In Motion: Bellingham, Poetry, San Juan Islands, Ted Talks


Friday, October 28, 2011

Poetry: Midnight Banshees

Midnight Banshees

Murder of crows
chase a raider owl
who clutches a black feathered
baby in it's claws

They howl behind the homes
racing down back streets
Caws want justice while
talons extinguish life!

The Race of the Midnight Banshees;
hunters compete with guardians
Foul eating foul
The fittest, the quickest
will feed-
only defeated by numbers

**Footnote:  for months I heard this strange screaming behind my home in the middle of the night.  The sound moving down the alleys, through the park and back~ too quick to be human.  A local bird lover told me it was crows chasing an owl.  The owls feed at night when the crows sleep, stealing the babies out of their nest.  Never have I heard such a horrific sound!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Lead Belly

Here is one of my favorite stories about a classic blues artist. 
This is from my classic blues radio show, "Boosie's Playhouse" that airs/streams on KMRE 102.3, heard every Saturday night at 10p PST:
Lead Belly, the famous classic American Blues artist was born in 1888 as Huddie Ledbetter.  He reached the top of his blues career later in his life during the 1930's - 1940's. 
Lead spent much of his early adulthood in a Texas prison for homicide.  He got an early release after writing and singing a song for the State Governor. In 1925, he wrote a song asking Governor Pat Neff for a pardon. Neff, who had promised at his election never to pardon a prisoner, broke his promise and set Huddie Ledbetter free.

In 1930 Lead returned to prison, this time for assault with intent to kill.  Reputation and talent follow you everywhere, even through prison walls.  Good citizen or not his music was desired and according to a folk song collector for the Smithsonian, John A Lomax, needed to be documented.

Lead and Lomax recording in prison
In 1934 John and Lead Belly recorded for the Library of Congress the album now titled "Leadbelly's Last Sessions"  Excited for this opportunity Lead let loose!  He had a wonderful memory for music and folk stories.  He played and sang songs from the Tin Pan Alley, dance tunes, prison work songs, mule-skinner hollers, rag songs and the "Mean-Blues".  This jail bird did SING!  Accompanied by his 12-string guitar he sang all of these in his signature roof-ratting high baritone voice. 

His style of "Country Blues" or "Folk Blues" made him in a minor celebrity at the time.  Lomax arrange (another) early release for Lead.  Despite the segregation social pressures at the time these two, a white man from the northeast and a black man from the south, were determined to preserve musical history, together.  Lomax and Lead traveled all across the southern states collecting and recoding rare and traditional music.  Most of the folks they recorded were like Lead, too poor and unsure of how to get a recording contract.  Folks who had memorized stories and songs from their friends and family and passed them down verbally.  Songs and stories that were distinctly American but most Americans would never of heard one note if it wasn't for this unusual "power team":  Lomax with the equipment & cash, and Lead with the knowledge & connections. 

Lead Belly~  his temper landed him in jail twice, but his music, the music of his people, set him free -twice.  His biggest recorded hit "Good Night Irene" raised a revival for Folk Blues and influenced many.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Poetry: Wink


Morning sunlight, sun low
stretch shadows long,
twinkle through the branches
 that sway in the current,
bath me please

Stronger the light
Harsher the dark

Sun can not be everywhere
nature's landscape prevents it
God made or not

Crow flys by
nods its head
as if it remembers me

Your life so simple Crow
Please brood over my features
A wink when you fly by will let me know
They are fixed in your mind

The Sun may not always find me
Yet your wing's move you
amongst the penumbras
and  illumination
Your nod Crow brings me comfort,
for somewhere by someone
I am remembered...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Poetry: Guitar Man

Taps his foot to the music
Frayed boot heal wiggles against the floor
Fingers, as comfortable on frets
As his legs are in jeans

What does he sing?
What is that sound?
History weeping through
Oozing out of dry crevasses
Days in the sun created

Poems written on wrinkled paper
Songs sung to walls of fallen plaster
Large women clap approval
Hoping to take a piece home

Frequency broadcast to a crowd
Listening ears, watchful eyes
Curtains moving with the fan
Breeze blowing in the street noise
His howling is overruled

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Gift

About eight years ago someone gifted me a bottle of eau de parfum Chanel No. 5. I purchased a small bottle of it in my early twenties and quickly burned through it; it was my favorite fragrance. How wonderful to find this old friend again or perhaps it found me? With kids, a job, and a fluctuating income, purchasing a new bottle of expensive perfume was not on my grocery list for many years.

Chanel No. 5 has been on sale continuously since its conception in 1921. It is a world wide favorite of woman everywhere. It is expensive. Because it is so expensive, I use it only when necessary. I've owned the same bottle for almost eight years and still have ¾ of it left! It’s used for romantic dates, important meetings, ups and the like. Now I wouldn't want you to think I don’t get out much, but like I mentioned earlier it’s used ONLY when necessary! One spray and the fragrance stays with me most the day and makes me feel strong, feminine, classy and clean!

Perfume plays an interesting part in my life. I've only three –four different bottles of it at a time on my bathroom counter but each has a specific purpose. There are my light and fresh days when I just feel like a body spray, other days when a little fun Victoria Secret’s “Pink” is required, and then some days when I need, and I use that word accurately, I NEED to bring in the big guns; my Chanel.

Today, however, I surprised myself. Not going anywhere, sitting at home writing, doing some research, cleaning house, all in what I call my “ratty-tatties” ie: favorite ripped up jeans and an old sweatshirt; clothes I wouldn't even go grocery shopping in. After my shower this morning, I found myself reaching for that magical amber liquid, hopeful and with great expectations. Spraying some in front of me, walking through the mist, I felt like a knight putting on his armor. It’s become an old friend I thought as I reflected on the times I've used it. Thank you Coco for making such a fabulous elixir! Yes it is a THING, it doesn't give me love, but for a little while, less than a blink in the whole scheme of things… I am happy and smelling good!