Sing

Sing

when I was a young boy 

I liked to sing

used to do it a lot

around the house 

on my way to school

with my dad when we went fishing

with my sisters when they got old enough 

we would sing bits of songs off the radio

sing along with records of my mother

Mario Lanza 

drink drink drink

each trying to out sing the other

hey there

you with the stars in your eyes

that would become

hey there

you with sausages in your eyes

don’t fry my heart

it always broke us up 

hey there 

you with the bananas in your eyes

don’t monkey with my heart

hey there

you with the beans in your ears

can’t you hear I love you

 

the children’s choir at church 

was looking for new members

my mom suggested 

it would be great opportunity

I could learn to sing for real

learn how to carry a tune 

instead of burying it under volume

 

a bunch kids at the church hall

were lined up according to height

mostly girls and some boys

mostly around my age 10 to 12

we where given a song sheet

words between dangling fangs of music

I didn’t know notes   rests 

we where told 

just worry about the words

a woman played a few notes on the piano

we started in with a din

a few tries and we worked through it

then girls only  boys only 

individually

some got a nod from her

yes you’ll do fine

my turn she played a few notes

I started

no no no this note

finally she gave up

thank you but you really can’t …

 

blood rushed to my face ears

the other kids gawked at me

I ran out ran home

told my mother 

I never wanted to sing

never ever ever

and really haven’t

except for the occasional

 

hey there 

you with the fingers in your ears

Hey there, it’s a bonus – a piece that didn’t make the chapbook for space reasons 🙂 This is a mostly true incident with some poetic licence. My mother was a big Mario Lanza fan, we did sing along to his albums. Hey There was a big hit for someone – I thought it was Perry Como but maybe it was Frank Sinatra. The way we would fit our own objects into your eyes happened every time we sang it but I doubt if we were ever as inventive as I make out here.

My mother would rarely join into our vocal gymnastics but Dad always did. I can recall when he took us kids for Sunday drives we would sing ‘Yellow Submarine’ (for some reason) endlessly. The drives were probably to get us out for under our mother’s feet for a couple of hours because she rarely came with us.

I did go to Sunday school and that’s where this ‘audition’ was announced. We were to come on a night during the week. It was clear who the ‘conductor’ wanted to audition as she named off some kids she wanted to make sure would show up. But I went anyway. I told my mother about it & she said something about carrying tune. 

The audition was not as organized as I make it here. The kids who had been given the nod earlier knew somethings about music already like rests & stops. They might have been her piano students already. Budding prodigies. ‘dangling fangs’ is clearly the poets image not the little boy. I just though they look scary & incomprehensible. Each of us did get a solo opportunity and that was the worse part. All I remember was being too nervous to get any volume. My departure from the audition wasn’t quite so dramatic. Several off us were given the boot.

I told my mother they had enough boys so I didn’t get picked. We didn’t continue to sing Yellow Submarine on our drives. I did not choose to become a professional singer 🙂

previous Brown Betty posts:

Man With A Past 1 https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3B3

When I Was A Young Boy  https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3By

Home (not of the brave) https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3Cg

Nailed https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3D9

Dad’s Pockets https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3E0

Unmasked https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3EE

The Colliery https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3HG

The Past Catches Up https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3Ip


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Cape Breton Reflections

My visit to Cape Breton had me living in many worlds – my memories, my sister’s memories, the present day & the fictional worlds of Emile Zola’s amazing Au Bonheur des Dames, & Aliette de Bodard’s Servant of the Underworld, set in the fifteenth-century Aztec Empire (which I was reading alternate chapters from on my Kindle.) Both of which I’d highly recommend.

The weather was perfect – hot, sunny & not overly humid. The Travelodge was the right distance from the downtown – I could walk where I wanted in 40-50 minutes – which is my usual daily walking routine so I certainly got my steps in. I deliberately didn’t use my iPod so that I was present for the walks. Only listened to my airmac iTunes when I was writing & even then I enjoyed working in ‘silence’ most of the time.

I did a couple of my school walks but retracing those steps wasn’t the point of this trip. The same with meeting up with a few old friends – it was more about today than reflecting on the times we spent together. Though the past did provide a few highlights in my sister’s house, which is the one we grew up in. The old dictionary was sweet to leaf through, the silver set was similarly sweet to see & handle. The chest it was in was enough at first then we opened it up! The Singer 🙂

Visiting the Fortress of Louisbourg is always fun, taking pictures was even more fun. Seeing the wind turbine farm at Lingan was a totally new memory. Finding a bunch of original Whitman YA novels on my last full day was a treat too. I can’t wait to read them 🙂

The flight back to Toronto was trouble free, as it should be right? There was a team of young athletes from the Ontario Track & Field association heading back on the flight – wearing red, white jackets. I had opted to wear the red hoodie I’d bought so I did get some interesting reactions as they wondered why they hadn’t seen this guy at their events.

I didn’t get to do everything I set out to do, which is a good things – I’ll have stuff to do on my next visit.