Exhausting the Wind

The wind ruffles curtains
And sweeps dust bunnies under beds.
The wind gusts.
The wind puffs sails
And cartwheels through wheat fields.
The wind booms.
The wind knocks chairs down
And wrestles tables to the ground.
The wind keens.
The wind whistle past windows
And moans through roof rafters.
The wind sighs.
The wind rushes through leaves
And gallops between houses.
The wind wallops.
The wind lifts up my skirt
And whips my hair into my mouth.
The wind drives.
The wind slips through cracks
And coats the floors with grit.
The wind swirls.
The wind swings weathervanes
And chatters through blind slats.
The wind races.
The wind fans flames
And slams doors shut.
The wind roars.
The wind funnels through streets
And hurtles across public squares.
The wind growls.
The wind tears through backyards
And strips sheets off clotheslines.
The wind hisses.
The wind lashes across lakes
And slashes old flags in half.
The wind dries.
The wind desiccates the ground
And mops sweat off my brow.
The wind whispers.
The wind whooshes past my ears
And blows cool on my cheeks.
The wind wafts.
The wind carries the scent of curry
And makes us all hungry.
The wind caresses.
The wind brushes eyelashes
And tickles wind chimes.
The wind retreats.
The wind recedes as the sun sets.
The wind dies.
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Mad Dash

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I have to get it done.

Someone’s waiting for it.

I promised.

I always do it.

Nobody else can do it.

Nobody else will do it.

It’s my job.

I’m good at it,

Heck, I’m brilliant at it.

But it’s teachable, OK?

It keeps piling on.

The more I do the more they want.

Just when I think it’s finished, there’s more.

I want to do lots of things.

Must squeeze those in:

Gotta rest,

Gotta exercise,

Gotta eat,

Gotta read,

Gotta be there for the boys.

Must do it well.

Quality.

Must get their thanks.

What if I didn’t do it?

What if I didn’t do the laundry this weekend?

What if I let everyone fend for themselves?

No schlepping baskets down the stairs,

No shifting loads: washer to dryer,

Dryer to basket.

Actually it’s the other way around:

Gotta have method.

No folding in front of the TV,

Multi-tasking,

Using my time well.

So what if we have dirty laundry?

Maybe I could do my own

But then they’d be small loads.

Waste of water.

But wouldn’t it be nice just one weekend without laundry?

Time to write,

Go out,

Take it slow.

Watch life unfold.

Do nothing.

Let the world flow by.

Now wouldn’t that be nice?

Train

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Handkerchief in the breeze

The station left behind

Lines of clothes in the sun

Backs of houses say goodbye

Water towers name the towns

Wild flowers everywhere

Clouds above, tracks below

Wind and dust and letting go

 

Rows of corn in a field

Herds of cows on a hill,

An owl perched up a tree

A deer still in the shade

Stream rushing under bridge

Children racing for a bus

Wheels chugging over steel

Down my face run the tears

 

 

one moonless midnight

Snow Stormone moonless midnight mark made tracks across the snow. he walked in a straight line, across the field, into the woods and out the other side. he kept going. he crossed the pond and found a bike. he jumped on the bike and got on the road, pedaling, the wind in his face, the black of the night thick with stars, with twirling snow, with static and silence except for the crunch of the snow under his wheels.

Dixie

Si on avait besoin d'une cinquième saison / Harmonium
Si on avait besoin d’une cinquième saison / Harmonium

Whenever I think about Summer I think about Dixie by 1970’s iconic Québec band Harmonium.

Dixie is the second track of season-themed album Si on avait besoin d’une cinquième saison (If We Needed a Fifth Season) and stands for Summer, a 3:26 min gem of a song that we would most definitely call jazz today rather than progressive rock. Don’t let the joual put you off. It’s playful and precious. The piano is manic and the clarinet wild. Enjoy!

(The paragraph above appeared in Jazz FM 91’s Jazz Messenger, August 13th, 2015 under JAZZ.FM91’S SUMMER PLAYLIST)

Lyrics in French from elyrics.net with my additions in bold:

Dis-moi c’est quoi ta toune
Qui m’r’vient dans les oreilles, tout le temps
Tu sais moé, j’ai plus ben ben l’temps comme avant
Plus le temps comme avant
Pour remplir mes oreilles
Dis-moi c’est quoi ta toune
Qui me r’vient comme le soleil tout ltemps
Quand y vient c’est jamais pour lontemps, de temps en temps
Pour longtemps, d’temps en temps
Pour chauffer mes oreilles
Aïe! Toé fais-en pas du pareil
Ôtes tes doigts d’dans tes oreilles
Toé fais-en pas du pareil

My quick translation (words added in parentheses to help keep the metre and meaning):

Tell me what’s this here tuneThat keeps coming back to my ears, always,
You know I don’t have as much time, as I did,
Not much time( much time) as I did
To fill up my ears (with tunes)
Tell me what’s this here tune
That keeps coming back like the sun, always.
When it comes it’s never for long, here and there
Not for long (for long) here and there
To warm up my (big) ears.
Hey, you, don’t you do that!
Take your fingers out of your ears!
You, don’t you do that!
Sum doob doo-bi-doob…
What song or piece of music do you associate with a particular season?

Organza – flash fiction

Organza PostcardShe’s never seen the sea. Ninety-three years old and never even flown over the ocean in an “aero-plane.” Ninety-three going on fourteen, Esme says about their mother but then again Esme is the eldest. Clara sees it differently. Why is she bringing this up? Meaning: Is she dying?

Apparently not. The nurse at the retirement home says their mother is no more at risk of dying than anyone crossing the road. We could all get swiped by these maniacs, she says, pointing at little Mrs. Kaplansky who’s had a close call that very morning. Mrs. Kaplansky puts one foot tremulously in front of the other while poking her cane at imaginary drivers. Speed demons! Speed demons! she says. The week before, loud enough for everyone in the residents’ lounge to hear, she said: Me? I’ve never had an organza in my whole life, shaking her head like a child denied a trip to the amusement park. Esme laughed so hard she peed her pants.

Clara is the one who flies their mother to Miami Beach: seagulls screaming in the clear blue sky, waves washing ashore, teenagers drenching each other with pails of water. Mom clings to Clara’s arm as if it’s a life preserver until Clara sits her down in a folding chair and goes for ice cream. Coming back Clara sees her mother, socks off, pants rolled up to her knees. Come here, her mother calls to a long lean boy carrying a bucket of water. She has to say it twice but he comes, blond beach god that he is, waves to his friends that he’ll just be a minute. Mom lifts one foot then another and dips them in the cool clear liquid. The look on her face is something even little Mrs. Kaplansky would have recognized.

Unreliable narrator

Invasive Plant in Stanley Park Vancouver 2013DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ ON THE INTERNET!

I wrote this review of Pink Martini’s June 30th, 2015 concert at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto for a dear friend who was too ill to come. To make her feel better, I laid it on thick in terms of how BAD (read GOOD!) the concert turned out to be.

Supergroup Pink Martini took to the Roy Thomson stage in front of a packed house on June 30th and opened with a VERY BLAND version of Ravel’s Boléro. Keyboardist Thomas Lauderdale was in his usual DREARY form, STIFF-FINGERED and STONY-FACED. Already NOT WORTH the price of admission, thought this reviewer.

Lead vocalist China Forbes then SNUCK UP to the mike and launched into Amado Mio in her trademark PIP-SQUEEK voice. Lucky the band members were all playing their instruments DELICATELY, otherwise they would have drowned the SUPPOSED Diva’s TIMID vocal modulations. This was followed by the iconic Sympathique from Pink Martini’s debut release of the same name. It was clear from her INEXPRESSIVE body language that Ms. Forbes simply “NE VOULAIT PAS TRAVAILLER,” and would have been better off outside, FUMER, or is it FUMING?

Timothy Nishimoto, a FAT guy in a DRAB-LOOKING silver suit did his best to bring the house to its feet with ¿Dónde Estás, Yolanda? but the percussionist-vocalist COMPLETELY LACKS a sense of rhythm, a quality one would assume is de rigueur for a musician. He stood MOTIONLESS at the microphone, while the crowd wondered, “¿Que passo, que passo, Timothy?”

I must admit that I fell asleep and only surfaced a few times during BLAND renditions of Ich dich liebe and other songs in various languages, including Bulgarian, Turkish and Japanese. Just before the break, the crowd was invited to join the band on-stage and dance through a RAMBLING instrumental. Those poor people had no sooner found their rhythm than they had to switch step to keep up with the band’s ERRATIC MEANDERINGS. One woman in a-little-pink-dress-to-end-all little-pink-dresses tried INEFFECTUALLY to kick her heels. I hope she never enters any dancing competition because she would be sure to LOSE! Once she regained her seat with the elderly gentleman who tried MISERABLY to keep steps with her, it became apparent that he was, in fact, her father—mom was in the audience. Aw!

Game as ever after fortifying themselves with Canadian Rye, the audience filed back in for the second half but was again SORELY DISAPPOINTED. Qué sera, sera FAILED to get us to sway along but, Whatever, we thought. What will be, will be.  A LAMENTABLY LAME rendition of Lilly made us hope that “Lilly, Lilly, Lilly, Lilly (would) LEAVE!” Hang on Little Tomato had us “drowning in a sea of deep confusion” about why we had forked over the price of admission for this PALTRY spectacle. The trumpet and trombone players did LITTLE to elevate the experience and, frankly, I wondered why Pink Martini EVEN BOTHERED to tour with OH-HUM violinist Nicholas Crosa, double-bassist Phil Baker, and percussionists-drummers Derek Rieth and Brian Davis. Anyone expecting lush got SPARSE instead. PLAIN. Get Happy got us UNHAPPY. Hey, Eugene, AMPLY JUSTIFIED why Eugene never called Ms. Forbes again after their two dances and one make-out session.

But, just to show that Toronto can be as nice as the rest of Canada, we DUTIFULLY clapped until the eleven-member band returned to the stage for their encore. Ms. Forbes and Mr. Nishimoto teamed up on a Happy New Year song in Mandarin, a BARELY COMPETENT Gong Yi, while Lauderdale LAZILY walked off the stage. He SHUFFLED BACK on with his smart phone, CLAIMING to have found the sheet music to Oh Canada, this being the eve of our national day of pride, ye know. He FOOLISHLY started hitting the ivories, WILLY-NILLY, while Forbes turned to the audience IN A PANIC. For the audience, this was the AT LAST moment. We stood up en masse and sang our hearts out. Take that, other nations! Even Ms. Forbes was FORCED to admit that we had brought tears to her eyes.

The “grand finale”— NOTHING grand about it, believe you me! — was Brazil and again the crowd was invited on stage. NOBODY dared this time and we were SPARED being treated to more EMBARASSING gyration by INCOMPETENT audience members, or their UGLY kids dancing it up with INGLORIOUS abandon.

To anyone who bought a ticket way back last August – yes, ten months ago! – and came up with a FLIMSY excuse (like, oh, I don’t know, pneumonia) to miss this show, I say, you DIDN’T miss a thing. It was the WORSE concert I have been to in a decade. Make that three decades!