‘a swarm of humming birds’

A packed house on a hot hot July night! Lizzie Violet’s Cabaret Noir is doing something very right. The Central’s bartenders were happy to be rushed of their feet keeping up with the thirsty crowd (which is always good for the cash register.) Sadly Marcy Rogers, noted dyke about town, was not well enough to bring her wicked chops to Noir. So the open stagers had to work harder to fill her gap (in time, I mean).

bunny night of the lupin

I opted to do a glimpse of Pinebow on the open stage. The first time any of it has been aired aloud in public. This is the best way for me to get a sense of timing, of where it loses my attention. I found it too long, so cuts will be made.

First feature Brandon Pitts is an emotionally invested performer who makes his images come alive on stage. Too many fine turns of phrase to list: ‘legba presides over the cycle of reason,’ ‘it was dropping hail when I came to the crossroads of my life,’ ‘mouth marked by a swarm of humming birds.’ His pieces are rich with spiritual, Biblical and cultural resonances; often so rich one loses the context of the image as the image demands to be savoured.

lost look for the fatted cat

After the break the Four Winds Collective hits the stage. A female CSN&Y they are a songstorm of musical forces intertwined for the greater good. The diverse creative forces involved are: Arlene Paculan:  soulful jazzy pop; Heather Hill piano pop rock; Kat Leonard feisty comedic pop; & Meghan Morrison Celtic groove music.

skater elegy to a rodent

With a smart range of covers and original material each performer gets to show off their ‘brand’ while supporting each other. Emotional, comic, sexy and just plain good times – they fill the room without over-volume or forced emotionality. Maybe because I’m still experiencing this for a certain someone, I found Arleen’s lyric ‘my body is still craving for you’ particularly memorable. (mi cuerpo todavía está anhelando para usted 😦 )


Here’s an edited version of what I read on the open mike. No major changes but lightened line & some sections moved to where they made more logical sense of the flow of the story.

Pinebow 1

come gather around the fire

gather close and snuggle

come gather around the fire

where we’ll be safe

from the flicker of things in the night

come gather around the fire

I’ll tell you a tale

you may not believe

but you’ll never forget

perhaps you’ve heard

of the Dark Denizen of Pinebow Lake

you haven’t

we’ll, guess you haven’t been

in these parts before

or if you have

maybe no one had the courage

to tell such a tale

to some as young as you

‘cause you know it isn’t fair

to place that sort fear

in someone whose

mind hasn’t grown enough

to learn when the truth

grabs you by the throat

squeezes the last breath

life out of you

so does everyone have their hot cocoa

any one want another smoked sausage

the fire will last a little while longer

I want to tell you the tale

while the warm embers

keep the chill of night

away from your tender young bones

so how many have been

to the shores of Pinebow

the water is cold isn’t it

it never warms up

no matter how hot the summer

the lake stays cool

gather closer

for the tale is about to be told

you want a tale don’t you

one that may cool you

as much as the fire warms you

it happened one summer

many many years ago

when we became aware of

the Dark Denizen of the lake

not that any have actually seen it

we sensed the Dark

you know

the way you can

feel something in room

when there isn’t supposed to be anything there

the way

a face is seen at the window

of an empty house

and is gone before

you can focus on it

that’s what the Denizen is like

we have the sense

of it being there

only when we aren’t looking

it’s foot prints are sometimes found

small and dainty they are

round and hollow as suction cups

but with a smudge mark

deep and long

between them

like a long sharp tooth

that it uses to takes its repasts

so if  you see that mark beware

first there is powerful smell

like a decayed log

pulled from the bottom of a deep well

that black brackish death smell

that makes it hard

to smell anything else

when that smell comes

from the lake

the Denizen is on the prowl

we’ll hear a calf

bawling for its mother

in the middle of night

the calf is never seen

scattered bones soon found

littered on the shore

over by Pine Point

along the rocks there

a few small wee ribs

bleached white

it was one of the feasts

of the Denizen

we grind the tender young bones

scatter them in the field

to warn the cattle

of what happens

if they feel too safe

me03 pearls in the afternoon

3 thoughts on “‘a swarm of humming birds’

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