Poetry: It's me again, the broken record! One last reminder that pre-sales period for my new poetry chapbook, Breathing Out, ends this Friday the 28th! If you like my poetry and would like to have a handsome collection of it, plus help me meet my publication goal, please go to: http://www.finishinglinepress.com/NewReleasesandForthcomingTitles.htm
Music: Once again WXPN is having their annual top 885 list and asking listeners to compile a top ten list based on this premise: If you could take only ten songs with you to a desert island, which ten would they be? This is the list I compiled and submitted at the XPN Fest after about an hour's cogitation in the hot sun. I went somewhat eclectic with this, figuring if I were to be stuck with ten songs for God-knows-how-long, they'd better be fairly diverse.
10. Gaudete - Steeleye Span: representing the folk genre, this gorgeous a capella piece is indicative of a great band's harmonies - it's also made just about every Christmas mix tape/CD I've ever compiled, so it can serve double duty as a seasonal number. It was a toss-up, though, between this and Fairport Convention's "Matty Groves".
9. 1952 Vincent Black Lightning - Richard Thompson: Maybe a bit too obvious, but I have never grown tired of this one, the best acoustic song ever done by one of my favorite all-time artists. (His best electric song? "Shoot Out the Lights".)
8. Kashmir - Led Zeppelin: Big and bombastic, heavy with Eastern modality, this song still gives me goose bumps whenever I crank it up.
7. My Girl - Temptations: One of the smoothest, most romantic songs ever recorded, period.
6. I Heard it Through the Grapevine - Marvin Gaye: Not sure why I included two Motown songs (maybe it was the sun), but this is just one of the most perfect pop songs ever.
5. Sshh/Peaceful - Miles Davis: My all-time favorite jazz artist, with his best lineup ever, doing one of the prettiest numbers of the genre. (I had it picked before I even saw Mezz's list - honest!)
4. (Stuck Inside of Mobile with the) Memphis Blues Again - Bob Dylan: I had to include something by the greatest pop singer-songwriter ever, didn't I? It was a toss-up between this one and "Desolation Row".
3. The Four Seasons: Winter - Antonio Vivaldi: Any good recording of this will do - I love baroque, and this is one of my favorite works - also, like #10 above, it can do double duty as a seasonal piece (I'll need something on that desert island to remind me of snow and winter!)
2. I Am the Walrus - The Beatles: Can't go anywhere without my Fabs, and this is still my all-time favorite song of theirs - psychedelic, goofy, obtuse, overproduced, and just friggin' wonderful.
1. 9th Symphony: 4th Movement, "Ode to Joy" - Ludwig von Beethoven: I'd prefer to take the whole symphony, but if limited to one movement, this is the one - glorious, inspiring, just one of the most incredible pieces ever written. Again, any good version will do, but I'm still partial to the version from the 1960's with Ormandy and The Philadelphia Orchestra. (Honorable mention: Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus")
Just missing the cut:
Brandenburg Concerto #2 - J.S. Bach
The Boxer - Simon and Garfunkel
Baba O'Riley - The Who
My Favorite Things - John Coltrane
Sister Jack - Spoon
Here I Dreamt I Was an Architect - The Decemberists
Use It - The New P*rnographers
Shine On You Crazy Diamond - Pink Floyd
The Great Curve - Talking Heads
Music for 18 Musicians - Steve Reich
It's been ten years this summer since I started writing poetry again after a long, long hiatus. This is one of the first ones I wrote that summer, and it appeared in a journal called Maelstrom in 2001:
Three plump tomatoes,
products of my late summer garden,
sit on the kitchen cutting board
in a triangular array,
each a bit smaller than the other
but every one just as red,
awaiting their fate.
Today, they are almost decorative;
tomorrow, they’ll be someone’s salad,
split open by serrated knives,
sliced, cubed, even crushed,
their thin seeds and juices
staining the wood.
They look so peaceful now, so red
in the terrible white kitchen.