Beyoncé & Beyond

30door01Doing a step back in the alphabet for this recent mp3 collection addition filed under ‘b’ for Beyoncé: Beyoncé, Lemonade. While listening to Lemonade I decided to add her previous release to my collection. Self-titled, it is a fun set of songs which acts as a prelude for what comes later. Productions values are state of the art but it lacks identity – where as Lemonade is making a clear statement.30door02On this cd is Linda Martell’s Color Me Country. Steel guitars & country standards from the first African-American woman to appear on the Grand Ole Opry in 1969. Sweet stuff. On the cd is also Peggy Scott & Jo Jo Benson’s Lovers Holiday: a best of collection by this duo that falls between country folk and soul. I really love the sitar sound guitar work on several of the tracks here.30door03Also a full soul blast with Curtis Mayfield Live – he’s is fine form at the Bitter End. Hits, covers, some raps & an amazing version of People Darker Than Blue. To round things out I added a couple free ep downloads from EarthTone: GMale & New Balance -he’s a black, gay, hard spitting hip-hop rising star. No holds barred sexuality more political as opposed to raunch. Check him out on iTunes or here: (EarthTone) Added a couple of tracks by local rapper Nanu Alidina (he’s on iTunes). Solid, well recorded and proud to be in Toronto.30door04Finally MRF’s latest ep release Yasko Sensei. Jazzy sexy and worth tracking down. As you can tell this is another of my era/genre spanning cds. I love the mix of retro, obscure, sexualities, politics and ultra current.

sample

Reality 

The smell of food cooking drifted out to the street. I stopped to figure out if it was steak or chicken, mashed potato or cabbage roll, food for four or just a single little plate for one.

A door slammed.

A dog barked.

A baby cried.

Children rushed past. Their feet thumped the sidewalk around me. One brushed my arm. They didn’t look back in their happy chase around the block.

Someone came out a front door to put garbage bags by the curb. Must be garbage pick up in the morning. I’d better remember to bring mine out. Once I had cooked my little meal – for two.

A car pulled up and parked. A man, woman, teenage boy got out. Words must have been spoken. A stale air of unfinished conversation hovered in their glances. The boy followed them up the steps and to a house. Ding dong. Ding dong. Ding dong .

‘I told you there would be no one home.’

‘Try again for Christ sake. We didn’t drive all this way for nothing.’

The boy’s eyes catch mine. A plea? An apology? He is older than I thought. Maybe in his mid 20’s. A nice ripe age.

The door opens and they are sucked into the dark house out of the light of day.

His look stays with me as I climb the steps to my house. I unlock my door. Step in.

‘Hello?’

Empty. As I knew it would be but one always hopes the other will be home first. The first one home get the joy of privacy for a few minutes. The cost of that joy is of course the preparation of an evening meal.

My feet are warm from the walk, the all day travel from one point to another and back to here. A circle. A life in circles, intersecting circles.

I circle up the stairs to my room. It is at the front of the house. I can look out on the street and I undress, as I shuck off my work day skin for my real flesh. Bare flesh for a few moments. Feet happy for release, waist glad to shed the belt.

I look out the window. The boy is on the steps. He smokes and looks up and down the street.

I send him a message. ‘I’m up here. Naked. You want a quick escape from this family? Look up. Look up.’

He doesn’t.

Just as well. I have my own household to look after, to satisfy, to clean up after.

I sit on the bed for a moment to peel off the damp socks. Through the open window I hear phones, another rush of children scampers past, laughing, screaming, happy and free.

Thank God I don’t have that fierce worry. That reality.

construction vert

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Lemonade: Second Serving

I finally watched Beyoncé’s Lemonade video album. A feast for the eyes and ears. The biggest ‘revelation’ was the sound mix which was quite different from the songs alone mix. The visuals are beautifully shot, a wild series of costumes, location, makeups & dance to tell a story with water, fire, rain & shattered glass. The story is of romantic betrayal, revenge, forgiveness, empowerment with race, cultural violence and compassion holding it together. I really liked the underwater sequence & the almost still-life group poses – women taking their space, bodies immobile but the eyes challenging the male gaze. Powerful images that propelled & compliments the songs. Songs that were strong regardless.20mirror26

Freedom, Hold On, Daddy Lessons are stand outs for me. Sandcastles as fine a ballad as I’ve heard in decades & given a sweet production as well. Beyoncé never makes a false move in looks or mood. She even gives us a couple of glances as same-sex couples. Best of all for me is that all the songs succeed without visuals.

20mirror01My only ‘quibble’ is her unswerving dedication to the notion of hetro-normative romance & betrayal. She questions her appeal, her mate’s not being content with what she has to offer – notions that to me, are romantic fictions. Like many, myself at one time, I was invested in this hollywood tv notion of what love & romance are supposed to be.20mirror49When I began to question where those notions have come from into my life & saw they were based on fiction, on fantasy I actually began to be more open to the fluid nature of connection and love. She’s caught in love as sexual possession of another person. It makes for deeply romantic songs but these songs have always been written. She does great work with an old trope though. For an interesting take on the work check out bell hooks.20mirror09The ‘backlash’ regarding the ‘Becky with the good hair’ is hilarious to me. The star of Lemonade is Beyoncé’s hair – the film could be an advert for whatever hair care products she uses. Her hair is filmed with lovely lighting, sublime slow motion, framed against sunsets, dripping glistening wet, floating on the water – it is her crowning glory. There is no Becky with better hair than Beyoncé.

samp03

Hard To Believe

just because

I have a hard on

doesn’t mean I’m interested

it’s not like

we’re in high school

& I can hide it behind my books

or tie a jacket around my waist

yes I do have a hard on

that is an erection

yes it is very hard

like a rock

like a rocket ship

but

you aren’t the landing pad

I’m not interested

I’m not even pretending I am

what more can I say

to convince you

I’m not interested

no I don’t find you repulsive

but it’s not you

that’s making me so hard

when you kiss me

when you pinch my nipples

anyone can do that

and I would get erect

so it has nothing to do with you

you can ignore my hard on

in fact

I wish you would

just take your hands off my balls

stop licking the head of my dick

I’m not interested

I didn’t take my clothes off

for you to give me a blow job

I didn’t

take your clothes off

for that reason either

it was just something to do

honestly

I didn’t come here to have sex with you

that was the last thing on my mind

I’m not having sex with you

to make you fall in love me

I don’t want to be in love

I don’t have the time for that

neither do you

we are adults

we can control ourselves

we can ignore these erections

and get on with our conversation

nice weather isn’t itsoon02

cover170x170-1on going 🙂 when new podcast are posted:  Deliciously iTunes

June 3-5: attending: Capturing Fire 2016

nufire

https://capfireslam.org

check out these poets from Capturing Fire 2015: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCx5KD1eDccdjdTdQ28kZRNg

June 11, Saturday  – attending: The Toronto Poetry Talks – 10 AM – Metro Hall, 55 John Street, Toronto, Ontario M5V 3C6

poetrytalk

https://www.facebook.com/events/147955055574679/

June 12, Sunday – participating: Michael Matheson – The Axe and the Scalpel – Editing Your Own Work 1:00 pm – Bakka-Phoenix Books – 84 Harbord Street, Toronto, ON M5S 2H7construction vert

tickets here

September 1-4: attending FanExpo 2016 (I’ve already registered)

expo16

https://www.facebook.com/fanexpocanada/?fref=ts

November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo

nanobullseye

http://nanowrimo.org/

money

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

mirror01

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Lemonade – First Taste

I’m a white cis-male over 50 who was never been a fan of Beyoncé. More precisely I’ve never paid her music much heed. I remained indifferent to it and the whatever feminist, political or race messages it contained. I’d seen her previous videos &  didn’t feel the connection between female empowerment & her clearly sexualized image.13.mirror01Then came the half-time show & Formation – that polarized the WWW – the women is a show person (I want to say showman but that maybe a too male-normative word these days.) I don’t trust media enough to know if the negativity was reported merely for drama & or because it was majority p.o.v. To some she insulted the fallen US troops, the police who risk their lives, and Coldplay fans by pulling focus.13.mirror07I felt that much of this reaction was as equally sexist as it was racist. The actual song – its music & its lyrics faded in the ‘outrage’ that a woman would dare make such a stance. Why can’t she play nice & just stick to her twerk without getting all political. Is ‘Formation’ ‘good’ as a song or only as as statement?13.mirror03Out of the blue comes Lemonade – another video lp. She certainly knows how to prepare the market for a new release. I was definitely curious & when it was available on iTunes I downloaded it. Then uploaded the songs to my iPod, where I do most of my serious listening. I listened to it repeatedly before I watched the videos. I’m so old-school that if the music needs visuals to hold me I’m disappointed.13.mirror08The music is layered, compelling – at times romantic, angry, empowering. The singing is good – I’m more a fan of alto than of Beyonce’s range. The music moves smoothly from pop, dance hall, & what I call modern pop. Dashes of Big Band, hints of zydeco – creates a fun sonic experience. Particularly tickled by the sample from Andy Williams ‘Can’t Get Used To Losing You.’

More about Lemonade next week 🙂

samp01

Tender Supervision

this happened time after time

she hires to be helpful

giving work to people

who needed the work

then who became restless and argumentative

instead of obedient and grateful

after a few weeks or even days

of her tender supervision

 

she asks

why can’t people do what

she hired them to do

all she wants is to be helpful

to give them a break

and they turn on her

time after time it doesn’t work out

it breaks her heart

to fire them

frustrates her when she has to let them go

wondering why

time after time

it never works out

even with her tender supervision

 

when I suggest

she hire people who are looking

for the jobs she offers

who aren’t friends in need of rescue

but

people actually trained

to do what she wants done

then leave them to do it

 

she can’t stop mixing

mixing social service

with getting good employees

she wants to help

but in the long run wants control

wants thing done exactly the way she’d do them

soon02

cover170x170-1on going 🙂 when new podcast are posted:  Deliciously iTunes

June 3-5: attending: Capturing Fire 2016 –

nufire

https://capfireslam.org

check out these poets from Capturing Fire 2015: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCx5KD1eDccdjdTdQ28kZRNg

June 11, Saturday  – attending: The Toronto Poetry Talks – 10 AM – Metro Hall, 55 John Street, Toronto, Ontario M5V 3C6

poetrytalk

https://www.facebook.com/events/147955055574679/

June 12, Sunday – participating: Michael Matheson – The Axe and the Scalpel – Editing Your Own Work 1:00 pm – Bakka-Phoenix Books – 84 Harbord Street, Toronto, ON M5S 2H7construction vert

tickets here

September 1-4: attending FanExpo 2016 (I’ve already registered)

expo16

https://www.facebook.com/fanexpocanada/?fref=ts

November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo

nanobullseye

http://nanowrimo.org/

money

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

mirror02

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet