Self and reality. Symbol and language. Myth and image. Memory and consciousness.
Dream and unreality: locus communis.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

thus the poem


Formalizing an idea: creating a new Blues poem for the solo-vocalist persona in Quintet —another song— creating a session of three songs in a row, a blurring of three distinct lyrics. “Devil Wasp Blues” and “Canal Street Blues” are combined— but the third verse needs to bring everything into a stronger cohesion. A specific story told within the three. Braid them tighter together with common language. Common rhythms. Common formulas. Repetition of names. Place names.
—or then again. Not. Leave the three verses independent. Individual. As free standing, short poems. They (by themselves, their themes, their formula) are brought together by the vocalist’s performance— as would be the case with any jazz set. The small tie grouping all three can be loose chronology. Birth—midlife—death. The last poem should carry a heavier, darker tone: loss of husband, partner…

turning it into a social commentary of experience, of witness

• having the absent male die through consequences of war— or as a soldier wounded, returns home to wife and kids, PTSD.
• or a policeman, fallen in the line of duty
• or junkie wrestling with dependency
• a real character taken from headlines—

His absence transfers to family’s grief. Thus the poem. Society shown in a limbo. Searching for a meaning.

Wasn't there a song titled “Memorial Day Blues”?

No, no, I am thinking of “Decoration Day” by John Lee Hooker. With the Cowboy Junkies later twisting the female voice to express the loss:

People I had a woman, she was nice and kind to me
           in ev'ry way
People I had a woman, she was nice and kind to me
           in ev'ry way
But Lord, she died and she left me, I sang the blues on ev'ry Decoration Day

Lord, I hate to see, I hate to see my baby go
People I hate to see my baby leave that mornin',
And my Lord takin' my baby 'way
She said, "Johnny Lee, don't you worry,
Bring flowers on every Decoration Day"

I was 'round my baby's bedside, when my Lord takin'
           my baby, 'way
Lord, I was 'round my baby's bedside, when my Lord takin'
           my baby, 'way
It hurt me so bad, so bad, until I, just broke right down
           and cried
Hmm, hmm

She says, "Fare you well, I see you on every Decoration Day", I tol' them
I told my baby, I told my baby, "I bring flowers on
          every Decoration Day"
I bring you some flowers, babe, just to decorate your grave

People, y'all havin' a good time now, just like the flowers
           that comes in May
Y'all havin' a good time now, just like the flower that
           come in May
I think about Lou Della, Lou Della, Lou Della on
           every Decoration Day

Lou Della, Lou Della, Lou Della stays on my mind
Lou Della, Lou Della, people, boy
Lou Della stays on my mind
Lord, she died and she left me on one Decoration Day
Lord, Lou Della's gone and Lou Della's worryin' me

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