Funky Disco Soul

This ‘M’ is a all about old school sweet soul music & disco with a dash of funk. This mp3 collection starts with MFSB: Love is the Message, Summertime, The Gamble-Huff  Orchestra; (Soul Train) The Whispers: And The Beat Goes On; The Temptations: Masterpiece; The SOS Band: On The Rise (Just Be Good To Me); Mtume: Juicy Fruit (expanded); Oliver Cheatham: Get Down Saturday Night; McFadden & Whitehead: self-titled Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now.

Many of these have songs I remember from the dance floor but were groups I was not familiar with. Some where introduced to me on Tumblr. MFSB is 70’s while the rest are 80’s. The songs are in some ways interchangeable with lyrics about universal love, dancing & the power of having a good time. Ain’t No Stopping Us now has become a ‘no more shit’ anthem you can dance to.

MFSB: mother father sister brother- is a group of studio musicians plus The Three Degrees. This known as the Sound of Philadelphia – strings, funky bass lines & romantic. The Soul Train Theme is theirs – show that I don’t think I’ve ever seen, mind you, but the Philly sound is/was everywhere at one time. Some of the albums are concept lps – the soul equivalent of The Moody Blues. Masterpiece by The Temptations flirts with the Philly sound but sticks to its Motown roots. Political & spiritual Masterpiece lives up to its name.

The Cheatham was used in the movie “Ex Machina” – the video was of a cute guy (Oscar Isaac) dancing with a female – one of them is an android. It made me want the song & an android Oscar Isaac 🙂 Many of these songs are used to establish time era in films, or on TV. The sound – strings, singers, electronic keyboards are enough to do the trick as opposed to the fame of the song itself. Apparently many have been become sample mainstays for hip-hop. 

If you want a real boost of old-school good-times any & all of these are worth adding to your collection.

Bête Noire

Jen sat at her desk and reviewed the facts. Body found. Peter Manonotti. Noted, mouthy, city councillor who had hopes of even bigger political opportunities. He was making a name for himself in transportation. Insisting on accountability. Found dead in a public washroom of his bête noire – the TTC. Officials state it was heart attack but no one knows how he got there. Not seen on security camera – though the image was so grainy who knows. Lots of men seen coming and out. Someone lucky police officer was now watching it in slow mo to count heads as they go in and out. There was nothing distinctive about what Manonotti was wearing making it harder to find out when he was there. 

He left his office at 4 p.m. the day before. They did have a shot of him going through the turnstile at King station at 4:15. So they knew that time. If it was just a heart attack why where they so intent on tracking his movements.

So far no one was talking or saying anything more than it was a medical situation not a crime. How long had he been in that booth. The dates and times made it appear at least 24 hours. Didn’t anyone clean those stalls overnight? Could some one actually be in one of them for thirty-six some hours and not have been noticed. Yes, there was more to this than the public was being told.

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Recorporated

 

Recorporated 

I was on the subway. Standing & avoiding those crowding close me. Breathing slowly into my mask, head down to keep as from contact as possible. The new reality.

People got on & off at each stop. Each negotiating space around them & between others. Some apologizing for brushing up against someone when it was impossible to avoid brushing up against someone. The old reality.

In the window reflection I saw someone stand close beside me but when I glanced to them there was no one there. The reflection was unchanged though. There was clearly a person – I say a person because though the shape was clearly there, the face was distorted by the glass. I couldn’t tell if it was male or female. I couldn’t even see any race. I could feel them press against me as the subway stopped. When I looked to apologize there was no one there. No one.

They were only there in reflection. Wearing a mask much like mine.

The train stopped at my station. I moved to get off but stopped for a moment to glance at the figure by me. I saw it moving past me in reflection. I followed. It turned. I saw it full face. It was me. He exited. Stunned, I couldn’t follow.

The door closed. I had no reflection. I merge back into the crowd. Stood behind someone, willing them to look up. When they did I saw my refection.

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Picture Perfect 41

Picture Perfect 41

Stephane quickly introduced Dan and Cliff, the camera person for this interview, to Mark Forestier the father of Madeline and Gerrard the first children reported missing. 

“I’ll let you two talk a few minutes,” she said. “We won’t really start shooting for about half-an-hour. Brenda is still setting the kitchen for the real interview.”

As she left Cliff stayed behind with his shoulder mount camera aimed at Dan and Mark.

“She said we’d be alone?” Mark asked.

“Yeah, yeah. But this is to get you used to being on camera. After awhile you’ll forget I’m here. Trust me.” Cliff explained.

Dan shrugged apologetically. “They never say what they mean. You’ve lived here all your life?”

“Yep. Place has been in the family since I don’t know when.” Mark began. “Once was more of it though. You know parts got sold off over the years till this is all we have fer now. Was the biggest daily farm in d’region. Now all been took over by the big corporations. You from around these parts?”

They walked around the yard with Cliff following them.

“Born in Cape Breton.” Dan said. “Moved to TO when I just a kid.”

“So yer da’s from here too?”

“Yes. My mother too. She was a McPhee from Dartmouth. Then she met my Dad.”

“Marie was a Beaudroux. Her mom was from Dartmouth.” Cliff sighed. He pulled a small flask out of his coat pocket and took a long swig. “She died a few years back. Never got over the loss of the kids, you know. Even though we had another she was never the same. Left me, you know. Blamed me. Wasn’t my fault, you know.”

“I understand.”

“You understand? What the fuck do you think you understand?” Mark looked away from Dan. “Weren’t your life, was it.”

Cliff camera followed Mark’s head as it turned. He nodded encouragingly at Dan. 

“No. I just meant that it must be hard to lose something, someone like that.”

“We’re ready for you.” Stephane called to them from the back door.

They went into the kitchen.

“This such a great room Mr. Forestier. Big and bright. You must cook up a lot of great meals in here. I hope you don’t mind we moved a couple of things around for better lighting.”

She sat them at a wooden kitchen table with a bowl of apples in the middle of it. There was photo album beside the bowl.

“I made you fresh coffee. Should be better than Tim’s. Hope it isn’t too strong. Now you don’t have to drink it, really, but take a stop every now and then to bring it to your mouth. It’ll make this more casual. How does that look?” She asked Cameron, the other camera man. 

“Good frame.” he replied.

Dan sipped the coffee. He glanced over his shoulder and on the kitchen counter behind them there was a couple of green glass vases placed to catch the sun.

Mark fidgeted in his chair, took another long swig from his flask then settled down.

“Place never look this tidy.” He said. He leaned over to whisper to Dan. “Stopped usin’ it much of late. Only when Stacy comes over.”

“Stacy?” Dan glanced down at his notes. “Right your  other daughter. The one you had after …”

“Yeah, we though it might help us get over things but it didn’t. Nothing helped.”

“Okay,” Stephane said. “We’re all set. Don’t worry about pausing to think we can edit all that out to make it smooth. You don’t even have to make sense.”

Dan took another sip of his coffee and looked to Mark for a sign that he was ready to start. Mark smiled back.

“Thank you for letting us into your home Mr. Forestier.”

“I wish I could say it was a pleasure but no one likes to reach back into the past for unpleasant memories. But if this’ll help solve what happened I’m willing to try.”

“How old were the children that summer?” Dan asked.

“Mad was nine and Gerrard was seven. They got along so sweet, you know, fer bother and sister, that is. She’d help with his school work even though he didn’t want help. We thought she was going to …” he hesitated, “to grow up to … ” he wiped a tear away, “ … to be a school teacher.” He started to get out his flask, stopped and took a sip of his coffee.

“Take your time.” Dan said. He wondered about the nature of memory. How would his Dad have described his relationship with his sister Linda? All he could remember was how distant she was when she wasn’t tormenting him.

“You have some photos of them?” Dan asked. “I’ve only seen these pictures.” He put copies of the Unsolved Cold photos on the table.

“That’s the sundress Marie made for her. Man she loved them flowers. Daisies.” He looked Dan in the eyes. “That was taken just a few days before … whatever happened happen. They had been down at Ma G’s.”

“Ma G?” Dan consulted his notes. 

“My mother’s sister. She owned the farm over by ours. Raised me. More like a grandmother than an aunt. My mother died giving birth to the one after me.”

“They visited Ma G often?” Dan asked.

“They were always going over there when they could. Marie and I had so much to do around here, you know, we really didn’t have that much time to keep on eye on them every minute. Not that we ignored them or neglected them you know but we’ll … we let them run loose. That’s how I was brought up around here too you know. My folks had ten kids so there was always an eye on us anyway. You come from a big family?”

“No. There was just me and my sister. Unlike your Madeline, she hated to mind me. Came a time when she couldn’t even be bribed to baby sit me.” I was so happy when that torment ended.

“Ma G was happy to do that. It wasn’t that far a walk there fer them. Short cut through the orchard took less than five minutes to get there. The road’ll take twenty minutes, at least.”

“They didn’t take the shortcut that day?”

“Nope. If they had it might have been different, you know. But the rain had made the stream into a swamp. Heavy rain always did that. It’s since dried right up. Thanks to … well, that’s a different thing isn’t it. How modernizing hasn’t really improved things much.”

“About that day.” Dan saw that he was going have keep this interview on track. “You didn’t realize they were missing right away?”

“No, they often stopped overnight with Ma G. So often nothing need to said. Ma G didn’t take to the phone. Christ it was the 80’s right. Anyone without a phone was just stubborn. If she had one we might have found out sooner. Different these days with cell phones and such.”

“Right.”

“Once we knew that wasn’t here we got ahold of Dave down in Shediac.”
“Dave?” Dan looked at his notes.

“My cousin Dave Forestier. He was in the RCMP there. They come over right away. Asking us lots of questions. Made me feel like they thought we knew more than we were saying. Making it seem it was our fault, or that we had done it. You know. Did away with our own kids.” He punched the table and coffee mugs bounced into the air. Dan kept his from spilling over. 

“Sorry about that, still gets me steamed up. Dave was no help to us. Said those trained from the mainland felt they knew better than locals. I figure if they had done started a search faster instead of asking us questions and questions they might have found them. Gerrard was so excited about getting back to school you know. I can’t remember me ever being that excited about school. I hated it.”

“They didn’t find anything?”

“Nothing. No one saw them on the road or the highway or anywhere. It was as if those kids never existed. Except they did. I … it wasn’t until those Cold Canada people got in touch with me that I even looked at these.” He flipped open the photo album.

“Not that I forget what happened but after decades life goes on. Marie never did get over it though. She blamed me for trusting Ma G too much. What was I supposed to do? They’re both dead now too. Ma G died of grief I’m sure, before the end of the year. She never forgave herself. Never.” He got up from the table, yanked out his flask and drank. “I need to take a break.” Mark left the house. Cliff followed him.

The camera lights shut off. Ma G’s death was not in Dan’s notes. He knew Marie had died but there was nothing about the family after the disappearance. The part of picture you never get to see – where the people go after the wedding photo shoot.

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Distant Music Coda

It has been fascinating to go back into my past by reading & writing about this chapbook. Memories of writing the pieces have been fragmentary, to say the least. Motivation, inspiration & locations are more nostalgic than revealing. 

Many old the first drafts were written by hand run little note books, many on my clunky typewriter in my basement room in the family home – that room is still there though I think it’s had new floor & walls since I left. The walls were covered with my paintings, shelves of books, lps, my stereo system & my little desk.

Some in my first apartment in Sydney. I shared a workroom with my roommate. He made pottery & I made poetry. I remember renting an electric typewriter to do the final drafts of Distant Music. That  second-story apartment had a huge front balcony where I would sit & write in notebooks & drink. This was the first time I had a room for sleeping & one for writing.

Some of the poems are solid, some reflect the pop music of the time, the striving to be deep, poetic rather than … I’m not sure what ‘than’ … I wanted to impress as much as I wanted to express something about myself. I was in the process of coming out, letting go of the pretence that I was bi so the sexuality that appears in the work is very suppressed.

The sequence of the pieces was mine & the flow, in general is pretty good. Today I would probably have not started with the Dance but with something less abstract such as Woodsman – which would invite readers to search for the chainsaw wielder. 

a piece that didn’t make it into the chapbook

Having Lost

having lost that moment

when we stood side by side

I wander down some well-worn path

looking neither way

without stumbling over unseen stones

I wonder of it’s possible that

I might have been wrong

if I should have given in this time

& said what you wanted to hear

I wonder off it’s possible that

I might have been wrong

having lost that moment

I wonder if I was wrong

<>

having lost that letter

she sent me the next day

I wonder where she is

perhaps I’ll see her tomorrow

perhaps she’s hiding in yesterday

maybe she too thinks she was wrong

maybe she’ll soon come along 

then again yesterday 

may hold her too well

I could never her again

not know where to look

having lost the letter

she sent the next day

<>

old men wearing

white hats pass me by 

nodding & asking why

I sit so young 

yet am so alone

<>

having lost all sense of time 

I find that question still unanswered

was I wrong? was i right?

either way i lost that fight

now I stand & watch her pass by

a memory of my yesterday

me a memory of her yesterday

our lives going on, apart

complete but not the same

having lost that moment

I wonder who was wrong

August 69

I do have a limited number of the original Distant Music chapbook for sale for $25.00 each (includes surface mail postage). Send via the paypal above along with where to send it. paypal.me/TOpoet 

Keith Jarrett

By Keith Jarrett I have box sets:  The Impulse years: 73-74: 5 cds, 75-76: 4 cds.  On 4 mp3 cds: Facing You, In The Light, Luminessence (Jan Garbarek), Arbour Zena, Ruta & Daitya (Jackie deJohnette), Bremen, Lausanna, Eyes Of The Heart, the Koln Concert, Staircase Hourglass Sundial Sand, My Song, Standards NY Sessions; as stand-alone: Yesterdays.

So I am a bit of a fan. I can’t recall which of his was the first recording I had it was either the solo studio work Facing You or the Live Bremen concert. Both excellent places to start if you are unfamiliar with Jarrett. This is jazz that moves into modern classical with such ease you can’t tell you’ve made the move. I had some of the Impulse years as lps & picked up the two box sets 2nd hand to replace them. They are all group work with bonus cuts added to reach release, Fine modern jazz that rarely crosses into aggressive disharmony. Not easy listening though.

The bulk of these are ECM with various sidemen. All are pretty much amazing as he explores orchestral work, various instruments: he plays, besides piano, organ, flute, sax. One of my favourites is ‘Ruta & Daitya’ with the great Jackie deJohnette. It is perhaps the most playful of all this work – fun & lighthearted. ‘Arbour Zena’ is meditative & soaring. There are no disappoint or bad Keith Jarrett recordings.

His later work are explorations of jazz standards & are great listening but lack, to me, the freshness of his earlier work. He’s also recorded classical word by the likes of Bach, Soshakovich which I have heard but not added to my collection. 

Rounding out some of mp3 cds is work by: Jan Garbarek: Dis, Jan Garbarek/Egberto Gismonti: Sol Do Melo Dio: Garbarek is another ECM star with his ethereal sax. Dis is his work with a word harp. John Scofield: Hand Jive;: Scofield is a jazz guitarist & this set is kind of funky. Really funky is Special EFX: Party; A Jazziz sampler cd from Nov 1994

Another fine pianist is Andrew Hill: Hommage. Master jazz piano McCoy Tyner with bassist Stanley Clarke is excellent. Stanley Clarke”s Journey To Love is prime late 80’s jazz that I love – buy it. Another amazing bass palyer Christian McBride: Finger Painting. Roy Haynes with Booker Ervin: Cracklin’ – fine set of almost tradition jazz that swings. Finally Groove Collective: We The People, It’s All In Your Mind, People People Music Music – funky soulful less pop that Booker T not as jazzy as The Jazz Messengers – the sort of jazz that shows up for chase scenes in movies but better 🙂

Don’t Quote Me

Jen looked a the people hovering around the scene. She wanted to call it a crime scene but that wasn’t clear. Manonotti could have had a heart attack. Whatever the cause these are the people who would have been called to the location. Police, medics, TTC security. All making the morning transit even slower. Worst of all, no washroom. They had even taped off the women’s room. 

She supposed that was some sort of precautionary effort. It was hard enough for the transit system to maintain some sort of positive public image as it was. 

Jen knew the All News would want the story but she had to know what the story was. First she had to confirm who it was that was found. Her sister had been wrong before.

She approached one of the less busy, female officials. She had found women were often more cooperative with women. She quickly glanced at the officers name tag.

“Officer Fenton, I’m Jen Oliver with the All News News.” She showed her press card.

“Can’t tell you much.” 

‘Maybe you can confirm what I already know?”

“Maybe.” She laughed.

“A body was found?”

‘“Oh yeah, that’s for sure.”

‘It was councillor Peter Manonotti?”

‘That hasn’t been officially confirmed.”

“But that’s what you’ve heard.”

“Yes. But don’t quote me on that.”

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I Did It

I Did It

because 

I wasn’t a star pupil 

I lost to a cheater

I was mocked for being fat

I wasn’t good enough

I saw what I shouldn’t

I was put in a closet under the stairs

I was always picked last

I was misunderstood

I was shamed

I was bored

I was the wrong colour

I wanted to see if I could get away with it

they were vulnerable

they deserved it

it was their fault

they were sinful

I had to punish them

the Bible told me to

voices in my head said it was right

I had the opportunity so took it

I was forced to

I just felt like it

I was entitled 

they disagreed with me

I did it to get even

to get famous

to teach them a lesson

to make a statement

to find out what it felt like

to be President

I did it

to have something confess

so I could say

I did something

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Picture Perfect 40

Picture Perfect 40

Dan sat in the lumpy armchair beside the desk. The blue leatherette cooled his back. What should he do first? He pushed his shoes off. That was better. Close the door? Nope, better leave it open in case the Corporal wants back in. Unpack more? They wouldn’t be there that long. In fact the first three interviews allowed for overnight stays and nothing more. No time unpack until they got to Stellerton. A shower seemed in order, but that would have to wait until he was sure the division was finished with him for the night. 

He went into the bathroom. The towels were scattered on the floor and the ceiling tiles Sergeant Tyler removed where in the sink. At least there wasn’t a big black foot print on the toilet seat. The motel sofas were lime-pine by Tarsly. They didn’t smell too bad.

He plugged the powercord back into the laptop. No use running the battery down. The flash screen for the motel wifi came back on. Did he have to re-buy the high speed? Nope. He went to google maps, put in the motel name, searched for food delivery. 

Only 3 places popped up. One that specialized in donairs? Dumphie’s Donairs. What was a donair? According the restaurant’s page it was something done to lamb – an east coast variation on Turkish dish. Why had he never heard of it before? Was it another of things hidden in his past? If he was going to re-immerse in the east coast a donair was as good a way as any. He place his order. 

Corporal Coster came back into the room. “You know who that was, right?” She glared at him. “I don’t appreciate anyone trying to go over my head to make a fool out of me.”

“That wasn’t my intention.”

“Quintex should be more … forthcoming. Contacting  the Force’s Public relations department would have been a smart move.” she said. 

“Agreed. Not my department. I’m just a hireling.”

“With connections.” she said.

“Your tipster didn’t have access to the whole picture.”

“Perhaps. But thanks to your buddy, Inspector Warszawa, we have more of it.”

There was knock at the cabin’s screen door.

“You okay?”

“Sounds like Sergeant Tyler is getting impatient. Newbie?”

“You could tell?”

“Been one myself. Lots to prove in front of the old hands.”

“Try to keep us posted of what’s going on.”

“Here’s the itinerary for the shoot while we’re here.” He handed it to her. “Subject to change.”

She read it over. “Ambitious. You got the sequence wrong though.”

“You mean the dates of the abductions. I know but that too isn’t my department. I go where I’m told. Their editors will make sense of it all. I’ll suggest they make someone a liaison with the local detachments.” 

“There’s a Dumphie’s here.” Tyler annoucned.

“That was fast. Send him in.” Dan said.

“I’ll leave you to your dinner.” She left the cabin as the delivery man came in.

“Hi! Carol busting another grow op?” He asked her as she passed him.

“Not tonight, Jim. If we need to fill our quota I’ll put a tail on you.”

“Yeah, right. You can’t afford the gas the way I run around some nights.”

“See you around Mr. James.” She let the screen door slam shut.

Dan paid for the food. 

“Something goin’ on out here?” the delivery man asked. “They don’t drop in for no reason.”

“Ask the Corporal next time you see her.”

The delivery man frowned. “Be that way.”

Once he was alone Dan levered the door shut and locked it. He untucked the bed and turned it down to air it out. There was nothing in his email to reply to. He went to his Lyfend storage to look over the pictures his camera had taken while he was in transit. 

The Capture/Send feature was one of his favourite features of this model. With that setting he could have it automatically take pictures every five seconds to five minutes and send them directly to his storage dropbox. Hands free photography.

Depending on where he pinned the lens it was as good as any bodycam and less obtrusive. Plus his storage box was bottomless.

The shots at the Pearson were clear but cluttered with people. He sorted them all into the No file. The ‘No’ meant they wouldn’t show up every time he checked his storage. The same with his flight though he did keep a couple of the handsome father and son getting into and out their seats a few rows ahead of his. 

His eyes quickly tired so he stopped looking at things. They were still recovering from the set to he’d had with John Kilpatrick at the Depot. He had used the drops the ophthalmologist had prescribed a few times then stopped. The swelling had done fast enough and his vision was clear. The hour of resting his eyes in the dark was impossible. He’d been lucky to manage ten minutes each time. 

He could never find a place where an hour of silence was possible. The apartment at the Depot would have perfect if no one knew he was there. He refused to shut his cell phone off in case he missed a call for his lawyers who had been dealing with Sanjay’s demands for some sort of palimony when he realized Dan was serious about ending their relationship and pulling the plug any financial support. He had another lawyer handling the split of James Photos so the Depot and the FairVista location were independent of each other in all matters. 

The naming of names was one of the contentious issues. Linda wanted full rights to James Family Photographers and Equipment. Dan was willing to drop the James from the Depot signs and advertising. He’d been calling it simply The Camera Depot’ for last couple of years. But he wasn’t willing to change the name of his personal business -Daniel James Documents and Photograph Restoration. If she had the right to capitalize on the James name for her business so did he.

It was the contractural complexity of the Lyfend relationship which named him as their sole North American agent at the FairVista location. FairVista was focused on exclusivity which Lyfend offered. The FairVista lease was with James Family Photographers not Lyfend. Did he need yet another lawyer?

He could smell something in the room & remembered his Dumphie’s Donair. He took the styrofoam box out of the bag. The pita wrapped sandwich was in silver foil which he unrolled & took a bite. He had to hold it over the box to keep the sauce from dripping on his laptop. 

Not too unpleasant he thought stepping into the shower. He’d have another. Maybe he’d enjoy the shoot more than he expected.

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Distant Music

Distant Music

<>

1

<>

hush … can you hear the cat music

playing on flaying pigeon wings?

it brings out the hidden claws

of the once delicate lap warmer

now leaping wildly off the thinnest edge

to the beat of singing sounds

stirring safely behind glass

<>

2

<>

wittingly filling the room

with clicky busy city sounds

a thousand tiny tappers

rapping rhythms into the air

faster faster faster still

yet never flying to pieces

as I feel like doing

while lazily scrawling

symmetrical patterns

from my random pressures

wondering if the jazz flow

sounds as smooth to others

as it does to me

<>

3

<>

sometime I cannot make the energy

to go back over the old wrinkles

to make them smooth & clean

for the defining eyes of pryers;

I end up in some big armed chair

where I sit & stare so long

that I become a pile of creaking bones

yellowing skin & longing songs

<>

beside me now are empty chairs,

in front, beyond naked window.

crawls the night city sparkling

like a cluster of earth-bound stars

the wind whistles in dance

up & down the barren streets;

someone must be out there

to turn off & on all the stars;

but I cannot move

beyond these empty chairs

<>

while the dark & sullen moon

turns the stars aside to guide me

into letting the oars slip from my craft

so I can drift at last into my lover

<>

4

<>

changed are the ways of this Welsh lad

the days of longing are upon him now

with the first hint of cornfed comfort

making the long-by-gones seem so fine

here in the middle of my toss-up time

<>

I keep getting the feeling one gets

on dark, rain-spun, cloud-thick days

while looking out great bay windows

knees resting on velvet window seat

watching the mist nest in the elms

dawdling lazy-grey over the endless fields

of early morning English country side;

we discuss cricket or the government –

“frightfully so …

“rather, shall we say, common …

hey! hey!

stop the wheels before we go out of control

I’ve never been this close to that home

till now, & I hope, maybe, somehow

the clouds will have lifted by the time

I step, spanking-new, over-night, into there

<>

5

<>

hush … can you feel the man sounds

sailing on wailing baby cries 

it tries out the reveal cause

of the never ready bed charmer

now pacing softly the thickest floors

to the hum of distant music

floating unsure from Welsh hill

<>

Oct73

1 – I was visiting a friend in Halifax when I wrote this first section. I went there to see him & also to buy music that didn’t exist in the Sydney record store. One of the albums was of electronic/experimental music by the likes of Pauline Oliveros – yes even then I was pretentious enough to like the real thing 🙂 The music pulsed like wings flapping. My friend’s cat jumped up to the window ledge to confront the pigeons in the balcony but there were none there.

‘the thinnest edge’ is how one can leap to the wrong conclusion & get caught trying to figure out how to get back to solid ground. I’ve always had a ‘fear’ of balconies.

2 – I always write to music. These were the days of manual typewriters, when working on a manuscript could be retyping a whole page to correct a single typo. I was an okay typist & loved the sound in my workroom of the click of keys, the tempo of the pounding. Then I could never type fast enough to capture what I was thinking. 

I think the music I was more fascinated by was Santana’s Abraxas – chasing a thousand tiny percussionists with my keyboard. I was also digging Weather Report, Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew. Writing as fast I could before I flew to pieces.

3 – The old wrinkles are typos, edits, rewriting, re-sequencing the verses in a poem. I was also writing a novel at the time so energy was flowing in several directions. ‘creaking bones’ echoes ‘skin & bones’ from an earlier poem. The final verse is a direct reference to Dylan Thomas’s “In my Craft or Sullen Art.” Though at this time I had no lover to drift into.

4 – The Welsh connection continues in this section. This sense of of my heritage doesn’t appear in the chapbook until now. There is a feeling of the east coast, of Cape Breton, that is present in some of the pieces but here I am relishing, or it is wallowing, in my own roots.

After traversing Egypt, Japan, Africa & am brought back to my ‘toss-up time’ & my own origins. The workshops at UNB were acknowledgements of me as a writer – the ‘toss-up’ was the decision of what to do with my expectations of being taken seriously. Was it to dream of this romantic ‘velvet window seat’ success or something more realistic?

5 – a reprise, with variations, of the first part of this poem. ‘cat music’ becomes ‘ man sounds.’ ‘bed charmer’ echoes ‘bed-ridden’ from The Last Waltz  to give the whole book as sense of completion. The first piece in the collection invites you to ‘set sail on my body’ – this last verse asks you to ‘hear the man sounds/ sailing off wailing baby cries.’ The book progresses from that boy to this man. I hope you enjoyed the journey.

I do have a limited number of the original Distant Music chapbook for sale for $25.00 each (includes surface mail postage). Send via the paypal above along with where to send it. paypal.me/TOpoet