pm 1 comment

Waterlogged

Blair Martin's Studio

Blair Martin's Studio

Today I woke to the sound of tin roof rain downpour and the dim light of thunderous weather. Part of me wanted to hide from the wet world in my tree house and just enjoy the cozy warmth of my room looking out at the storm. I did for a bit while I sorted email & voice messages on my phone trying to coax myself out of the house. The past week has brought such a variety of new inspiration that I felt like I needed time to process it all.

I found that serendipitously the rain stopped as soon as I was ready to leave the house. Though the sun still refused to shine, I discovered the brightness and warmth of Blair Martin’s Studio in Tryon as I arrived to interview her about her work for the local paper. It made me realize just how heavy and dark my own home is on a gray day. When I returned there I tried practicing the piano and finally, feeling uninspired, returned to the house in Asheville where the tree asks “Y” in the back yard and the living room is sunshine yellow.  It’s amazing how much environment can impact mood.

I know I was never meant to live my days in a little gray box staring at a screen under fluorescent lights. I find that I cringe at the thought of even checking email these days.  I don’t want to waste away without being present for real life and real adventures. So, with that, I’ll sign off for a bit to find food, friends, and good music as refreshment before getting back to the editing task at hand.

Night Rider

Night Rider

I’ll leave you with this last little image of how even a grey night holds some unexpected sparkle for the keen observer.

May 6, 2009 at 9:05 pm Leave a comment

30/30 NaPoMo Challenge

In case you haven’t heard, it’s National Poetry Month. That means I pick up a few more Poetry Alive! shows and many of the writers I know are furiously hammering out a poem a day to meet the 30/30 challenge. I’m already behind. Is it possible to have word jammage of the brain? Between memorizing Eve-Olution, re-memorizing three Poetry Alive! shows, and writing/editing two articles each week while keeping up with hundreds of emails, facebook notices, and twitters I feel like the letters have started dancing out of place to simply trumpet sound without sense.

That’s when I turn to music. Granted if I get caught in song lyrics (I know I’ve driven 18 hours to Austin without repeating a verse or song) that still includes words. What I’m talking about is the sound without words. Whether its whistling with the birds or jamming with new friends, there’s something refreshing about tossing sounds through the air and catching harmony. I feel like it somehow clears my brain. That’s why when I reach the end of my day I don’t turn on the television to hear the corporate babble-on but instead seek out live music where real people are making the real sounds of change.

So, if I ever catch up with myself this month, my 30/30 Challenge may just have to include a few “tone poems” or songs without words to be able to communicate clearly what’s jammed in my brain.

April 13, 2009 at 3:12 pm 1 comment

Everyone is on Sale

Discounted poetry
Free for the taking
Flutters through facebook
In the 30/30 frenzy
Unable to fill the mouths
Of hungry readers.

The concert violinist plays
Unnoticed in the subway stream
Watching a single dollar flutter into a case
That holds the treasure on which he plays.
Last night he played Carnegie Hall
to thunderous applause.

I type these words to the world
Through years of programming
In midnight hours
By dreamers who cannot feed their family
With the sweat of labor feeding corporations
Closing their doors
and keeping the change.

April 8, 2009 at 1:22 am 1 comment

Evolving

Incubating with words
memorizing & writing
until letters slide into formation
unlocking the code
that will break open the shell
letting the new creation emerge
sharing its light with the world.

April 6, 2009 at 5:30 pm Leave a comment

Simone

I had the joyous pleasure of meeting and interviewing Lisa Kelly Simone for the Tryon Daily Bulletin today after hearing her sing and field a million questions from the kids at Tryon Elementary. I feel blessed to have been in the presence of such a bright star sharing her light with the world.

It’s a gorgeous day today as I finish up the computer work on my porch listening to the sounds of birds and watching pileated woodpeckers flirt among the locust trees. What an amazing spot to call home!

This evening will bring a reception for Simone and in some ways it feels like Nina Simone has finally come home to Tryon through her daughter. May her spirit receive the love from this town that raised her on music even though the politics of the time sent her away feeling like she could never come back.

March 17, 2009 at 8:27 pm 1 comment

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