International Dog Day

Happy Dog Day.    August 26, 2020.    For all my friends who are dog lovers.   
This has always been my favorite dog song. 

And of course, another favorite artist Laurie Anderson had a great movie and soundtrack  called HEART OF A DOG.   here are two tracks from the soundtrack.

Finally a track by Rush

bless the beasts and the children

Another installment: thinking of the world we are leaving our children and the children of the future. We are on the cusp of the next great extinction event caused by climate change. Climate change cause by humanities overwhelming impact on the environment and the planet on which we call home. Our children should not be the ones to warn us yet that is what is happening. We adults have shrugged off our responsibility and now our children are crying out for help. What are we doing to provide light during these dark times? What are we doing to keep them safe? How long will we pat our children on the head and offer our empty comforting words? Or, will we continue to write pretty songs to placate and humor the need instead of meet the need? It’s not enough to say, “It’s just too hard. At least the world won’t end while I’m alive. We’ll let someone else figure it out.”

When will we say, “…NOW is the favorable time. NOW is the day of salvation”(*) for our children?

* II Corinthians 6:2

Jalacy “Screamin’ Jay” Hawkins B-Day

Born in Cleveland, OH  July 18, 1929, Jalacy “Screamin’ Jay” Hawkins would go on to take the world by storm with his unique voice and theatrical presentation.   He would leave an indelible mark on popular culture.  He would go on to inspire and influence generations of musicians including Tom Waits, Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson and many others.   When I discovered Tom Waits in college (mid 1980’s) I found out that one of his major influences was Screamin’ Jay.   So naturally I had to check it out.   I now own many Screamin’ Jay Hawkins discs.   He recorded his signature hit I PUT A SPELL ON YOU many times.  And just about anyone who is anybody in the music world has covered this song. But there are so many other delights.   He is funny, witty, wry, satirical. Trained on classical piano he wanted to be an opera singer and sited Paul Robeson as an inspiration and Caruso was also a big influence –  but when that failed to come to fruition he blossomed in the cabaret circuit and that is where his transformation into the kitschy character performer – often performing with voodoo props, rubber snakes and cigarette smoking skull he affectionally named Henry.  He has had several movie appearances.

If you’ve never heard Screamin’ Jay Hawkins before you are in for a treat. Enjoy.

It’s not too late

It's Not Too Late

The wind turns like a dagger, the rain falls like a hammer
The sky has grown dark but it’s not too late
The weather crashes down, what’s lost cannot be found
The night is closing but it’s not too late

It’s not too late, it’s not too late
It’s not too late, it’s not too late
The atmosphere is lethal but I will fear no evil

The ocean rolls like thunder, the tempest pulls us under
The dogs are howling but it’s not too late
As broken structures rust, false idols turn to dust
All lies in ashes but it’s not too late

It’s not too late, it’s not too late
It’s not too late, it’s not too late
The atmosphere is lethal but I will fear no evil

In the dark before the dawn, the echo of the siren song
Dies away like a ghost, as the day breaks

It’s not too late, it’s not too late
It’s not too late, it’s not too late
The atmosphere is lethal but I will fear no evil

reconsidering Dylan

When I was younger I never quite got on the Bob Dylan bandwagon.  Sure there were songs I absolutely loved, “Knockin’ on Heavens Door”, “Blowin’ In The Wind” etc.  But his style never really grabbed me.  While he served as “the voice” of my generation and older he always seemed out of touch.  I found his work really hit or miss.   I could never get through a complete recording.  Just major snooze-a-rama.   And that voice.   Horrendous, muttering, mewling like sandpaper on dry flesh.   And even though I enjoyed some of his music I found that I enjoyed it more when other people sang it.   His performances just left me empty and hungry for something more (and not more from him).  While his music may have served as the voice of a generation it certainly never served as a “voice” for my life experience.   And his music just seemed to become more and more distant through the years.   And that’s the way I felt for most of my life.

Fast forward to the present.   I am 59 going on 60.   On a whim I purchased the Bob Dylan box set – The Complete Album Collection Vol. One.    I’ve forced myself to listen through each album (all 47 discs).   And to my surprise I found that not only does the music touch me in unexpected ways but it seems more relevant to my life and our culture as it currently exists.   It appears that Dylan was not out of step with the times.   I was just out of step with Dylan.   And while some stuff from the 80’s and 90’s still seems somewhat uneven.  His work has just gotten better and better in the new millennium.   And his voice has gotten better.  When he was younger (or should I say when I was younger) his voice just seemed strangely out of tune lacking the clarity I had come to expect from many folk and pop singers.   But in the intervening years I fell in love with Tom Waits who has a similar voice and I love Tom’s songwriting style and storytelling.  Not only that but Dylan handles a guitar like Tom handles a piano.   I’ve found that since the LOVE and THEFT album Dylan’s songwriting is not dissimilar and in fact is complementary to Tom Waits music, and Dylan’s  voice is perfectly suited to that style.   It’s enjoyable and I can easily sit through an entire recording as the music evokes many scenes, times, places and people that I can appreciate.  And I’ve come to admire his skill with language and music.

Bottom Line:   While the box set was a risky purchase considering my previous opinions of Bob Dylan it was a purchase that paid off in spades.    It’s been so great to get in touch with a master songwriter.   When you go through his oveure in this collection one can easily see why he was nominated for the Nobel Prize for literature.

So while I may have said some things early on that may have seemed sacrilegious – well my eye’s have been opened.   Another blind man can now see.

With all that said and done.   Here are some tracks you may/or not be familiar with.    Enjoy.

 

haiku’s on fog

O beautiful morn

shrouded and clouded in mist

fogged o’er secret Spring

Links to the Pond smlr

wake up now dear Spring

shed the blanket of morning

wipe the fog away

Secret Gatherings

Where, oh morn are you?

Where are your budding flowers?

Even birds whisper

Behind the Fence Line smlr

 

that damn balloon

two more poems featuring the half-deflated balloon from the workplace office.

______________________________

I AM WAITING

I am waiting.
Waiting for the light to flicker.
Waiting for the walls to drop.
Waiting for the half-deflated ballon to fall
Waiting for the stale office air to circulate
Waiting for microscopic dust to settle
I’m waiting for your call.

——————————————-

A half-deflated balloon
from a celebration
long past

drifts listlessly
bobbing and weaving
in the recirculated
air current

Still tethered to
its cubicle
human placeholder
the open cage
where “pets” can roam freely.

the writing blahs

The hand lies
limply on the page

Pen flip-flopping flaccidly
insipid, impotent inspiration

Desire, a
vacuous turncoat
betrays me

What to write.
What to write?
What To Write!

nothing.